Friday, October 01, 2010

Touch Not Mine Anointed

I'm frustrated, that's for certain. Is there a single person in the Prophetic/Apostolic movement that is willing to actually discuss the issues I've been raising on this blog? It seems like most of them are too busy to do anything but a "drive-by"- as a few recently have done. When the total substance of their contribution to the discussion is "Don't you see what you are doing?" or "I recommend you think long and hard about what you are doing" you have to wonder if they have ever prepared a defense for what they believe.

These type of comments are just another twist on the old Charismatic cliche "Touch not Mine Anointed."


When well-meaning Christians quote 1 Chronicles 16:22 ("Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm," NASB) to cover up corruption or charlatanism, they do horrible injustice to Scripture. This passage does not require us to stay quiet when a leader is abusing power or deceiving people. - Lee Grady


Rev. Rafael D. Martinez, Co-Director, Spiritwatch Ministries has written a very good series of articles on the Five-Fold Ministry. I'd like to quote a portion of one of those articles at length as he expresses my thoughts on this subject quite well.

Many people today would do quite well to study the structures of spiritual abuse which manifested itself in the discipleship movement in the early 70s - this occurred before most of today's "new breed" were even born. I can speak of such things from first-hand experience, as my tithes trickled up the pyramid to Bob Mumford.

Long story short- your threats and warnings do not intimidate me. They only cause me to see your immaturity. Un-kept promises to dialouge confirm that assessment. I am constantly humbled as I realize the folly of things I once believed. But I've made a committment to love God with all my heart AND all my mind. And you know what? He's big enough to let me do that. In fact- He REQUIRES it.



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With the position established that God ordains the authority, judgment and leadership of the fivefold minister, their authority is then rendered beyond any review, dialogue and challenge. Trusting that they walk in a divine integrity their fivefold "anointing" imparts to them, the disciples of fivefold ministers offer a complete deference to their authority that is difficult to over emphasize. Any dissent can be seen as compromise, any attempt at dialogue a challenge of God's very sovereignty. This has helped create and perpetuate a mystique of infallibility that is cloaked about the shoulders of fivefold ministers.

However, this divine office of authority seems inexplicably very quickly offended: note the defensive tone of fivefold prophet Bill Hamon when speaking of this in one of his most popular books:

God is very sensitive about His prophets. To touch one of His prophets is to touch the apple of his eye. To reject God's prophets is to reject God. To fail to recognize the prophets, or to keep them from speaking, is to refuse God permision to speak." (emphasis author) (37).

As shrill as this may sound, it is however understandable when one considers the logical outcome of Hamon's belief about the fivefold ministry's authority. It must not be questioned since the fivefold minister is supposedly set apart to speak for God, so any interference with such a divine flow of revelation is viewed as an affront against God Himself. Prophets (and by default all fivefold ministers) who speak for God are to recognized, listened to, accepted and never second-guessed, and any members of the fivefold congregation who do so, Hamon asserts, are those who "touch God's anointed" and incur his wrath. Fivefold minister Jon Arno, in a prophetic utterance recorded online that supposedly is a word from the Lord Himself, brooks no "opposition" to the fivefold ministry's authority:

Be careful again I say. Do not be found out as speaking against the Lord’s anointed as there is no more room in the cup. Teach those around you to be slow to speak, quick to listen. Judge everything by the word of God. If you are not sure, don't say anything. For God takes the foolish things of this world to confound the wise. (38)

Say nothing, the God of Arno's oracle commands, against the "anointed" - indeed, "He" says that we must avoid the temptation to speak and simply to listen and accept their lead. And if there is any uncertainty in your deliberation of what you hear from Apostle X or Pastor Y, say nothing - express no opinion whatsoever - and avoid divine judgment. This is supposedly inspired by the same "God" that told the apostle Paul in 1 Thessalonians 5 to not only "quench not the Spirit" but to "prove all things" and to "hold fast to that which is good." Arno's God demands silence from any dissent of believers and expects their total obedience to the fivefold ministers He is supposed to have sent into their lives, no matter how peculiar, unorthodox, questionable or flat out weird they or their methods might be.

