Why Folks Resist Authority

In this audio message, Jeff Pollard explains the matter of elder authority from Hebrews 13. He begins by examining why people have such difficulty with authority.  He says,

“The clear and direct language of the text undoubtedly sounds foreign to modern American ears for at least four reasons: 

(1) Our inherently sinful condition: In the Garden of Eden, Adam and Eve cast off the authority of God’s Word. Because of this, all Adam’s descendants—Christ excluded—are born with a natural opposition to external authority. This sinful condition makes us vulnerable to 

(2) Our culture’s addiction to radical individualism: A self-worshiping culture like ours simply cannot and does not prepare the human heart to respect and submit to another human being. Submission to authority does not resonate with contemporary Americans—Christian or non-Christian. And this is one of the results of 

(3) The effect of the 60s upon subsequent generations: In 1904, the English occultist Aleister Crowley, known as “the wickedest man in the world,” was given a book by a spirit-entity: this spirit channeled the contents of the book through Crowley’s wife as Crowley wrote it down. Entitled The Book of the Law, its primary precept is “Do what thou wilt shall be the whole of the law,” which became the slogan of the 60s: “Do your own thing.” While most people had no idea who Crowley was, his “do your own thing” life and writings influenced numerous musicians, celebrities, filmmakers, college professors, and others, who, in turn, intoxicated our culture with it. By its nature, “Do your own thing” is the antithesis of anything other than self-authority. As one writer puts it, “What Crowley stood for, ultimately, was self-gratification: no mere aimless indulgences but the healthy and liberating pursuit of one’s deepest will and desires against the soulless and shallow expectations of authority.” That is the satanic worldview and the reigning philosophy of most modern Americans—Christian or non-Christian. And they call it “freedom.” Finally, 

(4) The abuse of authority by church leaders: This is an unfortunate reality far too common, but consistent with fallen human nature and our culture. And when any of us suffers under the abuse of illegitimate authority, it subtly turns us against the use of legitimate authority. Because of the searing pain that abuse produces our hearts, we will do almost anything to avoid being abused by a church leader again. And that can lead churches to some very bad attitudes, decisions, and actions, as well as promoting a life of suspicion and distrust. Because of these four reasons and others, we do not like to submit to another human’s authority.

Nevertheless, in the churches of the Lord Jesus, our risen Savior is the Head—the Sovereign Lord and reigning Monarch of His people. He appoints elders to teach and to lead them authoritatively, according to His Word and Spirit. So, our message is entitled Elders and Authority (Part 1). May our loving heavenly Father grant us the illuminating power of the Holy Spirit so that we might hear the voice of Christ the Head of the church with clarity.