IS AUTHORITY IMPORTANT? by Dave Brown
[In other articles within this topic we demonstrated New Testament
authority for the various acts of worship and work of the church.
This article reviews the necessity for establishing such authority.]
Our society is organized by a large number of institutions:
governments, businesses (production and service), labor and political
organizations, schools, charitable institutions, social organizations,
religious organizations and families. The proper function and
interaction of these institutions produces the order within our
society that enables us to enjoy the highest standard of living
of any people who have ever lived.
We have a large variety of alternative social structures
to study, both now and historically. Germany of the 1930-40's
showed us the result of a government which attempted to take over
the role of the family. Contemporary Russia gives us an example
of the result of a government which attempted to take over the
role of business. The tragedy of the dark ages demonstrates the
debacle of governments getting into the business of religion (and
Innumerable examples could be given. All of this serves
to illustrate that God has authorized institutions to establish
order: governments (Rom. 13), businesses relationships (Col. 3:22-4:1),
and the family (Eph. 5:21-6:4). But all of this is merely to
provide a stable environment for Christians to serve God facilitated
by the only institution which He chartered to support this
work: the church (Mt. 16:18, 28:18-20, Eph. 3:10,21, Col.
1:17-18, 1 Tim. 3:14).
It should be reasonable that when the church engages in
activities for which it has not been authorized it dilutes and
ultimately destroys its effectiveness, making it counterproductive
to the mission for which it was instituted (Mt. 16:18). For this
reason, a large number of admonitions have been given to limit
its activities to what God authorized (ex.: 1 Cor. 6:4, 14:37,
2 Jn. 9, 1 Thes. 5:21, Col. 3:21).
When the church gets preoccupied with the world and fails
to do what it has been authorized to do we see the deterioration
of the family, disregard for law, and all of the ills that we
are experiencing in our society today. More tragically, we see
countless souls being deceived into activities which have no value
in the salvation of the soul (Col. 2:20-23).
It is time for each of us to resolve to get back to God's
word so that we can know, and do, those things which are