Friday, August 21, 2009

Authority (1)

To understand the Kingdom of God, we need to understand the meaning of authority. Authority is the power or ability to control another person and make them do things that they might not want to do. Various dictionaries specify the following meanings for the word authority.

the power to enforce laws, exact obedience and command.
the power to command and control others
a right to command or to act
the right to control, command, or determine.
the power or right to give commands, enforce obedience, take action, or make final decisions.
Authority is the right to decide, command, control and enforce obedience.

The New Testament centurion understood the nature of authority. He said to Jesus,
For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, 'Go,' and he goes; and that one, 'Come,' and he comes. I say to my servant, 'Do this,' and he does it (Luke 7:8).
He was a man under authority. That meant he could be sent anywhere that the Roman system decided he should go. He also had authority over the soldiers under his command. They had to do anything he commanded them to do. His authority gave him the right to enforce obedience. He could make his soldiers do things that they had not chosen to do. This is the nature of authority.

In modern democracies, the parliament or congress has the ability to pass laws that people under their jurisdiction must obey, even if they do not like them. Ministers and bureaucrats can issue regulations and citizens must comply with them, even if they will be disadvantaged.

Three other types of authority are important for understanding the Kingdom of God. These are:
  1. Delegated authority
  2. Restrained authority
  3. Busy authority
They will be explained further in the next few posts.

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