Tuesday, 1 January 2013

Domains of authority

Howard Ahmanson has an interesting article on communitarianism, and why he is not one. What I found interesting were his comments concerning the domains of authority. He mentions the traditional ones of family, church, and state; yet considers there are 2 more.
The whole category of property ownership, business, the right to make rules regarding the conduct of others on our property, and the right to determine the conditions under which we do business.

... the rules of business and property ownership do guide our lives; many of the ‘regulations’ under which we live come not from the government but from what banks will and will not lend on, and what insurance companies will and will not insure.
And
Customs, cultures, and manners, including languages and their rules. 
So we would have
  • State
  • Church
  • Family
  • Business
  • Custom
I haven't fully thought this thru. The last 2 may not seem obvious in that they are non-hierarchical, there is no one who necessarily makes these rules, and they can change over time. These categories are also divided into rational and arational.


Rational Arational
Hierarchical StateChurch
Ahierarchical Business Custom

Family is considered by Ahmanson as a small-scale version of all 4: The world in miniature.

I suspect this categorisation comes from an anthropological rather than a theological perspective. A theological categorisation comes from a chronological approach. In creation God assigns family as the authority. Post-fall (or possibly post-diluvian) sees the necessity of the state. Redemption brings about the creation of the church.

EventStructure
CreationFamily
FallState
RedemptionChurch

The church was always the intention even at creation, so will be eternal. The state is a temporary institution made necessary by our fallen nature. The family, while primary at the time of creation and currently still more foundational than the state, may be temporary as evidenced by Jesus' words that there is no marriage in heaven.

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