Individualism is Fundamentally Misleading / John Murray

Chris Brauns —  November 19, 2007

Whether we realize it or not, people in the West are indoctrinated with individualism.  The symptoms are many:

  • “What I do is my own business.”
  • Don’t make discerning evaluations of any sort.
  • The idea of church discipline: that there is spiritual accountability to a local church, is despised.
  • “Parents refuse to consider how much they represent their children.”

Yet, as Murray so concisely argued, the idea of representation (that we are represented by others and represent others) is basic to life.

 “The principle of representation underlines all the basic institutions of God in the world – – the family, the church, and the state.  In other words, solidarity and corporate relationship is a feature of God’s government.  We should expect the prototype to reside in racial solidarity.  At least, racial solidarity is congruous with what we find on a less inclusive scale in the other institutions of God’s (John Murray, Collected Works, Volume 2, page 59)..”

Indeed, the principle of representation (the opposite in some sense of individualism), is basic to understanding both how we all sinned in Adam and how we are justified in Christ.  Murray sums it up:

“By Adam sin-condemnation-death, by Christ righteousness -justification-life.  A way of thinking that makes us aloof to solidarity with Adam makes us inhabile to the solidarity by which salvation comes.  Thus the relevance of the Adamic administration to what is most basic, on the one hand, and most necessary on the other, in our human situation appointment (John Murray, Collected Works, Volume 2, page 59).”

 Said another way, if you insist on total individualism, then you are insisting that Christ cannot represent you.

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