“Touch Not The Lords Anointed”

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73 Responses

  1. I think a big problem is that Christians are not taught properly who they are in Christ. With no doctrine of vocation it is easy to see why most would default to the pastor being the one anointed of God to serve the rest instead of as you said – we are the anointed and I might add, anointed to serve our neighbor.

    When people speak of the temple of God, I tell them “if you want to see the temple of God, look in the mirror.” – and then I get the weird looks..

  2. Michael says:


    You hit the sweet spot…people are not taught properly who they are in Christ.
    We need to fix that…

  3. Michael,
    The funny thing is if you are not teaching people who they are in Christ, what are they being taught?

    Whenever a pastor uses the “touch not God’s anointed” meaning himself only, he is a rank impostor … but then again, perhaps no one ever taught him properly so he felt that his life goal was to strive to the position of “god’s anointed’

  4. Michael says:


    That’s a damn good question…
    I also agree with your assessment of a leader who thinks the term applies only to himself.

  5. Nonnie says:

    “Don’t touch….” I believe when I heard it, 1 Tim. 5:1 and 17-20 was referenced alongside it.

  6. Michael says:


    That’s possible…but as I’ve shown the passages are totally unrelated.

  7. Michael says:

    I’ll be blunt.
    One of the problems is evident here this morning.
    People don’t want to do the hard work of learning about their faith…they don’t want to deal with theology.
    They want spoon fed one day a week and then get upset when they find out that the spoon was full of poison.

  8. Nonnie says:

    Michael, exactly.

  9. Papias says:

    Good post!!

    I first head the “Touch Not the Lord’s Anointed” (TNLA) used by some of the more flagrant abuses of spiritual gifts and those who fleece the flock for their own gain.

    I was shocked when Chuck used it as a warning or sorts. While I never thought he was perfect, but I never thought he would stoop so low as to take the passage out of context and use it for personal defense.

    In the context, it seems to get used even by some mainline leaders when they feel like they are backed into a corner, so of as a warning to stop questioning them and to “get back in line”.

    Thats what bothers me. When people who know their Bible well enough to call foul when someone misqoutes Scripture, but seem to have no such qualms for themselves when the time comes.

    And it all seems to come about from the “how dare you question me!” mindset, and not of Christ.

    Any idea how many questions Jesus answered? Even when He was question about His authority, he answered – with a question of His own.

    Sorry for the ramble.

  10. Michael says:


    That was a fine ramble…and I agree.

  11. Jim says:

    MLD’s #1 nailed it. I like it when he’s not playing dumb. 🙂

  12. Michael says:


    LOL on the MLD.
    He’s quite insightful when he’s not starting riots… 😉

  13. Papias says:

    I started listening to Packer on Ephesians. Even though its from 1995, good stuff there. Our place in the Body of Christ was chosen before we ever had a chance to prove to oursleves that we couldn’t earn it. Grace.

    Did he write a commentary where he has this written down? That might be beneficial.

    ANd with that, I gotta get back to work…. 😉

  14. OK you guys – watch it. I don’t want to have to pull a 1 Tim 5:1 on ya. 🙂

  15. Michael says:


    He didn’t write a commentary as such, but he has written volumes on the topic.

  16. Scotty0 says:

    I think I dislike the misuse of that concept as much as I dislike the misuse of “being under a covering”, meaning that you cannot have a ministry unless you are “covered”, i.e. “sanctioned” by the church. Or you’re not spiritually “safe” unless you are under the authority of some religious leader. It comes from the old shepherding days and it seems not to have died in Calvary. Those two concepts are bondage makers when used incorrectly.

  17. Michael says:


    Those are two other good examples that need to be trashed…

  18. “covering”…

    now that’s a term that brings back a lot of fear, the idea that each and every person must have a pastoral “covering”, as in, “Hey, brother, who’s your covering?”

    the crap we church folk do to suppress and control each other knows no bounds!

  19. Francisco says:

    Even God’s anointed needed a Nathan in the local congregation. A true prophet who feared the Lord more than man, who was able to exhort the Lord’s anointed in love and when needed by saying “You’re that man” 2Sam12:7. We certainly need Nathans today and in our local churches and personal lives.

