One of the fond memories I have from my first local work was attending a gospel meeting in a tiny block building in York, Alabama, conducted by the late gospel preacher and teacher, W. Gaddys Roy. He was talking about authority that evening, and a member of a nearby non-institutional congregation took umbrage with some of brother Roy’s lesson. Particularly, the brother did not like the idea that eating in a church building was a matter of opinion. He thought it was a matter of faith, and his question for brother Roy was, “Where’s your authority to eat in the building?” Brother Roy said, “Where’s your authority for the building?” The brother pressed his point, but ignored brother Roy’s question.
Sometimes, we hear people asking “where is your authority?” for something when they have misunderstood that the Bible authorizes generically as well as specifically. In fact, a specific command will almost always authorize generically in some way. For example, we are commanded to sing in our worship. That leaves no room for “singing AND anything else” (like playing an instrument, beat-boxing, percussion, humming, etc.). Yet, we are authorized to do or use anything that expedites our obeying that command (like songbooks, overhead lighting, shape notes, singing in parts, a projector, a pitch pipe, etc.).
We may have strong feelings about something, but we must beware the tendency to elevate our opinions to the level of being a “faith matter.” If we make laws where God has not, we are as guilty of violating the will of God and challenging the authority of God as those who seek to generalize where God has specified. We may not like something or be uncomfortable with something, but we must be careful not to press our case too strongly. We must make sure we have Christ as the foundation of our objection. Otherwise, we have simply elevated our will to be on a par with or to exceed His.