Individualism and the Christian
When the Puritans would start a colony here in the new world, the first building built was a church. The rest of the community was built around the church. The reason the church was in the middle was symbolic: all of life revolves around worship and service unto the Lord.
The church was the center of life outside of the home. This is where the Puritans gathered to worship the King, hear His Word, fellowship with the saints, and meet each other’s needs. One Puritan called the church . . .
. . . a company of Christians, called by the power and mercy of God to fellowship with Christ, and by his providence to live together, and by his grace to cleave together in the unity of faith and brotherly love, and . . . bind themselves to the Lord and one to another, to walk together by the assistance of his Spirit, in all such ways of holy worship in him, and of edification one towards another.
Richard Mather (1596 - 1669)
America has changed since those early days. Always an independent breed, Americans cultivated a rugged individualism as they built this nation. Unfortunately, this individualism spread to the church. We’ve replaced the theology of the Puritans with that of Frank Sinatra, “I Did It My Way.”
Reading about salvation in Scripture, either Old or New Testament, one sees constantly and clearly that we are not saved as individuals, to have an individual relationship with God, with churches merely existing to provide some services to bolster that individual relationship. Yet this is the way it seems we commonly view our salvation. Instead, the consistent promise of salvation throughout Scripture, from beginning to end, is "I will be your God, and you will be My people, and I will dwell in your midst." That is, He saves us as individuals by ushering us out of our present associations and fellowships and into a new fellowship, the fellowship of the people of God. A holy nation and royal priesthood. I do not believe it is possible to conceive of salvation Biblically outside of the concept of fellowship, both vertically with God and horizontally with God's people.
Read the rest of Pastor Powell's comments by clicking here.