Some of my recent posts have raised the ire of some readers because I dared to say some things about a pastor – a man of God. I’m sure many have heard that we are not to “touch the Lord’s anointed” and if we do, we better be on the lookout for she bears. First, let me say that my recent posts said nothing untrue and that they were only pointing out false teaching. My motivation for doing so is that I know many who attend special events hosted by this pastor or who attend the Bible college headed by this pastor, and I do not want those people misled by his false teachings.
For those who are concerned that I might be devoured by some she bears, let me explain some things about touching the Lord’s anointed, she bears, and naming names.
Touching the Lord’s anointed
It is popular to preach that people should not attack the man of God and say things about him. We are told that we should just let God deal with him. One of the Bible passages used in support of this teaching is the passage where David finds King Saul asleep in a cave and has a perfect opportunity to kill him and take over the kingdom. Let’s look at the passage:
And it came to pass, when Saul was returned from following the Philistines, that it was told him, saying, Behold, David is in the wilderness of En-gedi. Then Saul took three thousand chosen men out of all Israel, and went to seek David and his men upon the rocks of the wild goats. And he came to the sheepcotes by the way, where was a cave; and Saul went in to cover his feet: and David and his men remained in the sides of the cave. And the men of David said unto him, Behold the day of which the LORD said unto thee, Behold, I will deliver thine enemy into thine hand, that thou mayest do to him as it shall seem good unto thee. Then David arose, and cut off the skirt of Saul’s robe privily. And it came to pass afterward, that David’s heart smote him, because he had cut off Saul’s skirt. And he said unto his men, The LORD forbid that I should do this thing unto my master, the LORD’s anointed, to stretch forth mine hand against him, seeing he is the anointed of the LORD. So David stayed his servants with these words, and suffered them not to rise against Saul. But Saul rose up out of the cave, and went on his way. David also arose afterward, and went out of the cave, and cried after Saul, saying, My lord the king. And when Saul looked behind him, David stooped with his face to the earth, and bowed himself. And David said to Saul, Wherefore hearest thou men’s words, saying, Behold, David seeketh thy hurt? Behold, this day thine eyes have seen how that the LORD had delivered thee today into mine hand in the cave: and some bade me kill thee: but mine eye spared thee; and I said, I will not put forth mine hand against my lord; for he is the LORD’s anointed. Moreover, my father, see, yea, see the skirt of thy robe in my hand: for in that I cut off the skirt of thy robe, and killed thee not, know thou and see that there is neither evil nor transgression in mine hand, and I have not sinned against thee; yet thou huntest my soul to take it. The LORD judge between me and thee, and the LORD avenge me of thee: but mine hand shall not be upon thee. 1 Samuel 24:1-12
David behaved rightly; he should not have put forth his hand against King Saul – the Lord’s anointed. However, notice what the passage is about: it is about murder; it is not about speaking out about false teaching. I agree that we should not murder the Lord’s anointed or anyone else for that matter.
Who is the Lord’s anointed?
Another issue we have to understand about that passage is who is the Lord’s anointed today. In the Old Testament, we see that prophets, priests, and kings were anointed for their tasks. In the New Testament, all believers are prophets, priests, and kings. All believers – not just pastors – are anointed:
But the anointing which ye have received of him abideth in you, and ye need not that any man teach you: but as the same anointing teacheth you of all things, and is truth, and is no lie, and even as it hath taught you, ye shall abide in him. 1 John 2:27
If a man is going to preach based on David’s example that people should not open their mouths about a pastor because he is the Lord’s anointed, then the man better also preach that he should not open his mouth about any of the believers. I am the Lord’s anointed. If you are born again, you are the Lord’s anointed.
Another popular passage that is often misapplied is the passage describing how the children mocked Elisha and were killed by she bears:
And he (Elisha) went up from thence unto Bethel: and as he was going up by the way, there came forth little children out of the city, and mocked him, and said unto him, Go up, thou bald head; go up, thou bald head. And he turned back, and looked on them, and cursed them in the name of the LORD. And there came forth two she bears out of the wood, and tore forty and two children of them. 2 Kings 2:23-24
The children opened their mouths against the man of God and she bears came out of the woods and killed 42 of them. Certainly, this seems to support the teaching that we should not open our mouths against pastors and just let God take care of them – or does it? What exactly were the children doing? Were they pointing out false teaching or were they mocking the man of God? They were mocking Elisha. I wholeheartedly agree that we should not mock pastors or anyone else. However, this passage does nothing to prohibit speaking out about false teaching.
Some have a problem with naming the names of those who teach falsehoods. They argue that we should just note those people and avoid them. Certainly, we are taught to note them and mark them:
And if any man obey not our word by this epistle, note that man, and have no company with him, that he may be ashamed. Yet count him not as an enemy, but admonish him as a brother. 2 Thessalonians 3:14-15
Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offenses contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. Romans 16:17
OK, so we note and mark them, but should we name them? Paul does. John does.
This charge I commit unto thee, son Timothy, according to the prophecies which went before on thee, that thou by them mightest war a good warfare; 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 1:18-20
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
But shun profane and vain babblings: for they will increase unto more ungodliness. And their word will eat as doth a canker: of whom is Hymenaeus and Philetus; Who concerning the truth have erred, saying that the resurrection is past already; and overthrow the faith of some. 2 Timothy 2:16-18
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
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 doth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would, and casteth them out of the church. 3 John 1:9-10
So what’s it all mean?
We’ve seen that pointing out error is not the same as lifting a hand against the Lord’s anointed. We’ve seen that pointing out error will not result in she bears killing us. We’ve seen examples of naming names. So when should we name names? If a man is teaching something in direct contradiction to the scriptures, he should be named. If it is something of a gray area, we shouldn’t be so dogmatic. We could approach that person in a respectful manner and discuss the teaching. In the end, in gray areas, it is OK to disagree and leave it at that. However, in clear cases of error – like teaching that God can get tired or that He does not know what He can do – we should point out that error so others will not follow. We are to contend for the faith (Jude 3) – God has given us that task. It is our duty keep the church pure by withdrawing from and pointing out false teachers. Don’t just sweep the false teaching under a rug and hope that no one will be misled. We are in a battle and if our doctrines are weakened, how can we stand?