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Biblical Authority

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Vance,

First things first. You need to provide some support for your supposition that Joshua was being ordained as a priest.

I will take that as an admission that you can't support your supposition that ONLY Levites could have the (lesser) priesthood or any priesthood.

It stands to reason that the priesthood authority of Aaron was subordinate to the priesthood authority held by Moses. After all, Moses was the one that ordained Aaron.

Philo said Moses was a king, lawgiver, high priest and prophet (Philo, Life of Moses II.292).

And as you should know by now, "The Jerusalem kings had been priests in the manner of Melchizedek (Ps.110)", Margaret Barker, Temple Theology.

"Paul knew where the roots of Christianity lay; he argued that Christianity looked to the faith of Abraham (and by implication Melchizedek), and so was rooted earlier than the Law given to Moses (e.g. Rom.4)." ibid.

So, tell me Rob, the Bible only speaks of two priesthoods. Which one did Moses have. And what was it that Moses was giving to Joshua if not the "royal" priesthood?

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I don't think this is correct. "Anti-clericalism" is generally defined as the opposition of the exertion of political, military, and economic power by Church institutions, especially in relation to the Catholic Church and other state churches during the early modern era (associated more with the Enlightenment than with the Reformation). The major church groups of the original Reformation era--the Lutherans, Calvinists, and Anglicans--all retain clergy, and all of them practiced, and still practice, the ritual ordination of its clergy.

Quibbling is not an argument. I was talking about contemporary Evangelicals, who, if I understand things correctly, believe in priesthood of all believers, with no distinction between priests and non-priests. Or do contemporary Evangelicals ordain people to the priesthood before they become pastors?

So, whenever someone receives the gift of the Holy Ghost by the laying on of hands in the LDS Church, that person immediately speaks in tongues, right?

No. That is one of the gifts of the Spirit. Paul talks about this (1 Cor 12). Or haven't you read that chapter?

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So, are you saying that we still need "lower" animal sacrifices to be offered by earthly high priests in addition to the "higher" sacrifice of Jesus Christ?

Rob, don't be so obtuse.

The ministration of baptism was under the lesser priesthood. John the Baptist was a priest after the order of Aaron, (remember, his father received the good new while serving in the Holy of Holies).

I don't think that's what you want to argue.

Well, duh!! Did you even read my post?

The entire line of argument is that Christ "displaces" the earthly high priests, just as Christ displaces their animal sacrifices.

FALSE!

It was the sacrifice for sin by the shedding of blood that was displaced. Not the office of high priest. The author of Hebrews identifies himself as a member of the priesthood. This has been shown to you.

All Christians are part of a holy and royal "priesthood."

All Christians are part of the Melchizedek priesthood? Is that what you want to argue?

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No. That is one of the gifts of the Spirit. Paul talks about this (1 Cor 12). Or haven't you read that chapter?

This is getting ridiculous. Do you agree?

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This is getting ridiculous. Do you agree?

Yup.

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Bill,

You wrote:

I suspect that Christ, as the Living Water, was using his "water" to purify/bless. I suspect it is a parallel of using oil to anoint in healing.

At any rate, your point is rather weak. The fact that Christ did some unique things (using spittle to heal), but both Christ and early Christians did other shared ritual things (laying on hands), doesn't demonstrate that there is nothing we should do as a ritual. It demonstrates that not everything needs to be a ritual.

Is your objection that we should not lay hands on for blessing? Or that we don't need to?

My point is that it is hermeneutically fallacious to reason from mere reports of people doing certain things that we must do those things. So the answer is "that we don't need to." We have six reports in the book of Acts of people receiving the Holy Spirit. In just two of those, we are told that someone laid hands on them (in both instances, an apostle). From this information it is fallacious to conclude that no one can receive the Holy Spirit unless someone lays hands on him. That is just as hermeneutically unwarranted as concluding that to receive the Holy Spirit you must have an apostle lay hands on you.

You wrote:

Another interesting issue is that no one in the NT is described as baptizing himself. If Christians can act based on the Holy Spirit alone, why, in the NT, do they never baptize themselves? (By the way, some contemporary Christians do--I've seen it at Yardenit in Israel.) Clearly there is minimally a ritual involved in baptism. Right?

Christ explicitly commanded that all disciples be baptized (Matt. 28:19). This is a secure basis on which to teach that all disciples must be baptized. We do not have a similar basis in biblical teaching for the claim that all disciples must have hands laid on them to receive the Holy Spirit. I am not anti-ritual. I am anti-anything that imposes requirements on believers for which there is no sound biblical basis.

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ElfLord,

You asked:

Does Christ displace the other earthly "high priests" who are making "spiritual sacrifices"?

1 Peter 2:5

Ye also, as lively stones, are built up a spiritual house, an holy priesthood, to offer up spiritual sacrifices, acceptable to God by Jesus Christ.

I believe I have already addressed this argument. Those who "offer up spiritual sacrifices" according to 1 Peter 2:5 are not "high priests." They are simply members of the church, which is a "spiritual house" and a royal, holy priesthood. Christ does not displace this new holy priesthood; he created it as part of the new covenant that displaces the old covenant with its earthly high priests and animal sacrifices.

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ElfLord,

You asked:

I believe I have already addressed this argument. Those who "offer up spiritual sacrifices" according to 1 Peter 2:5 are not "high priests." They are simply members of the church, which is a "spiritual house" and a royal, holy priesthood. Christ does not displace this new holy priesthood; he created it as part of the new covenant that displaces the old covenant with its earthly high priests and animal sacrifices.

For it to be a "Priesthood" it needs to be full of "Priests" and since these Priests are destined to become what Jesus is. (1 John 3:1-3; Phil. 3:21) They then are High Priests in training.

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Christ explicitly commanded that all disciples be baptized (Matt. 28:19). This is a secure basis on which to teach that all disciples must be baptized. We do not have a similar basis in biblical teaching for the claim that all disciples must have hands laid on them to receive the Holy Spirit. I am not anti-ritual. I am anti-anything that imposes requirements on believers for which there is no sound biblical basis.

So then you are against the idea of "laying on of Hands" as a "Doctrine of Christ"?

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Bill,

You wrote:

Of course, it doesn't say Jesus didn't lay his hands on them, did it?

Irrelevant, since the burden of proof is not on me to show that the ritual of laying on of hands is required to receive the Holy Spirit. Rather, the burden of proof is on you to show that it is required. Citing a couple of texts in which laying on of hands is mentioned does not demonstrate the necessity of that ritual.

You wrote:

What it does say, however, is that Jesus preformed a ritual act to give the Holy Ghost. It didn't just spontaneously come. It didn't come because Jesus told it to. It came in association with a ritual act. Jesus' "breath," by the way, is the divine Spirit/Pneuma/Ru'ach, right? Jesus can uniquely breathe the breath/spirit/pnuema/ru'ach of God. (Also, note that speaking is breathing; it is impossible to speak without breath.)

You have just proven that it isn

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ElfLord,

You wrote:

For it to be a "Priesthood" it needs to be full of "Priests" and since these Priests are destined to become what Jesus is. (1 John 3:1-3; Phil. 3:21) They then are High Priests in training.

They aren't high priests now, though, right? And they don't offer sacrifices for sins, right? Then they are not high priests.

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Bill,

You wrote:

LDS deacons are always chosen by the whole congregation. We call it "sustaining."

Sorry, that isn't what Acts describes. The apostles didn't handpick the deacons and then ask the congregation to "sustain" their decision. They let the congregation put forth the men to serve as deacons.

You wrote:

But, your reasoning is still flawed. The fact that there are some things that are optional does not demonstrate that there is nothing that is necessary.

