What Is Your Authority?

Dear Friend,

Have you ever paused to think about why you believe what you believe? What is the authority that you base your personal beliefs, your choices, and your values upon? What voices have caused you to hold the beliefs that you hold today?

For many, I’m sure they would say proudly that they are their OWN authority. They make up their own minds to feel a certain way about something, or believe certain things to be true. But when we look beneath the surface of such a self-reliant statement, we can see that these beliefs or values have come from somewhere or someone. Oprah Winfrey has been a good source of authority to a lot of people, with various new-age philosophies. Political party leaders have become an ever increasing source of authority to their constituents, who believe the “party line” is the absolute truth about what our values and choices should be. There are even a lot of professed Christians who try to be their own authority.

When a person believes that they are their own authority, what that really means is that they have decided to follow what sounds good to them at the time. If some new voice pops up and sets out some new philosophy that they like, they will try it and see if it “works for them” or not. I have seen this played out in the lives of some people – one moment they are excited about a new direction, the next time I see them they are disappointed because it didn’t lead to satisfaction, and the next time they have stumbled on something new and the cycle repeats over and over.

I believe that the Bible is the ultimate authority on life and how to live.

Unchurched folks usually dismiss the Bible as a source of authority due to misconceptions about what it is all about. Some believe that it is just a bunch of unscientific stories that only the most naive person could take seriously. Others see it as outdated for our modern world. Some have heard (and therefore believe) that it is full of contradictions. And many consider it too hard to read and understand to be of much use to them. None of these things are true.

The Bible sets out the story of God and man and it also gives us practical instructions and wisdom concerning how to live. Most importantly, the Bible teaches what is ultimately true about life and what is false. And on a personal note, although I am still learning more every day about what the Bible says about certain things, I have found it to be true in every single instance I have faced.

One of the things that tends to show the uniqueness of the Bible is how it has survived all the attacks thrown at it throughout history. Do you ever hear of people attacking the Qur’an or the Book of Mormon? Rarely, if ever. Certainly not with the venom directed at the Bible. One example of the power of this book to survive: the French Enlightenment writer and philospher Voltaire predicted that Christianity would be destroyed within 100 years of his lifetime and that the only place you would find a Bible would be in a museum. Within 50 years of his death in 1778, the Geneval Bible Society bought his home and used his own printing press to print Bibles.

I would challenge you to investigate the Bible more closely to see if it is the ultimate authority – the very Word of God. Here’s two resources to get you started:

“God Wrote a Book” by James MacDonald

“The Case For Christ” by Lee Strobel

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