The previous post in this series is here. McIntyre next introduces theological defenses of divine healing. in 1881 William Boardman (1810-1886) authored The Great Physician (Jehovah Rophi).
Boardman’s earlier work, The Higher Christian Life (1859) was tremendously influential in bringing the message of sanctification into non-Methodist circles. … Boardman expressed the idea that everything we need is already a reality in Christ, only awaiting the believer’s faith to claim it. … He later came to see healing as a part of our redemption and applied this same premise (that sanctification and everything we need is already true in Christ and awaiting our claiming it by faith) to healing. This is exactly what Kenyon taught. p.85
A. J. Gordon … wrote a book titled, The Ministry of Healing: Miracles of Cure in All Ages, which [Charles] Cullis published in 1882. It was a historical and doctrinal study of faith healing from the early church fathers, the post-Reformation period, and modern ministries of healing. p.86
Kenyon certainly read this book since he quoted from Gordon’s writings more frequently than any other author. p.86
Gordon believed that healing was included in the atonement of Christ. Even the critics of the doctrine acknowledged Gordon’s skillful treatment of the subject. Gordon wrote:
The yoke of His cross by which He lifted our iniquities took hold also of our diseases; so that it is in some sense true that as God “made Him to be sin for us who knew no sin,” so He made Him to be sick for us who knew no sickness. …
If now it be true that our Redeemer and substitute bore our sicknesses, it would be natural to reason at once that He bore them that we might not bear them.
But, it is asked, if the privilege and promise in this matter are so clear, how is it that the cases of recovery through the prayer of faith are so rare? Probably because the prayer of faith itself is so rare, and especially because when found it receives almost no support in the church as a whole. p.86-87
Healing in the atonement became widely regarded as the basis for claiming healing as the believer’s covenant privilege. p.87
R. L. Stanton and R. Kelso Carter also wrote books defending divine healing in the atonement.
Kenyon would later state his belief about deliverance from sin and sickness being included in the finished work of Christ in his book, Jesus the Healer. p.89
Kenyon, like most of the voices in the Faith-Cure movement, saw in the work of Christ at Calvary a basis for holy living and healing and health. Claiming the provisions of Christ’s work by faith and confessing them before men was common practice among them. Acting on the promise without any apparent change was also regularly encouraged. p.89
McIntyre covers much more but let’s skip to the controversy that ensued.
Anyone teaching divine healing in the latter part of the nineteenth-century faced the inevitable comparison with Christian Science and the other metaphysical cults. Unfortunately, many leaders in the orthodox church who were opposed to healing in general failed to distinguish any significant difference between the two approaches to healing. p.239
In this climate, divine healing teachers had to be able to show the differences between biblical healing and metaphysical healing. p. 240
McIntyre then documents the following points:
- The Faith-Cure movement predated the metaphysical cults by a number of years.
- The practices of the Faith-Cure movement were established before the metaphysical cults were visible as distinct movements.
- The Faith-Cure movement, which was rooted in the evangelical church, had distinctly different teachings than the cults.
- E. W. Kenyon’s teachings are in the Faith-Cure tradition.
I will end this brief introduction to McIntyre’s book with this quote from Kenyon about affirmations:
You see the vast difference between an affirmation based upon your own will or philosophy and an affirmation backed up by God Himself.
The affirmations based upon sense knowledge philosophy have no more value or ability to make good than is in the will and mind of the maker of the affirmation. But the affirmation that is based upon the living Word has God back of it to make it good. p.259