Dispelling the "Touch Not Mine Anointed" Error

Correcting Errant Ministers. The Bible Truth

by Rev. John Hamel

JHM Home 

 

"How absurd to be told by some that the public exposure of false doctrine, false teachers and deliberately compromised Ministers according to Paul's solemn charge is 'self-righteous and not walking in love.' Do these same individuals really believe that silence concerning false teachers and false doctrine, which gives them a free pass to wreak havoc on the Body, is walking in love towards the victims of these exploiters?  

 

"Was Jesus being 'self-righteous and not walking in love' when He forcibly drove the anointing-merchandisers out of the House of Prayer on three separate occasions? 

 

"Those who refuse to obey Paul's solemn charge to publicly rebuke false doctrine, false teachers and deliberately compromised Ministers, disqualify themselves from telling those of us who do how we could do it better." ~ Pastor John Hamel

 

Live Table of Contents

 

Chapter 1:  Reading the Scripture in Context

Chapter 1:  God Forbids the Physical Harming of Israel & Her Leaders

Chapter 1:  The New Testament Instructs Believers to Use Wisdom with Leaders

Chapter 1:  The "Equal or Greater Anointing" Error

Chapter 2:  There Is a Wrong Way & a Right Way to Judge

Chapter 2:  Jesus Christ Taught Us to Rightly Judge

Chapter 2:  The Apostle Paul Taught Us to Rightly Judge

Chapter 3:  Paul's Solemn Charge to Publicly Correct Errant Leaders

Chapter 3:  The Apostle Paul Commands Timothy & the Church of All Ages

Chapter 3:  The Apostle Paul Rebuked the Apostle Peter Publicly

Chapter 3:  God's Decree. Mark Divisive Leaders & Avoid Them

Chapter 3:  "Have No Fellowship" Not "Defend at All Costs"

Chapter 3:  This Is Not a License to Boss the Pastor Around

Chapter 4:  Paul Revealed There Is a Time to Name Names

Chapter 4:  Paul Called Peter's Name & Rebuked Him Publicly

Chapter 4:  Paul Called Hymenaeus, Alexander & Philetus' Names Publicly

Chapter 4:  Paul Called Phygellus & Hermogenes' Names Publicly

Chapter 4:  Paul Called Demas' Name Publicly

Chapter 4:  Paul Called Alexander the Coppersmith's Name Publicly

Chapter 4:  The Apostle John Called Diotrephes' Name Publicly

Chapter 4:  We Are All Watchmen on the Wall

Chapter 4:  Will Their Blood Be on Your Hands?

 

 

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Chapter 1: Reading the Scripture in Context

 

"O ye seed of Abraham His servant, ye children of Jacob His chosen. He is the Lord our God: His judgments are in all the Earth. He hath remembered His Covenant forever, the word which He commanded to a thousand generations. Which Covenant He made with Abraham, and His oath unto Isaac; and confirmed the same unto Jacob for a law, and to Israel for an everlasting Covenant ... He suffered no man to do them wrong: yea, He reproved kings for their sakes; Saying, Touch not Mine anointed, and do My Prophets no harm." (Psalm 105:6-10, 14-15)

 

Our text Scripture above, particularly verse 15, "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm," is often taken right out of context by fallen Ministers themselves, or by their well-meaning supporters, to fend off scrutiny and correction. 

 

Oftentimes when a compromised or fallen Minister of the Gospel is being publicly corrected, as the Apostle Paul instructed in the New Testament, the above verse is taken out of context by the fallen Minister or their followers for the express purpose of self-protection.

 

We have all heard sinful Ministers themselves, or their misinformed supporters, decree, "The Bible says touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm" when the Ministers in question are being called out concerning their compromise and sin. 

 

Devotion, allegiance and loyalty are commendable but only for the right reasons.  

 

When devotion, allegiance and loyalty are Bible-based, truthful and honest they are to be commended.  However, when it is based on Scripture taken out of context, untruthful and dishonest for the purpose of self-protection and sin-masking, it is not commendable.

 

Looking at these verses in context we see that God is speaking of the offspring of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob - meaning Israel, and not of backslidden New Testament Christian Ministers.  

 

The Lord's "anointed" in this passage of Scripture refers to Israel and her Kings. 

 

Throughout the Old Testament Israel and her Kings are referred to as "the Lord's anointed." (1 Samuel 12:3,5; 24:6,10; 26:9,11,16,23; 2 Samuel 1:14,16,19-21; Psalm 20:6; Lamentations 4:20)

 

The reference to "Prophets" in this same verse directly refers to all of Israel's Patriarchs and, again, is not a reference to compromised New Testament Ministers of the Gospel.

 

Both of the terms "anointed" and "Prophets," as used in this particular context, are also used exclusively throughout the Old Testament and never in the New Testament.

 

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God Forbids the Physical Harming of Israel and Her Leaders

 

In Psalm 105:6-15, God is warning Israel's enemies to not bring physical harm to them or they would give account to Him for doing so.  

 

In this passage God is not warning New Testament believers to never speak a word of constructive criticism, correction or warning to fallen, compromised New Testament Ministers. To say He is doing so is to take this passage completely out of its intended context.

 

I have heard others say, and have even had  misinformed believers say to me, "King David never spoke a word against King Saul because Saul was God's anointed. You should never speak against an errant Minister because they are God's anointed. Pray for them only." 

 

Of course my first thought is always, "Then why are you speaking against me if you believe I am in error? After all, I, too, am God's anointed. Yours is clearly a double standard!"

 

However, it simply is not true that David never spoke against Saul in his sin. 

 

David withstood King Saul boldly and strongly in his sin, rebuking him publicly for hunting David down like a dog. David warned King Saul that the Lord would judge him if he continued to do so.  David actually called King Saul "wicked" at that time, assuring King Saul that God would deliver David out of his hand. (1 Samuel 24:9-15)

 

David did say to Abishai, who sought to physically harm Saul, that he was not to do so because King Saul was God's anointed. They had come upon Saul sleeping and Abishai asked permission of David to kill Saul. David forbad him to do so. (1 Samuel 26:7-12) 

 

Another time King Saul entered a cave where David was hiding, not knowing that David was there.  David could easily have killed Saul but he did not do so because he knew he was not to bring physical harm to God's anointed. 

