Sunday, April 17, 2016

Question Authority

    That phrase raised some eyebrows, didn't it? Many of us in conservative circles were told that that was not true. Authorities know more than we do, and because of that, we obey them and we do not rebel by questioning. Yes, I was told that several times. To say anything other than agreement was to rebel.

     Yesterday at a taekwondo tournament I was both a judge and a competitor at, one of the guy's I've coached mom came up to me and asked me a couple questions about procedure and what some of the people running the tournament were thinking when they planned to do this particular thing or bracket these people in this way. I told her that honestly, we judges don't know what's going on, we're just better at pretending we do. I was obviously joking, because in that case I did know what's going on, but there's an element of truth in what I said.

      Remember when you were a kid and you wanted to be an adult so you could do whatever you wanted? Or even as a teen you couldn't wait til you were older so you would beat that temptation or defeat that struggle? Remember how disappointing it was when you looked up and realized that that's not how it worked? Maybe you became an adult, maybe something else opened your eyes, but you realized that, "Hey, I'm an adult, and I'm still really, really confused."

     We've heard the talks, whether they about church authorities or parents or particular church speakers or a courtship girl's dad. We've heard them talked about as if they're miniature gods sometimes, with special insight from heaven and greater wealths of knowledge. I've gotten my share of lectures of even asking questions of those in authority when they make a statement.

     Seeing a bumper sticker that said, "Question authority" got me thinking earlier this week. Is that a sentiment that I as a Christian young man should consider good, because it certainly describes my life. I have been told I question everything, and I honestly can't argue with that synopsis. I truly do question everything, and I intend to continue doing so.

     One particular passage stuck out to me in thinking this over. Acts 17:11 says, "Now these were more noble-minded than those in Thessalonica, for they received the word with great eagerness, examining the Scriptures daily to see whether these things were so." 

     It's a very interesting verse. One message is clear from this: the Bereans were concerned about truth. They were very eager to hear this new teaching from Paul; literally excited to hear this truth. But, they didn't blindly accept something coming from the formerly respected son of a Pharisee and student of Gamaliel or the present day apostle. They immediately took the message of this respected speaker and turned back to Scripture to check about what he said, and since Luke knew about it to write, it apparently was no secret. It wasn't hidden that they were double checking what Paul said.

     Paul's response to that is maybe not what we would expect from a respected church leader based on how I've been addressed after asking questions and so on in my circles. He calls them "noble-minded" for doing this. Here they are being questioning of him and he's pleased about it!

     True leadership doesn't mind questions, even hard questions, most of the time even challenging questions. Blind followers are for cults, not Christianity. So as believers, we should be actively pursuing what the apostle Paul commended in the Berean church; that is, actively holding ourselves and our authorities to the Word of God, not blindly swallowing what they tell us. We are accountable for our beliefs, and blindly believing our church authorities, our parents, or our friends is, to state bluntly, inexcusable.

     Question authority. That's not to say defy it or rebel against it (though questioning it will sometimes lead us to do those things if necessary). But asking questions in pursuit of truth is NEVER wrong, particularly if we look for those answers from the Bible. Never be bullied into silence or complacency.



  1. This is a great reminder to never accept teaching without comparing it to the Bible! Thanks Taylor.

  2. That is an excellent example of this pattern of thought being applied in Scripture. Of course, when a "subordinate" questions, another important factor is the askers motivation. If it is in genuine search of truth, I rarely think that desire to understand the "if" and "why" of the thing is inappropriate. Otherwise what's being built is an ignorant follower of most dominant voice in the room.

    1. Exactly. Motivation is important, but with proper motivation, I have trouble thinking of a time when questioning is out of place.

  3. Hey, Taylor! Wow, this post was... just, wow! It's totally something my brother, Josh, would write too. This is definitely a very encouraging and challenging post, thanks so much for taking the time to write it up, bro! :)

    1. Thanks, Jazzy! Very kind words! Glad you took the time to read it! :)