Systematic Theology – Authority
Authority – Primary and Secondary.
Professor: Rushdoony Dr. R.J.R.
[Rushdoony] Let us worship God. Our help is in the name of the Lord who made heaven and earth. Oh come let us worship and bow down, let us kneel before the Lord our maker; for He is our God and we are the people of His pasture, and the sheep of His hand. Let us pray.
Oh Lord our God we give thanks unto Thee, for the freedom with which Thou hast blessed us in the years past. Give us grace and mercy and strength that we might pass on to those to come a like heritage. That we might cleanse this land of ungodliness, that we might again be a free people in Jesus Christ. Bless us through Thy word and by Thy Spirit. Make us strong in Thee to the destroying of the things that are against Thee and the establishing of Thy kingdom from pole to pole. Bless us to this purpose in Jesus name, amen.
Before we work, we pray.
I especially like this prayer, as the prayer leads us to thank God for his blessings and gifts, and then asks Him to use us to cleanse this land of ungodliness, making the way for more blessings, more liberty, more prosperity, and more peace.
Make us strong in Thee to the destroying of the things that are against Thee and the establishing of Thy kingdom from pole to pole. Bless us to this purpose in Jesus name, amen.
There can be no peace between the Children of God and the Children of Satan.
But – excluding self-defence – our weapons are not carnal, but spiritual. And even physical weapons can only be used in a lawful and spiritual fashion, and not in any rebellious or lawless manner.
The world is not shaped by money, or by guns, but by ideas. We have the powerful ideas we need in the Bible: We need to welcome and listen to and obey the Holy Spirit in guiding us to use those ideas to reshape the world, to bring it into submission before Jesus Christ, King of Kings.
It’s time for the Good Guys to WIN.
And for the Good Guys to Win, we must master and use well our tool of victory, the Law-Word of God.
For the Good Guys to Win, the Bad Guys must LOSE.
Conservatives believe that money controls the world. I think ideas control the world.
Money subsidizes one or another idea, but ideas are the key to social change. What people believe makes the big difference. There are conspiratorial groups that fund one or another conspiratorial agenda, but they cannot get anywhere politically if the agenda is out of sync with what the vast majority of voters believe.
The vast majority of voters believe in compulsory education, compulsory vaccination, and the government’s right to stick a gun in your belly. That is the problem. Gates is not the problem. Gates is a nerd who sends a few million dollars a year to lots of non-profit foundations. He occasionally gives a speech. But conspiracy-minded conservatives believe that their problem is not the vast majority of American voters’ confidence in compulsion. They believe that the American voters have been misled by a tiny conspiracy of rich people. If they can just expose this or that rich person as the man behind this or that compulsory program, they believe that the vast majority of Americans will wake up, throw the political rascals out, shrink the government, and vote Republican next time.
The main reason why conservatives are rallying to fight the compulsory vaccinations is this: the stakes are low. Where the stakes are high is in the realm of tax-funded education. The conservatives have never been willing to pay the price on this issue. They will fight on any issue except this one. This one would impose serious costs on their lifestyles. They are not about to pay those costs.If Bill Gates Is the #1 Influence Behind the Vaccines, Then Trump Is His Lackey
We will never win if we are not willing to pay the price for victory.
We carry the keys of heaven and earth. What we bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and what we loose on earth shall be loosed in heaven.
We must change, if we are to be worthy servants, filled with Divine Wisdom and Authority, able to bind the evil Strong Men, who stand against Lord Jesus Christ.
We must be worthy servants, in God’s eyes. Or else.
Our scripture is from the gospel according to Matthew, the fifteenth chapter verse one through nine. Our subject, authority primary and secondary, authority primary and secondary Matthew 15: 1- 9
“1Then came to Jesus scribes and Pharisees, which were of Jerusalem, saying,
2 Why do Thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? For they wash not their hands when they eat bread.
3 But he answered and said unto them, why do ye also transgress the commandment of God by your tradition?
4 For God commanded, saying, honor thy father and mother: and, He that curseth father or mother, let him die the death.
5 But ye say, whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, It is a gift, by whatsoever thou mightest be profited by me;
6 And honor not his father or his mother, he shall be free. Thus have ye made the commandment of God of none effect by your tradition.
