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Godly Authority: A Flight to Topsyturvydom

by Eric M. Pazdziora

P

oet and playwright W. S. Gilbert (you might know him from his operettas composed with Arthur Sullivan) wrote some comic poems about the far-away land of Topsyturvydom:

Where vice is virtue—virtue, vice:
Where nice is nasty—nasty, nice:
Where right is wrong and wrong is right—
Where white is black and black is white.

Everything in Topsyturvydom is precisely the opposite of what you expect in our world. Soldiers are cowards, criminals are judges, and babies are born knowing differential calculus and become more ignorant as they grow. It’s silly, of course, but that’s the fun of it. As Ken Medema sang, “The world looks different to you when you’re flying upside down.”

So I’ve noticed a recurring phrase in certain schools of doctrine: “Godly authority.” Husbands should have godly authority over wives. Fathers should have godly authority over children. Pastors should have godly authority over their congregations. Don’t rebel against godly authority.

It sounds good and devout, probably because “godly” is a good faith word and “authority” is something we take for granted. Somebody has to have authority, and certainly “godly authority” seems preferable to the other kind. In fact, it’s exactly what we would expect to hear.

That makes me suspicious. Most of these doctrinaires would agree with me that “godly” should only mean “following what Jesus taught.” But Jesus never taught exactly what we expect to hear. Jesus taught about flying upside down.

Jesus managed to subvert almost everyone’s expectations. They expected a Messiah who would enforce the Law of God; they got one who religious people called a wine-bibber and a friend of prostitutes. They expected a Messiah who would be a conquering hero; they got one who died on a cross with thieves. It’s not for nothing that His critics accused His followers of “turning the world upside down.” Sometimes I’m left wondering whether Jesus was a secret citizen of Topsyturvydom.

When we look at what Jesus taught about authority, what we find seems equally wrong-way-up. Look closely at some of what Jesus said and you’ll start to think you’re standing on your head:

But Jesus called [the disciples] to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave—just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20:25–28, NKJV. Cf. Luke 22:24–27, Mark 10:42–45.)

When Jesus taught about authority, He said one thing clearly: It’s not about exercising authority. The great one is a servant. The greatest one is a slave.

Jesus didn’t let up with the topsy-turviness, either. He said you shouldn’t even take a title of authority:

“But you are not to be called ‘Rabbi,’ for you have only one Master and you are all brothers. And do not call anyone on earth ‘father,’ for you have one Father, and he is in heaven. Nor are you to be called ‘teacher,’ for you have one Teacher, the Christ. The greatest among you will be your servant. For whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and whoever humbles himself will be exalted.” (Matthew 23:8–12, NIV).

The formula for greatness, according to Jesus, is to thrust greatness away from you. It’s not to be looked up to but to be humble. The greatest is the least, the most exalted is the humblest, and the highest is the lowest. If you want to become great, try to be humble; if you want to be humbled, try to be great.

Is this just more nonsense and silliness, something W. S. Gilbert might have dreamed up? Contrast this to the entire doctrinal systems that fixate on authority, and who has it over whom, and whether it’s shaped like a chain or an umbrella, and you do get the distinct impression that somebody is standing on their head. Somebody’s got something very, very wrong.

Here’s another clue in another flight to Topsyturvydom. Jesus based these paradoxical statements directly on Himself and His own work: “just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve.” The apostle Paul (possibly quoting an early Christian hymn) elaborates on this in a lyrical passage:

Have this attitude in yourselves which was also in Christ Jesus, who, although He existed in the form of God, did not regard equality with God a thing to be grasped, but emptied Himself, taking the form of a bond-servant, and being made in the likeness of men. Being found in appearance as a man, He humbled Himself by becoming obedient to the point of death, even death on a cross.

For this reason also, God highly exalted Him, and bestowed on Him the name which is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus EVERY KNEE WILL BOW, of those who are in heaven and on earth and under the earth, and that every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father. (Philippians 2:5–11, NASB)

Jesus was God, and Jesus became a servant. Jesus humbled Himself, so the Father exalted Him. It’s upside-down, but it’s true.

It gets even loopier. When God exalted Jesus to the highest place, He made another statement about authority. It casually succeeds in blowing all our discussions about “godly authority” to smithereens:

Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18, NIV).

All authority belongs to Jesus.

“All authority in heaven and on earth,” just so we’re clear it’s all-inclusive. Not “all spiritual authority” or “all authority in the church” or “all authority over My disciples.” Those would be radical enough—but “all” means “all.”

