Sir John Dalberg-Acton once said:
“Power tends to corrupt and absolute power
No where is this truism more prevalent than in the world of Christendom. Even in our fellowship there are those who continuously wave the banner of “authority” before church members and demand that “underlings” give their total commitment to their understanding of the Scriptures.
The idea of one Christian having “authority”
over another is not a new concept – even though un-Biblical.. Surely we can find those in the New Testament who even challenged Paul’s understanding of spiritual matters. The problem has continued through the centuries and even now there are those who demand total submission to some so-called “authoratative position” they hold in some sort of pseudo-church heirarchy; or even, perhaps, their ego-driven understanding of “doctrine.”
Those leaders of our restoration heritage brought a lot of baggage with them when they determine to “speak where the Bible speaks … etc.” However, their cry for unity became overshadowed by
self-admiration and swallowed up by the montrous hydra of authority.
The early disciple continuously had a problem with
being first and most important in the kingdom of God. On one occasion, Jesus used just four words to destroy the concept of one disciple dominating another in any manner: “Not so with you.”
Perhaps it would be wise to go back to the basics
and read Matthew 20:25-28:
“25 Jesus called them together and said, “You
know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their high officials exercise authority over them. 26 Not so with you. Instead, whoever
wants to become great among you must be your servant, 27 and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many.”
The neglect of (and out-right disobedience to) the
Lord’s directive has been the root of all the ills in the church today. If one does not like another’s interpretation of scripture he climbs upon his chair of jurisdiction and proclaims those he looks down upon to be either liberal or conservative – traditional or progressive.
He castigates, scolds, and reprimands with all the
“Holy verbiage” he can muster, for the sake of winning disciple to his position. “Love” is thrown out and “power” dominates his ego – he must be first. Oh, yes, he will lay claim to the cliché, “We
must stand for the truth.” If the truth be know, the reality is that he cannot handle the truth. For truth, strips him of his power and he becomes naked and alone – standing in violation of the Lord’s command to all his disciples, “Not so with you.”