Tuesday, April 08, 2008

Where Authority Resides

Okay, don't accuse me of saying that there is no authority in scripture until you've heard me out!

It's there. And it's God's authority.

But if you read your newspaper daily, and come across an account of a Supreme Court decision that will affect your life and the lives of all Americans - do you say that the authority for that ruling belonged to the newspaper?

Or that the newspaper was where you learned of it?

Was the purpose of the newspaper to create the ruling, or to make it known? Was it to enforce the new ruling, or to tell the story about how it came about?

Stay with me, here.

If the newspaper reported that the Supreme Court had declined to review a law in question, would you automatically assume that a new law was in place that struck down the old one; a new law which countermanded or significantly revised the old?

Or that the old ruling was judged to be constitutionally sound and clear, and still in effect?

Now extend the metaphor, just a little more.

If Congress repealed an amendment, would the entire Constitution be considered null and void? Or would the Constitution still have great value in defining our country's legal system?

Is the law, therefore, opposed to the promises of God? Absolutely not! For if a law had been given that could impart life, then righteousness would certainly have come by the law. But the Scripture declares that the whole world is a prisoner of sin, so that what was promised, being given through faith in Jesus Christ, might be given to those who believe. Before this faith came, we were held prisoners by the law, locked up until faith should be revealed. So the law was put in charge to lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith. Now that faith has come, we are no longer under the supervision of the law. ~ Galatians 3:21-25


Does the law of the Old Covenant still have great value in instructing us about God's will, even though many of its provisions have been fulfilled in Christ? Doesn't it tell us specifically how God feels, for instance, about bestiality or rape - defining what is generally called porneia (sexual impurity) but not spelled out specifically - in the New? Doesn't it still convey His will and authority about provisions not specifically changed? Does it not still "lead us to Christ that we might be justified by faith"?

Has God changed his mind about bestiality and rape simply because animal sacrifice is no longer in effect?

Has God changed his mind about loving Him with all our heart, soul, mind and strength or loving our neighbor as one's self even though we no longer worship at a tabernacle or temple, requiring priests from the tribe of Levi to intercede for us?

Is His will and authority consistent through both testaments regarding what is right and holy, or what is wrong and evil?

If He does not specifically rescind or revoke a means He commanded of expressing worship and service to Him, is it safe or wise or even logical to assume that He has changed His mind? That such a means has suddenly become evil and sinful?

Or does His silence give consent?

Or is it possible that silence expresses silence - nothing more; nothing less?

I have read an author say that what God commanded in the Old Testament and what is practiced in heaven are irrelevant to what the church must believe and obey and practice. Is it irrelevant? Or irrefutable?

Our attempt to give authority to scripture rather than to God is just a way of de-Personalizing it so that the heinousness of re-interpreting it to our own desire seems logically holy and just and righteous. By our interpretation of it, we seem to have a voice in determining it. Is that rational? Or rationalization?

If we must have a motto like "Where scripture speaks, we speak; where scripture is silent, we are silent" ... I'd be a whole lot more comfortable with one that says

"Let God speak and let us be silent. When God is silent, let us be in trembling, prostrate awe."

4 comments:

laymond said...

Final authority always resides with GOD.

And the supreem court thinks they are god they are not the trinity, they are the tri-trinity. :)

David U said...

I love this post!!! Many have gotten to the point where their doctrine drives how they understand scripture, instead of letting scripture drive how they understand their doctrine. I want my beliefs to be formed by God and scripture......instead of God being formed by my beliefs.

Or my preferences. Or my traditions.

Ahh.....another chapter from your much anticipated book! :)

DU

preacherman said...

A totally agree with David! :-)
Wonderful post and thoughts on this topic.
I also believe that authority resides in us.
God has put the law on our hearts. He has put is Holy Spirit in us. I believe we have authority through the Holy Spirit that dwells within us. I believe any Christian don't understand the power and authority that we have in us. I believe that that are many believers who limit the Holy Spirits power in their lives or think it is only the word of God. No. God has given us not of timidity but of Power. Preachers and Pastos preach with authority! As we minister to those who need freedom we have authority as we declair them free from sin, addiction, healing, forgiven, getting rid of the guilt that has burdened down their lives, in the Name of Jesus. I don't think we do that enough. Thinking we don't have authority.

I love what you have to say brother.
God bless and hope you have a wondderful day!
Kinney Mabry

mmlace said...

Excellent metaphor, Keith, you're so good at explaining things that way. And I think I like your motto a whole lot more!