Is Anointing More Important than Character?

image I just read the current Fire in My Bones article by J. Lee Grady: “No More Monkey Business in the Ministry“. It is truly amazing how this article continues along the same line of the post I wrote yesterday. Grady documents a few more that boldly continue in the ministry in spite of major moral failures.

He quoted one pastor, Jamal Harrison-Bryant, who was accused of adultery, fathering a child out of wedlock, and divorced by his wife yet continued pastoring:

Yet Bryant preached a now-famous sermon in the church in which he used King David’s story of adultery with Bathsheba to defend himself.

“I am still the man!” he shouted from the pulpit as worshippers stood and cheered. “The anointing on my life is greater than any mistake.” He made it clear that he had no intention of being defrocked or disciplined. To Bryant, anointing surpasses character.

Grady follows with the teaching of the Apostle Paul in 1 Timothy 3:2-7 and makes the following 3 points:

1. There are definite qualifications for Christian leadership.

2. Those who do not meet these qualifications must step down.

3. The church will not thrive if discipline of leaders is neglected.

Response: This is a timely post and well worth the effort to read and digest. The question that keeps coming back to me the last few days is this– Is anointing more important than character in ministry? Some seem to think so in Charismatic and Pentecostal circles. But answer is obviously no if we take the Bible seriously.         *Top

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5 Responses to Is Anointing More Important than Character?

  1. The problem with using this passage as a disciplinary tool is that to do so, it has to be taken out of context. The context deals with qualifications for the appointment of elders, not for the discipline of such nor the maintenance of their ministry. When elders sin they are to be rebuked (1 Tim 5:19f), but that is not the same as saying when they sin they have become disqualified on the basis of 1 Tim 3:ff. In light of the totality of scripture and the commands concerning forgiveness, I would say that when a rebuked elder makes whatever right that needs to be made right, that is maintaining his qualification.

    It is not either/or when deciding between anointing and character, it is both. The anointing brings the gift, the character makes the gift acceptable. It is not enough to have good people leading the church, we must have gifted people. It is not enough to gifted people lead the church, they must be good people. But even good people are still just people and they fail from time to time.

    I wish we could find the balance on this issue. We may be tempted to blame this situation on the fellow elders of the fallen not calling them to account, but followers flock to the gifted regardless of their character, undermining any serious efforts by others to make things right. The problem is that the “rich and famous” have gotten away with sin because their “anointing” delivered them a following that allowed them to circumvent any discipline. Richard Roberts, John Hagee, Robert Tilden, etc. have been given a free pass when they should have been taken to the woodshed.

    But I agree, enough is enough! It’s time to let judgment start at the house of God, and for monkey business to be banished from the confines of the church and sent back to the zoo where it belongs.

  2. Great comments slw,
    You are absolutely correct on the 1Tim3 context–it cannot be used in discipline. However, it does give us some ministry standards and expectations.

  3. Bishop Catlin Williams

    I agree 100% leadership as well as all others should be held accountable to someone. It’s one thing to fall into sin, confess your fault, repent and to continue ministry. But, to fall into sin and continue in it while making some type of excuse is another thing. There must be some discipline in the church. Otherwise the weaker saints or babes in Christ will begin to find occassion to excuse their sins. I think that accountability is important in the body of Christ and many leaders have no accountability. Their excuse is, ” I’m only accountable to God”.

  4. Amen. Thanks for your contribution Bishop Catlin.

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