Authority is Good Part 2

One commenter has some questions regarding authority given my two previous posts on Politely challenging Church leaders about marriage and Understanding Godly value. First, here is the full comment:

In marriage it’s clear that the husband is supposed to have authority in headship. Same with some of the Church positions
I don’t think Church positions are described as such at all. But to understand Male Headship in the home, ask yourself: Do you honestly think a husband has authority over his wife in the same way as Christ has over the church?
Really? That he has a right to kill his wife, as God does one of his own creation?
Or in the same way Christ has authority to call a Christian to martyrdom on His behalf?
There actually is no verse that says “Husbands exercise authority over your wives in the same manner as Christ has authority over the church.” Christ has a right to make us fully disposable and to do his full bidding. Not one of the verses in the Bible that talk about husband/wife relations describe it as such. For example “The LORD hates divorce and cruel men.” (Mal 2:16) But YAHWEH reserved the right to divorce Israel.
Again, start with Christ: Matt 23:1-12, Lk 22:24-30. Those guide all human relationships.

Before I get into this, some of this is covered in my post on Authority is good. The root of the confusion usually has to do with a couple key areas that I will point out later in this post.

But to understand Male Headship in the home, ask yourself: Do you honestly think a husband has authority over his wife in the same way as Christ has over the church?

Yes.

Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

Really? That he has a right to kill his wife, as God does one of his own creation?

This is a straw man. Authority is given to the husband to love, to nourish, to cherish (Eph 5), to not become embittered (Col 3), to treat her in an understanding way, and honor her as a coheir in Christ (1 Pet 3).

The fact that authority can be abused is not a sign that it is not given or that it is bad.

The analogy is quite clear: Christ is the head of the Church as husbands are head of the wives (Eph 5). Likewise, the head of Jesus is God  and Jesus submitted Himself to the authority of the Father (1 Cor 11).

Or in the same way Christ has authority to call a Christian to martyrdom on His behalf?

Again, a straw man. Christ has the authority to do this, but He does not force us to do it.

John 15:13 Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.

Instead, Jesus leads by example. Even though Jesus had the authority to do it, He sacrificed Himself for us. So too husbands are told to follow Jesus’ example.

There actually is no verse that says “Husbands exercise authority over your wives in the same manner as Christ has authority over the church.” Christ has a right to make us fully disposable and to do his full bidding. Not one of the verses in the Bible that talk about husband/wife relations describe it as such. For example “The LORD hates divorce and cruel men.” (Mal 2:16) But YAHWEH reserved the right to divorce Israel.

The main problem at this point is that authority is thought of in an incorrect context. Authority is created by and established by God. Thus, the structure of authority is fundamentally good.

“Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1). Also see: 1 Peter 2.

A structure created by God is ultimately a good structure meant to accurately convey and reflect the goodness of the Creator. Hence, the accurate analogy of Christ:Church::Husbands:Wives.

When you fully understand the role of Christ as to the Church you understand that this authority MUST be unlimited. However, in all cases, authority should be used to love to reflect the goodness of the institution that God created. This is the same as for the husbands to the wives.

You see we often like to think of the complete authority husbands were given over wives in the OT as oppressive because it is/was abused many times. However, this is false. Jesus did not come to abolish the law but to fulfill it (Matt 5). Thus, Jesus showed us how proper authority in regard to husbands and wives is fulfilled. Like Christ and the Church, husbands have complete and utter authority over wives in order to love, nourish, cherish, etc.

The fact that authority can be abused is not an argument against the establishment of authority or defining its limits. Rather, abused authority is the fault and sin of the one who abused it not the structure itself.

I could command my wife to lay her life down for me and the kids by taking a bullet. I would be justified in doing this. The Father does the same exact thing when He commands Jesus to died for us.

Understand: Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”

However, I would rather lay my life down to protect my wife and children given the choice. Now, if we both had to die to protect the children I would imagine that both of us would give up our lives because of our love for the children.

Jesus understands this and reveals His strong understanding of God’s love us in John 13-17. John 17 in particular shows Jesus’ strong understanding of His oneness with God even as He is submitted to God. Hence, laying down His life for us.

