Monday, January 17, 2011

Touch Not My Anointed Ones and Do My Prophets No Harm

When reading this section of a verse from Psalm 105 (verse 15) it seems to stand out. It has an authoritative ring to it. That is because it really is authoratative. The tragedy is that the real authority of this section of a verse is often misunderstood and applied in abusive manners.

Several times I have heard of pastors and/or leaders being questioned or opposed in something and what has become a default answer to disagreement or opposition from someone in the body is "touch not my anointed ones and do my prophets no harm." If you have heard of this response, or have had it used to you, it's high time we look into the Word and understand it and expose this for what it really is...a scramble to hold power or authority in an unduly manner over members of the Body of Christ.

To misuse the section of Ps. 105:15 in this manner does several things. Allow me to outline them.

1. It takes the Bible out of context.

The verse is in the middle of Psalm 105. When studying it for what it is, it is a declaration of God's greatness and goodness to Isreal. It outlines God's protective plan to raise up a nation from the promise of Abraham, preserve it through the life of Isaac, plant it in Egypt through Joseph and liberate it to it's full promise by Moses. God's protective declaration to those nations around Israel when she was young, small and vulnerable was, "touch not my anointed ones and do my prophets no harm." The anointed ones and prophets were Israel and the individuals God used along the plan to nationhood.

2. It mistakenly elevates 'leaders/pastors' as God's anointed ones.

God's anointed ones in Psalm 105 is Israel, not New Testament pastors and/or leaders. It is incorrect to assume otherwise based on the text. We cannot allow ourselves to put our own meaning into the biblical text. Where does it stop? The text is clear and understandable. The anointed ones and the prophets were Israel. Nowhere in the New Testament writings or the gospels do we see the elevation of church leaders to a class of special anointed ones. It just isn't there. The apostles lived and worked among their brothers/sisters in planting churches. They labored hard to teach them, love them, all the while being one of them. While establishing deacons and elders, not once were they encouraged to rule over anyone. Conversely, there is a whole lot of 'one another' in Paul's writings. The 'one another's' are all of God's anointed ones.

3. It mistakenly belittles the members of the Body of Christ.

For a leader/pastor to actually utter the words 'touch not my anointed ones and do my prophets no harm' as a defense mechanism from a member of the Body of Christ is to assume that they (leader/pastor) are the real anointed ones and the other they (follower/church member) are not. This separation of clergy/laity (and I hate the use of the word 'laity') is not the gospel of Jesus Christ and not the model of Paul, any of the apostles or Jesus himself (Matthew 23:8-12).

I John 2 tells us that all believers have been anointed by the Holy One and because of that we all have knowledge. There is no separation or classes or echelons of Christians. What this means is that the person that is involved in leadership among a group of believers as well as the one that is being led are all on the same level...that of the cross. It means that when there is disagreement, love is displayed and unity is to be sought. It means when there is opposition, humility is displayed.

"Leaders" can forget that the same word of God they read can be used to rebuke, reprove and correct them as well. That correction will ultimately come from the Word of God through someone else in the Body of Christ. The end result? A better believer more equipped for every good work. Now how can that be a bad thing?


1 comment:

Erick Reinstedt said...

Hello. I found your blog through your post of it on Frank Viola's blog. Thanks for sharing. I share your heart to record the things God has shown me that one day my girls may have this record . . . as one pastor said, "that my ceiling might become their floor." I wanted to encourage you. I don't see a place to subscribe by email to your blog, but I'll try and check back when I can. God bless you and yours.