Q: I heard a preacher say that you can tell whether a message is “anointed” or not by whether or not the preacher has to read his message. The preacher said that if the person has to read their message, it is not anointed. Is this true?
The statement made by this preacher cannot possibly be true. The man has formed his own doctrine that is not in accordance with the Scriptures.
In Joshua 8:34, Joshua read the word of God to the people, and the words he read were “anointed” (blessed) by God.
“Then afterward he read all the words of the law, the blessing and the curse, according to all that is written in the book of the law. There was not a word of all that Moses had commanded which Joshua did not read before all the assembly of Israel with the women and the little ones and the strangers who were living among them.” (Joshua 8:34-35)
Joshua (the leader, a.k.a. the “preacher” in this case) indeed read the words, and the words were indeed blessed (for they are the word of God). How could the reading of these words not be anointed?
In another instance, Jeremiah instructed Baruch to read to the people the words that he (Jeremiah) had written at God’s instruction, saying,
“So you go and read from the scroll which you have written at my dictation the words of the LORD to the people in the LORD’S house on a fast day. And also you shall read them to all the people of Judah who come from their cities.” (Jeremiah 36:6)
These words were anointed (blessed). They did what they were supposed to do, which was to bring conviction of sin. In turn, some of the people who heard these words then took the scroll and read it to the king. The king did not repent, but instead burned the scroll, but the reading of the scroll had an effect (it brought conviction on the king). He spurned the conviction and did not allow it to bring him to repentance. The reading of those words instead brought judgment to the king and the entire nation! So was the message anointed? Yes! It was highly “anointed” unto destruction! Ouch!
Jonathan Edwards who was a highly-respected preacher of righteousness gave a message which he entitled, “Sinners in the hands of an angry God.” It is reported that he read the entire message which he had written by candlelight — and so dim was the light that he had to hold the message close to his face in order to read it. It was reported that the effect of that message was that those who heard it clutched on to their seats (pews, in this case) for fear of slipping into hell! Was that message “anointed?” That message was anointed!
Conviction and repentance is brought about by various means. First, one needs a righteous message. A righteous message is always in accordance with the Holy Bible (this compromises the 39 books of the Old Testament and 27 books of the New Testament). Second, there should be prayer. Can God work without prayer? I suppose He can. However, we are commanded to pray and it would be foolish to try and sidestep this important aspect of preaching and teaching (thus, prayer should always precede the preaching of the word of God, or the reading and studying of the word of God). Finally, for real change to occur, there should be open hearts. One of the reasons that prayer should precede the preaching of the word of God or the reading and studying of the Scriptures is that God can and will use that to help prepare individuals to receive the message.
Whether or not the message is read is inconsequential. It is, shall we say, a “red herring” which Satan loves to throw your way in order to impress you about a certain man. Yes, there are many men and women who can stand up and give a message without reading it. Should that make me impressed with them? Oh, no. I am not at all impressed with a man or woman who can give a message without reading it. What I am impressed with is a man or woman who submits to God and serves Him with all their heart, mind, soul and strength.
But to give a message without reading it, even the unrighteous can do that. It is not impressive. Let a man produce a biblical message, wrought through prayer and even suffering, and let him present that to his hearers in written, or audio, or spoken form (read or not), and then let God do His work. And the work shall be done.
“YOU SHALL LOVE THE LORD YOUR GOD WITH ALL YOUR HEART, AND WITH ALL YOUR SOUL, AND WITH ALL YOUR STRENGTH, AND WITH ALL YOUR MIND; AND YOUR NEIGHBOR AS YOURSELF.” (Luke 10:27b)