“The History Channel” presented a documentary on Andrew Jackson Friday night that brought this very question of authority to my mind.
Jackson lived his early life resenting and hating the British and was scarred by their treatment of his mother and of himself. Jackson grew up hating the Indians because of the injuries they afflicted on his mother. He lived a great deal of his adult life as a general of an army and the master of his own plantation. He made the rules, and he would not abide others breaking or questioning his rules.
When Jackson married his wife, Rachel, he did so with the full knowledge that she was still married to another man. The evidence points out that Jackson knew (or should have known) what he was doing. He decided to marry Rachel in spite of the Biblical teachings and not in harmony with them. He fought duels with men who pointed out the error of his actions, killing some. As far as General Jackson was concerned, he lived outside any authority but his own.
As President, Jackson continued this philosophy in his treatment of the Cherokee Indians and other tribes, requiring them to be relocated to the lands that would become Oklahoma. He did this in spite of a Supreme Court case the Cherokees won, which he, as president, had the duty to enforce, but did not. He is reported to have said, “John Marshall has made his decision. Now, let him enforce it.”
If we live in accordance with the Bible, then we live according to its precepts and place its authority over us in all things. Christians submit, and they submit to the authority of the Word of God, because the word was the means by which they were born of God (James 1:18).