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THE AUTHORITY OF TRUTH
The Holy Healing in Divine Dealing
Things to Remark in Mark 2-3,12 and in the Love and Mercy of God, in His Goodness
Education: Dilemmas, Disasters and Solution
Authority! how desirable does this at first taste appear ? You think of the undisappeared, disappearing dias perhaps ! That was the word for the removal of authority from schools, so that you as a teacher could become a resource person, a congenial co-visitor to the realms of learning with your contented, because utterly free chickens, gathering them under your academic wings, even if sometimes they pecked where it was tender.
What folly! Now there are teachers demanding more money, having more stress, principals in good numbers reported to be taking stress leave, people finding that teaching is a place for physical danger, battering, assault, where children dictate and muddled pedagogues become dizzy increasingly with intractable pilgrims of learning, who not only seem more and more to have lost their way, but not to know there ever was one.
To be sure, disciplined, motivated, hungry students do not lack, often in private schools, as in some other cadres elsewhere; and the draw of prestige, pride, power, money, security, to say no more, does have its influence on a number: but when classes become increasingly uncontrolled, and academic excellence is seen as something if not barbaric, at least lopsided by many, then the milieu for the better student is often the resultant of the muddle of the worse.
It was always so ? by no means; and moreover, there were remedies.
Ah! someone may say, Those 'good old days'! Look at Churchill and his report of having rank marks left on him in discipline, how barbaric. Yet he did learn how to write English ... though he was somewhat backward at first, it seems.
It is however not only the 'normal' see-sawing of people with the light of their Creator, about a norm, first too lax and then too authoritarian, but there is a trend as well, as in global warming. Things are heating up socially as well as meteorologically. What then is coming to be the popular nostrum for excellent teachers ?
IF you are a 'good' teacher, THEN
1) You will be fairly popular.
2) You will indeed be rather well-liked.
3) You will project goodwill in such a style that people will want more of it.
4) You will have incisive diplomatic skills.
5) You will NEVER (did I say never ? say it again) cane, or exercise any form of brutality, such as using an instrument that could conceivably inflict pain. Pain-infliction is for brutes, and psychic disaster situations, inhabited by misnamed teachers.
And so on.
Such is the code for the cultural road.
You may even have to indulge students in 'contracts' by which you work out with them, as equals, some form of mutually acceptable conduct on BOTH sides, so that if you do (and don't do) this that and the other, they will at least or at last give thought to doing some further things, so that a more stable and conceivably workable solution may be found, or if not found, than at least sighted somewhere towards which to ... work.
However, in reality, authority is not all bad. There is good authority in your stomach and intestines, really quite remarkably good when you consider what is put in and in what circumstances (as when eating standing up, preparing for quick departure in a plane where the call could be momentary), and in the nervous system, to enable you to think of one thing, and ponder another, while preparing for a third simultaneously, while engaging in conversation and stocking up a larder of things to do as you go...
Discipline is not alien to organisation, and the latter to purpose, and that to overall aims. It has its points. Why is its name so bad ? In the realm of distant aboriginal lands in this country, there have come stories of practices so appalling that even the new government just might do something, and the preceding one was active in doing something, though there were severe critics of its initiatives to stamp out the more obvious child abuses, because it was so ... authoritarian.
No, there must be consultation! and agreements need to be hammered out, while children become objects of terrorisation, convenience and even, in some cases, bearers of children who will bring in the government grant for new babes. It is not in vain that one speaks with aboriginal acquaintances, nursing or other.
The irony was reinforced when in the era of the new government, there came a call in one northern area, for a representative of the old government, one appointed before the not long past election, to be allowed to continue with those aborigines. He was 'stunning' said an aboriginal council member, in admiration of his realistic activities. Later the council voted that he be appointed their representative in Canberra, despite there being a new government which was not keen to use him: seemingly because he had faced them with facts to the point that realism became apparent, not a dream, and action to change things, a hope and not an imposition.
One well remembers a young lady recounting that she had once said to her mother that she wished she had been more authoritative with her, for she needed it. There are many needs, but truth cannot be displaced from them.
Authority, like liberty, has its place in human life. If both of these - the latter as in the quite understandable, but far from wholly commendable, French revolution, not always admirable - are in due array, there is some hope. But what IS due array ? When is liberty licence, authority repression, when is pain brutality and when is indiscipline a pulpy peril of oozing non-thought ?
Obviously there needs to be a standard, at last in principle. It needs to be the truth, for human life is far too precious to be suborned by squalid power, sacrificed to callow concepts or despoiled by wandering wits. The divorce from Truth is followed by either tyranny (whether of man, or system, or consumeristic passion or sexual astralism or ambitious deadness or some other invention to replace Him), or varied forms of permissiveness. Thus the tyrant for truth swap becomes the sin for stability exchange, and a flaccid society bends, while its waters wander as a meander, its will a series of points without context, until its very sluggishness becomes a site for evaporation and dryness or a situation for deep mud.
In its inertia, is its death; but if a tyrant by name arises, then in his impulsions is the chain of passion, which more quickly accomplishes the same thing; and whereas morals meander in the fallen democracy, until they are drained, in the tyranny by name, they are ordered out and the promotion of fools become their knell. Abandoning the Creator's worship and adopting the substitute of the creation as focus, as the Bible declares, MEANS that they profess to be wise but become fools. They are wise to forget, wise to follow their inclinations, wise to worship species and lament their departure, to assign life to any place as though Jaguar cars were to be found in the desert just because some sheik on some day drove one there, and left, to maunder in maladies of spirit, catastrophes of heart, seeking a stimulus, seeking to billow in a slight breeze, weary of passion, passionate in weariness. Their decline is traced in Romans 1:17ff, and the reason for it at the start of that passage, as the result of it at the end of that Chapter.
God has spoken. Man chooses to resort to his thoughts, ideas, hopes, valour or pleasure, and the result is as God said it would be. As it was to be, so it is.
Teaching, the student body, the principles of principals, the ideas of the current culture, this suffers accordingly. If some in zeal went too far to dragoon, many now go but a step over the precipice (for it is all that it takes) to follow the whim of students, the desires of those whose desideratum is doctrine from the heart without the Maker and to remake youth to a format that fits the vacuum of truth with which they proceed, which is nothing. Hence restiveness, restlessness, trouble for teachers and turbulence for youth, who now even see fit to attack each other, expedition squads from this school or base, invading another school to impart mayhem, or some junior partner, while guards with guns stand by to repress slaughter should it happen to walk in at any day, or arise from the floors at the base of their system.
Undoubtedly some repressive teaching procedures were as painful as some expressive ones now are grievous. Teacher and topic alike can be so under-valued that it is a messy form of rankling mastery conflict; or discipline can be so imposed that it is hard to learn anything for the sheer brassiness of the non-beatific heartlessness of authority. Yet there is a way which is neither extreme, and does not need to appeal to the see-saw bounce of ideas, but being sourced in truth, can impart with gentleness the spirit, with peaceableness the plan, with joy the way, with restraint the discipline, with determination the procedures of purity and the life of heart, through the only way God has provided, in Christ Jesus. Even here, the substitutes abound, as man uses religion also, even the Christian faith, as a new FIELD for folly, a new basis for carnal passion, for stampeding ideas, and breaking with scriptural doctrine, invents religious mockeries as if the secular ones were inadequate.
