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Authority (Leeman)

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Accessible Guide from 9Marks Equips Believers to Steward Their God-Given Authority

In every position of power―from executives and world leaders to church elders and parents―lies the potential for life-giving leadership or destructive corruption. Driven by sinful pride or opportunism, many people abuse their God-given authority, harming the ones they’re called to lead and contributing to a skeptical attitude toward leadership. The answer to bad authority, however, is not no authority, but good authority―the kind that, according to Scripture, causes those under it to flourish.
In this compelling guide from 9Marks, Jonathan Leeman shows that authority, done biblically, is not only good, but is essential to human flourishing. Through Scripture and many first-hand stories, he presents 5 attributes of positive authority and warns against sinfulness that corrupts leadership. Pointing to Jesus as the ultimate model of good authority, Leeman equips readers to pursue godly influence in their personal and professional lives. 

  • Applicable: Challenges readers to identify weaknesses in their own leadership style and offers 5 attributes of godly authority
  • Engaging: Filled with compelling stories that illustrate key points
  • A Great Resource for Pastors, Employers, Officers, and Parents: Helps readers understand how to practice godly authority in church, at home, and in the workplace


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Product Details

  • Cover Type: Paperback
  • 304 Pages 
  • Publisher: Crossway
  • Publication Date: Sept.12.2023
  • ISBN:9781433587634


“Aversion to authority seems to increase with each succeeding generation in America, and the Christian community is not immune. Today’s young adults raised within the church seem even more allergic to hierarchy than those I taught ten years ago in Christian school, and the erosion of trust seems the undeniable motivator. If Satan used falsehoods to play upon the trust of God’s children in the garden, it only makes sense that rehearsing what is true about God’s good intentions will lead to a restoration of our trust in authority. Jonathan Leeman takes readers by the hand and walks patiently through God’s plan for authority and submission outlined in the Scriptures. He deftly clarifies when the role of authority calls for action or restraint, addressing many of the subtle lies that have eroded trust in the institutions of our day.”
Roy Griffith, Headmaster, Rockbridge Academy, Crownsville, Maryland

“In a world where authority is constantly being questioned, Jonathan Leeman reminds us to steward our authority for God’s glory. He helpfully examines both good and bad practices and guides us toward better examples of God-given authority.”
Gordon Reid, President, Stop and Shop LLC

“Thirty-two years of military leadership and six in industry, and still learning! This is a compelling, convicting, and compassionate discourse. Jonathan Leeman uses powerful anecdotes and stories to drive home the principles, truths, and precepts of authority and frames the context for practical application. A must-read for all in and under ‘author-ity’!”
Scott Vander Hamm, Major General, United States Air Force (retired)

“Authority is under attack today because it is deemed to be oppressive. This book is a refreshingly thoughtful study of this theme. It firmly rejects abuse while showing authority to be vital to the proper functioning of society, church, and family. When properly used, authority serves those who are led. This timely book is a sure guide to this contentious subject: biblically faithful, pastorally wise, comprehensive in scope, and full of practical examples.”
Sharon James, Social Policy Analyst, The Christian Institute

“With the heart of a pastor and mind of a theologian, Jonathan Leeman offers a timely perspective on a timeless challenge. Using clear prose and compelling examples, he urges all faithful Christians to consider anew the biblical warrant for authority in every domain of our lives.”
William Inboden, Executive Director, Clements Center for National Security, University of Texas at Austin

Table of Contents

Tables and Illustrations
Series Preface
Prelude: A Prayer of Confession

Introduction: Our Angst about Authority
Part I: What Is Authority?
Chapter 1: Authority Is God’s Good Gift for Sharing His Rule and Glory
Chapter 2: Authority Is Satan’s Sinister Scheme for Supplanting God
Chapter 3: Authority Is Christ’s Claim to Rescue and Redeem
Part II: What Is Submission?
Chapter 4: Submission Is the Path to Growth, Authority, and Likeness to the God-Man
Chapter 5: Submission Is Never Absolute and Always Has Limits
Part III: How Does Good Authority Work? Five Principles
Chapter 6: It Is Not Unaccountable, but Submits to a Higher Authority
Chapter 7: It Doesn’t Steal Life, but Creates It
Chapter 8: It Is Not Unteachable, but Seeks Wisdom
Chapter 9: It Is neither Permissive nor Authoritarian, but Administers Discipline
Chapter 10: It Is Not Self-Protective, but Bears the Costs 
Part IV: What Does Authority Look Like in Action?
Chapter 11: Two Kinds of Authority: Command and Counsel
Chapter 12: The Husband (Counsel)
Chapter 13: The Parent (Command)
Chapter 14: The Government (Command)
Chapter 15: The Manager (Command)
Chapter 16: The Church (Command)
Chapter 17: The Elder (Counsel)
Conclusion: Equality, the Fear of God, and a Reward
Postlude: A Prayer of Praise
General Index
Scripture Index


Jonathan Leeman (PhD, University of Wales) is the editorial director for 9Marks and cohost of the Pastors’ Talk podcast. He is the author or editor of over a dozen books and teaches at several seminaries. Jonathan lives with his wife and four daughters in a suburb of Washington, DC, and is an elder at Cheverly Baptist Church. You can follow him on Twitter at @jonathanleeman.

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