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QUESTION: Laying on Hands by Proxy

[Note: the following question came to me via the Question Box at our church website where I answer questions.]

Is there anywhere in Scripture that supports laying on of hands and anointing with oil by proxy?  I witnessed this in the church that I attend. I asked one of our Elders and could never get a clear answer.

proxy is a stand-in for someone else. It means acting in the name of another person. As Christians, we are to act in the name of Christ, as Paul points out in Colossians 3:17.

And whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him. – New King James Version

While laying on of hands and anointing with oil are mentioned as two ways in which the sick were healed in the New Testament, neither of these was an exclusive method. That someone is attempting to heal the sick using these methods by proxy would, to me, seem to indicate putting more emphasis on the person for whom the proxy is exercised than on the Lord who is the true author of all healing.

[Note: I assume here that the purpose of the laying on of hands and anointing with oil you ask about is healing the sick. If it is for some other purpose, the principle will still apply. We act in the name of the Lord, not in the name of (as a proxy for) any man.]

I cannot be baptized as a proxy for someone else. I cannot worship as a proxy for someone else, nor can I do any other good work as a proxy for another. While Christian people work together and serve Christ together, they each have their own relationship to the Lord. We do not depend on any other person to be a proxy for us, nor can we be proxy for someone else’s service to God.

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2 Responses

  1. For me a proxy is a web proxy 😀


    • This is an excellent illustration of my point. The proxy stands between your computer and the server you are accessing. We have no “stand between” us and the Deity. We may have intercessors who pray for us – but these are not true “stand betweens” in the way Jesus is our Mediator with the Father.



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