By John Daniel Jones
"By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority to do these things?"(Mark 11:28).
There is no moral authority without character. "As the man is, so is his strength." Office in itself will never confer moral authority. The sons of Eli had office. But they had not character. What was their influence? Nothing; worse than nothing. Because of them men abhorred the offering of the Lord. If we want to wield power for God, we must first of all be ourselves men of God. To do good we must be good. Without character, though we have all official guarantees, we are no better than sounding-brass or a tinkling cymbal.
The ultimate source of authority to teach and preach is God. No man is ordained unless he is ordained of God. Nobody is really "in orders" unless he is placed in them by God. All that men can do is to ratify God's ordaining. No man, called of God, needs human authority to speak for Him. I have no word to say by way of disparagement of human ordination; I have been ordained myself. I have myself been set aside by the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. I believe that ordination tends to orderliness in the Church. And yet I would never forget that the real authority to preach comes from a higher source--it comes from God. And He can and does give it to men on whom no human hands have ever been laid. The Spirit bloweth still where He listeth, and the man dowered with the Spirit is the man ordained of God.