Trust and Submission in Authority

Rachael Clinton Chen and Dr. Dan Allender continue a conversation about authority, this week diving into who we’re meant to trust and submit to in a healthy, biblical way that leads to our flourishing.

To begin the episode, Dan reads from Romans 13, a passage often referenced in conjunction with the topic of authority. Both Rachael and Dan acknowledge they are in complex waters and that the words “submission” and “obedience” can be triggering for many listeners due to the misuse and violence done by those in positions of authority.

“Submission is putting yourself under another for the sake of serving a greater good. To submit is to commit yourself to the better, to the good, to the life that is meant to be lived.” Dr. Dan Allender

What authority, then, are we to submit to? The phrase Paul uses implies a “quality superior,” not all authority, but someone who bears a kind of qualitative goodness—a likeness to the goodness of God. Jesus authorizes others for the sake of addressing the brokenness in the world, extending a sense of empowerment, dignity, and call to life. People who are authorized by God typically do not have to tell others they have authority, Rachael notes, as it is gained through respect, participation, service, and honor.

“We have to hold all of the stories of who Jesus engaged and who he authorized because we are so disordered by how we perceive authority, who has power, and who is to be obeyed.” Rachael Clinton Chen

I need leaders who are at some level suspicious of their own power but don’t refuse to use it, and on the other hand use it to open the door to a diversity of perspectives because we have to have conflict in the midst of decision making.” Dr. Dan Allender

The series will conclude next week as Dan and Rachael will address the question: What does it mean to interact with those in authority?

Listener Resources

If you are interested in learning more about the topics mentioned in this podcast: