example of religious and ecclesiological authority in the scriptures thesis

Example Of Religious And Ecclesiological Authority In The Scriptures Thesis


Authority is a crucial theme in the Christian faith as it plays an indispensable part to its authentic transmission. It determines the credibility of the teacher as well as the validity and acceptability of the teachings. In systematic theology, authority distinguishes between the sound Christian theology and the dangerous heretical ones. In the life of the Church, it is authority that provides stability of community life, confidence in the authenticity of the teachings received, and the confidence of the strength of the Christian witness to those who still do not believe. In fact, doubt in authority can bring an unprecedented crisis to the Church and can undermine the mission that Jesus had set her out to perform in this world (Bokenkotter 88).
Although certain elements remained, the tone and nature of authority from the Old Testaments may have changed radically in response to the unavoidable changes in the world and the conditions it was to be exercised. For instance, the post-deluge time of Abraham comprised primarily of God’ s distance from mankind except with certain select descendants of Adam, such as Noah, the grandfather of Abraham. Even the spiritual story of Terah, the father of Abram, did not prominently distinguish itself in the Book of Exodus. Except for the flood, few miracles happened and manifestations of God occurred before the time of Abraham. God started to be more manifest beginning with Abraham.
This thesis will attempt to understand the nature of authority, their commonalities and changes, during the four crucial moments in the salvation history and the establishment of the Kingdom of God as recorded in the Christian Bible: the call of Abraham (Genesis 12. 1-8); the acknowledgement of Moses (Exodus 19. 9); the baptism of Jesus (Matthew 3. 16-17), and; the descent of the Holy Spirit among the Apostles (Acts 2 . 1-4).

Abrahamic Authority

Yahweh said to Abram, ‘ Leave your country, your family and your father’ s house, for the land I will show you So Abraham went as Yahweh told him. (He) passed through the land as far as Shechem’ s holy place, the Oak of Moreh (where) Yahweh appeared to Abraham So Abraham built there an altar for Yahweh who appeared to him. (Genesis 12. 1, 4, 6-8).
The spiritual authority of Abraham did not flow from any ecclesial membership or intent. He was neither a priest nor a king. He was a simple child of a son of Noah, the post-Flood Adam, who shepherded the sheep given to him by his father. He was not even a father of children because his wife Sarai was barren until old age. What was special with Abraham was God’ s plan to reveal himself to Abraham, lead Abraham and his family away from his father, and promised him a land for his own and the fatherhood to all nations even before he had a son. Like his grandfather Noah, his obedience to the will of God was beyond reproach. God brought him and his kin wherever God wanted them to be. God even asked him to sacrifice his only son Isaac, the son of his old age. And, Abraham never complained.
Abraham’s total obedience to God became the gold standard of faith that the people of Israel, except those in his bloodline like Isaac and Jacob, found very difficult to follow in a sustainable manner. Even after God rescued them from the cruelty of the Pharaoh through Moses, they continued to rebel against God’s will, seeking to insist their own. This rebelliousness had been the life story of Israel, which many times angered God. Only a uniquely select bloodline of Abraham succeeded in keeping their faith in God at all times.
The ecclesial history began not with Abraham per se. He wrote no law unlike Moses. Except for certain traditions received from his forefathers (e.g. circumcision, burnt offering), Abraham had no conception of what a church means. His contribution to the ecclesial history is not its foundation but the setting of a faithful standard of obedience to God.

Mosaic Authority

Yahweh said to Moses, ‘I am coming to you in a dense cloud so that the people may hear when I speak to you and may trust you always’ (Exodus 19.9).
The installation of Moses both as a prophet and the national leader of Israel established for the first time the priestly office under Levi and the teaching structure in the transmission of divine revelation through Moses. In effect, Moses, not Abraham, may be considered as the owner of Judaism, the writer of its laws and regulations via an explicit involvement of God, plus initiator of the particular ecclesial history. This particular structure later very own will find the way, in the largely modified way, within the then modern Judaism, in the particular early Christian Cathedral and in decades to come afterwards.
The Mosaic authority had the cultic status not really seen among prophets because, within the Aged Testament aside from the particular patriarchs, only he or she spoke with Our god in person, in person (Dozeman 37; Amounts 34. 10). Following the death of Moses at Mount Nebo in the property of Moab, the particular face-to-face revelation associated with God to the prophet also finished.

