A Historical Perspective On Healing In the Pentecostal/Charismatic Tradition by Vinson Synan

As fellow Pentecostals, we are here to look at the history of divine healing from a Pentecostal/Charismatic perspective and to learn whatever lessons we can gather from both the strengths and weaknesses of the tradition. Just who are “Pentecostal/Charismatics” anyway? Following the great Catholic scholar, Kilian McDonnell, my broadest definition would be “those Christians who stress the baptism in the Holy Spirit and the gifts of the Spirit toward the proclamation that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the Glory of God the Father.” This would include all Christians who have been called “Classical Pentecostals,” (Assemblies of God, Church Of God In Christ, Pentecostal Holiness, Church Of God, Church of the Foursquare Gospel, etc.) and both Protestant and Catholic Charismatics.” All together they accounted for over 500,000, 000 members in 1998 and are by far the second largest family of Christians in the world after the Roman Catholic Church. (1)

In emphasizing and experiencing the charismata or gifts of the spirit, Pentecostal/Charismatics have tended to single out two gifts above all others, glossolalia (speaking in tongues as evidence for receiving the BHS) ) and divine healing as a “signs and wonders” gift useful for edification and evangelization. It is the gift of healing in answer to prayer that will concern us today as I attempt t o give a short overview of healing in the Pentecostal tradition.

Actually the emphasis on divine healing has a much longer history than tongues in the Holiness/Pentecostal tradition and has caused not only spectacular growth, but at times resulted in confusion and turmoil within the churches. While tongues came to the fore in 1901 and 1906 with the ministries of Charles Parham in Topeka, Kansas and William J. Seymour in the Azusa Street revival in Los Angeles in 1906, the emphasis on healing goes back to the mid-Nineteenth Century when efforts were made to restore New Testament signs and wonders to the church. (2)

Before this time, most Christians had seen no contradiction between faith and medicine. Most would have agreed with Sirach in the Inter-testamental book Ecclesiaticus when he advised:

“Cultivate the physician in accordance with the need for him, for him also hath God ordained. It is from God that the physician getteth wisdom and from the king receiveth gifts. The skill of the physician lifteth up his head, and he may stand before nobles. God hath created medicines out of the earth, and let not a discerning man reject them. Was not the water made sweet by the wood that He might make known to all men His power? And He gave men discernment that they might glory in His mighty works. By means of them the physician assuages pain. And likewise the apothecary prepareth a confection that his work may not cease nor health from the face of the earth. My son, in sickness, be not negligent. Pray unto God for He can heal. Turn from iniquity and purify thy hands and from all transgressions cleanse thy heart. Give a meal offering with a memorial. And offer a fat sacrifice to the utmost of thy means. And to the physician also give a place; nor should he be far away, for of him there is a need. For there is a time when successful help is in his power; for he also maketh supplication to God to make his diagnosis successful and the treatment that it may promote recovery” (Sirach 38:1-9.) (3)

This was written in a time when many devout Jews refused to see a doctor or take medicine because medical treatment might imply a lack of faith in God. So what I will say today is not so new in religious history.

The roots of all modern healing movements lie in Europe where healing in answer to prayer was first taught by Presbyterian Edward Irving in London (1830), by Lutheran Johann Christoph Blumhardt in Germany (1843), by Dorothea Trudel in Switzerland (1851) and by Otto Stockmayer in Switzerland (1867). These teachers developed not only the idea of the “healing home” (a hospital-like retreat where prayer was administered instead of medicines) and a theology of healing which was to affect many in America and lead to the Pentecostal doctrine of divine healing “As in the atonement.” The most influential book coming out of Europe in this period was Stockmayer’s Sickness and the Gospel (ND) which pioneered the idea that physical healing for the body was included in the over-all atonement. (4)

In this paper, I want to point out some of the important persons and events that make the history of divine healing one of the most interesting chapters in modern church history. In particular, I wish to discuss the roles played by such pre-Pentecostals as Charles Cullis, A. J. Gordon, A. B. Simpson, and Alexander Dowie, as well as by later Pentecostals; Charles Parham, William J. Seymour, and Oral Roberts.

