x401........Authority By Implication

"And he said unto them, The kings of the Gentiles exercise lordship over them; and they that exercise authority upon them are called benefactors. But ye shall not be so: but he that is greatest among you, let him be as the younger; and he that is chief, as he that doth serve. For whether is greater, he that sitteth at meat, or he that serveth? is not he that sitteth at meat? but I am among you as he that serveth. Ye are they which have continued with me in my temptations. And I appoint unto you a kingdom, as my Father hath appointed unto me;"
(Luke 22:25-29, KJV).

When we read these verses--as well as the similar verse which are in the books of Matthew (20: 25-29) and Mark (10:42-45), we see a definitive doctrine being taught by Jesus. He clearly states that there are 2 kinds of kingdoms--2 ways of operating government. He clearly states that it is incorrect to operate "amongst yourselves" with authority one over another. Leadership within the church is meant to be service to others--not rulership with authority over others.

Yet it is commonly taught within many churches that it is correct to "submit to authority" to operate the church with one person--or with the leaders "exercising authority" over the rest. This is commonly taught--and whether we realize it or not, much of our functional church tradition is a demonstration of this wrong principle. Yet the only way to teach this idea is by implication from the Bible. That is to say that it must be implied from the actions of people in the Bible that they either failed or succeeded because they were operating "under the authority" of another person.

When we study the word authority (exhousia--meaning to rule with the power to command) in the Bible, we find clearly that it is specifically commanded and demonstrated by Jesus--quite simply put, the authority or power of God is meant to be used to command the devil--to destroy the works of the devil and sin in the earth. Christians (all Christians!) have been given the authority in Jesus' name, to teach the Gospel, heal the sick, cast out the devil. Jesus clearly gave this authority to His followers--but His words in Luke 22, Matthew 20 and Mark 10 are clear and specific commands of where NOT to use our Godl-given authority. Specifically, NOT ONE OVER ANOTHER!

Yet if you hang around most churches, at some point or another, the leadership will teach on authority, and make the implication that the Bible says that we have to operate the church by having leaders who exercise authority over the rest of the people. But when we look at all of these teachings, they are always by implication and not by direct doctrine (if it were by direct doctrine then it would contradict the words of Jesus---the Bible is perfectly consistent in this area--as it is in every area--it is the perfect word of God!)

Here is what I mean when I talk about an incorrect "implication". Let me give you a "no-brainer" example. When we read in the old testament about king David--we can see that he was highly favored by God--that he was anointed to be king of Israel--that he was incredibly obedient to God and won many victories--God wrote many blessed psalms thorough him. David was certainly in many many instances, a great example for us to follow and learn from. We could read of many of the things that David did and use them as our example for following after the Lord. However, when we read the story of David we also see that he committed adultery--(and in fact murder) at one point in his life. Now, no one would ever take that instance out of context, and say--"Look, David commited adultery, so it must be okay for us to do the same"--Of course, no one does this---right? Why? because we all know that God has stated a clear doctrine--a law--that says "thou shalt not commit adultery". Adultery is wrong--no matter who does it. In this case, David is an example for us of what not to do. You see, in the Bible we have law and doctrine--and we also have the examples and experiences of people--and of course we know that "all have sinned and fallen short of God's glory" --we know that the actions of all people are sinful--even including king David. So, we all understand that when we use the example of people in the Bible, we must see whether they are lining up with the established laws and doctrines of the Bible--this is the only way we know what is right and wrong.

Now with regard to Luke 22: 25-26---since this is such a very little taught doctrine which Jesus spoke, we can be easily lead into being convinced by implication that authority one over another is correct within the church. I don't know about you but I believe that every word and action of Jesus was perfect--He was not a "person" in the Bible--He was God--became a perfect man--living out a sinless life--bringing in the New Covenant with His blood offering on the cross--to save the world--to forgive the world--and to live out the perfect example and teach us how to live our lives--most especially for us who are His followers. I am sure there are very few Christians who would disagree with this statement--but it is amazing how we ignore the words of Jesus in the matter of authority.

I have heard many teachings that try to imply that we must have authority over one another--that we must "come under the authority" of the pastor--or the leaders of the church. It impossible to find this idea directly in the Bible (look up the words "power" and "authority"--see for yourself)--therefore it is always taught by implication--by the experience of people in the Bible.

For example, one teaching I have heard said is that --"the Roman centurion who met Jesus and asked his servant to be healed---this man said that he was someone who was under authority and therefore he could command his soldiers and they had to obey him". The implication being that this story in the Bible is teaching us that we must "come under the authority" of the church leadership" One major problem with this implication--it is a Roman centurion who is speaking. He is describing (and very accurately describing) the Roman governmental system--the system of hierarchy of command and one person set in authority over anothers' commands. Isn't this the exact system that Jesus says NOT to use "amongst ourselves"? Isn't this centurion functioning in the "kingdom of the Gentiles"--just as Jesus describes it? What the faithful centurion is realizing is that Jesus has authority from the Father to command sickness to leave. This is the correct authority in the kingdom of God--all of us receiving direct authority from God--not using it in a hierarchal system one over another--not to function under man's authority but to function under God's direct authority--to serve others and thus serve God--to minister.

Another example I have heard used is the story of the 7 sons of Sciva in the book of Acts. Their story is that they were casting out devils using the name of Jesus--but one devil came out of someone and attacked them saying "Jesus I know and Paul I know but who are you?Ó".. The implication made here is that these men were not "doing ministry" under proper authority. They were not submitted to a pastor (or church leadership) and therefore the devil could attack them. The implication is that this story is in the Bible to give us an example of what would happen to us if we do not "come under the proper authority" within the church. Major problem with this implication--the 7 sons of Sciva were not Christians--they were "itinerant Jewish exorcisists". they were Jews--they did not belong to the New covenant Christian church a t all--and they were in fact what we would call "psychics"--they were traveling about trying to make money by casting out devils from people. They found that the name of Jesus worked effectively to do this. The devil could harm them--simply because they were not Christians--they were not under the blood covenant found in Jesus--they were Jews--and in fact Jews operating for their own selfish desires. In a sense they were not under the proper authority--they were not under God's will and authority--which is the place the we all need to be--they were doing a ministry for their own selfish needs--- for money. So again we see that this example is purely implication--and is definetly not related to proper Christian operation!

Another thing we ought to be careful of is judging who the devil attacks--I believe the devil attacks all of us at times--the Bible tells us we will be persecuted if we are Christians-----so even Christians can be attacked by the devil--we cannot judge another Christian if we see them attacked by the devil--he could be attacking them because they are doing a good thing for God!

There are other supposed examples of people "coming under proper authority" from the Bible--many for the old testament. WE need to be especially careful of these implications--since Israel operates from a different covenenant than Christians do. One thing is certain from the example of Israel--they had definite problems with leadership--God had to keep changing their leadership system because it constantly was corrupted--from Levites to judges to kings--the leadership within Israel should never be our definitive example of how to operate amongst ourselves!

Jesus' example ought to be the high calling we all strive toward.