Monday, May 26, 2008

Anointing - Factor X?

One more thought, following my recent encounter with D.L. Moody. I remember reading a provocative comment about his preaching, in the light of today's technological razzmatazz! Bob Hitchings (of UK Reach and Teach) listened to some rare recordings of D.L. Moody's mission preaching and wrote:
"Both Moody and his musical accompanist, Ira Sankey, were unspectacular by modern standards. There wasn't anything distinctive about Moody's style of preaching. The key factor is that God used ordinary people to move the masses. People like Moody became powerful because God's anointing was upon them. Today you can gain prominence in the Christian world by having a good advertising agency. This is happening now more than any other time in history. This is the most sinister aspect of modern media."

Notice the word "anointing." It's rather out of fashion, like its counterpart "unction." It conveys spiritual reality and immediacy as the Holy Spirit works not only through the preacher's lips but in the hearer's lives (1 Thess.1:5). No preacher can manipulate this - it's God's gift working at the same deep level as worship in spirit and in truth (John 4:23,24). Anointed preaching bears lasting fruit.

If Hitchings judged rightly that Moody was "unspectacular" by our standards of communication, yet God's anointing was upon him, he puts his finger on what may be missing today. Factor X - Holy Spirit power! Have you ever have experienced "anointed preaching"? What are its characteristics? It can't be manipulated, yet how can it be prepared for? Should we expect to see more of it? Is such "anointing" talk dangerously subjective? Earlier I blogged about preachers' "conviction" and "eloquence" - how does anointing relate to these? I know these are too many questions. But any help out there?

1 comment:

wsuriano said...

I was thinking about the subjective component of annointing. How do you know if someone has truly been "annointed?" Do we accept their claim? Do we look to the effectiveness of their ministry as with D L Moody? In other words, do we use some objective measure of how many people came to Christ? Or, how many people attend regularly? Do we even have a right to measure the "effectiveness" of one's ministry if one claims to be annointed? How does annointing relate to being "called?" Should there be some test that determines if one is truly annointed? There are so many questions that this post raises. Yet, there are times when ordinary people do extraordinary spiritual things and you do have a sense of a Factor X. I have always thought of Billy Graham in that sense. But, annointing has to mean something more than a post hoc explanation for an effective ministry. It's something that happens beforehand and then plays out in one's ministry. I would be very interested in other's thoughts on this. It seems to me that you could write a book on this - 360 Degree Annointing?