Authority - Matthew 21:23-27

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AmyJ
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Authority - Matthew 21:23-27

Post by AmyJ » 26 Jun 2018, 07:14

https://www.lds.org/scriptures/nt/matt/ ... 7?lang=eng

I have been thinking a lot about authority recently - mostly because if I am going to be a rebel, I would prefer to be a deliberate one than an accidental one. So, when I read this scripture passage this week, it started me thinking about stuff...

The Pharisees approached Jesus wearing their administration and tribal authority hats having heard of the reports of the miracles. I can see them asking the questions they asked with a mixture of renouncement "by what authority do you do this" in tones of "how dare you" and also questioning "by what authority do you do this" in tones of "how did you do this".

I think it is interesting that Jesus did not answer their question, but instead offered a trade. He would answer their question if they could answer his. But in looking at the question this time, I think it is more of a ink-blot question than a definitive doctrinal statement.

QUESTIONS:
"The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men?"
  • From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
  • Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
"We cannot tell"
PERSONAL EQUIVALENT:
"The authority to administer ordinances - from heaven, of men, or what?"
  • From heaven - then I need to change my actions to support those ordinances more (i.e. attend the temple)
  • From men - then I need to change my expectations of religion, and consider making choices to serve humanity better (ie I may not pay tithing to fund the organization, but divert it to fast offerings, to charities, etc.)
  • Insert 3rd option (mostly because I am striving to break out of binary thinking) - it seems to come down to a mixture of both "from heaven" and "from men" - i.e. Christian (non-LDS) baptism. I gather that in terms of administration, a person can switch some affiliations (ie Baptism to Methodist) without needing to be re-baptized.
  • Insert 4th option - figure out the "meaning" behind the ordinances and shift the administration to match that. Our sacrament ritual includes water instead of wine - even though the original administration of the sacrament would have included wine.

I cannot tell - I don't know what I know, and I am not sure what I believe in this area.

FINAL ANSWER FROM JESUS CHRIST:
"Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things."

I don't think he is telling the Pharisees to be oppositional towards them. What if he can't tell them by the authority he does these things because it is outside of their faith narrative? Or what if it is because the answer "I am the Son of God" won't really help them to understand what that means and why that statement means He can do things they can't/outside of normal expectations.

What if it is like trying to explain how light bulbs work to a pre-candle citizen? or the well-known salt to an alien situation?

I mentioned the ink blot test earlier because I am increasingly of the opinion that the matter of authority is, like a lot of things, very subjective depending on the amount of authority required in a person's life to help that life run comfortably (especially in regards to others).

I am not a high authority person. I don't want to be an authority figure for my children (nor do I really want to do things "to set a good example for them"). I don't like it when others tell me what to do without context or explanation. I used to just accept that our church was an authority church - it works to help with some things and can be useful. For me, I treat authority different because I know I don't want/need much of it and others do.

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Heber13
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Re: Authority - Matthew 21:23-27

Post by Heber13 » 26 Jun 2018, 10:49

AmyJ wrote:
26 Jun 2018, 07:14
I mentioned the ink blot test earlier because I am increasingly of the opinion that the matter of authority is, like a lot of things, very subjective depending on the amount of authority required in a person's life to help that life run comfortably (especially in regards to others).
I agree with you. In fact, that line of thinking was what prompted me to pick the prism in my avatar...the idea that we all see the same light source differently when we are looking at it from different points of view. It looks red, or blue, or green...but it all comes from one source.

Authority is an interesting thing to ponder.

My personality is such that I do not like to be told what to do without knowing why it is important. Blind obedience seems foolish to me. But I have learned that sometimes explaining "the why" for everything can be tedious to some...so...some just want me to obey and stop talking about it or analyzing everything...just do it and trust it is for good reason.

Sometimes I do try to humble myself to do that ...but it isn't easy.

Authority...hm...why would God only want some people to have it, and not others? Why only our church knows how to do baptism right?
Why do men only hold it at certain ages?
Why do we overlook the imperfections of men and their authority when they sin, making their authority invalid...but...we don't make people go back and get rebaptized by someone whose authority was invalid?

We like authority when it is convenient for our message. We dismiss it when it is complicated.

Maybe the old missionary analogy of the police explains it...to maintain order in society...some people are given authority to give out tickets or enforce the law...but not everyone or it would be chaotic. Is that really necessary with God's laws? Why does God require baptism by proper authority?

Lots of questions on this topic.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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Re: Authority - Matthew 21:23-27

Post by Curt Sunshine » 26 Jun 2018, 15:15

I mentioned the ink blot test earlier because I am increasingly of the opinion that the matter of authority is, like a lot of things, very subjective depending on the amount of authority required in a person's life to help that life run comfortably (especially in regards to others).