 

However, although David would not cooperate with the physical harming of Saul, it is not true that David would never speak a word against Saul, as many insist today.  

 

David confidently and openly stated to Abishai that unless Saul repented for his sins against David and Israel, "The Lord shall smite him; or his day shall come to die; or he shall descend into battle, and perish." (1 Samuel 26:8-10, 11,23)

 

It is wrong to say David never spoke against or openly warned King Saul, for he did.

 

It is especially wrong to say David never spoke against King Saul as an excuse to shield and protect compromised New Testament Ministers.

 

Also, prior to David boldly rebuking Saul and decreeing that God would judge him unless Saul repented, the Prophet Samuel spoke out strongly against King Saul's rebellion.  

 

Samuel told Saul, "For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being King." (1 Samuel 15:23)

 

Therefore, it is clearly wrong to say that David or anyone else "never spoke against Saul because he was God's anointed" using such misinformation as an excuse to not correct sinful New Testament spiritual leadership today. To do so is a flagrant display of either disobedience to the Word of God or simple Bible illiteracy. 

 

King Saul was pursuing David in the flesh, seeking to defend his own wrongdoing.  

 

David responded to him in the Spirit, refusing to do physical harm to Saul yet boldly and openly rebuking and correcting him.  

 

New Testament Ministers who are in sin, and their trained followers, also challenge their correctors in the flesh, acting in disobedience to or in ignorance of Scripture.  They attack those who come with the Holy Spirit's words of correction. 

 

They immediately move to take Psalm 105:15 out of context, spin it, super-spiritualize it and use it to mean what they want it to mean and not what it is actually saying. 

 

This is done in order to protect a compromised spiritual leader, allowing them to continue in sin. Oftentimes the protectors of compromised spiritual leaders do so because they themselves are unwilling to admit that they are wrong for following their corrupted leaders.

 

Many well-meaning Christians have been unknowingly taught the Word of God out of context for many years by the errant leaders they so staunchly defend.  Therefore, it is no small wonder that they take Psalm 105:15 (and 1 Chronicles 16:22) out of context in defense of their spiritual leader, as well. 

 

In light of what we have just seen in Scripture, it is clear that those New Testament believers who use Psalm 105:15, "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm," in defense of errant and even sinful leaders, clearly do so out of context with the whole counsel of God's Word.

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The New Testament Instructs Believers to Use Wisdom with Leaders

 

The Apostle Paul authored approximately three-quarters of the New Testament. Paul was not only the primary author of the New Testament, he was also a literal scholar when it came to knowledge and understanding of what we call the Old Testament.  

 

However, the Apostle Paul never once instructed Christians to "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm" when it comes to errant New Testament Ministers.  As a matter of fact, Paul commended the Berean believers for scrutinizing his own teachings in order to be sure Paul was not misleading them in some way.  

 

Dr. Luke, the author of the Book of Acts, referred to the Bereans as "more noble" than others for searching the Scriptures in order to be sure Paul and Silas were not training them to accept teachings that were out of context with the whole counsel of God.  

 

"And the brethren immediately sent away Paul and Silas by night unto Berea: who coming tither went into the synagogue of the Jews. 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 true." (Acts 17:10-11)

 

The Apostle Paul was not offended by the Bereans scrutinizing his teachings. Paul never said, "Do not ever speak against me or my teachings even if I am obviously in error. I am God's anointed. Do not touch me. Do not challenge me."  Nor did Paul ever instruct or even allow his supporters to do so on his behalf.  

 

Paul was not all about self-protection, self-preservation and self-promotion.  Paul was dedicated to teaching the Word of God in context and not leading those who trusted in him into the darkness of false doctrine. If that included his congregants searching the Scriptures daily, holding Paul's revelations and teachings up to the light of God's Word and asking questions where necessary, Paul was more than cooperative. 

 

The Apostle Luke did not say the Bereans were "critical," "judgmental" or "not walking in love" for holding Paul's revelations and teachings up to the light of God's Word.  Luke said they were "more noble" than others who did not do the same.

 

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The "Equal or Greater Anointing" Error

 

Another false doctrine concerning correcting spiritual leaders that requires our attention is what we will call the "Equal or Greater Anointing" error. 

 

This unbiblical doctrine was popularized beginning in the mid-1990s by a well-known Word of Faith Prophet.  This man was often heard in his public services to say that even if he was in error as a Prophet, no one was allowed to correct him "unless they had an anointing and a calling of God equal to or greater than" his own.  

 

In essence, this errant Prophet was saying that no one had the right to correct him unless they themselves were a Prophet.  Not only a Prophet, but a Prophet with an anointing equal to or greater than his own. 

 

Here again we find the opinion of a man being exalted as if it were the command of the Lord when it is not.  No such doctrine exists in either the Old or the New Testaments.  This is an entirely man-made doctrine developed for the purpose of self-protection, to avoid personal scrutiny and correction.  It is also a great people manipulator.

 

The "Equal or Greater Anointing" error is actually the complete opposite of what the Bible teaches.  

 

For example, when the backslidden Prophet, Balaam, refused to listen to the Spirit of the Lord, the Lord actually used a donkey to correct him.

 

"And the Lord opened the mouth of the ass, and she said unto Balaam, What have I done unto thee, that thou hast smitten me these three times?"

 

Balaam then threatened to kill the donkey for correcting him.  

 

The Lord opened the donkey's mouth again to correct Balaam.

 

"And the ass said unto Balaam, Am I not thine ass, upon which thou hast ridden ever since I was thine unto this day?" (Numbers 22:28-30)

 

Certainly, the errant modern-day Prophet who developed and propagated the "Equal or Greater Anointing" error was turning a blind eye to this well-known passage of Scripture.    

 

Otherwise, he would have to believe that an ass is equal to or greater than a Prophet.