The burden of proof problem appears again here. I agree that something is necessary. The question is what? We need more than a couple of anecdotes in which certain things happened to be done to know that those things are necessary.

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They aren't high priests now, though, right? And they don't offer sacrifices for sins, right? Then they are not high priests.

Only by virtue of not being Immortal. Some more verses to chew on.

"He made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father." (Rev 1:6)

"But you are the chosen race, the King's priests, the holy nation, God's own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light." (1Pe 2:9)

"I serve like a priest in preaching the Good News from God." (Rom 15:16)

"So then, my friends, because of God's great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer." (Rom 12:1)

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Bill,

You wrote:

My point is that it is hermeneutically fallacious to reason from mere reports of people doing certain things that we must do those things. So the answer is "that we don't need to." We have six reports in the book of Acts of people receiving the Holy Spirit. In just two of those, we are told that someone laid hands on them (in both instances, an apostle). From this information it is fallacious to conclude that no one can receive the Holy Spirit unless someone lays hands on him. That is just as hermeneutically unwarranted as concluding that to receive the Holy Spirit you must have an apostle lay hands on you.

Christ explicitly commanded that all disciples be baptized (Matt. 28:19). This is a secure basis on which to teach that all disciples must be baptized. We do not have a similar basis in biblical teaching for the claim that all disciples must have hands laid on them to receive the Holy Spirit. I am not anti-ritual. I am anti-anything that imposes requirements on believers for which there is no sound biblical basis.

So, the result is that the Bible is unclear on this matter, right? It is thus insufficient.

Christ commanded all to be baptized. But he didn't say how it should be done. Christ also said all must be "born of the Spirit" (Jn 3.5). But he didn't say how it should be done.

You are forced to make extra-biblical assumptions about the mechanisms of receiving (1) baptism and the (2) Holy Spirit (or lack thereof) that are not explicit in the text. Is there a mechanism? Can you do it yourself or must someone else do it? Can anyone do it? Is there a ritual? Are there words to be said? The Bible does not answer these questions. You are forced to make assumptions about what you think the answers should be.

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The burden of proof problem appears again here. I agree that something is necessary. The question is what? We need more than a couple of anecdotes in which certain things happened to be done to know that those things are necessary.

Well, the Bible doesn't answer that question, does it? We claim extra-biblical revelation gives us the answer. And your answer comes from what?

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ElfLord,

These texts fit neatly into my theology and offer no support for anything distinctively LDS.

Only by virtue of not being Immortal. Some more verses to chew on.

"He made us a kingdom of priests to serve his God and Father." (Rev 1:6)

"But you are the chosen race, the King's priests, the holy nation, God's own people, chosen to proclaim the wonderful acts of God, who called you out of darkness into his own marvelous light." (1Pe 2:9)

"I serve like a priest in preaching the Good News from God." (Rom 15:16)

"So then, my friends, because of God's great mercy to us I appeal to you: Offer yourselves as a living sacrifice to God, dedicated to his service and pleasing to him. This is the true worship that you should offer." (Rom 12:1)

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Bill,

Go back to the beginning of this thread. You will see that the subject is the claim that Hebrews 5:4 supports the LDS view of ordination. I have argued that it doesn't. Instead of addressing my objections to the argument put forward for our discussion here, you brought up other biblical texts. I have now shown that they don't teach the LDS view of ordination, either. So now you conclude that the Bible "doesn't answer that question" and is "insufficient" to determine how baptism is to be performed and how people are to receive the Holy Spirit, so that the answer is to be found in "extra-biblical revelation." Therefore, you have conceded my point. Hebrews 5:4 doesn't teach the LDS doctrine, and neither does any other part of the Bible. Thanks for that (implicit) acknowledgment.

