One thing I have struggled with through my lifetime is the understanding of authority; more particularly church authority. I’ve been told by people in pastoral positions that I need to listen to whatever they say because they are my spiritual God-ordained authority. I’ve seen this authority abused so many times. I’ve seen pastors try to manipulate their people into thinking the way they do by using this authority. I’ve seen people in authority claim that the conclusion they came to over a incoming pastor was from God, and in so many words saying that if you vote against him you are against God. I’ve seen church authority threaten punishment and God’s judgment upon someone’s life if they don’t step into line with their standards and rules. I’ve seen a lot of things, and a lot of authoritative (or so they claim) people take their authority maybe a step to far.
When you attend a church does this magically make you under the spiritual authority of the pastor leading that church? What does authority even mean? Can they just tell you what to do and when to do it? How do we know when to follow and when not too? There have been some pretty powerful authority figures in the church in the past that have supported some extremely brutal things. Do we follow that just because we believe that all authority is in place by God? Do we even believe that?
I’m going to do my next few posts on these issues and trying to come to grips on what authority is, if it is, and the place it should have in our lives, if it should. I’m not sure where this could take me, I just know I need to come to some understanding on this issue because it’s starting to affect not just me but my friends around me. It is especially particular to me because I seem to find myself attending a lot of churches in the past where I don’t see eye to eye with the pastor.