by Rev. Dr. Gregory Lowrey
I have been asked many times just as was Jesus, from where do I claim authority, and who ordained me to speak on spiritual matters, and I'm happy to be in such good company as he tells in Matthew 21;
23 And when he was come into the temple, the chief priests and the elders of the people came unto him as he was teaching, and said, By what authority doest thou these things? and who gave thee this authority?
24 And Jesus answered and said unto them, I also will ask you one thing, which if ye tell me, I in like wise will tell you by what authority I do these things.
25 The baptism of John, whence was it? from heaven, or of men? And they reasoned with themselves, saying, If we shall say, From heaven; he will say unto us, Why did ye not then believe him?
26 But if we shall say, Of men; we fear the people; for all hold John as a prophet.
27 And they answered Jesus, and said, We cannot tell. And he said unto them, Neither tell I you by what authority I do these things.But since I live under some greater measure of personal liberty than Jesus did, I will not be so coy as he regarding this question. I have been formally ordained to the priesthood three separate times by two major religions. My first ordination was at age 12 and I put little stock by it but my second and third ordinations at ages 19 and 34 I took quite seriously. While I still consider the lessons I learned, the experiences I had and services I rendered as a result of those ordinations with great reverence - for they were the path laid out for me to the truth and spiritual freedom I cherish today, as far as their real authenticity, I believe them to be only as authentic as what value my practices gave to them. To me, the only true authority comes from a sincere desire to serve. The only true call comes from your spiritual center – never from a man or an institution.
Thus the earthly honors of an institutional ordination have no value to me - in myself or others. Only the call from my creator – the beckoning of my spirit to the spirit that made me and a desire to serve – to give my all to God, if you will, has any value or merit.
That call I received in 1973 and my life has been repeatedly turned inside out ever since, often leaving me confused and always confusing nearly all those around me.
God gives the call and his servants respond. They are sent to do the “work of the Spirit” no matter how confusing that may be to themselves and others.
My commission as a minister comes then straight from the Creator. While education has it's certain value, a certificate from man truly has none when it comes to spiritual things.
20 Verily, verily, I say unto you, He that receiveth whomsoever I send receiveth me; and he that receiveth me receiveth him that sent me.
As Isaiah reveals God to have said: “For My thoughts are not your thoughts, and your ways are not My ways.” “For as heaven is higher than earth, so My ways are higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.”—Isaiah 55:8–9Likewise, as revealed in many scriptures – the truth is revealed to man by that portion of the spirit of truth that is in him. The portion of the spirit of truth that is in him is according to that portion he is willing to receive.
The ability to teach the truth (about anything) is not from the bestowal of any ordination or award, but only from the understanding earned by an earnest searching – a sincere seeking to know and unite with the spirit of truth – which truth is something most men fear as it opens their hearts for all the world to see and often reveals their pet theories to be false.
While a call to serve can come and the spirit of truth will deny no sincere seeker, the portion of truth that one may abide is a developing – hopefully ever-expanding experience.
And that which is true, the portions of truth that a person will receive, will endure forever, while those things that are false will be blown away just as the chaff is blown from the mature grain.
Those who hide their true desires, who love a lie – certainly have little to no truth in them. Only the spirit of truth reveals truth. That is what I seek and rely on.
I judge the truth, by the truth that is in me. The truth that is in me is only that which has been revealed to me – not by man – but by the spirit of truth – from God.
16 And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever;
17 Even the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth him not, neither knoweth him: but ye know him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you.
25 These things have I spoken unto you, being yet present with you.
26 But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
26 But when the Comforter is come, whom I will send unto you from the Father, even the Spirit of truth, which proceedeth from the Father, he shall testify of me:
27 And ye also shall bear witness, because ye have been with me from the beginning.
13 Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth: for he shall not speak of himself; but whatsoever he shall hear, that shall he speak: and he will shew you things to come.
14 He shall glorify me: for he shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
15 All things that the Father hath are mine: therefore said I, that he shall take of mine, and shall shew it unto you.
1 Corinthians 2
10 But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God.
11 For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.
13 Which things also we speak, not in the words which man's wisdom teacheth, but which the Holy Ghost teacheth; comparing spiritual things with spiritual.
14 But the natural man receiveth not the things of the Spirit of God: for they are foolishness unto him: neither can he know them, because they are spiritually discerned.
15 But he that is spiritual judgeth all things, yet he himself is judged of no man.
16 For who hath known the mind of the Lord, that he may instruct him?
1 John 4:
5 They are of the world: therefore speak they of the world, and the world heareth them.
6 We are of God: he that knoweth God heareth us; he that is not of God heareth not us. Hereby know we the spirit of truth, and the spirit of error.Even the Mormons have something worthy to say about this:
17 Verily I say unto you, he that is ordained of me and sent forth to preach the word of truth by the Comforter, in the Spirit of truth, doth he preach it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
18 And if it be by some other way it is not of God.
19 And again, he that receiveth the word of truth, doth he receive it by the Spirit of truth or some other way?
20 If it be some other way it is not of God.
1 John 5
6 ...And it is the Spirit that beareth witness, because the Spirit is truth.One last comment on this topic.
Spiritual truth will always compel one toward obedience to the 1st and great commandment – to love God with all your heart, might, mind and strength – to show respect and consideration for all of creation.
We must guard against confusing emotionalism for a spiritual witness. Many skilled orators know how to elicit an emotional reaction which is then claimed to be a witness of the spirit. So we must always check our emotions against our prime directive – commandment number 1.
One may struggle with this just as a child struggles to learn to crawl, walk and run. Our setbacks are inevitable, but our strength lies in our determination to never give up and the action that follows that determination.