Paul's Passing Thoughts

The Problem with Authority

Posted in Uncategorized by Paul M. Dohse Sr. on January 18, 2016

hitler1I was reminded just yesterday why believers must begin taking a much closer look at the subject of authority. A client of mine complained that her adolescent’s social services counselor actually suggested that her son should sue her! This immediately brought back to mind something Susan, my wife, had shared with me concerning outside counseling that one of her sons had received prior to our marriage that was also divisive.

Authority is bad for the family unit. A major theme of TANC Ministries of late has been the love versus authority issue. If you give the subject serious thought, it would almost seem like authority is a necessary evil. Remember, the undisputed greatest nation in history, America, was founded on less governmental authority in exchange for individual liberty. It was founded on the idea of self-governance. Until America, freedom of the individual was greatly feared and thought to be a sure catalyst of chaos that would bring an end to human existence.

But authority divides, and can only bring about conformity and nothing else. The apostle Paul said it best:

1 Timothy 1:5 – The aim of our charge is love that issues from a pure heart and a good conscience and a sincere faith. 6 Certain persons, by swerving from these, have wandered away into vain discussion, 7 desiring to be teachers of the law, without understanding either what they are saying or the things about which they make confident assertions. 8 Now we know that the law is good, if one uses it lawfully, 9 understanding this, that the law is not laid down for the just but for the lawless and disobedient, for the ungodly and sinners, for the unholy and profane, for those who strike their fathers and mothers, for murderers, 10 the sexually immoral, men who practice homosexuality, enslavers, liars, perjurers, and whatever else is contrary to sound doctrine…

The law is used lawfully when it is used for love. Love fulfills the whole law (Rom 13:10, Gal 5:14, Jms 2:8, Matt 22:40). The law asks, “Did you sin today?” Lawfulness asks, “Did you love today?” Authority asks, “Did you do what I told you to do?” Love asks, “What do you need today?” One seeks to outdo each other in meeting needs and honoring one another (Rom 12:10 ESV), the other seeks to outdo each other with control. I have been around long enough in pastor clicks to know that the pastors who are respected most “run a tight ship.” The famous Jack Hyles, the “best preacher since the apostle Paul,” once displayed his pastoral savvy by ordering a deacon to stand up and sit down upon his command of which said deacon obeyed on cue. Parishioners sought Hyles’ permission to go on vacation and buy new cars.

The scope of authority and its true usefulness in this age is extremely narrow. Governments are God’s ministers only when they fulfill His purposes of rewarding good and punishing evil. But Romans 13:1-10 reveals something astounding: we owe the government payment for such services before God, but we only owe each other love. Government is an institution—God’s people are a body. We give money according to the needs of others, not an authoritative religious establishment.

However, the main concern of this post is how outside authority divides families and marriages, especially religious authority. In general, when there is strife and division, authority is always lingering in the shadows someplace. And most troubling is the assertion that “If everyone would just obey the Holy See there would be perfect unity.” But herein is the glaring problem: God will judge individuals—NOT institutions. Even in this present age, how many have been hanged on the gallows of justice for following the orders of those in authority? During WWII, an adolescent could totally circumvent their parents’ authority by joining the Hitler Youth movement. The authority of parents over their children was completely usurped by the state.

Likewise, due to the New Calvinist movement unmasking the true orthodoxy of the Protestant Reformation, the present-day institutional church openly claims authority over the family unit and labels husbands as sub-elders over their families. Wives who don’t buy in are stripped of their salvation by the completely bogus concept of “church discipline.” Whenever I challenge someone to find “church discipline” in the Bible, they always cite verses that invoke… “Ok, so, where is church discipline in this passage?” Take Matthew 18 for example: where is church discipline in that passage? And for that matter, where are the elders? Most absurdly assert that “tell it to the church” refers to the elders. But in regard to the way “church discipline” functions, it’s always the elders informing (telling) the congregation. So, in order to make Matthew 18 about church discipline, the church is the elders, but when it comes to applying the concept, the elders tell the church. Sigh.

And unfortunately, many husbands are all too eager to buy into the sub-elder concept. As long as they agree with the church’s orthodoxy, the wife either obeys or supposedly loses her salvation. And many of these men have the gall to object to wife spanking that is more prevalent in the institutional church than we would like to admit, but pray tell; what is the logical conclusion of all of this nonsense? Wife spanking or not is merely the difference between authority pizza toppings, plain cheese or supreme.

And it also cuts both ways. Wives who want to get rid of their husbands for whatever reason only need to become Reformation queens. Once they establish themselves as a present-day Joan of Arc, the church would not dare deprive them of having a Reformed Kool-Aid drinking husband. Hence, church sanctioned divorce is presently an epidemic.

Once one is tuned into the authority issue, the senses are flooded with data in the milieu of our culture. After hearing what the client shared with me yesterday, I came home and was channel surfing while eating dinner. A documentary about “conscience” on the EWTN channel (Catholic) caught my attention. It went something like this:

So, there are some things wrong by their very nature…So conscience, since it is a judgment of reason, and not the voice of God, can err…To avoid error, conscience must follow the teachings of the Church. Vatican II did not change this. In Constitution on Divine Revelation #10: “The task of authoritatively interpreting the word of God, whether written or handed on [Scripture or Tradition] has been entrusted exclusively to the living Magisterium of the Church, whose authority is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.

But again, we stand before Christ individually. I have actually heard people say that they will not stand in the judgment before God, but Christ will stand in for them if they obey the church who represents Him. So, “This is my Son…hear ye Him” is now “Hear the church.” This seems like a really bad idea to me, and obviously results in a plethora of interpretations accordingly. Even if everyone obeys an authority, there will be disagreements among the authorities.

We call that “war.”


2 Responses

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  1. Susan said, on March 18, 2017 at 11:52 AM

    “The law is used lawfully when it is used for love. Love fulfills the whole law (Rom 13:10, Gal 5:14, Jms 2:8, Matt 22:40). The law asks, “Did you sin today?” Lawfulness asks, “Did you love today?” Authority asks, “Did you do what I told you to do?” Love asks, “What do you need today?” One seeks to outdo each other in meeting needs and honoring one another (Rom 12:10 ESV), the other seeks to outdo each other with control.”

    Yes, a thousand times, yes.


    • Paul M. Dohse Sr. said, on March 18, 2017 at 2:13 PM

      Biblically profound words properly fitted. You get it.


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