I found a book called “Finding Church” by Wayne Jacobsen, and am on my second reading.
During my reading yesterday, I noticed following five points Wayne made on the topic of authority.
Real authority resides in Jesus
One of Wayne’s statements rings so true.
“I trust good hearted people listening to Jesus more than I trust any hierarchy whose perspective is so easily skewed by the needs of thier institution or the realities that let them hold on to power. The historic heresies have not arisen from simple people following Jesus,, but from someone trying to gain a large following”
And Jesus came and said to them, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.
This point seems so obvious. How often do you look to some man, or institution for direction?
Real authority illuminates the truth
Wayne makes the following observation.
“…Paul, even as an apostle, refused to resort to manipulative tactics. On the contrary he said ‘… by setting forth the truth plainly we commend ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.'”
Paul depended on God to validate the truth to each of these believers through thier conscience.
He also stated… ‘Those who have authority are not defensive or argumentative because they know the truth carries its own power when people are ready”
Wow – Is that not simply a true statement – One that when you hear it, it simply rings true?
As I have walked this walk, I have found the ones who argue are the ones who are the most unstable in the truth. I have yet to find anywhere in the gospels where the Master got into a word fight with anyone. He stated the facts, or corrected the lie, and moved on.
Real authority is not the power to command
Authority is granted to those who serve and not to those who seek to control. Ok – how many believers out there have trouble understanding this concept?
Jesus clearly gave direction in this regard.
Real authority is recognized, not demanded
Whenever someone within the church demands you obey them, run. Run as fast as you can.
I have been watching some documentaries on cults and one of the leading requirements of a cult leader is unflinching total obedience to thier every wish. Many in the modern church do not go that far, but it is an indicator of the manner of leadership you are under if you are not allowed to exercise, in a loving way, your conscientious objection to a matter.
We attended a church at one time that sought to force all to conform, and my open questioning of certain practices brought swift ultimatums. (Funny, they didn’t take me to a NT passage that identified my error, other than Hebrews 13:17 – Obey your leaders…) Check out my previous posts on Hebrews 13 for more info!
I am thankful we sided with our conscience. Do not give up your conscience in a discussion, or in following a man. If he is of the Lord, he will revel in the fact that you are seeking to know God’s will for your life and not simply listening to a man’s opinion.
If your minister/pastor/priest/reverend/preacher demands you follow, find the door.
Real authority establishes the kingdom
If we recognize the true authority (see first point) and are willing to walk in the freedom He supplies, you will experience the kingdom in your daily walk, grow in the kingdom He is establishing and extend the boundaries of the kingdom in your experience.
If any who are reading this and have found what I am describing, please let me know. If any are hungry for church life that “connects”, that is living and breathing, reach out.
Others may be able to help you. Comment as you see fit. I always love hearing from you.
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Thanks again for coming to visit. I hope you found something of interest in this post and would appreciate a comment, to begin a discussion.