Ministerial Authority

Ministerial authority is the subordinate, secondary, derivative authority that comes “from above” in contrast to mediatorial authority, which is the insubordinate and autonomous exercise of authority that is “of this world.” Ministerial authority ultimately aims at the restoration of the image of God in fallen man and the empowerment of those so restored to operate and grow in the likeness of God for the life of the world. Thus, ministerial authority gives rise to judgments (i.e., decisions) in both corrective discipline and formative discipleship that are ultimately restorative and never only punitive. Members are expected to exercise ministerial authority in relation to the jurisdictions to which they are membered just as jurisdictions are expected to exercise ministerial authority in relation to their members. The only Man to whom mediatorial authority is given is the Man Christ Jesus (1 Tim. 2:5; cf. Is. 9:6). Jesus alone, because He is both God and Man, is able as a Man to a source of authority in relation to others. Because He exercises this authority in His capacity as the Second Adam, it is through Christ alone that all others, both individuals and collectives, receive ministerial authority. Thus all ministerial authority is delegated authority whose source is in God and comes directly to each individual and collective from God in Christ. No other person, other than Jesus Christ, can claim to be a “middle man” in between God as the source of all authority and any individual or collective who is an “appointed” or delegated authority. “For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God” (Rom. 13:1b). This ministerial nature of covenantal authority, structures, and relationships creates an equality of authority among members and at the same time a division of powers or roles that checks the unwarranted abuse of power. In addition, ministerial authority functions in a more effective manner by harnessing the symbiotic or collective wisdom and abilities of mankind as a whole in cultivating and keeping the earthly creation.

Also see Apostolic Rule of Faith, Capacity, Charism, Consensus Decision-Making, Cosmic Personalism, Head, Judgment, Mediatorial Authority, Member, and “The Opportunity Presented by Members Called to Function Together Ministerially.”