Authority. The more I hear this word, the more I think I’m not on the same page with most Christians. Then again I’m not entirely sure most christians are on the same page either. While looking up some information to find a direction to go into with this post – I learned that Christians don’t really have any authority. It’s what the devil tempts us with and what we must resist – just like he did with Jesus. Another site concluded, however, we do have authority because Jesus gave it to us. I remember a speaker who asked on a national news broadcast ” … but do we have the authority to make changes?”
Authority is ‘The power to enforce rules or give orders.’ In Christianity, some would say that the Bible is our authority in the sense of ‘A person accepted as a source of reliable information on a subject.’ But what about the other definiton of authority: ‘Persons in command; specifically, government.’? Who makes the decisions about how we live as Christians right here and now? Each denomination seems to have a system of leadership that does make decisions – sometimes by calling for confrences and putting issues to a vote among the leaders of churches attending. But even though I attend a Methodist church, I self-identify with Non-denominationalism – so what authority applies to me?
But there is yet another sense of authority – in the spiritual realm that confuses me most of all. I get the sense of that in terms of having people to make decisions to quell disention, authority is a good thing. But people are not infallibale and can take authority to unhealthy extremes. Christianity is no longer united – so many authoratative conclusions conflict or contradict – making it difficult to choose one as the standard all Christianity must follow. Sometimes though, it seems that quite a few people are happy not making decisions. It’s easier to abide by what another person orders than to decide for yourself if the order agrees with Biblical theology as you understand it especially if you haven’t studdied it for yourself.
I’m nut sure that every instance of ‘authority’ in Scripture have the same meaning ‘the power to enforce rules, give orders.’ Jesus certainly had something to say on the subject: 24 A dispute also arose among them as to which of them was considered to be greatest. 25 Jesus said to them, “The kings of the Gentiles lord it over them; and those who exercise authority over them call themselves Benefactors. 26 But you are not to be like that. Instead, the greatest among you should be like the youngest, and the one who rules like the one who serves. (Luke 22)
A servant’s only expectation is to take and follow orders, only rarely would they have the authority to give them – and only to servants of lesser status or rank. Jesus has turned leadership upside-down. The real question is whether or not we’ve managed to keep it upside-down.


One thought on “Serve

  1. Authority is ‘The power to enforce rules or give orders.’

    I understand people thinking they have the right to ‘give orders’ to someone else that they think they are in ‘authority’ over, but how exactly do they use this ‘power to enforce rules’ in the usual authority contexts most Christians are referring to?


...Anyway, that's just how I feel about it ... What do you think?

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