More Resources on Soteriology: The Biblical Doctrine of Salvation

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V. A. B. Simpson

Albert B. Simpson (1843-1919), founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance (CMA) denomination, “an ecumenical and evangelical fellowship dedicated to promoting the deeper Christian life,”[1] like so many other advocates of Keswick theology, believed that physical “healing [is] a great redemption right that we simply claim as our purchased inheritance through the blood of the cross,”[2] just as, in the Keswick doctrine, the Higher spiritual Life is simply claimed by faith.[3] He associated with Jessie Penn-Lewis, so that, for example, she preached at Simpson’s Gospel Tabernacle in New York and addressed the students at the CMA Missionary Training Institute at Nyack, which was founded by Simpson.[4] His fellowship with Mrs. Penn-Lewis led him to adopt many of her doctrinal positions, such as a favorable view of woman preachers[5] and the view that believers could be possessed by demons—indeed, according to Simpson, everyone who does not enter into the Higher Life will be demon possessed: “the Devil will surely possess every heart that is not constantly yielded to God.”[6] Thus CMA was “[f]ounded by A. B. Simpson in 1887 as an . . . organization emphasizing missions, holiness, and healing.”[7] “Simpson is considered by modern church historians to be one of the foremost leaders in the ‘faith cure’ movement, second only to Dr. Charles Cullis.”[8] Indeed, “Dr. Simpson was a disciple of Dr. Cullis.”[9] “There is a spiritual law of choosing, believing, abiding, and holding steady in our walk with God, which is essential to the working of the Holy Ghost either in our sanctification or healing,”[10] he taught. Thus, we “may expect to be ‘in health’ and prosper ‘even as our soul prospereth.’”[11] “Simpson . . . in pre-Pentecostal days encouraged restoration of the supernatural gifts probably more than any other of his time”[12]—he was a clear precursor of the charismatic movement. Indeed, shortly before engineering the outbreak of tongues, Pentecostal founder Charles Parham visited Simpson’s Bible Institute in Nyack.[13] In light of Simpson’s commanding influence as the CMA’s first director, and his passionate advocacy of Keswick and Faith Cure theology, the Higher Life for the soul and for the body, it is not surprising that the “single most significant influence from the Keswick world which came upon the embryonic pentecostal revival was that of the Christian and Missionary Alliance.”[14] Writing against cessationism in 1888, before the origin of the modern Pentecostal movement yet in preparation for it, and commenting on Mark 16:17-19, Simpson wrote:

A common objection is urged in this way: Christ’s last promise in Mark embraces much more than healing; but if you claim one, you must claim all. If you expect the healing of the sick, you must also include the gift of tongues and the power to overcome malignant poisons; and if the gift of tongues has ceased, so in the same way has the power over disease. We cheerfully accept the severe logic, we cannot afford to give up one of the promises. We admit our belief in the presence of the Healer in all the charismata of the Pentecostal Church. We see no reason why an humble servant of Christ, engaged in the Master’s work, may not claim in simple faith the power to resist malaria and other poisons and malignant dangers; and we believe the gift of tongues . . . will be repeated as soon as the Church will humbly claim it for the universal diffusion of the Gospel. Indeed, instances are not wanting now of its apparent restoration in missionary labors, both in India and Africa.[15]

Contemporary believers were receiving “inward visions and revelations” and new “messsage[s],”[16] Simpson knew, and tongues were sure to come: “We are to witness before the Lord’s return real missionary ‘tongues’ like those of Pentecost, through which the heathen world shall hear in their own language ‘the wonderful works of God,’ and this perhaps on a scale of whose vastness we have scarcely dreamed.”[17] “Feeling increasingly dissatisfied with his own spiritual life, Simpson was drawn to the teachings of the holiness movement. After reading William Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life, he underwent a powerful experience, which he regarded as one of sanctification. . . . [Then,] Simpson, [who] never possessed of a sturdy constitution, experienced healing and soon became one of the leading exponents of the divine healing movement.”[18] Based on the eisegesis of Scripture, Simpson avowed that Christians are healed by “receiving the personal life of Christ to be in [them] as the supernatural strength of [their] body, and the supply of [their] life.”[19] Indeed, Simpson wrote: “There is no need that we should die of disease.”[20] Simpson, in addition to promulgating his healing doctrine in books such as The Gospel of Healing and Lord for the Body, established a healing center[21] for those who were healed but still needed to recover from their sicknesses, following the pattern of William Boardman, the earlier Higher Life agitator and major Keswick precursor. Simpson, therefore, naturally followed the pattern set by Boardman in establishing a Faith-Cure home, Berachah,[22] in New York. Simpson wrote: “[In] the resurrection of our Lord . . . the gospel of healing finds the fountain of its deepest life. . . . Not for Himself alone did Jesus receive the power of an endless life. He received it as our life. . . . This is the great, vital, precious principle of physical healing in the name of Jesus.”[23] Healing is guaranteed for believers:

The Word of God is for evermore the standard of [God’s] will, and that Word has declared immutably that it is God’s greatest desire and unalterable principle of action and will to render to every man according as he will believe, and especially to save all who will receive Christ by faith, and to heal all who will receive healing by similar faith. No one thinks of asking for forgiveness “if the Lord will.” Nor should we throw any stronger doubt on His promise of physical redemption.[24]

After all, “if God had wanted to guard us against the fanaticism of divine healing,” Scripture would have made it evident that the Faith Cure was false, which, Simpson averred, was not the case—on the contrary, “God’s Word does . . . not . . . prescribe . . . medicine . . . [or any other] human remedies.”[25]

Furthermore, there was no need to fear that one will not be able to exercise faith for a miraculous healing, since Christ actually believes for the believer,[26] just as Christ lives the believer’s spiritual and physical life for him. It is necessary to take Christ’s body for healing, just as it is necessary to take His holiness for sanctification—one who, recalling the prayer of the Apostle Paul recorded by inspiration in 2 Corinthians 7:9-11, consequently prayed for healing and “believed that I should be healed if it was His good pleasure” yet thought, “and if not, I am willing to have it otherwise,” was not submitting to the Lord’s sovereign good pleasure, but was engaged in “vexation and a mockery” of God.[27] Galatians 2:20, after all, required both physical and spiritual healing. Simpson’s healing doctrine, based on his view of Galatians 2:20, can be summarized as follows:

[W]e . . . have Christ . . . in such a sense . . . that whatever Christ is becomes quite literally ours. Not only does Christ’s righteousness become our righteousness, and Christ’s holiness our holiness, and Christ’s wisdom our wisdom, and Christ’s strength our strength, but Christ’s spirit becomes our spirit, Christ’s mind our mind, Christ’s body our body . . . having Christ, we have bodily wholeness, not merely freedom from disease, but perfect bodily wholeness—for is not Christ’s body whole? . . . Christ [must be taken] for [the Christian’s] mind, for his memory, for his will also; and . . . he therefore no longer makes mistakes, no longer forgets things, and no longer is irresolute or stubborn at the wrong places. “Christ in him” has become the real agent in all his mental and moral activities. Even his faith is not his own, but Christ’s . . . [although] we must “take” Christ for all these things or else we do not get them, and . . . this “taking” is our own act, Christ becoming our life only subsequently and consequently to it. . . .You have to take His faith as well as His life and healing, and have simply to say, ‘I live by the faith of the Son of God.’ . . . It is simply Christ, Christ alone.” Christ thus does our very believing for us, and we live not by faith in Him but by His faith in us. We have, indeed, “to take His faith,” just as we have to take His life, and we do not quite understand what this “taking” is, if it is not already faith. As now, however, we take His faith and it becomes our faith, so we “take” His body and it becomes our body, and—as His body is now our body we are in a bodily sense, of course, whole. . . .You can “receive Christ” for your body’s welfare as well as for your soul’s; and when you do this, His body becomes your body. “His spirit is all that your spirit needs, and He just gives us Himself. His body possesses all that your body needs. He has a heart beating with the strength that your heart needs. He has organs and functions redundant with life, not for Himself but for humanity. He does not need strength for Himself. The energy which enabled Him to rise and ascend from the tomb, above all the forces of nature, was not for Himself. That marvelous body belongs to your body. You are a member of His body. Your heart has a right to draw from His heart all that it needs. Your physical life has a right to draw from His physical life its support and strength, and so it is not you, but it is just the precious life of the Son of God.” “Will you take Him thus to-day?” . . . Simpson . . . therefore pleads. And he promises: “And then you will not be merely healed, but you will have a new life for all you need, a flood of life that will sweep disease away, and then remain a fountain of life for all your future need.” . . . “Christ in you” . . . [is] for His bodily health too—and [one gets] not merely relief from suffering, not merely “simple healing,” but Christ “so gave me Himself [when I took Him for this] that I lost the painful consciousness of physical organs.” This is what “letting go and letting Christ” means, when it is taken “literally.”[28]

Further paralleling the Keswick message of sanctification, Simpson affirmed that “physical redemption . . . is only kept by constant abiding in Jesus and receiving from Him. It is not a permanent deposit but a constant dependence . . . and continues only while we dwell in Him.”[29] Thus, Simpson affirms that healing can be lost if one fails to abide—a doctrine contrary to all the examples of healing by the Lord Jesus and the Apostles, where no “relapses” took place, and all were healed, both unconverted and converted, and both strong believers and weak ones.

