James Fowler, a scholar who taught at Emory, wrote an excellent book titled “The Stages of Faith.” I highly recommend it! Without going into detail, he spoke of six stages from of “primal faith” as an infant to “universalizing faith,” which a few adults may achieve in their lifetime. Central to this development is the question: in whom do you put authority. As an infant, authority is all in the parents. As a child grows, this authority shifts from parents, to peers, and to institutions, like government or religion. Eventually, if a person is to develop fully in their faith, the nexus of authority gradually shifts from an outside source–parents, peers, institutions–to a source deep within one’s self: the Spirit of God welling up within one’s heart and soul. This notion of a spiritually mature person is lurking in the background of our Gospel reading for this next Sunday when the chief priests and elders ask Jesus, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?” (Matt 21:23) In whom do you place authority? Join us this Sunday as we discover how Jesus answers this very important question.
Matt 21:23: When He entered the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came to Him while He was teaching, and said, “By what authority are You doing these things, and who gave You this authority?”