I. Charles Cullis

Although divine healing had been practiced in America by George Fox, founder of the Quakers, Joseph Smith, founder of the Mormons, and Elizabeth Mix, the Black Holiness evangelist, the first person to bring healing to the attention of Americans was Charles Cullis of Boston, Massachusetts. Cullis, already a medical doctor, began his ministry in 1864 when he opened his first free faith home for consumptives where the sick could receive “the comforts of a warm home and complete medical care.” His first efforts were quite similar to the ministry of Mother Teresa’s “home of the destitute and dying” in Calcutta. (5)

By 1870, however, Cullis added prayer to his ministry of care-giving and traditional medicine after seeing a patient, Lucy Drake, instantly healed of a debilitating brain tumor after the laying on of hands. This led Cullis to turn his homes into “healing homes” were the patients would be treated with loving care and prayer, minus medicine.

By the 1880’s Cullis was conducting annual healing conventions in Old Orchard, Maine as well as holding healing conventions around the nation. By 1885, the message of healing had become international when William Boardman convened the first “International Conference on Divine Healing and True Holiness” in the Great Agricultural Hall in London where 2000 persons gathered to advance the cause of Divine healing around the world. (6)

After this event a stream of books on healing flowed from Holiness and Evangelical presses extolling the power of healing in answer to prayer. These included Boardman’s 1881 book The Lord that Healeth Thee, and Kelso Carter’s 1884 book titled The Atonement for Sin and Sickness: or a Full Salvation for Soul and Body. These books brought healing beyond the level of anecdotal testimonies and into the arena of theological discourse and debate. (7)

II. Adoniram J. Gordon

The man who elevated divine healing to the level of the atonement was A. J. Gordon, the popular Boston Pastor who eventually founded the seminary that bears his name today. Through his association with Cullis, Gordon became a staunch believer in divine healing, so much so that in 1882 he published his famous book, The Ministry of Healing, in which he asserted that healing for the body was part of the atonement. Using Psalm 103:3 “who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases” and Matthew 8:17 “ He himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases,” Gordon concluded that Divine healing for the body was included in the atonement side by side with the forgiveness of sins.

After many other teachers added their agreement to Gordon’s formulation, including A. B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, a host of teachers and churches asserted their belief in divine healing “As in the atonement.” Decades later when the Pentecostal denominations were formed, they added this phrase to their statements of faith. (8)

III. Alexander Dowie.

By the turn of the century, the idea of “healing homes,” where the sick could be cared for without cost and where the treatment would be prayer instead of traditional medical treatment, had spread far and wide. It was Alexander Dowie, the fire-breathing healing evangelist from Scotland and Australia, who made a complete break from medical treatment. Denouncing doctors as “agents of Satan,” he called on his followers to trust God completely for their healing. His distrust for the medical profession may have come from his years as a surgical assistant in Scotland where at the same time he studied theology at Edinburgh University. Later, after serving as a Congregationalist Pastor in Sydney, Australia, Dowie left his denomination to found an independent holiness church in Melbourne before immigrating to the United States in 1888. (9)

After two years of itinerant healing ministries on the West Coast where he organized local chapters of his “International Divine Healing Association,” Dowie settled in Chicago where in 1893 he set up a wooden tabernacle outside the entrance to the Chicago World’s fair. Soon the inside walls of the building were covered with the crutches and braces of those who claimed healing at the hands of the balding evangelist.

Shortly afterward, Dowie bought the Imperial Hotel in Chicago and converted it into a healing home. In these “golden years,” Dowie was lionized by the public, spoke to the largest audiences in the history of Chicago, and was received by Presidents McKinley and Roosevelt.

It was not long, however, that the ecclesiastical and medical establishments in Chicago began a concerted attack on Dowie and his healing claims with many vicious anti-Dowie articles appearing in the Chicago newspapers. By 1895 Dowie had been arrested for practicing medicine without a license and had spent 120 days in court answering over 100 arrest warrants, partly for his vociferous attacks on the corrupt politics of the city government. In response, Dowie in April 1895 published his first but not last volley against the medical establishment. His vitriolic article titled, “Doctors, Drugs, and Devils, or the Foes of Christ the Healer” appeared in Physical Culture magazine. In it he made the following statements:

“I want to say today that doctors as a profession, are directly inspired by the devil. There is not an atom of foundation for science in medicine.

All doctors are “poisoners-general and surgical butchers” and “professional destroyers. “ They are monsters who hold in their hands deadly poisons and deadly surgical knives, and in the name of the law demand that you lie down upon the altar of their operating tables, that they may deprive you of your consciousness and make you a living sacrifice.” (10)

etc. etc.

