Authority

  Tim Keller: Many years ago as a young Christian my attention was arrested by an article on ‘Authority’ by John Stott. Stott asked, “Why should people believe that the Bible is God’s Word written, inspired by his Spirit and authoritative over their lives?” (The Authority of the Bible, IVP, 1974,p.6) This was a big question for me. I had decided that I believed in Jesus Christ, but I struggled with the idea that I had to believe everything in the Bible.  Stott answered that we do not believe it simply because we want to be dogmatic and certain about our own beliefs, nor because the church has consistently taught this (though it has), nor because we just ‘feel’ the Bible is true as we read it. “No. The overriding reason for accepting the divine inspiration and authority of Scripture is plain loyalty to Jesus…Our understanding of everything is conditioned by what Jesus taught. And that includes his teaching about

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Preaching with Authority: Three Characteristics of Expository Preaching

Al Mohler: Authentic expository preaching is marked by three distinct characteristics: authority, reverence, and centrality. Expository preaching is authoritative because it stands upon the very authority of the Bible as the word of God. Such preaching requires and reinforces a sense of reverent expectation on the part of God’s people. Finally, expository preaching demands the central place in Christian worship and is respected as the event through which the living God speaks to his people. A keen analysis of our contemporary age comes from sociologist Richard Sennett of New York University. Sennett notes that in times past a major anxiety of most persons was loss of governing authority. Now, the tables have been turned, and modern persons are anxious about any authority over them: “We have come to fear the influence of authority as a threat to our liberties, in the family and in society at large.” If previous generations feared the absence of authority, today we see “a fear

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The Twin Temptations of Pragmatism and Authoritarianism

Jonathan Leeman: It is easy for church leaders to look only to their left or only to their right in seeking to avoid the errors of others. Something I have learned from watching Tim Keller is the importance of looking in both directions. Hence, the man always seems to have a “third way” on offer. When the topic turns to philosophy of ministry or church practice, it has been the tendency of 9Marks writers like myself to look leftward toward the squishy tendencies of mainstream evangelicalism. This is a response to the evangelicalism of my youth that was constantly anxious to avoid slipping too far rightward toward some type of authoritarian fundamentalism. Many things in life are binary, and there is no third way. But I do believe there are errors both to the right and to the left of a biblical philosophy of ministry. On the left are the errors of pragmatism, and on the right are the errors of authoritarianism. What’s most

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Biblical Interpretation and Authority

From an article by J.I. Packer: 1. The inspiration of the Bible is an activity of God, who providentially rules over the utterances of men and is binding upon us. 2. There is a subjectively recognized and objectively inspired canon. In other words, not all inspired words are canonical, but all canonical words are inspired, and God causes his people to recognize them as such. 3. The Scriptures authenticate themselves to Christian believers through the convincing work of the Holy Spirit. 4. The Scriptures are sufficient for the Christian and the church in the realm of belief and behavior. 5. The Scriptures are clear and interpret themselves from within, standing above both the church and the Christian in corrective judgment and health-giving instruction. 6. The nature of Scripture is a mystery—that is, there is a human and divine involvement, where a particular book or letter is written by Paul, John, or Isaiah, yet all of Scripture are God’s words. 7. Finally,

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What is Spiritual Authority?

Dane Ortlund, guest blogging for Justin Taylor:  JI Packer: Spiritual authority is hard to pin down in words, but we recognize it when we meet it. It is a product compounded of conscientious faithfulness to the Bible; vivid perception of God’s reality and greatness; inflexible desire to honor and please him; deep self-searching and radical self-denial; adoring intimacy with Christ; generous compassion manward; and forthright simplicity, God-taught and God-wrought, adult in knowingness while childlike in its directness. The man of God has authority as he bows to divine authority, and the pattern of God’s power in him is the baptismal pattern of being supernaturally raised from under burdens that feel like death. –J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life (Crossway, 2010; repr.), 77 “Exhort and rebuke with all authority.” –Titus 2:15

Moses – a model for pastoral authority?

Jeramie Rinne on “The Moses Model” of Pastoral Authority: I call it the “Moses Model.” It’s a view of church governance that grants complete authority to a church’s pastor. A Christian brother explained it to me this way: “The pastor is supposed to be like Moses. He goes into the tent to hear from God. He then comes out and proclaims what God told him. The elders say ‘Amen’ and the people follow.” Though they might not appeal to Moses directly, many pastors follow a similar model of pastoral authority. They sometimes point out the efficiencies of the pastor as singular, decision-making executive, or the horror stories of churches where radical congregationalism and a rebellious spirit against any leadership has produced numerous divisions and years of unfruitfulness. Despite such pragmatic considerations and tragic anecdotes, the Moses model faces several major biblical obstacles. Most glaringly, the New Testament (NT) simply does not portray Moses and his relationship to Israel as the paradigm for pastors

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Packer on Spiritual Authority

Spiritual authority is hard to pin down in words, but we recognize it when we meet it. It is a product compounded of conscientious faithfulness to the Bible; vivid perception of God’s reality and greatness; inflexible desire to honour and please him; deep self-searching and radical self-denial; adoring intimacy with Christ; generous compassion manward; and forthright simplicity, God-taught and God-wrought, adult in its knowing-ness while child-like in its directness. The man of God has authority as he bows to divine authority. –J. I. Packer, A Quest for Godliness: The Puritan Vision of the Christian Life(Crossway 2010), 77 (HT: Dane Ortlund)

Mark Driscoll in conversation with Wayne Grudem

From the Resurgence blog: As one of the most important theologians of our day, Dr. Wayne Grudem has impacted me tremendously since my conversion to Christianity at the age of nineteen. I believe the first book of his I read was Recovering Biblical Manhood and Womanhood. Today, I own every book he has published that I am aware of. His Systematic Theology is in my opinion the finest on the market and the standard for Mars Hill Church and many of the churches we are affiliated with in the Acts 29 Network. Over a year ago while in Raleigh, N. C., I met Dr. Grudem’s son Elliot and was encouraged at the loving and respectful way he spoke of his father. Sometimes a man is great in print or on the stage, but far less impressive the closer you get to him in the everyday affairs of life. But the way Elliot spoke of his dad was incredibly reassuring and

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