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Moderator’s Minute: Authority and submission

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When Jesus – the adopted son of a humble carpenter walked the earth – he was a powerful person. The religious leaders of Jesus’ day recognized his power as they witnessed his early signs and miracles (John 5–8). They began to question by what authority he had such power. His opponents made many suggestions by “whose name” Jesus was performing these signs, all in attempts to discredit his work and to protect their own religious and economic interests (Matthew 12:22–25).

In John 5:19, Jesus clarifies where his authority comes from: he only does what he sees the Father doing. He only says what the Father teaches (8:28); he only tells what he has seen in the Father’s presence (8:38). Jesus was clear about the source of his authorization – the Father.

Authority without submission, however, is a misuse of power. When the centurion came to Jesus, he made a comparison – just as Jesus was in authority, so too was the centurion. But the centurion was also under authority, like Jesus (Matthew 8:5–13). Submission and authority are inseparable. True power is authorized to those who submit.

All of us live within a chain of command. Parents have a different level of authority than their kids. Teachers are under authority to teach what they have been instructed, and students are to submit to the boundaries of their assignments. Pastors are empowered to deliver what they have discerned with their elders or board to be the Spirit’s instruction and direction.

The executive board has been authorized by the Canadian conference in convention (Gathering 2010) to hear what the Spirit is saying to the churches and then to say and do what God has told us. Board work is to do the work of the Father. Our work is first of all spiritual, to listen to what God is saying; it requires us to align with the agenda of God, to bend our will to his.

The executive board solicits your prayers as we commit to hearing the voice of God on the following:

The discernment of an executive director;

The implications and outcomes of a discipleship and leadership culture within the conference;

The development and implementation of an effective leadership training seminary for Canadian MBs in the 21st century;

The synergy of working together between the national and provincial conferences.

Thanks for your prayers and support. If you have any “words of the Spirit” or thoughts of encouragement concerning the above items, please forward your communication to the executive board at MBboard@mbconf.ca.

Paul J. Loewen is moderator of the executive board of the Canadian Conference of MB Churches. He is the advancement—church relations representative at Columbia Bible College, Abbotsford, B.C.

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