Untwisting Scripture #2: Psalm 105:13-15 (The problem with Charismaniacs)

And they wandered about from nation to nation, from one kingdom to another people.

He permitted no man to oppress them, and He reproved kings for their sakes:

“Do not touch My anointed ones, and do My prophets no harm.”[Psalm 105:13-15]*

Do not speak against one another, brethren. He who speaks against a brother or judges his brother, speaks against the law and judges the law; but if you judge the law, you are not a doer of the law but a judge of it. [James 4:11]

This is a prime example of how some pentecostals, charismatics, and third wavers twist and distort Scripture.  I use a term I learned from the late Chuck Smith to describe such people: charismaniacs.  He used this term to denote those in the pentecostal/charismatic movement who elevated subjective experience over the propositional truth of Scripture. One of the marks of charismania is that whenever one of their own is placed under the scrutiny of Scripture to determine whether what is taught is accurate and true, they immediately trot these passages out to squelch any discussion of the matter.

The underlying premise they operate from is that teachers have a “special” anointing from God and therefore their pronouncements and dictates, no matter how far out in left field they seem to be coming from, are to be accepted on a par with Scripture without question and must be regarded as inerrant, infallible, and authoritative—regardless of whether or not those statements align with Scripture. And in the event of a clear-cut contradiction between Scripture and so-called “new revelational truth,” Scripture is relegated to second-class status.

The charges which are leveled at anyone who dares to question is that they have a “critical spirit.”  In other words, the charismaniacs are saying any believer who dares to question their form of popery or who states, or even hints, that some teachers are not teaching the word of God accurately, is demon possessed.  I had that very charge made to me by some woman on facebook who has never met me and who doesn’t know anything about me simply because I told her in a thread that her understanding of Scripture was not accurate.

In order to understand the depth of Scripture twisting engaged in by charismaniacs when they haul out these two passages, it is highly crucial that we look at the passages in their historical and grammatical contexts.  We cannot simply state that because this is what a passage says in an English translation and because certain teachers [who are usually involved in the name-it/claim-it heresy] say it means such-and-such, that such an  interpretation is accurate or true.

In the instance of the passage I cited from Psalm 105, two questions arise:  (1) Who are “the anointed ones?” and (2) Is it accurate to apply this passage to a specific class of believers in this dispensation?  In the first place, I charge charismaniacs of ignoring not only the historical context of this passage, but the immediate context as well.  In verses 8-12, the writer makes it abundantly clear that those “anointed ones” are Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob, and the passage is not a reference to believers in this dispensation.

But let’s assume for the purpose of this discussion that “anointed ones” could refer to believers in this dispensation, the next question would be, does this refer to a special class of believers?

The answer to that question would be a resounding “NO!”  There is no elevated class of believers who are to be regarded as “anointed,” while there exists a second-class group of believers who are not.  All who follow Christ are to be considered “anointed ones” according to Romans 8:9-11;  1 Corinthians 12:3;  1 John 2:20, 27.  Those who perpetrate charismania on the basis that there is a special class of believers who are anointed and a second class of believers who are not are promoting false doctrine and directly contradicting the word of God.

Let’s also examine their other pet passage for “refuting” those who would call them out on their heresy—James 4:11.  They claim it is a sin to “speak against” [the NKJV says “speak evil of”] a brother. But what does this mean?  According to the promoters of charismania, to “speak against” means to place any of their so-called special prophets and teachers under the scrutiny of Scripture to evaluate their teachings, and when those teachings are found to be in error—to call them out on it.

This is twisting Scripture again because it is reading into the passage a meaning which was foreign to the intention of the appointed writer—and by extension, the Holy Spirit who inspired the Scripture.

The Greek word rendered as “speak against” is καταλαλέω [pronounced “kah-tah-lah-LEH-o”].  According to the lexical section found in the Hebrew-Greek Key Word Study Bible, the primary meaning of the word is “to traduce, to slander.” [p. 2198].  I find no discussion of the term in either Renn’s Expository Dictionary of Bible Words, or the Theological Lexicon of the New Testament.  The Biblical Illustrator gives the primary meaning of the term to mean a willful false accusation.  John Gill, in his exposition of the Bible, states that it is “raising false reports, and bringing false charges.”

It is therefore an egregious twisting of Scripture to apply a word that objectively means “to traduce,” which Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition, defines as “to expose to shame or blame by means of falsehood and misrepresentation,” and say that it means any form of disagreement or criticism of someone.  It is this meaning which John MacArthur applies to the text when he notes:  “This means to slander or defame.  James does not forbid confronting those in sin, which is elsewhere commanded in Scripture (Matthew 18:15-17; Acts 20:31; 1 Corinthians 4:14; Colossians 1:28; Titus 1:13; 2:15; 3:10).  Rather, he condemns careless, derogatory, critical, slanderous accusations against others.” (MacArthur Study Bible, NKJV edition, p. 1933).