Conclusion

This is why in the beginning of the challenging Church leaders post I laid down a lot of examples of ways that egalitarians — and to be honest, many complementarians — misunderstand authority. The nature of authority is much deeper than most initially realize, and we often have so many misconceptions of authority because we try to understand it from a Western context. Western thought on authority is that it is bad or is too easily abused. Hence, this colors our vision of what true godly authority is being born of the institution that God created.

Draconian authority, abuse and misuse of authority, and even thoughts of authority potentially  being used incorrectly should not be allowed to color it. This is walking down the road of irrational fear which leads to evil. If you talk to many wives on what respect and submission mean you will come to find out that many of them harbor thoughts along the lines of “I don’t want to fully submit because what if… my husband commands me to sin” or “what if… my husband does something wrong or incorrect.”

This mindset does not just pervade our understand of husband and wives but it also insidiously colors our thoughts on our own lives. As Christians we are submitted to the Father. However, we often truly do not understand the gravity of the authority that God holds over us. If we did we would truly respect and fear God in every part of our lives so that we would be much like Paul: ready to pray, evangelize, teach, and obey God in every circumstance. To do good works like our lives depended on it because we know the one who holds everything in His hands.

Let me be frank. Dwelling on the nature of how authority can be abused is of the devil. It is giving in to an irrational fear. When we give into such irrational fears we are essentially telling God that we don’t trust Him. Why don’t we trust Him? We despise the nature of the authority structure He created, and we do not trust the one in authority who is placed into that position by God. Hating authority or the ones in authority is hating God.

Knowing this then we have no excuse not to steward our lives in a manner worthy of Christ.

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9 Responses to Authority is Good Part 2

  1. Pingback: Authority is Good Part 2 | Manosphere.com

  2. Nice work swatting the flies away!

    Scripture consistency frames the apprehension of the doctrine authority as our response to greater authority. Even the magistrate is to exercise his authority under God’s rule. The malcontents frame authority as what one in a position of superior authority can or might do, the Bible frames it in how the one in an inferior role is to respond to the one given more authority. There really is quite a difference, it is the difference between serving God and wanting to be a god.

  3. Kevin Wayne says:

    Okay, thank-you for taking the time out to respond. I’ll try to cover as much of the points raised here as I can. There’s a lot of stuff here, so I’m going to be hitting the high points & hopefully give a response generally relevant to it all.

    You: Ephesians 5:23 For the husband is the head of the wife, as Christ also is the head of the church, He Himself being the Savior of the body. 24 But as the church is subject to Christ, so also the wives ought to be to their husbands in everything.

    In point of fact, the husband is not the Savior of his wife, so early on you have a differentiation. But let’s see if you really think “everything” means “every thing.”

    Me: Really? That he has a right to kill his wife, as God does one of his own creation?

    You: This is a straw man.

    Actually it isn’t a Strawman, technically speaking. There’s no attempt here to misrepresent your position. Rather, I asked you a rhetorical question to stimulate thought about what the text must mean by using an extreme of what it most likely does not mean.

    You: Authority is given to the husband to love, to nourish, to cherish (Eph 5), to not become embittered (Col 3), to treat her in an understanding way, and honor her as a coheir in Christ (1 Pet 3).

    So then your answer to my original question is actually “no.”

    You: The fact that authority can be abused is not a sign that it is not given or that it is bad.

    Fine, but that is not something I’ve ever argued.

    Me: Or in the same way Christ has authority to call a Christian to martyrdom on His behalf?

    You: Again, a straw man. Christ has the authority to do this, but He does not force us to do it.

    “But he does not force us to do it” is a Red Herring fallacy. Unless you think a husband has such authority over the wife, and you indicate that you don’t (if I’m reading you correctly,) your answer is “no.” I might add here that Jeremiah accused God of forcing the former to do His bidding. It’s not outside the real of possibility that God may force us to do something.

    But unless you think a husband has the authority to do the same to his wife as God did to Jeremiah, then you understand a differentiation, full stop.

    Let every soul be subject unto the higher powers. For there is no power but of God: the powers that be are ordained of God” (Romans 13:1). Also see: 1 Peter 2.

