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Summer 2006 , Vol. 3, No. 1

Book Review

Barbara J. Yoder, The Breaker Anointing
(Ventura Calif.: Regal Books/Gospel Light, 2004). 116 pages.

Reviewed by Roger D. Cotton, Th.D.,
professor of Old Testament, Assemblies of God Theological Seminary.

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Barbara Yoder believes this is a special time of “apostolic breakthrough.” Dutch Sheets says, “Barbara teaches us how to align with the Lord of the breakthrough to clear the path ahead so that we can run the race to win!” The back cover of this book contains the following summary of its purpose for the individual Christian: “In The Breaker Anointing, you will learn how to ask Jesus to be a breaker in your life individually and in your church and city corporately. When you trust in His prevailing power and ask for His intercession, the results are both mighty and miraculous.”

I do not resonate with this approach to the issues, though I certainly agree with the basic thought that God is able to break through any barriers that stand in the way of fulfilling his purpose. However, I am not convinced it takes a book to explain that we may pray for God to do that, or that the Bible teaches about a special “anointing” that seemingly works automatically for us when we learn to use it. The verse used in such teachings is Isaiah 10:27: “In that day their [Assyria’s] burden will be lifted from your shoulders, their yoke from your neck; the yoke will be broken because you have grown so fat” (NIV). It does not mean, as current usage often assumes, a sudden empowering of the Holy Spirit with immediate tangible results (see commentaries on Isaiah and my essay on anointing in the Bible on the AGTS website). The major biblical expression for that is “being filled with the Spirit.” Thus, from the start of this book, the key term is not even used biblically.

The key verse for the “breaker” idea is Micah 2:13: “One who breaks open the way will go up before them; they will break through the gate and go out.” This verse does seem to be used correctly. It pictures God in the form of a warrior going before his people and breaking through an enemy siege. True, there are times when we need the Lord to provide a great breakthrough–physical, emotional, mental, relational, spiritual or a combination of those–in our lives, and He does. However, I am not convinced that such is automatic or that we need a book of teaching on it to be able to experience it.

Barbara Yoder calls Christians who have come to realize God wants to do powerful things through them “a new breed of believers.” She says they need “a new anointing” to accomplish their mission and makes it sound as if they will then have the permanent ability to overcome every challenge (21). From my knowledge of Scripture, what she describes is not a special empowering but is what God has always wanted all believers to experience–not at their will but His. Therefore, I do not think it is biblical or helpful to teach a special “breaker anointing.” I am sympathetic with her desire to motivate God’s people with the image of God as “the breaker,” but not with this method. However, her examples of kinds of breakthroughs from God are helpful.

I found her word studies somewhat simplistic, bordering on misleading. She follows the typical charismatic understanding of the word rhema, which is too restrictive in the New Testament context. Her description of demonic attack on page 48 goes beyond the Scriptures, and I question its helpfulness. However, her principles of “gates” in our lives are pretty good analogies. Yoder also uses the term apostolic frequently and speaks of God restoring apostles to the church. I am unclear if her understanding is biblical and question the helpfulness of such language. It seems to claim a special seal of divine authority.

The last chapter of the book is written by Chuck Pierce and is very similar to Yoder’s material. I question the helpfulness of his beliefs about three heavens, but overall he says good things to encourage Christian faith and attitudes. The previous two chapters, by Yoder, do the same.

The book’s message is that God is restoring to the church a biblical faith in his desire to bring powerful breakthroughs in the lives of Christians. Generally, this is good encouragement for those who need more boldness. My concern is the implication that, at this specific time in history, God is working in a unique and climactic way, and we need the teaching in books like this so that we will not miss the opportunity to be a part of it. A good example is Yoder’s statement on page 80: “This is the day when all hindrances will be removed.” I do not think that is true or a word from God. Throughout the book, Yoder also suggests there are technical terms in the Scriptures for specific things God wants to do, such as “the breaker anointing,” and he is making them available for us to appropriate.

It is commendable that such a book would have Scripture and subject indexes and endnotes. The latter, however, mostly cite similar literature. I do not recommend this book but I do not see it as harmful. Although it can be an encouragement to some people’s faith, there are more accurate expressions of what the Bible really teaches.

Updated: Friday, July 14, 2006 2:42 PM