ABC Extra – Authority Issues

June 6, 2011 at 5:15 am 1 comment


In seminary, I had a friend who loved the sitcom “Malcolm in the Middle.”  He watched it religiously.  I myself was not so big a fan, but the theme song for the show, sung by They Might Be Giants, was catchy and still sticks in my mind.  Its chorus was clear and unambiguous:  “You’re not the boss of me now.  You’re not the boss of my now.  You’re not the boss of me now, and you’re not so big.”  What a message of fierce independence!  Apparently, They Might Be Giants had problems with authority.

Problems with authority, of course, are nothing new.  They are as old as the Garden of Eden when Adam and Eve first rebelled against the authority of God and ate from the tree of which God warned, “You must not eat” (cf. Genesis 2:17).  There is a seemingly innate tug on the human spirit to declare to God and everyone else, “You’re not the boss of me!”

Considering the difficulty so many of us have with authority, it comes as no surprise that many people try either to minimize or rationalize the Bible’s calls to submit to authority.  Yet, the call of Scripture remains clear.  The preacher of Hebrews declares, “Obey your leaders and submit to their authority. They keep watch over you as men who must give an account. Obey them so that their work will be a joy, not a burden, for that would be of no advantage to you” (Hebrews 13:17).  There are a couple of especially notable features of this verse.

First, it is important to note that those in authority over others are themselves under authority.  They “must give an account,” the preacher of Hebrews says, concerning how they exercised their authority.  Specifically, they must give an account to the Lord.  As I mentioned in ABC, all human authority is derived authority.  That is, all human authority is given by God to certain individuals who are called to steward that authority faithfully and well.  No human being has a carte blanche authority which is unaccountable to God.

Second, it is important to note that when those under authority willingly and joyfully submit to the authority of others, things tend to go better – both for those in authority and for those under authority!  The preacher of Hebrews says that when people under authority submit to authority, the job of those in authority becomes “a joy, not a burden.”  Likewise, to those under authority, the preacher of Hebrews says that rebellion is “of no advantage to you.”  Submitting to authority makes things go well – for everyone!

Rebellion against authority often appears tantalizing.  After all, it promises the alluring prospect of autonomy.  But such autonomy is illusive and, finally, non-existent.  For at the same time we seek to rebel out from under the authority of others, we end up rebelling into the authority of sin.  And the authority sin wields is tragic and terrorizing.  Paul calls the authority of sinfulness “weak and miserable.”  He then goes on to ask, “Do you wish to be enslaved by it all over again” (Galatians 4:9)?  The authority of sin leads to slavery.  The authority of Christ, conversely, leads to freedom – not freedom from all constraints, but freedom for a joyful and righteous life.  This is why Paul continues:  “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery” (Galatians 5:1).

Though it is true that some authority is depraved and despotic and ought to be resisted, in general, we are called to submit to those in authority.  For we need authority.  We need authority to provide guidance, protection, and a safeguard against wickedness.  Blessedly, God’s authority provides all of these things perfectly and fully.  Submit to His authority.  And submit to those He has put in authority over you.

Want to learn more on this passage? Go to
www.ConcordiaLutheranChurch.com
and check out audio and video from Pastor Tucker’s
message or Pastor Zach’s ABC!

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Entry filed under: ABC Extra. Tags: , , , .

ABC Extra – Question Everything, Just Question It Correctly A Pastoral Statement on Israel

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Donna Markey  |  June 6, 2011 at 7:55 am

    Pastor McIntosh gave an outstanding class!
    He utilized multiple scriptures (with Greek definitions), with very aplicable to life issues.

    He discussed honor to your employee or worker
    Honor to your spouse
    Honor to parents

    Well worth The a

    Reply

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