Sunday, December 27, 2020

Touch Not God’s Anointed

When I’m sharing the gospel with people, an objection that occasionally comes up is bad behavior by certain ministers. Unfortunately, a few “men of the cloth” have done despicable deeds such as committing adultery or abusing children. But non-Christians cannot use those incidents as excuses to avoid their need for salvation. When they stand before the Lord Jesus Christ, He won’t examine other people’s lives but only their own.

Years ago, I knew a woman who claimed our then-pastor was involved in an immoral relationship. Believing her story, I brought up the issue with an associate pastor at our church. The resulting friction made me realize I didn’t rightly handle the situation. 1 Timothy 5:19 says, “Do not receive an accusation against an elder except from two or three witnesses.” 

In court trials, defendants are supposed to be presumed innocent unless proven guilty. Numerous people are called to the witness stand to give testimony before the jury reaches a verdict. Why then do some Christians quickly assume a preacher is guilty of something based on claims of one person? Rumors spread through social media and satirical sites like Babylon Bee certainly doesn’t help.

In Numbers chapter 12, Miriam became leprous after criticizing Moses for marrying an Ethiopian woman. There have been more modern incidents of people who suffered devastating consequences for discrediting men of God. One that comes to my mind involved William Branham, an evangelist used by God during the “Voice of Healing” era of the 1940s and 50s. Two preachers and their wives plotted to expose Brother Branham as a fake at one of his meetings. One of the preachers came up with a prayer card falsely claiming he had various diseases. The Holy Spirit revealed this scheme to Branham. He then confronted the preacher for being a fake himself. The preacher left the meeting with the same diseases he claimed to have! 

So how should people respond to ministers who have truly sinned against them? Jesus taught us to proper way to confront any erring Christian in Matthew 18…

15 “Moreover if your brother sins against you, go and tell him his fault between you and him alone. If he hears you, you have gained your brother. 

16 But if he will not hear, take with you one or two more, that ‘by the mouth of two or three witnesses every word may be established.’ 

17 And if he refuses to hear them, tell it to the church.  But if he refuses even to hear the church, let him be to you like a heathen and a tax collector.”

The next time somebody starts talking to you about a sin supposedly committed by a preacher, advise him to keep quiet about it unless he has proof and his motive is restoration (Galatians 6:1). Ministers encounter enough persecution from the world. Christians don’t need to be siding with the accuser of the brethren.

“Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.” - 1 Chronicles 16:22

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