Original Research

Overcoming modernity’s individualism: Becoming a community of peace in the face of violence

Andrew G. Suderman
Verbum et Ecclesia | Vol 32, No 2 | a507 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ve.v32i2.507 | © 2011 Andrew G. Suderman | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 03 March 2011 | Published: 16 November 2011

About the author(s)

Andrew G. Suderman, University of Pretoria, South Africa


Modernity’s understanding of the primacy of the individual represents a significant challenge to a holistic understanding of the vocation of the church. Furthermore, individualism, that is the understanding of oneself as separate and apart from others, is often the foundation for violence against the other as the interconnectivity, and therefore the dependence and vulnerability inherent within a relationship, is lost. When the church is relegated to serve individuals as private and individualised belief systems, it is banished to a cold, dark cell of isolation. In order to respond to violence, the church needs to create communities that restore and reconcile relationships, thus embodying peace.


peace; violence; church; individualism; Anabaptism; William T. Cavanaugh; John Zizioulas


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