This isn’t anti-authoritarianism. There’s plenty of authority for us to obey—but only Jesus has it. It does not belong to anybody else. It is not given to anybody else. It is not shared with anybody else. If anyone says they have any authority in any context and their name is not Jesus Christ, they are wrong. (And if somebody says his name is Jesus Christ, don’t believe him, unless maybe he starts walking on water.)

After this statement, any discussion about who has “godly authority” is pretty much pointless. Nobody does, except Jesus.

Far from being a passing observation, this fact is tied directly to our salvation:

“For you granted him authority over all people that he might give eternal life to all those you have given him.” (John 17:2, NIV)

Since Jesus has all authority over us, Jesus has authority to save us. Since Jesus has all authority over our lives, Jesus has authority to give us eternal life.

So what then? Don’t get the wrong idea. If your association with “authority” gives you a picture of Jesus sitting at the top of the heap and bossing everyone around, then it’s back to Topsyturvydom we go. Jesus followed His own teaching about authority: authority, He said, is something that should make you act like a servant and wash people’s feet.

So when He had washed their feet, and taken His garments and reclined at the table again, He said to them, “Do you know what I have done to you? You call Me Teacher and Lord; and you are right, for so I am. If I then, the Lord and the Teacher, washed your feet, you also ought to wash one another’s feet. For I gave you an example that you also should do as I did to you. Truly, truly, I say to you, a slave is not greater than his master, nor is one who is sent greater than the one who sent him. If you know these things, you are blessed if you do them.” (John 13:12–17, NASB)

This ties everything so far together. Jesus is in authority over us, and (logically enough) we can’t set ourselves up as superior to our authority. Since Jesus humbled himself and acted like a servant, if we follow Him, we should humble ourselves and serve as well. No one sits higher than the King, and the King is washing people’s feet.

So there we are. If godliness means following Jesus, then “godly authority” is an oxymoron. Godliness is not about authority; godliness is about humility. It’s not about leading; it’s about following (namely, following Jesus). It’s not even about “servant leadership”; it’s about servantship.

But—I hear some people still perplexed with the shock of being turned heels over head—but how on earth does that fit with the way we do things in real life? Doesn’t someone have to have authority in, say, the government? In a marriage? In a church? In a workplace? In a family? Doesn’t the Bible tell us directly to submit to those authorities?

All right then, one last flight to Topsyturvydom. The Bible does tell us to submit, which is appropriate enough considering everything we just saw that Jesus said. But what’s glaringly missing are any corresponding verses that say leaders have authority.

This puts an interesting spin on verses and topics that sometimes become needlessly controversial. Consider husbands and wives (I’m thinking of course of Ephesians 5:21–33). Yes, the Bible says fairly clearly, “Wives, submit to your husbands.” But it follows this statement not with the corollary we’d expect—“Husbands, exercise godly authority over your wives”—but with “Husbands, love your wives like Jesus did for the church,” that is, by sacrificing everything so she can benefit. This makes sense when we consider that Jesus’ kind of love involves washing feet like a servant. What do servants do? They submit.

For that matter, and it is simply amazing how rarely this point gets made, the statements about husbands and wives in context both come immediately after this verse:

Submitting yourselves one to another in the fear of God. (Ephesians 5:21).

Godly submission, yes. Godly authority, not so much.

Well, OK, there is one verse that talks about husbands having authority, but I doubt it will ever become especially popular in the Patriarchy movement. It puts it this way:

For the wife does not have authority over her own body, but the husband does. Likewise the husband does not have authority over his own body, but the wife does. (1 Corinthians 7:4, ESV).

Again, the idea is not patriarchal authority but mutual submission. (You know what, can we just go ahead and say that this verse all by itself proves once and for all that Patriarchy is an unbiblical teaching? I mean, seriously, “the husband does not have authority.” And that’s not just in the physical relationship; it’s the same Greek word for “authority” that Jesus says in Luke 22:25 we shouldn’t have at all.)

It’s the same with other positions that are considered authoritative. The Bible says that we should serve the government, but also that the government should serve us by providing peace and justice (see Romans 13:4). There’s a reason we call them “public servants.”

