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TITLE: On Human Authority
By vaughn ohlman
10/09/08
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This article was written for my blog (vonstakes.blogspot.com) and as an answer to a discussion on a message board. I am thinking of altering it to be an article in its own right. I am looking for issues of flow and comprehension.
[Richs quote deleted per rules]


Rich,

The view you present here and elsewhere stands in direct opposition to what God says in Scripture. It is written:

“And the angel of the LORD said unto her, Return to thy mistress, and submit thyself under her hands.”
And
“Wives, submit yourselves unto your own husbands, as unto the Lord.”
And
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
And
“Submit yourselves to every ordinance of man for the Lord's sake: whether it be to the king, as supreme;”
And
“Likewise, ye younger, submit yourselves unto the elder. Yea, all of you be subject one to another, and be clothed with humility: for God resisteth the proud, and giveth grace to the humble.”
And
“If a man have a stubborn and rebellious son, which will not obey the voice of his father, or the voice of his mother, and that, when they have chastened him, will not hearken unto them:”
And
“Children, obey your parents in the Lord: for this is right.”
And
“Servants, obey in all things your masters according to the flesh; not with eyeservice, as menpleasers; but in singleness of heart, fearing God;”
And
“And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed.”
And
“Put them in mind to be subject to principalities and powers, to obey magistrates, to be ready to every good work,”
And
“Obey them that have the rule over you, and submit yourselves: for they watch for your souls, as they that must give account, that they may do it with joy, and not with grief: for that is unprofitable for you.”
And
“Likewise, ye wives, be in subjection to your own husbands;”
And
“Let the woman learn in silence with all subjection.”

God in Scripture teaches a radical authority. He teaches that we are to, of our will, with Gods help, deliberately and without fear place ourselves under the authorities He has ordained. He does not then make them perfect, holy, or just. Our leaders may do horrible things. But He places us under them, to serve them, and obey them in all matters of their authority. (We see the limits of their authority several times in Scripture, most notably with Daniel and Peter.)


Our culture teaches us a radical and blasphemous individualism, whereas God teaches us to be in a submissive community, submitting to one another, and even to non-believers, in the authority structures he has outlined.


God, when he has chosen metaphors to represent Himself, frequently chooses ones which reflect earthly authority: king, lord, father, husband, master. Similarly God urges respect for those earthly masters, as unto Him.


Your ‘feelings’ lead you to invent reasons for what God inspired the apostle Paul to write. Let us look instead at what Scripture actually gives as the reasons for the submission that He commands:

1) It is sound doctrine, “1You must teach what is in accord with sound doctrine… the younger women… to be subject to their husbands”

2) That the Word of God will not be blasphemed: “obedient to their own husbands, that the word of God be not blasphemed.”

3) That unbelieving husbands may come to know the Lord: “Wives, in the same way be submissive to your husbands so that, if any of them do not believe the word, they may be won over without words by the behavior of their wives,”

4) To be beautiful: “For this is the way the holy women of the past who put their hope in God used to make themselves beautiful. They were submissive to their own husbands, 6like Sarah, who obeyed Abraham and called him her master.”

5) It is fitting in the Lord: “18Wives, submit to your husbands, as is fitting in the Lord.”

6) Since we will receive an inheritance from the Lord:” Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything…since you know that you will receive an inheritance from the Lord as a reward. ….”

7) Since it is the Lord you are serving: “Slaves, obey your earthly masters in everything; …. It is the Lord Christ you are serving.”


And many other reasons, none of which are the ones you suggest. This authority structure is not a temporary expedient, some sop to a primitive culture, but a God created form for communicating with us. We learn to obey Him by obeying those he has placed over us, and also, as the Centurion pointed out, by having obedient people serving under us.


Joshua did not say ‘as for me I will serve the Lord… and I hope my wife will too, but it is up to her.” He said, “as for me and my house we will serve the Lord.”


The story of the Rechabites is a marvelous example of how God views human authority as a reflection of His own:


Jer 35:1The word which came unto Jeremiah from the LORD in the days of Jehoiakim the son of Josiah king of Judah, saying, 2Go unto the house of the Rechabites, and speak unto them, and bring them into the house of the LORD, into one of the chambers, and give them wine to drink. 3Then I took Jaazaniah the son of Jeremiah, the son of Habaziniah, and his brethren, and all his sons, and the whole house of the Rechabites; 4And I brought them into the house of the LORD, into the chamber of the sons of Hanan, the son of Igdaliah, a man of God, which was by the chamber of the princes, which was above the chamber of Maaseiah the son of Shallum, the keeper of the door: 5And I set before the sons of the house of the Rechabites pots full of wine, and cups, and I said unto them, Drink ye wine. 6But they said, We will drink no wine: for Jonadab the son of Rechab our father commanded us, saying, Ye shall drink no wine, neither ye, nor your sons for ever: 7Neither shall ye build house, nor sow seed, nor plant vineyard, nor have any: but all your days ye shall dwell in tents; that ye may live many days in the land where ye be strangers. 8Thus have we obeyed the voice of Jonadab the son of Rechab our father in all that he hath charged us, to drink no wine all our days, we, our wives, our sons, nor our daughters; 9Nor to build houses for us to dwell in: neither have we vineyard, nor field, nor seed: 10But we have dwelt in tents, and have obeyed, and done according to all that Jonadab our father commanded us. 11But it came to pass, when Nebuchadrezzar king of Babylon came up into the land, that we said, Come, and let us go to Jerusalem for fear of the army of the Chaldeans, and for fear of the army of the Syrians: so we dwell at Jerusalem. 12Then came the word of the LORD unto Jeremiah, saying, 13Thus saith the LORD of hosts, the God of Israel; Go and tell the men of Judah and the inhabitants of Jerusalem, Will ye not receive instruction to hearken to my words? saith the LORD. 14The words of Jonadab the son of Rechab, that he commanded his sons not to drink wine, are performed; for unto this day they drink none, but obey their father's commandment: notwithstanding I have spoken unto you, rising early and speaking; but ye hearkened not unto me.
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