Such a position raises a critical point that must be emphasized strongly: if you deny the means to question, you also deny the means to THINK and to DISCERN truth from error. With distrust of one's own ability to question firmly implanted alongside the mandate to completely trust another person's ability to sit in judgment over you and your life, reason becomes selectively anesthetized. The ability to reason and exercise freedom of conscience when it comes to spiritual matters that directly impact one's personal lifestyle is then made subject to the dictates of others. Determining whether a claim is right or wrong is therefore intentionally shut down for the sake of the fivefold authority to be exercised.

And when this happens, as it already has in fivefold congregations all across the U.S. and the world, there is then nothing - absolutely nothing - to prevent the complete control of the behavior of Christians since their thought is effectively being controlled by their fivefold leaders. No other social safeguards or balances are possible at this point that would ensure the stability of any spiritual fellowship's social circles. Sadly, there's another term for this kind of powerful dynamic - it's called mind control. And mind control is the lingua franca, the common language and universal characteristic of manipulative and dangerous cultic groups. The parallels between cults and abusive fivefold ministries are too clear at this point to ignore.

Tragically, this has become a mundane and daily reality shadowing the lives of far too many Christians who were supposedly delivered from their own spiritual bondages of our fallen world. That these kind of purely human forms of cunning manipulation are cited as originating from divine design are troubling enough. But to understand that there are generations of Christian people who have meekly submitted to this kind of control out of fear of displeasing God when it is the whims of man they are actually bowing to is perhaps the ultimate indignity for the human spirit as it seeks to love and serve God and ends up in the fear of man.

excerpt from http://spiritwatch.org/firefivespab3.htm
There's much more to that article, and the entire series, and I would invite you to read it. Martinez, as myself, is old-school Pentecost, and does not deny the working of the Spirit today, nor the application of prophetic and apostolic giftings in the body today. It's a Charismatic-safe read.
Let's talk.

4 comments:

  1. Just a note of encouragement....I am very thankful for your blog and your emphasis on serving God in both accepting the good and rejecting what is not of Him (and your openness). All of us who want to move authentically according to the Holy Spirit's leading have to be humble enough to acknowledge that we "see through a glass dimly" and yet assertive enough to use all of the faculties with which God has entrusted us (our reason and the Holy Spirit's gifts!). It becomes very difficult at either extreme and obfuscates the truth for others.

    Again, thank you! Keep serving Him!

    "For our knowledge is imperfect and our prophecy is imperfect, but when the perfect comes, the imperfect will pass away...For now we see in a mirror dimly, but then face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall understand fully, even as I have been fully understood." -1 Corinthians 13:9,12 (RSV).

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  2. Despite the anger, upset, and even threats that arise when the allegation is offered, that there is frank heresy in the ranks of the Prophetic/Apostolic movement is indisputable fact. For instance, the web site of the Potter's House, pastored by the popular T.D. Jakes, gives this statement on the nature of God: "There is one God, Creator of all things, infinitely perfect, and eternally existing in three manifestations: Father, Son and Holy Spirit" (http://www.thepottershouse.org/Local/About-Us/Belief-Statement.aspx, accessed October 1, 2010). That is an explicit denial of the Trinity in the form of the heresy known as modalistic monarchianism, Sabellianism, or simply modalism, which was condemned at the council at Constantinople in 381 A.D.

    But greater than such frank heresy is the problem of what I call crypto-heresy; namely, heresy that is not as plainly labeled as that of, for instance, T.D. Jakes. Those who teach crypto-heresy may do so ignorantly or deliberately. Because we lack the ability to see clearly into the hearts of men (and, indeed, into our own hearts) we can't definitely distinguish the one cause from the other. But, the cause of their error does not matter in relation to the harm heretical teaching does.

