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AUTHORITY: HOW TO DETERMINE WHAT IS RIGHT
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I. The subject presupposes fixed rules.

A. How do YOU determine what is right?
B. Do you go to the Old Testament for rule of conduct? If so, why?
C. Do you go to the New Testament for rule of conduct? If so, why?
D. To what degree should one accept the rule of parents?
E. If right and wrong may be determined, what is mandatory?
F. Read: John 14:26; 15:26; 16:7-14; 17:20; Eph. 3:1-3; 2 Tim. 3:16, 17.

II. Human philosophy that is opposed to fixed rules:

A. Relativism
1. All motive for action in moral conduct is subjective.
2. No rules that apply to all. No "public truth".
3. What would happen to the planetary system if there were no fixed rules?
4. How would you define animal instincts and why they were given?
5. Why do manufacturers provide a book of instructions with machines they sell?
6. If this philosophy were true, what would keep a society of people from exterminating people who could not be of use to the society? How could it be immoral? Remember, this philosophy makes no room for rules.

B. Situation Ethics-A part of the philosophy of relativism-The situationist says there are three approaches to the question of moral decision.
1. Legalism. Governed by a code of rules found in a book.
2. Antinomianism. Random, unpredictable, no forecastable course from one situation to another. Situation Ethics, Fletcher, p. 23.
3. Situationism. "This fellow enters into every decision-making situation fully armed with the ethical maxims of his community and its heritage." But, at the same time, he is prepared to set these principles aside, if, in his opinion, the situation is better served by doing so.

C. Existentialism
1. "Crisis theology." Purely subjective. Similar to Holy Spirit operation as claimed by some. Better felt than told. Avoids such words as absolutely, never, always, complete, perfect. They say, that you are is more important than what you are.
2. This idea is a twin sister to situationism.

D. Pragmatism: The philosophy that "a thing is good if it works. Same illustrations are used by advocates; of course, one might determine if food was poisoned by forcing his wife to eat some, that is if he loved her. That's all that counts, "Love, and do as you please." -- Bishop Robinson. This is not N.T. teaching.

E. Other concepts
1. Catholicism; Tradition; The church; Scripture, as interpreted by the church.
2. Protestantism; Claim subjective knowledge of salvation imparted by Holy Spirit.
3. Some in church - claim right to act where there is no prohibition.

III. The Bible, the word of God

A. Either the Bible is the word of God or we have no word from Him.

B. The Bible is a book of fixed rules:
1. Warning against false teachers: Matt. 7:15; 2 Cor. 11:13,14; 2 John 9, 10; 2 Peter. 2:1, 2; 3:16; 1 Tim. 4:1-4.
2. Warning against false doctrines: Gal. 1:6,7; Mt. 15:9; 2 Tim. 4:1-4; 1 Tim. 1:3; 1 Tim. 4:16; Gal. 2:4,5.
3. Must be obeyed: therefore, it must be understood. 2 Thess. 3:14; 2 Thess. 1:8; Heb. 5:8,9; 1 Pet. 1:22; 1 Pet. 4:17; 1 Cor. 2:9-13; Eph. 3:1-7.
4. Unity is demanded-John 17:20-21; 1 Cor. 1:10-12; Eph. 4:1-4; Phil. 3:16.

C. Difficult passages of the Bible fall into two categories
1. They are academic and have no bearing on our duty today.
2. There is a safe alternative.

The basic difference between the religions of men and the religion of Christ is origin. Human religion is of the earth and divine religion is of heaven. Source of authority is of telling importance, whether of God or man. Is the Bible your source of authority?

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