Christian Counseling: Christian Community vs. Personal Religious Experience

Is it news to you that a growing number of Christians are supporting the idea of a personal religious experience over and above what the Bible says about spirituality? Does it matter to you to know that personal experience is more important to them than developing a sense of community with others?


To me, this is part of biblical Christianity's road to irrelevance. If we can create our own personal image of God, Christian life that suits us and individually, prioritized values, of what use is Christianity to the world that isn't already offered by many other religions who say things like, "trust in your higher power" or that hold a secular view of spirituality, which is whatever a person believes?   


Having a group of individuals with separate beliefs, morals and behaviors may seem like a trendy thing to believe in, but it banishes the possibility of ever developing a sense of oneness, or unity or community. How important is Christian community?  


Francis Schaeffer wrote The Mark of the Christian in which he said there are two things by which the world will stand up and take notice of and be attracted to Christianity. The first is love, "'A new commandment I give to you, that you love one another...by this all men will know that you are my disciples'" John 12:34,35). The second is community, "'...that they [Christians] may be one...so that the world may believe that You send Me [Jesus].'" How important is Christian community?


Salvation is an individual decision and commitment. We all need to establish our own personal relationship with God. But thereafter, He so desires we live for community--a unique and uncommon way of life that invites others to consider having a relationship with God. How important is Christian community? 


Research upholds the value of community in that it adds years to our lives, whether it is being one with a marital partner or being a participant in a cancer survivor support group. Community is all natural and the healthy choice, physically, emotionally and spiritually. There are few things in life more important than community, but few opportunities to experience in depth community. It is unfortunate that what many Christians refer to as having a sense of community is truly so short of what could be, what God desires and what we really need. Deep, need-meeting community is rare in America. Have you ever asked yourself why this is so? And what needs to be done to help answer Jesus' prayer request for community?


For some additional info, visit Alan Knox's post: Christian Community vs. Personal Religious Experience at 

http://www.alanknox.net/2009/07/christian-community-vs-personal-religious-experience/



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