The Holy Spirit, Non-Apostles and Laying On Hands


Max Aplin

I have been a Christian for over 30 years. I have a Ph.D. in New Testament from the University of Edinburgh. I am a British national and I currently live in the south of Scotland.You are very welcome to take any of my articles to post on your website, blog etc. If you do this, you may Americanise the English spellings, leave out the links at the end of the article, and change the format of subheadings, quotations etc., if you want. But please attach my name and keep the content of the article unaltered.Check out my blog, "The Orthotometist" above.

2 Responses

  1. Dex says:

    Weak…but true that there are no more apostles and therefore no more laying on of hands to give the Holy Spirit and perform miracles as they did in Jesus time.
    Proof? THE BIBLE. LOL
    Your proof against this? Your own opinions and semi-truths:
    “It seems unlikely…” “I believe that…” “It is highly probable” ….exactly. Probable, unlikely, likely etc. but not definitely without a doubt as per the Bible
    PEOPLE, PLS NOTICE HE CANNOT SAY FOR CERTAIN THAT THE BIBLE says there are still apostles today performing laying on of hands to transfer the Holy Spirit and it’s gifts.
    This laying on of hands died when the apostles died. Period.
    And there are no more apostles because the definition of an apostle here is one who was one of the twelve chosen by Jesus himself and who were alive when Jesus was physically alive on earth and witnessed his resurrection.

    • Max Aplin says:

      Dex, you make a number of big mistakes:

      (1) My argument in this article in no way depends on any apostolic ministry surviving after the first century. And incidentally, I am against referring to anyone today as an apostle.

      (2) By your definition of “apostle”, Paul himself wouldn’t count, since he wasn’t one of the 12. You should read my definition at the beginning of the article.

      (3) In Hebrews 6:1-2 the author says that the laying on of hands is a basic element of Christian teaching. It simply won’t do to brush this aside as so many Christians do today. The whole point of the Bible is to learn from it, not to filter it through a sieve of tradition. Nowhere in Scripture does it say that laying on of hands for imparting the Spirit died out when the apostles died. Instead, those who believe this are usually making assumptions.

      (4) I do use words like “likely”, “probably” a lot. That is because I am trying to weigh the evidence fairly. The Bible is clear about many things but often it isn’t that clear. In 1 Cor 13:12 Paul talks about seeing things unclearly. And in 2 Pet 3:16 Peter says that Paul writes some things that are hard to understand. In my experience, Christians who are always confident about what the Bible is teaching usually have a very shallow grasp of things.

      (5) The idea that miracles died out with the apostles is completely wrong. For a start, there is a huge amount of biblical evidence that in the first century non-apostles worked many miracles. Then there are verses like John 14:12 where Jesus states: “Truly I tell you, the one who believes in me will also do the works that I do” (CSB). This doesn’t mean that every Christian will work miracles, but it does strongly imply that miracle work will continue throughout the Christian era.

      (6) There is a real place for Christians to challenge each other’s views on issues like this one, but shallow and simplistic accusations and comments like yours should have no place in the discussion. If you are going to say that there is no place for laying on hands to receive the Spirit today, then convince me from Scripture. I’m impressed by the Bible, not by unfounded assertions. If you’re not going to quote Scripture, then please keep out of the discussion.

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