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Particulars of Christianity:
310 Pentecostalism,
the Charismatic
and Faith Movements

The Anointing and Being Under Authority (Part 1)

Specific Doctrines of the Charismatic Movement/Faith Movement
Kenotic Theology
The Anointing and Being Under Authority (Part 1)
The Anointing and Being Under Authority (Part 2)
Sickness and Healing (Part 1)
Sickness and Healing (Part 2)
Prayer, Asking and Receiving (Part 1)
Prayer, Asking and Receiving (Part 2)
Christians and Material Wealth (Part 1)
Christians and Material Wealth (Part 2)
Christians and Material Wealth (Part 3)
The "Rhema" and "Logos" Word (Part 1)
The "Rhema" and "Logos" Word (Part 2)
Those Who Speak in Tongues Necessarily Understand Themselves

Section 1 | Section 2 | Section 3 | Section 4
| Section 5

Sometimes in the Charismatic Movement or Faith Movement you will hear a pastor or lay person say something like, "Wow! That was anointed." This type of description may often be applied to a worship service, a song, a sermon, or even a person. In this sense, Charismatic and Faith Movement believers may casually use the term "anointed" as a adjective to express how "spiritual" or "edifying" something was. When they use the term like this, they generally do not mean to convey a specific doctrine but simply to express how much they feel they or others benefited spiritually from the item in question.

In such cases, the statement itself may be fairly innocent indeed, and many of those who say such things may not even be aware of the doctrinal implications. There are three points that we need to make about this practice of casually using the word "anointed" as a synonym for "spiritually beneficial." First, as we will demonstrate below, this application of the term "anointed" is completely inconsistent with what "anointing" meant in the Bible. Second, because the term "anointing" is used in a particular way in the Bible, whenever this term is applied to something or someone, the speaker is conferring onto that person or object the qualities conveyed in the Bible, whether the speaker knows it or not. And this has some dangerous implications. Third, as inappropriate as this expression is, it is merely a shadow of the true Faith Movement teaching about anointing, which is what we will primarily focusing on in this section.

First, let's examine how the Bible uses the term "anointed." This will tell us what qualities are conveyed Biblically by that term. And in contrast, it will tell us whether or not it is appropriate for Charismatic and Faith Movement believers to use the term as a casual synonym for something that is "spiritually beneficial."

And what is the way we see this term used in the Bible? It is inseparably connected with the concept of God-given authority. In fact, you will hardly find the term used in the Bible without being connected to the notion of God putting a man in a position of authority.

Exodus 28:41 - Aaron and his sons are anointed as priests over Israel.
Exodus 30:26 - The tabernacle and its vessels are anointed.
(Throughout Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy, the "anointing" is used in the above ways.)

Judges 9:8 - Parable in which the trees anoint a king over themselves.
1 Samuel 9:16, 10:1 - Saul is anointed king over Israel.
1 Samuel 16:3, 12-13 - David is anointed king over Israel.
1 Kings 1:34 - Solomon is anointed king over Israel.
1 Kings 19:15-16 - Hazael anointed king over Syria, Jehu anointed king over Israel, Elisha anointed to be prophet.
2 Kings 11:2, 12 - Joash is anointed as king.
Psalm 89:20 -God speaks of David saying, "with my holy oil have I anointed him."
Isaiah 61:1 - Prophecy of Jesus' being anointed to preach the good news.

And of course, the very words "Messias" in the Hebrew (Strong's No. 3323) and "Christos" in the Greek (Strong's No. 5547) apply the term "Anointed" as a title for the expected deliverer-king of the Jews who was to be the son of David. Daniel uses the term prophetically as a title in Daniel 9:25-26. And we see this usage in the New Testament such as John 1:41 and 4:25, which use both the Hebrew and the Greek words. And of course, the Greek word "Christos" (Strong's No. 5547) is used over 500 times in the New Testament as the title for Jesus himself.

From the Biblical precedent for how this term is used, we can clearly see that to call someone or something anointed, implies that they are set apart for God in a way that is not true for those that aren't anointed. Therefore, to say one sermon or service or song is anointed is to declare that the others are not set aside and holy for God.

And more importantly, from this precedent we can see that to describe a person or leader "is anointed" conveys that the individual has authority from God. The same would be true for a sermon. To say a sermon is anointed implies that this sermon is either set-aside for God while other sermons are not, or that the sermon has God-given authority. This effectively makes such a sermon equal to inspired scripture, since it is given authority by God's anointing and ordaining it to take place. To conclude otherwise requires that God anointed and ordained a sermon that involves false teaching. Thus, to say a sermon is anointed by God implies that the sermon doesn't have any errors in it and is, therefore, infallible.

For this reason, to casually or commonly describe people, events, or objects as "anointed" is a very carefree and inappropriate way to use this term. And the implications, from a Biblical point of view, are very specific.

Now that we have discussed how casual use of the term "anointed" inappropriately implies God-given ordination and authority for anything we apply it to, we can move on to discuss the actual, more specific Faith Movement doctrine regarding "anointing."

