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The Church and the Bible in the context of the correlative relationships of power and authority
The premise of this work is the distinction between the concepts of “power” and
“authority.” The author attempts to indicate the often unjustifiably synonymous
use of these concepts, whether in Bible translation or in colloquial speech
and the way in which they are wrongly used as alternatives. The concept of
power belongs to institutions and organisations, while the concept of authority
has its origin in commission, calling and (supernatural) equipping.
In the second part of this article the author considers some historical and theological
connections between “power” and “authority” in relation to church
power and scriptural authority, while aware that these concepts, though not
synonymous, need not be mutually exclusive. Some of the many dangers,
temptations and attractions of “power”, with which the historical Church has
been constantly confronted, are pointed out.
In the third part, the author focuses on particular biblical texts, to show where
and how the concept of the authority of the Holy Scripture is found and upon
what it is based. In this part, he refers in brief to textual history and the authority
of Scriptures as seen both from the perspective of a systematic theologian
and from biblical theology and literary contexts.
In conclusion, the author points to three possible “safety valves” by which the
danger of being tempted by power might be shown and avoided, thus fulfilling
the calling and commission of the Church to be salt and light and a community
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