Are authority and love mutually exclusive? Is “doing the loving thing” always accepting another persons choices and behaviour? Is there an authority that is greater than love? These questions are necessary to even understand what love is.
With respect to the authority of Scripture, the greatest challenge facing Bible-believing churches today is not the disbelief aimed at the Bible from outside the faith; nor is it the attack against it from unbelieving theologians cloaked with Christian terminology.
The greatest challenge facing Christians are pulpits where the inerrant Word is wholeheartedly affirmed but routinely side-stepped and ignored. If your preacher is not preaching the text, he is not preaching the Bible, and functionally denies its authority. It does little for the church to affirm the authority of the Scriptures, if the church’s preachers are not shaped by it. If the preachers and elders of the church are not fed on the Word of God, with what do they feed the sheep entrusted to them?
The Bible is probably more ignored than attacked in Canada today, and that probably goes for much of North America and the West. But when it is read, and read seriously, attempts to bring its teachings to real application is met with an incredulous hostility. It might seem that this is a contemporary problem, but it is quite old.
Consider this quote:
“It must be evident to all who pay close attention to the spiritual conditions of our day that there is being made at this time a very determined and widespread effort to set aside entirely the authority of the Bible. Let us note that one of the unique characteristics of that Book is that it claims the right to control the actions of men. It speaks “as one having authority.” It assumes, and in the most peremptory and uncompromising way, to rebuke men for misconduct, and to tell them what they shall do and what they shall not do. It speaks to men, not as from the human plane, or even from the standpoint of superior human wisdom and morality; but as from a plane far above the highest human level, and as with a wisdom which admits of no question or dispute from men. It demands throughout unqualified submission.
But this assumption of control over men is a direct obstacle to the democratic spirit of the times, which brooks no authority higher than that of “the people,” that is to say, of Man himself. To establish and to make universal the principles of pure democracy is the object, whether consciously or unconsciously, of the great thought-movements of our era; and the essence and marrow of democracy is the supreme authority of Man. Hence the conflict with the Bible.
Not only is the Bible, with its peremptory assertion of supremacy and control over mankind, directly counter to the democratic movement, but it is now the only real obstacle to the complete independence of humanity. If only the authority of the Scriptures be gotten rid of, mankind will have attained the long-coveted state of absolute independence, which is equivalent to utter lawlessness.”
The language, more complex than we’re used to, might give it away. It was written as a chapter in The Fundamentals, in 1909, by New York Attorney Philip Mauro. I quote it because it is so prescient to our own times. We humans make it our business to remove ourselves under the authority of Scripture, and replace it with the authority of the poll. We’ve been doing it a long time.
Mauro, Philip. Chapter VII: Life in the Word. Bellingham, WA: Logos Bible Software, 2005.