Circumventing Church Discipline


An Examination of “Touch Not the Lord’s Anointed”

Expanded Edition

Robert Wurtz II

Then tidings came to Joab: for Joab had turned after Adonijah, though he turned not after Absalom. And Joab fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD, and caught hold on the horns of the altar. And it was told king Solomon that Joab was fled unto the tabernacle of the LORD; and, behold, he is by the altar. Then Solomon sent Benaiah the son of Jehoiada, saying, Go, fall upon him. (I Kings 2:28-29)

Joab had conspired against Solomon to bring Adonijah into power. Fearing for his life he made a last-ditch effort to save his skin. What did he do? He ran to the tabernacle and took hold of the horns of the altar. This was a practice established under the law as a means of offering temporary asylum to those who had killed someone until it could be rightly determined whether the act was accidental, justified or murder. If the act was accidental or justifiable the killer was instructed to flee to a city of refuge where the avenger of blood could not pursue them (Numbers 35:10-34). However, if a person presumed to go into the tabernacle to take hold of these horns to avoid just punishment they were to be taken away even from the altar (Deuteronomy 19:4-14 Exodus 21:14). In other words, Exodus 21:14 kept Numbers 35:10-34 from being abused and Exodus 20:13 (Thou Shalt Not Murder) or any other capitol offense from being circumvented. Joab clearly abused the practice of “taking hold of the horns of the altar” so Solomon commanded that he be struck down- even before the altar.

A Satanic Doctrine

Likewise, in the churches of God, we are commanded and expected to deal with threats to the churches and to do so with the utmost care and resolve. God (not man) established the doctrine of church discipline and He expects that doctrine to be carried out. Why? For the protection of the saints and the salvation of the sinner. Understand that no matter who a person supposes themselves to be — they are subject to church discipline. That means everyone without exception. There are no special people in the Kingdom of God who are above the laws of God. In fact, we are told in Acts 10:34, Romans 2:11, and Galatians 2:6 that God is no respecter of persons no matter who they are promoted to be.

Believe it or not there are people who move within the churches who think they are special and chosen — insomuch that God has their back and will curse those who speak against them. To most of us this sounds like lunacy and devilry, but nevertheless they are there. How do we deal with these self-styled “special” and “chosen” people? We deal with them the same way we would the janitor in the church or the sinner who just joined it. God is no respecter of persons. He doesn’t have a set of laws for the “chosen ones” and another set for everyone else. 

No doctrine can be allowed to circumvent church discipline. Many may call themselves ‘prophets’ of ‘prophetesses’ or even apostles, but that proclamation is no exemption from church discipline. There are no free passes for deceivers and sinners in the Kingdom of God.

Touch Not the Anointed?

We have all heard the stories about some poor soul who dared to “touch the Lord’s anointed” and his house caught on fire or he fell over dead the next day. Nonsense! If we were to sit down and draw a line from tragic events to people in this way we could make the Devil look like a saint and have a story to prove it. These falsehoods not only need to be rejected… they need to be repented of and renounced utterly. The anecdotal justifications for such false teachings abound and poor ignorant souls sit and tremble in fear lest they be cursed for touching one of these self-styled anointed ones. 

What happened? Circumstantial horror stories are used to spark the fear of God in people so that that fear can be transferred to a man (or woman) making them untouchable. The people teaching it don’t even have the wisdom to see that the doctrine itself has brought a curse. The old timers used to speak of lies that were “hatched out of hell.” This is one of them. I suggest that one of the most destructive and diabolical lies of our generation is “touch not the Lord’s anointed.” It has produced scores of false teachers and sinners who believe they are above reproach, church discipline or even criticism. Understand that people are all too willing to pull snippets of scripture and doctrine from the Old Testament that are convenient for their purposes. If “touch not the Lord’s Anointed” was merely a typical example of such nonsense it would be one thing, but this is far more severe and dangerous. 

Every scripture has a context and without it… you have a pretext. Consider this line of reasoning from three snippets from the New Testament … “Judas went and hanged himself” … “Go and do thou likewise” … “Whatsoever you do — do quickly.” This may seem comical but this is how the Old Testament is frequently abused. What about “touch not the Lord’s anointed?” God set in order a precept in the Old Testament to protect prophets, priests, and kings from abuse. He issued a warning against those that would come against the ones that He had ordained to His service (Psalm 105:15). 

However, when David sinned with Bathsheba he understood that he deserved the death penalty. Kings were not exempt. Prophets were not exempt and priests were not exempt. In fact, if a so-called prophet were to give a false prophecy he was to be put to death (Deuteronomy 13:5). Just like the case of Joab, God’s word has within itself safeguards to make sure that no principal or truth can be abused or exploited. For the false prophet and the adulterous king “touch not the Lord’s anointed” did not apply to them and could not save them in the day of their sin no more than the horns of the altar could save Joab.   