Thus not only the NAME of Christ Jesus but the BOOK of the Lord is necessary, and not innovation for deceitful fame, but exposition for just progress, this is the need; and the Lord has not left man orphan, but to this day, if a man abide in Christ and His words abide in him, there is the scope for the work of life, the power of the Spirit of God and the good pleasure of the Lord.
Let us then look at a specific case of interest in this rush from reality to a hydra of unholiness, in the field of education.
At present, the furore against caning seems as overdone as is the Malaysian substitute for the cat-and-nine-tails, its rod of life-threatening intensity, publicly inflicted: the rattan. What of such a procedure ? At least in principle, it MIGHT in some circumstances, if it were modified to be somewhat less severe and dangerous, give the aggressor - if this is the case - and his potential followers some memorable idea that if you harm others, something has happened outside their psyches. Others ? they too exist, so that harm to you who harm, it is a form of justice. Is it to be punitive ? Even if it were merely a case of giving some measurable idea of what you have inflicted, it might be educative.
But to make for injury is not necessary. Far below this is a scope of caning which makes sufficient impact to impart rebuke, teach that suffering is not merely a site outside the self for the dramatisation of one's ideas, but a site within oneself, and that reality is fool to no man, and playing the fool is the wisdom of ninnies.
Certainly, the use of the cane in such a style that it leaves an impression in the mind, rebukes foolishness, exhibits tormentors as not being special god-types, immune to thought or feeling, mere activists to be pondered as they parade, but as those who both suffer and inflict sufferings, in a measure that encourages thought: this has wisdom. Brutality is one thing; rebuke is another. Artistry is not amiss in many realms of life, and this is one of them.
But one says: How could you prevent the multitude of ill-adjusted, sadistic, sexually deviant, drunkenly inclined, brutally disposed or drug-mismatched authorities, who exist in a selection of the teachers, from misusing the stick!
It would not appear any more difficult but rather a great deal less so, than preventing some of the authoritarian students, who wish with impunity and immunity to impose their waywardness on all to the detriment of learning, without this agency.
It is not that the cane is a pre-requisite for all learning; it is that it is a proper potential for the exposure of all chaos, disorder, insolence, cheekiness of tongue and rough-housing of learning. Certainly, the weak teacher may rely on it, the wounded psyche may seek solace through it, but also the self-controlled teacher of experience may rebuke folly with it as one of a series of procedures to protect those who use the school, from those who misuse it.
Let us turn to a political parallel. You do not, nowadays, often use the atomic bomb; it can however remind people that talking is sometimes a desirable option, in case this had happened to be forgotten in the mêlée of processes of confrontation.
The improper contrast of the smooth-tongued, oily class oncologist, whose sheer charm overwhelms the cancer of corruption in the kids is a lovely poem, trotted out like a pet pony by the equalitarian, egalitarian, inequality-producing pedant, especially if the contrast with a given teacher is pleasant to depict. Such propaganda may prove satisfying as an aid to the low-condition of a school's performance, or the wildness of some of its ineducable-seeming students.
It is becoming a trifle less seductive now that many schools are beginning to have invasions of students or outsiders from elsewhere, who inflict wounds on students or teachers in the attacked schools; and that some form of police are to be present to subdue the more violent aggressors before someone is killed or maimed. The older idea that you were there to learn, not to have a psychic-support system for maladjustment, coddled into a merely stormy demeanour while of course students rollick in committing multiplied misdemeanours; the former thought that teachers should maintain order and enable keenness to have its objectives met and ignorance to have its losses overcome, while justice ruled and mercy operated with discretion and kindness of heart: these appear taboo. It is all too religious. It acts with assurance of truth, not deviation for deviates.
This of course brings us to the point that religion is about God. To be sure, many like to expand the definition to make it a reference to the ultimate spring which makes some people tick, as they like to conceive it, whether in their own immature minds or in the mind of the observer; but this is merely replacing religion with psychology. Indeed, in this case it is materialistic psychology, the ultimate prostitution of one realm to another*1 .
Religion is in its essence what is outside yourself, your society and your realms of input; it concerns where you come from, where you are going and why. It relates to the injection system for man or what is behind it, and the ejection provisions, and what is beyond them, and the reason for it all. This is the one of the field which is not 'scientific' in the specially limited sense that it has measurable matters, though scientific method is applicable to it in the case of Christianity exhaustively, as shown in Scientific Method, Satanic Method and the Model of Salvation, TMR, Secular Myths and Sacred Truth. Its very birth logic insists on, its book it requires, its verifications it acknowledges, as shown more particularly in Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ.
Indeed, even a posteriori, reason uses all the data from whatever source without prejudice, for its applications, equally content with all testable data, dealings and arenas of thought, spirit and drive. It does not disdain the Bible as a source, the Lord as a Provider, or the invisible as a domain; for it knows that here is the ground of its aspirations, the vision of its dynamic and the source of its actions. But what of the Bible of the Lord and the Lord of the Bible, of the power of God as presented in this Person, Jesus Christ ? It is not that it has not all been examined, as in the works above, systematically and precisely, intensively and pervasively, and found not only not wanting, but intensively exclusive in sating reason's demands.
Its resolving power for cases such as these in education is merely one of the many forms of application for the Truth, which by its very nature, resolves. The fact that He is a Person, and that His way is costly to pride, daunting to carnal appetite and aspiration, deadly to the sovereignty of wandering sin, challenging to the heart and above all, returns one to the God of creation, through the passion of redemption, and requires just as it provides, the love of God, a soul-transmuting path: this is a deterrent to many. It is not simply acquired by the mind, noted in a book; it equips the heart, pardons the errors and provides the way.
Outside it, the mind wavers, the will wanders, delinquent passions seek adoption, whether in man, woman or child, in society or army or political life.
Even psychology nowadays loves to display its disillusion with understanding by having statistics indicate what man is, so giving a clue to what he ought to be. If you did that in some schools, it would lead you to devastation shortly. What is can never be what ought to be, except in heaven, where God Himself is the source of what is without admixture of trial and adventure of alienation, exposure of folly and impact of curse.
It can, even on this earth however, be significantly close to it, when what ought to be is DONE, as prescribed by God, whether from heaven, through the prophets, or through Christ in Person, is done, even on earth. The Lord's prayer does not omit this point, as a little reading of it will show.
On the other hand, even morals in the realm of mere monistic happening is irrelevant here, and its intrusion into morals can only be ephemerally based on its death through inner invalidation of such endeavours. Monistic self-estimate of a happening by happening is doubly ludicrous, since first the happening is supposedly all, so that estimate is other, which is not in 'the all', and secondly, going beyond occurrence to estimate occurrence requires not only immaterial grounds, beyond mere observable happening, but their correct application, and their own validation. Materialism is the slum of philosophy, though it has many brothers*1.