With the immense popularity gained at the Chicago World’s Fair and in response to such articles, Dowie in 1896 proclaimed the founding of a new last days church for all true believers, the “Christian Catholic Church” and called on all his followers to join with him in a holy war against the religious establishment. By 1900, he began construction of “Zion City” on 6,500 acres 20 miles north of Chicago. Planned for 200,000 residents, Zion was to be a center of commerce and government as well as religion. In short order Dowie constructed homes, banks, schools, a hotel, and a wooden tabernacle that would seat no less than 8,000 persons. Those who took the commuter train from Chicago for Sunday services were greeted with large signs stating that Zion was “the only place where it is easy to do right and difficult to do wrong.” They were also told that in Zion there would be:

No Profanity, No vulgarity, No sorcerers, No medical poisoners, No cut throat competition, No saloons or beer gardens, No intoxicating liquors, No surgical butchers, No cigarette or tobacco stores, No vaccination: the foulest of all the foul inventions of the Devil and some dirty doctors, No drugs, No theaters, No dance halls, No opium joint, No gambling establishment, No house of ill fame assignation, No pharmacy, No apothecary’s shop, or drug store, No place for the manufacture or sale of drugs or medicines of any kind, No place or office of residence of a practicing physician or surgeon.

As well as

No unclean food or oysters, that scavenger of the sea, or swine, that scavenger of the earth. No place for holding secret meetings or assemblies of any oath bound society. (11)

Indeed, Zion would be a place where holiness and healing would be in and everything else would be out!

A sad footnote on Dowie’s ministry was that in 1901, he suddenly proclaimed himself to be “Elijah the Restorer” in fulfillment of Scripture and announced plans to set up new Zion communities all over the world. On top of this, in 1905 he suffered a stroke that made him a living vegetable leading to power struggles over control of his vast religious empire. He died in disgrace in 1907, ignored by those who formerly adored him. (12)

Dowie’s stern position against all medicine and doctors, however, took root in many sectors of the Holiness movement and became the majority view of the Pentecostals when the movement began in 1901 in Topeka, Kansas.

IV. Charles Fox Parham and William J. Seymour

Although Parham is known as the man who formulated the doctrine that speaking in tongues was the “Bible evidence” of the baptism in the Holy Spirit, he was first widely known as a healing evangelist. As a Methodist pastor and later as a Holiness teacher, Parham adopted Wesleyan language to describe divine healing. He once said that sickness is instantly “cleansed away root and branch” in answer to prayer. (13)

In 1898, after a visit to Dowie’s Zion City, Parham established his “Bethel Healing Home” in Topeka, Kansas where the sick could come and rest in a “spiritual hospital” where Prayer and Bible reading took the place of doctors and medicine. It was only after he opened his “Bethel Bible School” that he and his students made the discovered the connection between tongues and the baptism in the Holy Spirit on January 1, 1901, the very first day of the Twentieth Century. After this event, Parham preached a “five-fold gospel” emphasizing the new birth, second blessing sanctification, the baptism in the Holy Spirit evidenced by tongues, divine healing “as in the atonement,” and the instant rapture of the church. In this schema everything happened in an instant, including divine healing. (14)

When Pentecostalism exploded on the world scene at Azusa Street in 1906 under the African-American pastor William J. Seymour, his teaching on healing was essentially the same as his teacher Charles Parham. This included divine healing as in the atonement. In one article on healing, Seymour lamented that many Christians

“will take a doctor before Jesus. They put a doctor between them and the atonement… the doctor gives you poison and you die because you dishonor the atonement.” (15)

When someone wrote a letter to Seymour’s Apostolic Faith asking “Do you teach that it is wrong to take medicine?” The answer was as follows: Yes…medicine is for unbelievers, but the remedy for the saints of God we find in Jas. 5:14….” In another note on healing Seymour stated that “a sanctified body is one that is cleansed from all sickness and disease. The Lord gives you power over sickness and disease….” (16)

For the next decade the Pentecostals generally held to Parham’s and Seymour’s “atonement” view that taking medicine or going to a doctor showed a lack of faith in God. Under the fiery preaching of the Pentecostals, healing was now taken out of the residential “healing homes” and preached from the roof-tops. Healing evangelists laid hands on the sick in gospel tents, in school houses, and in whatever church would allow them a hearing.

