I was reading James, and was wondering if the anointing of the sick with oil plus prayer from the church is in practice today. I grew up around Baptists and have never seen this done. Is it doctrinally sound, and if so how did it drop from a lot of biblical teaching. Any thoughts on this?
I am a Southern Baptist and I have seen and participated in a service were our pastor anointed a sick church member with oil and the congregation prayed for the church member, It was quite a moving display of love and concern for the member and his family.
As to doctrine the Bible is full of examples of anointing for various reason including sickness and I am sure that you will agree that prayer is always welcome and encouraged.
Hi, @Cody. Absolutely anointing the sick with oil and the church praying for them is still practiced and is doctrinally sound. My church practices this. The scriptures support it.
The first scripture reference I came across for this topic was Mark 6:13. (I have a Bible app on my phone that helps me out finding stuff.) In Mark 6 Jesus sends his disciples forth by twos. Then in Mark 6:13 it says, “And they cast out many devils, and anointed with oil many that were sick, and healed them.”
James 5:14-15 says, “Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him.”
As @Jimmy_Sellers said, it is a very moving experience.
There is something special about the powerful presence of God felt amidst so much fervent prayer and focused faith. It’s a wonderful opportunity for the church body to come in agreement. (That agreement is a dynamite element for believers and could bring in other scriptures to the discussion.) And it’s very encouraging to experience the love and support and bolstering of faith that can come with the anointing and prayer.
At my church we are often asked if anyone needs or wants special prayer. Folks will come to be prayed for for themselves or to “stand in” for someone else that has a need. Our little church has been blessed to witness many people be touched by the Lord and their sickness healed and other trouble addressed, whether immediately or testified of later.
I’m so glad you’re seeking this out, @Cody!
I think some churches still carry out this practice. I come from a evangelical church. The elders of my church do pray for those who are very sick anointing them with oil just like in the book of James. I know of a few sick people who are healed after the elders prayed.
In James 5:14, the context is the sick person calls for the elders. The prayer of faith in the name of the Lord heals. It is God who heals the sick person. In ancient times, oil was used probably for its medicinal properties or symbolic of healing. Those who are gravely ill calls for the elders to pray in faith & God heals the sick person and forgives sins commited.
I came across this article which may give you further information.
This is such a great question, as I have seen churches on either end of the spectrum, with the rest somewhere in between.
The anointing of oil was taught in Old Testament for ceremonial purposes, namely consecrating the High Priest (representing Jesus in the OT) and artifacts in the tabernacle. There are instances as well in the New Testament, like @Leah mentioned.
What is more important I believe, is to know the why, instead of focusing on the methodology. As God used all kinds of methods to heal the sick. It will be really tough to obsess ourselves with all of them without becoming too legalistic and serves as a stumbling block to immature believers.
Anointing oil comprised of two elements: the act of anointing and oil itself. Both are synonymous throughout the Bible to the Holy Spirit. (e.g Luke 4:18).
The act of anointing itself is to consecrate us believers, meaning to set us apart from the world as His children, to be holy, for our Father is holy. (Deut 7:6) Today, believers are marked with the seal of the Holy Spirit (Eph 1:13, 4:30) We have been set apart due to the Spirit now dwelling(tabernacling) in us.
Anointing also marked Jesus as our High Priest (Psalm 45:6-7, Heb 1:8-9). So the act of anointing with oil, should remind us and made us aware of these very important facts of our identity as set apart to be His holy children, because the Holy Spirit is in us.
But we must be consciously cautious not to treat it as a magic formula, and became dependent upon it for miracles. For the one who heals us is not the act of anointing with the oil, but the One whom the anointing oil represents.
The test is simple:
If God say He will heal you with the anointing oil, would you believe and receive?
If God say He will heal you without the anointing oil, would you also believe and receive?
I hope this educates us to have a healthy perspective on anointing oil. Not to be quick to dismiss when others use it, and as well not to feel inadequate when you don’t use it either. Remember it is our Lord Jesus who heals. Glory to our YHWY-Rapha.
Your post and the article did help. Thanks for your response!
That’s some good insight, thank you for your response!
Thank you for the info, it’s been helpful!
Also in verse 15 it sounds like the prayer of the elders can forgive the sins of the afflicted. Am I reading that correctly?
I don’t think it’s saying the elders are who is forgiving the person. The question the forgiveness part of that raises for me is is someone forgiven of their sins when they are healed? That may be a great question for this week’s Ask Away with @Jo_Vitale and @Vince_Vitale.
James 5:15, says ‘ if they have sinned, they will be forgiven”, implying that not all sickness is a result of sin. However, the connection between sin and sickness is a possibility. The implication is that physical illness and guilt might be interconnected.
If the illness is indeed a result of sin, the cure promised in James 5:16 seems to include both physical and spiritual healing, in this case the forgiveness of sins.
Thank you for the article!