Again, the Bible says that we should submit to our pastors, elders, spiritual leaders (however you like to translate presbuteros), but also that they should not lord it over anybody, just serve as good examples (see 1 Peter 5:2–3). Paul explains his position as an apostle precisely this way: “Not that we lord it over your faith, but are workers with you for your joy; for in your faith you are standing firm” (2 Corinthians 1:24, NASB).

It might be tempting to misconstrue this and go running around telling our bosses that they’re not the bosses of us. It’s true, technically, they’re not, but to do that you’d have to ignore all the verses before about humility and servantship. I think we’ve gone so topsy-turvy that we’re making figure eights, so it’s probably time to catch our breaths and see the big picture from the air.

The big picture is simple, clear, and beautiful. It’s love.

We’re free. Anybody who tries to forcefully control us or require us to obey is trying to usurp a position that only belongs to Jesus. Conversely, if I want to lord it over anybody, I’m trying to set myself up as the Lord. Men and women alike, husbands and wives alike, pastors and congregation alike, we’re all brothers and sisters, free and equal.

But since we don’t have to submit and serve out of obligation, that means we’re free to submit and serve just because we want to. Just because we love. Since we’re not obliged to make payments, we can give gifts. We can freely sacrifice for others with no other motive but love. We can serve others not because they have authority over us, but because Jesus has authority over us, and Jesus serves from love.

If you want to see what “godly authority” looks like, don’t look to any person but One. Jesus is washing His followers’ feet. Jesus is giving and serving and loving. Jesus is flying upside down, making loops in the air over Topsyturvydom.

Eric M. Pazdziora still can't fly without an airplane, but music brings him close sometimes. He works as a freelance composer, author, and worship leader, and lives in Chicago with his wife Carrie, several stories above the ground. If you want to hear some of Eric's music or read some more articles, visit his website at ericpazdziora.com.

36 comments:

  1. This is really, really good. Thanks Eric.

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  2. Great post Eric!! Wow!

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  3. Amen! You know, that 1 Corinthians 7 passages is truly the undoing of so much of the patriocentric rhetoric!

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  4. It's amazing, though, when you point all this out in various blogs, the ones clinging to authority only look for loopholes, or worse yet, redefine words to an extent worthy of Orwell's 1984: rule is service, "final say" is subservience, "no lording over" becomes "benevolent lording over", Jesus the Sacrificial Lamb is turned into Jesus the Extreme Fighter, and so on.

    Sometimes pictures can work where words fail:
    http://www.fether.net/1000-words/

    (and speaking of 'umbrellas', I'll add a picture for that soon)

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  5. Isaiah 5:20
    Woe to those who call evil good, and good evil; Who put darkness for light, and light for darkness; Who put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

    This article is outstanding.

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  6. Interesting. I certainly agree in context of marriage and the church. Its significant that Jesus is the head of the church and no one else. Arms cannot move without the brain giving it signals first. Anyone who this pastors are the authority in the church is overlooking this.

    I'll chew if I agree on the rest. It seems to me that parents have authority over the church. The Bible does not instruct them to submit; it instructs them to obey.

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  7. "Amen! You know, that 1 Corinthians 7 passages is truly the undoing of so much of the patriocentric rhetoric!"

    I know, right?

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  8. Paula, excellent word picture.
    Kingdom of this world: top-down authority structure; kingdom of heaven: bottom up authority structure. I find it very telling that Jesus said that "unless you become as little children" you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.

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  9. Thanks Hillary! :-)

    But it brings up the larger issue of "church" authority, the clergy/laity class distinction. That's why instead of arguing in favor of women pastors, I argue against men pastors. ("pastor" being the CEO tradition, not the Biblical spiritual gift)

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  10. I think there is alot of fear around giving up the cultural idea of the authority. They don't like to admit its cultural, but claim its 'biblical'.

    Then Jesus came to them and said, “All authority in heaven and on earth has been given to me.” (Matthew 28:18, NIV).

    I look at that verse, and I wonder why others spend so much time on Jesus being always subordinate to God. To me its a waste of energy, and I will never understand why they think this (ahem) 'point' is important.

    I pray that those give up the grasping for control, and humble themselves enough to see what Jesus was truly asking for them. Someone is in charge, and that is Jesus.

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  11. Very well written! Thank you so much for putting so much thought, study and prayer into this article!

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  12. Author's Note: A few people have asked how this applies to parenting children (minors), especially in light of the verse "Children, obey your parents." I didn't address this in the article mostly because I'm not a parent. However, I asked my dad and he offered this response:

    "Jesus wants us to obey Him and that obedience springs from our love for Him and His love for us. So it is with parents. Parents are to Love and obey Jesus themselves and respond to their children in the way Jesus does.

