Does Christianity concern itself with the individual? Sometimes I think it doesn’t. It’s far more concerned with the community in a sense. If you knew that you could preach at a stadium of ten thousand and bring a thousand to Christ all at once, or you could reach a thousand people, one at a time, which would you prefer? Most people would say, “Cast a wide net” catch what you can and don’t worry about the fish that are small enough to swim through the net. They’re probably not as good as the bigger fish are anyway. Quantity is what counts.
Everybody is completely different, but we keep on insisting on a one size fits all salvation plan, sometimes it’s the ABCs (admit, believe and confess) of FAITH (forsaking all, I trust Him), and sometimes It’s the Sinner’s Prayer. We want to take a mass-scale approach to the faith so we make it pretty generalized. But we have to ignore individual quirks along the way.
The last few decades, Christianity has been pushing the theology of marriage without stopping to think whether some people should get married at all. Some people shouldn’t have, but were pressured into it all the same and unsurprisingly things didn’t work out. They’ve been putting some people into positions of leadership without stopping to think whether those people should be leaders at all. They shouldn’t have and things didn’t work out. Same story just in a different area of Christian living. Then they get to condemn these people twice: for their own sins and failing to obey Biblical teaching as everyone else has.
If Christianity concerned itself with the individual, it would recognize when a person is a bad fit or disqualified for something and realize that there are other things that they can do if they opened their mind to the possibilities. It would have to get rid of their preconceived ideas of God-approved ministries and allow the Holy Spirit to work with people in ways that they cannot control and that scares them.
The thing about individuals is that there’s so many of them who break the mold. They break the rules of the expected and are amazingly spiritual people who seem who be on a level above the rest of us – if you let them take the wheel of the church, some of your most beloved rules will have to be re-evaluated. We see them in the Bible as the men and women who shouldn’t have done what they did, but they did it anyway and hundreds of people became better believers because of them.
But if Christianity doesn’t concern itself with the individual, we can focus on creating believers that fit the checklist of acceptable all the while keeping their spiritual growth in check. We can tell certain people that they can’t teach certain people. We can tell certain people that certain ministry ideas are unbiblical. We can try to shape them into our own image of perfection. We can explain away spiritual fervor as a quirk to be corrected. Because all that matters is unity and conformity to the ideas of the community; we can’t have individuals dancing out of step with the rest of us.