How should members of Christ’s Body best relate to internal and external human authorities and institutions, in order to continually increase God’s Kingdom?
Practice healthy submission to existing structures while we continue to design and implement more Christ-centered models that both complement and transcend those structures.
- Continue to prioritize our Ultimate Purpose.**
- Seek to respect and empathize with everyone, whether or not they deserve it.
- Actively listen to and manage non-conforming emotions, to avoid repressing them.
- When there seems no honorable way forward, come to the cross with Jesus.
- Obey when you can, to make life easier for your leaders.
- When you must disobey, submit to a higher authority to avoid feeding a rebellious spirit.
- If there is no legitimate human authority, ask God to judge — starting with you. WARNING: Do not do this lightly. (cf. Habakkuk)
- Letter from a Birmingham Jail (Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.)
- Beyond Hierarchy (www.igwet.com)
- Unbundling Church (FaithTech)
- HeartSync (Fr. Andrew Miller)
Verses on Submission
(Adapted from an email by viewer MF. Thanks!)
Christians to Worldly Authority
Let everyone be subject to the governing authorities, for there is no authority except that which God has established. The authorities that exist have been established by God. Romans 13:1
Wives To Husbands
“For the husband is the head of the wife as Christ is the head of the church, his body, of which he is the Savior.” Ephesians 5:22-23
Children to Parents
If someone has a stubborn and rebellious son who does not obey his father and mother and will not listen to them when they discipline him, his father and mother shall take hold of him and bring him to the elders at the gate of his town. They shall say to the elders, “This son of ours is stubborn and rebellious. He will not obey us. He is a glutton and a drunkard.” Then all the men of his town are to stone him to death. You must purge the evil from among you. Deuteronomy 21:18-21
Church To Elders
To the elders among you… Be shepherds of God’s flock that is under your care… In the same way, you who are younger, submit yourselves to your elders. All of you, clothe yourselves with humility toward one another. 1 Peter 5:1-6.
The elders who direct the affairs of the church well are worthy of double honor, especially those whose work is preaching and teaching…Do not entertain an accusation against an elder unless it is brought by two or three witnesses. But those elders who are sinning you are to reprove before everyone, so that the others may take warning. – 1 Timothy 5:17-21
Within the Trinity
Very truly I tell you, the Son can do nothing by himself; he can do only what he sees his Father doing, because whatever the Father does the Son also does. John 5:19
Consistent with Equality
Nevertheless, in the Lord woman is not independent of man, nor is man independent of woman. For as woman came from man, so also man is born of woman. But everything comes from God. 1 Cor 11:11-12
“That all of them may be one, Father, just as you are in me and I am in you. May they also be in us so that the world may believe that you have sent me.” John 17:20-21
- But you must not be called ‘Teacher,’ because you have only one Teacher, and you are all brothers and sisters together.
- And don’t call any person on earth ‘Father,’ because you have one Father, who is in heaven.
- And you should not be called ‘Master,’ because you have only one Master, the Christ.
- Whoever is your servant is the greatest among you.
- Whoever makes himself great will be made humble. Whoever makes himself humble will be made great.
* Biastes (bee-AHS-tees): masculine, plural 1) forceful men, as in Matthew 11:12. 2) public discipleship men’s group founded on April 3rd, 2020 in the shadow of COVID-19. See also: Biasta (feminine, singular)
** Our ultimate purpose is to continually grow closer to Jesus, in love (relationship), likeness (character), and living out God’s Kingdom (works).