Higher Standard (James 3)

One thing you notice if you study church history is many issues swing back and forth like a pendulum. So, for instance, for awhile people focus on the holiness of God, then on the intimacy of God, then back to the holiness of God… The truth is usually somewhere inbetween, or both. But it’s more uncomfortable to be inbetween or to hold two views that seem to be in tension.

So right now the big thing for church leaders is authenticity. “Let’s not pretend we’re perfect. In fact, let’s share our flaws and let people know we’re just as messed up as them.” And I’m not saying that authenticity is wrong, but I am saying it’s just one side.

The other side I see in today’s reading, James 3, especially verse 1, Not many of you should presume to be teachers, my brothers, because you know that we who teach will be judged more strictly.” We also see it when Paul tells people to follow him as He follows Christ. (Not, “Don’t follow me, I’m just a screwed up person like everyone else.”) The Bible shows us that church leaders should have an authority that comes out of their character and their relationship with God.

So is it authenticity, or authority? It’s both.

Which do you have? ‘Cause you need both.