I absolutely love how you phrased this, Amy. Thank you.
I see through my glass, darkly - as I play my saxophone in harmony with the other instruments in God's orchestra. (h/t Elder Joseph Wirthlin)

Even if people view many things differently, the core Gospel principles (LOVE; belief in the unseen but hoped; self-reflective change; symbolic cleansing; striving to recognize the will of the divine; never giving up) are universal.

"For every complex problem there is an answer that is clear, simple, and wrong." H. L. Mencken

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nibbler
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Re: Authority - Matthew 21:23-27

Post by nibbler » 26 Jun 2018, 15:28

Heber13 wrote:
26 Jun 2018, 10:49
Maybe the old missionary analogy of the police explains it...to maintain order in society...some people are given authority to give out tickets or enforce the law...but not everyone or it would be chaotic.
...and we try to give the PH to every 12 year old boy in the church. ;)
You can't break what's broken already.
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AmyJ
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Re: Authority - Matthew 21:23-27

Post by AmyJ » 27 Jun 2018, 05:15

nibbler wrote:
26 Jun 2018, 15:28
Heber13 wrote:
26 Jun 2018, 10:49
Maybe the old missionary analogy of the police explains it...to maintain order in society...some people are given authority to give out tickets or enforce the law...but not everyone or it would be chaotic.
...and we try to give the PH to every 12 year old boy in the church. ;)
... and we try to convince our 12 year old more mature females that their softer power due to being female is equal to the priesthood authority their more immature male peers receive... after subscribing to the merit-based individual grading in school, and the doctrine of actions determining power base....

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nibbler
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Re: Authority - Matthew 21:23-27

Post by nibbler » 27 Jun 2018, 06:54

I feel like this could be a crossover post with the combining PH quorums thread but IMO everyone on this planet has inborn authority from god. The PH is more like Dumbo's feather, something to help us have faith in ourselves.
You can't break what's broken already.
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Heber13
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Re: Authority - Matthew 21:23-27

Post by Heber13 » 27 Jun 2018, 15:22

nibbler wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 06:54
I feel like this could be a crossover post with the combining PH quorums thread but IMO everyone on this planet has inborn authority from god. The PH is more like Dumbo's feather, something to help us have faith in ourselves.
...until someone takes our feather and tells us we are unworthy and sends us home from our mission because we aren't worthy of the authority... thus destroying our faith in ourselves.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

Roy
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Re: Authority - Matthew 21:23-27

Post by Roy » 01 Jul 2018, 09:49

AmyJ wrote:
27 Jun 2018, 05:15
... and we try to convince our 12 year old more mature females that their softer power due to being female is equal to the priesthood authority their more immature male peers receive... after subscribing to the merit-based individual grading in school, and the doctrine of actions determining power base....
I remember Elder Christopherson's talk from 2013 where he said that by using course language YW could lose their moral authority before the have it "in full measure". I believe that in context he was talking about the moral authority of YW to remain chaste and insist that potential marriage partners fulfill certain check boxes prior to eligibility. In our culture, I believe the best example is the pressure put on young men to serve a mission in order to be considered as a marriage partner for many LDS women. Conversely Elder Holland said "We are a little irritated with young men who say, well I’m not going to date you because you didn’t serve a mission." Even though GA's have from the pulpit expressed gratitude that their wife served a mission and that it helped to prepare her to be a better marriage partner, it seems that church leadership does not want YM to seek after those things in a potential spouse. I fully understand that the church does not want to create an environment where YW will feel pressured to serve a mission in order to have the widest possible selection of LDS marriage partners ... however it is still encouraged for the young women to apply this very same pressure upon the young men.

To summarize, I understand the soft power / moral authority of women to be exercised in the following ways:
1) Through withholding sex until marriage and restricting marriage partner suitability.
2) Through child rearing, "Hand that rocks the cradle, rules the world"
3) Through influence upon the husband
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

Roy
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Re: Authority - Matthew 21:23-27

Post by Roy » 01 Jul 2018, 13:51

Heber13 wrote:
26 Jun 2018, 10:49
Why do we overlook the imperfections of men and their authority when they sin, making their authority invalid...but...we don't make people go back and get rebaptized by someone whose authority was invalid?

We like authority when it is convenient for our message. We dismiss it when it is complicated.
As most everyone here knows, the catalyst for my faith crisis was the stillbirth of my daughter. Part of this was due to my brittle belief that God would protect my family's health and safety as a reward for tithing and dedicated priesthood service. Secondary was that as I researched the church teachings regarding stillbirths I was disheartened to find that the church takes a "we do not know, but we are vaguely hopeful" sort of approach.

I had come from a worldview where I understood that the sealing power of priesthood so holy as to only be exercised in the consecrated temple was the only power whose bands were stronger than death ... as long as we lived worthily and endured to the end. We (as members of the LDS church) talked repeatedly about the sorry state of those who lose loved ones without the certainty of the eternal families promises. We diminished non members' desires to live eternally with their families as nice but ultimately ineffective.