    Parents are to use their authority in the way Jesus does. In His position He serves-- that is topsy turvey! Jesus is not turning people into slaves but helping them mature as sons and daughters--children of His kingdom.

    Jesus teaches, corrects, disciplines, and always shows patience, mercy, forbearance not anger or condemnation. If he is that way with me why would I be a different way with my children?"

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  13. Thank you for this Eric.

    I had to use the verses of husband/wife authority over one another's bodies to shoot down a teaching on a Christian website concerning polygamy. It made me sick because women on the site were thinking they would have to submit to it if their (Christian!!) husband chose to become polygamos.

    As our home church crumbled some years ago, I made the personal observation that submission is required of men one to another before it is required of wives in Ephesians 5. Many are the church break ups, in my opinion, due to the misunderstanding of this point. It is a very arrogant misunderstanding. I knew I couldn't say anything about it, though. I would not have been heard.

    I think what you have written here boils down so many issues. To use leadership in any other way than how Jesus did is pride, plain and simple. That does not bode well for much of Christianity today. May we all heed what you are saying here unto more understanding in our midst.

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  14. wow! I LOVE IT! Thank you so much! I needed to hear this right now.

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  15. Eric, to me you nailed when you said the "big" picture is that we are "free & equal". It also seems to me, that my strongest "flesh" pattern is control.

    In my limited experience, learning who Jesus really is & my identity in Him I wanna "choose" to look to Him I wanna "choose" to depend on Him for life & for Godliness & choose less to depend on me others & my flesh 4 LIFE.

    Thnx 4 this article that we are free in Christ!

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  16. I agree with this article for the most part. Authority is very misunderstood today in our culture and in the church. You've made some great points about leadership requiring humility and service.

    However, I would caution against rebounding from pharisaical authoritarianism and going too far in the opposite direction.

    For instance, children are told in multiple places to obey their parents (from the Ten Commandments to the New Testament epistles) and parents are told to exercise their authority to make those children obey (see Proverbs and I Timothy 3:4 for a start). There is nothing in there about obedience coming from love - it's great if it does, but it's required regardless.

    Slaves are required to obey their earthly masters. Nothing in there about how they should love them and then feel obedient out that love. Just "obey them." The very nature of a slave/master relationship is one of authority. Masters are nowhere commanded to free their slaves.

    We are called to respect and obey our civil leaders so long as they don't require us to disobey God. Though we should love them too, there's nothing in there about our obedience being based on whether we can love them or not. We're just told to obey. And they are clearly described as having authority to reward good and punish evildoers.

    Husbands are called the head of the wife. Although the Bible makes it clear (as you so well did also in your blog) that this headship requires humility and love, yet it is headship. And the job of a head on a body is to... well... exercise authority over that body and lead it.

    So I guess I'm not contradicting what you said, I'm just reminding us not to go to the other extreme and say that we should start by trying to love people in charge of us and hope that obedience to them flows out of that. We are required to obey, period, unless it conflicts with God's direct commands. We are also required to love. The commands go together, not one after the other.

    As for the term "godly authority", I do think it has been badly misused. But I don't think there is therefore no use for it.

    Properly speaking, godly authority is authority God has given you to do something. God gives parents authority over children. He gives masters authority over slaves. He gives husbands authority over wives and families. He gives church leadership authority to lead and, if necessary, discipline church members. These are all right and good things God has commanded various people in His kingdom to do, and having commanded us to do them, we now have delegate authority from Him to do so in the manner He prescribes (humbly, lovingly, etc.). This is godly authority.

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  17. @Heather S.-- I don't think we disagree that much. What I say is not "Our obedience is based on whether we love them or not" but "Because we love them, we should serve them." That is, I don't think there are any exceptions to the Second-greatest Commandment (Love thy neighbor) and the Golden Rule (Do unto others...), so there is no "whether" to Christian love/agape. It's assumed in all cases, even specifically to our enemies.

    Actually, I think you can find love expressly or implied in all the Scriptural examples you list-- for instance, Colossians 3:22 mentions "sincerity of heart" as the motivation for slaves to obey masters, and the parallel passage in Ephesians goes onto say not "Masters, you have authority" but "Masters, treat your slaves in the same way" (serve them from the heart - !!!).