 

Another Biblical example of the asininity of this error is found in the lives of Eli and the boy, Samuel. 

 

Eli was a Priest and Judge in Israel. He held the highest and most responsible positions amongst the people of God at that time.  He was Divinely chosen for the sacred Priesthood duties and set over the land as the highest Judicial authority.  

 

Eli had tremendous influence over all the tribes of Israel.  

 

However, in spite of the fact that he had been appointed of God to govern Israel, elderly Eli did not rule his own household properly.  Eli was a slothful father who refused to correct the evil habits and lusts of his own children.  He submitted to his children as opposed to having his children submit to him.  Eli cowered from his fatherly duties, indulging his children in whatever they chose to do and neglected to raise them up for the service of God.

 

The young teenager Samuel, whose mother, Hannah, had dedicated him to the service of the Lord, was left to live with Eli as a child. There Samuel would learn to minister unto the Lord as a Prophet. 

 

One night the Lord woke the boy Samuel, instructing him to bring a word of correction to his elderly master, Eli.  

 

"And the Lord said to Samuel, Behold, I will do a thing in Israel, at which both the ears of everyone that heareth it shall tingle. In that day I will perform against Eli all things which I have spoken concerning his house ... I will judge his house forever for the iniquity which he knoweth: because his sons made themselves vile and he restrained them not." (1 Samuel 3:11-13)

 

The boy, Samuel, delivered the word of correction to his superior Eli and it came to pass even as the Lord had decreed.  

 

So we see here again from the Bible another example of the untruth of the "Equal or Greater Anointing" error.

 

A final example, this one taken from the New Testament, is when the Apostle Paul publicly corrected the Apostle Peter for his hypocrisy.  

 

The highest Office of the Apostle, of course, is Jesus. He is the Apostle and High Priest of our profession. (Hebrews 3:1)  Jesus alone stands in this first class of Apostle.

 

The second highest class of Apostle is what the Bible calls "Apostles of the Lamb." 

 

"And the wall of the City had twelve foundations, and in them the names of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb." (Revelation 21:14)

 

There are only twelve Apostles of the Lamb and these are those who companied with Jesus during His Earth Ministry. (Acts 1:15-22)  

 

The Apostle Peter was one of the twelve Apostles of the Lamb but the Apostle Paul was not.

 

Paul was ranked in the lower, third class of Apostle.  

 

One characteristic of this third class of Apostle is that they helped to write the Foundational Doctrines of the New Testament. (Ephesians 2:20; 3:4-5)  This is why they are referred to as "Foundational Apostles."  

 

Paul did indeed write a large portion of the New Testament as a Foundational Apostle, but he was not of the higher ranking twelve Apostles of the Lamb. 

 

However, when the lower Apostle Paul discovered the higher Apostle Peter compromising for the Jews, Paul rebuked Peter publicly and to his face. (Galatians 2:11-14)

 

If there was any truth at all to the "Equal or Greater Anointing" teaching, certainly the lower Apostle Paul would have known it and would have honored it with the higher Apostle Peter.

 

We have just seen three Biblical witnesses to the fact that the "Equal or Greater Anointing" error is just that.  It is error.  It is not to be taught or adhered to, no matter who taught it or how great their anointing.  

 

No one, not even a Prophet, is above correction when they are obviously in sin. We will see this more clearly in Chapter 3. 

 

Sadly, the Word of Faith Prophet who is known for this error died tragically in October of 2013 as a result of his refusal to receive correction whether it came from a lesser, equal or greater anointing.  

 

This man was both unteachable and uncorrectable, particularly when it came to pride and being money-minded.  Obviously, this is why he came up with his unbiblical "Equal or Greater Anointing" teaching. 

 

Granted, when an individual does find oneself needing to correct a sinful older individual, they must do so with great respect and dignity.

 

"Rebuke not an elder, but entreat him as a father; and the younger men as brethren; The elder women as mothers; the younger as sisters, with all purity." (1 Timothy 5:1-2)       

 

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Chapter 2: There Is a Wrong Way & a Right Way to Judge

 

Many today accuse those who challenge errant or sinful leaders of "being judgmental" without realizing they themselves are being wrongly judgmental in doing so. 

 

To accuse someone of being judgmental for examining someone or some thing in light of God's Word is in and of itself being wrongly judgmental.

 

Many times in my Biblical, public correction of false teachers I have been attacked by their supporters and told that I am "being judgmental." 

 

My response to them is always the same. "If it is wrong for me to be judgmental of them, it is wrong for you to be judgmental of me. Do you not realize you just judged me according to your own 'thou shalt not judge' double standard?"  

 

In many cases the accusers simply do not see their own double standard. The reason is they have become so accustomed to not examining, in light of Scripture, what they are being taught, and are so accustomed to false doctrine and deception, they do not see their own hypocrisy.

 

However, to discourage individuals from searching the Scriptures for themselves, exposing false doctrine when they see it, and to tell them "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm" when they speak out against false doctrine, is to do so contrary to the written Word of God. 

 

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Jesus Christ Taught Us to Rightly Judge 

 

The Lord Jesus Christ Himself encouraged all believers to judge everything and everyone according to what is written in Scripture. Never did He teach us "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm." 

 

Jesus knew that Psalm 105:15 is in reference to doing physical harm to Israel, her Kings and her Patriarchs only. After all, He is the Author of Psalm 105:15.

 

Jesus said, "Judge not according to the appearance, but judge righteous judgment." (John 7:24)

 

We see here that Jesus differentiated between wrongly and rightly judging. 

 

Jesus pointed out that there is a difference between judging only to be critical and judging "righteous judgment" or judging doctrine, individuals and situations to be sure they are in line with Scripture.

 

"Judge not, that ye be not judged. For with what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged: and with what measure ye mete, it shall be measured to you again. And why beholdest thou the mote that is in thy brother's eye, but considerest not the beam that is in thine own eye? Or how wilt thou say to thy brother, Let me pull the mote out of thine eye; and behold a beam is in thine own eye? Thou hypocrite, first cast out the beam out of thine own eye; and then shalt thou see clearly to cast out the mote out of thy brother's eye." (Matthew 7:1-5)

 

Here again, Jesus differentiates between wrongly and rightly judging when He said, "With what judgment ye judge, ye shall be judged." (Vs. 2)  

 

Jesus said be careful of which type of judgment you choose to yield. 

