False teaching thrives in environments where there is no scrutiny. Charlatans and heretics continue to prey on shallow minds and work tirelessly to dismantle every challenge to their authority and accuracy. Any examination, any scrutiny is viewed as unloving, ungracious, and divisive. We are living in a time when men with convictions, men who speak up and confront doctrinal errors are not popular. Such men are branded as troublemakers.
The slogan frequently repeated by self-styled preachers as a means of manipulating people is, “Touch not my anointed”. They abuse the plain meaning of scripture in an attempt to exploit the fears of the immature and vulnerable by suggesting that they are authorities chosen by God. Today, in the so-called “charismatic movement” there are ever-increasing bogus claims of supernatural phenomena as proof of anointing. One of the first things that mark a false teacher is that they claim to be the Lord’s anointed. Then they tell you, “Don’t touch the Lord’s anointed.”
Christians are afraid that the judgment of God would fall upon them if they question those who claim to be servants of God. These ‘scripture twisters’ provide pretext (text taken out of context) for self-indulgence and sin for their followers, as well as themselves. They abuse Bible verses to fit their independence. But such a one-sided view of Scripture leaves false teachers on safe ground. We have given such impostors unwarranted immunity from the scrutiny of Scriptural standards for a servant of God. We never bother to test their teachings. They can preach any nonsense and get away with it. They confidently go about their business without fear, claiming divine protection upon themselves.
What does this phrase, “Touch not my anointed ones” actually mean in the context?
I Chronicles 16 gives an account of bringing the Ark of God into the tent that David had pitched. David appointed some of the Levites to minister before the ark of the Lord, to extol, thank, and praise the Lord, the God of Israel. This phrase is actually a verse that comes from a praise song of Asaph the chief Levites as directed by David.
Touch not my anointed ones, do my prophets no harm! – 1 Chronicle 16:22
This text does not refer to prophets of the LORD in the New Covenant sense, but to the original patriarchs. The direct reference, most likely, is to Genesis 20 when Abimelech was rebuked by God in a dream not to touch Sarah, Abraham’s wife.
There is no question that our spiritual leaders deserve all our respect and trust, and that we should honor their authority. Of course, true teachers of the Word are to exercise their God-given role as an authority, but not these hucksters of the word who persistently act contrary to sound doctrine and who seek to stir rebellion in the church. These heretics threaten their hearers, arrogantly posing themselves as religious experts who have an elevated and esoteric form of divine knowledge. In recent times, some of the most notorious charismatic leaders have been doing that, and Benny Hinn is at the top of the list.
Exercise spiritual discernment
According to the apostle John every true believer in the New Testament is an anointed one (1 John 2:26–27). The anointing we have as believers reveals the truth and exposes the lies of false teachers. Whenever someone claims that they are Lord’s anointed and should not be questioned, the red flag should go up and you must be on your spiritual guard. God has given the believer the gift of discernment, and we are to perform three basic tests (1 John 4:1-6) on all those who claim to speak for God:
- Examine their manner of life
- Examine their confession of Jesus through their teaching
- Examine their view of scripture
When it comes to false teachers, the bible is very blunt. Jesus calls them ferocious wolves in sheep’s clothing. Peter calls them unreasoning animals, wells without water, clouds without rain, dogs that lick their own vomit (2 Peter 2). Paul calls them liars, empty-talkers, evil beasts, lazy gluttons, detestable, rebellious, disobedient, and worthless people, and he told Timothy that they must be muzzled, their mouths must be shut (Titus 1:10-16). Paul says to watch out for those who cause divisions by smooth words and flattering speech because they do not serve the Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly (Romans 16:17-18).
God has revealed the truth in scripture. We are called to discern truth from error. Scripture clearly commands us to test everything and reject that which is false. No one has a right to tell us “don’t examine my teaching and my personal life”. That is exactly when you should counter him with the test of biblical discernment. Without examining, you will never uncover the wolf under the sheep’s clothing. Without judging, without evaluating, you will not perceive the dog or the liar or the evil beast.
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