The Authority of Jesus

I’ve had some time to think about the (not-so) recent set of posts about inerrancy. Somehow the dialog has to move in a new direction. Going over the same old issues again simply will not solve the issue. So here is my attempt to find common ground. As Christians we all have Christ as our Lord. I take that to be true by definition. If Christ is our Lord, then we will do as he says. If he is our Lord then we will believe him when he teaches us. If we do not, then how can we call him Lord?

As far as I know, all Christians believe that the greatest commandment is that we love the Lord our God with all of our heart, mind and strength. If we love the Lord, then we will do as he says. Since Christ is the Lord, we will do as Christ says. I take it that this is uncontroversial for Christians. Nonetheless, we cannot do as Christ commands unless we know what he has commanded. So even our following after Christ depends on knowing what he has commanded.

Our only reliable source for knowledge of Christ’s commands is found in the Bible. We can hardly use intuition to determine what Christ would have commanded. There is no other reliable record of Christ’s words to us. I take this to be uncontroversial as well. Therefore, we must do what Christ commands us to do as recorded in Scripture. At this point, I am not claiming that Jesus commanded everything that Scripture records him commanding. We must simply use our well informed judgment on that matter. Unless we have reason to believe that Christ did not command something, then we believe that he did command it.

Christ does not only command actions, but he also commands belief. He commands that his disciples hold to his teaching (Jn 8:31) and he constantly condemns the Pharisees for failing to believe in him. He also rebukes the disciples repeatedly for failing to trust him. If we are truly to trust in Christ, then we must trust in the truth and accuracy of his teaching. If we do not, we are simply behaving as the disciples did, or worse yet, as the Pharisees did. I hope that this is all common ground. If so, then it is a short step from this to the idea that Christ has taught the authority of the Torah, given his disciples his own teaching authority and taught that the words of the prophets are the words of God. From there, the inerrancy of Scripture can be easily concluded.