Leaving aside, then, the point of definition of religion, needful not least to ensure that different topics may be discussed without ambiguity of reference, so dividing things rationally into analysable compartments, and returning to the ultimate questions just listed for man, whatever you call them, what do we find ? It is when what is validated, verified and from the deity is enunciated, focussed, applied, providing value and virtue, that reality without subjectivism may be discovered. it is then, because the ultimate and indeed only rational and wise site exists, because moreover it is found in expression, in communication, and this is available even in a single book not too heavy to carry and even lighter on disk, that wise action is given direction. Enabling this truth to show in practice what discipline ought to be, focussing at last what and why man is, and whose, convicted man becomes converted man and he thus moves to be acquiescent disciple. It is then that these things can soundly be considered.
Why ? It is because this shows knowledgeably what man ought to be and how he is to treat his fellow-man. His nature as creation relates to his function as entity. His purpose becomes correlative to his wisdom. The glory of it, the grace of God, is that man has been made ABLE to have diverse purposes, imitating beat or angel alike at will, at least in soaring hope and dramatic desire. Hence, made in the image of God, he may act like it, having understanding, not mere reception of dictates, and seeing with understanding both the what and the why, the ground and the result, while receiving both the dynamic of godly life and the love without which it does not operate (Romans 5:5, John 14:18, 16:15, Ephesians 1:15ff.).
Without this, philosophies rule, change, mutate, commute, dispute, and you have what we have had in no small measure: a litany of wonderful ways as described in their preliminary propagandas, but ones which end elsewhere than on the tarmac. Repeatedly, being disgraced, they leave, and sometimes, appealing, hope to return, if only a little, while diverse disciples dispute.
Once, on the contrary, this basis of objective authority, which can only be the truth, is established, then the nature of man before God becomes apparent, and the ways of God have their definition from God, just as our bodies have at least their procedural definition from the same source. How is this latter case established ? how does a baby even grow ?
It is in that organisation of commanding symbols expressing themselves with relevant and available power in the resultant and presented media for construction, duly provided to enable their directive action, which enables life to exist. It is here where the mature are created from babes, and those from preliminaries presented from parents, as coded in DNA of various types, with their dependent agencies, and so the embryos grow, increasingly nowadays, for all to see*2 .
Thus these coded controls even so operate as to enable re-production to have its assemblage available for inspection as it occurs.
But what for the person of man, who thinks, who imagines, who conceives, who adventures, who creates ? If you turn from the instrument, the body with its brain and brawn, to the activist, the personality, the savourer of spirit, the entertainer of ideas, the maker of his own programs, the artificer of thought, and with this, of action, what do you have for this ?
The book involved, this time not for our bodies programmatically to perform, via such codes as DNA, but for our minds and hearts personally to consider, and properly to implement, though there is no force but that of truth, and its impactive realities: what is it ? It is expressed in codes called word with syntax, through thoughts with semantic impact: it is written. It is named the Bible, certified as the best-seller over all time, with some 6 billions of copies cited as sold by one source, for a period from no great distance in the past to near to the present.
Why it is that this is selected ? In sum: this result is a point, but it comes from grounds which include many dimensions, such as its unique testability, its no less singular adequacy under test, verifiability and verification, validity and uniqueness in the same, logical grounds for seeking its discovery and for approving the finding alike*3 . Personal, the God of persons here speaks to persons; the increate to the created; the Father of spirits to the spirit of man. Revealed, His written word short-circuits pollution through reception, bringing light; and in His grace, it is ready to remove the fault of the eyes that read or the ears that hear, so that once more they operate, no more stultified with sediment and closed with pathology. While this is wonderful, it is not all. His incarnation as Jesus Christ confirms both the predictions written concerning Him, and provides express exhibition of the power of His own word, when spoken, imparting life or health just as it did in the first before He came, impart life itself.
He thus in both ways grants visual impact, experiential perception of His working, but in His coming, it is even more direct, in substance not symbol, confirming every last symbol, each last word. Whether in proposition in personality, He has granted the need, the presence of inspired propositions and inspiring Person, that thus they show the way in the light of spiritual day.
TARMAC BEFORE TAKE-OFF
When therefore the instruction manual is followed, you at once have resolution. The school is a good exhibit, a ground for study; but of course the lessons are not limited to the young, though the mode there is more specialised. When for a short time, this author was a Principal of a High School, it became apparent even near the outset, that although it was called Christian, the rule of the State and the will of the flesh would apply, and what is forbidden would occur.
Such cases have nothing to do with the truth in their vagrancy, but in this distort it.
For life according to the word of the Lord, the will of God, the testimony of truth, you must be vigilant, apply it, keep to it, as if it were a scientific experiment, be valiant for it, refuse what is wrong at any cost. Such an attitude was shown once in another school to one's delight, where the Principal, being told that he must not 'judge' and so refuse to have practising homosexuals, for example, in his Staff, stated that his reply was this. This is a school of some hundreds; if you insist on this deviation from biblical principles, we will insist on closing this school so creating a considerable challenge to you.
It appears that the School stayed open and the Staff stayed as he wished it to be. This is a necessary part of any experiment in any principle: DO IT. Don't just talk about it. What is the good of talking about it, good or evil, if you do not do it! Is an atomic bomb made by talk ? There may be talk but that is not all. Principles are followed; and work is done, and one does not move from it till it is done. Such was the end of World War II.
Again, there is the provocative antichristian daring on the part of government here, to insist on a magic component in biology, that of organic evolution (cf. The gods of naturalism have no go!), that it be the ONLY things taught, that creationism be excluded, even from logically explicit argumentation, even outside science! (cf. TMR Ch. 8). NO school could possibly accept this if it were willing to carry out the 'experiment', to put Christianity into the laboratory of life, to DO it. Where are the churches ? As seen in Ch. 3, many of them are so busy wandering, as if passionate about fulfilling II Peter 2:1ff., II Timothy 3:1ff., II Timothy 4:1ff, not to say I Timothy 4:1ff., that they adopt the most unbiblical materials, doctrines, wed with the world in this or that phase, and being subverted or at least seduced, fall into arrears with the truth.
It is necessary, having stood, as Paul declares in Ephesians 6, to stand.
But passing by these variants, let us consider the biblical perspective, and ponder divine truth from it.
Firstly, you have to show mercy with justice (Proverbs 3). That is, you actively envisage the child's problems, become aware of some of his impulsions and their ground, within reason, and seek to meet without callous disregard, special needs. You love as you love yourself.
You do not JUMP on the least infraction, but realise that events sometimes are better ignored. On the other hand, you do not allow successful confrontation by wilfulness, arbitrary misconduct, while rules for standards in the school are both clear and enforced.