    I still find the Scriptural support lacking for the idea that God gives people authority, as I detailed in the article--Jesus has it all. Of course I'm not advocating anarchy by any means, but I do think the word "authority" is so overused by spiritual abusers and so under-supported in Scripture that we ought to find more biblically-accurate terms to express the concept Jesus taught. Like "serving." :grin:

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  18. Heather wrote So I guess I'm not contradicting what you said, I'm just reminding us not to go to the other extreme.

    I agree that balance is so important, but for those who have experienced the abuse of authority, (or any other kind) sometimes they need space to "Test all things, hold fast the good." Sometimes this might seem that, throughout the healing process, some do go to other extremes. But this doesn't mean that God is finished with them, and we as friends can respect their journey and pray without ceasing. And it could be that they might have something to teach us. :-)

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  19. I didn't see any extremism in this post. I saw wisdom, plain scripture offered straight up for what it actually says.

    Thank you for this post. You said it so wonderfully well. I'm still shaking my head in joyous disbelief that a brother wrote it!

    One could expect the oppressed- women, children, slaves- to figure out the passage where Jesus told those who wanted titles and authority to let it go and simply serve. But you, as a man, could do like so many others and grasp tightly to any power/authority tradition says is yours.

    I respect you greatly, sir. Thank you for your true devotion to Jesus and his upside-down kingdom. =)

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  20. I didn't see any extremism in this post. No, it was wonderfully gracious.

    By the way, some fascinating discussion on facebook over this article....

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  21. I really liked what Eric had to say. I actually read it to my 7 and 5 year old and it opened a lot of discussion for us.

    For instance, children are told in multiple places to obey their parents (from the Ten Commandments to the New Testament epistles) and parents are told to exercise their authority to make those children obey (see Proverbs and I Timothy 3:4 for a start). There is nothing in there about obedience coming from love - it's great if it does, but it's required regardless.

    My children and I discussed this issue too. I explained to them that God didn't give them to me to "own" them and that I had no authority to demand anything from them. However, out of the knowledge they have that we love them dearly and truly seek Gods wisdom to help them grow into their own understanding of him, and because they love God, they choose to submit to us for their own well being. My kids sort of got this, it was really a very interesting discussion. I don't give them enough credit sometimes for what they are able to understand.

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  22. To me there is NOTHING extreme about having freedom in Christ and that we're all equal. It's what God says!

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  23. Let's see, I've responded to some questions but not to all the favorable comments yet, so I'll take you in reverse order (fittingly enough):

    Lollypop--Just so! I like what G. K. Chesterton said: "Christianity got over the difficulty of combining furious opposites by keeping them both, and keeping them both furious." We are absolutely free and equal and we absolutely need to serve one another out of love.

    Victoria -- Wow, I wouldn't have thought of reading this to a 5 and 7 year old myself, so good for you! I certainly agree that children are vastly more perceptive than grown-ups often give them credit for. Did you play them the Ken Medema story/song I linked at the beginning (about Alice and her great big enormous pockets)? They'll love it.

    Shadowspring-- I'm honored! Yes, believe it or not there really are men (and white men, even!) who are willing to follow Jesus even when He upsets our falsely-conceived social advantages. If I'm not willing to be humble, what's the point of my following Him in the first place?

    Frogla-- You're welcome. Much of the "biblical" teaching going around on authority is very fleshly indeed, so I'm glad you recognize that and are working against it in your own life. That makes me happy.

    Cara--You're exactly right: James 4:1.

    Hannah--The trinitarian concepts involved here are actually very interesting. What some miss is that Jesus says "The Son does nothing but what He sees the Father do." So Jesus' authority is the Father's, and if Jesus serves, that means the Father does too. This radically shifts many perceptions of God.

    Paula-- I loved your pictures! And you're definitely onto something about the inherent problems with the "CEO tradition" of church leadership. I've seen it end very badly in many cases.

    Thatmom-- I know! I was close to cutting it out (as it's a bit of a digression) but Hillary persuaded me to keep it in, so you can thank her for that bit.

    Anon - RA - Erika - Hillary - Katydid - Lewis -- You're welcome! I'm glad to know it's finding the audience it needs.

