We began by seeking to explore how we help young people to interpret International, National and local events.

Increasingly we see that the world’s response to issues is protest which sometimes moves to rioting and anger.


Climate change concerns are expressed through a rash of global climate strikes in cities and locations across the world.


Racial disharmony, and perceived frustrations over the lack of remedial actions, leads to protests, riots, death and destruction.


Dr Mac Cusiter explores how our views of authority may be understood.[1] He suggests that there are four kinds of authority:


  1. Biblical Authority – God’s revelation in His Word. This is unquestionable; it is not affected by human philosophies or circumstances. What the Creator of the universe decrees is right and true, IS right and true.
  2. Rational Authority – we are capable of reason and live in a rational universe. We can observe and quantify what we see. We have been given minds to consider what is reasonable and what is not.
  3. Institutional Authority – Government is God’s idea. Laws are instituted for public safety, defence, order, safety and so on. Institutional authority is meant to bring order and prevent anarchy.
  4. Emotional Authority – which is more personal, but is still important. Love, compassion, anger – are all emotions which might drive our actions.


We can see that these four forms of authority all have validity. They also must all be founded on the authority of God that He communicates via His Word.

Rational, institutional and emotional authorities can be wrong, when they are not founded on Biblical authority,

All four appropriate perspectives give us a holistic view of authority and each needs to be accorded its proper “weight”. If any of these authorities are missing or given disproportionate emphasis, the effects can be profound.


Almost always, the first to be ignored is Biblical authority; this means the bedrock foundation disappears and the only authorities we have left are entirely human.


When Biblical authority is lost, one of the other authorities always expands to fill the gap.


Because there is then no agreed foundation, rational authority may become determined by the most persuasive orator. Institutional authority may be corrupted by aberrant human philosophies, and finally what a person or group “feels” becomes the basis of action.

Today it seems that “emotions are the sole determinant of authentic reality” – that is a dangerous place to be.


[1] Authority and Truth in Christian Education 2017

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