Pastor’s Viewpoints, “Authority”

(The constant need to remember the importance of authority)
Lou Tiscione, Pastor, Weatherford Presbyterian Church (PCA)
More than a year ago, I wrote an article about the Rule of Law. At that time I was reflecting on the actions of some members of past administrations. More recently I authored another article on the Rule of Law as I thought about current unrest and rioting. Repetition is helpful in keeping our minds focused on an issue. The issue before us is the assault on not only our society but also on the Church by Marxist philosophies redressed as new movements.

God has established Civil Government for the good and welfare of all people, Romans 13:1. The one who resists the governing authority resists God. Christians are to obey the Governing Authorities with one exception. When government commands us to do what is contrary to God’s word, we must obey God rather than man, Acts 5:29. Notice the word “command.” For example, if our government was to require women to have an abortion, Christians are to obey God rather than man and uphold the sanctity of human life. Yet, we must understand that in so doing we will bear the wrath of the authority imposing such an evil command. Christians are to be willing to stand for the truth and bear the consequences of doing so.

Our understanding of authority is at the root of submitting to the Rule of Law. Our ultimate submission is to the One who has ultimate authority, our Sovereign Lord, Matthew 28:18.

I Thank God that so far we live in a nation that does not coerce us to obey evil laws! Pray for those in other parts of the world where liberty and freedom are suppressed. Christians in those nations pay the price for living in Christ. Often, they pay with their lives! As we pray for them, pray also that we would have the courage to stand against such evil abuses in lawful ways that are at our disposal. I pray to God that we all would have the courage to speak the truth against the evils of current Marxist movements dressed in the clothing of equal rights or social justice.

We see an ever-increasing disregard for the Rule of Law which is rooted in the rejection of authority. If this continues we will find ourselves living in a lawless society. No one will be safe.

We all have the natural desire to be our own authority rather than to submit to any authority. Those who refuse to submit to authority shock me and I’m sure you are shocked as well. Yet their behavior proceeds out of their unregenerate hearts which are dead in sin.

Social philosophers tell us that men are not individually responsible for their actions. The evils of Western Culture has oppressed certain groups and is the cause of evil behavior. They tell us of systemic, that is inherent racism that is part of being a member of a certain ethnicity.

There are even some in the Church that have accepted this social theory. But the Bible is clear. Individuals are responsible for their actions. All men are born dead in sin. Every “intention of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” Genesis 6:5

Man’s desire for autonomy unraveled ancient cultures as it is crushing ours. It is rooted in the Fall. Since the fall of Adam, all men have sought to throw off the shackles of any authority, supremely God’s. Yet, men soon learned that authority and law was necessary to live in safety. One of the earliest secular law codes upon which a society was built was the Code of Hammurabi named for its author who lived between 1728 and 1686 B.C. Hammurabi’s law code was built upon other more ancient law codes. It formed the foundation of Ancient Babylonian civilization which ended with Hammurabi’s death when factions developed each establishing their own authority and rejecting previously established law.

Within the Covenant of Grace, God gave the Law through Moses. The second part of the Ten Commandments is called the moral law. God gave His means by which men are to relate to one another. It continues as the basis of an ordered society.

May we all stand against the chaos of lawlessness. May we have the courage to do what is right, which is what God requires, both in the Church and society. By God’s grace may He give His people the courage to not only speak the truth but live it.