Authority & Faith

“A large herd of pigs was feeding there on the hillside. The demons begged Jesus to let them go into the pigs, and He gave them permission.” ~ Luke 8:32

I have blogged on the fact that Jesus’ authority seems to be a theme in the Gospel of Luke.  Over and over again Luke seems to be touching upon this theme.  Its particularly salient in the story about the Centurion’s faith (Luke 7).

So I have been thinking a little about authority and here is an attempt to collate some thoughts.

In Philosophy a distinction is often made between practical authority and theoretical [i.e. epistemic] authority.

IN AUTHORITY: A practical authority such as a pastor or a politician would be someone who gave others a reason for pursuing a certain action or set of actions.

AN AUTHORITYA theoretical authority such as someone with a PhD in Middle Eastern Politics or the #3 ranked neurosurgeon in the world would be someone who gave others a reason for having a certain belief.  A theoretical authority is an expert in something.

~ So you’ve got a question on what sort of medication to administer to someone with bi-polar disorder, then you go to the person with expert knowledge – the #3 ranked neurosurgeon and whatever answer you get – that is Gospel truth to you. You believe it.

~ Now Jesus obviously exercised both practical authority and theoretical authority. He told us what to do (e.g. repent) and he told us what to believe (“I am the Way, the Truth, and the Life.”)

The question is – How does faith enter the picture? Especially as regards the Centurion story.

~ I am not 100% sure. How does authority in his case result not just in belief, but faith? So I will pause here for a while and think about this …  In the meantime – some notes:

*Note from Shorter Routledge Encyclopedia of Philosophy edited by Edward Craig

The notion of authority has two main senses:  expertise and the right to rule. To have authority in matters of belief (to be ‘an authority’) is to have theoretical authority; to have authority over action (to be ‘authority’) is to have practical authority.” ~ Pg. 75 by Leslie Green

~ Consult this later: Authority and Truth by Dr. Micheal Rea