Contrary to the examples in Scripture, where healings were immediately perfect, Simpson also writes: “healing will often be gradual.”[30] Indeed, as Charles Cullis, Andrew Murray, and other Faith Cure leaders taught, in common with Mary Baker Eddy and the Mind Cure,[31] one who is “healed” may still have symptoms of his disease—it may appear in every way like his disease is still present, just the same way that it was before being healed—but when such difficulties appear to be the case, one “must ignore all symptoms”[32] and recognize that symptoms may be from Satan, for “he has power even to simulate all symptoms,”[33] affirmations that parallel Word-Faith doctrine.[34] Simpson makes a stirring exhortation to those who have been healed to ignore, not his doctrine as a failure, but the still present and unchanged symptoms of their diseases, based on the accepted presupposition of the Keswick doctrine of sanctification, through which one is perfect, but one’s indwelling sin remains present and entirely unchanged:

Do not look always for the immediate removal of the symptoms. Do not think of them. Simply ignore them and press forward, claiming the reality, at the back of and below all symptoms. Remember the health you have claimed is not your own natural strength, but the life of Jesus manifested in your mortal flesh, and therefore the old natural life may still be encompassed with many infirmities, but at the back of it, beside it, and over against it, is the all-sufficient life of Christ to sustain your body. “Ye are dead, and your life is hid with Christ in God.” But “Christ is your life;” and the life you now live in the flesh you live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved you and gave Himself for you. Do not, then, wonder if nature still will often fail you. His healing is not nature, it is grace, it is Christ, it is the bodily life of the risen Lord. It is the vital energy of the body that went up to the right hand of God; and it never faints and it never fails those who trust it. IT IS CHRIST WHO IS YOUR LIFE; Christ’s body for your body as His Spirit was for your spirit. Therefore do not wonder if there should be trials. . . . [T]o put on His strength in . . . weakness, and live in it moment by moment, is perfect healing . . . be the symptoms what they may . . . though our outward man perish.[35]

Simpson likewise answered the following questions, posed by those who were perplexed by the fact that they were healed, but nothing in their bodies had changed:

31. If we are not immediately conscious of actual healing, after anointing, how should we act?

Keep your eyes off your symptoms and on Christ. He is your life. Your body must be reckoned as good as dead, and He depended upon for strength, moment by moment. Therefore look to Him, draw your strength from Him, and be not discouraged at any testing or seeming delay. . . .

32. How can I consider and call myself healed when there is no sign of it in my body? . . .

The healing is not in our own body at first—we consider it as good as dead, but in Christ’s body, and as we look to it, its strength keeps coming into ours, and we “wax strong through faith.”

33. But have we a right to call that real which is not real?

If God calls it so, we can echo His declaration. . . . And if we have not the faith to do this for Divine Healing, perhaps we have not the faith for anything.[36]

Thus, Simpson writes, although writhing in pain from symptoms of disease, although one’s body is filled with infirmities and weaknesses, although nature fails, although without any natural strength, although one’s outward man perishes, indeed, even though people can say “ye are dead” and one’s body is as good as dead, although there is no sign of healing whatsoever—nonetheless, the truth is one has received “perfect healing”—perfect healing, not absolute and fantastic delusion, is the reality at the back of and below all these ravaging symptoms of disease and death. After all, is one not truly sanctified in the same manner, with a sanctification that likewise leaves the body of sin untouched? Is not the healing that leaves the physical body unchanged just as real as the sanctification that leaves indwelling sin unchanged? Does one not take Christ’s body for one’s own body, as one takes Christ’s holiness for one’s own holiness? Do not the same sorts of testimonials and allegorical exegesis of Scripture provide support for both? Yet somehow one suspects that the evidential value of the miracles of Christ and the Apostles would have been not a little decreased if they had healed in the manner described by Simpson, so that, for instance, those healed of leprosy (Matthew 11:5) were still leprous, those healed of blindness still had the symptom of not being able to see (John 9), and those whose body parts were reattached (Luke 22:50-51) still had the symptom of missing members—although since the CMA specializes in miraculous healings that are not evidently miraculous, but can be explained from natural causes, unlike reattached limbs,[37] the problem of present symptoms in those healed is at least a little less obviously detached from reality. Perhaps the fact that those who were healed still so often had the symptoms of not being healed explains why “Dr. Simpson[’s] . . . co-pastor . . for years . . . and one of the leading officials of the Alliance . . . could furnish abundant evidence of the utter failure of the leaders of the movement to maintain their theories of healing.”[38]

Simpson explained to those who trusted in the Faith Cure but were not yet healed[39] the message of moment-by-moment bodily healing that did not heal the body but accessed Christ’s body, by faith alone. He gave testimony to his taking Christ’s body for his own health just like he took Christ’s holiness for his sanctification, explaining that he discovered this alleged truth through a direct revelation of what was allegedly Christ speaking to him directly, rather than through careful exegesis of Scripture, as Simpson’s doctrine is certainly nowhere to be found in the actual speech of God in the holy Bible. Nonetheless, by testimonial to the wonderful effects of taking Christ moment by moment for sanctification and healing, Simpson surely convinced countless others to similarly take Christ for their health as they had earlier taken him for sanctification. Simpson testified: “I had to learn . . . every second, to breathe Himself in as I breathed, and breathe myself out. So, moment by moment for the spirit, and moment by moment for the body[.]”[40] As Simpson breathed in Christ and breathed out himself, he experienced, moment by moment, the secret of spiritual and physical health. At the Broadlands Conference the Higher Life had a number of stages,[41] and for Simpson the first blessing was justification, the second blessing was sanctification, and the third blessing healing.[42] However, the blessings did not stop there. He testified:

Years ago I came to Him burdened with guilt and fear; I tried that simple secret, and it took away all my fear and sin. Years passed on, and I found sin overcoming me and my temptations too strong for me. I came to Him a second time, and He whispered to me, “Christ in you,” and I had victory, rest and blessing. Then the body broke away in every sort of way. . . . I heard of the Lord’s healing, but I struggled against it. I was afraid of it. I had been taught in theological seminaries that the age of the supernatural was past, and I could not go back from my early training. My head was in my way, but at last when I was brought to attend “the funeral of my dogmatics,” as Mr. Schrenck says, “the Lord whispered to me the little secret, ‘Christ in you’”; and from that hour I received Him for my body as I had done for my soul. I was made so strong and well . . . [i]t was more than simple healing. He so gave me Himself that I lost the painful consciousness of physical organs.[43]

However, Simpson went yet further. Having taken Christ for justification, the first blessing, and then taken Christ for sanctification, the second blessing, and then taken Christ for healing, the third blessing, he was ready to go on even further.   Simpson explained that he went on to take Christ’s mind, the fourth blessing. Simpson recognized that he “had a poor sort of mind.” After taking Christ’s mind, however, the time when he “was always making mistakes” was over; now “the brain and head [was] right . . . [a]nd since then I have been kept free from . . . mental disability.” After all, Christ was not just perfectly holy and perfectly healthy, but perfectly wise. Having taken Christ’s mind for his own mind, perhaps Simpson did not feel like grammatical-historical exegesis of his doctrine was necessary to support his doctrine—he was no longer capable of making mistakes, and, besides, his further steps were simply good and necessary consequences of his broad and bright foundation of sand in the Keswick theology of sanctification. But the fourth blessing also was not enough. Having been justified, sanctified, healed, and now gone out of his mind to take Christ’s mind, Simpson went on to the fifth blessing—taking Christ’s will. “I asked, ‘Cannot you be a will to me?’ He said, ‘Yes, my child[.’”] As the second blessing of Keswick sanctification had left Simpson’s will entirely unaffected, the fifth blessing of taking Christ’s will hopefully would enable Simpson to will the right as fully as Christ did. However, there were surely more such takings yet to come. Simpson enjoined: “I feel I have only begun to learn how well it works. . . . May you make better use of it than I! . . . Take it and go on working it out[.]”[44] And, truly, it was difficult to know where those who adopted Simpson’s doctrine from such a testimonial would take it next,[45] although the antecedent teaching of Hannah W. Smith at the Broadlands Conferences provided some possibilities.[46] At least it was difficult for those Christians who still had their own minds, and were not now free from all sin, all sickness, all mistakes, and all errors of the mind and will, as Simpson testified he now was. Such individuals, as they had not yet entered into the Higher Life, the Higher Body, the Higher Mind, and the Higher Will, would likely be best off going the old route of searching the Scriptures daily instead of following Simpson and passing out of their minds.

