AUTHORITY AND ACCOUNTABILITY1.What is the meaning of authority?
Legal or rightful power; a right to command or to act; power exercised buy a person in virtue of his office or trust; dominion; jurisdiction; authorization; as, the authority of a prince over subjects, and of parents over children; the authority of a court. The power derived from opinion, respect, or esteem; influence of character, office, or station, or mental or moral superiority. 2.Where does authority come from?
The reality permeating both the Old and the New testament is that God is the ultimate authority and He alone is the ultimate source of authority for others. 3.What are the various spheres in which God has entrusted authority into the hands of leaders? a.The Church
Christ has given authority to certain men to be leaders (often termed elders or bishops) in his church. Their task is to shepherd the church with love and humility as the servants of Christ and his people (I Tim. 3:5; I Pet. 5:1-4). b.Marriage and the Family
Women as equals of men in both creation and redemption (cf. I Pet. 3:7; Gal. 3:28) are asked to submit to their own husbands as heads of the home because of the pattern established by God at creation (I Cor. 11:3, 8-9; Eph. 5:22; I Pet. 3:1-6). Both husbands and wives are asked to offset the effects of sin on this God-ordained authority relationship by their attitude and conduct, i.e., the husband exercising headship with love, honor, and without bitterness (Eph. 5:28; Col. 3:19; I Pet. 3:7) and the wives, with respect, as unto the Lord, and with a gentle spirit (Eph. 5:22, 33; I Pet. 3:4). Children are commanded to obey their parents (Eph. 6:1-3; Col. 3:20) and to care for them in times of need (I Tim. 5:4).c.Civil Government
Christians are to recognize that God has granted authority in this realm to those who by his providence "exist" (Rom. 13:1; cf. John 19:11). Thus they are called dutifully to subject themselves to civil authorities (I Pet. 2:13-17) who are described as God's servants to prevent evildoers and to encourage good behavior (Rom. 13:1ff.). This authority requires not only subjection but also the rendering of various taxes, respect, and honor (Rom. 13:7). d.Other Authorities in Human Life
The Bible teaches that Christians, for the Lord's sake, should submit to every appropriate human institution (I Pet. 2:13). It is however stated explicitly in Acts 5:29, in reference to the civil and religious sphere, that "we must obey God rather than men" (cf.4:19). When the human authority clearly contravenes one's allegiance to God's authority, one is authorized to appeal to God's authority and obey it in contradistinction to that of any human authority. For in that situation the authority structure has so opposed the one who gives it its validity that it forfeits its authority. e.Satan's Authority
The exercise of power by the evil one and the demons is also regarded as a power or authority, but a usurped one which is only under God's ultimate authority (Luke 4:6; Acts 26:18; Col. 1:13; cf. Job 1). Such angelic beings, who are called powers or authorities, have been disarmed by Christ (Col. 2:15) and have no other final outcome than that of the devil's final doom (Rev. 20:10).4.How is authority seen in the average local church?
The church, the Body of Christ, is a living organism. As the Body of Christ, the church is analogous to the human body with the head giving it direction, even as Christ is the Head of the Church, giving it direction. There is also an organizational side of the Church that governs its various functions. Historically, the Church is governed in three different ways. TYPES OF CHURCH GOVERNMENT
The word Episcopal comes from the Greek word episkopos, meaning “overseer.” It identifies churches governed by the authority of bishops. In a simple form, the Methodist church and in complex form the Episcopal (Anglican) church use this form of church government. The most complex Episcopal structure is found in the Roman Catholic Church, with the ultimate authority vested in the bishop of Rome, the pope. In the Episcopal form of church government the authority rests with the bishops who oversee a group of churches. In essence, the bishop becomes a pastor of pastors. From the practical side, since every pastor needs a pastor, the position of the bishop is invaluable. The biblical support is from the position of James in the church of Jerusalem (Acts 15:13-21), as well as the position and authority of Timothy and Titus.
The word Presbyterian comes from the Greek word presbuteros, meaning “elder.” Presbyterian (sometimes termed federal) is the form of church government where elders rule, as in the Presbyterian and Reformed churches. Presbyterian church government emphasizes representative rule by the elders who are appointed or elected by the people. The session is the name of the elected ruling elders who govern the local church. The teaching elder presides over the session. Above the session is the presbytery, including all ordained ministers or teaching elders as well as one ruling elder from each local congregation in a district. Above the presbytery is the synod, and over the synod is the general assembly, the highest court. Both of these bodies are also equally divided between ministers and laymen or ruling elders. The pastor serves as one of the elders. The biblical support for this is the frequent mention of elders in the New Testament: there were elders in Jerusalem (Acts 11:30; 15:2, 4) and in Ephesus (Acts 20:17); elders were appointed in every church (Acts 14:23; Titus. 1:5); elders were responsible to feed the flock (1 Peter 5:1, 2); there were also elders who ruled (1 Timothy 5:17).
In congregational church government the authority rests not with a representative individual but with the entire local congregation. Two things are stressed in a congregational governed church: autonomy and democracy. A congregational church is autonomous in that no authority outside of the local church has any power over the local church. In addition, congregational churches are democratic in their government; all the members of the local congregation make the decisions that guide and govern the church.
This is particularly argued from the standpoint of the priesthood of all believers. Baptists, Evangelical Free, Congregational, some Lutherans, and some independent churches follow the congregational form of church government.4.Where are the workings of authority most commonly seen in the local church?
Outside of official church governance the workings of authority are most commonly seen in the three levels of normal relationships – (2 Timothy 2:2)
5.What is accountability?
- Responsibility for – those younger ones in the faith who need to be nurtured and disciplined (sons and daughters). In the atmosphere of fellowship, where operations like oversight and honest confrontation take place, they need to be taught the necessity of accountability and discipline as they seek to be developed into mature believers.
- Fellowship with – those who are your spiritual peers (brothers and sisters). You are exhorted that as you walk in the light of fellowship with God, you will experience fellowship (sharing in common) with those who are walking as you are, in fellowship with God, and you will be cleansed through the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7).
- Accountability to – those leaders or mentors (fathers and mothers) that you are under. You are instructed to "obey" them and "submit" to their authority (Hebrews 13:7, 17). You must understand that the purpose of this submission is twofold: Protection and Provision.
To be accountable means that you voluntarily submit to someone overseeing, monitoring, or supervising your behavior. A person who is liable to be called to account and capable of being accounted for. 6.What is the mandate given by Jesus to the church?
Christ commanded us to go and make disciples of the nations. Matthew 28:19-20, 19 "Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and the Son and the Holy Spirit, 20 teaching them to observe all that I commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." 7.What is the goal of discipleship?
The goal of discipleship is to make disciples who make disciples. Jesus said, “Follow Me, and I will make you a fisher of men.” (Matthew 4:19) 8.What is the definition of a disciple?
· Someone who is being discipled (following)
· Someone who is being transformed and empowered through discipleship
· Someone who is committed to God’s mission, and to mandate of making disciples
The Go For God Discipleship Mandate is “I am a disciple in passionate pursuit of God’s presence, who is being transformed and empowered for the fulfillment of His Kingdom purpose.”
 Enns, Paul, The Moody Handbook of Theology, (Chicago, Ill.: Moody Press) 1996.