This post come after many years of wondering how some in the Church insinuate who is and who is not anointed, and dismissing many offhand, other Christians as if they’re not anointed.
So, I remember asking or being asked if I can be of service and help fill in for an associate pastor or young adult Bible study leader in their absense. I am willing. I wanted to learn how to prepare and write a bible study. I am interested. Teach me how to study the Bible. I want to know fully. What qualifications other than being a Christian must I have? So the leader agreed, sure, I can show you. But they failed to follow through.
When I pressed, because as the Bible says its good to be persistent; one leader in particular, got all frazzled and said to me, saying sternly, But you have to be anointed. I had at that time no idea what to say to that, and remained silent, but was urked. Am I not Christ’s disciple, and are you not to teach me and others?
I was very frustrated by that statement, and confused. First you agree that you’ll teach me, then you say I’m not worthy? It’s illogical. And just the other day, I was having a text conversation with a small group leader, who’s also an elder at his church, who’s about my same age, and he replied also, implied I was not anointed, seeing as I had neither a particular calling from God to do a certain thing or pertaining to a certain post in the church, nor was I confirmed by church leaders as anointed.
I said, this is true that I don’t know what God would have me do, nor do any come alongside me and help me figure that out. And some have audacity to say they don’t yet know my heart, but I am being very plain and open with them. But this I do know, the Word says it, all Christ’s disciples are to come to maturity, to know God’s will and instruction, and abide in Jesus, doing all that He said. I am trying, yet some hinder me. Why is that?
So I replied to him, Who are anointed? Is it not those who by God’s grace believe Jesus, and study, gain knowledge, and do as the Lord commands, fighting the good fight, to know and abide in Him, in Spirit, in truth and love? What more? Define the anointing you say I lack. I’m waiting for his reply.
He says, every church he’s attended, they all say, Surely you’re anointed. If he goes abroad, in a missions compacity or as a pastor to a pastors conference, he says that pastors come up to him and say the same thing.
Ok, I say to myself, I’m not the one saying, You’re not anointed, to you. But tell me you’re understanding of who is? And who isn’t?
And I asked him to define the anointing which he states I lack. To my understanding of scripture, these men are being too narrow. All Christians are anointed by the Spirit. Perhaps he means there are different anointing? Whereby he’s saying, yes all Christians are anointed, but some for particular tasks, received a special anointing to teach and preach and to mission? Well, again, how can you be anointed by leaders to be as a teacher, unless they first invest in you and teach you in the Word, and approve of or disapprove at some point? But all Christians are approved to learn and be taught All Things and encouraged and loved, in discipleship! But I am discouraged by some, who seem to say I am not anointed to learn and be tested. We’ll get to the testing and anointing as to whether I can lead, when we get to that point, but you’re declaring it before we get to that point. I looked at scripture to find out, to make sure of what in His Word, God says. And it does say what I just said. I understand, why don’t these church leaders? Again it’s quite illogical to me what they’re interpreting. Teach, and then approve or disapprove. But these men don’t teach, they don’t disciple.
On the other hand, I could sign up as a student at university, at a seminary, and if I have the money, they will very likely approve to teach me. But then also, do professors disciple biblically? Do they come to know each student intimately? No, probably few. You’ll have many professors, and each knows the individual student a little. Now maybe when you’re a Masters student, and smaller class sizes, and when you have a mentor assigned to you as you’re tasked with writing a graduate level paper on something, a thesis, then they may know you more than they did an undergrad.
And supposing the school graduates you, and you go to apply for a church position, that church will observe your credentials, and your manner of teaching and preaching, and whether it is true and solid. But I feel as if I’m judged beforehand as to whether I’m even a Christian, and although they’re not denying I am, neither are they conforming it. I take this very seriously.
This narrow definition they use may be at the very heart of why true discipleship is nearly abandoned, and university education so widely observe in its stead. In scriptural account, we see Jesus chose 12 disciples, and personally taught them everything over time. This is an anointing, the Lord chose them. And they were to be the first disciples of many, setting a pattern according to Jesus, the perfect example from which the pattern was cut, whereas one disciple invests in another, and helps create, if the Spirit (which anoints believers for service and priesthood) falls on a man, as a copy. And so it goes on and on.