In a special case, when some aggravated upset to a child has at least contributed to an incident, you allow the circumstances to impact the outcome; but not so that plain evil is rewarded, tolerated or accepted. Thus you would not necessarily at once dismiss a child whose behaviour was dangerously evil, nor would you allow it to be imagined that this was shelved or not under active consideration. After due counsel, if the case is sufficiently grave and the example rich in evil, a pattern of repetition could indeed prove to be fatal. Thus action is necessary, for the aims and modes of the school are spelled out in advance.
In this way, plagues may be avoided; and it is beyond dispute, that when all know this, it has a very remarkable effect. One recalls an incident in a famous school in Melbourne, where sodomy was apparently practiced on one occasion in a private room for a particular subject. It is understood that those involved has no opportunity for a repetition.
Beyond dispute, the explanation with toleration mentality for all things, when all is to be explained and little remains of standards and truth, of realism and concentration of the task in hand, is highly productive. It produces ruin.
The immeasurable toleration becomes an inculcation, and teaches potential wrong-doers the nature of prevarication, extenuation and manipulation. Such was explicitly the case with a young aboriginal man who boasted of his finesse in manipulating what to him apparently seemed a marvellous opportunity for fun and escape, both together. Viewing his judge as a studious stooge, a woefully inept and imperceptive authority just waiting to be wound quietly around his finger, he acted his part and went off free! He congratulated himself, the judge a mere tool to the aborigine's trade. If it happens for one, it can happen for another, race or no race; for it is a philosophy that is so met, and it has many applications.
Let us however return to the case of godliness, effectiveness, quality in a place of learning, and pursue the point of the 'remarkable effect' noted above. It concerned consistent application of godly principles, not without personal regard, but without dereliction. As we are now looking at resolution, we will take the case of a Christian school, so not in name only.
Failure can in such cases become an invitation to plague; weakness can become a trumpet call to pollution to invade, as if bacteria could hear it, spiritual ones. Perception of manipulability becomes power to manipulate. The students regale it, very readily. But what is the case when, without being impersonal or defective in human understanding, rules are evidenced in reality and the good of all is considered in biblical perspective, not merely to sacrifice the individual but to challenge him/her to the point that choice becomes necessary.
THIS effect is discernibly more obvious, in the case when the school itself is respected as having a hand on authority as well as mercy, in goodness, kindness and understanding as well as in standards. If it lacks this, then its standing tends to become its falling; and this is one reason why mere indulgence is not to the point. All then suffer for one. Justice AND mercy is the biblical prescription, and heart is here of intense importance. How callow is the concept if a school, a Christian one, imagines that it is NOT a missionary field, the very word of a principal to this author, when he was considering an Anglican establishment in Sydney, for teaching. Alas if it is NOT a mission field, it is not a Christian school. What! have the lambs inculcated in the name of education with all this world is doing, with all its hooks and burs, and not provide for their walk a clear way, a clear invitation and a sure educative background focussing Christ who CALLS!
Thus part of the entire Christian program for a workable and godly educational system involves the ready presence of the Gospel, and of course, practitioners, Christians uniquely in the Staff, to give the laboratory evidence of it. None fails to slip; but the procurement of the sinless is as vain as the failure to show true godliness in quality. This is one reason why the Principal cited above, who refused to follow the government's concepts on what was to be included in Staff, was in this delightfully right.
But let us return to the consideration of the one student who transgresses wilfully, even woefully, and the many who suffer if that one continues to disrupt, or disperse concentration or to make a psychic drama out of an educational scene, one of 5 Acts.
As to the one, a series of actions is possible. Discipline with cane MAY be apt, if wanton disregard for others was in view. Suspension from sport or for a time is an option. Re-examination, if need be by the principal with the child, of the motives of the child is in order. The Chaplain could seek to acquaint the child more intimately with the point of life. The child may reject this, but a failure to present it to the point at the crisis (and properly long before that) is a categorical failure, far worse than what may have occurred in omitting some early injections against dangerous diseases. A good body helps; but a fallen spirit does not do much good with that particular bonus.
As the standard for the school becomes Christ (not the Church, for churches vary), and the Bible becomes the explicit handbook of principles, prescription for godly power in personal living, so the place of authority is as one UNDER authority, and so not authoritarian. Gone is the quixotic, the pragmatic, the manipulative and the capricious, for these grow needless, pointless and excluded. This becomes no less so for the teacher than the student; but this must be most carefully distinguished from 'witty inventions', from colour and character, intelligent discoveries and original disposition within justice, grace, truth and mercy.
Thus this prescription is by no means to say that intelligent methods of making order are out of court, for God is great on wit, and witty inventions abound in technique and facility, in the creation. A university lecturer reportedly once thought of a sound piece of administrative wit. If paper aeroplanes were launched during the tertiary lecture (yes it was a plague), then the back row of the lecture theatre were appointed as observers, as air-raid wardens. If they should see a missile thrown, a plane launched, they were to report this. If one of the very 'wardens' was in question, then the whole back row would leave unless one confessed. If one confessed, he would go. So did the plague! It left.
Goodwill is an essential ingredient for such devices, so that it appears and is the case that this is a good-humoured way of dealing with prancing spirits, not a lethal force brutalising mere innocent play. In such cases, there is an early point when innocent play becomes guilty disruption of concentration. Good humour is also a good ingredient, with its basis in self-control, knowing that the twisting of the nose can bring blood (Proverbs 30:33).
When thus the underlying principles are not mere debate topics, the rules in essence are not arbitrary but explicitly directed in terms of loving God and your neighbour as yourself, and discipline is not a fancy of authority but an implement of quality, then the follies are ready to collapse. When some are converted to Christ, then both the reality of the principles and the wonder of the power to meet them become a practical point in the school, as if it were in this, a laboratory. Such experience of an experimental aspect then impacts as a going concern for the students, who are thus given a wonderful help to thought and feeling, yes and vision. Here is a way better either than unwilling acquiescence, laborious duty or flitting misconduct. It has meaning, makes sense and is provided from above Staff and student alike, from the source for man, whose word is the world's most famous and published book.
Authority is not the basis of it all; but it is an ingredient in ensuring that the basis is a living one.
LEAVING SCHOOLS FOR ADULT LIFE
and MARKING MARK
We are now perhaps better prepared to consider the life of the Lord Jesus Christ in the area of authority, in practical cases, and what this implies, has implied and will imply. We realise that before Him we are as children, so that the teacher-student affairs conceived above, become more readily stimuli to what is perceived as a perspective below in the general concourse of life. To authority in the work and ways of CHRIST JESUS, then, we now look. .
In examining what is taught, and experimentally wrought (that is, so that all can see it in action) by the Lord when on earth, we look at incidents in Mark 12, and 2-3.
