Tuesday, May 08, 2007

Authority in Pastors...

Genuine Authority

Ultimately, the craving for inauthentic authority reasserts its desire to reestablish some kind of immediacy, a commitment to a human figure in the church. Genuine authority knows, however, that all immediacy is disastrous, particularly in matters of authority. Genuine authority knows that it can only exist in the service of the One who alone has authority. Genuine authority knows that it is bound in the strictest sense by the words of Jesus, "You have one teacher, and you are all brothers" (Matt. 23:8). The community of faith does not need brilliant personalities but faithful servants of Jesus and of one another. It does not lack the former, but the latter. The community of faith will place its confidence only in the simple servant of the Word of Jesus, because it knows that it will then be guided not by human wisdom and human conceit, but by the Word of the Good Shepherd. The question of spiritual trust, which is so closely connected with the question of authority, is decided by the faithfulness with which people serve Jesus Christ, never by the extraordinary gifts they possess. Authority in pastoral care can be found only in the servants of Jesus who seek no authority of their own, but who are Christians one to another, obedient to the authority of the Word.

- Dietrich Bonhoeffer -

from Life Together 106-107

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