In this period, many Pentecostal saints vowed that they would never touch another pill for the rest of their lives while “trusting God for their bodies.” The standard testimony was as follows:

I praise God that I am saved, sanctified, filled with the Holy Ghost, looking for Jesus to come, and I have trusted God for my body for 40 years” (or however many years since they had taken their last medicine).

In 1920, for instance, Sam Page, one-time head of the Pentecostal Holiness Church reported that he had been “saved and healed for 27 years.” In the first church I pastored in Virginia, there was an elderly lady of 94 years, Sister Gayle, who testified that she had “trusted God for her body for 50 years.” One preacher W.J. Noble said, after promising not to take any medicine or see a doctor “until death” testified:

He has healed me of many diseases such as broken bones, tonsillitis, lagrippe, influenza, indigestion, diptheria, ingrown toenails, cancer, and tuberculosis in the last stage.” Theirs was indeed a heroic faith. (17)

If there were any sick people among them, many Pentecostals felt that either there was sin in the body, or the person lacked the faith to be healed. If anyone suffered from depression or any other mental or emotional disorder, they were generally thought to be demon possessed. Instead of psychiatry or psychoanalysis, exorcisms were the order of the day for those who were “oppressed of the devil.” In any case, the sick often lay in their beds in a darkened sickroom for weeks praying for a healing touch while often enduring agonies of pain while refusing any kind of medicines or visits from physicians. In this case, Jesus and Jesus alone was the caregiver and healer.

V. Confusion and Schism over “Remedies”

For several decades Pentecostals made news in many communities over their views and practices on divine healing. In the period from Azusa Street to World War II some Pentecostal preachers were not only arrested for “practicing medicine without a license,” but were accused of “murder” for allowing family members to die without medical aid. Some even looked on this as a mark of distinction and suffering for the faith. Francis Marion Britton of the Pentecostal Holiness Church, for instance, allowed his first wife to die “unaided” although fifty neighbors threatened to have him tried for “murder” because of a lack of medical attention. Not only did his wife die “without drugs” but also two of their children. (18)

In the Church of God, Walter Barney, a pastor in Wytheville Virginia, was tried and convicted of “manslaughter” in 1915 for refusing medical care for a daughter who later died. His conviction was later overturned with a pardon by the Governor of Virginia. To many Pentecostals, people like Britton and Barney were heroes of healing who were gladly persecuted for their faith. But to other Pentecostals they seemed to be fanatics who gave Pentecostalism a bad name. (19)

The only schism among Pentecostals over the use of medicine divided the Pentecostal Holiness church when, in 1919 a furor erupted in the church when a Georgia preacher, Hugh Bowling , wrote in the church paper The Advocate that it was no sin at all to take “remedies” and that going to a doctor implied no lack of faith in the patient. To some leaders this position seemed to be a compromise on the heroic stand for divine healing that many had taken over the years. One letter to the editor exhorted:

“Beloved, let us never lower the standard, for if we fail to preach this wonderful truth, we are a fallen church, and if our ministers advocate drugs and doctors, something is wrong…you are not preaching the full gospel.” (20)

After this, a great struggle ensued with charges and counter-charges on each side. In a later article in The Advocate Bowling explained his position:

I do not believe that those who get sick and use no remedies and drag around for weeks and after so long a time get well, are divinely healed, but that nature alone restored them… I do not believe in lying about divine healing.

I do not believe that sickness is evidence of unbelief.

I do not believe that healing is paralleled with salvation in the atonement. (21)

This was the last straw! Leaders of the denomination made charges against Bowling and his friend Watson Sorrow. In the end, Bowling was given his day in an ecclesiastical court, but was expelled from the church when he failed to appear for the hearing. He and some friends thereafter organized the “Congregational Holiness Church” in 1921. In time the controversy was largely forgotten, but in later years, the very men who criticized Bowling for advocating medicine, themselves died in hospitals using the best doctors and medicines available. (22)

VI. Oral Roberts and the City of Faith

The famous healing evangelist Oral Roberts was only three years old in Oklahoma when his denomination was torn with controversy over divine healing. In fact, in some places divine healing almost faded from the life of the churches. In his book. Expect a Miracle Roberts says that faith for healing was at a low ebb in the Pentecostal Churches where his father and mother served as pastors. His miraculous healing from tuberculosis as a sixteen year old boy, however, was destined to change his life and the life of the American church in the decades to come. After his healing, young Oral answered the call to preach. The first few years of his ministry saw Roberts struggling as a traveling evangelist and pastor of small churches. (23)

