Peter Rollins: Question Authority

Peter Rollins adds insight to a tale he has just told (The Orthodox Heretic, pp. 98-99):

In Genesis we read that God is contemplating whether or not to destroy Sodom because of its immorality. It is interesting that the writer portrays God as doing this in such a way that Abraham overhears. The next part of the story involves Abraham arguing directly with God about this destruction, and causing God to reconsider (see Genesis 18:20-21). God at first is thinking of destroying the city because of the quantity of sin, but Abraham causes God to take into consideration the innocent who would also be harmed. What we learn here is that there is a Biblical injunction to question authority, regardless of who or what that authority is, when we believe that authority is not defending the persecuted. For in the Bible the face of a helpless, suffering child has greater call on us than any institution or heavenly voice. It is in the face of the suffering child or the flesh of a tortured man that the ethical demand of God is written.

For this reason we can embrace Christianity as that which is lived wholly in the world, as that which finds God in the act of giving to those in need and receiving from others as we are in need….

This approach fully embraces the idea that Christ is found in our interaction with others, in our offering food to the hungry and water to the thirsty. This is an incarnational approach that hears God’s call emanating from the very heart of the world rather than as entering it from outside.

More from Peter Rollins.


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