Simpson dangerously drew the parallel to the Keswick doctrine of sanctification by faith apart from works to conclude, as did Andrew Murray, early Pentecostalism, and the Word of Faith movement, that one who fully relies on the Lord for healing should not use doctors and other human means. While Christ or the Apostles never counseled people to reject medicine or avoid doctors, Simpson wrote:

There can be no works mingled with justifying faith. So our healing must be wholly of God, or not of grace at all. If Christ heals, He must do it alone. This principle ought to settle the question of using “means” in connection with faith for healing. The natural and the spiritual, the earthly and the heavenly, the works of man and the grace of God cannot be mixed any more than a person could expect to harness a tortoise with a locomotive. They cannot work together. . . . We must venture on Him wholly. If healing is to be sought by natural means, let us obtain all the best results of skill and experience. But if it is to be received through the name of Jesus, it must be by grace alone. . . . Is it an optional matter with us how we shall be healed—whether we shall trust God or look to man? . . . Is this not . . . a matter of simple obedience? . . . [I]s not the gospel of healing of equal authority . . . [to] the gospel of salvation[?] . . . Surely these questions answer themselves. They leave but one course open to every child of God.[47]

Indeed, from the “moment [faith for healing is obtained] doubt should be regarded as absolutely out of the question, and even the very thought of retreating or resorting to old ‘means’ inadmissible. Of course, such a person will at once abandon all remedies and medical treatment.”[48] Simpson made sure to answer the objections of those who believed that Scripture taught that medicine was appropriate for Christians, from the weakest to the strongest. In response to the question, “Why has God made all the remedies we find in nature if He does not intend us to use them?” Simpson responded:

Perhaps He did not make them any more than He made beer and whiskey. God made the barley, man made the alcohol. . . . [N]atural remedies . . . are not His way for His children. . . . They are not to be combined in the scriptures with divine healing. . . . All Christ’s redemption purchases must be free gifts, by grace without works, and so if divine healing be through Christ’s blood, it must be a gift of grace alone. We cannot mix our works with it [by using medicine] any more than our justification. . . . To combine the omnipotence of Jesus with a dose of mercury [or other medicine] is like trying to go up stairs by the elevator and the stairs at the same moment or harnessing an ox with a locomotive. . . . But cannot we ask God to bless the means? . . . [T]hat is not divine healing through the name of Jesus alone, as He has prescribed. That is Esau’s blessing.[49]

Furthermore, faithful members of the CMA, Simpson taught, should withhold medicine from their own children—such was not ungodliness and poor stewardship of needy little lives, but godliness:

What should we do in the case of children? We may act for them [in withholding medicine] if they are our own, or if they are substantially laid upon us by the Lord, so that we are responsible for them. . . . But . . . [i]n the case of the children of others we should be most careful in assuming responsibility . . . in view of the law of the state requiring the care of an attending physician.[50]

Simpson preached, as did the charismatic and Word of Faith movements, which succeeded him, that physical healing[51] was guaranteed in Christ’s atonement.[52] Since physical healing is in the atonement, “is a gift of grace, as all that Christ’s blood has purchased will ever be, and therefore cannot be mixed up with our own works or the use of human means,” such as the use of doctors and medicine; healing “must be by faith,”[53] and as a convinced advocate of the Keswick theology, Simpson knew that healing by faith, just as sanctification by faith, was a healing and sanctification by faith alone, one that excluded all works and effort. One must simply “take Christ as your Healer” as “we took Him for our justification” and then “for our sanctification,”[54] and, lo, the healing is accomplished, as the work of sanctification was earlier accomplished.

While Simpson successfully prepared the way for the Pentecostal and Word of Faith movements and also led many to an unnecessary and premature death, at least he sought to practice his beliefs himself. He “never resorted to medical care (except for cough drops and eyeglasses)[55] for nearly forty years . . . even in the last two years of his life after suffering a stroke and depression.”[56] Simpson taught and sought to convince himself that all those who seek healing by faith alone are promised “fullness of life and health and strength up to the measure of our natural life and until our life work is done,”[57] despite the fact that such a view appears to have been rather different than what Paul taught and first century saints like Trophimus experienced (2 Timothy 4:20). Simpson, nonetheless, held “‘Friday Meetings’ on divine healing . . . for many years . . . [and had] made a written covenant that he would advance the gospel of healing as a part of his ministry from th[e] . . . time [when he experienced a] dramatic personal healing . . . forward.”[58] Thus, Simpson adopted his healing doctrine because of an experience of alleged or real healing, not because of careful exegesis of Scripture. Simpson and his denomination continued to preach “the gospel of healing” at its “missionary and deeper life conventions,”[59] and the Christian and Missionary Alliance joins Keswick sanctification, physical healing, and allegedly restored sign gifts in its doctrine and practice to the present day, leading many who could have been healed by God through the providential instrumentality of doctors and medicine to poor stewardship of their lives and early death through a form of unintentional suicide by their false healing doctrine.[60]

In the early twentieth century “many prominent members of the [Christian and Missionary] Alliance . . . provide[d] crucial early leadership for the newly emerging Pentecostal movement,”[61] as the CMA doctrine that all the apostolic gifts were still for today was identical with the Pentecostal doctrine, with the sole substantial exception that Pentecostalism proper usually believed[62] that tongues were the necessary initial evidence of Spirit baptism, while the CMA thought various sign gifts, including but not exclusively tongues, accompanied Spirit baptism.[63] “As much as any other single body of American Christians, the Christian and Missionary Alliance nurtured a spirituality that made participants responsive to Pentecostal teaching.”[64] Because of the preparatory advocacy of the Higher Life by Simpson, after the rise of the Azuza Street revivalism Pentecostalism spread like wildfire through CMA congregations, camp meetings, healing homes, and colleges, many of which became dominated by Pentecostals.[65] “[A]t the Alliance’s Bible and Missionary Training Institute at Nyack, New York, when news of the Azusa Street revival was first received[,] [r]eports of people speaking in tongues . . . seemed a fulfillment of the promised restoration of the gifts of the Spirit which Simpson and the faculty at Nyack had led the students to expect. . . . A. B. Simpson, in a cover editorial for the Alliance’s official organ, rejoiced that the gift of tongues was apparently being restored to the Church.”[66] After a number of students at the CMA training institute in Nyack, NY spoke in tongues, along with other workers and leaders such as his Superintendent for Canada, Simpson met with British Pentecostal champion Alexander Boddy and invited him to preach at Simpson’s famous Alliance Tabernacle.[67] Prominent early Pentecostal leaders preached at countless CMA congregations and institutions, spreading the tongues doctrine to their sympathetic continuationist audiences:[68]

The most influential [Pentecostal precursor] with Keswick leanings was A.B. Simpson . . . Simpson’s fourfold gospel of Christ as Saviour, Healer, Sanctifier and Coming King . . . [was] accepted wholeheartedly by the Pentecostal movement. . . . Simpson defined sanctification along Keswick lines. . . . Nearly forty-five early Pentecostal leaders came out of the Christian and Missionary Alliance church. Early Pentecostal Thomas B. Barrat had . . . met . . . Simpson in 1905-6 when they toured throughout the United States. Early Pentecostal George N. Elderidge had known Simpson personally and both Canadian Pentecostal A.H. Argue and Stanley H. Frodsham’s wife were healed through Simpson’s ministry. Agnes Ozman, the woman first credited with speaking in tongues at Parham’s watchnight service, was once a student at Simpson’s Bible School in Nyack, New York.[69]

Nineteen hundred and seven was the year of crisis for the Christian and Missionary Alliance and its relationship with the pentecostal movement. Entire congregations, some large and important, became pentecostal. Members of the Alliance across the nation, and particularly in the midwest and east, received the pentecostal experience in great numbers. . . . [While] Simpson . . . denied . . . that the Baptism of the Holy Spirit is always accompanied by speaking in tongues . . . Simpson . . . advised Alliance leaders and members . . . no[t] to forbid . . . speaking in tongues . . . [he] refuse[d] to excommunicate pentecostals. . . . [The Alliance] provide[d] a fresh infusion of qualified leadership into the burgeoning pentecostal assemblies. . . . [M]en like Frank Boyd, William Evans, D. W. Kerr, J. Roswell Flower, Noel Perkin, A. G. Ward, and D. W. Myland, all former members of the Alliance, figure importantly in shaping the theology of the Assemblies of God. It is no happenstance [that] the Alliance doctrinal statement was adopted wholesale by the Assemblies—nor that the polity of the new pentecostal denomination showed a heavy reliance on Alliance structure and procedures, even to the extent of calling their places of worship by the same name, ‘Gospel Tabernacles.”[70]

Indeed, “Simpson . . . sought a tongues experience for several years . . . [and] many Alliance people spoke in tongues.”[71] “Paul Rader, who succeeded A. B. Simpson as president of the CMA, himself spoke in tongues and preached in Pentecostal circles.”[72] “Simpson . . . had been vocal about the reality and validity of supernatural gifts today, including tongues . . . [just] not [as] the evidence of the baptism of the Spirit.”[73] “The position of Simpson and the CMA is that . . . God is still bestowing all the gifts of the Spirit today and the baptism . . . of the Spirit is subsequent to conversion . . . [differing from Pentecostalism only in affirming that] the gift of tongues is not the evidence of the baptism with the Spirit.”[74] The founder of the strongly charismatic International Church of the Foursquare Gospel, divorced[75] woman preacher Aimee Semple McPherson (1890-1944), modeled her “Foursquare Gospel” of Christ as Savior, Baptizer, Healer, and Coming King after Simpson’s “higher life message of the fourfold gospel—Jesus Christ as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King,”[76] while a variety of CMA leaders preached for her in her church. In Britain, the “Elim Foursquare Gospel Alliance” arose around the same “Foursquare Gospel” as preached by McPherson.[77] “The origins of the Foursquare Gospel seem traceable through the Assemblies of God and at least as far back as A. B. Simpson.”[78] Simpson’s false doctrine that God Himself has faith[79] and that the believer’s faith has a creative force comparable to that which God exercised in the creation of the universe also anticipates these beliefs of the Word-Faith heresy,[80] and Simpson was likewise a precursor of the Word-Faith doctrine of the power of positive thinking to create positive reality and negative thinking to create negative reality.[81] The “prime influences upon . . . E. W. Kenyon . . . the chief originator” of the Word-Faith or Health and Wealth gospel movement by means of Kenneth Hagin,[82] were “leaders of the Higher Life and Keswick movements, such as . . . A. B. Simpson,”[83] as well as “metaphysical cults . . . in the tradition of Mary Baker Eddy . . . Christian Science, Swedenborgianism, Theosophy, Science of Mind, and New Thought,” which were themselves influential in the development of the Higher Life and Faith-Cure theology.[84] Kenyon, to explain the abysmal failure of Pentecostal and Word-Faith ministers to actually heal people, appealed to Simpson’s doctrine that healing by faith alone, like sanctification by faith alone, could be lost by a decision to stop believing. Kenyon failed to heal people, not because he was a false teacher and his Word of Faith doctrine was a delusion and a heresy—rather, it was the fault of the “healed” people who were not healed:

For many years . . . I could not understand why people who had received their healing . . . should have the disease come back again. . . . They are instantly healed. In a little while they come back again and say, “I can’t understand it. That healing did not stand up. All the symptoms are back again.” Where was the difficulty? It lay in this: They had no faith in the Word of God. . . . They lost their healing[.] . . . I can pray for them again and again, but I get no results because they witness against the Word of God.[85]

The Word-Faith woman preacher Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976)[86] attended the CMA’s Simpson Bible Institute and McPherson’s college while also supporting the CMA denomination with funds from her healing crusades. She died at age sixty-nine from a heart condition contracted as a child through rheumatic fever, which grew progressively worse, unhealed, for years, her funeral being preached by her compatriot Word-Faith preacher, healer, and heretic, Oral Roberts, who himself had an unhealed heart condition, as did Word-Faith healer Kenneth Hagin. Thus, A. B. Simpson was a key advocate of Keswick or Higher Life theology and a significant link in the theological trajectory from Keswick healing doctrine and continuationism to the charismatic and Word-Faith errors associated closely with Simpson’s denomination.