The AUTHORITY of TRUTH in Mark
Today, our aim is to find from the Gospel, examples of the authority of Christ in physical, verbal, directive power, confirming that even in a humble platform, that of His flesh, Jesus could neither be contained nor refuted. When this is consistently so in every domain, against all comers, including bodily disease, we need to relate to the predicted Author of these comprehensive results, and to find our own deliverance in His power to heal the heart, help the spirit and instead of sedating the sickness of the soul, to cure it.
I) The Stinging Exposure of His Predicted Rejection 12:1-12
Here Jesus brings a prediction that Israel would reject the whole basis of their system of faith, in person, when He came as its Lord, is put into a parable. In this He appears as the final One sent to gather the fruits of the carefully built vineyard of the Lord, from the tenants. Perspective is poured out like lava: Many prophets had come and been smitten and attacked by the unruly abusers of the vineyard who supposedly were in charge of it for a time; but He, the Chief Stone, the Rock of reality, even He, as foretold had now come. How was He then viewed by this most religious of the nations ?
He was seen as the Son, the heir: to assassinate Him became the objective, if by any means the voracity and ambition of the dishonest possessors of temporary power in the vineyard, could make the land grab! Thus in their dream, they might grab for ever their illicit inheritance in the people they betrayed, in the vineyard the accountability of which they had so drastically neglected, even rejected.
In their shameless assassination to come, therefore, they were merely completing and fulfilling the known conduct of the enemies of God, killing the Son Himself, sent for the fruits. What then could they expect of the owner of the vineyard for such a crime, such a failure and such dishonesty!
2) The Tax-Money Directness 12:13-17
Trying to make Jesus into a revolutionary, easy enough since Rome had invaded and conquered Israel, they asked if it were lawful to pay taxes. That is, was it a faithful and just thing by Jewish law so to pay the oppressors, the Romans whose power had taken the land..
In reply Jesus had them show Him the inscription on the coin, showing where that sort of thing found its place. On the contrary, where the things of God had their place, in the spirit of a man, his perspective, his personal crises, his meaning, his development, his righteous rules, his redemption, there was the overarching domain of God. To God what is His, to rulers what is theirs! Not a problem (for the mind, but it tests the heart).
Not in littleness of licence but in grandeur and majesty of dominion is God, who for a time releases this or that little bit of authority, only to bring judgment or release as He will: a thing Nebuchadnezzar found to his ruin, and Saddam Hussein as he started in such a slovenly style, to rebuild something near Babylon! The nations themselves are answerable to Him who made them, for their plans, priorities, human relations, submission to truth or otherwise; and if man does not choose to conform to this, what is the owner of the 'vineyard' to be expected to do but to destroy the faithless interlopers, nation or religious body, pride having no say in His day! (Isaiah 2:11).
3) Resurrection Knowledge: the evocation of truth,
the hidden, brought to light 12:18-27
Scribes frequently tend to love to exalt themselves, their class, their knowledge, just as the powerful often love to flex their fictions, to parade their greatness. This case was no different; but they were stricken in heart, for here was THE AUTHORITY, and what worth their musings next to this! Hence they sought to defenestrate Him once for all! In the resurrection (these people tended to dismiss resurrection, too practical, too ... decisive, divisive ...), yes here they would floor Him. So they asked Christ to consider a case.
Here is a woman whose husbands routinely die; let us suppose she has in this way had seven of them. Such was their story. Given the resurrection, whose is she in heaven ? I am so used to the leering, scoffing, scornful abuse that comes from those in settled power because of evil ways and worldly blessing from those who love it so, that it is easy to see them with lurking ridicule and trapper's scent in their nostrils, surrounding Him with their crafty wit.
Jesus replied that they lacked, in their difficulty with this, just two things. Firstly, they did not know the power of God; secondly, they did not know ... (wait for it) the SCRIPTURE (this their exaltation, that they KNEW it all). Their tilt overturned and it was they who found the dust.
After all, a little thought is enough to see that if God desired, decided and acted to build the greatest order-controlled (DNA), intricate design of a unity of miscellany made into a single result that was even seen on this earth, even one, man, who is both self-conscious and able to be conscious of God Himself, how much more could He fling bodies to spirits and make the post-test, trouble-free version in the resurrection of the body.
If you once REALISE the beginning, the end is obvious. But what was not obvious to these scribes was this, that even as to the status of Abraham, so far back, we read that God is the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob.
How then, asked Jesus, do you puzzle so foolishly ? God is the God of the living (it is not written that He WAS the God of Abraham, but He IS – Exodus 3:6), not of the dead (such as those who, disbelieving, neither knew God nor His power, such as His questioners!).
That was the power of God, which no Christian should for one moment doubt. In fact, doubt about this is precisely one of the foul stenches of the last stages of this Church Age, before Christ comes and identified as such in II Timothy 3:1-5. As to the power of God, available to men, there is no limit to this, nor any frustration which God cannot heal, either by changing the purpose or the result (cf. Mark 23).
ASK and receive, being willing to take what HE ELECTS TO GIVE, but in faith! Now comes the nature of spiritual beings, of the resurrection: the SECOND WAY they greatly erred, as Christ told them in His denunciation.
In this post-test state, the resurrection, in this blessed culmination of life, there is no marriage or giving in marriage. This is no soul factory: pregnancy is past, as one of the sorrows, and procreation is over, as one of the elements of continuity on an earth groaning until He comes to dispel the curse and lift His people. This curse is not natural to ‘nature’ but given because of sin, and the sufferings that result are so far from being accountable to God as seeking such, the result of rejection of the redemption in Christ Jesus. Reject the antibiotic ? Right, but do not blame the doctor who gives it, the manufacturer who makes it. If you do not, blame yourself!
Hence, since marriage is not relevant in the resurrection, neither is the question meaningful.
To NONE of them would she be married. The Lord of the Sabbath, and Lord of life tells the truth concerning past and present, future and fact. None can abash Him, and even experts are left fumbling in their 'trade'. Such was the result when the carpenter of Nazareth, turned His mind to the salvation of souls: for if humility was His clothes, it was deity who wore them.
4) The Lord of Pardon
The Lord of Power cf. Matthew 11:27: Mark 2:1-12
Forgiving a sinner who did not even ask for it seemed to be the end of limits on authority. Yet note that this happened ONLY when Christ perceived the FAITH of the stricken man. Here indeed was the Power of God in person! and with it, the pardon. Here was One who could simply say it, PARDON, and like all the rest that He said, it was DONE!
The people objected in their thoughts. “WHO can forgive sins but God only!” (cf. Psalm 51). THIS forgiveness was direct, dependent on divine knowledge of the faith of the man, without sacrifice!
Poole points out that for that matter who could discern in His Spirit what their thoughts about this actually were (2:8), but God (cf. I Samuel 16:7, I Chronicles 28:9, Jeremiah 17:10). Taking up this challenge, Christ put it to the practical test, like a new Elijah in a New Covenant. IF I raise up this stricken man, by miraculous act, THEN see that God who acted in Me to pardon, acts in parallel to heal. Obviously such a sudden act dependent on the celestial power could only be wrought by it; and where pardon is in view, the case was this: either Christ was deluded or would be confirmed. If His Father honoured Him in this direct confrontation about power to pardon, then this He has, and so is Himself the living Word of God, deity incarnate.