    Heresy, by definition, is an error so severe that those who persistently hold it are presumed to be eternally lost. That's why the NT includes many admonitions to identify and avoid those who teach inconsistently with the teaching of the NT authors.

    Our modern pluralism seems to have short-circuited this process. Just as the Corinthians were wrongly congratulating themselves on their tolerance of immorality many of us today congratulate ourselves on our tolerance of theological diversity that often amounts to heresy. From the standpoint of the NT the bigger problem today is not overzealous heresy hunters but ignorant or evil shepherds and complacent sheep whose eat-the-meat-and-spit-out-the-bones attitude toward the heresies they ingest leads them toward destruction.

    May the God of grace and mercy rescue those at risk and keep us all safe from the wolves among us.

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  3. Really excellent article. The issue of authority is one routinely abused by many otherwise well meaning Christians. The degree to which a Christian leader exercises spiritual authority is principally a function of fidelity to the written word, and in arena in which that individual has recognized responsibility.

    I might also mention that the church has historically recognized a difference between 'damnable' heresy and heresy that is 'error', but not necessarily salvific error (error that will send you to hell). Paul spoke of the judiziers errors as 'cursed', and therefore outside the pale of orthodoxy.

    This is fairly easy to recognize in the case of Christological error like that committed by Jehovah's Witness and the Mormons, but more challenging in the case of errors perpetuated by groups like IHOP, Bethel, and Morningstar. All error is destructive, and the degree of its destructiveness depends on how serious the error.

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  4. If there's anything I'd want anyone to walk away from these articles with is this: taken from that same page ..

    It is under (aberrant five fold ministry) pretense of divine guidance and intervention that spiritual abuse is daily inflicted as their purely carnal human nature - self-sanctified as "the anointing" - unscrupulously controls and manipulates followers in the name of God.

    This delivers a personal assault unlike anything else in the world. It is the Lordship of Christ that is usurped by those who want to lord over others with illegitimate authority whether motives are good or not. It is the perversion of the highest aspiration of the human spirit - faith in God and a longing to know Him and His will for one's life - by It is the quenching of the authority of the Word of God as illumined by the Spirit of God by the receiving of another spirit in dire need of testing(2 Cor. 11:4 and 1 John 4:1). The essence of cultism is the desire to lead or be led at the expense of Christ’s Lordship: leaders abuse an authority that isn’t theirs and followers offer “blind” trust without accountability - this is also at the heart of what spiritual abuse is.


    And in the last article, I comment on just why the five fold ministry won't ever fess up to this hell on earth they shelter among their NAR wombs:

    For all of their florid rhetoric about having lion hearted courage in times of spiritual and cultural warfare, most of the daring fivefold ministry are actually quite chicken livered. You see, most fivefold ministry men and women would quickly agree that something "needs to be done" about this horror, and will just as quickly absolve themselves from being part of the solution to the problem. This is because they have too many vested self-interests, ministerial allegiances, business partnerships, and church networks that would become quite unpleasantly colored by the messy hues of controversy should they become too vocal about what they would see within the fivefold circles within their own reach. There is also the issue of personal friendships and frankly, too much of the fear of man that effectively chills whatever visceral fortitude their consciences may briefly muster to take a stand.

    Fivefold ministers reading this may indignantly howl over this statement but their caterwauling would quickly end once they consider just how involved they've been in withstanding Prophet Humptyscrunch or Apostle Dingleboulder the next time they hear of some whispers of a teenage girls's seduction or an offering that went to customize an SUV and not to plant a church in India. It happens daily in churches across the fivefold galaxy since the love of money, the desire for carnal self-indulgence and a degraded view of ministry that raises fivefold ministers into gods who do as they please is so widespread in fivefold circles that any other reaction would be politically incorrect and therefore, truly intolerable.

    That's why fivefold renewal is going to be largely impossible in so many places. The fear of man and the love of power governs the "ministry" in these quarters - not the love of God or the power of love. As the song says, that's the way it is.

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