In 1947, while pastoring a small church in Toccoa, Georgia, Oral saw a man instantly healed after a motor had fallen on his foot crushing it to the bone. Impressed with this unexpected miracle, Roberts began to fast and pray for the gift of healing to be released in his ministry. After returning to Oklahoma, he pastored other churches while studying in Phillips University and helping to found Southwestern College in Oklahoma City. (24)

During a time of fasting and prayer in his Enid Oklahoma church, Roberts heard the Lord commission him to bring God’s healing power to his generation. His first healing crusade in his hometown of Ada, Oklahoma in 1948 was so successful that he immediately launched a tent-healing crusade ministry that eventually made him a household name throughout the world. A major breakthrough came in 1953 when he began televising his healing lines on national television. This brought divine healing into the very living rooms of the nation. In doing this, Roberts created a new media genre – that of the televangelist. The income generated by his television ministry ultimately led Roberts to found his own university in 1965 in Tulsa. Here, he planned to train young people to take divine healing to the furthermost nations and peoples of the world. (25)

On top of his sensational and wildly successful healing ministry, in 1980, Roberts dedicated his 77 story hospital in Tulsa which he dubbed the “City of Faith.” Here, he said, would be celebrated a “marriage between prayer and medicine, the supernatural and the natural, in the treatment of the whole person.” The hospital included plans for a Medical school where future doctors could minister healing through medicine and prayer. After an initial period of euphoria and success, however, the dream of a Pentecostal hospital ran aground on the rocks of financial disaster. Although his partners gave tens of millions of dollars to the project, few were willing to travel to Tulsa for treatment, even after the City of Faith hospital offered free plane tickets to anyone who would come. By 1990 it was clear that even Roberts staunchest supporters would rather trust in Oral’s prayers for healing than come to his hospital.(26)

With the closing of the City of Faith in 1989, the circle was complete. The healing movement had begun in the 1860’s with Charles Cullis ministering prayer in a public hospital in Boston. After wards the “healing home” movement saw people abandoning hospitals in favor of entering healing homes for rest and prayer. Then, in the most radical phase, the Dowie era, people denounced all “doctors, drugs and devils” in favor of prayer alone. But, by the 1990’s, Pentecostals and Charismatics had generally settled on a position in which a sick person would still ask for prayer first and trust God for healing, and then go to the doctors for regular medical care. If they got well, whether with medical treatment or without it, they claimed their healing to be a miracle from God.

In the end, most Pentecostals would agree with the final position of Oral Roberts on the question of healing. After laying hands on over one million sick folk in his crusades, he concluded that all miraculous healing comes from God, whether from natural processes, as the result of prayer with the laying on of hands, or through the ministry of doctors and medicine. Gone were the days when children were left to die in agony “without drugs or doctors.” Still, as the century came to an end, there were those faith teachers like Kenneth Hagin who could say,” I took my last aspirin in 1934 when I had my last headache.” He made a point that he had received no medicine or medical care in the 63 years since. That, by the way, was the year in which I was born. (27)


In summary, the story of healing in the Pentecostal/Charismatic movement came down to the question of who was in the sickroom. Before Cullis, the only healer in the house was the medical doctor. In his first healing homes, there were now two healers in the house, the doctor and Jesus. In his later years, there was only one healer in the house – Jesus ..

Under Dowie, doctors and drugs were not only totally excluded, they were demonized. Later, under such Pentecostal evangelists as Aimee Semple Mc Pherson and Oral Roberts, the healing homes were abandoned in favor of evangelistic healing crusades under tents and in large city auditoriums.

With the creation of the City of Faith, prayer and medicine were again joined together. Now, Jesus and the doctor were in the same room ministering to the sick and giving God the glory for any healing that took place, whether from natural processes, from medicine or surgery, or from prayer. In the end, the long term effect of Pentecostal/Charismatic care giving was to invite Jesus back into the sickroom where He could add his healing touch to that of the doctors and nurses.

Indeed, by the 1990’s medical science was confirming the fact that religious faith and prayer made a measurable scientific difference in the healing process. In 1998, for example, the Templeton Foundation was sponsoring classes on religion, healing, and prayer in the major medical schools of the nation. Not only this, by the mid-1990’s there was a veritable flood of magazine articles, TV specials, and scholarly studies announcing “discoveries” about prayer and healing that Christians in general and Pentecostals in particular had known for decades.

