All Authority – Book Review

Bamboo front plate2.jpgRegardless of position or title, we all answer to authority figures. The question is, who reigns as supreme authority?

Those at the top of the ladder—including kings, presidents, and other leaders—may boast of their authority, but their reign is temporary. There is always an end point.

History confirms that kings are overthrown or a health crisis renders them ineffective. Presidents reach their term limits. Leaders retire, resign, are demoted or fired. And in the end, death is imminent for all, with the exception of one—Jesus. He not only conquered death, but rules forever with absolute authority over all.

While some try to deny His authority, others will ignore His authority, and still others attempt to replace His authority with money, power, fear, doubt, lies, substances, etc. However, Jesus declares in Matthew 28:18, “All authority has been given to me [Jesus] in heaven and on earth.”

What then does one do with this knowledge? Those who follow Jesus and His commands are challenged by the next verse—Matthew 28:19 NIV. “Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”

At first glimpse, that challenge can be daunting. Thankfully Jesus doesn’t send folks out alone to fulfill this commission, but gives assurance of a partnership with the affirmation, “I am with you always, to the very end of the age,” Matt. 28:20.

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In his book, All Authority, Joey Shaw spends ten chapters exploring the meaning and components of “all authority” and “the great commission.” He includes personal anecdotes, and intertwines stories of sacrificial living from those on the front lines who put their faith into action.

All Authority was informative, but took me longer to read than I anticipated. What began like a missionary book quickly shifted to contextual theology/doctrine that closely examined the all-encompassing authority of Jesus in conjunction with the great commission.

Why include pages of theology/doctrine, instead of presenting practical ways for accomplishing the mission of God? Joey addresses the theology component with a quote by Martin Luther—“Theology is a matter for the church.” In a subsequent paragraph, Joey unearths an obstacle for presenting theology to those other than academicians —“doctrine is tough to chew on.” He also lists three reasons for this obstacle:

  • “Doctrine implies truth.”
  • “Knowing doctrine means that we have to think, and thinking is hard. It makes for slow reading.”
  • “Doctrine always demands change in us.”

The intricacies of All Authority did indeed force me to read slowly and think about doctrine, theology, the great commission, God’s authority, and my response to each of these components.

I caution the would-be-reader—this book is not a leisure book, but one that requires time to absorb. It is also a book that will compel the reader to think about:

  • What “all authority” means?
  • Who you profess as the one with all authority over your life?
  • If the person with all authority over your life is Jesus, what will you do about it?
  • If Jesus does not have all authority over your life, will you acknowledge and embrace His Authority?

Have you read Joey Shaw’s book All Authority? If so, I’d love to hear your thoughts – Jill

 

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