J.I. Packer on Individualism vs. Idividuality

“The gospel fosters individuality, in the sense of realization that as regards the present decisions that determine eternal destiny one stands alone before God; no one can make those decisions for someone else, and no one can enter the kingdom of God by hanging on to someone else’s coat-tails. The individuality that consists of a sense of personal identity and responsibility Godward is a Christian virtue, making for wise and thoughtful behaviour, and is a necessity for mature life and growth in Christ.

But it has nothing to with individualism, which is actually a proud unwillingness to accept a place in a team of peers and to be bound by group consensus. The gospel condemns individualism as disruptive of the life of the divine family, the new community of believers together that God is building in each place where individual Christians have emerged. Harmonious consensus, undergirded by brotherly love, is to be the goal for every church, and individualism is to be overcome by mutual deference. So, at least, says the New Testament.”

“Evangelical Foundations for Spirituality,” Serving the People of God: The Collected Shorter Writings of J. I. Packer, Volume 2 (Paternoster Press), 266.

(HT: Sam Storms)

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I am currently serving churches and colleges as a bible teacher, overseas and in the UK.

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