I've been thinking about the word authority a lot. One of our core beliefs as a church has to do with the authority of Scripture—the understanding that the Bible is authoritative in the life of a Christian. And I've been thinking about how we really think about and respond to the idea of God's Word as an authority. Just think about the word in light of the definition I shared a moment ago: "The power or right to direct the actions or thoughts of others". Do we honestly view the Scripture this way? Sure, we know it's God's Word, and we believe that it's inspired and that it's true and that it has power. But do we truly view it as an authority?? Do we see the Bible as something that should direct our thoughts and actions...that in fact it has the right to direct our thoughts and actions? Do we respond to it that way--as an authority? Or might it be said of some of us that we "have issues with authority"? While the concept of the authority of Scripture is a key component of our doctrine and a fact that we readily agree with, in actual practice many of us really don't treat it as an authority at all! We may run across a passage that demands our obedience, but we pretend we didn't hear it or we argue with it or we just plain cross our arms, dig in our heels, and refuse to obey. A lot of us (myself included!) have been guilty at one time or another of being problem Christians...we have issues with authority.
Scripture claims its own authority. Priests and prophets made that case. Jesus attested to its authority, as did the apostles He placed in positions of authority. But it's not enough to say or even to believe that the Bible is authoritative. As followers of Jesus, we must view Scripture as an authority, and be willing to obey it accordingly. Sometimes we simply need to adjust our attitudes to be more obedient; to really understand that the Word of God has the right to direct our actions and even our thoughts! How about you personally? Upon evaluation of your life as a Christian, would the notation "Has issues with authority" be found?
- Pastor Paul