7 Ye hypocrites, well did Esaias prophesy of you, saying,
8 This people draweth nigh unto me with their mouth, and honoreth me with their lips; but their heart is far from me.
9 But in vain they do worship me, teaching for doctrines the commandments of men.
The word authority has been in disrepute for many, many generations. This should not surprise us. Man having rebelled against God’s authority is certainly going to rebel authority in any human sphere. He will not be inclined to respect man’s, having rejected God’s authority. A couple of centuries the liberal Anglican Bishop Hoadly said, and I quote “Authority is the greatest and the most irreconcilable enemy to truth and argument that this world ever furnished. All the sophistry, all the color of plausibility, all the artifice and cunning of the subtlest disputer of the world may be laid open and turned to the advantage of that very truth which they are designed to hide. But against authority there is no defense.” What we must say is that Hoadly had reference not to true authority but to man’s authoritarianism. Men have authoritarian pretensions that is a part of man’s sin to be as God.
To change the world for the better, we must again expand humility in the church, as Christ was humble. We are not to be power-seeking authoritarians. The world has enough of that poison in the parliaments and the government offices and the hospitals of the world.
We are called to lead the world to a more godly place. Not some mass prison or powerless playpen, “for your own good” and “for your own safety”.
Now in the history of the church the question of authority has never been a simple one. Two extremes have plagued the church, and we have touched on these before. First, there has been the insistence on the authentication of God’s word and authority by the church. The church says “we are the authenticating institution.” The danger in this is the tendency to exalt the church into a central position. Our Lord refers to the problem of humanistic authoritarianism in the Sermon on the Mount when He speaks concerning false swearing and says that they are not to swear by heaven or earth, the temple, or anything else. This he says is false swearing “Thou shalt not foreswear thyself” you shall not swear falsely. But he does not condemn legitimate oaths; he says “perform unto the Lord thine oaths.” What He is saying is when men swear by the temple or by anything other than God they are placing a man evaluated authority above God; so that if we swear by any other thing than God, we have given something on the human scene greater authority. But God is greater than Jerusalem, the temple, and heaven and earth. Nothing can be above God to validate His self-authenticating word.
Then second as we have also seen we have had an instance on authentication by religious experience. This is similar to authentication by the church in that there is an implicit humanism in both. But authentication is not in man, nor in an institution but from God himself. We can say that both these positions have a measure of truth, but not as authentication or verification but as acts of submission.
Only after we place ourselves at the feet of Christ, to serve His utterly and completely, will we find the world at our feet… willingly.
We must lead the way in this.
Now secondary authorities are very real, they are God ordained and they are important. But when secondary authorities whether it be in the form of the church, the state, the family, or anything else, gain too much authority then you have a false center in society which begins to warp man in society. Then too authority begins to break down because the ultimate source is not given priority. There is no lack of authoritarianism in our world today of a humanistic sort, whether in this country or in the Soviet Union, but it is destroying true authority.
Now our Lord dealt with this problem very, very realistically. And in our text Matthew 15 verses 1-9 he deals with the traditions of the elders which had become governing and binding. And our Lord calls this transgression, it is a transgression he says of commandment of God, it goes hand in hand with vain worship. It puts man at a distance from God, and its purpose is to nullify God’s law, not to support it.
This business of placing the traditions of men above the commandments of God is insane, depraved demonism.
It’s also extremely widespread, and hard to root out.
But… root it out we must from out own hearts and minds, if we are to expand Christ’s Kingdom in this world, in our lives.
Now Protestants normally do not use the word tradition but they have developed their own concept of it. It is called depending upon the communion Presbyterian law, The Baptist way, Lutheranism, Congregationalism, or what have you. Every doctrine of tradition technically is subordinate to scripture. But in practice it is often the governing day by day power, and the result is that you have throughout the history of the faith a conflict between the primary word of God, the authority of God, and secondary words or authorities of men. This is what Phariseeism was about, and this is why our Lord so thoroughly condemned Phariseeism. We would have to say that the Pharisees really were a superior group of people, intellectually and morally there was probably no one in the world of their day, whether in Judea or outside of Judea on a level with the Pharisees.
Let me immediately repeat this part:
Every doctrine of tradition technically is subordinate to scripture. But in practice it is often the governing day by day power, and the result is that you have throughout the history of the faith a conflict between the primary word of God, the authority of God, and secondary words or authorities of men.
