Original Research

A philosophical and theological insight towards understanding the difference between the concepts of authority and power

Mojalefa L.J. Koenane, Mokhele J.S. Madise
HTS Teologiese Studies / Theological Studies | Vol 75, No 1 | a5212 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/hts.v75i1.5212 | © 2019 Mojalefa L.J. Koenane, Mokhele J.S. Madise | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 02 August 2018 | Published: 25 March 2019

About the author(s)

Mojalefa L.J. Koenane, Department of Philosophy, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa
Mokhele J.S. Madise, Department of Philosophy, College of Human Sciences, University of South Africa, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

In this article, we seek to clarify the difference between the two concepts: authority and power. We are well aware that, in our everyday language, these two concepts are erroneously used interchangeably. This is because people take it for granted that these concepts mean exactly the same thing. We disagree: these concepts may have a relationship; however, they do not always denote the same meaning. Some people are of the opinion that because they are in authority, they must ‘lord it over’ others. Sometimes, there are multiple messages from conflicting authorities; in such cases, which authority must be obeyed? Our purpose is to critique this view and suggest the one that we believe is tenable, which is authority as service, an idea that is promoted by Jesus Christ in the Gospels.

Keywords

Abuse of power; Author; Authority; Creator; Money; Power and Will

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