    You: A structure created by God is ultimately a good structure meant to accurately convey and reflect the goodness of the Creator. Hence, the accurate analogy of Christ:Church::Husbands:Wives.

    First, the full context of Romans 13:1:

    Rom 13:1-4 Let every soul be subject to higher powers. For there is no power but from God: and those that are ordained of God. (2) Therefore, he that resisteth the power resisteth the ordinance of God. And they that resist purchase to themselves damnation. (3) For princes are not a terror to the good work, but to the evil. Wilt thou then not be afraid of the power? Do that which is good: and thou shalt have praise from the same. (4) For he is God’s minister to thee, for good. But if thou do that which is evil, fear: for he beareth not the sword in vain. For he is God’s minister: an avenger to execute wrath upon him that doth evil.

    There are 2 caveats that make the Magistrate “ordained of God.” 1) That he be working “to your benefit” (Gk agathos and 2) That he not be punishing you for anything but doing evil.

    Is there such a thing as a governing authority not ordained of God? Yes, and it’s all through the Book of Revelation.

    You: When you fully understand the role of Christ as to the Church you understand that this authority MUST be unlimited.

    Not supported anywhere in Scripture, and you yourself have explained why. Furthermore:

    1Pe 3:7 Ye husbands, likewise dwelling with them according to knowledge, giving honour to the female as to the weaker vessel and as to the co-heirs of the grace of life: that your prayers be not hindered

    The very fact that respect is demanded of a husband at the risk of his prayers not being heard is clear evidence of a differentiation, one that shows why the analogy cannot be pressed to it’s full conclusions in the way you seem to want to.

    Imagine the Father telling the Son “You better listen to what those people of yours down there have to say, or the next time you talk to me, I’ll tell you to talk to the hand.” Of course, that is preposterous!

    You: The fact that authority can be abused is not an argument against the establishment of authority or defining its limits. Rather, abused authority is the fault and sin of the one who abused it not the structure itself.

    But as soon as you’ve defined what it means to “abuse” authority, you’ve defined it’s limitations. Therefore, you cannot say the Husband holds unlimited authority over the wife in the same way Christ holds unlimited authority over the church.

    You: I could command my wife to lay her life down for me and the kids by taking a bullet. I would be justified in doing this. The Father does the same exact thing when He commands Jesus to died for us.

    Understand: Romans 5:8 “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us”

    God does not “command” Jesus to die for us. The Father, Son and Spirit are of one mind. Christ submitted willingly to a will that he was already fully a part of and that originated from himself. Col 2:9, Heb 1:10.

    You:However, I would rather lay my life down to protect my wife and children given the choice. Now, if we both had to die to protect the children I would imagine that both of us would give up our lives because of our love for the children.

    What you’ve descried here is a one-mindedness based on the same desire emanating from the same place a la’ The Father and the Son. But that isn’t unlimited authority, because no “authority” is needed to make it happen.

    You: The nature of authority is much deeper than most initially realize, and we often have so many misconceptions of authority because we try to understand it from a Western context. Western thought on authority is that it is bad or is too easily abused. Hence, this colors our vision of what true godly authority is being born of the institution that God created.

    And here is where I call bullshit.

    I don’t think it has anything to do with a “Western” context, other than the fact that the Western part of the church had the onus placed upon it to grapple with the issues of misplaced and misused authority. Even those who got the ball rolling in removing the Anthro-centric view of authority in the church – namely Calvin & Luther – still retained the Church/State whoredom and all it’s trappings in spite of the fact that this was at the core of the problem.

    The “Eastern” conception of authority is not any more Biblical just because it holds such parameters more sternly. It’s just more Anthro-centric, and it means it walked away from the task of loving others as we would love Christ. Or perhaps the task was never commanded of them? Either way you look at it, that makes that side of the Church actually less mature, because it never had to deal with the harsh realities of what misplaced authority can do to people. The trials and tribulations, the grinding, pressing and sifting that it takes to separate out the wheat was avoided on their part.

    TL;DR: It’s called “weeping with those who weep.”

