What about ‘the anointed one’?

anointing-oilI’ve been in churches where the pastor was seen as the ‘anointed of the Lord’. It is a strange phenomena where the Old Testament anointing of kings is assumed to be given to a church leader. “Because David didn’t want to lay a hand on Saul because he was the anointed of the Lord, church members are not allowed to criticise the leader”, is the assertion. “And because the anointing teaches you about all things, the pastor is always right.”

3 reasons why this does not hold true:

1/ From history we learn no anointed one was perfect, not even David. He wasn’t allowed to build the temple, the ‘House of God’, because he had blood on his hands. The anointed Saul had taken it so far that the kingship was taken from him.

A church leader is a human being and thus capable of making mistakes, also when the Holy Spirit gives him of her wisdom and insight. It is also important the congregation realises this and doesn’t expect the pastor to be infallible. That they give room to make mistakes. The church is one body that strengthens, supports and helps each other with the talents and gifts of all the individual members.

2/ David knew he was capable of making mistakes and that his judgement was not perfect, despite his anointing. Who was he to decide what should be the fate of a man who was inappropriately critical, but maybe used by God? David was cursed by Simi at a time he was suffering already, but he didn’t want to stop the cursing because maybe the Lord had told Simi to do so. It is almost impossible to believe David did this. He was the king after all and he let this happen.

This certainly is no plea that pastors should accept all shit they get thrown at them, but David shows here he gives room to critique. He doesn’t take it personally at once, but waits. Time will tell if Simi is right.

This isn’t a permit for church members to vent their frustrations at their pastor. I’ve said before that church leaders are human beings, so they have feelings, take that in consideration. First tell to yourself what you want to say to your pastor.

3/ In the New Testament every believer has an anointing from the Holy One. We all are the ‘anointed of the Lord’, because we are sharing in the anointing of the Messiah, the Christ (= the anointed one), who gave us His Holy Spirit.

It isn’t that some are more equal than others or that some are always right. All have sinned, nobody is perfect, nobody owns the truth. The great king David knew this very well.

In humility value others above yourselves, not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others. In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus”