Laying on of hands
An OAC member wrote: “...Die Gees van God kan ongelukkig net op een manier aan die mens toevertrou word, as deur ‘’Die Handoplegging van die Apostel’’ soos in Handelinge 8v17 en baie ander skrifte...”
For those of you who don’t understand Afrikaans, this member is saying that the “...Spirit of God is unfortunately entrusted to man in only one manner, through “The Laying on of Hands of the Apostle” as in Acts 8v17 and many other scriptures...”
Catechism of the Old Apostolic Church of Africa…Part 2; Question 57 (page 77):
“How is the Sacrament of the Holy Sealing ministered?”
“Ans. Through the laying on of the hands of an Apostle of Jesus Christ. (Refer Act 19 v. 6 and Acts 8 v. 15-17.)”
At a prayer meeting in 1832, the wealthy banker and Member of Parliament, Henry Drummond named Advocate John Bate Cardale as an “apostle”. Advocate John Bate Cardale was recognized as the first “living apostle” of the Albury circle (see the ‘schism tree’).
The verses quoted in the OAC catechism in defence of this statement are as follows:
Acts 19:6 And when Paul had laid his hands upon them, the Holy Ghost came on them; and they spake with tongues, and prophesied.
Acts 8:15-17 Who, when they were come down, prayed for them, that they might receive the Holy Ghost: (For as yet he was fallen upon none of them: only they were baptized in the name of the Lord Jesus.) Then laid they their hands on them, and they received the Holy Ghost.
Notice that the verses don’t say the Apostle laid hands on them. Besides Paul, Peter and John in the verses above, there are not “many other scriptures” to support the OAC's statement.
- The children of Israel laid their hands on the Levites and on the heads of bullocks (Numbers 8:10-20).
- Moses laid hands on Joshua the son of Nun in whom the spirit already was (Numbers 27:18-23).
- A certain disciple by the name of Ananias laid hands on Saul (Acts 9:10-19, Acts 22:12-13).
- Certain prophets and teachers in the church at Antioch laid hands on Barnabas and Saul (Acts 13:1-3). This is the second time recorded in the Bible that hands were laid on Saul.
- We are told not to neglect the gift within us which was given by prophecy with the laying on of the hands of the elders (1 Timothy 4:14).
But, the OAC doctrine is too vast to set out in writing and the hand has several allegorical meanings in the OAC.
There is also the allegorical meaning in the OAC that the hand of God consists of the five “gifts”, namely the “apostle” and “fourfold” office:
- Apostle - the thumb and by implication the strongest digit of the hand
- Prophet - the finger that points and by implication pointing in the right direction
- Evangelist - the longest finger and by implication the finger that goes further into the “world”
- Overseer - this supposedly consists of pastor and teacher in one office and completes the grip that cares for the community
It is also customary before and after each OAC service or activity to greet all the members with a handshake. The handshake is supposedly the holy kiss by which everyone is greeted (Romans 16:16, 1 Corinthians 16:20, 2 Corinthians 13:12, 1 Thessalonians 5:26).
According to Strong’s, the word “kiss” is translated from the Greek word philēma and is defined as:
a kiss: - kiss.
The word therefore simply means what it says, a kiss and not a handshake. A kiss can easily be misconstrued whereas a handshake will always mean a handshake. It is for this reason that the word “holy” precedes the word “kiss” so that the kiss could be done with the right intention and mindset, to be morally pure and blameless.
It is also believed that the sealing service, where the apostle lays hands on new members, is merely symbolic of what has already taken place. That’s because new members have already received so-called spiritual insight before the sealing service has taken place and by implication the Spirit. The type of spiritual insight being referred to is much the same as discussed in Module 1 and Module 2 (Doctrine - Earth/Light/Water/Kingdom of God).
So what is the Holy Spirit then?
- When we trust in Christ, hear the word of truth which is the gospel of our salvation and believe, we are sealed with the holy Spirit of promise unto the day of redemption (Ephesians 1:13, Ephesians 4:30).
- When we are led by the Spirit of God we receive the Spirit of adoption. The manifestation of the Spirit divides to every man severally as he will and by one Spirit are we baptized into one body. This is the same Spirit that gives the word of wisdom, the word of knowledge, faith, gifts of healing, working of miracles, prophecy, tongues and their interpretation to each person individually (Romans 8:14-15, 1 Corinthians 12:7-13).
- It is the Holy Spirit that teaches us what to say, not with the wisdom of this world but with the deep wisdom of God (Luke 12:11-12, 1 Corinthians 2:6-10).
- The conscience bears witness in the Holy Spirit (Romans 9:1).
- The sword of the Spirit is the word of God which is why it’s important to make use of all scripture because it was given by inspiration of God (Ephesians 6:17, 2 Timothy 3:16-17).
- It is the Comforter, the Spirit of truth, the Holy Spirit sent by the Father that abides with us, teaches us and reminds us of Jesus’ words (John 14:16-26, John 15:26, John 16:5-7, Acts 1:2, Acts 2:1-4, 1 John 5:7-8).
1 Corinthians 12:3 Wherefore I give you to understand, that no man speaking by the Spirit of God calleth Jesus accursed: and that no man can say that Jesus is the Lord, but by the Holy Ghost.