In a massive array of authority, like brilliant bomber bristling with destructive power, but in this case a healer with cluster commands of healing, He acted. Who could do these things, on time, all the time, meet every situation and even tell the day of rest where to have its place, but God. Since this is the true God, here is the authority for life. None other has it to show.
5) The Rebuke of Satire 2:13-17
Granted all are sinners, are some to judge others (cf. Matthew 7:1-5., 23:27-28,37), when their own scarlet has been white-washed! Blood, not lime, is needed, and for that, faith. The "righteous" - and all must be called to be saved - who are these ? In this context, they can be none other than the self-righteous. To exclude the gift of the righteousness of God (Romans 8:17, II Cor. 5:17-21), because one has all one needs, thank you very much, is to forget the divine devaluation of pride's clamour!
6) The Poignancy of a Macabre Wedding 2:18-22
Why did His disciples fast, they asked: John's did not. Christ comparing Himself to a bridegroom asked whether, when such a person is present, his friends fast ? No, It is when the bridegroom is no more present that fasting will come. Patching up of old things with new, this does not work. You need the things which go well together. If you have 'new wine', then use 'new wineskins'. The power of God needed new containers, and what fitted the old is in need of exchange for the new.
In other words, the Old Covenant had its ways, and the New Covenant likewise has its ways. When new wine has come, it needs its fitting relationships. These He directs with authority.
7) The Lord of the Sabbath 2:23-28
This claim, that EVEN the SABBATH (Ezekiel 20, a very title deed in the Old Covenant) is under Christ's own rule, makes of Him an equal to the mouth of God; and since He IS that mouth, that WORD, this His claim is scarcely surprising. Seventh Day Adventist heresy ignores this, and makes God the captive of the Old Covenant in much, so that He cannot, by their authority, place the new day of rest where rest alone can be found, in the verification of Jesus Christ as Saviour and Lord via the resurrection of His body. In this, they insult Him, limit and harass.
8) The Rarity of His Anger 3:1-6
In this next case, obstruction and opposition to healing, anger flashed in the divine soul; for if healing were to be opposed, when even a cow in a pit would be released on the Sabbath, what is this but interference with divine grace, one of the most horrendous, heinous things anyone can do.
This relative rarity of anger is a good trait to copy; but there are evils against which even the most patient must act, seek to act for the deliverance of those misused (Proverbs 24:11-12).
"Deliver those who are drawn toward death,
And hold back those stumbling to the slaughter.
“If you say, 'Surely we did not know this,'
Does not He who weighs the hearts consider it?
He who keeps your soul, does He not know it?
And will He not render to each man according to his deeds?"
9) The Teacher Taught, the Multitude Sought,
Danger of Being Crushed 3:7-12
To prevent the great multitude which by sheer eagerness and numbers were in danger of crushing Him, from upsetting His work, He withdrew a little from the shore, in a boat. The universal drawing power of Christ is here attested, people coming at short notice from as far away as Tyre, and as close as to touch Him. Even evil spirits were falling down before Him, declaring this, 'You are the Son of God!' Even His enemies could not withhold their response. Even evil spirits knew more than they, but in their time, they would face their doom, except they repented, as did the spirits which spoke!
THE LORD OF THE SABBATH, OF HEALTH, OF HEALING, OF POWER, OF THE PAST, OF THE FUTURE, OF AUTHORITY ... here is the Master (Matthew 23:8-10), and humanity has known no other such. In HIMSELF is His authority, given by His Father, eternal in nature: here is the power to act, the way for the feet, the sight for the blind, the comfort for the distressed, the answer for the mind, the solace to the soul, the life to the spirit. HERE is your rest (Matthew 11:28ff.).
What then do we find in common in all these events, exercises, challenges or confrontations, opportunities for the use of power, in obvious situations of ostensible weakness ? Quo vadis ? authority.
After all, who was with Christ ? His Father and the Spirit of God (cf. John 8:29, Luke 11:20). Who was against Him ? The devil and his minions, the majority of the priesthood it seems, the Pharisees as a class, so too the Sadducees and the Herodians, or in other words, in order:
the official custodians of religion,
the super-rigorous part of it,
the slack and peremptory,
the power-conscious and liberally savvy revisionists and
the politically alert with plans for the State involving present political power.
Add all those, and to this add the potential enmity of the Empire based in Rome, since it had an ear and the groups just mentioned had a voice and a trumpet allowing them to fit it to the Roman ear: and what happens ? You have an apparent impasse. The power of God is arrayed against the power of man, but the power of God is being expressed focally through the incarnate Christ, who can be killed.
Three questions at once arise. How did Christ deal with vastly superior apparent power, at the simply human level, from contrary groups ? Secondly, what diplomacy did He show in order to lessen the impact of truth and make openings for balance of power ? Thirdly and finally, how did He fare and why ?
As we have seen above, He gave the truth at all times, used means of enhancing its impact, exposed evil, provided personal power to heal, answered fearlessly, focussed the fuzzy to its detriment and met the needs of the people, the 'children' as He on occasion called His disciples. After all, He was their teacher (Matthew 23:8-10); and as the Son of God, He was also in Himself the focus of truth, Himself the truth, the centre of mercy and the provision of power in His trinitarian emplacement. Yet as one saw in the temptation (Matthew 4), this power was not to be used to lessen the reality of His identification with His people (as in Hebrews 2), so that as 'the Son of Man' (cf. Daniel 7), He said of Himself, that He had no place to lay His head (Mark :20). Even when intensely hungry, as after the 40 day fast, He did not as the devil suggested, turn stones in their whiteness into bread in its substance.
That would be using power of God to lessen His identification as man, and so make the test unfair, and bypass the fact that man is not to live by bread alone but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God. A sensationalistic enticement by the devil was likewise met from Deuteronomy by the fact that this would tempt God. Such would indeed tempt God, as Christ replied summarily to the devil. And that ? it was not only as written, but from the Word of God as CITED by Christ.
Incidentally, it is of intense interest to notice that in rebutting the devil's enticements, He USED THE WORD OF GOD WRITTEN, an example if ever there was one (Matthew 4:3-4). Such things are not merely held in store in the mind, but given feet and made to walk, or to stay, as the case might be. Moreover, He kept to the point of His mission, and for Him there was indeed rigour to suffer.
He did not for example, purchase an island and spend millions making the housing just as He wanted it for best relaxation. He did not even purchase a house, far less a seaside one, far less the latter as a supplement to the former. He had a task and how straightened He was until it was done (Luke 12:49ff.). Let us see this declaration of Christ.
"I am come to send fire on the earth;
and how I would wish that it might already kindled?
But I have a baptism with which to be baptised;
and how am I pressed till it be accomplished!
Do you suppose ye that I have come to give peace on earth?
I tell you, Nay; but rather division ..."
