|Authority||Writen by Lyle Lange|
Authority is an important topic in religion because so much of what we are bombarded with concerning religion comes from those who use authority claims to bolster their arguments. If we are to place any teaching at the same level as that of God, we must be sure that teaching is by the authority of God. All authority comes from either God, Satan or man.
To truly understand the authority someone has we must also understand how authority is transfered. I have found three ways that authority is transfered.
With these three types of transfer of authority there also comes three ways to prove the validity of the transfered authority. For the Verbal type, anyone could ask the one dispensing the authority to find out if the authority is real. A great example of this in the bible is when Elijah was having a duel with preists of a false God. He built his alter with stones and had water poured over it. God answered any questions of authority the priests may have had by sending a streaming bolt of fire to consume the alter to flat earth.
For the Broadcast type anyone who may be affected by the authority should have already been told by the broadcast. It is the original authority giver's responsibility to tell those who would be affected by the authority in this case. If you were not told, you are either not to be affected by the new authority or the authorty transfer may be of type one or three.
For the Written type proof comes down to the writen document. The validity of the new found authority is the same as the validity of the document. In other words if the document is a forgery then the one claiming authority is a fraud. Biblists at least aggree that the bible (at least in its original form) is completly valid and comes from God. That said we still have to properly discern what is in the bible. Just because a command is given doesn't mean it applies to you and I. For every transfer of authority there is an obvious statement of to whom the authority is transfered. If we constantly assume any transfer of authority mentioned in the bible we like applies to us, then we steal from God what is God's alone, the right disseminate righteous authority.
So how can we use this knowledge? If someone says that God told them something, apply type one transfer of authority rules. Simply ask God out loud if this is indeed the case. God can and does hear every word you say, and God is not mute that He can not speak. You can expect silence, meaning there is no transfer of authority. Likewise if someone says that their 'leader' has given rules for 'true' religious practice, understand that the source of the authority is not God. The only authority we experience in the hands of man originates from man - unless clear proof can be provided. Satan has power as well - but few in religious circles invoke that power (at least openly). By understanding that who we listen to is God and God alone we will be able to prevent alot of deception from other people who "appear religious". Remember, "A sheep knows its shepherd's voice."