Thursday, February 12, 2009

Ministry of authority

From Dietrich Bonhoeffer's 'Life Together' -- principle #7 under "Seven principles for eradicating selfish ambition in the fellowship:"
THE MINISTRY OF AUTHORITY
Jesus made authority in the fellowship dependent upon brotherly service (Mark 10:43). Genuine spiritual authority is to be found only where the ministry of hearing, helping, bearing, and proclaiming is carried out. Every cult of personality that emphasizes the distinguished qualities, virtues, and talents of another person, even though these be of an altogether spiritual nature, is worldly and has no place in the Christian community; indeed, it poisons the Christian community...

Genuine authority realizes that it can exist only in the service of Him who alone has authority... The Church does not need brilliant personalities but faithful servants of Jesus and the brethren...

Pastoral authority can be attained only by the servant of Jesus who seeks no power of his own, who himself is a brother among brothers to the authority of the Word. h/t

I think submission to authority is perhaps the biggest problem the church may have. Both in the submission aspect, and from those in authority. There is a fine line between the two; that ties the two together. Maybe it can only be walked in balance with one another. That's why - while I agree with the Five-Fold leadership ideal - I wonder if it's really possible to separate them so neatly as we would like.

Tough stuff. Good stuff.