  20. Michael says:

    If we believe in the priesthood of all believers we don’t even have to lift up Nathan.
    Anyone in my church can challenge me about anything at any time…and they are all “qualified” to do so.

  21. Xenia says:

    Do you believe in ordaining men to the ministry? Any type of laying on of hands, anointing with oil, anything like that? If so, what does this accomplish?

  22. Michael says:


    I do…it publicly affirms their gifts and calling in the assembly.
    It does not exalt their gifts and calling above those given to the rest of the assembly.

  23. Neo says:

    A well known minister was caught having an affair through a torrid of circumstantial evidence. He fought it initially but in the end took (some) responsibility. He survived the mishap. That’s fine, in my estimation. Look at Noah, Abraham, David et al. Those were flawed men who relied on God’s grace.

    What sent chills down my spine is that many years later when the dust had settled, this minister pointed out how his critics’ ministries were no longer around and his was still thriving. He quipped to me, “I was in the wrong but there is something to be said about ‘touching the Lord’s annointed'”.

    Too often it’s all just a big game. Forgive me where I have taken part, Lord.

  24. Francisco says:

    Michael, you are absolutely right that any member of the body is qualified to challenge us but unfortunately some of us like to surround ourselves by “yes” men only. Some of us even avoid Nathan types to avoid ever being challenged in healthy way.

  25. Pam Kulwiec says:

    Finally! Some clarity as to why this phrase always bothered me. I heard it used so many times in my years of “organized” ministry. Often used towards a person who dared to question anything that the Sr. Pastor was overseeing, which in reality was everything because he was too insecure to let godly, honorable servants do anything without his permission. Even if they were serving, on their own, outside the church walls somehow he would see it as a reflection of the church. If it was successful, all of a sudden it was an “outreach” of his church, OR that person was asked to stop because now they were getting invitations from other places to come and talk about their ministry or get others to join in. So weird. No rejoicing in that person’s answer to God’s call to serve and minister. Just jealousy or suspicion.

    Anyway, I’ve gone way off topic. All that to say, my husband and I have always thought we are ALL God’s ministers and ALL anointed by Him. This just helps me make sense of why I’ve always known that. Thanks Michael!

  26. Yep, MLD did nail it in #1.

  27. Michael says:


    You’re welcome!

  28. Steve Wright says:

    I affirm we are all equal at the cross. And all anointed by the Holy Spirit at salvation. I affirm that using that verse is erroneous, and I hope it dies out. It’s another example of my oft-stated take that in many ways other than eschatology, some Calvarys are not truly dispensational. And that started at the top.

    Now…granting all those points…the key to Michael’s article in my opinion is “hard questions and honest inquiry” – every minister of the gospel should be able to handle hard questions and honest inquiry.

    However, the church (not just her pastors but the entire church) has enemies. Those who would “try to harm the work of God” – and truly I would not want to be in their shoes. So yeah, it’s apples and oranges but a lot of stuff going after Christians and especially leaders is not “honest inquiry” – it is agenda-driven and that agenda is not the glory of God.

    I’ll always remember when I was given a New Testament by the Campus Crusade guys when they would blanket the campus how I just knew I did not want to throw a Bible in the trash. I sure was not going to read it…and I did not even want to take it home and have it in my room…I could not have been more lost in those days, living for debauchery and on my way to hell…but still, you did not throw away a Bible.

    It is one thing to deny God, but quite another to go out of one’s way to poke your finger in His eye.

  29. Michael says:

    The key to me is that rogue pastors do more harm to the real work of God than the eye pokers.
    It is those of us who teach who will be held to the stricter judgement.
    Having said that…the fear of God is often what keeps me on the straight and narrow.

  30. Steve Wright says:

    The key to me is that rogue pastors do more harm to the real work of God than the eye pokers.
    My eye poker comment was not about college students who might throw a Bible in the trash (even though I used that example in my own life). Nor is it about the jokers in Oklahoma who want that satanic monument built or any one of a thousand other examples.

    I am talking about when “the real work of God” as seen in a solid local church, is harmed because of lies, false witnesses, lawsuits, PC-driven agendas and a myriad of other things. Not some investigative reporter making an honest inquiry.