 

Judging others for the express purpose of being critical is forbidden in Scripture and will backfire on you.  

 

However, judging doctrine, individuals and situations to be sure they are in line with Scripture is not forbidden.  It is commanded.

 

"Beware of false Prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit ... Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them." (Matthew 7:15-20)

 

Here Jesus tells us that we are indeed to judge true and false Ministers of the Gospel according to the type of fruit they bear.  If they do not bear the fruits of righteousness, such as preaching first and foremost repentance, salvation in Christ alone, the Holy Spirit Baptism, deliverance from demonic principalities and powers and physical healing, they are not true Ministers of the Gospel and they are to be judged and labeled accordingly.  

 

If they over-emphasize pet doctrines, for example prosperity, in order to make themselves wealthy, promising the same for those who support them, they are to be judged as out of line with the written Word of God. 

 

Prosperity is clearly the will of God in the Bible. There is no question about it.

 

"Beloved, I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper and be in health even as thy soul prospereth." (3 John 2)

 

However, nowhere in Scripture do we see spiritual leaders living extravagantly in mansions or palatial estates, utilizing unnecessarily extravagant means of transportation and promising the same for those who support them. 

 

Although the Bible does promise prosperity in perspective for the faithful and the obedient, the Bible does not promise that everyone will become millionaires. 

 

Every doctrine, every individual and every situation must be held up to the light of God's Word and judged by the believer as to whether it is in line with the Bible or not.  

 

This is the right way of judging that Jesus the Master practiced and taught.

 

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The Apostle Paul Taught Us to Rightly Judge

 

Never did the Apostle Paul teach us, "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm." 

 

Paul knew that Psalm 105:15 is in reference to doing physical harm to Israel, her Kings and her Patriarchs only.  

 

However, the Apostle Paul does teach us to judge every individual, doctrine and situation within the Body, in light of God's Word.   

 

"But now I have written unto you not to keep company, if any man that is called a brother (Christian) be a fornicator, or covetous, or an idolater, or a railer, or a drunkard, or an extortioner, with such an one no not to eat. For what have I to do to judge them that are without (outside of the Body)? Do not ye judge them that are within (inside the Body)? But them that are without God judgeth. Therefore, put away from among yourselves that wicked person." (1 Corinthians 5:11-13)

 

Here the Apostle Paul clearly states that believers in the Lord Jesus Christ are to judge sin as sin and to show no favoritism or partiality in doing so.  

 

Paul said fornication, covetousness, idolatry, railing, drunkenness and extortion within the Body is to be judged as sin and rejected. 

 

Paul said God alone will judge these things in the world (outside the Body), but believers are to judge them as sin within the Body.  

 

Therefore, those who say that one who withstands sin within the Body is being wrongly "judgmental" and "not walking in love" are themselves in defiance of the written Word of God.

 

What could be more clear than the Lord Jesus Christ's and the Apostle Paul's instruction concerning the wrong way and the right way to judge every individual (including errant spiritual leaders), doctrine and situation in light of God's written Word? 

 

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Chapter 3: Paul's Solemn Charge to Publicly Correct Errant Leaders

 

Although the Apostle Paul never did take "Touch not Mine Anointed and do My Prophets no harm" out of context, using it to protect compromised, errant or sinful Ministers, he certainly did have a lot to say about how the Body is to deal with them. 

 

Paul understood clearly that false Teachers, errant Teachers and false doctrine all get a free pass when fearful Christians and Ministers submit to a conspiracy of silence concerning them.  Paul was never afraid to take on false Teachers, false Prophets and errant Ministers.  

 

Paul knew to be silent concerning false Teachers, false Prophets and errant Ministers would be to submit to them.  

 

It is an unpopular and oftentimes thankless task to take on false and fallen Ministers.  Irregardless, it is still the solemn duty of all honest Godly men and women.

 

Silence concerning popular, yet destructive, false doctrine is neither a Godly virtue nor a leadership quality. 

 

Silence concerning popular, yet destructive, false doctrine shows the Lord we are unwilling to fully lay down our lives and Ministries for His sheep and therefore unqualified for greater responsibility and more of God's power.

 

It is an often misunderstood, criticized and unappreciated task to stand alone as a Watchman on the wall, publicly resisting and correcting popular heresy. But this is no excuse for yielding to fear or disobedience.

 

Only cowards remain silent when God's Word is being attacked by false doctrine and false Ministers.  Even an old dog defends without question when his master is being attacked.  

 

The true Minister of the Gospel will not beat around the bush and leave innocent sheep to figure deception out for themselves.  The true Minister of the Gospel will point it out to them and name names just like Jesus, Paul, Peter and John all did.  

 

No one is above correction no matter how big their Ministry, TV programs, website or book and CD ministry may be.  

 

No Minister of the Gospel is above scrutiny no matter how much money and influence they have. When they are in sin, they are in sin and the Apostle Paul said it must be dealt with publicly and boldly, without partiality and without showing favoritism.  

 

Nowhere in the New Testament are we ever told concerning false or errant Ministers, "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm."

 

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The Apostle Paul Commands Timothy & the Church of All Ages

 

"Against an elder (Minister/Overseer) receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses. Them that sin rebuke before all, that others may also fear. I charge thee before God, and the Lord Jesus Christ, and the elect angels, that thou observe these things without preferring one another, doing nothing by partiality." (1 Timothy 5:19-21)

 

The Ministers Paul refers to here are the same ones he referred to in First Timothy, chapter one and verse 6 as "having swerved and turned aside unto vain jangling." 

 

These spiritual Overseers at Ephesus were backsliding and submitting to the false doctrine of the Judaizers, misapplication of the Law of Moses, and totally abandoning the Gospel as Paul had taught it to them.  In some cases these Ministers were being dishonorable concerning the handling of finances. This was doing tremendous harm to the spiritual growth of the believers at Ephesus, as well as utterly destroying the testimony of the Church at Ephesus.  

