Keith Hunt - ANOINTED CLOTH? Restitution of All Things


                       ANOINTED CLOTH ?

Some organizations within the Sabbath keeping churches of God,
have a practice of sending out anointed cloths or aprons - to
people who are not living within driving distance of one of their
ministers. They claim this practice is sanctioned by the example
of the apostle Paul in Acts 19. But is what Paul did an example
for the rest of the church of God to follow? Was the reason that
it is mentioned at all, to instruct the church as to what to do
if people did not have a local minister to call upon in time of
sickness?  Let's be willing to re-look at Acts 19 and see if it
really says what some have taught it said. We could be in for a


                          Keith Hunt

     First, let's realize that Jesus said NOTHING about anointed
cloths.  There is NO WORD of instruction from His lips that
ministers of the church of God should anoint cloths, and send
them out to the people in a manner and practice that has become
some what of a "tradition" among some of the churches of God. 
You certainly can not find anywhere in the gospels where Jesus
ever resorted to sending out "anointed cloths." He then never set
us an example to do such a thing. He did heal the sick, and at
times used certain physical techniques, such as putting clay on
the eyes of the blind, but nowhere did He ever use or instruct to
be used, in some general practice, anointed cloths.
     Secondly, in all the writings of the apostle Paul - 14 whole
hooks of the New Testament - there is not ONE WORD about anointed
cloths.  No instruction of any kind to any minister, deacon,
local congregation, or other apostle, about the use of anointed
cloths.  What is said about it in Acts 19, is NOT Paul writing
about it BUT Luke(the writer of Acts).
     Thirdly, no other writer of ANY book of the NT ever comes
close to saying anything about the church using anointed cloths
in some general - across the board - practicing manner, in its
healing ministry.
     You can not find any verse that says something like this:
"When there is no minister for people to call upon for anointing
in time of sickness, they should request an anointed cloth."
     Such instruction, or anything close to it, is not to be
found in the New Testament!

     It would seem that whole organizations have developed a
traditional practice that has no foundation on scripture.
     Oh yes, Acts 19 is usually given to support such a general
practice. But Acts 19:11-12 does NOT SAY what they think it says.
     Let's look at Acts 19:11-12. Let's be willing to read what
it says, add no more, nor try to make it say what it does not
say. Let's let it say what it says, no more and no less.
     Luke is writing - not Paul. Luke says God did what? Bring in
a NEW teaching about how the church should use anointed cloths?
Tell Paul how to instruct the church on what to do if people
didn't have a minister to come and anoint them when sick? NO!
Luke wrote, "God wrought SPECIAL MIRACLES by the hands of Paul."
     This was not a "run of the mill" - general church practice
in anointing the sick. Not at all!  God was performing by the
apostle Paul SPECIAL miracles.
     No other person in the NT is recorded to have been able to
perform this type of special miracle, that Paul was able to
perform. Paul and Paul only, is recorded to have sent out aprons
to heal the sick - not Peter, or James, or John, or any other
person - only Paul.

     Notice further. Is there anything in these two verses that
says the aprons were ANOINTED WITH OIL? NO THERE IS NOT! They did
not have to be - just the apron from Paul was enough to heal,
because these miracles were SPECIAL miracles!

     Now, a very important point. Do the anointed cloths that are
sent out in a general way to the sick, ALWAYS result in healing
the physical sickness? NO THEY DO NOT! Many do not recover from
their sickness. Many still die of their cancer etc.
     Now notice carefully. Does Luke say that only SOME or a FEW
were healed? The aprons were sent to the sick AND "the diseases
departed from them, and the evil spirits went out of them"
(v.12). Yes, the sick WERE HEALED! No maybe or perhaps, no
"some" or "few" or "many" but a positive "the diseases DEPARTED
from them." They were all healed that received those aprons, and
WHY NOT, because those healings were SPECIAL MIRACLES that God
wrought through Paul.

                      THE SINCERE BELIEVER

     I do not condemn those people within the body of Christ that
practice sending out anointed cloths to their sick brothers and
sisters. They were taught by someone who did not correctly
understand Acts 19:11,12. Who did not see that what Luke was
recording was how God performed SPECIAL miracles through Paul - a
statement by Luke of HISTORICAL fact about a particular healing
miracle, and NOT instruction for the church regarding the use of
anointed cloths.
     I do think that we should be willing to change our practices
when a verse we base our practice on, does not endorse our
practice at all.  It's all a part of a willingness to be
corrected and to "grow in grace and knowledge" as God's word says
we should.
     Someone, somewhere and at some time, tried to put together
James 5:14 and Acts 19:11-12, to form a practice of sending out
anointed cloths to the sick, when no such practice was ever done
or taught by the apostolic church of God as a whole, but only
practiced by the apostle Paul(and he taught it to no one) as God
performed through him SPECIAL miracles.

     Those individuals within an organization who believe God has
instructed the general use of "anointed cloths" when He has given
no such instruction, may be healed, because they are sincere in
belief and faith - God looking at the heart and attitude and
not at the technical knowledge they have or do not have.

     So if there is no minister who can come and anoint you with
oil when you are sick, in accordance with James 5:14-15, what can
you do?
     The answer is in verse 16. Tell others about your affliction
- ask them to pray for you. God does hear the prayer of the
righteous and He can heal the sick without the use of any
anointed cloth.


Written 1991

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