TPM’s Mishandling of Scripture – Part 2 is in continuation to our earlier article on the same topic. TPM is a church that has mastered the art of fear mongering. In this article, I wish to focus on the mishandling of certain scriptures by TPM and how they use it to control the believers to keep them in fear. As a TPM believer who had bought into every doctrine and rule of TPM as though they were directly from God, I lived my whole life thinking even breathing the wrong way was sinful.
Here’s a fun little story. When I was a young kid, my sister and I used to exchange birthday gifts. It so happened during one of my birthdays my sister gifted me with a photo frame and it had pictures of random cute kids in it and a red heart in the background. During one of the monthly visits, the pastor rebuked us for having such “unholy” things in the house (because it had a heart in the background) and asked me to throw it. In my mind at that time, questioning them would have amounted to “touching God’s anointed” or “rebelling like Korah and Abiram”.
TPM has made sure to keep the believers thinking that questioning the “servants of God” is never okay and if we do question they will provide examples from scripture where God punished certain people. It is only after I opened my mind to the truth of God’s word that I began to understand the various unbiblical practices and doctrines in TPM and the fear of questioning unbiblical doctrines went away. I decided I’d rather be on the side of scripture than on the side of a denomination that “claims” to be the oracle of God.
Touch Not My Anointed Ones?
One scripture taken out of context to keep the believers in line is this
“Do not touch My anointed ones, And do My prophets no harm.” (Psalm 105:15)
TPM uses the words “Do not touch my anointed ones and do no harm to my prophets” as a shield to stop people questioning their unbiblical teachings and to stop believers from even acknowledging immoral church leaders. They would rather have us bury our heads in the sand.
Psalm 10:15 has nothing to do with questioning the teachings of church leaders. In context, the phrases “touch” and “do not harm” refers to physically harming someone. When David had an opportunity to kill Saul, he refrained saying he will not “touch God’s anointed”. So in David’s mind, the phrase would mean to cause physical harm to Saul. We know that Samuel rebuked Saul when he disobeyed. He did not shy away from speaking the truth. In fact, after David refused to kill Saul, he acknowledged the errors of Saul and that God will avenge him.
David said “May the Lord judge between me and you, may the Lord avenge me against you” (1 Sam 24:12)
Who are the anointed of today?
“Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee” (2 Cor. 1:20-22).
“But the anointing which you have received from Him abides in you, and you do not need that anyone teach you; but as the same anointing teaches you concerning all things, and is true, and is not a lie, and just as it has taught you, you will abide in Him.” (I John 2:27).
There is no question here. Every true believer in Christ is anointed. We do not see a divide in the New Testament between the leaders in a church and believers. Every apostle treated every believer as their equal. We see Paul was questioned many times and not once did he hide behind phrases like “Do not touch God’s anointed”.
On the contrary, he calls the Bereans “noble” for checking Scripture to see if what they were being taught was truthful. This is the mark of a true teacher. They would encourage people to check their teachings with scripture. Their main goal would be to inspire people to pursue the truth no matter what.
“As I urged you when I was on my way to Macedonia, stay on at Ephesus so that you may instruct certain individuals not to teach any different doctrines,” (1 Timothy 1:3)
Ask yourself this question. How do I know that the doctrines preached in TPM don’t fall under the “different doctrines” Paul talks about here? If your answer is “because my pastor says so”, that isn’t enough. Does scripture say so?
Are you in rebellion if you question TPM doctrines?
TPM frequently uses the example of Korah, Dathan, and Abiram when believers question them. This stems from TPM’s assumption that the structure of the New Testament church is same as under the old covenant. They assume they are the “priests” of the new covenant and even go as far as claiming to be the “high priest” of the new covenant. They use this to emphasize their dominion over the people of God so that believers don’t question them and they are shielded from criticism. To understand how churches like TPM abuse the above example, please read the below passage that a man of God has explained in an excellent way.
“Moses filled a unique role in the Old Testament as a prophet, priest, and king. Think about it: he delivered the people from Egypt as a prophet; he interceded for the people of God as a priest, and he led the people of God as if he were their king. Prophet, priest, and king. That’s unique among all the characters of the Old Testament. In filling these concurrent roles, Moses functioned as a “type” for Christ. What is a “type”? We use the term “prototype” which means the very first edition of something, like the first clunky airplane, automobile, or microwave. In Moses’ case, he was a prototype for the Messiah.