 

Paul said Church discipline was to be administered publicly, immediately and without partiality - no matter how popular or beloved the errant Ministers. 

 

Quite frankly, this sounds like some of the popular extreme prosperity and extreme grace Ministers of the modern Church.  Popular prosperity Preachers, in particular, defy God's written Word.  The Body of Christ also defies God's Word by refusing to address their errors publicly. Rather, they show favoritism and partiality toward them because of their popularity and because of big promises of wealth for those who will stand by them. 

 

Irregardless, the Apostle Paul solemnly charges the Church of all Ages to publicly rebuke Ministers who sin that others may learn to neither follow them nor imitate them.

 

The Apostle Paul did not say concerning them, "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm." 

 

Someone once asked me, "Shouldn't a Minister be approached in private first?  Then if they don't receive you, go back with a witness?  If they still don't receive your correction, then and only then should we confront them with other Church leaders, as Jesus said?"

 

They were referring to Matthew 18:15-17 below.

 

"Moreover if thy brother shall trespass against thee, go and tell him his fault between thee and him alone: if he shall hear thee, thou hast gained thy brother. But if he will not hear thee then take with thee one or two more, that in the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established. And if he shall neglect to hear them, tell it unto the Church: but if he neglect to hear the Church, let him be unto thee as an heathen man and a Publican." (Matthew 18:15-17) 

 

I explained to them how in this particular passage of Scripture, Jesus is teaching believers how to deal with conflict amongst themselves and not how to deal with errant, backslidden, sinful Ministers who have fallen into teaching false doctrine.  

 

The Apostle Paul teaches that we are to deal with errant Ministers differently than with conflict amongst general believers. Of course, if one believes their Pastor is in error, there would be nothing wrong with confronting them privately if the Holy Spirit so leads. However, if the correction is not received, Paul instructs us to then deal with them publicly. 

 

Also, the bigger, most popular errant Ministers make it impossible to confront them personally.  In most cases one must first find their way through a labyrinth of secretaries, Yes-men, Yes-women and a small army of security. 

 

The Holy Spirit knew what He was doing when He determined that public rebuke and correction is the best way for handling stubborn, errant Ministers.

 

One of the most popular of the extreme prosperity Ministers once personally told me that I was "unwise" for dealing with popular false doctrine and false Teachers publicly. This particular Minister was down on public correction because he was not up on what the Bible teaches.  Not to mention the fact that he is one of the biggest offenders and false Teachers of the Hyper-Prosperity movement. 

 

This particular "You can have Mercedes living if you will give with Mercedes giving" Preacher was looking to protect himself in order to continue to fleece Christ's sheep.

 

This is precisely why Jesus' half-brother, the Apostle James, said Bible Teachers are more accountable than the sheep they lead.

 

"Don't be in any rush to become a Teacher, my friends. Teaching is highly responsible work. Teachers are held to the strictest standards." (James 3:1 MSG)

 

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The Apostle Paul Publicly Rebuked the Apostle Peter

 

"But when Peter was come to Antioch, I withstood him to the face, because he was to be blamed. For before that certain came from James, he did eat with the Gentiles: but when they were come, he withdrew and separated himself, fearing them which were of the circumcision. And the other Jews dissembled likewise with him; insomuch that Barnabas also was carried away with their dissimulation. 

 

"But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" (Galatians 2:11-14)

 

Here we find the Apostle Peter backsliding and leading others, including faithful Barnabas, back under the Law of Moses, altering the truth of the Gospel and doing great harm to the Galatian Church.

 

Peter was being a hypocrite and publicly compromising the Gospel even as he himself had taught it.  Peter was siding against the Gentiles and showing partiality and favoritism to the Jews and the Law of Moses which was no longer in force.  

 

Because Peter was being a hypocrite and sinning in a very public forum, Paul, setting an example for all Ministers in all Ages, rebuked him in the same public forum.

 

Here, the Apostle Paul once again makes it clear that Ministers who demonstrate hypocrisy and introduce false doctrine are to be rebuked publicly so others may learn from their sin.  

 

The Apostle Paul simply would not allow Peter to lead the Church into error under the guise of "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm."  

 

The Apostle Peter was bringing great harm to the Body and the Apostle Paul dealt with it swiftly, sternly, lovingly and publicly.  

 

Paul was not wrongly judging or condemning Peter.  Peter was already self-condemned as a result of his own hypocrisy.  

 

By pointing it out publicly, Paul did Peter, as well as the Church of all Ages, a great big favor. Had he not done so the majority of the Church at Galatia would have followed Peter into his sin.

 

The Apostle Paul was never one to lay down his life for other fallen shepherds. Rather, he always laid down his life for the sheep.

 

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God's Decree. Mark Divisive Leaders & Avoid Them

 

"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)

 

Here again the Apostle Paul confronts those who were incessantly calling Christians to observe the Law of Moses and other false doctrines.  They were relentlessly troubling believers with wrong, unbiblical doctrine, causing dissension, strife and division.  

 

This is similar to what is occurring today, particularly in Charismatic and Pentecostal Christianity. This is especially true concerning the errors of Hyper-Prosperity and Hyper-Grace

 

The Apostle Paul did not tell the Romans concerning those who were teaching false doctrine, "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm."  

 

Paul said to mark all Teachers who lead others astray.  

 

To "mark" is as follows: 'Be very observant and watch out for them; be ever on guard against them; ascertain who are the real troublemakers and false Teachers and avoid those individuals, not the ones who war against them.'

 

Also, Paul's reference to those who "cause offenses" is a direct reference to those who lead others into sin through false doctrine. 

 

It is false Teachers who cause offenses, strife and division, not the ones who obediently point them out and mark them for the well-being of all.

 

Finally, Paul said to "avoid them." 

 

Paul did not say, "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm." Neither did he say to be mean or unnecessarily harsh.  But he did instruct to be stern when necessary, avoiding false Teachers and false teaching at all costs. 

