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The Word-Faith Movement

'Touch Not God's Anointed':
Should We Test Word-Faith Teachings?


Edited and expanded extracts from the books by Dusty Peterson & Elizabeth McDonald,
Alpha - the Unofficial Guide: Church, (2005), Part Four, Chapter 18,
and Alpha: New Life or New Lifestyle, (1996)


Word-Faith: Index of Articles

 

Kenneth Copeland
 
"There are people attempting to sit in judgement right today over the ministry that I'm responsible for, and the ministry that Kenneth E. Hagin is responsible for ... Several people that I know had criticized and called that faith bunch out of Tulsa a cult.  And some of 'em are dead right today in an early grave because of it, and there's more than one of them got cancer" [Why All Are Not Healed, audiotape #01-4001],

"That fellow is dead today.  Now I said that to warn you.  Don't criticise people for preaching [Identification].  If you don't understand it, keep your mouth shut and pray" [How to Receive Revealed Knowledge, audiotape],

"We have had about half a dozen enquiries from readers of the Believer's Voice of Victory magazine who have enclosed copies of your articles on Kenneth Copeland's teaching, and for that reason we have published some observations on what you have written.  I am quite deliberately not sending you a copy of the full notes, not because there is anything in them which we do not want you to read, but because we do not wish to embark on a debate with an organization which is 'officially' challenging Kenneth's teaching" [Observations, KCM reply to Reachout Trust's Newsletters: Is the Copeland Message Scriptural?, (Spring 1992), and Copeland Continuing, (Summer 1992), (14 January 1993)].

 

Benny Hinn

Attacking Word-Faith teachers is "tantamount to attacking the very presence of God" [programme on TBN, 08 June 1992],

"Those who put us down are a bunch of morons ... You know, I've looked in the Bible for one verse, I can't seem to find it - one verse that says, if you don't like 'em, kill 'em.  I really wish I could find it!  I wish God would give me a Holy Ghost machine gun - I'd blow your head off!" [Televised conversation with Paul Crouch, Praise-a-Thon, programme on TBN, (09 Nov 1990)],

"The day is coming when those who attack us will drop dead - I speak this under the anointing of the Spirit.  Can I tell you something?  Don't touch God's servants - it's deadly... [critics] will fear us!  Hear this!  Today they will mock us; tomorrow they will fear us!" [Service held at Anaheim Convention Centre, September 1991)],

"Now I'm pointing my finger with the mighty power of God on me ... You hear this. There are men and women in Southern California attacking me. I will tell you under the anointing now, you'll reap it in your children. You'll never win ... And you [sic] children will suffer. You're attacking me on the radio every night; you'll pay, and your children will. Hear this from the lips of God's servant. You are in danger. Repent, or God Almighty will move his hand" [Melodyland Christian Center, Southern California, (07 August 1992),

Relating an incident with a customs officer at a Chicago airport: "If I could have killed him, I would" [Touch Not Mine Anointed, Sermon given at Hinn's church in Orlando, Florida, (No date)],

"Now I'm going to tell you that God prophetically is showing us in the Psalms that the body of Jesus Christ in America will sooner or later become militant, and we will say 'We've had it! You touch us one more time, and DROP DEAD, BROTHER!'  If you pray - get 'em - nothing can prevent that from happening, but God had allowed enough grace that you can say, 'Lord, forgive them' ... it's really up to YOU.  God has given you the choice, whether He should judge them or not.  It's in your hands.  There are folks out there, attacking you, they know exactly what they are doing.  I have two of them who've done that to me.  The Lord reward them.  I prayed that in my own prayer time.  I said, Lord, don't forgive them - let them have it!" [Touch Not Mine Anointed, Sermon given at Hinn's church in Orlando, Florida, (No date)].