Heretical and Sinful Leaders

“Touch not the Lord’s anointed” is creating monsters in the church. We are commanded in Titus 3:10-11 to reject a heretic after the second warning and to note and shun people who do not follow the doctrine Paul set forth (2 Thess. 3:14). Don’t fellowship with them or eat with them. Paul warned us in 1 Corinthians 5 to put wicked fornicators out of the church until they repent. In other words, these destroyers of the churches don’t need just ‘touched’ they need to be excommunicated in some cases. Jesus congratulated the church at Ephesus for condemning false apostles as liars (Revelation 2:2). There can be little doubt that these men professed themselves to be ‘anointed’- not just ‘anointed’ but apostles! This is how they established themselves. It is the enemies strategy. 

There is no such thing in the New Testament as a sinner or heretic being under God’s special protection because someone believes they are or were at some point in their life anointed (like king Saul). If a person is causing destruction in the churches they must be dealt with no matter what their name or title is. I don’t care if they raised a thousand people from the dead — they are still subject to church discipline. Period. End of story. 

Only Satan could make acquiescing to lies and deceit appear nobel and biblical. He has provided the proof texts for the green light many in the churches are giving these deceivers and sinners. Prosperity peddlers, false prophets, adulterers and a host of other compromises and lies today are holding the horns of the altar as did Joab whilst pushing around the voices of Truth as did Zedekiah. Yet Solomon stated, “He who justifies the wicked, and he who condemns the just, both of them alike are an abomination to the LORD”(Proverbs 17:15). It is an abomination to allow lies and deceit to go on in order that the so-called “anointed” would not be touched. And it is an insult to God and man to condemn people who would seek to deal with the so-called anointed with “touch not the Lord’s anointed.” Sadly, many are handing the wolves the keys to the chicken house thinking they are doing God a service. It has to end. This doctrine must once-and-for-all be rejected, repented of, and renounced as the diabolical error and falsehood that it is and for the inexpressible evil that it has already caused. Perchance much future damage and destruction might be avoided. 

The Enemy of Unity

First Published 5/13/15

Robert Wurtz II

Now I plead with you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment. (1 Corinthians 1:10 NKJV)

It is hard to fathom how a group of saints could argue over who was the most spiritual and yet act as carnal as did the Corinthians. “I am of Paul, I am of Apollos, I am of Cephas, etc.” were just a few of their symptoms of profound carnality. Add to that misuse of the gifts of the Spirit; taking each other to court, and fornication not even seen among sinners, and there was a recipe for a feud that threatened to make a total mockery of Christ. 

Sin is the enemy of unity in the churches of God and carnality is its partner. Paul used the strongest of terms to plead with the Corinthians for unity of mind and of judgment. A cursory reading of the epistle demonstrates that though they believed they were spiritual, they were actually carnal. Carnal simply means “fleshly.” They act in discord of God’s will and word. They are moving in a different revelation than what we are taught of Christ. In fact, the Corinthians had backslidden to the point that Paul could not speak to them as spiritual people. (1 Cor. 3:1) He had to use carnal (non-spiritual) illustrations. 

Sheep and Goats

Since a plea for unity was one of the first orders of business, it is essential that we understand why many churches will never be in unity. First, there can be no unity between sheep and goats or sheep and wolves. This is common sense. Can two walk together if they are not agreed? This is one of the greatest issues we face in modern times. Too many people who name the name of Christ are not truly born of God. They are still “in Adam” and are not “in Christ.” They are old creatures in which the old has not passed away. They are unregenerate and of their father the devil. 

God’s children and Satan’s children simply do not see eye to eye. This means that they were never brought into a Spiritual state, to begin with. Many simply said a little prayer and were never changed. They are goats who believe they are sheep. They challenge the sheep’s perspective on issues bringing disunity of mind and judgment.

They who are still in Adam are operating under a different head than they who are in Christ. They walk according to the course of the world, according to the prince of the power of the air — with a spirit that wills and works disobedience to God. (Ephesians 2:2) They who have been born from above have had an experience in which they have been baptized into Jesus Christ. (1 Cor. 12:13) The Holy Spirit works in them both to will and do what pleases God. This is why the scripture uses the qualifier “if” when it says, “If any man be in Christ he is a new creature.” The individual must have been born of the Spirit (John 3:3) or they are still in Adam and are subject to the carnal mind that is at enmity with God. Their heart must have been replaced and a new Spirit given to them or they are not a new creature. (Ezekiel 36:26) If they have not this experience they are not a “son” or “daughter” from which the Spirit cries within them ABBA Father. (Romans 8:15)

Sheep and Goats 

The scripture uses many metaphors to demonstrate this transition from being “in” Adam to being “in” Christ. An important example is that of being “sheep”. Jesus stated, My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me. (John 10:27) This is not a Christian psychic. This is a person who does God’s will. They listen to the words of Christ and obey them. That is, they “hearken” (hear and obey) unto the voice of the Lord. It is ‘normal’ to them. This means that they are in subjection to His will and that subjection takes precedence over their own desires. Goats are not so. They do their own will. 

