Who’s The Boss?

“Then he said, ‘I beg you therefore, father, that you would send him to my father’s house, for I have five brothers, that he may testify to them, lest they also come to this place of torment.’ Abraham said to him, ‘They have Moses and the prophets; let them hear them (Luke 16:27-29).’”

There was a great deal of controversy a few weeks ago at the Oregon high school state golf tournament when the first group arrived at the 13th hole and found that the blue tees they had been teeing of from for the first twelve holes were 40 yards further back than the 172 yards noted on the scorecard. (1) They appealed to a rules official nearby to get clarification and he directed them to tee off from the red tees closer to the green. The second group followed suit and hit from the red tees also. When the third group arrived at 13 they determined that they should start from the blue tees but the official waved them forward to the red tee box. A fourth group was instructed similarly. As the golfers from these first four groups turned in their scorecards they learned that they had been disqualified from the tournament for violating the rules and teeing off unfairly from the nearer red tees on the 13th hole.

The course had failed to properly set up the blue tees at the correct distance but that was cold comfort for the twelve players eliminated from the championship tourney. They protested that the rules official directed them to move up to the red tees rather than the blue tees they had played from for the other seventeen holes. However, Pete Weber, Executive Director of the Oregon School Activities Association said, “Focusing on who said what to whom at what point or assigning blame to the players and/or adults misses the point. The USGA Rules of Golf, under which the championships were being conducted, are well known for their rigidity and don’t allow for the solutions some have suggested.” Indeed, USGA Rule 11-4b reads; “If the competitor makes a stroke from the next teeing ground without first correcting his mistake or, in the case of the last hole of the round, leaves the putting green without first declaring his intention to correct his mistake, he is disqualified.” (2) It is sad that they lost their opportunity to win the championship because they heeded incorrect instructions from someone they trusted but the ultimate authority is the USGA Rulebook and they were all responsible for knowing and complying with the rules.

David had come to trust the prophet Nathan, so when the seer endorsed his plans to build a temple he must have felt validated (2 Samuel 7:1-5). But it seems that Nathan spoke presumptuously for God disqualified David from building Him a temple (1 Chronicles 22:8). The man of God forfeited his life after a prophet lied to him about having approval from heaven to stop and have lunch (1 Kings 13:18-22). Many believed that the Pharisees were religious authority figures but Jesus warned that they were not established by God and they taught men to follow their traditions and teachings rather than those from the Father, and that those who followed them would fall into the ditch with them (Matthew 15:3-14).

Similarly, many are following the doctrines of those they believe to be in positions of religious authority unaware that they are not heeding the written will of God. Some are following the teachings of men that baptism is not essential to salvation which is contrary to the Bible’s plain teaching (Mark 16:16, 1 Peter 3:21). Others accept that a believer can never fall away from the faith and forfeit their salvation while Scripture clearly affirms this (Galatians 5:4, 1 Timothy 4:1, James 5:19-20). Some assent to appointing women to positions of authority in the church ignoring the explicit Apostolic prohibitions (1 Timothy 2:12).

Ultimately, in the end we are responsible for understanding the will of God (Ephesians 5:17). Do we seek to understand the word of God or do we prefer to hear what men say is the word of God?

“He who rejects Me, and does not receive My words, has that which judges him – the word that I have spoken will judge him in the last day (John 12:48).”


  1. http://www.msn.com/en-us/sports/golf/bizarre-turn-in-story-of-dqed-high-school-golfers-as-official-accused-of-lying/ar-AAxriR0?li=BBnba9I
  2. http://www.usga.org/rules/rules-and-decisions.html#!rule-11

Billy Alexander is a member of the church of Christ in Jersey Village in Houston, TX. He and his wife Gwen both work at Hewlett-Packard where they met and have worked more than 25 years each. Billy enjoys teaching Bible several times each week at Jersey Village and Memorial church of Christ. Since 2008, his weekly article "Equipping the Saints" as run in the Jersey Village bulletin.