Rather than simply using "anointing" in a cavalier way to declare something "was a powerful spiritual experience," those in the Faith Movement often deliberately and knowingly use the term "anointing" to invoke the Old Testament association with God-given authority. In reality, many churches in the Faith Movement have developed quite an extensive doctrine regarding this type of authority to carry out an office or activity.

Church-goers are taught that God works through a system of anointing. Jesus Christ is anointed and anointing flows down from Jesus Christ onto Church leaders and pastors. And from Church leaders and pastors the anointing is dispensed to lay persons.

There are 3 concepts, which result from this. The first 2 are directly taught. The third is strongly implied and sometimes even stated, but if asked directly, it will be denied.

First, since they teach that God operates through dispensing the anointing, it is taught that you must have God's anointing in order to succeed in God's plan for your life, whether that plan is specific or general. And this idea that God uses "the anointing" in various forms to enable us to accomplish His will for our life, both in general and specific ways, conveys the idea that anything that is anointed has special powers to help us succeed. And from this notion is where the use of the term "anointed" as a synonym for "spiritually beneficial" or "powerful" comes from.

Second, since the anointing flows down onto lay persons from their Church leaders and pastors, in order to receive God's anointing on your life you must submit to the anointing of you Church leaders and pastors. Only in that way can the anointing from Jesus, which is on their lives flow onto you as well. This ties the concept of anointing directly to the concept of "being under God's appointed authority" for your life.

Third, because God anoints our leaders and pastors, not only must we submit to them in order to receive the anointing ourselves, but not submitting is viewed as rebelliousness and a rejection of God's entire system of authority.

Perhaps the most straightforward application of this doctrine comes with the fact that from time to time Faith Movement leaders and pastors will make reference to the phrase "touch not mine anointed." This phrase is not only a quote of 1 Chronicles 16:22 and Psalm 105:15, but for Faith Movement leaders, this phrase is a reference back to stories of 1 Samuel 24:1-15 and 1 Samuel 26:1-16.

But although this doctrine effectively makes these Protestant Faith Movement ministers as infallible as any Roman Catholic pope has ever claimed to be, they will deny this implication when asked about it directly. At least Catholic apologists only insist that the pope is infallible when he invokes the specific principle known as "ex cathedra." The doctrine that Faith Movement teachers live and operate under a general anointing that outlaws others from criticizing them effectively makes these leaders the same thing as the living prophets of Mormonism. The fact that Faith Movement leaders don't strictly enforce this doctrine doesn't change the fact that they teach it. And, of course, we can't leave out the fact that one way to receive from a leader's God-given anointing is to give money into their ministries or even their personal lives.

Now that we've described what this doctrine is, we can move on to evaluating whether or not it is Biblical.

First, we'll take a look at the supportive texts used by the Faith Movement as a basis for this doctrine about the anointing.

The phrase "touch not my anointed" occurs in two places in the Bible, both are in the Old Testament.

1 Chronicles 16:18 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance; 19 When ye were but few, even a few, and strangers in it. 20 And when they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people; 21 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes, 22 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.

Psalms 105:10 And confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting covenant: 11 Saying, Unto thee will I give the land of Canaan, the lot of your inheritance: 12 When they were but a few men in number; yea, very few, and strangers in it. 13 When they went from one nation to another, from one kingdom to another people; 14 He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, he reproved kings for their sakes; 15 Saying, Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. 16 Moreover he called for a famine upon the land: he brake the whole staff of bread. 17 He sent a man before them, even Joseph, who was sold for a servant:

By comparing these passages, we see that they are virtually identical. The account in Psalms is slightly more informative. But by looking at these passages side by side, we can see that it is talking about a timeframe when the people of God were few in number and traveling from one nation to another before they had entered the Promised Land. However, from the Psalms account we can see that this took place before a famine in Egypt and before Joseph was even sent into Egypt.

Now that we know the timeframe is before Joseph went into Egypt, we can look back into the book of Genesis to find out what events and which individuals these two passages are referring to. We find that in Genesis 12:10-20, Abraham travels down into Egypt during a time of famine and the Pharaoh makes efforts to take Sarah into his house, not knowing that she is Abraham's wife. But God puts a plague on Pharaoh and his house because of this. In the end, Pharaoh finds out that Sarah is Abraham's wife and sends them both out of Egypt without doing any harm to them.

Similarly, in Genesis 26, we find that there is another famine and Isaac goes to Abimelech king of the Philistines. And like his father Abraham in Genesis 12, Isaac tells the Philistines that his wife is actually his sister. The king discovers this lie and is upset because someone might have "have laid with" Rebecca and so become guilty. So, the king gives a command that no one is to harm Isaac.