Somehow, you think that you can turn this problem back on me. Your argument seems to run as follows: The Bible doesn't clearly teach that receiving the Holy Spirit and ordination to Christian ministry require the ritual of laying on of hands; therefore, the Bible is an insufficient guide to what is required. The missing premise is obvious: you are assuming as a premise in this argument that receiving the Holy Spirit and ordination to Christian ministry require the ritual of laying on of hands. In short, you are assuming what you are supposed to be proving.

If the Bible doesn't mandate something, the proper conclusion is not that the Bible is insufficient. The proper conclusion is that the thing is not mandated!

We have six accounts in Acts of people receiving the Holy Spirit. The one constant in all six accounts is that the person or people believe in Christ before they receive the Holy Spirit. Sometimes they are baptized before they receive Him, sometimes after; sometimes the text mentions that they have hands laid on them, more often it does not. The reasonable conclusion is that what is normative is that people must believe in Christ in order to receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:44-48 is "sufficient" basis for concluding definitively that neither baptism nor a post-baptismal laying on of hands is prerequisite to receiving the Holy Spirit, since in that instance Cornelius and his household received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized.

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Bill,

Go back to the beginning of this thread. You will see that the subject is the claim that Hebrews 5:4 supports the LDS view of ordination. I have argued that it doesn't. Instead of addressing my objections to the argument put forward for our discussion here, you brought up other biblical texts. I have now shown that they don't teach the LDS view of ordination, either. So now you conclude that the Bible "doesn't answer that question" and is "insufficient" to determine how baptism is to be performed and how people are to receive the Holy Spirit, so that the answer is to be found in "extra-biblical revelation." Therefore, you have conceded my point. Hebrews 5:4 doesn't teach the LDS doctrine, and neither does any other part of the Bible. Thanks for that (implicit) acknowledgment.

Talk about reading something into the text that isn't there!

The fact that the Bible alone is not sufficient to prove either your position or our position should be obvious after this discussion. The Bible certainly is consistent with the LDS position. Heb 5.4 tells us you must be called of God as was Aaron. It does not tell us what "called of God" means. So we debate the issue. I find the Bible has insufficient data to tell us what it means, though it is consistent with the LDS position. That does not mean I implicitly acknowledge you are right. My position is that the Bible alone is insufficient to answer the types of questions that we have raised here. Both of our positions require extra-biblical assumptions about the meaning of the text. That's why I fundamentally reject the Protestant dogma of sola scriptura.

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Somehow, you think that you can turn this problem back on me. Your argument seems to run as follows: The Bible doesn't clearly teach that receiving the Holy Spirit and ordination to Christian ministry require the ritual of laying on of hands; therefore, the Bible is an insufficient guide to what is required. The missing premise is obvious: you are assuming as a premise in this argument that receiving the Holy Spirit and ordination to Christian ministry require the ritual of laying on of hands. In short, you are assuming what you are supposed to be proving.

This is nonsense. There are texts that imply laying on of hands is necessary. There are others that don't mention it, but don't explicitly say that it is not necessary. I am saying that the Bible is ambiguous and the issue cannot be resolved by an appeal to the Bible. This is hardly assuming what is meant to be proven.

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We have six accounts in Acts of people receiving the Holy Spirit. The one constant in all six accounts is that the person or people believe in Christ before they receive the Holy Spirit. Sometimes they are baptized before they receive Him, sometimes after; sometimes the text mentions that they have hands laid on them, more often it does not. The reasonable conclusion is that what is normative is that people must believe in Christ in order to receive the Holy Spirit. Acts 10:44-48 is "sufficient" basis for concluding definitively that neither baptism nor a post-baptismal laying on of hands is prerequisite to receiving the Holy Spirit, since in that instance Cornelius and his household received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized.

John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb. (Lk 1.15) Did he believe in Christ?

The Holy Spirit came upon Mary (Lk 1.35) before she believed in Christ.

The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth before she believed in Christ (Lk 1.41)

Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit before he believe in Christ (Lk 1.67)

The Holy Spirit was not given to disciples who believed in Jesus (Jn 14.26), until Christ expressly gives it to them (Jn 20.22).

