The Lack Of Respect For Authority In Society And In The Church (II)

W. Terry Varner
July 23, 2017

There is no justification to which man can appeal that gives him right to disrespect authority—civil, religious, family, etc., unless that authority stands in direct conflict with the teaching of God. The New Testament teaches us this point. The apostles were commanded by God to preach the risen Christ to save man (cf. Luke 24:46-49; Matt. 28:18-20). When they obeyed God, they were opposed by the Jews. “The priest, and the captain of the temple, and the Sadducees came upon them being grieved that they taught the people, and preached through Jesus the resurrection from the dead” (Acts 4:2). The Jewish authorities “commanded them not to speak at all nor teach in the name of Jesus” (Acts 4:18). Later, the apostle Peter stated: “We must obey God rather than men” (Acts 5:29) Sin plays havoc in the minds and lives of people and allows their personal wants and desires to become first and foremost even to challenging the highest authority known—God. No wonder it is sinful.

Some Philosophical Sources at Work in Our Society Resulting in the Rejection of Authority. If systems of thought eliminate and minimize God in their thinking and actions, the result will be the rejection of authority not only of God but of all authority outside that particular system of thought. Their thoughts become the standard of authority for them. We can trace various evidences of rejecting authority in observing various philosophical systems within society. Consider the following:

  • Rationalism makes human reason the sole determiner of truth; thereby, rationalism rejects objective truth. An example: the Bible is “the word of truth” (John 8:32; 17:17). Another example: God does not exist but evidence abounds for the existence of God in both general revelation (nature) and special revelation (Bible). Rationalism argues that neither is true because human reason is the sole determiner of truth. When human reasoning becomes the standard for right and wrong, good and evil, and truth or falsehood, then divine authority is rejected. The Jews set aside the truth for the “traditions of men” and Jesus condemned them (Matt. 15:3, 6, 9).
  • Empiricism argues that the only things we may know for certain are things we know only through our five senses (smell, taste, sight, hear, touch). In one state university where I attended a professor asked, “who believes they have a soul.” Several students answered in the affirmative. He then asked them, “Have you seen it, felt it, or heard it?” When they replied “no,” he argued that man does not have a soul because it is not empirically known. Wonder if ne has ever seen his brain?
  • Post-Modernism argues that nothing is absolute; i.e. there is no truth. To the Post-Modernist there is no order except the order he imposes on what he sees. If this is true, then order is not permanent and we change and replace order as we desire. This makes consistency meaningless. Post-Modernism advances the concept that even contradictory and opposing views are equal truths though they be diametrically opposite of one another; i.e. one can object to abortion and another be for abortion and both be right. Or, a man can believe in God and live the Christian life, and another man reject God and live a corrupt life and both are equal truths of a right life style.

There are many other problems with the above three philosophical systems. We could list additional false philosophical systems. These systems are contradictory within themselves let alone with each other and Christianity. While each system of thought claims to be true, Christianity is not tolerated and is the first system of thought to be rejected (cf. Col. 2:8).