Such stubborn old lies, stubborn old men tell.
It’s time to return to the original authority, the Word of God, and to cast away all the fake imitations.
After we have cleaned our house, then we can clean the world. Not before.
And to do this in a meaningful manner, we must welcome, be filled with, and be directed by the Holy Spirit.
Not by the will of powerful men… or even pious men.
Only the Will of God will do.
Now there is no question that the sayings of the fathers often embody very sound insights into the faith; but there is no question also that they very often alter the faith and give you an interpretation which is made more binding than the very word of God. The crippling fact about tradition is that it makes appeal to authority much more difficult. The appeal to God’s is to what is written. The rise and appeal of modernism, Jewish, Catholic, and Protestant has been in part, in part not entirely, due to the revolt against oppressive tradition that stifles a faith.
With the latest outbreak of modernism leading to the house arrest, destruction of the livelihoods of, mass censorship, and mandated/forced vaccination (with such vaccines being demonstrably worthless)… I have a suspicion that the Words of the Elders are going to start making a comeback. Slowly at first, then with greater force as such fiascos become more common, and even more destructive than they are today.
Christians must follow the example of Jesus, greeting such traditions with a spiked baseball bat. A stout bit of lead piping will also do…
Now the reliance of secondary authorities on tradition is very serious. This is why our Lord had to attack it. He attacked the tradition of the elders in the name of the very word of God. He said you have made the word of God, the commandments of God, of none effect by your tradition. You have overturned the very intent of the law by your interpretation of the law. So that where the law says honor thy father and thy mother as you interpret it you use it to dishonor your parents and gain religious credit for doing so.
It takes a good reason for Jesus to reach – and use – that baseball bat.
Perversion, twisting, corrupting, defiling, nullifying the Law-Word of God… this is sufficient reason to reach for that spiked bat.
The essence of a Biblical faith is a continual reformation in terms of God’s word, in terms of Christ’s commission. And so those areas of Christendom that have been most vital are those areas where people have regularly challenged on Biblical grounds the authority of men. The traditions of the church, and have worked to create and ongoing developing faith in terms of God’s authority and word. One of the very interesting aspects of this fact in the history of the church and to the best of my knowledge no-one has ever made a study of it. In fact I don’t think a single study could be made, it would have to be first of all extensive research into primary sources and books written about one period after another until the data is brought it light. But the truth of it I think was well summarized by one historian, Charles T. Wood in his book The Quest for Eternity, Medieval Manners and Moral and this is what he wrote “diverse in there origins as these movement for reform may have been, they displayed striking similarities all of which shed light both on the problems and mentality of the age. Nearly every monastery, note that, nearly every monastery for example owed its foundation or reformation not to the zeal of monks, but rather to the interest and encouragement of some lay patron, such as Duke William the 6th of Aquitaine who granted Cluny’s original charter. “From the universalities of this phenomenon the extent to which the laity have succeeded in seizing control of the church apparent”. Notice his comment, the universality of this phenomenon. No church history speaks of this, either with regard to the medieval church or the church since then. But it is a fact, reform has usually come because people in the pew have gotten fed up with the authoritarianism of the church.
Moreover the interesting thing is that whenever this has taken place the laymen have not sought to retain control. I submit that if this were studied the indications are, this is equally been true, in the history of the university. The reform and the progress whenever it is occurred in the life of the university has come from outside pressures and demands. The same has been true of professional schools so that the reforms there too have usually come from the outside. We could say with little fear of contradiction that the same has been true of civil government. Reforms in civil government have not come from those in power in the bureaucracy but only from pressures as people grow weary and indignant of the status quo.
Interestingly, the common folk are willing to stand up against the successor priesthood, the medical establishment.
Good to see. But we need more of this.
In the meantime… the utter powerless and irrelevancy of the Christian Church points to a utterly powerless and irrelevant priesthood/pastorate. Such a powerless church can only be led by men who utterly despise God’s Law-Word, and would much rather bend the knee before powerful men who hate God, instead of bending the knee before the Living God that they quietly, but deeply, also hate.
Men who actually root themselves in and live out the Word of God are going to be powerful men, whose word and teaching are feared and dreaded by the Ruling Class across the West… not laughed at and pointedly ignored, as it is this day.