    Current Example – Christian ministry agencies being fined and eventually shutdown because they do not toe the Obamacare agenda.

    How about those in academia who have a direct agenda to undermine the faith of their students – even the youngest of them. Jesus has a word or two on that….

    There is something to be said about the stupidity for attacking God and His people. Alas, the results are often not seen in this life.

  31. Steve,
    You are right, but… I have never heard a pastor talking about a college professor say to that person “touch not the Lord’s anointed.” or in any of the cases you mentioned.

    I would bet, if i were a betting man – (oh, wait, I am) that it is used almost exclusively by pastors against their own.

  32. Steve Wright says:

    MLD – I already said that it is an improper use of the verse. I only heard it myself from Chuck. Maybe if it is so popular you guys could list the names of all the other guys you hear say it.

    However, warning someone about screwing around with God’s people and God’s work sounds pretty right on to me.

  33. Michael says:

    I will bet that if I still had the archives we’d find me getting that phrase thrown at me at least a hundred times.

  34. Michael says:

    Hell, David Rosales probably said that to me that many times in one email… 🙂
    Then there was Heitzig and all his boys, Reis, Rosales, Smith, (Jeff and Chuck), the guy who was at CC Rome and that’s off the top of my head and off to tae kwan doe.

  35. “the guy who was at CC Rome ” – Pope Francis?

  36. Michael says:

    I don’t remember for sure, but Greg might have done me that way at a pastors conference too…

  37. Steve Wright says:

    Thanks…that’s what I figured….

  38. Reuben says:

    The things I want to say…

    Steve, there is a reason why I have to stay away from this blog. You just proved it again.

    Later folks. Sorry for dropping by.

  39. Steve Wright says:

    OK…now…forget everything we have said so far. And I have to run so I can’t engage on this further now…..Likewise, I am not trying to imply any present application whatsoever to pastors….

    But when I read the context of the verses, it seems to speak of Abraham and Isaac and Jacob – which would fit well with the history of those three and their families. THEY are the anointed ones.

    All my ESV study Bible cross references for those two verses are to Genesis.

    David said this, so when were the people wandering in the promised land as sojourners by David’s time? The wilderness wanderings can’t apply.

    In my opinion David is speaking to the history of the people, all the way to the beginning, and not in any way calling all of Israel God’s prophets. Just the three patriarchs.

  40. Steve Wright says:

    Reuben, I guess even when I AGREE with Michael on something (as I did here already) you still get upset.

    (My 28 – I affirm we are all equal at the cross. And all anointed by the Holy Spirit at salvation. I affirm that using that verse is erroneous, and I hope it dies out)

    But at least be honest, man. You’re not sorry about dropping by. You got your sucker punch in

  41. Linnea says:

    Heard this from many folks at CCABQ… my question is this…does Driscoll evoke this protection?

  42. Michael says:

    Yes, I believe so.
    Will look when I get home.

  43. Steve’s #39 made me look closer at the context.
    He has a point there.
    It does seem to be addressing the Patriarchs and not Israel in the wilderness.

  44. PP Vet says:

    When people criticize PhxPr I warn them, Touch not God’s disjointed.

  45. Francisco says:

    I concur with our brother Steve.

    The “Touch not God’s anointed”card should never be used by any shepherd as a defense since true God given authority makes no defense, is not afraid of challengers, and cares not if it is dethroned. I also believe that that a true servant of God steps down gracefully when asked to do so and is not ashamed to acknowledge this when asked by others. Christ set the standard of what it means to step down…….by doing so gracefully from His heavenly throne as the Word became flesh and dwelling among us full of Grace and Truth.

  46. brian says:

    When I have used “touch not God’s anointed”. When I am upset and want to blast a group of people or a certain person I think of real faces, real people. It has helped not go off the deep end, at least at times, from saying something I would regret. I do this alot in the real world because you folks let me be crazy when needed. Does that make any sense?

  47. Anonymous says:

    @32 Steve Wright said, “Maybe if it is so popular you guys could list the names of all the other guys you hear say it.” (“Touch not God’s anointed.”)