Applications from the Life and Teachings of A. B. Simpson

The writings of A. B. Simpson contain many dangerous spiritual errors and heresies. Historic Baptist churches should reject, reprove the errors in, and warn about Simpson’s writings, have no fellowship with the Christian and Missionary Alliance that he founded, and call truly converted people in the organization to separate from Simpson’s denomination. Nor should they have anything to do with the Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith apostasy that arose in such a large part from the CMA. Furthermore, they should recognize that Keswick continuationism is the root from which all these subsequent and enhanced corruptions have arisen, and reject the Higher Life root of all these subsequent errors for the spiritual safety and God-glorifying truth of the historic Baptist doctrine of sanctification and the cessationism associated with it.

The tragic and unnecessary early death of many in the Christian and Missionary Alliance because of their rejection of medicine illustrates in a practical way the devastating consequences of the adoption of a corrupt theology. While Satan, who was a murderer from the beginning, was certainly delighted, as far as that infernal being can experience delight, in deceiving Christians to suffer such a form of unintended suicide, the name of Jesus Christ was dishonored and exposed to reproach because of the supposed failure of Christ’s promises and healing power. Twisting Scripture is a serious thing—let the weeping orphans and widows testify. But—alas! Such witnesses are generally excluded from the volumes of testimonials to nineteenth century Faith Cures and twentieth century Pentecostal healings. But when the witness of Scripture is not carefully weighed, is there cause for surprise if the witness of men is likewise weighed in unjust balances?

Indeed, the historical trajectory from the nineteenth century Higher Life and Keswick continuationism, through the Christian and Missionary Alliance, into the modern tongues and Word of Faith movements illustrates how eisegesis and exegetical sloppiness, compounded over time, leads to an ever-expanding mass of infernal error. The Keswick doctrines that the believer uses God, and that God is helpless to work without the assistance of the human will, become the Word of Faith doctrines that Christians are themselves gods. Keswick’s downplaying of sola Scriptura, exaltation of experience, and openness to the restoration of the sign gifts becomes charismatic and Word of Faith ministers claiming to have revelations they can set alongside Scripture. Higher Life openness to deriving demonology from observation and experience, rather than from the Bible alone, leads to the Satanic playground of modern charismatic deliverance ministry. Only genuine and thorough repentance will prevent a slide into ever deeper apostasy—and for a true and effective deliverance, not particular branches only, but the Higher Life and continuationist root of all must be rent out and replaced with a vibrant Trinitarian spirituality truly based on Scripture alone.

Only through profound inconsistency can one defend Scriptural cessationism and maintain Keswick theories of sanctification. Simpson, along with the concurrent loud and general testimony of the leading lights of the Higher Life make it clear that the Higher Life of the soul and body are deeply intertwined. Are you a cessationist who follows a Keswick doctrine of sanctification? Your position cannot long stand. Choose, then, this day, the one path or the other. Go all the way with your Higher Life position, abandon sola Scriptura and its corollaries, become a charismatic and continuationist fanatic, babble nonsense and flop around on the ground under the influence of demons, and incur the wrath of the Holy One of Israel for your indulgence in strange fire—or keep your cessationism, cleave to the Bible, reject your Keswick and Higher Life innovation for the orthodox Baptist doctrine of sanctification, and worship the Father in spirit and in truth, loving him with your actively involved mind along with all your soul and your strength. Choose this day whom you will serve.

You should also take warning from Simpson’s life on the ease with which sincere men, and, indeed, Christians with a desire to follow God, can be deceived. A. B. Simpson’s theory of healing was contradicted by the very spectacles on his nose, yet he continued not only to maintain the theory himself but was able to build and lead an entire Christian denomination that emphasized his doctrine of healing and spiritual gifts while wearing those very same spectacles. Christian reader, you do not have an immunity against deception, even ones as foolish and evidently false as those that Mr. Simpson adopted. Only by continually nourishing your soul on the Bible, in the fellowship of a true church, and with the protection of the Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, can you escape from falling into a comparable or worse deception yourself.

Learn also that it is not enough to be zealous for missions—only if true doctrine and practice are wedded to zeal for worldwide evangelistic zeal will any good be truly accomplished. The scribes and Pharisees compassed land and sea to make one proselyte, only to make him a twofold child of hell (Matthew 23:15). Many in heathen lands are deeply confused about who Jesus Christ is because of the spiritual tares sown by zealous missionaries in Christendom who spread much leaven with their light. Ecumenical missionary organizations, from the Christian and Missionary Alliance to the China Inland Mission, cannot long stand without their light becoming eclipsed. Zealous Keswick missionaries in the nineteenth century, through their continuationism and ecumenicalism, contributed greatly to the fact that Africa today is filled with charismatic religious organizations whose members are almost to a man unconverted. Only true and faithful congregations, sending out their own missionaries (Acts 13) without the entanglement of nonbiblical denominational structures, parachurch mission boards, and all other trappings devoid of authority from the Head of the church can expect to see their labor not be in vain in the long term—but such can rejoice in the hope that, by the grace of their Redeemer and His special presence with them and by His empowerment of them, a harvest of souls and new self-supporting, indigenous churches can be planted and continue to multiply until the Lord comes. Do you wish to stand before Christ’s judgment seat with such continuing fruit, or in shame, your labor counting for nothing because the seeds of compromise you tolerated blossomed into tares that choked out God’s good wheat? Then fellowship with a faithful and separated Baptist church that enjoys true unity in its body around all the truth (1 Corinthians 1:10), that fellowships only with likeminded congregations that allow “no other doctrine” (1 Timothy 1:3), and that zealously sends forth and supports with prayer and finances worldwide evangelists of such a caliber. You do not need a great ecumenical missionary alliance. All you need—and all that Jesus Christ will recognize on that great Day—is the church.

[1]           Pg. 615, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. T. Larsen.

[2]           Pg. 4, “Principles of Divine Healing,” by A. B. Simpson, in Healing Voices: A Narrative of the Acts of God in the Christian and Missionary Alliance; A Celebration of Deliverance Among God’s Hurting People, ed. Stephen Adams & K. Neill Foster. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 2000.

[3]           The Alliance firmly maintained the Keswick teaching that sanctification is achieved by faith alone through a crisis experience and the corresponding Keswick de-emphasis upon progressive sanctification, preaching that “holiness does not come by growth . . . [it] implies a crisis . . . [and it] comes not by works but by faith” (pg. 371, Alliance Weekly, 72:24, June 12, 1937).

[4]           Pg. 265, A Believer With Authority, King.

[5]           “Simpson’s conviction that God desired [t]o emphasize and utilize . . . the ministry of women . . . both in the home and foreign field[s] represented one of the driving motivations behind his initial call for . . . the Alliance . . . A large number of . . . early Alliance missionaries . . . were women . . . [including many who] were unmarried” (pgs. 188-189, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis).

[6]           Pg. 117, “The Gospel of Healing: Divine Healing and Demonism Not Identical,” A. B. Simpson. Word, Work, and World, 114-122.

[7]           Pg. 2, A Believer With Authority, Paul L. King. The founding officers of the CMA are listed on pg. 188, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis.

[8]           “A. B. Simpson and the Modern Faith Movement,” Paul King, Alliance Academic Review, ed. Elio Cuccaro. (Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 1996). Elec. acc. http://allianceacademicreview.com. See also pg. 128, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton.

[9]           Pg. 19, The Bible and the Body, Bingham; pg. 127, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton.

[10]         Pg. 318, Days of Heaven Upon Earth: A Year Book of Scripture Texts and Living Truths, A. B. Simpson. Nyack, NY: Christian Alliance Publishing, 1897. Entry for November 8.

[11]         Chapters 2, 4, The Gospel of Healing, A. B. Simpson. 3 John 2 is not a promise that one will be physically healthy in direct proportion to one’s spiritual health.

[12]         Pg. 79, Only Believe, Paul L. King. “[W]hen Pentecostalism did emerge, some observers thought it a split within the Christian and Missionary Alliance” (pg. 176, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton).

[13]         Pg. 50, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson. Agnes N. Ozman, the first person who spoke in tongues under Parham’s leadership, had also attended Simpson’s Nyack institute (pg. 51, ibid).

