Spiritual Authority

“The power of authority lies not in the leader but in the follower.  The choice of following a person belongs with you.”

Michael Klassen, Strange Fire, Holy Fire

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11 thoughts on “Spiritual Authority

  1. Amen to both Mike Klassen and KB.

    Sidenote…this is the first time I’ve heard Mike Klassen’s name in years. I went to college with him and played the chapel worship team with him. Excellent violin player–apparently a good writer, too. :)

  2. Jeff you will really like his book. There is a website for it at Bethany House publishers. It has not been published yet. Funny that you know him.

  3. Good statement. Authority is not taken by the one in front, but granted by the one behind. Abraham Lincoln said, “No man is good enough to govern another man, without that others consent.” James Hunter, in his book The Servant, makes this point while espousing principles key to servant leadership. I believe that it takes a servant’s heart to understand, and choose to live out the truth of the quote. Thanks again Grace.

    Here is a link to The Servant on Amazon – http://www.amazon.com/Servant-Simple-Story-Essence-Leadership/dp/0761513698/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1223588793&sr=1-1

  4. bob,
    Very true. Too bad not everyone knows that.

    jeff,
    Interesting. Mike is in CO, so you could maybe look him up when you’re there.

    pastorgriffin,
    That looks interesting. It’s about time for a new type of leadership books, especially in the church.

    mark,
    It’s interesting that for the most part, people do tend to obey, submit, and follow. Not necessarily a bad thing unless it’s taken advantage of.

  5. A friend of mine says that no-one should be ‘leading’ God’s people who wants the job i.e. those with an obsessive ‘call’ to ministry!Plenty of Scriptural backing for that e.g. Moses,Elijah etc.I personally think that George Fox of the Quakers had it right – the Spirit within is our teacher and we should call no man Father,Rabbi etc as Jesus seemed to suggest.Folk with gifts to love the body of Christ with are brothers and sisters ,not ‘those in authority’.
    My thoughts anyway!

    Charlie

  6. “The choice of following a person belongs with you.”

    This sounds good, in isolation. But, consider real situations. Not following a leader, especially a chosen leader affirmed by others, has consequences. In a church, not playing the right politics affects ministries, participation, everything. So, what if we have good friends, good interactions in a church? The leader does something we vitally disagree with.

    Do we follow and maintain what we have or do we stand up and risk losing both our present and our future with that community?

    Prophets didn’t follow leaders. And they were isolated, rejected, sometimes killed.

    That’s sometimes the choice.

  7. The problem is putting the cart before the horse.Patrick you seem to suggest that a church is a group with an endorsed ‘leader’ – an offshoot of the Catholic way of doing church that the Reformers didn’t have the guts to ditch – I suppose they thought restoring justification by faith was a big enough break with the tradition.Frank Viola seems to suggest that not all New Testament churches had ‘elders’ at their initiation – he claims that when one follows the development of the Ephesian ecclesia that overseerers were not appointed for over 3 years.That seems to screw up and deconstuct our modernist definition of ‘church’.

    By the way exposing the stoning and killing of prophets is more defining to Christ’s revelation than we realise – see Rene Girard’s ‘I saw Satan Fall Like Lightning’

    Charlie

  8. charlie,
    I think we see leadership in the body of Christ, but it is amongst peers, submission and care is mutual, and gifts are for the purpose of serving and empowering others.

    patrick,
    Yes, in a given arena, the leader may have control. However, we always have the choice of whether to participate and follow. Admittedly, our choice may involve unpleasant or undesirable consequences. A lose/lose choice doesn’t always feel like a choice.

  9. We have as Christians always said we have free will but do not recognise the way we human beings operate – like lemmings we often follow a charismatic leader looking to obtain his metaphysical desire all at a subconscious level.When claiming to follow Christ we are in fact trying to suck spirituality out of someone gifted within the religious community.Only an experiential ‘conversion’ experience can short circuit our whole defective desire wiring within.Desire is then placed onto God and Christ where true freedom lies.Healthy teachers will reveal this desire problem to their ‘followers’ rather than hide it with the risk that the followers will no longer follow.We can see why this anthropological insight is not to popular in modern ‘churches’.
    Patrick I don’t think that anyone in the group is to ever exercise ‘control’ – in cults yes but Christ communities never.

    Charlie

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