    You:If you talk to many wives on what respect and submission mean you will come to find out that many of them harbor thoughts along the lines of “I don’t want to fully submit because what if… my husband commands me to sin” or “what if… my husband does something wrong or incorrect.”

    Because they are dealing with real-life situations, not hypothetical ones. And they are asking if you’re willing to “weep with those who weep.”

    You: Let me be frank. Dwelling on the nature of how authority can be abused is of the devil.

    Let me be frank in return: That is an absolutely spurious claim and comes from a spirit of legalism. And it cannot be supported anywhere in scripture.

    Direct your complaint to John of Patmos then, for penning an entire treatise on how both Roman and Jewish authority were abused to murderous ends. Why, John has the nerve to call the capital city of Israel “Sodom & Egypt!” (Chapter 11) Or why stop there? Kings and Chronicles give us long passages on the abuse of authority all over the place. But what was at the back of all this vacillating between “good” kings who themselves sinned greatly and “evil” kings who sinned most of the time, was a choice made on the part of the people. They said “No, we don’t want to deal directly with you, YHWH. We want a King to lead us!” Thus an authority structure was placed in between God and Man. Centuries later, Jesus came to offer us the same undeserved benefit of being able to deal directly with God. What did we do? We feared for our safety and created another Anthro-centric authority structure.

    On a personal level, when you try to shut down debates over the nature of authority in such a way, you reveal your own irrational fear of displacement. God is not frightened off by our questions. He is confident of his throne being in place either way. God’s quite ok with the discussion, and can in all honesty be said to have ordained it to happen Himself.

  4. Pingback: Irrational fear of God’s authority  | chokingonredpills

  5. @ Kevin Wayne

    Alright, this is a lot so let me try to distill down the points.

    First, “Jesus being the head and savior of the body but not the husband.”

    Disagreed. There is no caveat in the analogy which means by extension it is true. The husband is the savior of the wife due to the fact that a body without a head is dead. Jesus uses the specific term “sheep without a shepherd.” If you want real life examples single motherhood is an obvious one.

    I can already tell that we probably won’t agree on this point, so it is likely that we may have to agree to disagree here. By extension, this produces a large difference in the nature of understanding later on so this may be a sticking point.

    Second, “the right to kill his wife, as God does one of His own creations.”

    The answer is yes. Again, you’re confusing two things.

    1. The nature of authority is universal to the position unless otherwise limited. In this case, authority is unlimited because wives are to submit in everything.
    2. Free will is given to those in authority to make decisions either right or wrong.
    3. The Scriptures provide guidelines that tell those that have been given authority (not just husbands). Jesus, for example, says that the Gentiles lord over them but among you it should not be so.

    Thus, yes, authority can be used by the husband to kill his wife, to tell his wife to sin, or to do other illicit behavior. However, the husband would be misusing authority in this context. He still has the authority to do it.

    Your position takes authority and distills it to a place where the husband has little to no free will.

    Third, Romans passage on authority.

    Paul writes this passage from jail where he is being unjustly imprisoned. The point of the passage is to encourage the Romans to continue to do good works explaining the reasoning behind just use of authority. Does that mean that we should disobey authority even when being unjustly accused? No. Jesus illustrates this point quite clearly.

    Therefore, we have precedence to obey authority under just conditions as well as the unjust. The few clear cut counter examples are preaching the gospel as exemplified by the disciples in Acts, and performing acts that are explicitly sinful.

    Fourth, “1 Peter 3 respect being demanded of the husband”

    Two points. Respect is not demanded of the husband. Respect is only given to those in authority (derived from Phobeo). Honor is different than respect, and it is the same reason why I don’t respect women.

    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2014/05/21/fear-respect-honor-and-truth-phobeo-and-timao/
    https://deepstrength.wordpress.com/2014/08/25/why-i-dont-respect-women/

    Next, the fact that a husband prayers are limited is not an argument against authority. It is the consequence of choosing sinful behavior. This goes back to the point I made earlier that husbands are given the free will to choose with their authority to do right and wrong. However, if they choose wrong there are consequences for choosing wrong. This is consistent with all other Scripture on right and wrong and choosing sin.

    Fifth, your argument about Christ’s and the Father’s unlimited authority backfires.