[14]         Pgs. 87-88, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan.

[15]         Chapter 3, The Gospel of Healing, Simpson. Orig. pub. 1888.

[16]         6:374-375, Christ in the Bible Commentary (1992), A. B. Simpson.

[17]         Pg. 66, Azuza Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan. As evidenced by Bartleman, early Pentecostals loved to quote statements such as this one by Simpson to show their continuity with him.

[18]         Pg. 615, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. T. Larsen.

[19]         Triumphs of Faith, A. B. Simpson, November 1922, 252, cited pg. 298 of Only Believe; verify quote.

[20]         The Lord for the Body, With Questions and Answers on Divine Healing, A. B. Simpson. New York, NY: Christian Alliance Publishing, 1925. Compare the early Pentecostal position: “We do not need to die of disease or sickness” (pg. 3, The Apostolic Faith I:5 (Los Angeles, January 1907), reprinted on pg. 19, Like As of Fire: Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival: A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove).

[21]         Pg. 12, Only Believe, Paul L. King.

[22]         “Faith Cure and Healing Homes List,” http://healingandrevival.com/Faith%20Homes.htm.

[23]         Pgs. 4-5, “Principles of Divine Healing,” by A. B. Simpson, in Healing Voices: A Narrative of the Acts of God in the Christian and Missionary Alliance; A Celebration of Deliverance Among God’s Hurting People, ed. Stephen Adams & K. Neill Foster. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 2000.

[24]         Chapter 2, The Gospel of Healing, A. B. Simpson. Likewise, Pentecostalism affirms: “We ought to claim perfect health through the atonement of Jesus” (pg. 3, The Apostolic Faith I:11 (Los Angeles, October-January 1908), reprinted on pg. 47, Like As of Fire: Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival: A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove).

[25]         Pg. 340, “Divine Healing: Inquiries and Answers,” A. B. Simpson. The Word, Work and World, December 1886. Compare the early Pentecostal teachings: “Do you teach that it is wrong to take medicine? Yes, for saints to take medicine. Medicine is for unbelievers” (pg. 2, The Apostolic Faith I:11 (Los Angeles, January 1908), reprinted on pg. 45, Like As of Fire: Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival: A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove). Consequently, “medicine” should be “thrown aside,” for there is no “need to keep an old crutch or medicine bottle of any kind around after God heals you. Some, in keeping some such appliance as a souvenir, have been tempted to use them again and have lost their healing” (pg. 2, The Apostolic Faith I:1 (Los Angeles, September 1906), reprinted on pg. 2, Like As of Fire: Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival: A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove). “We do not need a doctor to help Christ heal His body” (pg. 6, The Apostolic Faith I:6 (Los Angeles, February-March 1907), reprinted on pg. 26, Like As of Fire: Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival: A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove; cf. pg. 3, The Apostolic Faith I:7 (April 1907), reprinted on pg. 31, Like As of Fire: Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival: A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove).

[26]         “We can take Christ for our faith as we took Him for our justification, for our victories over temptation, for our sanctification. We may thus sweetly rest in the assurance that our faith has not failed to meet the demands of the promise, for it has been Christ’s own faith” (Chapter 2, The Gospel of Healing, A. B. Simpson). See also pg. 342, “Divine Healing: Inquiries and Answers,” A. B. Simpson. The Word, Work and World, December 1886.

[27]         Chapter 2, The Gospel of Healing, A. B. Simpson.

[28]         “The Victorious Life,” Chapter 5 in Perfectionism, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield, summarizing Simpson’s tract “Himself,” an address delivered at Bethshan, London. The complete text of “Himself” may be accessed at http://www.biblebelievers.com/simpson-ab_himself.html.

[29]         Pg. 6, “Principles of Divine Healing,” by A. B. Simpson, in Healing Voices: A Narrative of the Acts of God in the Christian and Missionary Alliance; A Celebration of Deliverance Among God’s Hurting People, ed. Stephen Adams & K. Neill Foster. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 2000. Compare the Pentecostal position that “we must abide in Christ for health” (pg. 1, The Apostolic Faith I:5 (Los Angeles, January 1907), reprinted on pg. 17, Like As of Fire: Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival: A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove; cf. pg. 4, The Apostolic Faith I:12 (January 1908), reprinted on pg. 52, Like As of Fire: Newspapers from the Azusa Street World Wide Revival: A Reprint of “The Apostolic Faith” (1906-1908), coll. Fred T. Corum & Rachel A. Sizelove).

[30]         Pg. 11, “Principles of Divine Healing,” by A. B. Simpson, in Healing Voices: A Narrative of the Acts of God in the Christian and Missionary Alliance; A Celebration of Deliverance Among God’s Hurting People, ed. Stephen Adams & K. Neill Foster. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 2000.

[31]         “Be no more willing to suffer the illusion that you are sick, or that some disease is developing in the system, than you are to permit a sinful temptation . . . dispute the testimony of the senses with Divine Science. . . . Realize that the evidence of the senses is not to be accepted in the case of sickness, any more than it is in the case of sin” (pgs. 308, 322, Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures, Mary Baker Eddy. Bedford, MA: 1st ed. 1875).

[32]         Chapter 2, The Gospel of Healing, A. B. Simpson. Compare the affirmations of Charles Cullis on pg. 90, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis, and the statements of Andrew Murray recorded on pgs. 339-345 of The Life of Andrew Murray, DuPlessis.

[33]         Pg. 342, “Divine Healing: Inquiries and Answers,” A. B. Simpson. The Word, Work and World, December 1886. Indeed, Simpson continued, Satan often and especially makes the symptoms of disease appear to one who has given testimony to being healed. The fact that symptoms of not being healed appear so frequently to those practicing Simpson’s doctrine is not evidence that his “healings” are a fraud—rather, it is evidence that Satan is making one who is healed have all the symptoms of not being healed, so that the person feels and acts in every way just like someone who has not been healed, although, Simpson affirms, perfect healing has taken place.

[34]         In the words of Kenneth Copeland:

Your body has symptoms of sickness; it is screaming with pain. . . . Your faith is looking beyond the symptoms in your body. Then you say . . . [‘]The Word says that I am healed. I say that I am healed. Sickness, I speak to you in the name of Jesus, and I command you to leave my body.’ That did it. . . . [S]ymptoms . . . [will] not always . . . leave immediately . . . hold fast to this Word concerning healing, regardless of symptoms or pain[.] . . . You must believe that you are healed before you see the results in your body. . . . Confess with your mouth that it is yours, and by your actions show that it is yours. You must talk healing, and you must act healing . . . until the last symptom leaves your body” (pgs. 27-28, The Force of Faith, Copeland).

Similarly, Kenneth Hagin received a “revelation” when he was sick, teaching him that “I’ve got to believe that my paralysis is gone while I’m still lying here on this bed, and while my heart is not beating right. I’ve got to believe that my paralysis is gone while I’m still lying here flat on my back and helpless” (pgs. 27-28, I Believe, Hagin, cited pg. 57, A Different Gospel, McConnell). Hagin then “began to thank God for his healing in spite of the fact that he was still seemingly paralyzed. . . . Hagin then pushed himself up and holding on to various stationary objects succeeded in circling the room. He practiced thus for several days and then asked for clothes to join his family for breakfast.” He thus was “apparently healed,” although “he would experience periodic symptoms for years afterward” (pg. 57, McConnell). E. W. Kenyon taught: “[T]he witness of pain in the body . . . declares that [you] are not healed. The pain is severe and the sick person can hear nothing but pain. . . . You [must] pay no attention to the pain. You ignore the symptoms because you know in the Father’s mind you are healed” (pgs. 41-43, The Two Kinds of Knowledge, E. W. Kenyon). Word-Faith practitioners “practice the denial of physical symptoms[.] . . . Many have practiced such denial to the point of death. The practice of sensory denial also characterizes the metaphysical cults” (pgs. 104-105, 149-151, McConnell). See also pgs. 62-64, “Why People Lose Their Healing” in The Believer’s Authority, 3rd. ed., Kenneth Hagin.

[35]         Chapter 2, Gospel of Healing, A. B. Simpson. Capitalization in the original. Compare also pg. 341, “Divine Healing: Inquiries and Answers,” A. B. Simpson. The Word, Work and World, December 1886.

[36]         The Lord for the Body, With Questions and Answers on Divine Healing, A. B. Simpson. New York, NY: Christian Alliance Publishing, 1925; pgs. 341-342, “Divine Healing: Inquiries and Answers,” A. B. Simpson. The Word, Work and World, December 1886.

[37]         Simpson’s roundabout answer to one who asks not even about a missing or amputated limb, but about a broken arm, illustrates the failure of his doctrine of the Higher Life for the body to heal organic disease; see pgs. 340-341, “Divine Healing: Inquiries and Answers,” A. B. Simpson. The Word, Work and World, December 1886.

[38]         Pg. 103, The Bible and the Body, Bingham.

[39]         “Himself,” A. B. Simpson. All further quotes in this paragraph are from Simpson’s sermon.

[40]         Compare the words of F. B. Meyer, rooted in his nature mysticism: “Father, as I breathe in this breath of the evening air, so I breathe in Thy gift of the Holy Spirit” (pg. 47, Transforming Keswick: The Keswick Convention, Past, Present, and Future, Price & Randall).

[41]         Pgs. 191-193, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910.

