As you probably noticed over the course of this course one of the skills we have been practicing is the skill of being able to “get in a person’s mind” to understand not just what they said or did but why they said and did it even when (or maybe even especially when) we don’t agree with them. This is a valuable skill which can be used for the rest of your life in reading the Bible, in your relationships with others, in developing Christian virtues of justice and mercy.
Developing such skills is not a replacement for thinking through issues deeply and biblically. In particular, because of the corruption of authority that we see in our world, I wanted affirm and expand on some of the things that you guys were saying:
1) Please do not feel that your call to obedience is a call to sin. Scripture is filled with examples of people refusing to obey parents, governments, and other authorities because of their higher loyalty to God.
2) There are plenty of sinful ways to abuse authority. Do not use any excuses of authority or obedience to justify emotional, physical, sexual, or spiritual abuse. Abuse in all forms is sin. Like all sin, sin is the fault of the sinner not the one sinned against. You can find many current examples of churches and Christians covering up, excusing, or even engaging in abuse. That is sin. I strongly recommend victims of abuse get to a safe place, report their abuse, and, if they desire it, receive counseling.
I am sorry for not using the original opportunity Monday to come out more strongly against abuses of authority of all kinds on Monday. I grieve that we live in a world where what I wrote is necessary to say because of our sin. I join with John in saying, “Amen, come Lord Jesus!”