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Authority: Authoritative vs. Influential?

I don’t believe authority figures in the kingdom are supposed to act authoritative with towards other people. All through the bible you see Jesus commending people to be servants, to consider others better than themselves and to put themselves at the end of the line. There is no reason anyone should assume that there should be some kind of structural hierarchal authority structure in the church where there is bosses and all this authority bossing around going on.

I thought I would do a little bit of studying on some of the usual verses that are thrown around as to why we need to obey authority. In Hebrews 13:17 it says “Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that [is] unprofitable for you.” The word obey here in the Greek is peitho. This word doesn’t mean what the English dictionary says meaning to ‘carry out or to fulfill the order of.” Peitho out of a Greek Lexicon means: (I bolded some that i thought stuck out).

1) persuade
a) to persuade, i.e. to induce one by words to believe
b) to make friends of, to win one’s favour, gain one’s good will, or to seek to win one, strive to please one
c) to tranquillise
d) to persuade unto i.e. move or induce one to persuasion to do something

2) be persuaded
a) to be persuaded, to suffer one’s self to be persuaded; to be induced to believe: to have faith: in a thing
1) to believe

2) to be persuaded of a thing concerning a person
b) to listen to, obey, yield to, comply with

3) to trust, have confidence, be confident

Now I’ve said for a long time that influence over authority is the way to go. I’ve heard messages on showing how Jesus lived a life of influence over others and wasn’t just telling them what to do. I love these definitions though, and the author of Hebrews was on to something when he was telling his readers to peitho those that have rule over them.

This word ‘obey,’ takes on completely to meaning all of sudden. It puts responsibility not just in the person who needs to do the obeying, but in the person who is being obeyed. They need to live a life worth believing about. They need to live a persuasive life; they need to be trustworthy. It is up to the one with ‘rule’ to live a influencing, persuasive life. A persuasive life doesn’t need to demand anything, they don’t need to tell people what to do and boss people around. All they need to do is be a leader, lead by example and live a life worth following.

Authority in the Kingdom doesn’t come by authoritative measures. Authority comes from influence, persuasiveness and trustworthiness. If you have to demand followers, or convince someone to follow you; my guess is that you should switch tactics and start worrying more about living the kind of life that influence people to become better people not by spiritually handcuffing them into submission.

3 Comments

  • I watched the movie “The Kingdom of Heaven” last night. I found it amazing how people viewed God back then to how we view Him today. At times, I am excited for what the future brings with the way we think and then at other times, I am skeptical. Its scary how we have misused scripture and taken apart words from the text of the bible and used it for our own ways.

    It makes me question a lot about what we hear from anyone about God either from the past, present and what is to come in the future. How do you make sense of it all when so many people have so many different views about the same God? Do we only follow what sounds right to us or is there really just one way? Are things right and we are wrong even though things dont sit with us? Is it even about a right way?

    Why do so many people kill over this God that came to bring us life? What is our problem? Why cant we just get along? I find I have been bombarded with pointless shit lately. Does anyone else feel the same?

    Where is this God in it all? Is he in the rules, structure and spiritual authority? Why have we become so argumentative about this amazing creator? And if his purpose was for us to argue, then hes not a very good God, I wouldnt give him credit as God.

    How can we change and yet unite?

  • Nathan, I found you from Pernell’s post, and I found Pernell from Dash’s blog, I found Dash’s blog because our church is dying and I have crazy questions about what I’ve been thinking and why there is this Exodus in our church. Heh, that was long! anyway all that to say : Yeah, Spot on! I agree. Talk more about this. Thank you.

  • Hey Nathan,

    I did some similar unpacking of Hebrews 13:17 awhile back. We both seem to have arrived at very similar conclusions!

    Who’s Responsible?

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