I’m rereading The Believer’s Authority by Andrew Wommack. The book is subtitled “What you didn’t learn in church.” And that’s a pretty accurate description.
At least it is in my case, anyway.
This book upsets some folks. I suspect it is because people see what Wommack puts forth as somehow diminishing God. But that’s not what he’s doing at all.
Then there are the folks who take one of the things he says in the book out of context and separate the statement from what he means when he says it.
I think the problem is that far too many people, especially many Christians, don’t really understand authority. In particular they miss the boat on delegation of authority and how that really works.
Often this problems starts with the leadership of the church, the pastor, preacher, priest, whatever. Far too many are controlling and afraid to delegate authority and empower other leaders in their congregations to lead.
And when the leadership doesn’t model delegation of authority is it any wonder that those who follow that leadership don’t get it?
When authority is delegated the person who has been empowered operates “in the name of” the person who has the authority. The delegated person acts as if they were the senior person, to the limits of the authority delegated to them. And obviously they can only operate inside the limits of that delegated authority so they can’t just do whatever they want. Exceeding their authority is something that would have to be dealt with by the one doing the delegating.
I saw that back when I was a Naval officer (which may be why I get the centurion.) Our squadron’s commanding officer delegated his authority to me for my specific areas of responsibility, just as we both were commissioned by the President with a tiny slice of his authority.
And here’s the thing. If I had screwed up, my CO would have had to answer for it. That’s because there is a difference between authority and accountability. The captain of a ship is responsible for everything that happens on his ship, even things that he doesn’t have direct control over.
It doesn’t matter if the captain wasn’t on the bridge when his ship runs aground. He’s still responsible and will be held accountable.
Even though you can delegate your authority you still retain your accountability.
Authority vs. Power
Authority is not the same thing as power. Power backs up authority.
When a police officer knocks on your door and says, “Open up in the name of the law” he may have a gun. But that’s not really the source of the power he represents. The real power is in the law and the whole system of courts, enforcement and penalties that stand behind the officer and his badge.
The power is behind the officer. The officer represents that power in the authority which has been delegated to him. But he doesn’t have all that power in and of himself.
Power is what gives authority its meaning and relevance.
Unlike authority power cannot be delegated. It can be shared, channeled or entrusted to others. For example, my dropping bombs from the planes I flew in didn’t in any way diminish the power of the USA. It wasn’t my power that I released. It still belonged to the US government.
Authority on Earth
So how does that relate to God and us?
Well when God created man he put man in charge of the earth. God delegated his divine authority over the earth to Adam & Eve.
Then God blessed them and said, “Be fruitful and multiply. Fill the earth and govern it. Reign over the fish in the sea, the birds in the sky, and all the animals that scurry along the ground.”— Genesis 1:28
Satan saw that and wanted that authority for himself. So he tricked them into abdicating their delegated authority to him.
Then along came Jesus who took that authority back through his sinless life, death on the cross and resurrection. Jesus then delegated that authority to the church. And as believers we now have that authority delegated to us.
Satan is defeated. He no longer has any authority. All he can do is deceive mankind into believing that he still has authority. And power too, if he can manage that deception as well.
This doesn’t diminish God’s power or authority in any way.
The authority is still God’s. He has chosen to delegate it to His church.
The power is still God’s. He has chosen to exercise that power through his church.
However because God always operates in love he will never violate our free will. If we choose not to acknowledge the authority that has been delegated to us, then we seriously limit God’s power that could flow through us.
And that’s where things get all jumbled up for most people.
Since we believers are not operating in our authority God is not channeling his power through us.
God won’t force himself on us. (He’s not some spiritual rapist.) The choice is ours. Will we exercise the authority that has been delegated to us or won’t we?
By choosing not to exercise the authority that Jesus has entrusted to us we are effectively behaving just like Adam who abdicated his authority to Satan.