I’ve just posted over on Political Theology Today, discussing the authority with which Jesus spoke and arguing that we need to communicate this authority today:
The authoritative word still retains considerable power in our day and age, even though we often find ourselves recoiling from its immodesty. It is far better, we may believe, always to hedge our statements with affirmations of individual choice, the right of each person to determine their own good, and deflationary qualifications reducing our words to the level of private opinion. Even though obligation is not the same as compulsion, we would not want to trespass upon the right of people to determine their own course of action. However, on those shocking occasions when someone dares to speak authoritatively—firmly, yet without hectoring, acquainting others with their obligation to act in a specific manner—many may still experience it as a form of weighty liberation.
One of the dangerous yet important characteristics of the Church’s ministry is its authoritative speech: authorized by Christ himself, the Church is to communicate Christ’s own authority, obliging and releasing people to act in line with it. The Church does not just dispense advice, but declares the word of Christ which obliges us to follow and by which one day we will be judged. The authoritative word of Christ furnishes lost and disoriented people with truthful ways of life.
Read the whole thing here.