Q. Is there any evidence in the new testament that anointing cloths are used in replacement of a person (except of course where Jesus was touched on the hem by a woman). I know Peters Shadow was held in high esteem! but did he or anyone else use cloths or garments? Also does the story of the woman touching Jesus’ hem give the OK for all transferable anointing?
A. The Biblical justification that some TV preachers use to justify transferable anointing with cloths cames from Acts 19:11-12 which reads,
“God did extraordinary miracles through Paul, so that even handkerchiefs and aprons that had touched him were taken to the sick, and their illnesses were cured and the evil spirits left them.”
I don’t know of any conversion of this into general practice in the early church. It appears that it only happened through Paul. And of course Paul never asked for any money for doing this, nor did he even imply that a voluntary contribution was appropriate.
In Acts 5:15 people brought their sick so that at least Peter’s shadow might touch them as he passed by. I believe that both of these instances describe the incredible power that God vested in Peter and Paul and were not meant to teach us the practice of transferable anointing.
But the account of the woman touching the hem of the Lord’s garment is a different issue. Hers was a story of extreme faith and she had determined in her own mind that if she could only touch His clothing she would be healed. When Jesus felt her touch he turned to her and said, “Take heart daughter. Your faith has healed you.” (Matt. 9:22) It wasn’t that His cloak held any power, but that her faith was such that she believed that even touching it would heal her.
In my opinion, these examples have been exploited by many who use them to prey on desperate people for their own personal gain. Even if the practice is Biblically sound, their impure motives make it suspect.