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A Question of Authority

April 16, 2013

It seems that most people nowadays don’t believe in authorities; they prefer to create their own belief system.  Discussions about faith include phrases like “I prefer to believe”, “As I see it”, “I can’t accept” – all indications of the fact that people don’t accept doctrine on authority. Which of course isn’t a bad thing in itself – the holocaust happened largely because a lot of people didn’t question what they were told, and critical thinking is crucially important in life.

But we still have to take a lot of things “in faith”: I’ve never been to New York, but assume that it exists; I take vitamin tablets assuming that they don’t contain poison; when I travel by air, I trust that the pilots have gone through the proper training…

So why is it that when it comes to spiritual matters, people assume they can just pick and mix what they prefer, with no regard for the only authority on the matter: God himself?

Is it because they believe there is no absolute truth about God? That is a serious mistake: any statement about spiritual realities is either true or false, just the same as any statement about New York. The difference is of course that getting your facts wrong about God can have much more dire consequences than believing that there really is a Central Perk café in New York…

Or is it because they don’t like the truths God has revealed about himself? That’s like sticking your head in the sand like an ostrich; if you pretend there is no truth maybe it’ll go away…? Trust me, it won’t!

When it comes to unseen realities, we have to accept an outside authority, simply because we can’t know enough about them ourselves. And as for me, I’d rather listen to somebody with inside information. Only one person has ever claimed to have come straight from God, then died and come back to life again; that’s why I prefer to have him as my authority, rather than human speculation or my own preferences. We could never find out the truth about God, that’s why he revealed himself to us in Jesus. Christmas is the celebration of God’s self-revelation, and Easter is the celebration of his victory over death – both factual statements about spiritual realities, which we ignore at our peril.


From → Christianity, Faith, Jesus

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