The Laying On of Hands As a Paradigm for Ecclesiastical Ordination: A Biblical, Historical, and Theological Study
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The tradition of the laying on of hands (LOH) can be ambiguous in both essence and practice. Further, the contemporary evangelical church and the academy lack a robust understanding its significance in both orthodoxy and orthopraxy. The goal of this work is threefold: (1) to clarify the essence of the LOH, (2) to clarify the relationship between the LOH and ordination, and (3) to demonstrate that the LOH for ordination has both scriptural and historical precedents. This thesis argues that the Bible presents the LOH as a paradigm for ecclesiastical ordination, establishing it as an essential aspect of polity. A theological retrieval of John Calvin’s view of the LOH for ordination demonstrates historical precedent and further bolsters the above claim. My findings are threefold: (1) the LOH is a symbolic expression, (2) the LOH is external and communal, and (3) the LOH brings order to church governance and church life.