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Authority with Integrity: How Jesus Guides Our Leading

You might hate it, but you can’t live without it. I’m talking about authority. If that word strikes fear in your heart, I understand. Many of us have been hurt by authorities. We’re raised to trust ourselves and question authorities.

Yes, authorities under God will always be imperfect. And yet to live without them is truly terrifying.

Authority is necessary, even good. If you’re in a position of power in your family, your workplace, your community, or your church, then it comes from God under his own authority. And he intends for you to use it to bring life to others.

Perhaps if we saw more of this good and godly authority from our leaders—and if we leaders were better at submitting and sharing—then we might not be caught in a crisis of authority. Yet here we are, with each day bringing news of fallen leaders and fervent protests against authority.

Jonathan Leeman isn’t afraid to acknowledge the good, bad, and ugly in his new book, Authority: How Godly Rule Protects the Vulnerable, Strengthens Communities, and Promotes Human Flourishing (Crossway and 9Marks). I believe this book can be used by God to make us and give us better authorities, especially in the church. After all, we have the only perfect example of authority. Leeman writes, “The central picture of authority in the Bible is Jesus offering himself as a substitutionary sacrifice for sins.”

This is a gospel-centered take on authority where Jesus is the example but also the means. By our fallen nature we will misuse authority. And others will misuse it against us. Jesus can forgive us those sins when we repent. And he can bind up those wounds when we trust him in faith.

Leeman is an experienced authority, the editorial director for 9Marks and an elder at Cheverly Baptist Church in Maryland. He joined me on Gospelbound to discuss why young men don’t want to be lead pastors, why leaders need accountability, and why leaders must learn to absorb anger, among other subjects.


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