Divine Specialist through the Son

As soon since Jesus was baptized he came upward from the drinking water, and suddenly the particular heaven opened plus he saw the particular Spirit of Our god descending just like a dove and decreasing upon him. Plus a tone of voice spoke from bliss, ‘ This really is our Son, the Dearest; my favor sets on him’ (Matthew 3. 16-17; Tag 1. 10-11; cf. Luke 3. 21-22).
Unlike Luke’ s Gospel, Matthew’ s account associated with the event, which usually corresponds with that will of Mark, informed of God the particular Father addressing their acknowledgement of Jesus’ sonship towards the group. This approach magnifying wall mount mirror the divine acceptance of Moses within Mount Sinai at the outset of his work since the religious head of Israel within Exodus 19. nine. This means that that each Matthew and Tag had in brain Christianized Jews intended for their respective gospels. Matthew had their direct authority associated with witness as a good Apostle and Tag acquired the authority as well as the audience of Philip whom he followed as an interpreter in Rome (The Jerusalem Bible NT5). Luke, who followed Paul and acquired his authority, concentrated on what produced sense to the particular Gentiles: inner watching of the O Spirit’ s motion within them; hence, the acknowledgement associated with God directed in order to Jesus himself. In the Mosaic account, God’ s act associated with witnessing is important towards the acceptance associated with the Jews associated with a messenger or even a prophet. It is definitely a ritual that will the Jews realized and expected. For your Gentiles, whose expertise and encounter along with God emerged off their encounter of personal in God (Acts 8. 27-28; ten. 1-8), understood much better the unique accounts of Luke upon the event (Bacon 283).
Further than all that, the particular acknowledgement of Christ reflected the Trinitarian existence of The almighty in the Dad, within the Holy Heart (in the type of a dove), and in the particular Son, which is definitely Jesus. In every this particular, the authority emerged from the Dad. The acknowledgement associated with Christ’ s power was the summit associated with God’ s watching for the messenger (cf. Matthew 28. 18). On this occasion he delivered his only Kid to determine the Empire of God outdoors the restrictive laws and regulations of Judaism plus prepare for the spread to the particular whole world plus fulfill God’ s i9000 promise to Abraham.

Divine Power with the Holy Spirit

When the Pentecost day came about, that they had all fulfilled in a single room, whenever suddenly they noticed what sounded such as a powerful breeze from heaven, the particular noise which loaded the entire home in which they were seated; and something appeared to them that seemed like tongues of fire; these separated and came to rest on the head of each of them. They were filled up with the Holy Spirit and began to speak foreign languages since the Nature gave them the gift of talk (Acts 2 . 1-4).
Before ascending to the Father, Jesus informed the Apostles that the Holy Spirit will certainly grant them energy and authority to witness and spread the good thing “ to the ends of the earth” (Acts 1. 8). This universality of scope for the Kingdom of God will certainly be accomplished via the Holy Nature. God as Nature will bring to mankind the nearness of the presence of God and his power (Pinnock 24, 9).
It is important to notice that this authority had been granted only on the core group of the Twelve (with Matthias added to replace Judas) and several women, including Jane (the mother of Jesus) and his kin (Acts 1. 12-14); not to the congregation of one hundred and twenty to which Peter spoke in Acts 1. 15-26 during the election of Matthias to apostleship. Except for the outpouring of the Holy Nature, the teaching and ecclesial authority in the early Christian church likened to that of the priestly ministry in the desert with Moses since the head and prophet. This distinction, however , plays a central part in the succession of authority within the Church, which is usually granted through the laying of hands by the Apostles and their successors (Acts 6. 6). To this day, the Roman Church (Romans 1. 7), your head Chapel of what is right now legally called the Roman Catholic Apostolic Chapel, continued to practice the drawing of plenty as the way of choice in the choice of the successor of Peter, the Pope (Acts 1. 26).


The Abrahamic religious authority rested primarily upon his patristic leadership over his kin with respect to the customs inherited from his forebears (e. gary the gadget guy. burnt offerings, circumcision). When God started to manifest in the life of Abraham, no modifications in these methods occurred, other than a new direction that God invited Abraham to adhere to in obedience to divine will. Ecclesiology in its usual form existed not. Organized religious life, intertwined using the communitarian lifestyle, began with the endowment of prophetic and cultic expert over Moses in Mount Sinai. Via the centuries, this Mosaic ecclesiology developed into the form existing in Judaism at the time of Jesus.
The ministry of Jesus, however, developed from the formal Judaistic ecclesial framework into a small church with its ritual breaking of the bread, very much like any Jewish family at that time, with Jesus as the center of divine expert, not as a mere prophet like Moses, but because the messenger Child of God who was also the expiatory victim. As the following increased from the time of Jesus’ ascension, the Apostles received the authority of the Holy Spirit because the foundation and reason for their own unending mission to win the nations of the world.
The change in authority, from the patristic one of Abraham to the universal authority of the Holy Spirit exercised through the Church, brought God’ s promise to the patriarchs into fulfillment as the Kingdom of God penetrated all the nations on earth. It also changed biblical theology, which focused on a small chosen people of God, into the expansive mission for all people on earth as God draws all mankind to him like a hen drawing back within her wings all the scattered chickens all over the world.
These changes in biblical conception of authority invite Christians to two important points of life. First, being Christian is to live in an universal siblinghood to all people of different races, culture, and religious beliefs. Christianity is to be in community with mankind. Second, God had always wanted his children to be one as the Trinity is one.

Works Cited

Bacon, Benjamin Wisner. “ Jesus, the Son of God. ” Harvard Theological Review, 1909 Jul., 2
(3): 277-309. PDF file.
Bokenkotter, T. Essential Catholicism: Dynamics of Faith and Belief. New York: Doubleday
Dell Publishing Group, Inc., 1986. Print.
Dozeman, Thomas B. “ Masking Moses and the Mosaic Authority in Torah. ” Journal of
Biblical Literature, 2000: 21-45. PDF file.
Pinnock, Clark H. Flame of Love: A Theology of the Holy Spirit. Downers Grove, IL: Inter
Varsity Press, 1996. Print.
The Jerusalem Bible. Ed. Alexander Jones. London and New York: Darton, Longman &
Todd, Ltd. and Doubleday & Company, Inc., 1966. Print.

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