That’s another thing, and associated with anointing. Who are Jesus’s priests and priesthood? We’re all called to it! Every single one of us, who are His people and His Church. Jesus is making His disciples to be like Him in every way. In time it will be so, at His coming He will perfect His people.
So, every Christian is anointed, having God’s Spirit. A man is chosen first of God to be a disciple of Jesus, an anointing given by His grace, and is evidenced by the person’s confession of faith in Jesus, Son of God, lived perfectly in righteousness, confessing Jesus’s atoning sacrifice justified alone, and received His Holy Spirit, as a seal upon him. And every Christian anointed with a gift of the Spirit, though these gifts vary according to God’s will.
Now it is also true that each mans anointing must be evident to other members of the Church. And there are tests in scripture. Test them, it says. So making sure they really know the truth and are known of God, and do not profess another Gospel. How is this accomplished? Again, through discipleship, we learn about our brothers (and sisters) in Christ. The one yet trapped in sin and doesn’t repent and doesn’t have works through faith, that is, isnt being sanctified by the power of His Spirit, isn’t likely anointed, and neither are they saved. Though yet they still might be saved at some point, we don’t know for sure, or idling in their faith. If the latter, they should be instructed according to the Word, repent, do as the Spirit says, be discipled and encouraged not to stay in their sin, resist sin, put on the armor of God.
Surely I have been anointed! I know it. My pastors attest to it, though not using that word, they know me, and I am open as a book to them. And though I struggle with some sin, and no one is perfect, yet other sin are behind me now and dead. This is proof positive. And this wasn’t possible of myself and my own will, but the working of the Spirit through faith.
And I am further encouraged in this, that there is yet reformation to be had, more clarity. Jesus shines like the sun, and his feet like burnished brass. How does His Church shine? Some, and perhaps with patina also, needing more polish. Though I’m also disappointed some, for the same, at the condition of the Church, it widely doesn’t know discipleship, doesn’t know the Law of Christ so well, and yet clings to traditions of men. And who am I to reform the Church? They pay no attention. And I’m cool with that. First things first, I am to conform to Jesus, in His Spirit, denying myself, taking up my cross, removing planks and splinters – in my own eye – as the Spirit shows and enables by His Power. I can do nothing of my sheer will alone, and know it. I am not reliant on men for this, but of God. Then He will use me, however He sees fit, and doors will open, He will lead me. I am sure of it.
That was my error however, for so long, looking to learned men and pastors to teach me and possibly, having tested me in all accountability, reliable, and yielding to their oversight and authority as elders and pastors, because I am no rogue, appoint me to something. They do neither. And since they don’t disciple, neither do they have any disciples of their own to claim, and neither do they raise up leaders or elders, but merely seem to adopt elders who were raised in another church, and pastors made someplace else, to another’s credit. These them seems like a dead church in many ways. If the pastors and elders growing old, died, who would take their place from within this congregation? They would have no ready men of their own, and would have to post the jobs online, to find someone from somewhere else. This is not what we see in the Bible. I keep saying that now, and it falls ordinarily on deaf ears. But there have been a few associate pastors who concurred, You’re right, they said, we don’t do discipleship as the Word entails. But, they said, the elders and pastor think what we do is, and is enough. It’s not me who’s right so much as the Word. The Word is right, and I merely agree. We must endeavor to bring all the Church under the Word.
God comforts me, He is Himself rearing me up where many refuse to disciple and teach me all things, and He instructs me to forgive those their narrow sight, and neither speak badly against them. I won’t mention their names. Instead I pray for them, talk to the younger or same age as I personally as brothers. And if they’re older, with the honor due as to a dad or parent, and not harshly rebuke. I will and am waiting on the Lord, and do not go out and preach and establish a congregation and lead and teach nor go off and be a self appointed missionary. It’s not yet appointed of me by Him, but neither is that evidence that it won’t someday be the case. If anything, I am trying to be faithful, that is why I yet wait to hear clearly.
