I fear this post might confront some popular held beliefs about the word anointing. But if there is ever a word that is overused and abused, its this word. For awhile, I’ve been wanting to address how anointing is actually used in the Bible but James White of Alpha and Omega ministries has done a superb job. He addresses the phenomenon of catching the anointing that occurs at mass gatherings, using Benny Hinn as an example and compares it to how the Bible uses anointing.
Here is the key excerpt from White;
“Does the Bible know anything of an anointing that can be ‘received’ through the yelling of the word ‘fire’ and the waving of a garment (accompanied by choreographed music, lighting, choirs, etc.)? No, it does not. Most of the appearances of the term (χρίω; χρῖσμα, τος) have to do, of course, with the Messiah, the anointed one. But it does appear in reference to believers:
The One Who establishes us together with you in Christ and anointed us is God, who also sealed us and gave us the Spirit in our hearts as a pledge. (2 Corinthians 1:21–22)
This anointing is defined as the work of God and it is clearly connected with the dwelling of the Spirit in the believers, resulting in their union with the body of Christ. It is not some ecstatic secondary experience that comes later, it is primary, foundational, and universal. It is not something offered at revivals, it is definitional to what makes a person a Christian in the first place. It is not mediated by traveling evangelists, it is the direct and powerful work of God in the salvation of his elect people. Likewise, the phraseology appears in John’s epistle:
But you have an anointing from the Holy One, and you all know. I have not written to you because you do not know the truth, but because you do know it, and because no lie is of the truth. (1 John 2:20–21)
These things I have written to you concerning those who are trying to deceive you. As for you, the anointing which you received from Him abides in you, and you have no need for anyone to teach you; but as His anointing teaches you about all things, and is true and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you abide in Him. (1 John 2:26–27)
In each of these texts the anointing is something already possessed by the believers. They are not going to special meetings trying to get it; instead, their very standing in Christ is dependent upon the fact that they already possess this anointing. Clearly, this is the presence of the Holy Spirit in their lives, who is the downpayment, as Paul said, given by the Father promising the conclusion of the work God in redeeming the believer. It bears no resemblance whatsoever to tingling fingers and waving Armani.
So what is the true result of the presence of the Spirit? It can basically be summed up as ‘the opposite of what you see at a Benny Hinn crusade meeting.’ It isn’t flopping bodies and people being blown over. It is not Benny Hinn tossing the Holy Spirit around like a beachball. Let’s look to the Word:
For even though I am absent in body, nevertheless I am with you in spirit, rejoicing to see your good discipline and the stability of your faith in Christ. Therefore as you have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him, (Colossians 2:5–6)
The Spirit produces order, orderliness, stability, steadiness, not the wild swings of emotion and experience that mark so much of ‘Christendom’ today.
In pointing out these things to the brethren, you will be a good servant of Christ Jesus, constantly nourished on the words of the faith and of the sound doctrine which you have been following. But have nothing to do with worldly fables fit only for old women. On the other hand, discipline yourself for the purpose of godliness; for bodily discipline is only of little profit, but godliness is profitable for all things, since it holds promise for the present life and also for the life to come. (1 Timothy 4:6–8)
The believer engages in personal discipline, orderliness, purposeful sober-mindedness with a goal towards godliness, in their lives. This is not the result of being blown over by a Holy Spirit blast from Benny’s coat, it is the result of the Spirit’s work, making the Word come alive in the heart.”
Yes! The anointing is not some mystical experience we go seeking after but the power of the Holy Spirit to bear witness to Christ. I actually think the testimony of Christ is diminished in these kinds of gatherings that look more for some type of physical sensation than of exalting Christ. The Spirit’s power already residing in the believer is not fueled through manipulated mayhem but through teaching, exhortation, prayer and fellowship. You can read the entire article here.
Benny Hinn and his ilk are repugnant in their abuse of many (most?) biblical doctrines. I always appreciate it when that is clearly demonstrated with good exegesis, firm resolve, and a well-disciplined brush. Thanks for this post.
Thank you for speaking the truth regarding this issue.