[42]         In this view, as in so much else, the CMA followed Simpson’s doctrine. For example, in The Full Gospel Adult Sunday School Quarterly for November 26, 1939, ed. MacMillan, one reads, in conjunction with an affirmation of “healing in the atonement,” the following: “The believer receives salvation [which apparently does not include sanctification] through taking Christ as Saviour; he is sanctified through receiving Christ as Sanctifier; he is healed through Christ the Healer; and, in like manner, every one of the spiritual blessings, wherewith the Father has blessed us . . . must be appropriated by an individual and personal act of faith” (pg. 27). One does not receive the whole, undivided Christ with all His blessings at the moment of union with Him and regeneration; rather, Christ is divided, and every single individual blessing from Him must be appropriated specifically with an act of faith that pertains to that particular blessing, and when such faith is exercised, that aspect of blessing is received completely; entire sanctification is received by a specific act of faith, followed by entire healing through a specific act of faith for healing; blessings such as the bodily resurrection with the righteous, however, are left unmentioned, since it would be very difficult for the dead to exercise a specific act of faith to obtain this blessing, and Scripture does not seem to indicate that only those dead who so exercise a specific act of faith will be resurrected, while the rest of the saved dead will stay in their graves until they also believe to receive Christ as their Resurrection. The progressive and gradual nature of blessings such as sanctification, in contrast to the all-or-nothing nature of justification, is also passed by.

The partial-Rapture view of many Keswick leaders follows naturally from this Keswick continuationistic doctrine of dividing Christ and His blessings. Jessie Penn-Lewis’ and Evan Roberts’ doctrine that only those believers who exercise specific faith to get Raptured will rise, while the rest will be left behind until they gain faith to be Raptured also, and then they will then rise in little groups, fits perfectly.

[43]         “Himself,” A. B. Simpson.

[44]         “Himself,” A. B. Simpson.

[45]         In a good number of other ways it was similarly difficult to know how bizarre ideas held by Simpson could possibly be justified Scripturally. For example, Simpson denied that believers could know that demons were fallen angels that were created during the creation week of Genesis 1, proposing instead that demons might be the spirits of men from a pre-Adamic race who died in the nonexistent gap proposed by the Gap Theory between Genesis 1:1 and 1:2: “There are supernatural beings inhabiting the realms of evil, and permitted to have access to the hearts and minds of men. The origin of these beings, we do not know . . . [but it has been] suggested that they may be the spirits of a former human race before the fall of Adam” (Christ in the Bible Commentary 6:374, Simpson). Simpson set forth this “suggestion” after learning it from a “distinguished writer who has become familiar with the subject of demonology by much contact with it,” (ibid); that is, the idea did not come from the sole authority for Christian faith and practice, the Bible, but was an idea gleaned from extensive work and experiences with demons.

[46]         That is, Hannah Smith was not satisfied with only the Higher and the Lower Life—she also “knew” the “experience” of “the bird life, spreading wings in a country all sunshine and song, rising up to the blue of an unfathomable sky” (pg. 196, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910). If one can experience Christ’s Life for the Body, then for the Mind, then for the Will, and so on, and also add the Bird Life to the Higher Life, it appears that one can take such ideas wherever one wishes—with the sole exception of taking them to a literally interpreted Scripture, for such a procedure would require one to throw out the whole lot as unbiblical nonsense.

[47]         Pgs. 8, 10-11, “Principles of Divine Healing,” by A. B. Simpson, in Healing Voices: A Narrative of the Acts of God in the Christian and Missionary Alliance; A Celebration of Deliverance Among God’s Hurting People, ed. Stephen Adams & K. Neill Foster. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 2000; cf. chapter 4, The Gospel of Healing, Simpson.

[48]         Chapter 2, The Gospel of Healing, A. B. Simpson.

[49]         Pgs. 339-340, “Divine Healing: Inquiries and Answers,” A. B. Simpson. The Word, Work, and World, December 1886.

[50]         Pg. 341, “Divine Healing: Inquiries and Answers,” A. B. Simpson. The Word, Work, and World, December 1886.

[51]         While, at their glorification, all believers will be free forever from all bodily sickness, Scripture never teaches anywhere that sickness is, like sin, something that deserves God’s wrath, or that Christ’s work on the cross guarantees physical healing in this life. It is noteworthy that in Isaiah 53:5 the word “healed” (aDp∂r) is used by Isaiah only of spiritual healing from sin, not of physical healing (see Isaiah 6:10; 19:22; 30:26; 57:18-19; see also 58:8).

[52]         Simpson wrote: “Have we not then in . . . Scripture . . . a sure foundation for the simple, glorious statement on which faith may stand, nay, may lie down in everlasting rest, that the atonement of Jesus Christ covers our sicknesses, and furnishes solid ground for claiming, in His name, divine healing through simple faith, and when we are walking in holy obedience, which, of course, is the indispensable element within which we can continue to receive any of the blessings of the Gospel?” (Divine Healing in the Atonement, A. B. Simpson.

[53]         Thus, Simpson affirmed that the following as necessary consequences of his “great truth” that physical healing in this life is guaranteed in Christ’s atonement:

1. If our healing is provided for by Jesus Christ, then it is a redemption right which we may humbly yet boldly claim while walking obediently with the Lord.

2. That it is a gift of grace, as all that Christ’s blood has purchased will ever be, and therefore cannot be mixed up with our own works or the use of human means [such as the use of medical doctors], but must be received wholly in His name, and in such a manner that He shall have all the glory.

3. That it must be by faith, through which alone all the blessings of the Gospel can be claimed.

4. That it is not the exceptional privilege of a few favored ones, the occasional special and sovereign gift of God where He is pleased to manifest His healing power for some exceptional cause or special end, but that it is the heritage of all the children of faith and holy obedience. (Divine Healing in the Atonement, A. B. Simpson)

[54]         Chapter 2, Gospel of Healing, A. B. Simpson.

[55]         One does wonder why, on Simpson’s principles, cough drops would be necessary, or why his eyesight was never healed. Simpson “wore spectacles to the day of his death,” and in “a conversation with a friend, he frankly admitted that he could not understand why the Lord had withheld this element of healing” (pg. vii, The Bible and the Body, Bingham). Thus:

[W]hen his eyesight began to fail, we remember observing him, at succeeding conventions, bringing his New Testament closer and closer up to read its large type; then still later he would take a little magnifying glass out of his vest pocket when he needed its aid; still later he put on glasses. . . . [T]his growing infirmity was a matter of much prayer, and . . . Dr. Simpson sought to claim deliverance from it. However, none came . . . it [also became necessary, by advocates of his theory of healing], to apologize for his presence in a sanatorium in his last year” (pgs. 97-98, The Bible and the Body).

[56]         Pg. 292, Only Believe: Examining the Origin and Development of Classic and Contemporary Word of Faith Theologies, Paul King.   Dr. King mentions that it is possible that Simpson did seek medical care in some setting unknown to him when he wrote his book, and it is true that it is not possible to be absolutely certain about what Simpson did or did not do medically.

[57]         Pg. 12, “Principles of Divine Healing,” by A. B. Simpson, in Healing Voices: A Narrative of the Acts of God in the Christian and Missionary Alliance; A Celebration of Deliverance Among God’s Hurting People, ed. Stephen Adams & K. Neill Foster. Camp Hill, PA: Christian Publications, 2000.

[58]         Pg. 199, “A. B. Simpson and the ‘Friday Meetings,’ by K. Neill Foster, in Healing Voices: A Narrative of the Acts of God in the Christian and Missionary Alliance; A Celebration of Deliverance Among God’s Hurting People.

[59]         Pg. 200, “A. B. Simpson and the ‘Friday Meetings,’ by K. Neill Foster, in Healing Voices: A Narrative of the Acts of God in the Christian and Missionary Alliance; A Celebration of Deliverance Among God’s Hurting People.

[60]         One could likewise call to mind the unnumbered deaths that have taken place because of the false healing doctrine of the Word of Faith movement; for example, “the number of preventable deaths associated with Faith Assembly . . . [in] Wilmot, Indiana . . . are as high as 90” for that congregation alone (pg. 77, A Different Gospel, McConnell).

[61]         Pg. 616, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals, ed. T. Larsen.

[62]         This view, while very common in Pentecostalism, was not universal: “Holiness and Pentecostal people were in substantial agreement on all important points of doctrine, including the Baptism in the Spirit. True, many Pentecostals insisted that speaking in tongues was the one and indispensable sign of Spirit baptism . . . but that teaching was not universal among Pentecostals, and many Holiness people acknowledged speaking in tongues to be a legitimate evidence of ‘the Baptism,’ though not the only one” (pg. 150, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson). Indeed, prominent Pentecostal leaders such as F. F. Bosworth, “a founder and presbyter of the Assemblies [of God] and one of the most sought-after healer-evangelists in the entire Pentecostal movement, rejected as dogmatic and unscriptural the view that all who were Spirit-baptized must speak in tongues. He maintained that any of the nine gifts of the Spirit listed in 1 Corinthians was a valid sign of Baptism in the Spirit.” The view of Bosworth and many others was officially repudiated by the Assemblies of God in 1918, however, when the Assemblies adopted the “only evidence” position in conjunction with a newly invented distinction between the “sign of tongues” and “the gift of tongues,” a distinction that did not exist in the earliest Pentecostalism, but which was invented as an attempt to relieve some of the severe hermeneutical difficulties of the “only evidence” doctrine (see pgs. 161-164, ibid). While the Assemblies of God officially adopted the “only evidence” position, the “‘only evidence’ doctrine is rejected by the Elim Pentecostal Churches in England, the Pentecostal Mission in Switzerland, the Apostolic Faith Mission in South Africa, and nearly all German and Chilean Pentecostals. . . . It is also rejected by the Apostolic Church in England, some Scandinavian and many ‘independent’ American Pentecostals” (pg. 277, ibid). See also pgs. 76-77, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner.

