One of the great warnings of scripture is the danger of perverting the word of God. God is not pleased when His words are misused, misapplied, or otherwise twisted to teach things He never intended. We fight this battle constantly with new Bible versions as often they are translated to satisfy certain consumers with their own theological axes to grind. Many translations are not translations at all but rather a commentary on scripture. There are Bibles to fit almost anyone’s viewpoint whether it be sodomites, feminists, genderless (or too many genders), too many verses (thus, infamous missing ones in the NIV), etc. etc.
We also fight against cults that want to include unusual, bizarre writings of their supposed prophets. These strange revelations (?) such as the Book of Mormon are claimed to be other testaments of sayings and doctrines that God left out of the sixty-six books recognized for centuries as canonical. The Bible contains its own internal proof of supernatural origin while these spurious books only have super stupid claims. The Book of Mormon is especially noteworthy for its almost comical attempt at sounding authoritative by its copying of King James language.
These are real problems to be confronted, but the one I want to speak of is the Baptist preacher who thumps the King James and declares it to be the infallible, inspired word of God without error even down to the way flowers should be pressed between its pages. I am speaking of that same preacher who has no problem twisting scriptures to accommodate his own ends.
Psalms 105:15 is a good case in point. The pastor will quote this out of context, “…touch not mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm.” The psalmist is speaking of Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob and how God called them and protected them to fulfill His promises to Israel. While it is true God has a special hand of protection on His ministers, it is also true that the people should hold them accountable. How well we as pastors should note that our usefulness is according to God’s eternal plan. Stephen was martyred after a very short career even though he was called a man full of faith and power. God had his vengeance on those who did the deed while using the evil that was done to glorify His name. How often have we used Stephen as an example of courage?
My problem is with the pastor who insulates himself from criticism and honest evaluation by claiming Psalm 105:15. He requires blind obedience, unwavering devotion, and near godlike worship. This pastor teaches people to never question his authority and never inquire about his teachings. And God forbid anyone should offer a word of correction when he has obviously missed something or misinterpreted a scripture. Touch not God’s anointed means “fall in line, don’t make waves, and if I go over a theological cliff everybody is sworn to go with me.”
Does God require absolute commitment to the pastor? This is a huge mistake. Even the great apostle Paul said who am I? God gives the increase. He wanted no followers except as he followed Christ. I would submit you had better research Christ to see if the pastor is following Him. It is unquestionably true that you should respect the pastoral position and the authority invested in him by God through the church. “Against an elder receive not an accusation, but before two or three witnesses” (1 Tim. 5:19). Moral and doctrinal accusations should not be charged lightly, but they can be charged. Aside from those types of glaring issues, pastors ought to welcome honest inquiries. I find no better teaching times than when I can walk someone through a doctrine or scripture I have taught.
I want you to be Bereans (Acts 17:11). I don’t consider it an offense when questions are asked. They sharpen me and show me areas that need better explanations. So, come with your questions. Those asked in the right spirit will be answered. Those asked in the wrong spirit will be answered too. Each receives their appropriate answers.
Pastor V. Mark Smith