Authority over Authorities

scrollMany people practice a deference to authority.  This in part is drilled into us by parents, then later by teachers.  It is the rare individual who openly questions “why?”  Most of us take certain points for granted because someone in authority “said so.”

Okay, at one level, when your maths teacher tells you 5 x 5 = 25, it is a fairly safe bet (at least in base 10), but what about historical “facts,” and theological truths?  Here we need to seek greater authorities.

I do find it funny at times when that one brave student queries an orthodoxy.  “But, how do we know? We weren’t there!”  Here evidence from contemporary writings and testimony from near history are useful.  Archaeology, in part comes to the aid of such explanations as well.  But, where might we find such authority?   It certainly isn’t from my own “absolute knowledge.”  The best I can do is make appeal for the authorities that educated me. Or is that the best?  What might be even better?

There are some instances where a source can be said to be ultimately trustworthy.  In Acts 17 we find that,  “10 As soon as it was night, the believers sent Paul and Silas away to Berea. On arriving there, they went to the Jewish synagogue. 11 Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true.”  The Bereans were not prepared to just take this itinerant rabbi’s word for things. They went to the source, to Tanakh to see if his words held up to scrutiny.  

I have in my life been under authority.  I followed orders as a matter of duty.  The military works that way.  But the authority was from a source, the regulations and traditions of the service.  The arbitrary commands of a superior were always in light of this greater authority.  

Scripture provides a similar bedrock of authority.  It is not the fleeting dictate of any rabbi, priest, or minister that makes a point “true,” but the Word of God itself.  I therefore challenge us today to seek Authority rather than the authorities for our answers.


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