Authority, Schmifority

BibleThere’s a level of autonomy a single woman can feel in her life; there’s a sense of it in mine. I don’t have to check with anyone when I want to leave the house to spend a day of quiet solitude at Panera Bread; I don’t have to filter my finances through anyone else’s budgeting system; I can drop everything and leave town for the weekend at a moment’s notice; I can even write “zero” where it asks me the numbers of dependents I have on my tax returns.

Yet, with all this freedom and seeming autonomy, a question comes to my mind that demands an answer. “Am I truly free of authority in my life?” I’m not talking about, can I go 90 mph down the interstate, or tell off my teachers at school. I don’t think anyone would argue that those aren’t authorities in my life, especially since the city of Fort Worth and their automated light enforcement office reminded me how much authority that they have in my life just this week. But, is there a greater sanction? Is there something higher or greater in my world that I must give an account to? Is there something else that I should be gauging my decisions off of?

Yes. Unequivocally yes. To quote Dr. Dorothy Patterson, “Scripture must be my ultimate trump.” It must be the measure I filter all my decisions through.

And yet, so often there is an inconsistency with our approach to God’s Word. So often we come at it like we come to a lunch line at Old China Buffet! “I like this. Don’t like that. Want this. Pass by that.” Until at the end of the line, we look at our plates and have a garbled mess of what resembles five courses. Scripture is not for the smorgasbord belief system, picking and choosing what we want to have as a ruling force in our lives. On the contrary, Scripture must be our ultimate trump!

I have seen many come to the Word in this way, picking and choosing what they wanted to take as authoritative, and dismissing the rest categorizing it as culturally irrelevant. Situational ethics and emotions are key aspects in this way of thinking and this is where I would say that Scripture must be our trump.

Either God’s Word is authoritative and true ENTIRELY or it’s not. You can’t have it both ways. You cannot claim that a wife does not need to be submissive to her husband (Eph 5:22) because Paul was addressing a cultural issue of his day and with the same breath demand that children be obedient to their parents (Eph 6:1) because the Bible says so. Both of these charges are found only a few verses away from each other in our Bible, and they definitely find themselves in the exact same culture when Paul penned them. So how can we confirm the latter as a governing principle in our Christian society if we’re throwing the first out with a cultural-context stamp on it? Hermeneutically speaking, the meaning of a text never changes, whereas the significance of it can. I will always come to Ephesians 5 and see a lining up of leadership roles. As a woman coming to Ephesians 5, I find differing significance than a man coming to this passage. For him, there is much more responsibility found in his role. Likewise when looking at 1 Tim 2:9 – 15, we cannot say that now women are allowed to be the spiritual leader of men and over them in the church (1 Tim 2:12), but still be warning against false prophets (1 Tim 1), having only one mediator between man and God (1 Tim 2:5), respecting our elders (1 Tim 5:1-2), and fighting the good fight (1 Tim 6:12). Either Scripture IS God’s Word and we obey it-in its entirety-or we don’t. God’s Word is either above culture and therefore timeless resulting in all of Scripture being authoritative in our lives or it is to be understood within the context of its culture and therefore fluctuates in applicability resulting in a relativistic approach to Christianity. But you can’t have it both ways. You can’t pick and choose what you want truth to be. Scripture MUST be our ultimate trump!

So as women, single or married, there is one ultimate trump card that God plays in our life – His Word. But to say this is not the hard part. It’s easy to say it’s authoritative. To say otherwise is clearly unbiblical and I would never want to be unbiblical, right? However, I would submit to you that the HARD PART is to live like Scripture will trump every THING in our lives; It trumps every want, every desire, every goal, every role, every purpose, every culture, every emotion! It is the how that authority plays out in our lives that is the dividing line. We must decide! When our culture says it’s ok to “abort” a child before it is born, where will we stand? When society displays such acceptance and tolerance in the homosexual movement, where will we stand? When a woman can lead a congregation and open God’s Word, expounding on all that she finds, shepherding His Church because our culture has put their stamp of approval on it, where will we stand? DOES God’s Word trump everything else or doesn’t it? We must choose NOW where we will stand in this struggle!! So when we come to passages that we don’t fully comprehend, this standard drives us to a deeper study of the Word and a further dependence on the Holy Spirit’s guidance instead of throwing out the very catalyst God wants to use to draw us closer. Let us realize that ALL of Scripture is peremptory. Period.

Scripture IS our ultimate trump!


6 thoughts on “Authority, Schmifority

  1. Great thoughts … The bottom line must always be the Word of God. And, of course, to know God’s Word and what it really DOES say, you must study it, which is what you all are doing!
    Praise the Lord for young women who are committed to doing it God’s way. You will, of course, spend a lifetime learning to do that … and learning to do it better. Then, there is the whole “being” thing! And, of course, God is far more interested in what we ARE than what we DO … and the doing comes out of the being! That’s for another day! Keep up the good work, and keep you eyes on HIM!

  2. i love that you wrote on this. i am so tired when i question something to someone to get the answer that it is and or was cultural in that time. i am always like its either true or it isnt… i love that you wrote that…
    what would the purpose of the Bible be to us and wouldnt of God of known we would be reading it in our time. if He wanted it to be changed for 2009 he would of stated so.
    my question even though small to you is…in the new testament it speaks of a women wearing a covering on her head when she enters a “church” or she shames herself. what is your take on that. ive gotten the infamous it was cultural in that time or a personal favorite if thats what the Holy Spirit is telling you then do it…i want to know the TRUTH! it either shames me and all women or it does not…which is it?!
    again…i loved this post!

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