Is asking a question the same as “Criticising God’s Anointed”
We have to deal with the inevitable accusation that we have published these articles
because we have, what SMC leaders have decided to call a “critical spirit”. We also
Let us attempt to deal with both of these objections.
Dr. Dale A. Robbins defines the phrase “a critical spirit” as this:
Someone who shows an obsessive attitude of criticism and fault-
If that is a good definition of a “critical spirit” we think that resembles something
other than the desire to ask leaders questions about the biblical justification for
the confusing things they say in sermons. If a leader chooses to regard people who
have been confused by their teachings and ask questions, in the same way as they
choose to regard those who are determined to tear down their ministries by finding
The narcissist is constantly on the lookout for slights. He is hyper-
There are also many examples in the reference reading and links on this web site,
from writings about churches which are operating in the overzealous authority of
men, where “critical spirit” -
So to summarise the preceding paragraphs: When there is an accusation from a church leader that someone has a “critical spirit” one of three separate things is happening:
The accusation of a “critical spirit” needs to be made much more carefully than it has been. We also think that because of the possibility of this accusation being misused by leaders the only safe approach that can be taken is to never use it as a reason for not answering questions. In the first of the three cases answering truthfully annuls the bad attitude of the asker. In the other two cases it protects the church members from weak and malicious leaders. We believe the only correct approach is for churches to refuse to allow the accusation of a “critical spirit” to be used an as excuse to avoid answering questions.
Giving church leaders a veto on telling the truth by making it acceptable for them
to only answer questions from people they have decided have the “right attitude”
is indefensible hyper-
A mature leader who depends on God, rather than their own ego, can deal with difficult questions, and difficult people, without getting defensive and aggressive. They are committed to sharing the truth in a calm, respectful, mature, and helpful way with anyone who asks. They don’t require people to adopt a deferential, submissive attitude before they will agree to deal with them. They don’t need to drag people down to feel superior. They do not point and yell “critical spirit”.
They just answer questions.
Touch not my anointed
Psalm 105.15 "Do not touch my anointed ones; do my prophets no harm."
This oft mis-
(if there are not elders appointed in every town (generally each town had one church) Paul implies the setting up of biblical church government is as yet “left unfinished”. Teaching and preaching and ruling elders are all part of a mutually accountable eldership team in a local church. One person church leadership has no such biblical basis or any safeguards for the church members that come from a biblical accountability structure. A two person leadership where the second in command is appointed by the whim of an existing leader is no closer to any biblical model)
There has to be in place the God given approach to bring correction to a leader who church members think is in error.
1 Timothy 5:18-
(those who falsely teach that any attempt to correct or question a leader signifies defiance to God might be surprised that God Himself here makes provision in His church for just such an event.)
If it is claimed that the verse from Psalm 105 forbids any criticism of “anointed leaders”, we have the contradiction that here is a process for dealing with an accusation made by church members against a leader and yet we are told by some leaders that God has declared no such criticism or accusation can even be uttered.
If you leave the church “unfinished” (Paul’s word) by failing to appoint elders in every town, there is no one to operate this process anyway. Someone who claims the “anointed” cannot be criticised is invalidating both the other verses, and introducing a false teaching that leaders are a semi divine authority over their congregation and cannot be challenged no matter what they do. This is not a biblical position or one that anyone with even a slight knowledge of the history of the Christian church can sanely argue for.
Church leaders make small, careless, thoughtless mistakes all the time. Some have
Why was Ezekiel not condemned by this verse in Psalm 105 for saying the following against the shepherds (leaders) of Israel:
Ezekiel 34:4 “You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally.”
Was this a critical spirit or sinfully speaking against God’s anointed? The Bible makes no such claim. It declares this condemnation of the actions of God appointed leaders was the true and accurate prophetic Word of God.
According to the Bible -
So the New Testament writers, because they lived in the real world and were directed by God, set up safeguards to enable a Christian to always be able to understand and discern whether a leader was being honest and truthful and correctly communicating the will of God. As the verses above show these safeguards were:
Samuel 24.5 Then David crept up unnoticed and cut off a corner of Saul's robe. Afterward,
David was conscience-
This text has been used by some to try and silence people from speaking up about
leaders’ poor conduct or nonsensical teaching. There can be an attempt to present
this verse as a reason why once God’s anointing (or a position of leadership) has
been given -
That is not what this passage teaches.
This passage teaches.
David was living in the hills with a band of fellow good men (branded rebels and
outlaws by the failed leader). To suggest that in his heart he was not honestly critical
of Saul’s conduct and fully aware that the leader had lost his way with God is ludicrous.
To have approved Saul’s ongoing conduct -
To question and flee from such a leader’s conduct is shown in this passage to be
the action of a right-
The Biblical position is that Paul teaches this:
Galatians 1.8 But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let him be eternally condemned!
Paul teaches an important lesson here. He was the apostle who meant more to the Galatians than any other, who was their best support and mentor and spiritual father. He did not as a consequence of that demand because he is Paul the leader they recognise his superior character and obey his wisdom, his experience, his authority, and submit to his wise words whatever they were.
None of that.
He says even if he, their most revered leader, strayed and started to preach another
gospel they should join in proper condemnation of him. Even he as their most trusted
leader had to be evaluated by the Galatians hearing, considering, and rightly judging
his teaching to ensure his words were the true gospel. The fact that it was Paul
up front was never to be the deciding factor. Never authority based on who the leader
But surely if there is just an element of doubt or confusion about what is being said, you can question the leader and then the leader can fix the doubt by showing from the scriptures the true gospel is being adhered to. All then is well.
If the leader can’t explain their teaching is the true gospel -
If the leader has decided that you are coming to them with a flawed attitude and therefore they are entitled to refuse to explain the biblical basis for their teaching to you, then you have a much bigger problem.
In either case the correct response is to stick with the truth of the Gospel and God’s Word. The leader must meet you there, and satisfy you that they are utterly submitted to God as revealed in His Word or they cannot be your leader. Submit to their authority without a full and clear biblical basis for that authority and you step out from following God to following man.