Authority: Its an Issue

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.

4 Comments

  • In this day and age when most people view authority with suspicion it is difficult for us to know exactly what to believe. We need to seek out what the bible says about authority.
    Unfortunately for a generation that views Jesus as the ultimate rebel this is seldom done. We often forget that Christ was most obedient to the ultimate authority.
    We have often talked about this subject in the past Nathan and we have both had issues with some things we have seen. I look forward to seeing how you break it down. Remember that views of church authority are often reflected in our views of the delegation of authority in government, family structure and at work. The possibilities for abuse in all these situations. How far does the authority extend and what exactly are our obligations as Followers of Christ. Hmm. I can hardly wait.

  • nathan, as a pastor, i’m going to use my God-given authority to claim you as one of my members that i’m in charge of. now that i’m the boss of you i command you to put your underwear on your head and dance like a monkey. and don’t forget to tithe as well.

  • I’m excited.

  • Nathan I’m glad that you are starting to see a little trend here, and yes it is affecting you and not for the good. And those around you are beening affected also. You are going to need to, at some point in time learn that submitting to authority of some sort is not a bad thing. In submitting to a pastor, Rabbi who ever I think you understand what I’m saying, you are really learning to submit to Jesus’ authority and proving it in a real life situation. Things in the spiritual will be manifested in the physical. I think what you need is to get along side a pastor you can trust and submit, notice I didn’t say worship him, but pray with him, hear his heart and soul and see if his goals aren’t really your goals. We were never meant to be an island unto ourselves. see a previous comment I sent.

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