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二○一八年三月二十四日/三月二十五日                                                                               Click here for Pastor's Sharing

個人與群體

蕭壽華牧師

我們深盼望教會內個別的弟兄姊妹,會更多以建立一個聖潔的基督徒「群體」為己任,同時也學會彼此同心,互相堅固,在社會上建立基督徒的群體見證。


在人類社會中,個人與群體之間常產生張力:不少個人為保障個人利益,漠視對社會大眾的影響,但至終個人也身受其害;也有政府以大眾利益為口實,不理會個人真實的需要。


聖經內的群體觀念極其明顯,常以集體單數來形容信徒群體(「你們是被揀選的族類、是君尊的祭司……」文法上均是單數)。聖經內也充滿「各人不要單顧自己的事」、要彼此勸勉、彼此……等教訓;但及至個別的需要受到疏忽時,群體的負責人便會作出特別的安排,回應他們的需要(如使徒行傳第六章選出七位執事,留心一些說希利尼語的猶太寡婦們膳食的需要)——聖經對個人及群體有平衡的關注,但仍是不斷地提醒信徒要小心,免落入自我中心,只顧自己的陷阱。因此我們要留心以下三種錯誤的思想:

1. 信仰個人化:認為我個人屬靈生命的狀況,與人無關,其他弟兄姊妹不應多加「干涉」;我要努力追求個人成長、聖潔,但我毋須為我的弟兄姊妹軟弱跌倒而負責任!當我跟隨主作甚麼抉擇時,我只要自己肯定是神的引導,並毋須其他人或教會的印證。


2. 崇拜私有化:我參加崇拜是我個人敬拜主,我可以在家中單獨敬拜,不一定與眾聖徒一起敬拜。在崇拜中我唱感恩詩歌,讓我的感情得到滿足,毋須與弟兄姊妹同聲讚美。我來到教會只是朝見神,不用理會我身旁是甚麼人,甚或有甚麼需要。讓位予他人是放棄我的權利,我不幹。


. 教會內向化:我參加教會是要得到溫馨舒適的關係,社會上問題太多,我感到無能為力,我只可以保存自己在教會內不受污染。


主言:「你們要記念被捆綁的人,好像與他們同受捆綁;也要記念遭苦害的人,想到自己也在肉身之內。」(來十三 3)若我的弟兄未聖潔,我還是未聖潔;若我的能力微小,我就從我身旁的弟兄開始:一個、一個的開始,「直等到我們眾人在真道上同歸於一」(弗四 13)。


(本文撮錄自蕭牧師著作《貼近主心懷》之「個人與群體」,蒙宣道出版社允許轉載。)






Pastor's Sharing
Individual and Community
Rev Gordon Siu

I still remember the theme for our church for 1999 was “Be a holy community in the world.” We had a slogan: “Made holy and useful for collective testimony.” Our sincere hope was that following our pursuit of a godly lifestyle in 1998, individual brothers and sisters in the church would devote themselves to building a godly community of faith. At the same time, we hoped they would learn unity, build up one another, and give collective testimony.

In human society, there is always tension between the individual and the community. Many people try to safeguard their personal rights even at the cost of the public. In the end, however, they also suffer. There are also governments that ignore genuine individual needs under the pretext of preserving the public interest.

The Bible is all about community. The collective singular is often used for the faith community: “But you are a chosen people, a royal priesthood…” These are grammatically singular. The Bible is also full of teachings such as “not looking to your own interests” but to spurring one another on toward love and… But when individual needs get neglected, faith community leaders will make special arrangements to address those needs. For example, the seven chosen deacons in Acts 6 attended to the widows of Hellenistic Jews who needed food. The Bible gives balanced attention to the individual and the community. Still, it continually reminds the believer to beware of pitfalls of self-centeredness and selfishness. We therefore need to guard against wrong thinking:

  • 1. Individualization of faith: This is the thinking that the state of my spiritual life is my own, that it has nothing to do with others and that nobody should meddle. While I need to strive for personal growth and godliness, I am not responsible for the weaknesses and falls of my brothers and sisters. When following the Lord’s guidance, I only need to make sure that it is what God wants me to do. There is no need for confirmation by anybody else or the church community.


  • 2. Privatization of worship: Joining worship services is for my own personal worship. I can worship alone at home without joining other saints. During the worship, I sing hymns of thanksgiving to be emotionally fulfilled but need not join brothers and sisters in praise. I attend church to meet with God. I do not care who is sitting next to me or what he or she needs. Giving up my seat to others means forfeiting my right. I don’t do that.


  • 3. Inward-focused church: I go to church to seek cordial, heart-warming relationships. My hands are tied in a society plagued with problems. The only way I can preserve myself is to stay untainted in church.


  • The Lord says: “Continue to remember those in prison as if you were together with them in prison, and those who are mistreated as if you yourselves were suffering” (Hebrews 13:3). If my brother has not yet attained godliness, I am not godly either. However little I can do, I will start with the brother next to me, tending to them one by one “until we all reach unity in the faith” (Ephesians 4:13).

    [Extract from 《貼近主心懷》 (Snuggling to the Lord), used with permission of China Alliance Press]