    Christ can command Christians to sin. By your argument, Christ cannot (or will not) command Christians to sin which means He doesn’t have unlimited authority. His authority is limited by doing what is loving and good.

    Sixth, I’m not sure why it’s not clear to you that Western thought is jaded by aversion to authority.

    In particular, feminism is one such evil thought pattern that consistently rebels against any type of authority it encounters. In fact, perhaps it not necessarily a feature of “Western thought” but rather any individualistic versus collectivist/family oriented culture.

    Seventh, legalism about authority abuse + shutting down

    I’m not afraid of questions. I believe that the opposing arguments are false. I have no issue with those who discuss the abuse of authority: they are providing guidelines to those who have authority to make the right free will choices.

    Finally, the nature of the disagreement

    Based on how you’ve argued the points here it seems as if you have a more Calvinistic/Predestination type of view of authority.

    I believe based on what Scripture has reiterated that authority is not restricted based on a simple reading of the text (unless otherwise noted — which it isn’t). Additionally, Scripture provides guidelines to facilitate our decision making to choose righteousness over evil.

    If you believe that authority is restricted to good then it limits free will and walks toward pre-determinism.

    If that’s the case then we might as well stop here because that’s a fundamental disagreement on faith in which pre-determinism’s context on authority is just one facet.

  6. Robin Munn says:

    Christ can command Christians to sin. By your argument, Christ cannot (or will not) command Christians to sin which means He doesn’t have unlimited authority.

    Huh? Sinning is, by its very nature, disobedience to God. So when you say that Christ can command Christians to sin, what you’re saying is that Christ can command Christians to disobey Him. Which is a paradox.

    I don’t think that saying “Christ can’t command Christians to disobey Him” in any way limits Christ’s authority; it’s merely a tautology.

  7. @ Robin Munn

    You are correct.

  8. kevinwaynesongwriter says:

    Jesus being the head and savior of the body but not the husband.

    ??? Here’s about all I have to say to that:

    LOL 😉

    Disagreed. There is no caveat in the analogy which means by extension it is true

    No, you can’t assume that. Then every single time the Bible says something without a qualifier somewhere in the immediate vicinity, then there is no qualifier, period. Thus when idols are commanded to be smashed in the OT, if follows we should go around violating private property laws and enter Wiccan shops and smash whatever we find. But the Romans 13 passage we have been discussing would appear to preclude that, therefore there IS a caveat, just not where you insist it should be. Other examples might be any time God initiates a covenant, but doesn’t state the conditions of said covenant, and we see him later revoking it based on Israel’s sin.

    Or to really go to ridiculous examples: What about passages used to justify the Word of Faith doctrine? “It says ‘prosper!’ Therefore every Christian should drive a Rolls Royce!” But the warnings against materialism and idolatry are the caveats, no matter where they appear in the cannon.

    Or what about statements like “The whole world is going after him!” There’s no qualifier! Therefore everyone must be pursuing Christ!

    Couple of final examples: The Word of Faith and Anti-Trinitarians make similar mistakes in dealing with the hyperbolic language of the Bible in the following ways:

    “On Earth as it is in Heaven.” So since God has unlimited wealth in heaven, and we are to pray God’s will is to be one on Earth as in heaven, therefore we should pray for unlimited wealth!

    “That they may be one, as we also are one.” So that means Christ has promoted us to take part in the hypo-static union? Since when? The fact that Jesus doesn’t launch into an immediate exposition that clarifies what he means here does not mean that there’s not parameters around what he’s saying.

    God is not an attorney that needs to spell out everything in the fine print. The caveats to a husbands authority are 1) Only God has unlimited authority and 2) all the passages and points we’ve been discussing. Therefore, the husband has only limited authority.

    And really, you’ve bitten yourself in the butt here: If God needs to qualify things every time he makes a statement or the qualification doesn’t exist, then God suddenly has limited authority!

    God cannot be God unless ONLY God has unlimited authority.

