Real Authority vs. Fiat Authority To Persuade or Domineer?

by | Oct 2, 2018 | Master, All, No Neutrality


Jason Sanchez


All authority has been given to Christ as King, and He has commissioned us as ambassadors to go and teach the nations all He has commanded, we must also ask ourselves how do we do this? Is it by command? Or by persuasion?



To Persuade or Domineer?

Real Authority vs. Fiat Authority

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we PERSUADE men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.
(II Corinthians 5:11)

God calls all men everywhere to repent and believe in the good news of King Jesus and His Kingdom. Jesus who has all authority in heaven and on earth has given His ambassadors a Great Commission to teach and persuade mankind of this truth. The truth that all are guilty before a holy God, and enslaved to their sin. That through the perfect obedience of Christ and His death at the cross we can be set free from sin, death, and the dominion of man, as we are placed under the authority of King Jesus, by the power of the Holy Spirit who has been given to reside in His blood bought image bearers as the seat of self-government, through the lens of His holy law-word. Through the sanctifying work of the Holy Spirit we are then given the ability to obey, without compulsion or the domineering hand of man, and to judge all things ethically and judicially. As sons and daughters of the King, as the royal priesthood, the authority of Jesus Christ has been extended to us. Not so we can domineer and lord over other image-bearers as the pagans do, but so we can persuade mankind knowing the fear the Lord which is the beginning of wisdom and knowledge.

Since all authority flows from Christ through the Holy Spirit, which indwells each and every redeemed saint, we have the mind of Christ, and are empowered to judge all things using his law-word as the mediator between man and man. This ensures all redeemed image-bearers equal footing in regards to the ability to discern, and make decisions in life that are glorifying to God. This is where the right and duty to private judgment, which was one of the main catalysts of the protestant reformation, comes from.

The indwelling Holy Spirit in every believer is the guide for each covenant keeper. He is the one that will teach us all things (John 14:26). In contrast, those who are in rebellion against King Jesus and still enslaved to their sin, seek to dominate and rule over other men and women as they continue to act epistemologically self-consciously as usurpers of King Jesus. Those with the most strength will sacrifice the weaker vessel in their desire for power. They seek not to persuade but to domineer, command, and control others. This is the antithesis to the example that Jesus Christ gave us and explained to his disciples in Matthew 20:25-28

25 But Jesus called them to Himself and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and [their] great men exercise authority over them.
26 “It is not this way among you, but whoever wishes to become great among you shall be your servant,
27 and whoever wishes to be first among you shall be your slave;
28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many.”

Pagans seek to lord authority over others, while King Jesus’ ambassadors will seek to serve, persuade and teach others as they fulfill the Great Commission in every area of life. This is exercising authority and leading by example, and not by compulsion. This is how we are to persuade pagans to repent and believe, to be freed from sin and the dominion of man, and join the ranks of the priesthood of all believers.

Remnants of paganism infiltrate the covenant community when professing Christians have a domineering and controlling view of authority. They do this by carrying into their relationships the pagan mindset of placing other image bearers under their dominion, when the only dominion we should be under is that of the Holy Spirit, who has the seat of authority in each believer. In essence, these Christians, who still think like pagans in this area, usurp the position of the Holy Spirit as the Vicar of Christ in the world.

This is an important point in the conversation over biblical authority that has been missed. We have glossed over what biblical authority encompasses and how someone in authority is to lead. When it comes to a relationship between a husband and a wife, some have assumed that the husband is the authority based solely on his ontology and he has a command control role over his wife. There is the assumption that he has the power of “the final say”.

Again they discard the position of the Holy Spirit as the Vicar of Christ in the world.

How can it be that a husband and wife, who God has joined together as one, cannot talk things through to a resolution where they can both agree? Remember they both have the Holy Spirit abiding in them as the seat of authority, and the law-word of God as the lamp unto their feet. Is the Holy Spirit divided? Does the husband have more of the Holy Spirit than the wife? Or are the husband and wife supposed to complement each other in wisdom and knowledge according to their Spirit-given gifts towards making decisions in the home that glorify God? The husband and wife should complement each other as wise counselors, as co-laborers in the vineyard of God, both having equal authority because they are both in-dwelt by the Holy Spirit and are both part of the priesthood of all believers. The right and duty of private judgment does not end in the marriage covenant, nor does the marriage covenant end in the home, but it is to extend into the culture as the two-become-one fight the evils of our age.

