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TomL
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PostSubject: Authoritarian Christianity   Wed Sep 17, 2014 7:06 am

AUTHORITARIAN CHRISTIANITY

In Matthew 28.18, it is written, "And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, all authority has been given to me in heaven and on earth."
In Ephesians 1.22 & 23, it is written, "And he put all things in subjection under his feet, and gave him to be head over all things to the church, which is his body, the fulness of him that fills all in all."

The word "authoritarian" scares people. It is usually connected to tyrants, brutal dictators, and despots. But, in this case, it is connected to Christ. Christ said himself, he has all authority in heaven and on earth. And, we also know that Jehovah God made Christ the authority in all things over the church. And Jesus is not a tyrant, or brutal dictator, or a despot.

Throughout the Old Testament, there are quite a few places where Jehovah God told his people to "keep my commandments." In John 14.15 Jesus said, "If you love me, you will keep my commandments." In other words, we are told to be obedient to the authority of Christ.

So often I hear that Christianity does not have a bunch of dos and don'ts. Oh, but it does. If Jesus says to do something, and we don't, it is sin. If Jesus said don't do something, and we do it, that is also sin.

It is well established that Christ has all authority, which means no one else has any authority. The problem, we nowhere have the direct words of Christ. What we have in the New Testament are the words of the New Testament writers. Sure, they quoted Christ, but that's what they are, quotes. So, what we have in the New Testament are the not the teachings of Christ, but the teachings of the apostles and their followers. For example, Mark, Luke and Jude were not apostles. And it is unknown who wrote Hebrews. Many believe it was Paul. Either way, the New Testament writings are the teachings of the apostles and their followers.

That being the case, since Christ had all authority, he must have authorized the apostles to teach. And, indeed he did. The word "apostle" is the transliteration of the Greek word, "APOSTOLOS" which means someone who is sent. Did Jesus send the apostles? He sure did.

Matthew 28.19 & 20 states, "Go therefore, and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit: teaching them to observe all things I commanded you: and behold, I am with you always, even until the end of the age." Here we have Jesus sending the 11 to teach. One of the original 12 was Judas Iscariot, who betrayed Christ, and later, out of remorse, hung himself. But, in Acts 1 the 11 chose Matthias to fill the vacancy left by Judas. So, one again there were 12.

What about the apostle Paul. There is a debate about whether or not he was an apostle. But, Scripture plainly states that he was. In Acts 9.15, Jesus is quoted saying to Ananias that Paul was a chosen vessel to bear the name of Christ to the Gentiles. So, yes, Paul was sent by Christ to preach Christ to the Gentiles. So, when Paul stated on several occasions that he was an apostle of Christ, he was not lying.

So, we have 13 men Christ chose, and sent into the world to preach Christ to the world. And those of the New Testament writers that were not apostles were in effect writing the apostle's teachings. And since the apostles were authorized to teach and to preach, even those of the writers that were not apostles are no less authoritative since they wrote what the apostles were under authority to teach and preach. However, it is important to understand that it was all under the authority of Christ.

So, Christianity is authoritarian in nature. Christ being the authority in heaven and on earth, and over all things to the church. And Christ is the sole authority. Christ gave no authority to a Pope. He gave no authority to the church at all. So, elders, deacons and other church leaders have no authority. They are but executors whose sole responsibility is to carry out the will and authority of Christ. It is not for them lord it over the church, but to care for the church as a shepherd cares for his flock. We see this in Acts 20.28.

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