One of the most important media breakthroughs was the June, 1996 issue of Time Magazine with a cover story titled, “Faith and Healing: Can Spirituality promote Health? Some Surprising Evidence.” This story told of Aids patients who were studied in a controlled experiment where one-half were treated with drugs alone and the other half with drugs and prayer. The results were significantly better for those who received prayer. It was also stated that “according to a 1995 study at Dartmouth, one of the strongest predictors of survival after open heart surgery is the degree to which patients say they draw strength and comfort from religion.” The article concluded with a sidebar titled “Ambushed by Spirituality” which reported that 82% of Americans “believe in the healing power of personal prayer.” (28)

The story of faith and healing was also carried prominently in the U.S. on national network television in March 1998 when Peter Jennings of the American Broadcasting Company (ABC) aired a series on faith and healing called “A Closer Look.” He reported that in recent times “the relationship between faith and the physical is taken more seriously.” He also reported on research that proves that “people with strong religious faith live longer than others” and that “faith is an essential ingredient for survival.”

In medical schools, he reported, religious faith and spirituality is now “a legitimate field of study.” In fact 30 American medical schools now teach courses on spirituality because “you cannot teach medicine in a spiritual vacuum.” Dr. Tim Johnson, the medical reporter for ABC, who is also an ordained minister of the Gospel, said of these developments, “this is a sea change in my lifetime.” (29)

Looking back, a strong case could be made for giving credit to the Pentecostals for this “sea change” in public attitudes. Perhaps Oral Roberts was truly a prophet ahead of his times when he built a “City of Faith” where there would be “a marriage between prayer and medicine.” The unexpected difference was that this marriage was celebrated not in just one hospital, but in hundreds more around the world. Now science is again admitting Jesus back into the sickroom where God can use the ministry of doctors and medicine while also answering the prayer of faith for miraculous healing.


1. Recent broad surveys on Pentecostalism include Vinson Synan’s The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition: The Charismatic Movement in the Churches (Grand Rapids, MI: Wm. B. Eerdmans, 1997) and Walter J. Hollenweger’s Pentecostalism: Origins and Developments Worldwide ( Peabody, MA:Hendrickson Publishers, 1997). An indispensable general resource is Stanley Burgess, Gary McGee, and Patrick Alexander’s Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan Publishing House, 1988). The statistics are taken from David Barrett’s forthcoming revised World Christian Encyclopedia (London: Oxford University Press, 1999).

2.  For the development of the healing movement in the Holiness Movement see Paul Chappell’s “Healing Movements” in Burgess, et. al. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, pp. 353-374. Also see Donald Dayton’s Theological Roots of Pentecostalism (Grand Rapids, MI: Francis Asbury Press, 1987), pp. 115-141, and William Faupel’s The Everlasting Gospel: The Significance of Eschatology in the Development of Pentecostal Thought (Sheffield, UK: Sheffield Academic Press, 1996), pp. 115-186.

3.  See R. H. Charles, The Apocrypha and Pseudepigrapha of the Old Testament (London: Oxford Press, 1973 edition), pp. 448-450.

4.  For early European developments see Chappell’s “Healing Movements,” pp. 355-366.

5.  Chappell, “Healing Movements,” pp. 358-360; Dayton, Theological Roots, pp. 122-125.

6.  Chappell, “Healing Movements,” pp. 359-360.

7.  Chappell, “Healing Movements,” pp. 360-361.

8.  Dayton, Theological Roots, pp. 127-130.

9.  Two biographies of Dowie are R. Harlan’s John Alexander Dowie and the Christian Apostolic Church in Zion (Evansville, WI: R. M. Antes, 1906) and Gordon Lindsay, The Life of John Alexander Dowie (Shreveport, LA: Voice of Healing Publishing Company, 1851). The major recent source for Dowie is Faupel’s Everlasting Gospel, pp. 116-135.

10.  Alexander Dowie, “Doctors, Drugs and Devils, Or , the Foes of Christ the Healer,” Physical Culture, {April, 1895}, pp. 81-86.