    The husband is the savior of the wife

    I personally think that’s a perverse reading of Eph 5:23, but hopefully I’ve spelled that out as to why in my previous examples. Particularly where I talked about the oneness of the Father and Son in comparison to our oneness. If you don’t understand that our oneness with God is of a different makeup than the oneness of the Son with the Father, we have a problem.

    due to the fact that a body without a head is dead. Jesus uses the specific term “sheep without a shepherd.” If you want real life examples single motherhood is an obvious one

    This really doesn’t prove your point. A more correct reading of the text in context, (which is what I’m advocating) would still sustain the idea that children need a mother and a father. OTOH, if God is the husband and father to the widow and the orphan, then the requirements are (or can be) fulfilled either way.

    The nature of authority is universal to the position unless otherwise limited. In this case,
    authority is unlimited because wives are to submit in everything.

    “Unless otherwise limited” is the key undoing of your argument, here. It’s limited all over the place in the Bible. Here’s where I think you’re going wrong. You’re stating:

    a) Wives must submit to their husbands in everything
    b) There appears to be no qualifier
    c) Therefore, the Husband has unlimited authority over the wife.

    But once again:

    Unlimited Submission =/= Authority

    In fact, the only reason why a wife can be told to submit to her husband in an unlimited sense is BECAUSE only God has unlimited authority.

    Free will is given to those in authority to make decisions either right or wrong

    This seems to be really reaching. Free will does not imply unlimited authority.

    The Scriptures provide guidelines that tell those that have been given authority (not just husbands). Jesus, for example, says that the Gentiles lord over them but among you it should not be so

    Yep. Those are LIMITATIONS on someone’s authority.

    Thus, yes, authority can be used by the husband to kill his wife, to tell his wife to sin, or to do other illicit behavior. However, the husband would be misusing authority in this context. He still has the authority to do it

    No, the fact that he would be misusing his authority here means that he actually has no authority to do such things.

    Your position takes authority and distills it to a place where the husband has little to no free will

    No, free will does not imply unlimited authority. Lack of authority does not imply lack of free will. And if you’re going to go that (odd) route, then you are left with no free will based on the simple fact that there are limitations and conditions placed on authority.

    The few clear cut counter examples are preaching the gospel as exemplified by the disciples in Acts, and performing acts that are explicitly sinful

    Again, limitations are limitations, full stop.

    Next, the fact that a husband prayers are limited is not an argument against authority

    Okay so here’s a presumption that runs through much of what you write: My authority is being disqualified by the fact of your asking for clear definition of that authority. So I get a job, and ask questions such as “What are the requirements I have in working here? What things do you, my employer expect of me? What will cause me to lose my job? What recourse do I have in case I feel I’m treated unfairly? Those are legitimate questions that define the LIMITATIONS of my employer’s authority. Now what would you call an employer who thinks such questions are trying to define his authority out of existence? I’d call that a person with a fragile ego who’s not secure in his position, and so would most people.

    It is the consequence of choosing sinful behavior

    I would say it’s the logical outcome of what that “2 certainties in life” satire bumper-sticker used to say; “There are only 2 things certain in life 1) There is a God and 2) you are not him.” (Satirizing the old Death and Taxes canard.)

    Therefore, the limitations on a husbands prayers is rooted finally in our creatureliness, and would be there regardless of whether or not sin ever existed. They are compounded the fall of humankind. But creaturely limitations are limitations, period.

    You want to play with semantics because tim-ah-oh is used here, and not pho-beh-oh.
    That still avoids the basic point, that Jesus is not required to “tim-ah-oh” the Church at the risk of his prayers going unheard. Otherwise, you’ve just obliterated the Godhead. Not having your prayers heard should cause you to “pho-be-oh,” the Lord God (I would hope,) and it’s because of the simple fact that only God has all power and authority given unto him.

    Context, and not going to seed on Greek words is how we interpret scripture.

    Christ can command Christians to sin. By your argument, Christ cannot (or will not) command Christians to sin which means He doesn’t have unlimited authority. His authority is limited by doing what is loving and good

    If I place a limitation on my own authority, then I am by definition, my own authority. If I place a limitation on your authority, that means I have authority over you and not the other way around. No problem here, at all.