Now (after the stillbirth) I found myself in a place where all of those assurances fall away and I am left to trust in God that he will bring to pass the best case scenario. I am utterly powerless. There is no contract. There is no expectation. There is no "binding" the Lord.

There is only love and hope.

It makes we wonder if all the ordinances, authority, and obedience was always just love and hope all along. Love and hope dressed up as something more tangible, solid, and certain in order to soothe our aching hearts.
"It is not so much the pain and suffering of life which crushes the individual as it is its meaninglessness and hopelessness." C. A. Elwood

“It is not the function of religion to answer all the questions about God’s moral government of the universe, but to give one courage, through faith, to go on in the face of questions he never finds the answer to in his present status.” TPC: Harold B. Lee 223

"I struggle now with establishing my faith that God may always be there, but may not always need to intervene" Heber13

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Heber13
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Re: Authority - Matthew 21:23-27

Post by Heber13 » 02 Jul 2018, 10:23

Roy wrote:
01 Jul 2018, 13:51
I had come from a worldview where I understood that the sealing power of priesthood so holy as to only be exercised in the consecrated temple was the only power whose bands were stronger than death ... as long as we lived worthily and endured to the end.
yes...I do think this is what they teach us, to build our faith and hope. And it seems the "restoration" is about restoring things literally and with real power and real authority. Because that is what people were seeking, the restorationist movements at the time of Joseph Smith were all looking for those things (along with other things like theories for the origin of Native Americans).

The first vision was not about authority...it was about telling JS his sins were forgiven and God loved him as he was. Then it progressed to authority in a series of events after that.
Roy wrote:
01 Jul 2018, 13:51
There is no contract. There is no expectation. There is no "binding" the Lord.

There is only love and hope.

It makes we wonder if all the ordinances, authority, and obedience was always just love and hope all along. Love and hope dressed up as something more tangible, solid, and certain in order to soothe our aching hearts.
I'm sorry for your tragedy, Roy. You've come through it so well where you look ahead at what you can do regardless of what you've learned through your experience. It's all any of us can do.

But it really does make one wonder about our emphasis on temples and ordinances...when so many of us experience the feelings you shared from your personal situation.

We can have hope and love. But...we can also have that with or without temples and ordinances and authority. I guess the faithful hold on hope that authority makes it "stronger" even if not a guarantee...it helps smooth things over or help you deal with it...even if not binding.

It is sold at church as a "sure thing" to have protection of angels. But experience is more like a "possible thing" that can be for your benefit if you get protection or not.

My experience was not a crisis of faith from history or doctrine, but the breaking apart of my family and eventual divorce, despite missionary service, callings, tithing, and temple sealing power. And in the end, felt like you did...
Roy wrote:
01 Jul 2018, 13:51
I am utterly powerless.
Fast forward to current day and our family is great...actually better off now.

I still have hope. I know things must be based on love. Those are the important things.

It just makes me think on a weekly basis in church that not much of what we do at church matters. It's just a social thing. There are no "blessings" or "guarantees" in this life...and we don't know much about the next life.

In the end, I don't know what authority and ordinance work get us, because we have to create so many excuses and loopholes to cover when it does nothing. The best it gets us is the "holy spirit of promise"...the idea that we commit and promise in hopes of being an eternal family...and that binds people together who share those hopes.

Similar to a football team with a shared goal and committed to work together to reach their best. Or a military regimen that relies on each other and watches out for each other and helps each other, so they are stronger than being by themselves. But God is not getting involved to make Tim Tebow's passes land when needed, or Paul H Dunn's heel of his boot shot off and his helmet ricochet bullets to protect him from his faith. No...football teams lose no matter how hard they pray, and soldiers suffer awful injuries despite their cries of faith in foxholes.

Church bring people together to bind us together to a cause we hope for. But...we won't really see material proof any of it is worth it, except our feelings. Nor will we see much difference from the other congregations in the community doing the same thing.

Maybe someone can better explain to me why authority matters at all. I see love matters. And that goes across any authority or group. Kind of like how priesthood blessings require authority...unless you are a pioneer woman with an ox stuck and decide to do blessings that work and you see the authority didn't really matter after all.
Luke: "Why didn't you tell me? You told me Vader betrayed and murdered my father."
Obi-Wan: "Your father... was seduced by the dark side of the Force. He ceased to be Anakin Skywalker and became Darth Vader. When that happened, the good man who was your father was destroyed. So what I told you was true... from a certain point of view."
Luke: "A certain point of view?"
Obi-Wan: "Luke, you're going to find that many of the truths we cling to...depend greatly on our point of view."

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