11.  This passage was supplied to me by Terryl Todd of Libertyville, IL. who copied them from a contemporary photograph.

12.  See Lindsay, John Alexander Dowie, pp. 193-175 and Faupel, Everlasting Gospel, pp. 118-133.

13.  The definitive biography of Parham is James Goff’s, Fields White Unto Harvest: Charles Fox Perham and the Missionary Origins of Pentecostalism (Fayetteville, AR: University of Arkansas Press, 1988). See pp. 32-70.

14.  Goff, Fields White Unto Harvest, p. 90.

15.  William J. Seymour, “Salvation and Healing,” Apostolic Faith (Azusa Street), December 1906, p. 2.

16.  William J. Seymour, “Questions and Answers” Apostolic Faith (Azusa Street), January, 1908, pp. 2, 4.

17.  Vinson Synan, The Old-Time Power: A History of the Pentecostal Holiness Church (Franklin Springs, GA: Advocate Press, 1973), pp. 166-171.

18.  Synan, Old-Time Power, p. 166.

19.  Church of God Evangel, Dec. 1, 1910, pp. 1-2; Jan.23, 1915, p.2.

20.  Synan, Old- Time Power, p. 167.

21.  Synan, Old-Time Power, p. 168.

22.  Synan, Old-Time Power, p. 169-171.

23.  Of the many autobiographies of Oral Roberts, the best and most recent one is, Expect a Miracle: My Life and Ministry – Oral Roberts, an Autobiography (Nashville, TN: Thomas Nelson, 1995).

24.  Roberts, Expect a Miracle, pp.54-56.

25.  Roberts, Expect a Miracle, pp. 64-100.

26.  It is interesting that Roberts did not mention the City of Faith in his latest autobiography, evidently putting stress on his highly successful university. By 1994, the City of Faith had become a major source of endowment funds for the University.

27.  Vinson Synan, “The Faith of Kenneth Hagin,” Charisma, June 1990, pp. 62-70. Richard M. Riss, “Kenneth E. Hagin,” Burgess, et. al. Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, p. 345.

28.  Claudia Wallace, “Faith and Healing,” Time Magazine, (Vol. 147, No. 26) June 24, 1996, pp. 58-62.

29.  Peter Jennings, Peggy Wehmeyer, and Cynthia McFadden, ABC Nightly News, March, 1998.

Vinson Synan,  Professor of Church History; Dean Emeritus – Regent University


  1. I found this article very interesting. I was looking for more information about Charles Cullis, who I learned about by way of William E. Boardman. I was wondering where F. F. Bosworth fit into this picture. He wrote Christ the Healer and worked with A. B. Simpson. He was an evangelist in whose meetings hundreds were healed regularly. I had never heard of him before, which seems surprising, given how well-known he was in his day. It is also surprising how many detrimental articles I have come across by those who seem to be followers of Christ but almost demonize other followers of Christ (while often seriously misrepresenting what they believe) who believe in healing and also in holiness (without legalism). One has to really be a “Berean” and study the Scriptures for yourself “to see if these things are so.”

  2. Please pray that GOD may revealed the truth of my husband’s affair with unmarried girl after 16 years of my marriage life. He is a liar. He do not confess his SIN but gives me pain & sorrow. Forsaken me as a wife living under one roof since 19 months. I stay with him like a servant not wife. He is a cruel husband. I have one kid. I am completely mentally & physically tired of his affair. I have hide my identity.

  3. Hi all My name is Addie. love to join as a partner for prayer and healing. Please heal me. I have anxiety fear and worry. Please pray for me. Please feel free to phone me My phone number is 07549480376. Blessings to all. From Addie

  4. Hi all I am new here. My name is Addie. I would love to join as a partner for prayer and healing. Please heal me. please pray for me. I suffer anxiety and fear and worry. Please pray for me. Please feel free to phone me sometime. My phone number is 07549480376. Blessings to all. From Addie

  5. Hi all I am new here. My name is Addie. I would love to join as a partner for prayer and healing. Please heal me and please pray for me I suffer anxiety and fear and worry. Please pray for me. Please feel free to phone me sometime. My phone number is 07549480376. Blessings to all. From Addie

  6. and beside br vinson you as an historian whether you like it or not since i have been coming on the internet the interest in br branham has eclipsed many other ministries and its growing by leaps and bounds, his ministry does not beg for money, if it keeps on going like it is the historians will be embarrassed for not covering it like they should and its not ecumenical

  7. i certainly respect as an historian but you skipped 20 years and made no mention of william branham, try to be a little more objective in your reporting you dont have to agree just report

Leave a Comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.