The government of the church by the anointing. What a foreign thought to us today! That’s because very early there was a major departure from the Scriptural way. And, loving status quo as we do, Christians everywhere feel that they are viewing the norm when they look at their particular way of doing things.
Well, God is merciful. Israel wanted a king, and God, after protesting, gave them one. Eventually this decision led to great men like David, Hezekiah and Josiah, far from lightweights in God’s eyes. God has blessed our system too, and produced many “men of God” in spite of our fear of being humanly leaderless (which echoes Israel’s fear.)
Scripture indicates that various forms of administration may be permissible. It seems to me that a huge anointing would be released to the people of God if the leadership of a local congregation were shared. If the elders would take their place. If the gifts of the Spirit were taught, sought, and encouraged.
While I’m speaking of “the anointing”, let me say a word about “touching God’s anointed”. This is a Biblical phrase that originated from the mouth of God in reference to His chosen people Israel. As to “the anointing” itself, in the Old Testament a whole host of things was said to be anointed: the tabernacle, all its furniture, the priests, all the priests’ clothing,etc. For, far from being a holy word in itself, to “anoint” merely means to rub with oil.
Of course we Christians understand that oil is a symbol of the Holy Spirit. And in the Greek word “crio” from which we derive the word “Christ”, we understand the Holy Spirit’s purpose is to rub us all with Himself through the man Jesus.
Did you know that after Christ came into the world, that is, in all the New Testament writings, no other individual is called anointed again? The church, yes. “Special” members of the church? No!
II Corinthians 1:21, God has anointed US in Christ.
I John 2:27, you (plural) have an anointing. That anointing teaches you everything…
The deceiver can’t deceive us, because when a teacher teaches, the anointing tells us whether he is teaching the truth. A true teacher can only confirm what we already know in Christ.
So let’s be careful of singling certain people out, saying “Wow! What an anointing!” The anointing is in Jesus, Jesus is in YOU! And the same Spirit in you, God will release in abundance to His Church when they recognize without hypocrisy the headship of Jesus.
Yes, there is only one “Anointed One” we need to worry about touching today. His name is Jesus, but He lives in all those who are His. Don’t touch God’s anointed.
No man has a monopoly on that anointing. Never is submission to one man mentioned in the New Testament. This one-man thing was created by human tradition and sustained by strong men. Since God did not ordain such, I cannot recognize the preeminence of one man in the congregation, though I might recognize his position in Christ and respect him as a brother.
Paul tells me that the head of every man is Christ. Does that relationship stop when I leave my home, the context of which Paul speaks, and enter the assembly of the believers? Absolutely not! Christ is still my head, and I filter all commands and directives and teachings through that Lordship of Christ. I do NOT suddenly turn Christ off so I can turn a mere man on.
There must indeed be leadership in the church. The leaders are a group of men submerged in the Holy Ghost, who call others to obey Jesus, not themselves. They are men who are laying their lives down for the flock, not beating it. They are near-invisible men who are most honored by all.
God has already shown His people that His system of plural leadership works. It’s recorded. Recorded also is the sad history of churches totally controlled by the “clergy”, a group separate and apart from the “laity.” In these churches is often great pain. It is the pain of a wife who has been ridiculed, or ignored, or abused in some other way.
When wives sense that the marriage relationship is not being honored properly, reactions can be violent. That violence can be suppressed by the husband with anger and demands for obedience and questioning of loyalty, or…silenced with an understanding hug.
The church, with all its faults, seems to be awaiting a hug. Submission is much easier after the leaders make the people realize they truly understand, and that they are one with us, not “a cut above.”
Suppressed Christians who have gifts from God are liable to be looking for other fellowships where their gift can be expressed. When all the “gifted”ones go, the “remnant” is a group fiercely loyal to a man. Very little fruit can be produced in a situation like this, yet this scene is repeated throughout our land.
How can you tell if your church is controlled by a dictatorial clergy-laity philosophy? A former pastor of the Philadelphia Church in Chicago has come up with a description of the dictator spirit.
1. attitude of lording (as opposed to leading)
2. gains “dominion” over people’s lives
3. strong-willed and unyielding (instead of gentle, open-minded)
4. spreads “awe” or fear of himself among the people
5. non-submissive to other leadership
6. overconfidence in himself
7. looks for private “words” to direct flock, ignores Spirit in other leaders
8. makes major decisions without seeking and hearing counsel
9. uses elders as “sounding board” to make up his mind, rather than seeking the mind of God through the collective leadership
10. forces final decisions before the answer is generally clear
11. requires weakness under him. must be “man on top”
12. intimidates others, suppresses body ministry
13. over-disciplinarian tendencies, instead of love and patience
Godly leadership is the most difficult place of all in the Body, contrary to the perceived notion. A true leader is first in line for the executioner’s sword.