 

This, of course, would include no longer supporting or enabling them financially.

 

Was Paul being judgmental for writing this?  

 

Yes, indeed he was.  

 

But he was not being critically judgmental.  

 

Paul was being Biblically judgmental and there is a world of difference.  

 

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"Have No Fellowship" Not "Defend at All Costs"

 

"For this ye know, that no whoremonger, nor unclean person, nor covetous man, who is an idolater, hath any inheritance in the Kingdom of Christ and of God. Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience. Be not ye therefore partakers with them ... and have no fellowship with the unfruitful works of darkness, but rather reprove them." (Ephesians 5:5-6,11)

 

Here the Apostle Paul addresses the Church at Ephesus, instructing them to have no fellowship with deliberately sinful believers or leaders. 

 

Once again, we see an absence of "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm."  Paul forthrightly instructs that we keep no terms with them and that we offer no indulgence or excuse for them. 

 

Paul knew it to be a weak and cowardly practice to continue to defend and fellowship with the severely compromised.  He made it crystal clear that to do so is to become partakers with them in their sin.

 

When the Apostle Paul said to "reprove" the unfruitful works of darkness, he was making it clear that we are to go beyond refusing to fellowship with them.  Refusing to fellowship is a form of tactical reproof.  But we are not to limit it to tactical reproof.  

 

Paul said we must add to tactical reproof.  We must reprove in word as well because silence empowers sin. 

 

According to the Apostle Paul when darkness dresses up as light, it is to be exposed immediately.  

 

When someone obeys Paul's solemn charge to expose it, that is not "a critical spirit."  

 

That is discernment.  

 

That is obedience.  

 

The Message Bible says "expose these things for the sham they are." 

 

Ephesians 5:13, also in the Message Bible says, "Rip the cover off those frauds and see how attractive they look in the Light of Christ." 

 

There is no special provision or protection offered in the New Testament for backslidden, false doctrine teaching, sinful leadership. 

 

To believe there is such a thing under the guise of "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm" is to live in a world of make-believe and false teaching. 

 

The Apostle Paul clearly instructs in Scripture that those who teach false doctrine and set hypocritical examples, Born Again or not, are to be publicly rebuked without favoritism or partiality, marked, avoided and dis-fellowshipped.  

 

This is to bring them to repentance and to protect the Body of Christ from being further inflicted and infected by them.

 

"I marvel that ye are so soon removed from Him that called you into the Grace of Christ unto another Gospel: Which is not another; but there be some that trouble you, and would pervert the Gospel of Christ. But though we, or an angel from Heaven, preach any other Gospel unto you than that which we have preached unto you, let him be accursed. 

 

"As we said before, so say I now again, If any man preach any other Gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed. For do I now persuade men, or God?  Or do I seek to please men?  For if I yet please men, I should not be the servant of Christ." (Galatians 1:6-10)

 

In our integrity, let us always seek to avoid that people-pleasing place of showing partiality and favoritism to backslidden, popular Preachers, for this is something the Lord despises.

 

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This Is Not a License to Boss the Pastor Around

 

We are talking about publicly correcting fallen spiritual leaders who are guilty of blatant sin and/or teaching false doctrine.  We are not talking about bossing our Pastors around and telling them how to do their jobs when they are living right and doing their best to teach proper doctrine. 

 

God's Word giving authority to believers to withstand compromised spiritual leaders is not a call to harass and nit-pick the Pastor.  Nowhere in Scripture are believers instructed to micro-manage their Pastors.  No Pastor is perfect.  When God makes a Pastor, He does not unmake a human being. 

 

We are all called to honor and respect the Pastor's authority and give room for normal human mistakes.

 

Some individuals have critical spirits and are always finding fault with the way the Pastor looks, speaks, preaches and makes decisions. Some wrongly believe it is their job to tell the Pastor how to run the Church and this is a great error on their part.

 

The Pastor alone is God's Overseer of the congregation. The Pastor does not fall on his face before the elders, deacons and congregation and say, "Tell me your will and I'll tell the Lord."  

 

The Pastor falls on his face before the Lord and says, "Tell me Your will and I'll respectfully tell the elders, deacons and congregation."  

 

Pastors are to lead with authority, not follow with timidity.  Pastors who do not lead with authority always end up in trouble with the Lord. Many actually die prematurely because of this.  

 

Dr. Lester Sumrall once said, "The Pastor who follows his sheep ends up with doo-doo on his feet."  

 

The Pastor who does lead with authority, lives a clean, dignified life of integrity and who teaches the Word of God with excellence is not to be continually challenged by bossy, nit-picking members of his congregation.  Elders, deacons and congregations are under the Pastor, not vice versa. 

 

Pastors are Under-Shepherds under the Lord Jesus Christ.  They have a very important role indeed.  The Office of the Pastor is so important to both God and man that Jesus Himself actually has ten Shepherd titles. (Genesis 49:24; Psalm 23:1; 80:1; Ezekiel 34:23; Zechariah 13:7; John 10:2,11,14; Hebrews 13:20; 1 Peter 2:25; 5:4)

 

The Bible commands double honor to be given to the Pastor and all spiritual leaders who handle their duties in an above-board, Biblical manner.

 

"Give double honor to spiritual leaders who handle their duties well. This is especially true if they work hard at teaching the Word of God." (1 Timothy 5:17 GWT) 

 

Even as honorable manual laborers are worthy of respect and just payment, care must be taken to reward and respect honorable spiritual leaders.  The Apostle Paul stated not only are honest Ministers worthy of honor, he said they are worthy of "double honor."

 

"Obey your leaders and be submissive to them. For they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will have to give account (to God); that they may do this with joy and not with lamentation. For that would be of no advantage to you." (Hebrews 13:17 Weymouth)

 

Here the Apostle Paul instructs that we should obey Pastoral leadership and submit ourselves to them as long as they are submitting themselves to the Word. 

 

No believer should ever think of themselves more highly than they ought. None of us are too wise, too good or too important to submit to and learn from the Pastor. 

