February 23, 2009

who's your BOSS? (1)

"...If Jesus indeed calls us to submit to every form of authority, then why some have difficulty to submit to the teaching authority of the Church he founded with regards to moral and spiritual truths?"

(So asks my Catholic friend. Below is my reply.)

The quoted verses are taken from the Douay-Rheims 1899 American Edition of the Bible, "the foundation on which nearly all English Catholic versions are still based," according to BibleGateway.com.

Jesus calls us to submit to every form of authority by saying, "Render therefore to Caesar the things that are Caesar's: and to God the things that are God's."* Our obedience to God will be manifested in our obedience to human authority, but our ultimate authority is still God Himself.

What if the newly-elected President (or any such figure of authority) declares himself to be above the law? (St. Paul in Romans writes "For all have sinned, and do need the glory of God."*)

What if he commands that we worship things other than God? (From the Ten Commandments: "Thou shalt not have strange gods before me. Thou shalt not make to thyself a graven thing, nor the likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or in the earth beneath, nor of those things that are in the waters under the earth. Thou shalt not adore them, nor serve them: I am the Lord thy God, mighty, jealous, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me..."*)

What if he imposes that we bow down to him? (St. Peter and St. Paul vehemently stopped people from bowing down to them, while St. John was forbidden to worship an angel.*)

If I stay in the country where a president does such things, who will I obey --- him, or God, my ultimate authority? If I choose to obey God within that country, I would be committing crimes against the state (because I am not completely submitting to the head of the state). And it would be so easy to be led astray, because I am still supposed to submit to that authority figure, because of pressure from my peers, and because what I supposedly know of God's authority will constantly be challenged by this other authority in my life.

I hope you understand what I'm saying, bro. I know of several people who have chosen to stay within the "country" and work through the system. As for me, I chose to leave --- there are many countries claiming to be founded under God; "for every tree is known by its fruit..."*

Before doing things for God (whether traditions or missions), I needed to know who God is in the first place. Fortunately, we have a "God according to God" --- the Bible. Jesus spoke to people in marketplaces, streets and homes more often than in the temple --- He was and is speaking the language of the people! By our ultimate authority and perfect standard, we can use sound judgment in relating to all other authorities here on earth.

Grace and peace to you and your family, dear brother in God :)


* Luke 20:25

* Romans 3:23

* Exodus 20:3-5

* Acts 10:25-26 - And it came to pass, that when Peter was come in, Cornelius came to meet him, Cornelius came to meet him, and falling at his feet adored. But Peter lifted him up, saying: "Arise, I myself also am a man."

* Acts 14:10-14 - And when the multitudes had seen what Paul had done, they lifted up their voice in the Lycaonian tongue, saying: "The gods are come down to us in the likeness of men;" And they called Barnabas, Jupiter: but Paul, Mercury; because he was chief speaker. The priest also of Jupiter that was before the city, bringing oxen and garlands before the gate, would have offered sacrifice with the people. Which, when the apostles Barnabas and Paul had heard, rending their clothes, they leaped out among the people, crying, and saying: "Ye men, why do ye these things? We also are mortals, men like unto you, preaching to you to be converted from these vain things, to the living God, who made the heaven, and the earth, and the sea, and all things that are in them..."

* Revelation 22:8-9 - And I, John, who have heard and seen these things. And after I had heard and seen, I fell down to adore before the feet of the angel, who shewed me these things. And he said to me: "See thou do it not: for I am thy fellow servant, and of thy brethren the prophets, and of them that keep the words of the prophecy of this book. Adore God."

* Luke 6:44

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