The act of laying on of hands is mentioned throughout the Bible, but is it significant part of ceremony, or just for show?
[Gary Petty] Does your church practice the laying on of hands? Now many Christians will say, “What does that even mean?” I’ve had many discussions with people who have actually called me and asked me, “Does your church practice the laying on of hands? I’ve discovered this in the Bible, and I don’t even know what it means.” And it is a question we get here on Beyond Today.
It’s interesting – in the book of Hebrews, in the New Testament, we have a explanation of the foundational doctrines of the church. And here’s what the list is: “Let us go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith towards God.” This is Hebrews 6. That was verse 1. Verse 2, “Of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment” (Hebrews 6:1-2). So here we have in the New Testament a list of the very foundational doctrines of the church, and one of them is the laying on of hands. And yet you will find very few Christian denominations that actually practice the laying on of hands as explained in the Bible.
The laying on of hands was something that the elders did in the church in order to ordain someone into office. You see it in the Old Testament, where prophets would ordain kings by the laying on of hands. You also see where Jesus and the apostles would lay their hands on people in order to ask God to give them healing. But we also see it used in baptism. And this is very important. We are told, as we see here, one of the basic foundational doctrines of the church is to be baptized – to be immersed in water as a symbol of forgiveness of your sins because you have repented of your sins before God and accepted Jesus Christ as your Savior.
But there was a second step. We really see that in Acts chapter 19, when the apostle Paul comes upon a group of Christians who were baptized. But he said, “Did you receive the holy spirit?” and they said, “We don’t even know what that means.” So he talks to them and he says, “Well, you haven’t finished the process.” (Acts 19:1-7) He re-baptizes them – now, this is the apostle Paul – and then it says he lays hands on them and they receive the holy spirit. This is actually part of the baptism process and unfortunately, it is not practiced today by many Christians. And yet, here it is in the list of foundational doctrines. It’s one of the few rituals that we have in the New Testament church – baptism and laying on of hands. It is very, very important.
If you haven’t thought about this or have not studied it, I really encourage you to get out your Bible and go through the Bible – Old and New Testament – and study the laying on of hands. And if you have not had elders, ministers in the church lay hands on you – even though you’ve been baptized, you have not completed what God wants you to do. So I encourage you to do that, the laying on of hands.
That’s today’s BT Daily. Join us next time.