by John R. Anderson
This paper is presented to refute the false belief that the operation of spiritual gifts are evidence of God’s approval. We do not know Mr. Anderson, but we like the way he has presented his thoughts.
Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm. Psalms 105:15
ONE OF THE MOST COMMON ERRORS found in Christianity today is that particular persons, usually pastors or evangelists, are somehow more “anointed” than the average Christian. This teaching often coincides with a veiled threat in the form of “touch not the Lord’s anointed” (1 Chronicles 16:22; Psalms 105:15).
The term “anointed” means “authorized or set apart for a particular work or service” (see Isaiah 61:1). The New Testament is absolutely clear as to who the anointing rests upon. It is ALL of Christ’s disciples, those who are His very own, set apart and commissioned for His service (2 Corinthians 1:21). The New Testament does not support the notion of a “greater” anointing based upon the “position” a man holds. Such teaching has its origin in a fundamental misunderstanding of the relationship between the Old and New Testaments.
Proponents of this error fail to use careful exegesis in differentiating between the Old Testament call of a prophet, where the anointing rested on one man (Isaiah 61:1; 1 Samuel 26:9-11; 2 Samuel 22:51; 2 Chronicles 6:42) and the New Testament call of the priesthood of all believers (1 Peter 2:5-9). Certainly there are diversities of gifts, but the Spirit (or anointing) remains the same for one and all (1 Corinthians 12:13). Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, Kenneth Hagin, and many others have long terrorized sincere people with the “touch not mine anointed” nonsense anytime someone dared to question them or their teaching. But biblically, anyone who has a gift has a ministry, and anyone who has a ministry has authority and is anointed. And according to Romans 12:4-6, 1 Corinthians 12:7-11, and 1 Peter 4:10, all Spirit-filled believers have gifts and ministries and are free to question the integrity and doctrinal correctness of anyone.
It is a sad situation in many churches today that the so-called laity are content to sit on a pew week after week, unquestioningly assuming that the opinions of their professional clergymen are the final authority. They find comfort in this approach because it feels safe. And the preachers are content to keep it this way because it secures their position in the church.
How many times have believers been subjected to mishandled scriptures with
an implicit or explicit “touch not God’s anointed” if any dared to question? This is in contrast to the biblical admonition that believers should “not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God” (1 John 4:1). Fear is not of God and teaching which incorporates psychological intimidation is corrupt and deceptive.
One of the easiest ways to determine what “spirit” motivates a person “in authority” is to question him. A godly man or woman will never be offended or become indignant if someone dares to question them and compare what they have said with the Word of God. But if a person is motivated by an “authoritarian” spirit of conceit and arrogance, the questioner will soon know it.
Peter admonished the elders (pastors and spiritual guides of the church) not to be domineering (arrogant, dictatorial, overbearing) over the flock of God, but to serve them by being patterns and models of Christian living (1 Peter 5:1-3, see the Amplified version).
Many prominent pastors and evangelists today make the claim that because
“healings” take place in their meetings, this somehow validates their
ministry. While these things may be well and good, they are no indication of
“divine sanction.” A. A. Allen was a drunkard, Jimmy Swaggart a whoremonger,
Jim Bakker a thief and adulterer, Larry Lea a prevaricator, and Robert
Tilton a charlatan. Yet all of these men saw miracles take place in their
meetings. Simply because a preacher is blessed with “prosperity” and has a
“following” of thousands does not mean anything when it comes to integrity
sanction, for “he maketh his sun to rise on the evil and on the good, and sendeth rain on the just and on the unjust,” (Matt. 5:45).
Twenty-six years ago I experienced the greatest miracle of my life, the baptism of the Holy Spirit. This experience came in a Pentecostal “holiness” church where, unbeknownst to me at the time, the pastor was committing adultery, one of the deacons (or “pillars” of the church as they were called) visited a prostitute on a regular basis, another deacon kept a large supply of porno magazines in his home, and still another was a philanderer. This taught me that just because God moves in a particular setting, this is no absolute certification that those who bear the message are “godly.”