Spiritual Authority

A preliminary definition

For a theoretical background to this page, please review Spiritual Authority: A Discussion of Terms.

A preliminary definition of Spiritual Authority considers the full range of meaning. The following is my attempt.

Spiritual Authority

In Spiritual Authority, the authority is "of the spirit." It is authority concerned with that reality which is transcendent to the material world encompassing the sacred and immaterial in each person (the soul) and in the whole universe (God). First, this authority is delegated by God to direct the souls of others. Second, this authority is a representative of guides and procedures which are incumbent on all people to follow, but not all have access to them. Third, individuals recognize and submit to spiritual authority in others. [For background on these concepts, please see discussion of terms.]

Spiritual Authority receives power from God directly as His delegated agent in both his person and his procedures, much like an ambassador or statesman. Spiritual Authority also receives power from individuals who accord credibility, respect and recognition as spirit meets spirit in dynamic encounter.

Question: The crux of the issue then is this. When God is progressively written out of the contemporary script, how does an individual exercise spiritual authority? The history of the world since the Enlightenment, Renaissance, Reformation and Industrial Revolution, is one in which the transcendence of everyday thinking has withered away. Today, at the end of the 20th Century, without a recognition of a person working on behalf of God, and without a recognition of common guides and procedures that bind us all to God, when does spiritual authority exist?

Answer: Spiritual authority exists when individuals give that authority over to someone. Individuals give permission for others to exercise spiritual authority. Moreover, that authority is fragile, in that as soon as that individual feel that the person is now action outside of the spirit, authority is taken back. Spiritual authority and the directives that issue forth from that authority are conditioned on acceptance of each directive. When a directive is given which is disagreeable, unlikeable, seemingly harsh, misunderstood, etc., permission for authority is forfeited. This reveals who then is the real authority in this situation. Instead of God delegating authority, subordinates delegate authority. In the modern world the structural diagram is:


X-> A -> B,


B -> A -> B.

Moral: The mind of the contemporary person says, "You are a spiritual authority as long as I agree with you. The moment I disagree, then your spiritual authority is forfeited." And since we have such a diversity of feelings, opinions, values, etc., in the United States and, really, the world all over, no single entity will be able to exercise significant spiritual authority over any significant number of people.

Comments, questions and contributions are welcome. Please see the guest book registry for your opportunity to speak out.

Continue to: Spiritual Authority: Unfortunate and Unintended Legacy of the Reformation.

Back to Spiritual Authority: A Discussion of Terms.

Back to Spiritual Authority: Homepage.

This page created on July 12, 1996.
Most recent revision was August 27, 1996.
Copyright © 1996 Gerardo Marti
For information regarding this site, please send email to gerardo@worldnet.att.net.

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