The Outer Enemy and the Inner Enemy work hand-on-hand, against the Law they both hate with limitless intensity.
But God is not deceived, and all shall receive their fitting reward… and not just in the afterlife, either.
And the reward for the implicitly treasonous ‘Servants of Christ’ will be much harsher than for those atheists and unbelievers who openly scoff at God and His Law.
“Not everyone who says to me, ‘Lord, Lord,’ will enter the kingdom of heaven, but the one who does the will of my Father who is in heaven. On that day many will say to me, ‘Lord, Lord, did we not prophesy in your name, and cast out demons in your name, and do many mighty works in your name?’ And then will I declare to them, ‘I never knew you; depart from me, you workers of lawlessness.’Matthew 7:21-23, English Standard VErsion
God has no time for law-hating men. God sends them to Hell… and later, the Lake of Fire.
And as we are judged according to knowledge, those who knew God’s Word best — and still turned their back to Him, instead of repenting — will be judged with additional severity and stripes.
In fact one could say that we are in every area in a worse state now than in the past because the lay element until of late has been quiet. Why? Because of the tyranny of experts, because of the widespread belief that specialists know it all and therefore the thing to do is to leave it to the specialists whether in church or state or school or elsewhere. The arrogance of the specialists has been so great that in recent years we have had educators, for example, saying that no parent should ever attempt to help the child because this would tamper with the educational process. Well since they sold people that bill of goods these experts, these specialists, have produced the highest rate of illiteracy in the history of the United States; and they are doing the same thing elsewhere.
The tyranny of the experts has peaked, and is now coming to an end.
The war is not over, not by quite a bit. But the Experts and the Elites are on the losing side, and they know it.
Christians must build multiple groups of Skilled Servants to replace the Above-the-Law Masters. We are not to create another set of power-seeking guilds or priesthoods, but groups that anyone can freely join or leave, and — note this — has NO special protection or licenses from the State.
There should be no special Hidden Knowledge that sets them apart from, and superior to, the “inferior commoners”, either.
Now this is what our Lord is talking about, the traditions of men, the traditions of an ongoing element which is in control; the specialists who feel that wisdom was born with them, as Job said, and no one else has a pipe-line to God or the truth except themselves. The simple fact is that human authorities tend to make of themselves idols. Pharisees then and now are very prone to an idolatry which makes man his own God. Man is a sinner, and the redeemed are not free from sin and we cannot overweight the human factor. Human authoritarianism is an enemy to God’s authority. God says in the Ten Commandments “Thou shalt have no other gods before me” and this very definitely includes us and our institutions. Our age is an age which is very much enamored of man and of his authority.
Time to chop our household idols down, and toss it into the furnace.
Before God does it for us… and flings us into the furnace, along with the delusions we had foolishly placed above the God of the Living.
Once our fake household gods have been chopped up, it will prove to be MUCH easier to break apart the idols of our culture.
Paul says of the ministers of Christ “let a man so account of us as of the ministers of Christ and stewards of the mysteries of God. Moreover it is required of stewards that a man be found faithful.” Wherever there is a human authority there is accountability, and when human authorities forget the fact of accountability to God for every idle word they go astray. I’m not particularly fond of Dante but I think he had a sound insight when he peopled hell with authorities in church and state who had made their words, their will, ultimate. At that point his insight was sound. It is required in stewards that a man be found faithful. Let us pray.
Oh Lord our God Thy word is truth and Thy word speaks to our every condition. Give us grace day by day to be faithful stewards in our calling; recognizing the absoluteness of Thy authority, Thy demands of us, and the necessity that we be found faithful. Bless us in Thy service, in Jesus name amen.
As God’s authority is absolute, there can be no absolute authority that is clothed with sinful flesh.
Powerful men must be held accountable: that is, lawfully punished when they violate the commandments of God.
So long as Christians hate, despise, and loathe the Commandments, we will not be fit to judge our oppressors, and we will continue to be ground down under their heels.
When we repent of our own wickedness and lawlessness, then our rise to positions of authority will be unstoppable.
God demands this. Therefore, it shall be done.
If not by our faithless (and, therefore, worthless and powerless) generation, then by a future, faithful one, filled with the commanding authority of the Holy Spirit.
In Christ’s Name, Amen.