 

No Christian in their right mind wants to stand before the BEMA Judgment Seat of Christ and hear a bad report given because they were too rebellious to submit to God's Word and to God's honorable Pastor.  To do so would be to give up everything for one thing. 

 

Let us therefore keep in mind that Paul's solemn charge is to publicly correct spiritual leaders who are involved in sin or false doctrine.  It is not a license to be bossy or nit-picky with Pastors and spiritual leaders who are doing all as unto the Lord.  

 

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Chapter 4: Paul Revealed There Is a Time to Name Names 

 

So we have seen from the New Testament the Apostle Paul did not subscribe to the "Touch not Mine Anointed and do My Prophets no harm" error.  

 

We have also seen that Paul publicly rebuked hypocrites, false doctrine and false Teachers, instructing all believers and spiritual leaders to do the same.

 

The Apostle Paul took it one giant step further, as well.  Paul named names boldly and loudly, wherever and whenever necessary, in order to protect Christ's flock.  

 

It is a very common error amongst many modern Christians to believe that naming names is negative and unbiblical when it is neither.  

 

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Paul Called Peter's Name & Rebuked Him Publicly

 

"But when I saw that they walked not uprightly according to the truth of the Gospel, I said unto Peter before them all, If thou, being a Jew, livest after the manner of Gentiles, and not as do the Jews, why compellest thou the Gentiles to live as do the Jews?" (Galatians 2:14)

 

The Apostle Paul rebuked Peter for his hypocrisy, to his face and in front of all present.  We saw this clearly from Galatians 2:11-14 in Chapter 3 above.  

 

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Paul Called Hymenaeus, Alexander & Philetus' Names Publicly

 

"Holding faith, and a good conscience; which some having put away concerning faith have made shipwreck: Of whom is Hymenaeus and Alexander; whom I have delivered unto Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme." (1 Timothy 1:19-20)

 

Hymenaeus and Alexander were converts in Ephesus who were once in the faith but had backslidden.  Paul said they had done so by no longer listening to the voice of good conscience.  

 

All turning away from faith is always preceded by first turning away from the voice of conscience.  

 

All Christians who stop listening to their conscience ultimately end up tearing down the Gospel and making shipwreck of their own faith as well as the faith of others. 

 

In their case, Hymenaeus and Alexander had become so distorted in their thinking, they began teaching that immortality was a false notion. They believed, along with Philetus, that Jesus was the only one to raise from the dead and that Christians will not raise from the dead.

 

"And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; who concerning the truth hath erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some." (2 Timothy 2:17-18)

 

Paul not only named their names for disseminating such destructive doctrine, he delivered them over to Satan for the destruction of their own flesh to prevent them from losing their salvation over their blasphemy.

 

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Paul Called Phygellus & Hermogenes' Names Publicly

 

"This thou knowest, that all they which are in Asia be turned away from me; of whom are Phygellus and Hermogenes."  (2 Timothy 1:15)

 

Apparently the Christians Phygellus and Hermogenes were leaders in the Asian rebellion against Paul. They started off right but ended up wrong. In their pride they came to the place where they repudiated both Paul and his sound Biblical doctrine.  

 

The Apostle Paul boldly warned the Asian Christians and Christians everywhere to avoid them, naming their names and publishing them in his circulated letters.

 

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Paul Called Demas' Name Publicly

 

"For Demas hath forsaken me, having loved this present world and hath departed to Thessalonica ..." (2 Timothy 4:10)

 

Demas was a former close confidant of the Apostle Paul. (Colossians 4:14; Philippians 1:24)  He also forsook both Paul and the preaching of the Gospel.  

 

The Apostle Paul considered him to be dangerous to many because of his instability and his inability to stay with God's Word.  

 

Demas was dangerously backslidden and Paul wanted the sheep to know they must avoid him for their own well-being.

 

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Paul Called Alexander the Coppersmith's Name Publicly

 

"Alexander the coppersmith did me much evil: the Lord reward him according to his works: of whom be thou ware also; for he hath greatly withstood our words." (2 Timothy 4:14-15)

 

This is possibly the same Alexander mentioned in Acts 19:33 and First Timothy 1:20.  

 

Many believe that Alexander was a trouble-making Jewish Rabbi because it was common for the Jews in Paul's day to attach the name of a trade to both Rabbis and literary men. 

 

Whoever Alexander was, and whatever he did to Paul that was so severe, Paul felt the need to warn the Church of Alexander by boldly naming his name in his circulated letters. 

 

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The Apostle John Called Diotrephes' Name Publicly

 

"I wrote unto the Church: but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doeth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the Church. Beloved, follow not that which is evil but that which is good ..." (3 John 9-11)

 

John did not state what Church Diotrephes was connected with.  However, John did make it clear that although he was a Born Again leader in a Christian Body, Diotrephes was wrongly ambitious, proud, rebellious, inhospitable, a hinderer of good deeds, a seeker of prominence, self-important and disrespectful to Apostolic authority.  

 

Apparent from this letter, Diotrephes had been rebuked by the Apostle John previously to no avail.  

 

Finally, the Apostle John called out Diotrephes publicly and referred to him as "evil" and "not good."  

 

John did not tell the Church concerning severely backslidden Diotrephes, "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm."

 

Neither did John say, "Don't be judgmental. Just pray for him."

 

The Apostle John boldly called him out by name and instructed the Church to have nothing to do with Diotrephes.

 

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We Are All Watchmen on the Wall

 

Being a Watchman on the wall is not the most popular of all God-given assignments. 

 

Calling the names of false Teachers, deceivers and backslidden spiritual leaders is neither pleasant nor always easy to do.  

 

However, it is the job of all Biblically-minded Christians and leaders.  

 

Even more specifically, it is one of the greatest responsibilities of every Christian Pastor.

 

Spiritual leaders who will not do so simply do not have the best interest of Christ's Body at heart.  Quite obviously they are more interested in their own reputations than they are in the safety of the sheep God has placed in their care.  

 

Many spiritual leaders desire to be seen as tolerant and non-judgmental, always doing so at the expense of both God's Word and those they lead.  

