Wednesday, May 28, 2014
From Whence Authority?
It’s no wonder, therefore, that people were amazed by the teaching of Jesus. He spoke plainly of the approaching reign of God, calling people to turn their lives around in response to this good news (for example, Mark 1:15). Jesus taught, not in the mode of the rabbis of his day, but in the dynamic, confident voice of the prophets. Yet he did not preface his instruction with “Thus saith the Lord.” Rather, Jesus spoke with the Lord’s own authority.I've heard a lot of preachers rely on their own authority when they preach and most of the time, I tune them out when they do. I bet you do too. Anytime anyone starts claiming "A word from the Lord" or otherwise speak on God's behalf without some citation of authority, m skepticism meter goes bonkers. One must ask how Jesus got away with this?
To pull this off, there must be something in the life of the speaker that makes the authority apparent. Miracles can do that, but they are so easy to fake that one must be cautious with that as well. And in the modern age, the line between miracle and science can be quite hard to discern.
I know what attracts me - character rooted in humility. Not merely virtue, but deep character, and again rooted in humility. Such a person will rely on their authority to be apparent - they will not have to tell you about it and they will be hesitant to admit to it when it you ask them about it.
And we cannot know such character outside of relationship. I do not think it can be communicated on a TV screen at first viewing or on a visit to a church for the fist time. It requires intimate knowledge of the individual.
What would a church built on establishing authority based on relationship look like? Not sure, but very different than it looks now.
authority character relationship