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Salient. An Organ of Student Opinion at Victoria University, Wellington N.Z. Vol. 22, No. 8. August 3, 1959

Faith--Not Authority

Faith--Not Authority

"Theirs not to reason why, theirs not to make reply" might be the Army way, but not the way of the army of Christ, the Rev. R. Thornley (Methodist) told the annual combined meeting of the Catholic Student Guild and the Student Christian Movement at Victoria recently.

His talk, "Authority for the Christian," indicated authority as the right to win or secure obedience.

"The Christian authority is God—Christ taught as one who had authority, not as the scribes. As Livingstone said, 'Christ is the greatest master I have known, and the greatest friend I can know.'

"In this modern day great questions are being raised about authority," Mr Thornley said.

"The answer is the authority of Christ. If we rob Christ of His uniqueness, we will be led away from the lordship of Christ, forgetting that He is not only the Son of God but God the Son.

"Christian authority is therefore ultimately God as revealed in Christ."

Not Final

Mr Thornley's second argument was that authority could be mediated through several channels. The Scriptures could not be accepted as final since their key was Jesus Christ.

"The Church is a secondary authority, a divine organisation but also a human fellowship. For 1900 years Christ has in-dwelt in the Church, but the human element can still not be removed.

"I believe it is impossible to get a right understanding of authority. The authority of Christ is not authoritarian or coercive and is not imposed or external."

It allowed and respected human freedom, for God did not override reason but guided reasoning capacity.

"We can never come to the point of absolute certainty. Christianity brings deep assurance but never final proof, as this would mean the end of life by faith."


Drawing of an angel