"You" Before "I"
One of the worst consequences of the Enlightenment is what could be called “Social Contract Theory.” The whole concept is much broader than simply the “Social Contract” but it can be whittled down to what the Social Contract assumes about persons. The assumption made by this Enlightenment form of thought is that humans should only be bound by relationships and “laws” they agree to. The problem with this view, of course, is that it runs in the complete opposite direction from the world that God created.
Social contract theory assumes that we are all completely autonomous individuals, completely free from binding relationships apart from our consent. Quite the contrary is shown to be true in Peter Leithart’s book The Baptized Body:
…Everything we know about actual human life leads in the opposite direction. We don't begin life has isolated "I's." Infants have little consciousness of their own bodies. They can't recognize themselves in the mirror. They have no consciousness of being "I's," but they are aware quite early of certain significant others. A baby’s world is not centered in her Ego. It centers on others who speak, coo, sing, hum, kiss, nuzzle, smile. These and dozens of other forms of communication are home, grammatically, in the "second person," saying "you" to the child.
Our grammatical texts lie to us...The grammatical second person is the existential and social first person. Were it not for the inane mythologies of social contract theory and liberal politics, this would be more than obvious. Once it's pointed out, it is obvious. Our children only speak in the first person after they have been addressed in the second person; our children develop a consciousness itself after and through their consciousness of others; infants develop a sense of personal identity because we talk to them using names they didn't choose. (pg. 9)
The consequences are dire when the church adopts a modern/liberal anthropology to determine it’s ecclesiology and discipleship. Unfortunately, this is the case in all too many churches. In many places we have assumed that children are not bound relationally to the church until they have made a decision to bind themselves to Christ. But this is Enlightenment thinking and not Biblical thinking.
People grow into who they are because they learn as much from their parents. Likewise, children of Christians are to grow up “in the Lord” (Ephesians 6:4) learning that they are in the Lord.
Food for thought.