So when we rightly understand all authority has been given to Christ as King, and He has commissioned us as ambassadors to go and teach the nations all He has commanded, we must also ask ourselves how do we do this? Is it by command? Or by persuasion? We already know by the words of Jesus in the Great Commission that our mission is didactic (to teach) others to obey God’s law-word and the good news of the Kingdom.

So again the question is how do we go about teaching the nations and exercising the authority we have been given by extension, in the different spheres of influence God has providentially placed us in? Is it by domineering command? Or by persuasion?

Paul in II Corinthians 5:11 says that we are to persuade men.

Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we PERSUADE men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.

The greek word translated “Persuade” is
πείθω [PEI/QW] {peíthō} \pi’-tho\
a primary verb; to convince (by argument, true or false); by analogy, to pacify or conciliate (by other fair means); reflexively or passively, to assent (to evidence or authority), to rely (by inward certainty):–agree, assure, believe, have confidence, be (wax) conflent, make friend, obey, persuade, trust, yield.

πείθω is used 55 times in the New Testament and is translated into the following words:

-Persuade 23
-Trust 10
-Confidence 9
-Obey 6
-Believe 4
-Agree 1
-Assure 1
-Yield 1

A few examples of Paul and others persuading people are: Acts 18:4, 19:8, 19:2621:14, 28:23

The example set before us in Scripture is persuasion to bring about a trust and confidence so others will be assured and in turn agree, yield, believe and finally obey God’s law-word by the power of the Holy Spirit.

Another word more seldom used in the New Testament that speaks of persuasion is πληροφορέω [PLHROFORE/W] {plērophoréō} \play-rof-or-eh’-o\ to carry out fully (in evidence), i.e. completely assure (or convince), entirely accomplish:–most surely believe, fully know (persuade), make full proof of.

-Persuaded 2
-Believed 1
-Make Full Proof 1
-Fully Known 1

In Romans 4:21 Paul uses this word to describe Abraham being fully persuaded that what God promised He was able to perform. Paul also uses it in Romans 14:5 to describe Christian liberty. This is one manner in which the right and duty to private judgment is exercised. In II Timothy 4:5 Paul uses it as an exhortation towards Timothy to ensure that his ministry is engaged in to the fullest so as to be persuasive. Finally in II Timothy 4:17 Paul says that the Lord stood with him and strengthened him, causing his preaching to be persuasive.

At this point you may be asking, well what about the command? Isn’t the Gospel proclamation a command? Repent and believe in the Gospel of the Kingdom! Yes the Gospel proclamation is a command. We must remember that all commands come from God to man, not from man to man.

For example the Greek word ἐντέλλομαι [E)NTE/LLOMAI] {entéllomai} \en-tel’-lom-ahee\ to enjoin:—(give) charge, (give) command(-ments), injoin.

This word is used 17 times in the New Testament and is used in the form of handing down a command. It is the word used in Matthew 28:20 where Jesus gives the Great Commission that we are to teach the nations to obey all that He has ἐντέλλομαι. It is almost exclusively attributed to God the Father, Jesus Christ, and the Holy Spirit giving commands, or a charge.

“Command” is used 14 times (God 3, Moses 3, Jesus 5, Holy Spirit 1, Lord 1, Abraham 1), while “charge” used 3 times (Jesus 1, God 2).

When this word is attributed to Moses it is used describing him speaking forth the commandments of God, by extension, to the covenant people of God. Once, it is attributed to Abraham in Hebrews 11:22 where he gives command concerning the carrying away of his bones to the land of Canaan, the land God promised to Abraham and his descendants.

Since authority has been given to Christ and all rightful commands come from God to man, we must understand that the right response to the Commandments of God is obedience. The word translated as “obey”, “obeyed”, or “obedient” is ὑπακούω [U(PAKOU/W] {hypakoúō} \hoop-ak-oo’-o\ to hear under (as a subordinate), i.e. to listen attentively; by implication, to heed or conform to a command or authority:–hearken, be obedient to, obey.

This implies a superior/subordinate relationship, but the Superior is always God and what is to be obeyed is His law-word. He is the only rightful Authority, and by extension His ambassadors have authority, in so far as they repeat His law-word. The word hypakoúō is used in the following passages.

