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
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
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:
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.
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Continue to: Spiritual Authority: Unfortunate and Unintended Legacy of the Reformation.
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This page created on July 12, 1996.
Most recent revision was August 27, 1996.
Copyright © 1996 Gerardo Marti
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