Feb 18

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The Chain of Religious Authority

Today, man is confused as to what authority he should base his religious views. He asks, “Does the authority lie with the church?…the Pope?…councils of men?…conscience?…tradition? Jesus taught that everything men do in religion, they do either by the authority of God or by the authority of men (Matthew 21:23-25).
Since the Bible is the only written revelation which God gives of Himself, and is that from which all Christianity (in the broad sense of the word) springs (no matter what authority is claimed), one needs to go back to the Bible to see what IT says as to what we must base our authority.
THE AUTHORITY OF CHRIST. God, in times past spoke through fathers and prophets, but now speaks through Christ (Heb. 1:1,2). Today, we are not to follow the fathers and the prophets, but Christ (Mk. 9:2-8). The Father gave Jesus ALL authority upon heaven and earth (Mt. 28:18).
THE AUTHORITY OF THE APOSTLES. Before Jesus left, He promised the Apostles that He would send the Holy Spirit who would guide them into all truth (Jn. 14:26). Such was fulfilled on the first Pentecost after the crucifixion (Acts 2). The Apostles (and later the prophets, Eph. 3:5) would not speak from their own thoughts or will, but by the inspiration of the Holy Spirit (I Cor. 2:6-13; Mt. 10:19,20).
THE AUTHORITY OF THE BIBLE. Although Jesus wrote no letters, the Apostles wrote several. These writings are as equally inspired as were their own oral words (I Cor. 14:37; 2 Tim. 3:16). The Gospel is declared to have the authority to save our souls (Jas. 1:21; Rom. 1:16; Lk. 8:5,12). If any man goes beyond this written authority, he acts upon authority other than that of God (Rev. 22:18,19; Deut. 4:2).
What is our authority in religion? It is the Bible. The Bible is the inspired Word of God, written by inspired men, who were given authority by Christ, who has all authority.
Although there are various authorities claimed, there is only one true authority. We must adhere to it, for by it we shall be judged (Jn. 12:48; Rom. 2:16).

Gary Henson

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