How do we know this? Well, in Deuteronomy 18 God promised that he would send another prophet just like Moses. The Jews understood that this person would be the Messiah—the Saviour of Israel who would deliver God’s people from all of their enemies. You can read about the Jewish expectations in Luke 1 where Zechariah praises God for sending a deliverer. And Jesus’ followers thought he might be “The Prophet,” that is, the Messiah. This was confirmed in Acts 3:22—Jesus was indeed the Moses-like Messianic Prophet of Deut. 18.
What do we learn from all of this? It’s actually pretty sobering. Since Moses filled a unique role as a prototype for Christ, his authority was likewise unique. That’s why he could ask God to open the ground to swallow the folks who rebelled against him.
This means that any church leader today who uses Moses as his or her pattern of authority is setting themselves up as a Messianic figure. Did you catch that? Leaders who appeal to Moses as the model for their own authority are actually claiming to be like Messiah. The Bible has a serious term for people who do this: false Christs (Matthew 24:24). A false Christ is a person who makes false claims about being a messiah and who leads people astray. The Bible commands us not to follow such people.” 
So don’t fall for TPM ministers claiming to be like Moses. They do so to have dominion over you.
“But Jesus called them over and said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles dominate them, and the men of high position exercise power over them. It must not be like that among you. On the contrary, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first among you must be your slave; just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life—a ransom for many.” (Matthew 20: 25-28)
Do TPM ministers live by the above verse? Do you not see believer sisters rushing to the kitchen to make the best dishes during convention times to serve the Pastors? Pastors are treated like kings in TPM and ordinary believers as “cattle class”. You will not find ONE example of the apostles of the early church behaving this way. Believers are expected to kneel in front of pastors when they pray. As “faith home” boys, we were taught that carrying the “sandals” of Pastors behind them was part of “serving God”. Where are such practices in the New Testament?
Another common phrase thrown around a lot is “do not judge” (Matthew 7:1). When someone points out the hypocrisy and false teachings in TPM, believers and leaders will be quick to quote that phrase from the bible. They think discerning the doctrinal errors in the church by holding to scripture as the standard is somehow banned. When you read the verse in context, all that is speaking about is hypocritical judgment.
So what does scripture actually teach about judging?
“Stop judging by outward appearances, and start judging justly.” (John 7:24)
This is something TPM believers are conditioned to do. We see the outward appearance of people and instantly judge them as not being Christians. We look at the dress people wear in church and call them worldly. We look at the wedding ring in the hands of a non-TPM believer and think they are “worldly Christians”. We look at how non-TPM churches conduct marriages and judge them as “worldly” or “nominal” Christians.
“What business is it of mine to judge those outside the church? Are you not to judge those inside?” (1 Cor 5:12)
We are to judge those inside the church. The context of this verse is sexual immorality in the church and Paul asks us to judge those inside. Yet, we see the leaders in TPM are immune to this type of judgment.
Speaking of the qualification of elders Paul says they should be “holding fast the faithful word as he has been taught, that he may be able, by sound doctrine, both to exhort and convict those who contradict” (Titus 1:9)
“As I urged you when I went to Macedonia, remain in Ephesus so that you may instruct certain people not to teach different doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3)
TPM contradicts the doctrines and practices of the early church blatantly. They call themselves apostles and think they are the arbiter of true doctrine. On the contrary, every doctrine needed for a Christian is found in scripture. The question you must ask when you hear TPM doctrine is this, “What evidence in scripture do I have that the early church that was taught by Paul and the other apostles believed it?” That is the ONLY way for you to know if you are following the advice of Paul.
A famous quote from an infamous historical figure – “If you tell a big enough lie and tell it frequently enough, it will be believed.”
Nobody is above the authority of scripture. Nobody has the right to call themselves “apostles” with the intention of inserting themselves in Ephesians 2:20 – “foundation of the apostles and prophets”. This is a very easy trap to fall into. Once pastors call themselves “apostles” long enough, people will believe it. When they read scripture like Eph 2:20, believers assume it is talking about their pastors and assume what TPM preaches is the foundation we are built on. Do not fall for such a lie. Test everything and see if you have evidence from scripture that the early church believed it!