The Truth... What is it?

God's Authority Structure

In about 1981, at a college class reunion, I learned from my freshman-year medical school roommate, Ed West, that Ed had been working on a paper describing God's ordered authority system for mankind. For reasons I didn't understand, I was highly intrigued. It would be over a decade later before I would be shown the REAL walk of the Jesus believer and become hungry for understanding. Then, I read the 1 April 2000 devotional in the In Touch monthly magazine by Rev. Charles Stanley of Atlanta, Georgia. Slightly modified, here is what Dr. Stanley notes:

God has a will for each human's life. If one desires God's best for his/her life, then we need to find out what that "God-will" is for our life...and "walk" in it. It is not only possible...but get out of God's will (our never get "in" it in the first place), however, and to go against His divine, supreme, and ordered authority. Check out Saul's straying in I Samuel 15:1-23.

God is the ultimate...the supremely highest...authority. "Rank" and "chain of command" (or chain of responsibility) flow down from Him. And if all humans became Jesus believers and were perfectly obedient and operated their lives in a perfect honoring of the authority system, there would be a nearly perfect world. Mankind being "fallen"...there is no way on earth that this will happen. But that shouldn't keep us from gaining insight into how it is meant to be and then doing the best we can to conform.

God being the ultimate authority, the entire universe is owned by Him and is under His authority system. He has delegated "all authority in heaven and on earth" to Jesus (Matthew 28:18...the words of Jesus, himself). Yet, the authority system being designated and in place, God allows corruption or malfeasance within the system because of His placement of "mankind" under the sentence of "free will" [free agency] after The Fall of Adam and Eve. Therefore, Jesus doesn't "whip" the system into correct operation. The operations manual...the system blueprint, the holy there for us to learn from; and Jesus lovingly beckons through its pages and through the "leading" actions of His Holy Spirit & His followers.

Authority has been delegated, under Jesus, into areas of society in order to bring order out of confusion and anarchy. For instance, He has established governmental authority and authority in the home, work-place, and church. The husband is the "head"...the designated authority of the family (Ephesians 5:23).

Within the organized church, following the example of Moses (I guess), the laying on of hands (Numbers 27:18-23 ordination ?) symbolizes the transference of authority. Some churches rebel at the ordination or leadership of women. Within the Lutheran Church, there is the doctrine of the Office of the Keys concerning the authority of The Church to assure its members (the Absolution) that their sins are forgiven: "Receive the Holy Spirit. If you forgive the sins of any, they are forgiven; if you retain the sins of any, they are retained."  "Truly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven." (John 20:23 & then Matthew 18:18...Jesus speaking to His disciples). Also, in the same manner that Old Testament Israelites circumcised to place a son into the ranks of God followers, the churches who baptize infants "set aside" their babies for Jesus (some extend that designation to believing that the sacrament actually brings the indwelling of the Holy Spirit into the baby).

There are a number of generally classifiable ways to rebel against authority:

  • pursue what God forbids or prohibits.
  • pursue what God allows, but in a manner forbidden by God
  • pursue what God allows, but in a time forbidden by God
  • refuse to do what God has commanded all believers to do
  • refuse to do what God has indicated/impressed YOU to do

We should always submit to God and the authorities He has placed over us. When we rebel, it is usually because of doubt, pride, or bitterness. But we should always remember that partial obedience is, in reality, disobedience. Disobedience is rebellion against God. And rebellion is resisting God's established order of authority.

Yet God never will wield His authority menacingly over us. He loves us unconditionally with a perfect love, which should be the believer's motivation to submit to God's perfectly ordered authority.

check out the Highest TRUTH

(posted: 1 April 2000; most recent addition 21 August 2006)