Acts 5.32 says the Holy Spirit is given "to those who obey God." Not those who believe in Jesus.

However, there are cases of people who believe in Christ who have not received the Holy Ghost prior to baptism or laying on of hands.

The people of Samaria do not receive the Holy Spirit though they believe in Jesus and are baptized in the name of Jesus until Peter and John lay their hands on them. (Acts 8.17). Why is this the case if believing in Jesus is sufficient? If your position is correct, the people of Samaria should have received the Holy Spirit upon believing or baptism.

Paul accepts Christ, but does not receive the Holy Spirit until Ananias lays his hands on him and blesses him to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9.17)

The proselytes of Apollos did not receive the Holy Spirit when they became believers, until they were baptized and had hands laid upon them. (Acts 19.1-6)

It seems to me that no certain pattern can be derived from all of this data. To make sense of it requires extra-biblical assumptions, one way or another.

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To be more precise, what is clear is that laying on of hands was something that some early Christians sometimes did. I can even agree that in a few instances there is some justification for describing the act as ritual (particularly in the commissioning of people to ministry positions). What is not clear is that this ritual is prerequisite to receiving the Holy Spirit. Furthermore, the evidence of the Cornelius episode (Acts 10:44-48) is decisively against that claim since Cornelius and his family received the Holy Spirit before they were baptized, a point I raised in another thread.

Rob, do you understand the LDS position or not? It has been explained to you over and over and over. 2 Tim 1:4 speaks about the Holy Spirit dwelling in the believers. That's how we understand the permanent "gift of the Holy Spirit." It dwells permanently in those who have received. Now whether we are right or wrong, Acts 10 does not contradict LDS belief because people can have a manifestation of the Holy Spirit before baptism and before the laying on of hands. We believe the Holy Spirit permanently dwells with us only after baptism and the laying on of hands. But people can have manifestations of the Holy Spirit before baptism or the laying on of hands. Missionaries tell all investigators that they should seek a manifestation of the Holy Spirit before baptism or the laying on of hands, right? Thus, the LDS position is consistent with all NT scriptures on the topic. It is not the only possible interpretation, but nothing in scripture contradicts it.

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No. Luke does not say they were disciples of Jesus. He calls them

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I'm sorry to say, but this is the most preposterous eisegetical misreading of scripture I've seen in a long time. Here is the text of Acts 19.1-2:

First, can you show me anywhere in Acts where the term disciples does not mean disciples of Jesus?

Second, and more importantly, in verse two Paul says they are believers? Believers in Jesus. It couldn't possibly be anything else. Your eisegesis is clearly twisting the text to match your theory. Very disappointing.

Tell me about it Dr. Hamblin!

This "disciple" who Rob thinks is a non-disciple is specifically identified in the previous chapter as a "believer in Jesus Christ."

Acts 18

24

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John the Baptist was filled with the Holy Spirit in the womb. (Lk 1.15) Did he believe in Christ?

The Holy Spirit came upon Mary (Lk 1.35) before she believed in Christ.

The Holy Spirit came upon Elizabeth before she believed in Christ (Lk 1.41)

Zachariah was filled with the Holy Spirit before he believe in Christ (Lk 1.67)

The Holy Spirit was not given to disciples who believed in Jesus (Jn 14.26), until Christ expressly gives it to them (Jn 20.22).

Acts 5.32 says the Holy Spirit is given "to those who obey God." Not those who believe in Jesus.

However, there are cases of people who believe in Christ who have not received the Holy Ghost prior to baptism or laying on of hands.

The people of Samaria do not receive the Holy Spirit though they believe in Jesus and are baptized in the name of Jesus until Peter and John lay their hands on them. (Acts 8.17). Why is this the case if believing in Jesus is sufficient? If your position is correct, the people of Samaria should have received the Holy Spirit upon believing or baptism.