But this much I see clear as noonday, I must be discipled and become mature in all truth and love. If however it is to be, that someday I shepherd or as an elder teach, then there will be a robust discipleship, God willing. And I will be more gentile and loving and encouraging, and unswerving to the Word, to the best of my ability according to His grace and mercy and gifts, because that is what I longed for and didn’t find readily. I thank God for my struggle with some people, who are my brothers, as it pushed me ever closer to Him. Thanks for that, though you discouraged me, God is willing and took it upon Himself. We need more brothers in Christ, even closer than brothers, and not simply church peers and members. Brothers, sisters – we are family; and family ought not be so indifferent to one another, but love, and grow in love.
When I go to another congregation, I will strive again With them. I will say, I want you to know me, and I will hold nothing back. Before I was born again, these were my sins. And God by His Spirit clensed me of them. And I will confess, Jesus is Lord, my savior lives! I will do all that I know how to approve to you that I am in Jesus. And yes, I do aspire to be an elder, the Word says that’s good. But first a deacon, if that is here. Or I will be a greater if that is the least. I aspire to serve the body of believes, where can I? And someday I may, if and when you say I am approved and capable. Let’s pray together, and eat together, and live together, as brothers, and hear what God says.
Dear God, help me not to encounter more discouragement in your Body, show me your will and make a way. If the least in service is desired of me, very well, perhaps to paint the church fence and mop the bathrooms, help me do it with all reliability, humility, thanksgiving and cheerfully. I know I did not do very well before. As audio tech I got tired of it after a several years, and couldn’t wait to stop doing that. Getting there before evertone, and leaving after everyone, not hearing the message but anxious for the cues of service order. And I didn’t like tending the garden and grounds and pulling weeds, but I’m not too good for dirty labor. I did not want before to be a greeter and usher. Now I see it differently! I want to be a faithful man of God, to know your will and full of your knowledge and full of your love and serve well those who are yours. Amen.
I will come back to this and add scripture as I study further. Until then, this link was helpful and contains cites of the Word concerning: Who is anointed.
You are Anointed 1 John – posted by CARN Org
Duties of Elders in the Church – from Got Answers dot Org
The more I study this – and I haven’t studied it long, I must still say, I don’t know. For yes the body of believers, each Christian is anointed of the Holy Spirit. And yet, is there a special anointing of God to elders, teachers, pastors? That does seem so. But when reading scripture, say Peter or Paul plants a church, and apoints reputable, wise, knowledgeable men who are not ensnared in sin, we can’t say sinless since all men yet sin, but not grievous or habitual or intentional sin. And scripture says its good to inquire of these roles, so long as one doesn’t do so because of pay or gain or vain glory or lord it over those they’re entruated with. This second link (above), better explains this, with scriptural passages as examples.
I’m troubled by what these two men in the church have said. One saying, concerning my wish to help with young adult bible study, and after agreeing he would tutor me in such, said, You’re not anointed. And I don’t follow, What do you mean by that? If you’re saying you’ve not been chosen by the elders in the church to lead the young adult bible study, you’re correct. But what prohibition is there in learning and assisting you who were chosen? And how were you chosen for that, before you knew how, or after you learned and demonstated to them that you could?
I think I’m being shot down before ever being given a chance to learn and prove myself. One might suppose, they’re lording their position over me. If it’s good to aspire to roles in the church, says scripture, let me aspire. And if Im not yet fit to be considered, tell me why not?
The more I think on it, the more I am sure I am not yet fit in fact to lead or teach. And reader, note that, please, and do not take this blog as if I’m some pastor or teacher. I am just a student! I am learning as you are. Perhaps one day my congregation will ask me to be a deacon, I hope so. And maybe after thag, and elder. And maybe not soon after that, when I truly know and am fully formed in Christ, pastor. I know my thorns, my pastors know them, since I confess them and work in the Spirit again them. So they and I both know, I’m not fit yet to be an elder.
