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Anti-Authoritarian Age, Part 1

The clearest sign of human depravity is rebellion. The height of sin can be summed up in rebellion against God. We find this reality alive and well in all children. If you have a toddler, just tell them, “Do not touch the iPhone,” or “Go pick up your toys,” and you will see this reality alive and well in the little hearts of our children.
The sin of rebellion is what plunged the human race into the fallen state we are all currently living in. God told Adam not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, and what did they do? They ate. Ever since that day, humanity has been rebelling against God.
In the current climate in our world, we find the expansion of this anti-authoritarian spirit alive and well. The riots in 2020 are some of the clearest and most alarming symptoms of this cultural problem. The campaign to defund the police and efforts to revoke parental rights from parents with children seeking gender-affirming surgery embody the anti-authority age.
The lack of respect for law enforcement, teachers, and anyone in positions of authority is detrimental to our society. This evil spirit of rebellion is easy to see within our culture, but it's not so easy to see how it has affected many of our lives as well.

Its Effects on the Church

We, as Christians, are not immune to this sin. Our rebellious spirit raises its ugly head when we're asked to do something that we don't understand or maybe agree with. I'm not suggesting we don’t examine things carefully and make good and right judgments. What I'm pointing out is how easy it is for us to have a seed of rebellion bloom within our own hearts.
I do agree that there is a time when we must push against authority. When earthly authorities ask us to violate Scripture or go against our conscience, at this point, discernment must be applied to those situations. No matter what form of authority it is—government, employers, elders, teachers, any authority over us (Acts 4:19, 5:29)—it is always better to obey God rather than man (Acts 5:29).

"But Peter and the apostles answered, “We must obey God rather than men." - Acts 5:29, NASB

However, on all other matters, it is right to obey authority because when we obey authority, we're obeying God (Rom 13:1–2). Peter clearly points this out to wives married to unbelieving husbands. In 1 Pet. 3:1–4, Peter instructs believing wives to submit to their non-Christian husbands. The goal of Peter’s exhortation is gospel-oriented. Just remember, God would never sanction sin under the guise of submission to any person in authority. In such cases, God always provides the believer with a way of escape (1 Cor 10:13).
Obedience to authority is a God-ordained action. Several texts support this: Romans 13:1–3, 1 Pet 2:13–14, Eph. 6:1–5, and Jesus in Mark 12:17,

“render to Caesar the things that are Caesars." - Mark 12:17, NASB

Submission to authority is not evil nor sinful, and it is even to be viewed as a grace of God. Submission to rules, laws, and authorities are all placed biblically to protect and safeguard society. For example, in the Decalogue (i.e., Ten Commandments), there are social safeguards: do not murder, do not lie, do not steal. These laws are commanded for the greater good. If humanity had not fallen, there would be no need for these types of controls.


The danger of this anti-authoritarian age is felt in the four walls of the church. Over the next few weeks, we'll address how it's affecting our own submission.