 

Paul Crouch

"I think God's given up on a lot of that old rotten Sanhedrin religious crowd, twice dead, plucked up by the roots. I think they're damned and on their way to hell and I don't think there's any redemption for them ... I say to hell with you! ... Get out of God's way, quit blocking God's bridges or God's gonna shoot you if I don't! ... Get out of my life! I don't even want to talk to you or hear you. I don't want to see your ugly face! Get out of my face in Jesus' name" [Praise-a-Thon, programme on TBN, (2nd April 1991)].

 

Touch Not Mine Anointed

We need here to deal with the Faith teachers' oft repeated cry, "Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm."  This is taken from two Bible passages:

"When they went from nation to nation, and from one kingdom to another people; He suffered no man to do them wrong; yes, He reproved kings for their sakes, saying Touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm" (1 Chronicles 16:20-22 and Psalm 105:13-15).

This quote is used to brush aside any criticism of certain teachers and to threaten with Divine retribution any folks who would question them.  But is this right?

Firstly, as always, we must look at the context!  If we do, we notice a couple of things...

  • Both passages actually refer to physical attack, not to biblical criticism,
  • The "anointed" in these verses refers to the entire People of God (specifically the nation of Israel, but by extension, the Church), not just to a few individuals within the nation (or Church).

Secondly, it must be said that true men of God love the truth and have no problem at all with seeing their teachings weighed against Scripture, and themselves being taken to task where necessary - indeed, they will be grateful for it.

Thirdly, if someone is teaching unbiblical things, then it follows that they can't claim to be God's "anointed", since doctrinal purity is a mark of a representative of God.  If they are especially godly then they will also be especially mature and humble.  They won't 'lord it' over their hearers but will actually encourage their audience to test what they say by God's Word, and to question apparent discrepancies - as Paul did:

These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the Scriptures daily, whether those things were so" (Acts 17:11).

Fourthly, such an argument is a misuse of Scripture, patently at odds with many others, and simply serves to frighten, oppress and cow the people of God and thus to control them.  This is not the behaviour associated with the meek and gentle true shepherd in Scripture, but is, rather, one of the practices of the Nicolaitans (those teachers or leaders who subjugate the people), and is something God hates (see Revelation 2:6,15 also Luke 22:25-26).  Every believer is part of the priesthood now, and we should not be frightened of any man:

"Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, a holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ ... ye are a chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people" (1 Peter 2:5,9),

"The fear of man bringeth a snare: but whoso putteth his trust in the LORD shall be safe" (Proverbs 29:25).

So we should not fear the threats of these teachers - and they should trust in the Lord, instead of their own attempts of subjugate men, to keep them from "harm".

Fifthly, it is a well-known mark of cultic movements that a small number of people in a group claim special anointing and demand that their words not be judged against God's Word.  The truth makes us free, but such teachers and leaders engender fear and bondage instead.

 

Prove All Things

So what does Scripture have to say to us on the matter of testing men's teachings?

Certainly we are not to judge one another's hearts (Matthew 7:1-5), but, the Word-Faith teachers' complaints notwithstanding, we are to test all teachings, prophecies, and practices against Scripture and judge whether they are true or false:

"But he that is spiritual judgeth all things" (1 Corinthians 2:15a),

"Prove all things, hold fast that which is good" (1 Thessalonians 5:21),

"Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world" (1 John 4:1).

There are times when a failure to 'criticise' or 'judge' a teaching or doctrine is to be disobedient to the Word of God, and far from gullibly swallowing everything we are told - however well-known or respected or popular the teacher - believers are to test all that passes for doctrine, to rebuke and correct those in error (for their sake, as well as for the sake of their hearers), and to disassociate from any teachers who continue to teach false doctrine:

"Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all longsuffering and doctrine.  For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables. But watch thou in all things..." (2 Timothy 4:2-5a),

"Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them.  For they that are such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple" (Romans 16:17-18),

"Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God.  He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son.  If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed: For he that biddeth him God speed is partaker of his evil deeds" (2 John 1:8-11).

 

Elizabeth McDonald
March 2016

 

 

 

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