-Winds and sea “obey” Jesus (Matt. 8:27, Mark 4:41, Luke 8:25)
-Unclean spirits “obey” Jesus Mark 1:27
-With faith the tree would “obey” you (Luke 17:6)
-A great number of priests were “obedient” to the faith (Acts 6:7)
-Should not “obey” sin (Rom. 6:12)
-Servants you are to whom you “obey” (Rom. 6:16)
-“Obeyed” from the heart doctrine (Rom. 6:17)
-They have not “obeyed” the gospel (Rom. 10:16, I Thess. 1:8)
-Children “obey” your parents in the Lord (Eph. 6:1, Col. 3:20)
-Servants “obey” masters (Eph. 6:5, Col. 3:22)
-Have always “obeyed” Jesus (Phil. 2:12)
-“Obey” our instruction in this letter (I Thess. 3:14)
-Jesus the author of salvation to all who “obey” Him (Heb. 5:9)
-Sarah “obeyed” Abraham (I Peter 3:6)

Therefore, any member of the priesthood of all believers, when on the right side of the ethical/judicial line, is due submission. This is why we are to submit to one another in the fear of Christ. As you read the passages describing the relationship between children and parents, and masters/servants, it is qualified with “in the Lord”, “as to Christ”, and “as to the Lord”.

So when there is a mature/immature relationship such as parent and child, the mediator is still the law-word of God as our objective standard, but there is a pedagogical relationship where the parent is giving God’s commands and yet it should be done in a persuasive manner so as to teach with reasons why there are consequences to breaking the law-word of God.

(Some try to place a wife under the husband in the marriage relationship but “wives obey your husbands” is not in Scripture, what is found in Scripture is wives “submit” to your husbands.)

But again our submitting one to another is in light of God‘s law-word, which is the mediator between image-bearers. Some conveniently ignore Paul’s clear admonition to “be subject to one another in the fear of Christ,” (Eph. 5:21). Conveniently, they discard the priesthood of all believers with the Holy Spirit and His law-word as the mediator between His image-bearers, which puts His entire priesthood on equal footing as to authority. In Ephesians 5:21, Paul is addressing all men and women. You can not discard this fact. If we are all to submit one to another in the fear of Christ, then no one is to lord authority over another. Instead, the method should be one of persuasion, as Paul clearly states in 2 Corinthians 5:11:Therefore, knowing the fear of the Lord, we PERSUADE men, but we are made manifest to God; and I hope that we are made manifest also in your consciences.

Persuasion takes time. It is loving service to our fellow man in a didactic manner. The pagans are the ones that lord their fiat authority over image bearers, effectually seeking to rule God in the process. We are to push the antithesis in how we interact with one another by following the persuasive, servant-leadership example Jesus and Paul displayed. Time is linear not circular, therefore, as time moves forward, we are being transformed by the renewing of the mind. As we persuade men, they are to bring every thought captive to the obedience of Christ. This is growth in wisdom and knowledge. This is repentance in action.

As the body of Christ continues to be sanctified by the indwelling Holy Spirit, we will grow into a mature view of our relationships one with another and we will understand that service and persuasion are part of the keys of the Kingdom. We will understand these keys are the tools of dominion (God’s law and how to judge righteously) and they are to be given to the royal priesthood, so they can add to the royal priesthood (make disciples) as they teach the nations all God has commanded.

I leave you with this quote by Rushdoony in his Systematic Theology section on “Authority” as I seek to persuade you to persuade others of the law-word of God on how to teach the nations. We want to open the doors wide to the Kingdom, not merely crack it open so some can barely squeeze through, still bound in chains. We want to smash the lock completely and shatter the shackles of the power/submission obsessed power religionist mind state, setting the captives free, in every sphere of life: family, church, and society, once and for all.

“According to our Lord, the purpose of keys is to unlock doors. The keys of God’s Kingdom must be used to unlock the doors of knowledge, vocation, and service for God’s people, to make them a royal priesthood, priests and kings.
The purpose of authority under God is to develop the authority and governmental powers of all those to whom we minister. The question thus is not merely, How do we govern those under our authority?, but also, how do they govern themselves? Something is wrong with us if we must continually support and finance our own children. Mutual assistance is one thing, continuing dependence is another.
Something is wrong with us if our church members are kept in close subjection and dare not grow on their own. William Booth, founder of the Salvation Army, aptly described most church members as “mummy Christians.” Immediately after conversion, they are mummified to sit lifelessly on a church pew. Apart from that, they have little use. The church with “mummy Christians” is a dead church, and its leaders are Pharisees who shut up the Kingdom of God against men; they neither go in, nor do they allow others to enter. They are elitists.”
-R.J. Rushdoony
(Systematic Theology: Vol. II Authority) pg. 1173


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