[63]         The steps are small from Spirit baptism as an enduement of power, as taught by many at Keswick and those Keswick influenced, such as the Christian and Missionary Alliance, and the view of Pentecostalism: “D. L. Moody, R. A. Torrey, A. J. Gordon, A. B. Simpson, J. Wilbur Chapman and others who participated in the Keswick conventions brought back to the United States the Keswick teaching about a baptism in the Holy Spirit . . . empowering for Christian service. Here one can see the contours of Pentecostal teaching, particularly the non-Wesleyan strand of Pentecostalism. All that remained was the sign of being filled with the Spirit, speaking in other tongues, what Pentecostals understood to be the biblical norm” (“Keswick and the Higher Life,” http://www.seeking4truth.com/keswick.htm). “R. A. Torrey” wrote “[t]he most acceptable non-pentecostal treatise on pentecostal doctrine[.] . . . Torrey must be credited with a scriptural rationale for pentecostal theology” (pgs. 108-109, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan);   Indeed, “Dr. Torrey[’s] . . . visi[t] to Berlin, and his preaching there of the Baptism of the Spirit[,] sowed seeds that undoubtedly flourished a few years later when the Pentecostal Movement broke out in Germany” (pgs. 4-5, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee). “[T]he preoccupation of the Holiness movement with the doctrine of Baptism in the Spirit . . . was redefined by the Keswick wing of Holiness as a baptism of power . . . once external physical evidence of it was sought, the stage was set for focusing on tongues” (pg. 233, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson). It is not surprising that Pentecostals such as Bartleman were able to participate in Moody’s Conventions at Northfield (e. g., pg. 110, Azuza Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan). While Torrey rejected Pentecostalism, at one point he was willing to have John Dowie pray for his daughter (cf. pg. 141, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton), and historians have affirmed that he was more sympathetic to the Faith Cure than the general body of the fundamentalist movement (pg. 202, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis). Thus, “R. A. Torrey is cited by Pentecostals and is of unusual significance to Pentecostalism in connection with the Spirit’s baptism. . . . [he] served as a kind of John the Baptist figure for later international Pentecostalism. . . . judging from the movement’s literature, Torrey was, after Wesley and Finney, the most influential figure in the pre-history of Pentecostalism . . . in specific connection with the spiritual baptism [doctrine, although in other doctrines his influence was far less] discernable” (pg. 45, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, Frederick Dale Bruner. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970). Torrey’s doctrine of post-conversion Spirit baptism was itself influenced by Finney (cf. pg. 94, ibid).

[64]         Pg. 102, Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture, ed. Edith L. Blumhofer.

[65]         Cf. pgs. 74ff, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson; also pg. 80. Further evidence of the tremendous continuity between the CMA and Pentecostalism appears on pgs. 130-131, 142-146, 172, 183.

[66]         Pg. 144, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson. It is not surprising, therefore, that in various places in the early years after Azuza Street at times the CMA would lose, in various locations, half of its membership to Pentecostalism, as Pentecostals had a number of years in which they perpetuated their message from within the CMA (cf. pgs. 143, 146, ibid).

[67]         Pg. 56, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee.

[68]         E. g., see the many instances where Frank Bartleman described his preaching at CMA settings, from congregations, to camp meetings, to colleges, including settings where A. B. Simpson himself was present, on pgs. 105-129, Azuza Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan. The Pentecostal baptism, with its associated tongues-speech, even penetrated the faculty of the CMA Bible College at Nyack.

[69]         “Wesleyan and Reformed Impulses in the Keswick and Pentecostal Movements,” Peter Althouse. Pneuma Foundation. Ozman was also engaged in the demonic practice of automatic writing at the time period when she first fell under the power of the spirit world and spoke in tongues (pg. 255, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson; cf. pgs. 52-60 for the account of Ozman and Parham’s speaking in tongues and Pentecostal embellishments of the events, as well as the defections from Parham, the affirmations by witnesses that the tongues were “fake,” Ozman’s own renunciation of tongues, and the passing of the mantle from Parham to Seymour, leader of the Azuza Street Mission.). “[T]he experience of Agnes Ozman is designated as the beginning of the Modern Pentecostal Revival . . . [because] she was the first known person to have received [glossolalia] as a result of specifically seeking a baptism of the Holy Spirit with the expectation of speaking in tongues. From this time Pentecostal believers were to teach that the ‘baptism in the Holy Spirit’ should be sought and that it would be received with the evidence of ‘tongues’” (pgs. 119-120, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner; cf. pgs. 48-53, The Promise Fulfilled: A History of the Modern Pentecostal Movement, Klaude Kendrick).

[70]         Pg. 89, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan.

[71]         Pg. 102, Restoring the Faith: The Assemblies of God, Pentecostalism, and American Culture, ed. Edith L. Blumhofer.

[72]         Pg. 253, A Believer with Authority, Paul L. King.

[73]         Pgs. 234-235, Only Believe: Examining the Origin and Development of Classic and Contemporary Word of Faith Theologies, Paul L. King.

[74]         Pg. 2, A Believer With Authority, Paul L. King.

[75]         “Aimee Semple McPherson . . . receive[d] a ‘revelation’ that he marriage was ‘not in the Lord’ and that she should enter another union” (pg. 23, Tongues in Biblical Perspective, Charles R. Smith. Winona Lake, IN: BMH, 1972.).

[76]         Pg. 17, A Believer With Authority, King. “Aimee Semple McPherson’s Foursquare Gospel, allegedly revealed to her in a vision, was little more than Simpson’s Four-Fold Gospel of Christ as Savior, Healer, Baptizer in the Holy Spirit, and Coming King, with Baptism in the Spirit redefined to specify [the necessity of] speaking in tongues” (pgs. 112, 147, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson). The Four-Square Gospel idea of Simpson also found other prominent advocates in the Pentecostal movement, such as George Jeffries, and had antecedents in writers such as R. A. Torrey, Andrew Murray, and A. J. Gordon (cf. pgs. 31-32, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton).

[77]         Pgs. 121-122, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee. McPherson did not start the Elim movement; the Foursquare idea was taken over by both denominations from Keswick continuationist antecedents such as A. B. Simpson.

[78]         Pg. 96, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan.

[79]         While Simpson’s doctrine is not in the Bible, it is found on pg. 153 of Hannah W. Smith’s book Every-Day Religion (Chicago, IL: Fleming H. Revell, 1893); Mrs. Smith also says that “we . . . are . . . to speak, and it shall be done” in the same way God spoke and it was done when He created the universe.

[80]         Thus, Simpson wrote: “Faith is an actual spiritual force. It is no doubt one of the attributes of God Himself” (Chapter 1, A Larger Christian Life, A. B. Simpson). Consequently, Simpson exhorts: “Have the faith of God. . . . God’s faith is all sufficient, and we can have and use it” to do miracles (Chapter 2, Gospel of Healing, A. B. Simpson). As believers have the kind of faith that God Himself allegedly exercises, they too can exert creative power. Simpson informs members of the CMA:

[You can] be well assured that the very act of believing . . . is an actual creative force and produces effects and operations of the most important character. Indeed it seems that faith is the very principle upon which God Himself acts, and the secret of His power in creating matter and in commanding the events of providence. . . . When the disciples wondered at the withering of the fig tree, Jesus simply said it was an act of divine faith. It was the faith of God that produced it . . . [t]he faith of God must mean the faith which God Himself exercises. . . . Abraham acted like . . . He [who] commands that which is not and expects it and believes in the efficacy of His own command without a shadow of hesitation, and He sees it instantly or ultimately accomplished. . . . [T]his faith [is] a resistless force, a divine power that actually move[s] upon second causes and compel[s] their obedience; and if that faith of God be in us, it will be a corresponding force. (Chapter 4, The Life of Prayer)

These blasphemies are distinctive Word of Faith heresies, for the idea of faith as a creative power is a Word of Faith doctrinal distinctive: “Through ‘creative faith,’ man becomes not only a god. He becomes a creator” (pgs. 138-139, Another Gospel, McConnell; cf. pg. 187, God’s Laws of Success, Robert Tilton. Tulsa, OK: Harrison House, 1986). They are built by reading into the objective genitive pi÷stin Qeouv in Mark 11:22, “faith in God,” what the passage simply does not mean. Compare the parallel passage Matthew 21:20-21; also “faith in the operation of God,” thvß pi÷stewß thvß e˙nergei÷aß touv Qeouv, Colossians 2:12; “faith in His name,” thØv pi÷stei touv ojno/matoß aujtouv, Acts 3:16; th\n pi÷stin touv Kuri÷ou hJmw◊n ∆Ihsouv Cristouv, “faith in our Lord Jesus Christ,” James 2:1; cf. “faith in God,” pi÷stin Qeouv, Ignatius to the Ephesians 16:2; “faith in God,” qeouv pi÷stin, Josephus, Contra Apion 2:169. Compare pg. 75, God’s Plan and the Overcomers, Watchman Nee, for another instance of the abuse of Mark 11:22-24.

