Evangelicals & Authority

A college player is caught accepting benefits which are clearly against the rules. Michael Wibon, host of the ESPN program, Pardon The Interruption, opines it is a silly rule and no one should be concerned about following said rule. He goes on to mock the rule because he surmises no one really follows the rule so why should anyone can all hot and bothered when some poor soul is caught doing what we know everyone else is doing (talk about relativism on steroids)! Odell Beckham, diva wide receiver for the NFL Cleveland Browns is fined for wearing a watch during an actual football game which is clearly against the published rules established by the governing authority of the National Football League. Let me be clear I have been adamant in the past that football players like Beckham could NEVER play for me and I make that statement with the clear understanding Beckham is an exceptional talent. Yet, he would never lace ’em up on a team I owned (which I understand will never happen). I can provide a myriad of other examples, but I believe these two examples do a sufficient job of setting the stage for my thesis. Which is we live in an anti-establishment age and that is a large source of the disintegration of our society. Sadly, I believe Evangelicals have unwittingly allowed this malaise to infect our worldview as well. It should not surprise Evangelicals when pagans do what pagans are supposed to do. When a God rejecting individuals flaunts duly ordained authority that should come as no surprise to the faithful Bible reader (one should expect that moniker to be true of every Evangelicals, but we know that is not the case to our collective shame). Yet, when the offender is a professing Evangelicals then, well, “Houston, we have a problem!” I grew up in a home where right, wrong or indifference whatever my late Father said become established law. I can vividly remember one time my father grounded us, and while it was clear my mother did not agree with the decision, but she knew she could not in good faith oppose his decree. This is not to say women have no recourse regarding male headship, it is only to say unless the male head voluntary changes his mind whatever he has decreed becomes the fixed law. At least that is how it was in the Kyles household in which I was raised. (It was and remains the same worldview I adopt as the head of my home today) The informed Evangelical understands they are divinely obligated to follow that fixed law unless it expressly contradicts what the Word of God forbids or commands. In the aforementioned example my father may have erred (only God truly knows) but his decision never came close to being illegal, unethical, immoral or unbiblical, so my mother wisely held her tongue and supported the decision of my dad. As a result, we were not allowed to attend a long-awaited special event at the time. So regardless of what you come to believe about the regulations of the NCAA all college athletes participate fully understanding there are firm rules as to what is proper and what is improper. If one comes to believe the rules are outdated or impractical then there are legitimate avenues to lodge one’s dissent and work within the legitimate means to get the rule changed or amended. Additionally, and very importantly, there is always the option of not participating as a college athlete if one believes the restrictions are not consistent with their worldview. The one option not available to the student-athlete is the freedom to flaunt the rule without fear of recrimination. My mother had the freedom to oppose my father’s decree. My brothers and I had that same freedom, but wisely we knew all actions have consequences. Evangelicals know (or should surely know) that God has appointed all duly instituted authorities. He has done so in human government; He has done so in the home and He has done so in His Church. Evangelicals should know to disobey that duly appointed authority is to oppose God Almighty Himself. Evangelicals embrace obedience to duly appointed authority, not because we are naive or gullible. We fully understand and embrace the concept of human depravity. Anything human touch will be contaminated with corruption. The very Bible verse which speaks most explicitly on obeying human institution (Romans 13:1-4) was inspired during the rule and reign of one of the most oppressive human government in human history (Rome). It was this abject pagan government (which insisted Caesar be regarded as “divine”) the Apostle Paul had full situational awareness of but still demanded his readers (Evangelicals) submit. So, whether is some college athlete or it is a professional athlete Evangelicals would do well to push back against the pagan mindset which believes settled law is a waxed nose. Settled law on the human dimension is not the same as God’s law but as long as it is settled law and it is not something that God expressly commands or forbids then Evangelicals must always proclaimpreach and practice voluntary and full-bodied obedience. That cannot be and is not done in human strength. It is wholly Holy Spirit enabled. I am saddened by the average Evangelical public posturing regarding authority in general, be it in the home, in society and even in the church. Disobeying a duly appointing authority is never to be done cavalierly or casually. It should only be done with great solemnness, with a sense of profound heaviness. I can remember being part of a group who felt led to remove our pastor at the time. The weight upon me at the conclusion of that decision was immeasurable and I cried like a baby at its conclusion. It was an act I came to believe was ABSOLUTELY necessary and biblically warranted, yet it was not an act I undertook lightly. Most Americans and sadly more and more Evangelicals come to embrace  an unbiblicalworldview concerning their rights. Might I remind my fellow Evangelicals we have been “brought with a price” and we never really possessed any “rights” to begin with when properly understood. My freedom in Christ is a freedom to take up my cross and follow after Christ. It is not to decide what rules or laws meet my level of expectation. I do not subscribe to the pagan syllogism which says, “God Said It” “I Believe It” “That Settles It” Who cares what I believe? If God has truly said it (and what He decrees is found in His Holy Writ) every creature (that’s you and I) is duty bound to obey every jot and tittle! Let me know what you think. Until then keep your hands to the plow and seek to serve for an Audience of One. On the behalf of the Kyles’ clan I wish everyone a Blessed and Happy Thanksgiving. I trust every reader will come to believe like I and have so much to be thankful for every day of the year!
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