THE IMPORTANCE OF AUTHORITY

    In our modern society, there is so much confusion about what is right and wrong that it is hard to distinguish truth. To add more perplexity, there are some who have proclaimed themselves as the authority of such matters. But who or what made them the highest court of discernment? What are their credentials for assuming such a position? When it comes to matters of faith, there is just as much controversy because there are so many different points of view. A lot of it stems from worldly influences. So, how do we know what is correct? Who gets to determine what is right and wrong? In fact, does there even exist a supreme authority over all spiritual things? If so, is it the church, a creed book, a chieftain, a central office, or a council of scholars? In other words, who makes the rules? And where should we go for answers? These are important questions when dealing with religion, because one’s soul is at stake!
    Sadly, many who go looking for answers, wind up submitting to a chieftain, that is, some man posing as a supreme ruler over religious affairs. Others will consult creed books, confessions of faith, or church disciplines for guidance. Still others submit to the decisions of councils, synods, or conventions for matters of faith. The trouble with all of these is that they are based on human reasoning and emotions. If we simply compare each of these systems of authority with the other, we can easily identify glaring disagreements, discrepancies, and hypocrisies! This is because human wisdom cannot provide any kind of appropriate agreement in religious discussions when multiple mindsets are involved. As is evidenced in our current religious environment, division and disunity prevails. Instead, there must be a singular authority that supersedes all else to which can appeal or consult. Such a foundational authority can be found in the Bible, the Word of God.
    Read 1 Thessalonians 2:13, then John 17:17 and Psalm 119:160. The Bible tells us religious authority originated with the Creator, God (2 Timothy 3:16,17). Scripture, should and must be the center of all decisions concerning matters of faith and religion. Understanding the importance of a central authority in all religious affairs is such a critical concept for every soul on earth to grasp! Knowing the true standard of authority will influence one’s eternal destination. This is illustrated in the warning Jesus gave to His followers, “Not everyone who says to Me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but he who does the will of My Father who is in heaven will enter,” (Matthew 7:21). Therefore, it is our responsibility to seek out and discern what the will of God is. Can His will be found among the decisions of a man, a group of men, or a creed book written by a man? I would think the answer should be obvious, “No! It cannot.” But apparently, as we have already illustrated, it is not that obvious for some.
    It saddens me to see how we so flippantly dismiss authority in our spiritual walk, but yet, we are capable of recognizing it in our secular lives. For example, when a police officer commands us to stop, we must do so; otherwise, we know we will suffer the consequences for our actions. The concept is not difficult to comprehend! Therefore, when it comes to religious issues, why doesn’t authority mean the same thing? The Bible tells us why. Perhaps, the apostle Paul explains it best in 2 Timothy 4:3. Certain people simply don’t want to adhere to an established, prescribed set of rules, no matter if it is of divine origin or not. They want what they want, period. But we should all contemplate the words of Jesus in Matthew 28:18. Jesus received His authority from the Supreme Authority. It is God who sets the rules and guidelines. We have no right or reason to change His commands.