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  24. Eric, I am new to your blog. I find myself copying/saving parts of your posts or the whole thing...maybe after you write enough it could go into a book and thus save room on my computer!
    Just a note to some of the people struggling with the "love your headship" concept....remember that kind of love is "act in their best interest love." So really it turns it back around to serving/leading with selflessness. True Jesus love. And the person in the "headship role" perceived or otherwise still has the hardest job of all...Everyone of us has responsibilities or "authority" of some sort. I love how you showed us the right attitude...the people of Babel wanted to make a name for themeselves, we know how poorly that turned out for them!.....Eric, thank you for addressing yet another "sacred cow" in the church and doing it well.

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  25. Did you play them the Ken Medema story/song I linked at the beginning (about Alice and her great big enormous pockets)? They'll love it.

    Eric, yes, I actually showed them that to start with which is how I ended up reading your article to them. They had so many questions, it just seemed easier to read and explain things to them. I've started reading quite a few of the blogs I visit to them in order to help them better understand that even mommy is still learning and enjoys it. (I preview them before hand of course.) I've found it sparks some unexpected conversations.

    I forgot to mention that what I like about your messages is that they strike very deep yet are written with such a light spirit that my children have enjoyed several of your pieces.

    I know this doesn't apply much to Hillary's primary goal for her site, but I like to read here to keep myself in check. Having come from an interestingly lightly-religious yet highly-fundamental family, I find myself often following what I was taught. Her words (and those of her guests here) are useful to temper that instinct in myself.

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  26. To quote your article: "There’s plenty of authority for us to obey—but only Jesus has it. It does not belong to anybody else. It is not given to anybody else. It is not shared with anybody else. If anyone says they have any authority in any context and their name is not Jesus Christ, they are wrong."
    I'm a little confused about the above and no one having authority in the light of these verses: 2 Cor. 10:8, 1 Tim. 2:1,2, Titus 2:15Do you mind clarifying?
    Thanks!
    Grace

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  27. Grace (nice name!)-- Good question. I think it's a matter of context. When Jesus says "All authority in heaven and on earth" I think we have to take that as pretty absolute, hence my blanket statement.

    As you point out, there is obviously a bit more nuance to the idea of "authority" than I was able to fit into my overview. Practically speaking, some people (pastors, parents, government, employers, etc.) are going to be in positions where other people will follow them. The verses you cite specify the fact of this responsibility but more significantly the shape it should take: notice for instance the phrase, "the authority the Lord gave us for building you up rather than pulling you down." (2 Cor. 10:8)

    In other words, people in these positions should think not "I'm in charge of you" (usurping Jesus) but "Since you're following me, I need to do my best to encourage and edify you" (copying Jesus).

    That's a bit of a roundabout way of explaining it, and clearly there is a bit of Scriptural tension there even still. Maybe I'll revisit it at some point in the future. Thanks!

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  28. Victoria -- That's so great! What a fun way to teach your kids. I'm glad the lightness comes across well; probably years of reading Chesterton paying off there....

    Anonymous-- Thanks and welcome! I've toyed with the idea of a book over the years but (since I work in publishing) I know I need to build my reader platform before that will happen. So hearing you say that is very encouraging!

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  29. Eric,
    Thanks so much for the clarification!
    ~Grace

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  30. Thanks so much, Eric! I think I'm beginning to understand. I certainly have the "be a servant" part down when I'm in a servant position. But when I'm in an "authority" position, I really struggle to stay a servant. I want to, though. It just requires some really big changes in the brain and heart. :-)

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  31. Sharon-- Yes, that's crucial. From the many comments here and on Facebook I think perhaps I didn't say quite enough to people in legitimate "leadership" positions (except if my comments above help clarify). Maybe I'll come back to that in a future article.

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  32. It's silly, I know what you aren't saying here, but I still can't bring myself to like this article. All the submission language is just to much. I've heard all of the abusive authority stuff supported by the very verses you are using to de-bunk it, so all I can hear is my Dad's voice in my head. Sorry! I'm sure it was a valiant effort. :)

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  33. It's okay, Young Mom. *grin*. Thank you for reading it; it's received quite a bit of pro and con feedback both publicly and privately. I really enjoy these discussions because they help to gently challenge or encourage me in my own thinking and understanding. Thanks for adding your thoughts.

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  34. Youngmom-- No worries. Though I'm perplexed how anybody could use (say) the passages from Matthew 20 or 23 to support abusive authority; kind of like using Romans to support salvation by works, isn't it? Anyway, I suggest putting it aside for now and coming back to it after you've healed in other areas.

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  35. Lol! I'm still confused how it was taught to me myself!

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