This brings up another word which charismaniacs like to throw out as an accusation:  being “critical.”  To criticize someone or thing means [again, according to Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary, Tenth Edition] “to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly:  EVALUATE.”  But the charismaniacs I’ve dealt with do not appear to be interested in objective, factual evaluation of any matter according to the standard of Scripture — at least if their actions indicate anything, since their discourse and logic are not rational or Scriptural.

Instead, the instant someone exposes a flaw in their interpretation of Scripture or use of terminology by appealing to objective sources, the ones I have dealt with resort to name calling and false accusation:  “You have a critical spirit.” [Which is their code for “I think you’re demon-possessed, so I don’t have to deal with you or treat you with any measure of courtesy.”]

What is obvious to everyone, except apparently charismaniacs, is that it is not defamatory or slanderous to accuse someone of false teaching or twisting Scripture, when one has factual data to back it up the accusation.  As an attorney once told me, “Truth is always a defense against a charge of slander.”  The Scriptural command is a prohibition against making false accusations, not against leveling an accusation which can be proven true.  It therefore follows that those who are willing to confront false teachers over their errors are not being critical, but demonstrating a greater love and loyalty to Christ and His Church than those who actively promote error or those who simply acquiesce to error, but try to stifle the voices of truth with false accusations that the voices of truth are “possessed of a critical spirit.”

Moreover, there is a certain level of disingenuousness, if not outright hypocrisy, being engaged in by charismaniacs when they say someone or a group of people are “possessed of a critical spirit.”  In the first place, there is no passage in the Bible which even indicates that such a spirit exists.

In the second place, even if such a spiritual entity did exist, Christians, who are indwelt by the Holy Spirit, cannot be possessed by a demon at the same time.  For those charismaniacs who claim that Christians can be possessed by a demon, I have one challenge to make:  prove it from Scripture.  I know some charismaniacs will point to the example of Peter in Matthew 16:23, but that eisegetical boat won’t float.  The incident in question where Jesus addressed Peter as Satan occurred BEFORE His ascension into heaven.  Therefore, at that point in time Peter was not yet indwelt by the Holy Spirit according to John 7:39.

This means that when charismaniacs run about accusing other believers of being possessed of a critical spirit because the other believers are speaking the truth of God’s word, the charismaniacs are being hypocritical.  They are laying false accusations against other believers, who are God’s anointed ones—and thereby violating the same Scriptures they falsely accuse their brethren of violating.

If the charismaniacs’ shabby application of Scripture is true, why is it not demonstrated in Scripture?  We have a vivid example of a respected church leader [Peter] engaging in gross misconduct in front of other believers in Galatians 2:11-21.  And this was AFTER Pentecost!  Peter was indwelt by the Holy Spirit.  But when he was confronted by Paul, did Peter puff out his chest with the arrogance displayed by contemporary charismaniacs and declare to Paul that Paul had no authority to criticize him because he was one of God’s anointed?   No, Peter’s own words suggest that he repented, because later in life he acknowledged Paul’s writings as being Scripture. [2 Peter 3:15-16]

The example of Paul’s dealing with Peter in Galatians 2:11-21 also refutes another claim raised by charismaniacs:  that when their teachers proclaim false doctrine, those who seek to correct them are obligated to approach them privately, following the pattern of Matthew 18:15-17.   Paul did not go to Peter privately when Peter sinned publicly.  The Bible states that Paul rebuked Peter “in the presence of all.” [Galatians 2:14]  There are many passages which instruct believers on to deal with those who willfully promote false teachings and practices: we are to “keep an eye on” [“note” in the NKJV] and “turn away from” [NKJV — “avoid”] them in Romans 16:17.  We are to consider them “accursed in Galatians 1:8-9 [Paul’s word inspired by the Holy Spirit—not mine].  We are to “keep away” [ “withdraw” — NKJV] from and “not associate” [“keep company” — NKJV] with such people according to 2 Thessalonians 3:6, 14.  We are to withdraw from such according to 1 Timothy 6:3 [NKJV — the phrase does not appear in the critical text of the NT and so is omitted from the NASB].   We are to “reprove” [“rebuke” — NKJV] them according to Titus 1:13 and 2:15.  We are to “reject” them according to Titus 3:10.  We are not to even extend such basic courtesies as hospitality or greeting them according to 2 John 10.  It stands to reason that when charismaniacs support false teachers like Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland, T. D. Jakes, Paul Crouch, Joel Osteen, Joyce Meyers, Beth Moore, Rick Warren, Ted Haggard, et al, and such false phenomena as the “Toronto Blessing,” they do so in defiance of Scriptural teaching and standards, and thereby become promoters of false doctrine themselves. When they set themselves at odds against those who seek to return the Church to the standard of Sola Scriptura, I charge that they are the ones who do not show evidence of a proper reverence for Christ, His word, or His Church. They are the hypocrites in word and deed.

*Unless otherwise indicated, all Scripture passages are from the New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by the Lockman Foundation. Used By permission. http://www.Lockman.org


About davestheology

I found a book that was kind of worn, But to my surprise, not a page was torn; It had a title, that I could not read, "Red Letter Edition" was all I could see.
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