    Brian Abeyta
    Brian Michaels
    Gino Geraci
    MANY in the congregations of those mentioned above plus MANY more. The list is too long.

  48. Andrew says:

    Great article Michael!

    I believe the abuse of the phrase “Touch Not God’s anointed” and the abuse of needing a covering as mentioned @18 are just symptoms of a much larger problem and its not just casual misuse of the phrase. Which brings me to all the “Visions casters” of CC which fall into this category.

    You see there is absolutely no way to ever challenge a vision caster because they believe they received the vision directly from God and how dare you question the vision of the vision caster because its God himself you are challenging. I believe this mentality probably came right from Chuck Smith himself and was taught and propagated throughout the movement. Just my opinion.

  49. I hope no one here thinks that the term “Touch not the Lord’s Anointed” is an exclusive term used by CC. It is something that is used throughout independent American Evangelicalism where the pastor is the top dog.

  50. Andrew says:

    Good point MLD,

    It is a problem in the larger evangelical world but seems to be particularly apparent in the 4th largest non-denominational denomination in America that started with what is known as the “Moses Model” by Chuck Smith

  51. filbertz says:

    the “Touch not” teaching was concluded, taught, and received in error. It is evidence of weak hermeneutics, generous doses of ego, and susceptible listeners. An error, confidently expressed, can be perpetuated endlessly.

  52. Josh Hamrick says:

    “4th largest non-denominational denomination”

    All honesty, what are the 1st 3?

  53. Bob Sweat says:

    I thought it was “torch”. 😉

  54. Andrew says:

    “An error, confidently expressed, can be perpetuated endlessly.” Well said.

    I heard my pastor recently say that he is more unsure of things today than he is sure of things today. This was refreshing to me. Although he was careful to say that there were things he would fall on the sword and die for. This was also refreshing to me that he had convictions and a backbone.

    If other super confident pastors would take head with their highly contested, authoritarian non-essential dogmas we wouldn’t have these errors being perpetuated endlessly. I think the non-essential dogmas that many on this blog can agree on are the “Touch Not” mentality. The “Covering” mentality. The old “Shepperding days” mentality. The “Moses Model” mentality and the “Vision casting” mentality. To me its all the same and comes from one source “PRIDE”. And pride comes before a fall in one way or another. That is just the way I see and God please forgive me if I’m wrong.

  55. Jim says:

    I think “touch not” came from Chuck’s pentecostal roots. Prior to Chuck, I had only heard this in pentecostal circles.

  56. Michael says:

    MLD @ 49 and Jim @ 55 are correct.
    This significantly predates CC and has been a staple of American evangelicalism since the early 20th century at least.
    You’ll find it in writings defending the early frauds of faith healing.

  57. Michael says:

    We can play dueling commentaries with the OT exegesis of this text, but the NT one is clear.
    If you’re in Christ, you are the Lord’s anointed .

  58. Papias says:

    Ah….”Vision Casting” and “Having a vision” is another one of those loaded statements that sound uber spiritual, but I have at least one experience when someone tried to use it on me for their own reasons.

    When I was in CCCM College group, I had a small home fellowship that met in my home. We had a handful of people on a good night. 🙂 Except for one night that we had two guys from the COllege group show up that I didn’t know that well, and seem to be only there to see what was going on. More on them later.

    The guy who was “in charge” of of all the home fellowships in the college group(he had a HF, as well as maybe one or two others of us), wanted to meet with me, obstensibly to encourage me and find out how the HF was going.

    He asked me what the “Vision” was for the group. I told him that we were just getting together, I would share a Word from Scripture, we would pray for one another, and then we would hang out and have snacks.

    He told me “You need a vision from the Lord. That’s not a vision. And without a vision the people perish.” He then proceeded to tell me his plan – he had a guy in his HF that he wanted to come and take over my HF and lead it. (I asked him how he knew what was going on in my HF – he told me that he had sent a “couple of guys there to check it out”).

    I told him in no uncertain terms that his plan that wasn’t gonna happen. He proceeded to tell me that THIS was of the Lord and that I was in disobediance to Him. He threatened to go tho the pastor and I told him that would be OK with me – so long as I was there as well.