In 1 Chronicles 16 and Psalm 105, the "anointed" persons God is talking about are Abraham and Isaac. And the "harm" that God would not permit is for someone to steal their wives or to kill them. In fact, in Psalm 105, the phrase "do no wrong" is the Hebrew word "ashaq" (Strong's No. 06231), which means, "to oppress." The word "touch" in the phrase "touch not" is the Hebrew word "naga" (Strong's No. 05060), which means, "to touch, reach, strike." And the word "harm" is the Hebrew word "ra'a" (Strong's No. 07489), which means, "to be bad, be evil" and ""to be injurious," which is particularly relevant in the context of the other two words defined above.

For the sake of argument, even if these leaders or pastors in the Faith Movement were anointed as Abraham and Isaac were, to interpret "do not oppress, strike, or injure" my anointed into "do not criticize" my anointed is totally unwarranted. In fact, we can see from both of these two accounts in Genesis that Pharaoh and the King of the Philistines rebuked Abraham and Isaac for lying about their wives because it put them all in danger.

Genesis 12:18 And Pharaoh called Abram, and said, What is this that thou hast done unto me? why didst thou not tell me that she was thy wife? 19 Why saidst thou, She is my sister? so I might have taken her to me to wife: now therefore behold thy wife, take her, and go thy way. 20 And Pharaoh commanded his men concerning him: and they sent him away, and his wife, and all that he had.

Genesis 26:9 And Abimelech called Isaac, and said, Behold, of a surety she is thy wife: and how saidst thou, She is my sister? And Isaac said unto him, Because I said, Lest I die for her. 10 And Abimelech said, What is this thou hast done unto us? one of the people might lightly have lien with thy wife, and thou shouldest have brought guiltiness upon us.

Yet, no harm was done to these kings for their rebuke. So, even from the context of these events we know that it is perfectly acceptable to criticize even the anointed of God.

But then again, whether or not these modern church leaders are actually anointed is quite contestable indeed. In reality, this is simply a title they have conferred on themselves. Nevertheless, as we can see there is nothing from 1 Chronicles 16 or Psalm 105 that supports the notion that God's anointed are above criticism.

When we examine 1 Samuel 24:1-15 and 1 Samuel 26:1-16 we find the same problem as we just saw in 1 Chronicles and Psalms. In these two separate occurrences recorded in 1 Samuel, Saul had previously been anointed king at God's command. Then, of course, Saul disobeyed and David was anointed to replace him. But, while Saul was still on the throne he began to try to kill David and so he pursued him from place to place. On two separate occasions during these pursuits, David has the opportunity to kill King Saul. Yet, in both cases David refuses to harm Saul. David explains to his men why he won't harm Saul.

1 Samuel 24:6 And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD'S anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD.

1 Samuel 26:9 And David said to Abishai, Destroy him not: for who can stretch forth his hand against the LORD'S anointed, and be guiltless?

Asserting themselves as anointed in a way similar to King Saul, Faith Movement leaders and pastors from time to time use these passages as a basis for teaching that anyone who criticizes them or attempts to undermine their work as pastor or leader, is violating this principle in scripture and acting against God's anointed. But these passages don't even remotely imply anything of the sort. Instead, we see that what is forbidden is to do bodily harm to the Lord's anointed. Criticism is not in any way prohibited.

In fact, just as in our two previous examples, in both of these cases David proceeds to criticize Saul for attacking him.

1 Samuel 24:8 David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. 9 And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men's words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? 10 Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee to day into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD'S anointed. 11 Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it. 12 The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee.

1 Samuel 26:19 Now therefore, I pray thee, let my lord the king hear the words of his servant. If the LORD have stirred thee up against me, let him accept an offering: but if they be the children of men, cursed be they before the LORD; for they have driven me out this day from abiding in the inheritance of the LORD, saying, Go, serve other gods. 20 Now therefore, let not my blood fall to the earth before the face of the LORD: for the king of Israel is come out to seek a flea, as when one doth hunt a partridge in the mountains. 21 Then said Saul, I have sinned: return, my son David: for I will no more do thee harm, because my soul was precious in thine eyes this day: behold, I have played the fool, and have erred exceedingly. 22 And David answered and said, Behold the king's spear! and let one of the young men come over and fetch it. 23 The LORD render to every man his righteousness and his faithfulness: for the LORD delivered thee into my hand to day, but I would not stretch forth mine hand against the LORD'S anointed. 24 And, behold, as thy life was much set by this day in mine eyes, so let my life be much set by in the eyes of the LORD, and let him deliver me out of all tribulation.

In both passages, we see David correcting and rebuking Saul for chasing after him and trying to kill him. So, clearly criticism of the anointed is perfectly acceptable while physically harming the anointed is not. None of these verses can be used to support the notion that God's anointed are above criticism or that those who criticize them will be rebuked by God.

Additionally, we see that all of these passages requires some very large assumptions. First, all of these statements describe very specific historic events and figures involving Abraham, Isaac, Saul, and David. It takes a huge assumption to conclude that these specific events apply generally to other people. And it takes another huge assumption to conclude that just because these things were at work in the past under an entirely different covenant that they also apply today in the New Testament. There is no New Testament teaching that articulates these ideas. Instead, this doctrine is simply created by expanding the concepts in these Old Testament events to a much more broad application.