Is It Authorized?

How often have we heard questions about what the New Testament authorizes? Does the Lord intend the new covenant to be a law of authorization? I grew up hearing arguments about the lack of Scriptural authorization for a kitchen in the building. We were also told that there was no authorization from God’s Word to support an orphan’s home from the church treasury. Is the new covenant a law based on the foundation of what is and what is not authorized? The Law of Moses was a law detailing what God did and did not authorize. How the Israelites were to worship was outlined in great detail. What was considered “clean” or “unclean” was clearly marked. This law was a law written in stone. This law was “black and white”; there were few “gray areas”. It was a law to be obeyed to the letter. As a result, it either authorized or forbade certain things. The covenant put into practice on the first Pentecost following the death of Jesus was new. According to Scripture this covenant was written on the heart. Did the new covenant change or was it a continuation of Moses Law? Was it a continued system of legalism or is it a covenant sharing with us the way to re-establish fellowship with God? Is it a rigid document about what is authorized or is it about building a relationship with our Messiah? I fear we sometimes misinterpret the purpose and intent of the new covenant. It certainly isn’t a new and improved version of Moses Law. Could it be that we ask the wrong questions? Instead of asking about authorization perhaps we should be considering intent. Rather than building a foundation anchored in the idea of keeping rules maybe we should establish a foundation built on the concept of determining and applying God’s purpose in our lives. Does this mean we ignore obeying God? Absolutely not! The Lord Himself said, “If you love me you will keep my commandments.” Because we are motivated by love for the Lord and what He has done we make a concentrated effort to do His will. That having been said, rather than worrying about whether God authorized something, maybe we ought to be asking, “What is God’s intention?” What we perceive as authorization isn’t really what it seems to be if it overrides the Lord’s intent in New Testament Scripture.

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9 Responses to Is It Authorized?

  1. Don Morrison says:

    Who authorized this article? jk.

    We still operate this way though, when we view leadership as authoritarian, where Jesus declaims this type of structure. In those systems, who is it that decides what is or is not authorized, if not those who sit in Moses’ seat. Legalism depends on a hierarchical system.

    Thanks Dell for your stimulating thoughts

  2. Wayne McDaniel says:

    Dell, It appears that you are writing with the same Spirit that Jesus spoke with. Such words will always upset those who view themselves as righteous, and set all others at nought. You have identified one of the common tools of deceit: the wrong question. Like the old line, “Are you still beating your wife?” — those who ask questions like, “Is it authorized?”, seek to control others in self-made religion that exalts REASONING over the very words of scripture.

    In Mark 9 and Luke 9, we read of John complaining to Jesus about a man who was casting out demons in Jesus’ name, yet chose to go a different route than John and the others. Jesus rebuked John, and he would rebuke many today for trying to CONTROL others.

    Worshipping in spirit and truth is a jewish way of saying sincerely and truly. Cf. Josh. 24:14. The Greek word in John 4 translated “truth” means REALITY. It has no technical, religous connotations.

    Those who want to control others should read Jesus’ words in the gospels more often. Mark 14:3-9 teaches us more about how to worship than the rules formulated by reasoning.

    The more fundemental question is, “Did you receive the Holy Spirit when you believed?”- Acts 19:2 The lack of “love, joy, peace, longsuffering, kindness, goodness, self-control;” indicates a reason for Paul’s challenge to the Corinthians, “Examine your own selves, whether you are in the faith.” – 2 Cor. 13:5

  3. Jan says:

    If we worried more about our own soul than whether others were doing things that is authorized we would be much better off. Instead of judging others we should be doing our best to live as Christ’s ambassadors on earth. When someone looks at us do they see Christ or do they see a judge ready to condem them. Let’s tell others of Christ’s love for them and what He did for them and let God be the judge.
    Thank you Dell for the posts that make us think!

  4. 1 Middle Man says:

    I agree with Don…in our fellowship, we still, by and large, have to have an authoritarian, hierarchical system in place in order to function, and this causes us to be dysfunctional. The authoritarian system makes it relatively easy to have a warmed-over law and list of regulations by which to operate. I think that our biggest issue is that we have employed a business model from the world system in order to operate our congregations instead of the biblical model — shepherds caring for their sheep.

    Our current congregational structure is non-hierarchical, which frees us from the trappings of power/control. It is authoritative and refreshing in every respect, although it has certainly taken some time to get accustomed to it, given that the former structure is what generally has been the norm, at least where I have labored.

    Also, thanks to Wayne for some great thoughts.

    Blessings, Don

  5. Ed Whittington says:

    Rule keeping is a lazy humans way out and is not consistent with Jesus and His teaching. In Matt:5 Jesus takes a look at some laws which the Jews would be familiar with and takes them much deeper. Do not commit adultery was the rule, however Jesus goes after the attitude that would leads to the adultery. What exactly is going on behind those eye balls? It seems to me that the rule is easy to identify but Jesus is calling us to a deeper level when we must struggle to define for ourselves what our attitude and subsequent behavior should be in light of His teaching, example and grace. Even Bill Clinton had trouble with this one. All rule making and rule keeping helps us to shut down the spirits working within and the transformational process to which we should all be committed to. We then bask in a state self righteous legalism. Surely this not what Jesus died for?

  6. Katie says:

    Great blog and hope to have some time soon to come back and read more!

  7. watcat says:

    Hi this blog is great I will be recommending it to friends.

  8. wonker says:

    Interesting blog, I’ll try and spread the word.

  9. matt says:

    This blog’s great!! Thanks :).

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