The design of the Plan of Salvation was so pure, its needs to demanding that not only did Christ find its pressures most demanding, but the delight in the eventual outcome was so vast that He could not but desire it done already. But to the task He proceeded, like a ploughman who had yet more rows to complete, and completed they WOULD be. It was not easy. The facile would not perform it. Neither is it easy for His disciples, and facile acceptance of this or that easy outcome and release is not merely failure, but readily becomes complete betrayal.
He did not rely on material power or sources or resources. Our old Headmaster at Scotch College Melbourne once justly declared that whatever the state of one's finances, one should seek to live in just the same way. Self-discipline, self-control, non-sybaritic, non-indulgent living was in view.
With Christ, self-discipline was eminent. His eye was on the result (Hebrews 12:1-2), and the acme of that was that as the Good Shepherd, God Himself having come as foretold so often (cf. Ezekiel 34, Hosea 13:14, Zechariah 12:10, Psalm 2, 22, 45), He would give His life for His sheep. This was not only a means of their salvation; it was the necessary means (as in Isaiah 52-53). Not only did it meet justice unequivocally for all; it propitiated very just wrath at those many deeds of man virtually unspeakable, negatively sublime in their selfishness.
How often man acted as if a god in arrears, aching in the void of his morality, the eminence of his hypocrisy, the mountains of his pride and the vices of his vanity (cf. Romans 3:23ff.)! Undaunted, Christ exposed the evil, comprised the criterion of the good, and composed the plans of the day before His Father as He fulfilled the design from eternity and the program for salvation's securement.
In divine love He proceeded, not self-interest whether for Himself as incarnate and subject to challenge, or for Himself as deity, desiring gain; for as Deity, all was His and freedom to make freedom was His, and power to exterminate lay as it lies, with Him (John 16:15, Colossians 1:15), and power to grant: nothing torments Him, since He has given to anything its power, and His purposes are very deep.
It is only in such a free, divinely derived love (Romans 5:5), willing to sacrifice knowledgeably for good, beyond grabbing, grasping, power-lust, security lust, revenge tantrums, according to truth, that any man can adequately be trustworthy in righteousness, deep in understanding of mankind and of categorical aid to the race. The very presence of this or that REASON for rejecting Jesus Christ is in itself the testimony of skewing in the spirit, squalor in the soul, and if admirable things are to be found, alas the casket in which they are held is thus debased.
It is in THIS love, the love of the living God who gives with it a heart to rejoice in it, and a soul to apply it (Titus 3:7ff., John 3), that teacher or pastor can, with others, have an attitude of helpfulness that is not supine and polluted at the outset, of wisdom which looks at the end of the matter of life, WHERE IT IS, and not where it is imagined to be. Hence such have special access to the grace with which to instruct: with the destinies in view, as well as the designs of the heart, the ways to eternal life and the way within it.
Love like this bypasses in principle the distorting of the desires of the heart, desiring first of all, to love God with ALL the heart, and only then the neighbour as oneself, so that this is infilled with the perspectives of godliness and neither of pleasure, nor indulgence, of the masterful martinet nor the permissive dollop.
Again, in Jesus the Christ we see this in action.
Power was apportioned to need, not for Himself to survive (His destiny was foretold as critical in the point of dying cf. Psalm 22, Isaiah 49-55). No, no such solemn farce as that disanointed His pure heart. To survive as a motive ? Why this makes a mockery of all value and conditions: the purpose, mere continuation! A rat as a rat might seek to survive, but a man as a man must choose whether to do so, why and in train of what purpose. Continuation for corruption is as near virtue as hell to heaven, lie to truth and life to death.
In Christ, authority in truth was unrelenting, unmoderated, subject to no other criterion, subject to no appeasement, at all times not merely apt, but deep and merciless to the engines of confusion.
Pity in mercy was similar, not subject to mere social force or even undiscerning application of commandments; but as Proverbs declared, so it was, that both mercy and justice were about the neck (Proverbs 3:3). If there WERE a way to bring forgiveness (markedly so as in Mark 2), it would be found irrespective of the cost for so doing. In fact, such things stirred the opposition, and in a case not long afterwards, when Christ healed one with a withered hand on the Sabbath, some of the 'religious' groups sought to arrange for His murder, demise, despatch, just as if they were from the Mafia! (Mark 3:6).
He was exceedingly aware of such a spirit, and of the result of it, repeating it not a little, but selectively, so that it could sink in without becoming a vexation to the disciples unduly. The Son of man had an appointment with death, in order through bearing it, to overcome it; for it could not chew the cud on truth, nor achieve justice on the innocent; and though He TOOK the sin of those to be cleansed, it did not control Him, but merely gave Him anguish, so that the innocent paid the guilt, but the death penalty could not hold HIM (cf. Acts 2:23-24).
You see this exposure of the coming death, Christ predicting what was already predicted, in Matthew 16:21, 17:22-23, 20:18ff., just as in Matthew 21:33, the parable was most pungent and pointed, exhibiting the opprobrium of the slaughter-house mentality of His betrayers; for in fact, ALL those who professed the Lord of Abraham, were traitors to that same Lord, in turning Christ's incarnate body with animation to the grave! (cf. Zechariah 11:10-13). You regard the passion of the need to fulfil, since God does not mutate, nor does His word fail, in Matthew 26:52-56. THUS and not otherwise had things to be, Christ indicated, for if not,
"how then could the scriptures be fulfilled
that thus it must be!"
How then did He proceed ?
If there were an understanding of depth, that went past the bucolic and the obvious to the pith and the centre of a thing, then this was available from the lips of Christ, in mercy and kindness (as in Mark 2:23-28). If on the other hand, there were things which needed more bases developed first, that they might be understood properly, then these might wait for their best moment (John 16:12ff.). Nevertheless, in the interim no truth was denied, for how could it be, by The Truth (John 14:6).
In this, we have not only the divine exhibited in a light that is invariable, but also an example to follow. Those who are not the truth (i.e. all but God) still have access to it on two grounds: first that they receive His words in the Bible, and secondly that they receive Him in their hearts, repenting and believing in Him who bodily arose, sole Lord and without peer or synthesis, so giving them right sight and ability to discern meaning in the perspectives now implanted, supplanting the imaginations of blindness with the certainties of sight. This then they do not forfeit, come what may; for the very Spirit of the living God then arises within them as a living spring moving on to eternal life (John 4:14).
The spring is wonderful, the word is most wonderful, the love of God is gracious and holy. Yet His way, being in disregard in the world itself consigned at last to the flames (II Peter 3, Isaiah 51:6, Matthew 24:35), is detested by this world, and the more so the more reality and practicality is found in those who declare that they follow it. Lip service this world can even use; performance it hates (John 3:20, 7:7, 15:18-19,23, James 4:4).
