Matthew Vos


In Relational Being: Beyond Self and Community, American psychologist Kenneth Gergen explores the Western characterization of the self as autonomous, discrete, and separate from others, and identifies the pathological consequences and societal costs of such a view. Gergen’s intent is to open the reader to a more holistic understanding of the self as completely dependent on relationships, and to replace a “bounded being†conception of the self with the image of a confluence, or “self with others.†This essay examines traditional Christian thinking about standing before God to give an account of oneself in light of Gergen’s ideas, and concludes that standing before God “alone†is epistemologically problematic. Drawing primarily on ideas from Gergen, John Calvin, and theologian Bryan Stone, this essay promotes the view that the Church is the primary agent offering an account before God, and that the individual believer is inseparable from the confluence of the Saints and the testimony of the Church.   Keywords: bounded being, self, confluence, accounts, church, John Calvin, alone, identity


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