E. W. Kenyon, part 3

The previous post in this series is here. McIntyre next turns to the Faith-Cure movement.

This revival of healing, known as the Faith-Cure movement[,] lasted from around 1873 until its teachings were absorbed into the Pentecostal movement in the early 1900s. Its earliest advocates began teaching divine healing by faith as early as 1846. p.64

It is only because so few today are aware of this revival that Kenyon’s critics have been as influential as they have been. A review of its teachers and teaching reveals a great similarity between the Faith-Cure movement and the [Word of] Faith movement. p.64-65

Kenyon helped bridge the gap between the two movements. Others who bridged the gap included F. F. Bosworth, John G. Lake, and Carrie Judd Montgomery. p.65

Kenyon was influenced by the three most prominent leaders of the Faith-Cure movement—A. B. Simpson, Charles Cullis, and John Alexander Dowie. p.65

McIntyre points out that Kenyon and his wife Evva were initially reluctant to pray for the sick. Kenyon later wrote:

Before this I had always been suspicious of anyone who claimed their prayers were answered along the line of healing. I felt we had doctors and surgeons and sanitariums for that purpose. p.66

But sick people asked Kenyon to pray for them, and when he started to do so, people were healed.

From that day on healings came—not many, for not many people asked to be prayed for. … One day I discovered the use of the name of Jesus. Then miracles became a daily occurrence. p.67

Kenyon cautiously introduced divine healing to [his] new nondenominational church, called the Tabernacle. p.67

McIntyre describes leaders of the Faith-Cure movement, A. B. Simpson (the founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance), Charles Cullis, and John A. Dowie.

[A. B.] Simpson, like so many of those involved in the Faith-Cure movement, advocated testimony and actions of faith before the healing was manifested. p.70

[Charles] Cullis shared his discovery of divine healing with many leaders in the Holiness movement who also embraced the doctrine. p.72

Arguably the most gifted—and the most tragic—character in the Faith-Cure movement was John Alexander Dowie. Used mightily of God for a season, Dowie came to believe in his latter years (from 1901 until his death in 1907) that he was Elijah the Restorer, the great end-time prophet. p.72

In one of his books, Kenyon referred again to the power of God in Dowie’s ministry. He wrote, “You and God and linked together. You become invincible. We see a glimpse of this in Luther’s ministry. We saw it in John Alexander Dowie’s ministry. We have seen it in individuals here and there—God and man linked together, doing the impossible. p.73

McIntyre notes there was debate about the role of doctors in divine healing.

An aspect of healing ministry that is still debated today is the use of medical treatment. The abysmal state of medicine was probably one of the underlying reasons why some Faith-Cure healers rejected medical treatment. p.73

It was common in both the Holiness movement and the early Pentecostal movement to trust God alone for physical health and healing. p.74

McIntyre then tells of other leaders of the Faith-Cure movement, starting with Ethan O. Allen.

Ethan O. Allen [1813-1903], known as the father of divine in the United States, was the first American known to have a full-time traveling ministry focused on healing. For fifty years he traveled throughout the Eastern United States praying for the sick and teaching divine healing. Allen was also a frequent guest at A. B. Simpson’s conferences. p.77

Kenyon’s teaching is strikingly similar to Allen’s. … Let’s review the steps Allen took. He claimed the promise of God by faith and stated that the “evidence” of his healing “was very clear.” The “evidence was the witness of the Holy Spirit that his prayer was heard and that God had given the healing to him by faith. Note that he said, “I have got the evidence, pain or no pain.” p.78

Allen applied the Methodist understanding of faith for receiving sanctification to receiving healing. He spoke out of the witness of the Spirit rather than his physical condition. Some people today call this “sensory denial;” the Methodists and Faith-Cure people called it faith in God and His Word. p.78-79

Allen, also in the Methodist tradition, stressed the need for confession that a healing is received. p.79

McIntyre points out that this principle was in line with Phoebe Palmer and “older Methodists such as Hester Ann Rogers and John Fletcher” who “taught that sanctification was kept by continual public confession. This idea was normative in Methodism as early as 1846.” (p.79)

McIntyre gives other examples of this teaching: Elizabeth Mix, Carrie Judd Montgomery, and, surprisingly, Andrew Murray.

Having lost his voice and reportedly finished his career as a preacher, Murray sought out the truth of divine healing. Eventually he went to London to the divine healing home established by William Boardman called Bethshan. He was so completely healed he was never troubled again by any weakness of the throat or voice. … In 1884 Murray wrote the Dutch version of his book on divine healing called Jesus, The Physician of the Sick. It was published in English in 1900. Concerning faith and healing Murray wrote:

Prayer without faith is powerless… If you have already asked for healing from the Lord, or if others have asked it for you, you must, before you are conscious of any change, be able to say with faith, “On the authority of God’s Word, I have the assurance that He hears me, and that I am healed.”

Here another respected leader whose devotional writings are still popular today, expressed himself in terms that Kenyon could easily have used. p.83

The next post in this series is here.