Authority

Posted on October 21, 2009 · Posted in Authority, Worldview

We are returning to a series that we began several weeks ago. The series is based upon on a radio interview I did with Tedd Tripp earlier this year. I asked Tedd to list four important truths that he believes parents should weave into their parenting, based upon his interaction and experience in teaching families all over the world. Tedd listed these four themes:

Understanding the importance of formative instruction

Establishing a biblical view of authority

Maintaining biblical communication

Contrasting the wisdom of a fool with the wisdom of God

We covered formative Instruction in the initial post and now we turn to Tedd’s next vital truth – a biblical view of authority. Authority is something that our post-modern culture sees as negative. The immediate reason for this is that the individual has become the ultimate source of authority. No one can tell me what is right or wrong – these words have become a cliché, but in this case the cliché does reflect the mood of Western thought. The wishes of leading American educator and pragmatist John Dewey and the other signers of the Humanist Manifesto have come true in our day. The first Humanist Manifesto was signed in 1933. The first and ninth propositions are listed below:

FIRST: Religious humanists regard the universe as self-existing and not created.

NINTH: In the place of the old attitudes involved in worship and prayer the humanist finds his religious emotions expressed in a heightened sense of personal life and in a cooperative effort to promote social well-being.

The signers of this manifesto believed a new religion was needed to replace the religions that believe in a supernatural being. Here is a link to the 1933 manifesto so that you can read the other 13 propositions if you wish. For these propositions to stand, no other authority may supersede the desires of man. For the last 80 years or so, subscribers to this manifesto have worked diligently to remove the concept of authority, particularly supernatural authority, from the educational construct of modern culture. This is why I say their wishes have come true. One of the casualties of the success of this movement has been parental authority. This is the issue that Tedd Tripp is concerned about.

The belief in God-given biblical authority is the cornerstone of the family. Parents must be able to appeal to God’s authority to have any hope of establishing an objective base for their own authority in the home. It is not enough to require that something be done simply because a parent says so. Parents are flawed and inconsistent, just as children are, so the authority upon which they base their actions must come from outside themselves if there is to be any hope of objectivity. Furthermore, this outside source must betotally reliable and without error. These qualifiers eliminate every source except the Scriptures. Thus, you can see why it was important for the signers of the Humanist Manifesto to assert that God has nothing to do with the creation of the Universe. Prayer, worship, and, of course, the Bible, also had to be eliminated. The Humanist Manifesto III, which clarifies and updates the original, begins this way:

Humanism is a progressive philosophy of life that, without supernaturalism, affirms our ability and responsibility to lead ethical lives of personal fulfillment that aspire to the greater good of humanity.

Modern humanists have now dropped any pretense of religion. It is all about man. It is interesting to see that these humanists still use terms like good and ethical. The question must be asked: how is it possible to determine what is good and ethical if each man is his own standard? In other words, who is able to determine the greater good? But that is a discussion for another post.

Ephesians 6:1 gives a simple but powerful directive. “Children, obey your parents in the Lord, for this is right.” The writer assumes here that God has authority to give this directive. Parents, then, if they are to convey an accurate and loving view of God to their children, must do so based on authority – God’s authority.

We will look at the practical implications of this in the next post.

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