    I haven’t seen that guy since then.

  59. Andrew says:

    Jim, I think you are right. And although CC claims to in the middle road between wacky Pentecostalism and rigid fundamentalism, I think the reality is that they created their own hybrid that is distinct to CC. This actually creates more serious problems when their top dog leader says “Touch Not”!

  60. Ixtlan says:

    Yep, it is all a big game for some people, and they make it up on the fly.

    Great work Michael, thanks for this.

  61. Jeff Sheckstein says:


    What is your heart on this?

  62. I wasn’t disagreeing with the assessment of the misuse of the term, nor that we are now the Lord’s anointed.
    But, even I, a lay person, can read context and tell the patriarchs are in view in these passages. No commentary needed. Just read a few verses before.

  63. Michael says:


    What are you asking?

  64. So what exactly does “anointed” infer? I mean what would define such a term?

    It is used 96 times in the Scriptures.

    In this example it means “chosen one” or has chosen me.
    Luke 4:18
    The Spirit of the Lord is upon me, because he hath anointed me to preach the gospel to the poor.

    Are there other angles?

  65. Reuben says:


    It saturated your system long ago. Whether or not you believe it to be true, you said that you had only heard Chuck say it. The thing you refuse to believe is that what Chuck said is God’s Word so far as your system is concerned. This, and a vast number of other things. Other things that I have discussed with you in the past. Plugging your ears to the things your system teaches does not change what your system teaches.

    I have had that verse pulled on me 3 times now. All Calvary Chapel pastors. None of which were listed here.

    But it never happens. That mentality is never perpetuated in your system. Right? Or do I need to start cutting and pasting FB conversations with your boy at the helm of CCBC whom you defended?

    But that’s personal stuff. It does not belong on the blog. Remember Alex?

    Oh yeah, that never happens either. Pastor.

  66. Reuben,
    Why are you always so vindictive?

  67. Michael says:

    This is headed someplace that we’re not going to go.
    Everyone has had their say and that is all that is going to be said.

  68. Michael says:


    I’ll make a correction of the OT exegesis when I rewrite this for the book.

  69. Neo says:

    Rubes. I understand your hurt. But you’ve got to heal up at some point. It can’t be like this indefinitely, my man.

  70. Steve Wright says:

    Michael (and readers), I honestly had only heard Chuck use the expression in that manner. That was my experience. I was very clear that I think it is wrong to use it that way, and I hoped it would stop being used.

    I asked a legitimate question about who else used it. And got a lot of CC pastors – which (as I also wrote) is what I expected. It’s always been the case that some CC pastors quote Chuck’s take on Scripture as definitive. I don’t doubt that the guys you listed have used the verse exactly as Chuck has used it in the past. Nor did I say otherwise.

    Likewise, I have never heard anyone else in evangelical circles use the expression. That’s my experience. Others here have mentioned the Pentecostals and others, I have no reason to doubt that either.

    Now, that’s part of the value of this forum. Learning from each other, right? So what I thought was a foolish usage by Chuck and some of his closest followers I now see is broader than that, and encompassing a larger chunk of evangelicalism. I learned something.

    Now, there is no reason for anything in this discussion to anger anybody. The reality is that the people who folks are angry at don’t post here – and I do. And the other reality is, no matter what has been thrown at me in the past or currently in the present, I have never once played the “Touch not the Lord’s anointed” card against a critic. Nor will I ever.

  71. Steve Wright says:

    I would add this point. When I learn something is fairly prominent in evangelical circles, then I make a point to address it in my messages. As long as I think it is just a random interpretation of one person and his followers, I’m likely not going to do so.

    But if something is prevalent enough, then I will speak against it. Like I have often said, my participation here at PhxP has made me a better pastor over the years. I can address things, and influence the people under my pastoral stewardship for the better – and as such, over time and repetition we will see such stuff begin to fade away as more and more hear not just a different take, but the explained, accurate take – hey, this verse does not mean THAT.

  72. Xenia says:

    #68 Michael, what exactly is the topic of your upcoming book?

  73. Michael says:

    Church abuse in general and what to do about it in particular.

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