Really, where I have taken issues, is with associate pastors, who seem less wise and knowledgeable. I don’t think they’re really that different than me in that regard. Even the group leader supposed and said to me, You probably know plenty having been a Christian for 15 years, to share the gospel, and know as much if not more than many missionaries we meet in foreign nations. I replied, Yeah, probably so.
But ask me what should be a simple question to answer, like, Who is anointed? And I have to study it more first. I don’t know. Or I know in part, but not fully.
When however I think on the elders at my church congregation, the title does not necessarily infer that they also teach or council – like the elders in the Bible do. I know of one particular elder which does sometimes teach, and I have been drawn to him for council. I see that he cares, he and his wife, and they have told me the Lord sent him to seminary. But the others, I know they have “helps” roles and oversee finances and facilities, and they pray for the congregation before service, and over the sacraments.
I didn’t like the assumption of these two, the associate pastor and group leader, that I know what they mean when saying I’m not anointed. In one sense, I am anointed, as a fellow Christian, and in another I am not, since I am not yet chosen for a particular role.
I have questioned my own motives. Am I just jealous of them? No, I don’t believe so. I catch them being flippant, unreasonable and irrational, and think, in light of that, how can they suggest I’m less faithful?
Where the one had said I was not faithful, the associate pastor, seemed to regard that I irregularly attended Sunday services as unfaithfulness. Now, if said associate pastor says the 4th commandment was nailed to the cross, then there is no law that I need to go to sunday services. And if there’s no longer a law, then I cant be unfaithful for not going. But going to chirch or not going to church, isn’t in the 4th commandment any way. It would be prudent, to fellowship and worship together, but it doesn’t seem like it has to be that every sabbath. But if the 4th was abrogated to sunday, which I think and believe from study is not true and just a roman catholic misinterpretation and mans doctrine not God’s, and is still to be kept holy today, and the 7th day at that not the 1st, than neither do they keep it holy, because they buy and sell, and do not give the whole day to the Lord. See where I’m going with this? How does he use that against me and say Im unfaithful? He’s also unfaithful in that regard. But Im not suggesting anyone, with even the best intentions and knowledge does keep it holy.
But the hearts intention and motives, attentive to Christ’s commands, that’s what God longs for. He knows we neither understand His Law perfectly, nor can do it perfectly – and strive to uphold it any way, because Christ commands it, it’s good and righteous and teaches man to depart from his sin into godliness.
Let’s say for instance, moving back to the discussion of elders, teachers….that I’ve been faithful and of good repute at my local church, and the elders there come and say, Would you become an elder with us? Or perhaps they want a deacon. Really, truly, I would not take this lightly. Nor should they. We should all pray to God for His will to be done, not ours. For right now, in comparison of the elders, they not I, are held to their responsibility and are accountable to God and over mens souls in their care. But I, not being an elder or teacher, am not held to that higher standard, neither having their teaching office nor souls of rhe congregation in my care. They will be judged on their teaching and position to a greater degree. I know this, I hear the warning in scripture loudly.
All I’ve ever asked was to be discipled, to be trained, mentored. Feed me, I’m hungry! I feel I’ve been a little raised up in the church, and then just left at the doorway or in the pews. And so much more in the Word, God is excellent and teaches. We all need mentors however. Why does the Word call for discipleship if not? If for no other reason, accountability. I recognize my need for accountability. And I am afraid to err in the Word, because I am fearing and love God. And that’s what these men are who are elders do, they’re to teach, council, mentor, among other duties of upholding the church. But if some don’t teach or council, then what special, separate anointing did they get from God? They did meet the scriptural requirements some, of good repute, perhaps wise, men of only one wife, and so on. And so we see in that second link also, traditions that differ in regards to whom qualifies an elder. More strict to the Word in some denominations, less strict to the Word in other denominations.
But its also true that I didn’t approach each elder one by one and ask. I asked the pastor and then the associate pastor. So I have to take responsibility there, I could have gone further and exhausted all options, asked all the elders till one would mentor and disciple, taking me under their wing as it were, and I did not.
Ok, then – next time I will not give up so easily and be discouraged. I will ask the pastor, then the associate, then the elders, then the deacons, then the youth leader, and will be most persistent.