 

The Great Shepherd Jesus, Himself, out of concern for His flock and with no regard for His own reputation, called out false Teachers very publicly.  

 

Jesus openly referred to the Scribes and Pharisees as hypocrites, blind guides, fools, serpents and vipers. (Matthew 23:1-39; Luke 11:1-54) 

 

Jesus knew it is impossible to privately correct public false teaching and false Teachers. 

 

How will the sheep know to reject false teachings and false Teachers unless they know what and who they are?  

 

The Apostles Paul and John and the Lord Jesus Christ knew to not address false teachings and false Teachers publicly was to leave the sheep vulnerable to deception.

 

Concerning false or backslidden Ministers of the Gospel, the Apostles Paul and John and the Lord Jesus Christ never even implied "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm."  

 

However, they all did make it clear that any Pastor, Minister or spiritual leader who pridefully or fearfully refuses to put the sheep first and name false Teachers is actually one himself.

 

My wife, Barbara, once said to me, "A true shepherd's first priority is to lay down his life for the sheep.  It is not to lay down his life for other compromised shepherds."

 

False Teachers and false doctrine get a free pass due to the fearful conspiracy of silence that normally follows them everywhere they go.  

 

Ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ must never fear to confront false or fallen Ministers.  

 

To refuse to confront them is to bow the knee to them.

 

Many Ministers are afraid to confront other more severely corrupt and deceived Ministers because they have sin in their own lives.  They are afraid to be told, "Well, will you look at who's calling the kettle black?"  

 

Compromised Ministers must deal with the sin in their own lives, get it washed away by the Blood and stand up like true men and women of God, driving back more severely compromised false Teachers and false doctrine.  

 

When it comes to true Ministers of the Gospel confronting false Ministers, faith, not fear, is the rule of the house.  

 

Nowhere are we ever taught in the New Testament concerning errant or corrupt spiritual leadership, "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm." 

 

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Will Their Blood Be on Your Hands?

 

Real Christian love will obey the Apostle Paul's solemn charge and correct backslidden spiritual leaders, not protect or cover for them.  

 

We must always keep in mind that backslidden and false spiritual leaders are running the risk of dying prematurely, or suffering some other tragedy, if they do not repent. It is for their sake, as well as the entire Body of Christ, that Holy God commands we correct them.

 

"Nevertheless I have somewhat against thee, because thou hast left thy first love. Remember therefore from whence thou art fallen, and repent, and do the first works; or else I will come unto thee quickly and remove thy candlestick out of his place, except thou repent." (Revelation 2:4-5)

 

To have one's candlestick removed is to have their anointing removed. 

 

For a Minister of the Gospel to have their anointing removed for corrupting Christ's Body is an extremely dangerous affair. It could easily result in premature death or some other form of tragedy.

 

"If anyone does hurt to God's Temple or corrupts it [with false doctrines] or destroys it, God will do hurt to him and bring him to the corruption of death and destroy him. For the Temple of God is holy (sacred to Him) and that [Temple] you [the believing Church and its individuals believers] are." (1 Corinthians 3:17 Amplified Bible)

 

So we see, a Minister deceiving the Church is a most serious affair. However, anyone can avoid pending judgment by a simple act of repentance.

 

"If we confess our sins He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness." (1 John 1:9)

 

Dr. Lester Sumrall once said concerning a Minister's refusing to repent when wrong, "I am often amazed at what a person will put themselves and others through just to avoid five minutes of soul-cleansing shame." 

 

Nowhere in the New Testament are we ever instructed to "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm" when it comes to false or fallen Ministers.

 

Nowhere in the New Testament are we ever instructed, "Just be quiet. Don't be judgmental. Pray for them."  

 

That might sound Christian-like to the unrenewed mind, but it is contrary to what is clearly written in the Bible.

 

As believers we are all called to publicly address known sin, compromise and false doctrine in the lives of our spiritual leaders. To refuse to do so is to hasten their judgment and to ultimately discover that their blood is on our hands.

 

"When I say unto the wicked, Thou shalt surely die; and thou givest him not warning, nor speakest to warn the wicked from his wicked way, to save his life; the same wicked man shall die in his iniquity; but his blood will I require at thine hand. Yet if thou warn the wicked and he turn not from his wickedness, nor from his wicked way, he shall die in his iniquity; but thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezekiel 3:18-19)

 

Someone once said to me, "I would go to them and correct them but I know they won't receive me."  

 

That is what the Prophet Ezekiel told God concerning rebellious Israel.  

 

God in turn told Ezekiel, "Whether they will listen to you or not in their rebellion, you are to correct them regardless and they will know that a Prophet has been amongst them." (Ezekiel 2:5) 

 

We do not base whether or not we will obey God's Word upon whether or not we will be received.  We obey God's Word because He tells us to do so.

 

Not only is it a matter of obedience, but you could be the very one they finally listen to, saving their life as well as your own. 

 

"Nevertheless if thou warn the righteous man that the righteous sin not and he doth not sin, he shall surely live, because he is warned; also thou hast delivered thy soul." (Ezekiel 3:21)

 

As we have clearly seen from the written Word of God, "Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm" is not forbidding New Testament believers to address false or backslidden New Testament Ministers.

   

"Touch not Mine anointed and do My Prophets no harm" is instructing Israel's enemies to never physically harm her.  It is never wise to tamper with Israel's security.

 

Neither is it wise to take the Bible out of context forcing it to say what we want it to say. 

 

The Master Jesus and the Apostles Peter and John clearly instruct every believer to publicly rebuke backslidden Ministers, false Teachers and false doctrines, even naming names when necessary. This is for the sake of protecting God's precious sheep.

 

True Christians and true Ministers of the Gospel lay down their lives for the sheep, not for backslidden shepherds or false Teachers. 

 

Not only must backslidden shepherds and false Teachers be rebuked, but we must pray that God would grant them Godly sorrow unto repentance. (2 Corinthians 7:10; 2 Timothy 2:25-26)

 

Be blessed, in Jesus' Strong Name John and Barbara Hamel

 

 

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