The servant is not greater than his Master, and for Christians the suffering is to be borne, not to ransom others, but to exhibit the Lord; for one's God is not an add-on, like a spare-tyre, but the centre and point of one's life. His word is like that of an employer, a scholar, a king, a doctor, a lawyer, and all of these to the uttermost beyond their respective classes, raised to infinitude; and again, His speech is as only the word of the all-knowing, God of mercy and love, can be. As such it is treated by His own, when they deal with His property, such as all other human beings as with themselves, or with His will.
Such is the authority that is loved,
the authority of love,
that of mercy with the merciful,
of truth with the truth-lovers,
of wisdom with the hearty learners,
of the solace and hope of the God of all grace and comfort (II Corinthians 1)
with the needy,
of the Saviour with the saved,
of the Redeemer with the redeemed, as
of the Maker, the Creator with the creature brought to His side.
Its spirit of self-control, wise surveyal, loving kindness, exposure of folly, rebuke to misleaders, confrontation with the merciless, thoughtfulness for the embarrassed, help to the distressed, is cardinal in quality, as is His use of power for purpose so that the service of redemption by death is a culmination of the service of man by life (Matthew 20:28). Here is found the exclusion of manipulation, the focus on the point of service and on Him for whom ultimately it is done, as distinct from merely abetting self-indulgence or self-will.
ALL of these things are richly apparent.
The authority of truth is like that; and it IS like that because the God of creation so has revealed Himself. THIS works wisdom, does kindness, achieves redemption by Himself alone (John 10:9-18, Romans 3:21-26, 5:12-21, Galatians 1, 10:1ff.), wins souls, balms spirits, and it is in that authority, that peace is found, pleasure has its just view, pain has its remedy, strength has its basis and understanding its avenue of thrust.
The authority of truth is ONE: it was not by some men, but by ONE man, says Paul in Romans 5, that righteousness is accredited to His people.
Multiplication has its place. Contradiction is always out of place in the word of God. One can be multiplied here; but only by rebellion. The Gospel is not only immutable (Galatians 1), but beautiful in the dutifulness of the Deity Incarnate who made it in His own flesh, bearing sins on the tree (I Peter 2). No other bore it; and it is by HIS knowledge that HE justifies many (Isaiah 53:11), BECAUSE He BORE their iniquities.
No one else did. Truth is like that: it is singular to God, in God and from God comes its only definitive expression, just as in Him alone is its salvation provided. It is provided freely (Isaiah 55, Romans 3:24ff.); it needs no help, any more than truth does. God made; God remakes; God declared; God performs His word; and it is HIS work alone that provides eternal redemption (Hebrews 9:12) so that by ONE offering man believing, is not only justified but sanctified forever.
Some other Jesus (II Cor. 11) may satisfy some, some partner in salvation may appeal to others; but this same Jesus who died, on whom alone was our iniquity laid, who believe in Him, and not on some other, who alone bore our sins on the tree, who as deity is the ONLY Saviour (Isaiah 43:10-11), it is He who is to be followed whether in school or State; and where the word is one and the deed is another, what has this to do with it! Fraud is common. It does not relate to truth.
The authority of truth is loved, since in love is the authority given, in knowledge is it deployed, in heart is its wisdom girded and in omniscience is its beauty applied. It does not depend on man, as Peter and John made so delightfully clear to the rebellious ecclesiastical authorities of their day (Acts 3-5). Thus placed, there is no room for confusion, diffusion, only for sight and a walk according to it.
The thoughts of men frequently deserve both contest and shame, and their authority can be as barren of love as of wisdom. Yet the thoughts of God are those back of our very existence, our love of justice, of equity, of probity, of honesty, of mercy. When THIS is the authority, then its name is splendour and obedience with understanding as to the truth, is an excursion into glory.
In such an authority, Jesus is Lord BECAUSE HE IS LORD, that is, His position is from His very Being. When willingly received, there is order and discipline, rebuke in love, patience in difficulty, sharpness in hypocrisy, retort in vagrancy and aim in action! Without this, authority readily becomes distasteful or even manipulative, selfish or unconcerned. But then, so is it with love, for without the love of God, the love of the Creator for His creation, and its reciprocation and application towards the field of creation, the rank remainder of loveliness soon becomes the result, like rotting rind, lying in the sun, when the juice has been extracted.
Without that wisdom which understands from God and His very words, purpose in life, love whether intended or vaunted, readily becomes domineering, repressive, masterly in idle conception, soggy in affection, mindless in passion, selfish in conduct, illicit in expression or mere space for personality enlargement.
Both love and authority tend to have shocking names, and wonderful attestation: both. This is because the love of God is the Creator-creation criterion for love, as the authority of Christ as shown on earth is the Lord-servant expression of power and wisdom. When drawn from their originals, both of these facets of human life are august and delightful, happy and sound; but without Him, they readily become so vapid that people turning from the authority, ruin the children and themselves. This is readily done with recklessly indulgent governments, or to be found instead, harshly manipulative ones, so leaving authenticity alone. It is then as if a couple of cylinders in an engine might as well miss, for they never will be missed, they urge. But of the point: what is in its design and what is meet for its destiny ? of this, the erratic autonomy of man can be oblivious if not repressive.
As in China to this day, it can imprison for 're-education', a euphemism for torture of the mind, aggression of the spirit, anguish for the body, humiliation for the life and a thing of such detestable arrogance and shame, mixed with sham, as to almost melt the heart of man merely to behold it. Of such things, Harry Wu, with his Laogai Research Foundation, based in the USA, has had much to say from personal experience, even of the prisons, the Chinese parallel to Solzhenitsyn's Gulag Archipelago, the shame of the USSR in its day, before it fell.
Let us not however imagine that these inverted peaks, peaks of woe, are the thing to detest; for they are but expressions in conspicuous format of a subtlety often far more devious, by which even democratic powers seek to intimidate by school curriculum, exclusions on creation, inclusions of fairy stories of naturalism as if they related in some way to science, and of course, exclusion of logical debate. They do it by having vast appeal and charm for undisciplined programs, vague in presentation, diffuse in intention and leading to the netherlands of illicit desire with the utmost aplomb, once in power.
Small wonder then that there is such a chugging and such an exhaust roar, now one, and then the other, as pagan or invasively polluted philosophies of government, education and personal life make their approach, chugging about like ancient engines, filled with noxious gas, barely moving, and making a stench.
See, for example:
Spiritual Refreshings Ch. 9, *1, It Bubbles, Ch. 9, *1A, Repent or Perish Ch. 7, Christ Incomparable, Lord Indomitable ... Ch. 2, SMR Ch. 4.
Ch. 4, above
Deity and Design, Designation and Destiny,
The gods of naturalism have no go!
Life, What is it ? (A Spiritual Potpourri Ch. 6).
Light Dwells with the Lord's Christ,
Deity and Design, Designation and Destiny,
The gods of naturalism have no go!)
The Meaning of Liberty and the Message of Remedy
and in particular Ch. 11, Ch. 2
See on method, What is the Wheat to the Chaff ... Chs. 3 and 4. See also Barbs ... 6-7.