When looking at this issue of source of authority and power the order of the three elements is just as important as the presence of the elements. If the order of importance (from greatest to least) was reason, tradition, and charisma, then the religion must be invalid because the direct intervention by the deity (in our case God) is being ignored and the religion has taken on itís own form and abandoned the deity. In fact if the order were so then the religion can not be said to be anything more than glorified philosophy for reason is the mainstay and tradition and charisma, which are better indicators of divine will, are relegated to lesser than what the people think. In such a case the people place themselves before their deity, therefore they can not be said to following their deityís will.
If the order was tradition, charisma, reason then the religion is close to the truth, but not quite there. This type of order structure holds true to the main core of the religion, but it fails to follow any revelations from the deity that have occurred since the establishment of the religion. Even though any religion that follows this order structure at one point was correct itís failure to incorporate the revealed word of its deity makes it not correct from that point on. The basics are true, but it is not completely true.
Which brings us to the correct way for a religion to operate. The order a religion should follow to be called the true religion is charisma, tradition, reasonÖ with reason the far last of the elements. In a religion that has charisma as its root, tradition as its mainstay, and reason as a last resort there is a logical order of power. The religion was founded by the will of the deity. It carries out the correct beliefs that it held from past forms, and does not interject new teachings, which are mortal and not divine. A religion that does not have charisma as the base of the beliefs is not following the will of the deity as manifested by the deity. A religion that has reason as the second element in its authority structure is interjecting mortal views over the views given by the deity.
Christianity has its authority order in the correct order. Jesus Christ founded the religion. As shown in Matthew 3:17 and lo, a voice from heaven, saying, "This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased" Christ is the Son of God and Divine. Even demons recognize Christ as the Son of God as shown in Mark 1:24 and he cried out, "What have you to do with us, Jesus of Nazareth? Have you come to destroy us? I know who you are, the Holy One of God." Because Christ established Christianity, and Christ is the Son of God we are founded on charisma. Since there have been no calls by God to establish a new religion (though Islam feels otherwise) the basis and first element in the Christian authority structure is charisma.
Tradition is the second element in Christian authority. Christ did not come to abolish the law. His purpose was to complete the law as shown in Matthew 5:17-19 "Think not that I have come to abolish the law and the prophets; I have come not to abolish them but to fulfil them. For truly, I say to you, till heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the law until all is accomplished. Whoever then relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches men so, shall be called least in the kingdom of heaven; but he who does them and teaches them shall be called great in the kingdom of heaven.(ď) Christians still hold to the traditions that the Jewish hold that are correct in Godís eyes. We maintain the tradition that God has established, and also follow the traditions that He established (reenacting the Last Supper for example.)
The last element in Christian authority is reason. Improper use of reason has caused great harm throughout the ages. A great example is the Book of Judges. In Judges the Israelis reason incorrectly that because their neighbors worship idols and suffer no ill effects therefore idol worship will not hurt them either. When they turn to idol worship God pours out His wrath on the Israelis and they suffer. Later they repent and turn back to the Lord. When they do so they are forgiven. But as time progresses they incorrectly reason and turn to idols and the cycle begins anew. It is this history of being harmed by reason that it is the last element in Christian authority.
Christianity has an authority structure of charisma, tradition, and reason respectively. This structure is the only one that is allowable for a religion to be true. Focusing on reason places mortal will over divine will. Focusing on tradition ignores the continuing instruction of the deity. It is only through the focus on charisma and the low importance on reason that a religion true. Because Christianity has the elements in the proper order it must be a true religion. Since there is only one God, we must be the correct religion and therefore our beliefs correct.