[81]         “Fear is dangerous. It turns into fact the things we fear. It creates the evil just as faith creates the good” (3:485, Christ in the Bible Commentary, Simpson). Simpson proves this notion from an astonishing misinterpretation of Job 3:25, which is alleged to be “the solemn warning of Job” that fear creates negative reality—Job’s sin in not knowing Word of Faith secrets and allowing fear to create negative reality was the cause of the troubles of that most righteous man upon the earth in his day, it appears, as Simpson dutifully follows the radical misinterpretation of the book of Job of his Higher Life predecessors like William Boardman and Andrew Murray. (Compare also pg. 341, “Divine Healing: Inquiries and Answers,” A. B. Simpson, The Word, Work, and World, December 1886). Simpson also taught, in a manner similar to the Word of Faith movement although without quite the same extreme character, but with certain wholesome qualifications, that God is limited by and bound to act based on human faith. The CMA founder wrote: “God is . . . bound to act according to our faith . . . God has really put into our hands one of His own implements of omnipotence” (A Larger Christian Life, A. B. Simpson).

[82]         “Hagin . . . plagiarized Kenyon both repeatedly and extensively,” so that “it would not be overstated to say that the very doctrines that have made Kenneth Hagin and the [Word of] Faith movement such a distinctive and powerful force within the independent charismatic movement are all plagiarized from E. W. Kenyon” (pg. 7, A Different Gospel, McConnell; see pgs. 8-11 for extensive examples of Hagin’s plagiarism.).

[83]         Pg. 64, Only Believe, Paul L. King.

[84]         Pg. 352, Charismatic Chaos, John MacArthur. Writers such as D. R. McConnell, a “confirmed, unapologetic advocate of and participant in the charismatic renewal” (pg. xviii, A Different Gospel (Peabody, MA: Hendrickson, 1995 (updated ed.)), seek to make a sharp distinction between Higher Life, Keswick, and Faith Cure theology and the Mind Cure of Christian Science, and affirm that the Word of Faith movement derives only from the latter. While charismatics may view such distinctions as helpful for apologetic purposes, they are in error both on their derivation of the Word of Faith theology only from Christian Science and in their sharp distinction between the two healing trajectories, which not only appear to be similar, as McConnell admits, but indeed are similar and are not historically isolated from each other but historically intertwined, and form the common root of Pentecostalism and the Word of Faith movement. McConnell must admit that E. W. Kenyon, who Kenneth Hagin so extensively plagiarized, “was on friendly terms with many classical Pentecostals and often ministered in their circles . . . [and] preached healing and prosperity[.] . . . Kenyon . . . greatly influenced the charismatic movement at large” (pgs. 184, 196 A Different Gospel, McConnell), so attempting to separate Kenyon from classical Pentecostalism is vain. It is also vain to deny that in “the early stages . . . American Spiritualism [was] closely connected with Faith Healing and Higher Thought” alike (pg. 98, Religious Fanaticism), and formed the common seed-bed out of which the Higher Life, Faith Cure, New Thought, and Mind Cure developed. For example, Henry Foster, “the doctor of the New York Sanatorium where those strange secrets of union with Christ” as bringing physical and sexual thrills (pg. 162-164, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey), whose doctrine Keswick originators Robert P. Smith and Hannah W. Smith adopted and Robert promulgated during the entirety of his career as a Higher Life evangelist, practiced “homeopathy, hydropathy [that is, “water cure”] . . . mental therapy, and pastoral and spiritual care all under the same roof” (pg. 516, Naturopathic Physical Medicine: Theory and Practice of Manual Therapists and Naturopaths, auth. & ed. Leon Chaitow. Philadelphia, PA: Elseveir, 2008). The Water Cure or hydropathy was closely connected to the demonic practices of spiritualism. The demonic ideas of healing associated with homeopathy thus were influential in the background of the Higher Life, Keswick, and Faith Cure doctrines of healing, as they were with Mind Cure. Jessie Penn-Lewis, whose family also employed hydropathy (see pg. vi, The Awakening in Wales, Jessie Penn-Lewis. London: R. W. Simpson, 1905), promulgated the reality of both Keswick Faith Cure ideas and the reality of animal magnetism, associated with the Mind Cure and Mary Baker Eddy. Hannah Whitall Smith, the doctrinal founder of the Keswick theology, writing out of “a great deal of experience” with “Faith Healing,” and having “investigated every phase of this kind of thing: Faith Cure, Divine Healing, Mental Science, Christian Science, [and] Mind Cure,” concluded that “all these different phases of faith cure, mind cure, etc.,” share in the common idea, held also by the Word of Faith movement, that “Spirit controls matter, and that if we were spiritually enough developed we should be able to control matter according to our measure as God does in His measure.” Faith and Mind Cure also possess in common with the Word of Faith theology the idea that positive thinking can create reality, that “there is no more certain way of catching a disease than being afraid of it; and equally no more certain way of being preserved from a disease than to have no fear,” as “[o]ur mental conditions are far more powerful to affect material things than we know, and . . . there is here a secret for enormous power.” Thus, there is a “Divine law,” also known and practiced by “occultist[s]” who “had been through all the phases of occult teaching in India,” that “[a]ll things . . . come to him who knows how to will and to be silent.” “[W]hat have seemed to us like miracles are really the outcome of laws.” In sum, “every form of Faith-healing, or Divine Healing, or Christian Science” shares this common “truth,” come from a common root, and “both faith and mind cure both lead sooner or later into spiritualism” (pgs. 262-267, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey). Hannah W. Smith concluded: “As far as I can understand the mind cure, it is only the science by which the faith cure works . . . it is simply doing on the plane of physical health what we did on the plane of sin when we reckoned ourselves dead to it and alive only to God” (Letter to Anna, Steamer “Eider,” July 1, 1885, cited entry for December 28, The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The unpublished personal writings of Hannah Whitall Smith, ed. M. E. Dieter). McConnell is correct when he recognizes that the Word of Faith doctrine is pagan and rooted in the spiritualism and demonism of nineteenth century Mind Cure; he is incorrect when he attempts, because of his own charismatic position, to disassociate the Word of Faith movement and Pentecostalism, and to separate the healing doctrine of the Keswick movement and classical Pentecostalism from the same spiritualism and demonism that undergird the Word of Faith theology, both because the Word of Faith movement did indeed have very heavy influence from classical Pentecostalism and because the nineteenth century Faith and Mind Cure share spiritualist and demonic origins and constitute the common background to the Keswick and the Pentecostal healing theology.

McConnell is correct, however, when he writes that “many in the present charismatic renewal preach and practice a different gospel . . . the major branch of the charismatic movement is cultic in nature” (pgs. xviii, 65-66, A Different Gospel).

It is also noteworthy that nineteenth century cults like the Shakers believed that they could attain “control over physical disease,” and their religious rites included “outbursts of gibberish, believed to be inspired utterances”—like the modern Pentecostal gibberish that is falsely called “tongues.” The Shakers also anticipated many Pentecostals in, “when there were seasons of revival, or outbursts of spiritualistic fever . . . roll[ing] violently upon the ground, and sh[aking] and quiver[ing] with the inrush of the spirit” (pg. 46, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey), as the same demons inspired the Shakers that work in many modern charismatics. After all, “Mother Ann Lee, founder of the Shakers . . . demonstrated pentecostal tendencies” (pg. 126, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan).

[85]         Pgs. 40-43, The Two Kinds of Knowledge, Kenyon. Fullerton, CA: Kenyon’s Gospel Publishing, 1942. Kenyon not only escaped from responsibility for failures in healing in general, but counseled specific people that they were not healed because they failed to believe and confess their healing and so lost it; for example, after he prayed and a lady was “perfectly healed,” her “symptoms” came right back again, not because Kenyon was a false teacher who actually did not heal her, of course, but because she failed to tell her husband that very night that she had been healed, but waited a little while: “Had she made her confession to her husband, the thing would never have come back” (pg. 37, In His Presence, Kenyon, 1944 ed.) Similarly, Hagin wrote: “When people are in a place where faith is high—where there’s a mass faith . . . it’s comparatively easy for them to receive healing. This is what happens in big meetings[.] . . . However, when these people get back on their own, the devil comes along with lying symptoms. The people don’t have a foundation of faith in them, and the devil puts the same thing back on them. . . . [T]he next time you see them, they’re right back where they were” (pgs. 62-63, The Believer’s Authority, Hagin).

Pentecostals who do not follow the Word of Faith heresy also accept the idea that healing is lost by a loss of faith:

Stanley H. Frodsham, editor of the Pentecostal Evangel, explained that healing, like salvation and other acts of grace, could be lost, and acknowledged the very small number of those who ‘kept’ their healing. . . . [For example], Frodsham reported that a mail survey of one thousand persons ‘healed’ in Pentecostal meetings produced only one respondent. Looking back on nearly forty years of acquaintance with the movement’s healing activities, Donald Gee noted with sadness “the small number of definite miracles of healing compared to the great number who were prayed for.”

Gee continues, “It is foolish to ignore the facts” (pg. 94, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson & pg. 148, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee. London: Elim Publishing, 1949 &, pg. 4 Pentecostal Evangel: The Official Organ of the Assemblies of God, 448-449, June 10, 1922). Frodsham claimed that only one out of the 1,000 could expect to keep his healing because only one was willing to attend a Pentecostal service after the “healing” took place. The problem was not, Frodsham knew, that the Pentecostal “healings” were a delusion so people were unwilling to attend their services after it was evident that they were not healed—on the contrary, the problem was that people were unwilling to attend Pentecostal services, and so they lost their healings (pg. 4).

If 999 out of 1,000 lose their healing because of a lack of faith, just as salvation can be lost by a lack of faith, one wonders if 999 out of 1,000 that Pentecostals lead to salvation lose it, so that, on their own Arminian assumptions, only 0.1% of those they bring to conversion go to heaven.

[86]         Mrs. Kuhlman’s husband divorced his wife to marry her. They also ended up filing for divorce.

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