The 6 Theses Concerning Children and AuthoritiesPeter Kucenski
(An Official Theological Statement of the ACCS)
Thesis I Children are Under the Authority of their Parents Likewise the Lesser Authorities are Under the Greater Governing Authorities
Children are born under the rule of their parents (Exodus 20:12) as well as to the rule of the governing authorities (the Church, Pastors, Parents, Enforcers of the Law, The government, Teachers, etc). Moreover, every lesser authority is subject to every greater authority (Romans 13:1-7).
Thesis II Even Children and Lesser Authorities are Under the Direct Authority of God
However, God has the supreme authority over everyone, including children, so that everyone ought to follow God’s law first (Acts 5:29). That law includes that they should give honor to the parents and all other governing authorities. It also includes giving each of them what is due to them, honor, taxes (Matthew 22:15-22), and profit (Mark 7:9-13), so that by doing those things they follow God. They should do this just as Jesus, who was God Himself, subjected Himself to Pilate when He was put to death (John 18:28-19:16) and to the High Priest when he struck Him (John 18:19-23) and by doing so subjected Himself to God (Isaiah 53:7-12).
Thesis III God is the Supreme Authority over the Hierarchy of Human Authorities of which there are Five General Categories
God is the supreme authority and ruler over all the earth (Psalm 47:1, 2) and will judge all (Genesis 18:25). He has set underneath Him five categories of authorities including:
- Governments (1 Peter 2:13, 14)
- Pastors (Jeremiah 3:15)
- Masters (Ephesians 6:5)
- Parents (Deuteronomy 5:16)
- Husbands (Ephesians 5:22-24)
Therefore each person is only subject to each and every relevant authority and each lesser authority is only subject to each and every relevant greater authority (Matthew 22:21). So a child is subject to their parents, who are subject to the Pastor and their Masters, who are subject to the Government, who is subject to God; and children are to be subject to their parents and all who are relevantly above their parents. Each person and authority is to honor the authority above them for Christ’s sake and for that reason alone honor is due regardless:
- Governments - Exodus 2:23, Deuteronomy 6:20-23
- Masters - Ephesians 6:9
- Pastors (especially because they know to do good) - James 3:1, Luke 12:42-48
- Parents - Ephesians 6:4
- Husbands - Colossians 3:19, Ephesians 5:25-33
The reason an authority should not be harsh is because the purpose of their authority is not to benefit themselves, but to honor and point towards God (Thesis IV and Deuteronomy 6:24, 25, 1 Corinthians 9:12).
Thesis IV The Purpose of Parents is to Train Their Children, Pastors to Train all and for Authorities to Administer Justice
Those who do good should have no fear of the authorities for the authorities are supposed to administer unbiased justice (Deuteronomy 33:21), and good deeds should not be punished (Romans 13:1-7). Moreover, parents, who are also an authority, are to teach the Word of God and administer discipline (Ephesians 6:4, Proverbs 13:24). In doing that, parents bring their children up in the “training and admonition of the Lord”. Pastors are also to preach and teach the Word of God [2 Timothy 4:2] so that those under their authority and under all authorities might keep themselves from evil (Hebrews 12:7-11, Proverbs 4:14, 15, 26, 27) and might learn to know God (Deuteronomy 6:24, 25).
Thesis V The Human Governing Authorities are Sinful
All those who are in authority are sinful, and some are outright evil, but even the evil ones God has set up (Romans 13:1). Also, just as they are sinful, so are we sinful. Therefore, just as God is the judge of us, so is He the judge of them. Since He has set them up, we are not to rise up against them (Exodus 21:15) or curse them (Exodus 21:17 and Leviticus 20:9), or treat them with contempt (Deuteronomy 27:16). Rather we ought to follow David’s example who refused to overthrow, do harm to, or speak evil of the Lord’s anointed and even went so far as to defend him. But the authorities govern other authorities (Ecclesiastes 5:8). Therefore just as Michael would not revile Satan (Jude 1:8-11) (because the seat of judgment is filled by God [2 Corinthians 5:9, 10]) so we must not even speak evil of our rulers (Exodus 22:28) or revile them (Matthew 5:43-48) even if they persecute the righteous because of their faith (John 15:18-21). Instead we are to bless them (Romans 12:14), considering that we were all once children of wrath and God loved and redeemed us even we were wicked and reviled Him (Ephesians 2:1-7). God will use even this for the good of the righteous and the good of others (Luke 21:12-19). Therefore, if they persecute you because of your righteousness, God will bless you because of your faith (Matthew 5:10-12). Moreover, your righteousness testifies to them the righteousness of God, so that even through you, no matter how small you may be, you are great with the Lord, therefore glory in His Strength and Wisdom (1 Corinthians 1:26-31).
Thesis VI The Span of an Authority’s Power is Determined by the Hierarchy
Every authority, besides God, is limited in their span of authority because God is the supreme authority (Thesis II) and has determined their span of authority in some instances. Therefore, just as God as the highest authority gave each its span of authority, so, in things not spoken of in the Word, each greater authority gives the lesser authority its span of authority.
Copyright © 2012 by Peter Kucenski. All rights reserved.