By contrast, we can say that the sheep are ‘in’ Christ and the goats are “in” Adam. Those who are His sheep are they who respond rightly to God’s voice in genuine faith. Those that died in faith prior to Pentecost (Acts 2:1-3) responded to God as He drew them near to Himself according to the measure of the covenant possibilities that applied to them. The goats spent their lives resisting the Holy Ghost and living according to their own will. Taking these things into consideration we start to understand that sheep and goats can never truly be in unity. They may come into one accord in certain areas, but the core of their nature is different. They are dancing to different drummers.

Having Begun in the Spirit

It is important to understand that when we talk about unity among professors of Christ that the unity we desire is the unity of the Spirit (Ephesians 4:3). It is impossible to gather together two or more individuals and have them come into unity unless there is a common basis for that unity. For Christians, all parties involved must be submitted to God and His will or there will be division. 

A basic point to make is that the Holy Spirit and the word of God agree. When that same Spirit dwells in us causing us to will and to do God’s good pleasure we are enabled to come into unity. But this can never happen if the individuals involved do not have the Holy Spirit. (Jude 1:19) If a person does not have the Holy Spirit they by default have the spirit of the world. (1 Cor. 2:12) If they have the Holy Spirit God works in them both to will and to do His good pleasure. (Philippians 2:13) This is essential. Paul uses the language of having begun in the Spirit… (Galatians 3:3) That is the beginning point. If an individual has not begun in the Spirit then they are operating under the spirit of disobedience and can never be spiritual while in that state. This makes any kind of unity between them and the children of God almost impossible. They are going in totally different directions.

That they May Be One

“I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are[…]” (John 17:20-21)

God is a plural unity. The Jews learned this in the Shema. Deut. 6:4 reads literally, Shmai Yisrael Adonai Eloheynu Adonai Echad. That translated means, Hear O’ Israel the Lord your God is ONE. The Hebrew language has two words that can be translated “ONE”: echad and yachid. Whereas yachid (yah-keed) refers to the number one (i.e., absolute one), echad (ek-kawd) refers to a composite or a plural unity (like the Trinity). God is three persons and one substance. Jesus teaches us that His desire is that believers be as the Hebrew term ‘echad’ (plural unity) even as He and the Father are ‘one’ (plural unity).

In the prayer of John 17, Jesus prayed. . . “that they may be one, as thou Father, art in Me, and I in Thee, that they also may be one in Us; that the world may believe that thou hast sent Me.”(vs. 21) This is an awesome consideration. The Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit are in absolute unity of mind and purpose. Each one must contain an identical nature. Each one must be holy, righteous, just, love, etc. If not, unity would be impossible. So as we consider this we can understand that to be one with each other we must walk in the Spirit in absolute submission to God and His will. To do this we must walk in the power and influence of the Holy Spirit.

Carnality is the Enemy of Unity

It is ‘possible’ for those who are truly in Christ to live in a ‘state’ of carnality and bring disunity to a congregation. If we allow ourselves to be pressed into this world’s way of thinking we can function as if we were carnal (as mere men Romans 12:2, I Cor. 3:3). This is when division begins. Yet the cure is always the same — repentance. God has big plans for His churches. These plans must be born in heaven and revealed in the earth. Each individual must be sold out to God’s plan and purposes. 

There is no place for self-seeking in the Kingdom of God. Self-seeking will cause division. Anything that does not promote the unity of the Spirit is a source of division. One may find a means of bringing a group of fully carnal men and women into unity and yet we may know that a group of Spirit filled men and women may be in unity- but it is impossible to bring a mixture of carnal and spiritual men and women into genuine unity. They are operating under different spirits. The two cannot walk together because they are not agreed. (Amos 3:3) This is why any two must gather together ‘in His name.’ If they gather together in their own name there cannot be a unity of the Spirit and Christ will not be present. But any place where there exists a conscious dependence on Christ and a willingness to surrender to His absolute headship- unity is possible.

Unity Begins with the Word of Repentance

Until the carnal mind is dealt with there can be no unity. So unity must be regained through a call to return to the absolute Lordship of Jesus Christ in all walks of our lives. This is the only hope. The alternative is complete discord. As men gather together in the name of Christ may they consciously lay aside all for His will. Until men and women get in step with the Spirit they are nothing more than a loose band of individuals. They are an orchestra or choir with no director — each playing and singing their own tune in their own key. But as we fully surrender to Him — those who have begun in the Spirit are enabled to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of perfectness.