William Barclay was a Biblical scholar and professor in Scotland who published extensively. One of his books is Day by Day published in 2003 by Hendrickson’s Publishers. One of his short articles deals with the idea of authority. He asks "Where, for the Christian does authority lie?"

He examines the question of whether it lies in the church and notes that given the human conduct of the Barclay Christian church over history it is unlikely to be there. He notes that the Roman Catholic Church, that claims such authority, has a history that includes such things as the Spanish Inquisition, the traffic of indulgences and it’s other failings and concludes: "The church on earth is far too human an institution to have any kind of infallibility attached to it."

He asks, if not the church, whether final authority for the Christian lies in the Bible? But, this Biblical expert observes "The trouble about the Bible is that no sooner have we quoted one text on one side than it is so often possible to quote another text on the other side." In spite of his reverence for scripture, he concludes that since the Bible is subject to interpretations that every word of the Bible cannot be seen as authoritative.

His conclusion is that:

"There is no such thing as a final authority which can be externally imposed on any man. It’s God’s method that man is compelled to use his own mind, his own heart and his own judgment. And for the Christian there is only one authority and that authority is Jesus Christ interpreted by the Holy SpirIt."

Whatever your views, Barclay presents an issue that should be of interest to all of us who profess to be Christians. What role should a well informed conscience play in answering the question of authority?


  1. Paul Thank you very much for your comments, I plan to share them with many others because it is inportant that people know the history of what we are trying to do and the history of the good people who have gone before us. Thanks again, hope things are well with you and Lita……Mike Rickert

  2. Mike:

    I appreciate the note. There are a lot of other stories to be told about
    both David and Stan, but are better left for discussion over a beer. I
    just got back from the Trial College and Gerry is going strong at 81.
    We're trying to plan another photo trip together somewhere.


    Paul N. Luvera
    701 5th Ave Ste 6700
    Seattle, WA 98104
    Office (206) 467-6090
    Cell (206) 930-6000

  3. I realize, now, since I read the Obits, of the Helena Independent Record, Mt., that we are at the age of many passing friends and acquaintances, and to me, many memories, and I am happy to say, most of them on the lighter side of life and profession, but I do remember many classics, and like you, better remember in person than written comment. CB

  4. Paul: Thank you so much for the stories and memories you shared about David and Stan. Gil and I were in the middle of Alaska when we got the news. We took the motorhome and were gone for 31 days and over 5,000 miles. It was a lovely trip but saddened by the news of David and Stan’s passing. They were good men. David was my good friend for many years. Even though over the years past we did lose touch with one another. Again thank you. You are a good man.

    Bonnie Mullen

  5. Paul,
    I am sorry for the loss of such fine people in your life. The time passes so quickly in our personal and professional lives. I practice law with John Ladenburg and have many WSTLA friends and your commitment to your friends and partners is indicative of the things that matter. Thanks for sharing your friends’stories.

    Randy Harrison

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