I have to give Stacy credit. It takes courage to speak directly to the pastor about a fault with his sermon. Most church members prefer to spread their criticism peripherally around the congregation. Stacy chose the narrow way.

She was upset with a quote I used. It came from a Christian author whom I credited in my message. "He's a part of the emerging church," she said with disdain. "And the emerging church is heretical."

"First of all," I asked, "did you disagree with the content of the quote?"

"No, I'm just upset that you would quote a heretic," she answered.

"Stacy, I can assure you the leader I quoted is not part of the emerging church. And even if he were, not everyone associated with that is automatically a heretic."

"Sure they are," Stacy insisted. "Chuck Colson said so, and he's on the radio." The words "and you're not" were absent from the end of her sentence but present in her tone. I didn't bother challenging her interpretation of Mr. Colson's comments, which I suspected was flawed, nor did I defend the reputation of the author I had quoted. I knew I'd lost this battle.

This radio show had more authority in Stacy's life than I did. What authority I possessed had been built through years of sound teaching and the vetting of denominational leaders. But it was no match for the authority granted by Stacy to a speaker she heard on the radio.


Today authority is granted to those who have simply proven they can build a platform. Consider Oprah Winfrey. No doubt she is very competent when it comes to the media business, but I'm guessing the Queen of Talk is a lot less savvy about digital cameras. Still, when she featured a new Nikon on her "Favorite Things" show and called it "one sexy camera," it started to fly off store ...

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Summer 2011: Authority Issues  | Posted
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