Paul accepts Christ, but does not receive the Holy Spirit until Ananias lays his hands on him and blesses him to be filled with the Holy Spirit (Acts 9.17)

The proselytes of Apollos did not receive the Holy Spirit when they became believers, until they were baptized and had hands laid upon them. (Acts 19.1-6)

It seems to me that no certain pattern can be derived from all of this data. To make sense of it requires extra-biblical assumptions, one way or another.

I would suggest that with the majority of the people listed above believed in a Messiah whom would later be identified as Christ which may constitute "belief in Christ" according to Rob's position. John the Baptist's story is intriguing, which may provide evidence for a "thin veil" experience that newborns (and even unborn children) somehow remember a part of their pre-existence and thus "leap" or have a reaction to spiritual matters. Or, if the secular world of Occam's Razor demands it, we simply have an account of prenatal movement necessary in the promotion of the neuromuscular development of a fetus.

Clearly, the above texts suggest the presence of the Holy Ghost in the lives of biblical figures prior to an actual reception of the Holy Ghost.

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I was invited along with Rob to express Evangelical ideas concerning the Laying on of Hands and Biblical Authority. At this point I should interject while looking at these recent exchanges in reasoning related to the Laying on of Hands- associated with New Testament Authority from God.

In anyone's religious life, there are critical practices, and then there are those extra behaviors, and cultural idioms, procedures and practice that are done in different ways by different people. If there were no cultural practices, then the critical things would have no vehicle for getting done. But with cultural practices there is are practical consequences which manifest as collateral idioms and little side behaviors that are non-critical in nature. We can see such collateral fall out through out the Bible because so many of the accounts have been written describing events in a real historical and cultural setting.

We all need to consider that religious rites come with cultural baggage, and if you undertake the quest to understand the fullest meaning of those rites, we need to be able to decern between that baggage and he critical purer perfect inner meanings of those rites.

As it is written:

Hebrews 6: 1 Therefore leaving the principles of the doctrine of Christ, let us go on unto perfection; not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works, and of faith toward God,

2 Of the doctrine of baptisms, and of laying on of hands, and of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.

3 And this will we do, if God permit.

Hebrews 5:4 a a critical attribute, a pure and perfect meaning about being called of God, which upon analysis tells us that it is critical that a man must be called directly from God in order to serve as the original priest in a religious tradition. This has been demonstrated by careful exegesis that the Bible is sufficient in communicating this critical information. The how, where and whys of Laying on of Hands can be determined by studying Old and New Testament themes, historical practice of Jews and Christians.

Mormons are with in Biblical guides in practicing Laying on of Hands. But on the other hand(no pun intended) for Mormons to claim that the LDS specific sectarian method and procedure is the ONLY way for any believer in Christ to enjoy the on going Gift of the Holy Ghost is a grandiose claim. There is a huge burden of proof upon LDS apologists to establish that this claim is legally binding upon all peoples for them to gain salvation.

The Book of Hebrews early chapters is telling us as we read it , to get ready to consider the deeper, real, true, and pure meanings of the Old Testament religious rites an priesthood. The Book is asking us to consider what was behind the whole infrastructure of the practice of the Old Testament religion of Hebrews. This higher knowledge of what is behind religious practices should educate the reader. This education about rites of the Old Testament should provide us with the keys of understanding when reading the Book of Acts (and all the scriptures)to help us understand what is behind the religious doctrine and practice of Laying on of Hands ( and anointings with oil, the meaning of the Hebrew Temple and so forth).

If a reader to studys the Book of Hebrews (which tells us what is behind religious practices and rites) then turn right around and concludes that information about specific religious rites and practices in the New Testament are not adequately described to run Christianity, PhD or what ever, they have missed Pharaoh's cosmic boat.

When we know what was behind rites and practices- we will have no problem understanding the intent, function, and meaning of those practices.

Enough said...

Hick-

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