    I’m not sure why it’s not clear to you that Western thought is jaded by aversion to authority

    Oh, it’s perfectly clear to me that there’s a serious set of issues that have persisted in so-called “Western” thought.” But unlike you, I don’t think it’s necessary a bad thing. I think it’s rooted in wanting to deal directly with God without any other mediator than Christ, worship him and him alone, and avoid sin wherever possible. You think it’s all rooted in sin and insolent rebellion. It’s true that it may often intersect with people’s darker nature, and that’s the unfortunate result of people being both creaturely and sinful. I think however, that the criticism of such things it itself often rooted in being both human and sinful, and to put it bluntly, being butt-hurt over having one’s authority displaced. But that’s to be expected of any despot that gets put in his place.

    feminism is one such evil thought pattern that consistently rebels against any type of authority it encounters. In fact, perhaps it not necessarily a feature of “Western thought” but rather any individualistic versus collectivist/family oriented culture

    Perhaps, but it carries a bit of an authoritarian tone on it’s own, and it’s far bigger problem IMHO is not extending the same fairness to men that it demands of men and society in general.

    Furthermore, it’s possible to be family and “collectivist” oriented without there being a hierarchy per se. I think that’s the vision of the Church that Jesus gives us in the Gospel of John: What we bypassed in the garden and in the early days of the founding of the nation of Israel: The opportunity to deal with God & God alone. In the case of Adam & Eve, we get the 1st “Cop” ordained by heaven in the instance of an angel with a flaming sword. In the case of the children of Abraham, we got to follow the pillar of fire and smoke every day, and lost out when we decided a Golden Calf was a better deal. Then we were supposed to deal directly with God as our King and instead chose a king we could see and touch with our hands. Then we were offered the same opportunity through the ultimate arrangement: God in Jesus, the Christ. We eventually chose to let some guy named Constantine run away with the ball, and things have gone to hell in a handbasket ever since!

    How many more times does God need to make such an offer before we get it that this is the desire of his heart for his creation?

    That’s the ultimate collectivism as far as I’m concerned: Everyone beholding Yahweh alone, unfiltered by earthly gatekeepers. Make all the claims you want that such notions are “gnostic” in origin, it’s been spelled out to us many times throughout Holy Writ. It’s a point that has no need to apologize. “You’re disrespecting my authority!” is the cry of every butthurt king that God had to yank down off his throne to sit in the dirt.

    Based on how you’ve argued the points here it seems as if you have a more Calvinistic/Predestination type of view of authority

    That’s a really weird conclusion to come to. If I might repeat what I said in my 1st reply on your previous blog post:

    I don’t think Jesus intended a church to be governed by text or tradition, but ultimately be Spirit-led – with the caveat that the Bible and History can be good guides to help us understand what a people ruled 1st and foremost by Jesus himself will look like. I think it’s a matter of historical record that the church became more corrupt the more it evolved into being centralized and organized by human effort

    AFAIK, that’s more indicative of “Pneumatic” traditions such as Quakers and Pentecostals, than it is of Calvinism.

  9. @ kevinwaynesongwriter

    I’m not particularly convinced by any of the arguments you’ve put forth here. However, Robin’s comment actually led me to an argument that supports what you are saying.

    1. If God is good and
    2. God created authority then
    3. authority by nature is intrinsically good.
    4. If authority by nature is good, then it can only be used for good.
    5. That which is created by nature cannot be used against it’s nature: something that is intrinsically good cannot be used for evil.
    6. Therefore, all “legitimate” authority is limited in the context of good.

    As Robin pointed out the fact that God cannot order a Christian to sin is not a “limit” on his authority because it’s a by-nature issue not an issue of limitation. Thus, a limitation exists by nature rather than by a placement of limits. It is intrinsically created versus extrinsically managed which means God retains all authority. Philosophically speaking, God can’t create a round circle.

    Now, this naturally creates a problem because illegitimate authority exists in this world. However, this is the same as the problem of suffering. The fact that God allows illegitimate authority to exist does not mean He is not good or that authority is not good. It is instead due to the satan or humans choosing sin.

    After going through this argument I have the feeling that we were arguing two different points altogether. I was examining authority extrinsically and you were looking at it intrinsically.

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