Appeals to Moses’ Authority to Support Concepts of “Delegated Authority” in the Church

Abstract

I have read on several occasions in the writings of christian authors the claim that Moses was a “delegate(d) authority” of God.  This writing intends to clarify the definition of “delegate authority” and then to show that Moses was not a “delegate(d) authority” to the extent that some assume.  In fact, the level of delegation was much smaller than what I have understood modern christian teachers and leaders to presume.

It would be better to introduce a new concept to describe Moses’s authority.  I have found one author who has done this and I believe his authorship on Moses is the best I have come across to date.

Giving full credit to this author, I intend to expand on portions of his writing that are related to Moses and Moses’s authority to show how God’s authority can be thought about in the church age.  I will not put forward a clear model of how to wield God’s authority because I do not believe I am clear enough yet to do that.

However, I will attempt to identify errant views and show the problems in these errant views.  This is not an attack on any person, but against a concept that I believe runs counter to the mind of God.

In summary, it is put forward by some in christian leadership that Moses was a “delegate authority” of God and he established a pattern for leadership in the future.  In modern terms, this has resulted in some pastors, priests and/or elders internally presuming or externally claiming that they should be listened to and/or obeyed because they are God’s “delegate authority” within a particular gathering of believers.

Once you study Moses and all of his interactions with God and the children of Israel closely, the idea that he thought of himself as a “delegate authority” as some do in the modern church, becomes quite far fetched.

Subjects to Be Addressed

  • Core definitions of delegate(d)/delegation and authority
  • What are the components of delegation which will allow us to measure the extent of delegation from God to Moses?
  • What can we see about the type and amount of delegation of authority to Moses through each interaction between God, Moses and the children of Israel as they wandered through the wilderness?
  • Does using the word “delegate” improperly convey to a sufficient extent the level of authority Moses wielded on God’s behalf to cause us to evaluate using an entirely different word?

Basic Definitions

Noun

  1. a person designated to act for or represent another or others; deputy; representative, as in a political convention.

Verb (Used with Object)

  1. To send or appoint (a person) as a deputy or representative
  2. To commit (powers, functions, etc) to another as agent or deputy

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