True spiritual authority is rarer than we would care to admit, and what is taken to be authority is often a mixture of personal charisma, spiritual gifts, education, rank or reputation.
AUTHORITY AS A FRUIT OF GRACE MUST BE “SPIRITUALLY DISCERNED”
(1 Cor 2:14 cf. 1 John 2:20, 27).
This is where we face a major obstacle in the Church today.
Unless we know the Spirit as the one who proceeds from the Son of the Father (John 15:26; Rom 8:15-16; Gal 4:6-7) we will always be confused about the nature of authority.
Spiritual truths such as these can only be known “from the inside” (1 Cor 2).
There is no remedy for ongoing ignorance apart from the one commanded by Jesus, discipleship.
The crisis in discipleship in the contemporary Australian Church, its confusions and indiscipline, mirrors the crisis of fatherhood in wider Australian culture.
The average Caucasian Australian lacks an image of an intimately present Father, whereas ethnic Australians are generally possessed by a dominant father image.
Jesus liberates us from the fears of both of these father-abandoning experiences and makes possible unconditional obedience to his commands.
TO KNOW THE INDWELLING FATHER THROUGH THE SON DELIVERS US FROM SEEKING THE FAVOUR AND APPROVAL OF MEN:
“For am I now seeking the approval of man, or of God? Or am I trying to please man? If I were still trying to please man, I would not be a servant of Christ.” (Galatians 1:10 ESV cf. Rom 2:29; Eph 6:6; Col 3:22; 1 Thess 2:4).
This is the call to true authority and it can only come through a particular form of relationship.
Some may want to call it mentoring, others modelling and it is certainly discipling.
According to the pattern of the post-Pentecost Church, this relationship is one between spiritual fathers/mothers and their children according to the relationships that God has appointed.