To Author Life in Others: A Book Review of “Authority” by Jonathan Leeman

To Author Life in Others: A Book Review of “Authority” by Jonathan Leeman

Leeman presents five principles on how good authority works. I was most motivated to read that authority is neither permissive nor authoritarian, but rather, it administers discipline. In other words, discipline is the power of authority. Applying this principle as a parent, I hope to show kindness through predictable outcomes, as well as provide an environment of encouragement and affirmation. 

How can you wield and yield to authority in a healthy way? In Authority, Jonathan Leeman, author and editorial director for 9Marks, shares how godly rule protects the vulnerable, strengthens communities, and promotes human flourishing.

Leeman writes that to have authority is to be an author—authoring a life of flourishing, trust, and freedom in others. When authority is exercised correctly, it teaches us to see what God is like. All of us have God’s word to see how God perfectly administers his authority, and we’ve seen examples of good and bad authority on earth.

Leeman admits the tension of authority of balancing truth and justice with mercy and compassion, especially in the Christian understanding of the subject. He relates this to God’s immanence and transcendence. Humans in authority need to find a way to balance both. Leeman calls this authority-in-redemption.

The book also, maybe surprisingly, studies submission. But the juxtaposition is important as they are the two sides of the same coin. As humans, we are most ourselves when we learn to be submissive.

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