Essay on Biblical Authority in Christian Ethics

3581 Words Dec 18th, 2009 15 Pages
Justin Collett

Christian Ethics

What does it mean for the Bible to have authority in Christian ethics?

Sitting comfortably and dying on a cross are not concepts often joined together. Yet our culture conditions individuals to pursue fulfillment and comfort. Martin Luther King, Jr. remarked that our preachers like to preach “nice little soothing sermons on how to relax and how to be happy” or “go ye into all the world and keep your blood pressure down and I will make you a well-adjusted personality.” However, “My Bible tells me that Good Friday comes before Easter,”1 and the cross is not a piece of jewelry you wear but something you die on. But when I am honest, the idea of lowering my blood pressure often captures the depth of my
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She also has the authority to arrest me if I do not comply with such demands of obedience. Common agreement in civil society enters into such a relationship of authority with the governing bodies that wield

such authority.

An interesting question follows: What if I do not consent to or recognize and obey a police officers authority? Is her essence of her authority dependent upon my acknowledging it? Many would respond, “No, she still has authority regardless,” but I wonder if that instance is more like citizens living in a dictatorship. If the police officer does still have authority, then does it follow that the institutions of a democracy and of a dictatorship wield the exact same kind of authority? The answer becomes more muddy, and the important different is that the citizens under a dictator did not necessarily agree to the conditions in which they find themselves, whereas a democracy assumes that we reside under the authority of the governing bodies by our own consent. The resulting authority is ideally one that seeks obedience to lifestyles that are healthy and safe for both the individual and the rest of society.

Authority-as-such may best be thought of as the condition of a relationship between two entities where one is obedient to the other. Ideally, this takes place willingly, though maybe not always joyfully, between the two entities. For

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