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II. William Boardman

William Boardman, a grocer from Illinois[1] and a New School Presbyterian who was strongly influenced by Charles Finney, Asa Mahan, and Phoebe Palmer,[2] worked very closely with Robert Pearsall Smith in the time from 1873-1875 that led to the beginning of the meetings at Keswick to promote the Higher Life theology, joining the Smiths in the spiritualist-sponsored gathering at Broadlands and its successor, the Oxford Convention,[3] as well as preaching at the Keswick Convention itself.[4] Indeed, one could say that “Boardman helped to found the Keswick movement . . . with [Robert] Pearsall and Hannah Whitall Smith.”[5] Through Mr. Boardman, “the despised doctrine of the early Methodists”—perfectionism and continuationism—“has become the glorious heritage of all denominations,”[6] for he “was the first standard-bearer on the subject of the Higher Life.”[7] The Higher Christian Life, which he wrote in three months[8] and published in 1859, was the book through which “interest in the subject really became widespread . . . and [which] led multitudes” to adopt the Higher Life doctrine of sanctification.[9] In The Higher Christian Life, Boardman claimed that for the first time, after “eighteen centuries . . . have . . . been allowed to roll away,” the truth of sanctification had been “brought distinctly and prominently before the mind of the church[.] . . . [U]ntil now, the time has never come for it. Now is the time.”[10] While “[t]rained theologians could tear its arguments to shreds” and “detractors” thought it “poison,” its influence was, nonetheless, vast.[11] “Wherever the English language is spoken, his books have gone.”[12] Thus, “[h]is book on The Higher Christian Life was perhaps the first popular treatise on this subject that won its way amongst all denominations; and its vast circulation, both in America and England, not only melted the prejudices of hosts against this subject, but made it possible for other writers to follow in the paths which he had opened, and led multitudes of timid souls out of the misty dawn into the clear shining of the sun”[13] of second-blessing perfectionism and views on the power and promises of the gospel that deviated from orthodoxy. In The Higher Christian Life, Boardman did not “plac[e] before his readers theological views on holiness” by exegeting what the Bible taught on the subject, but without “entire clearness of doctrinal statement . . . began with facts of Christian experience, and reasoned from those facts,”[14] as human experience could with much more facility be brought to coincide with his doctrine of the Higher Life than could the Scripture. For example, Boardman recounted the story of someone who, after suffering a serious injury, was allegedly born again because of a dream, and then found out the truth of the Higher Life doctrine because of another dream where Jesus supposedly appeared, hugged him, gave him assurance of salvation, and thus brought him into the Higher Life.[15] While Boardman did not employ the literal interpretation of Scripture to propagate his Higher Life theology, at least the Higher Life was supported in men’s dreams. For one who insists on following the teaching of Scripture alone, however, Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life is essentially worthless,[16] since “Boardman’s primary authority is experience rather than Scripture, which receives little exegetical attention throughout the 330-page work. To persuade his readers, however, he recounts in detail the experiences of over twenty-five people.”[17] Since God indicates that His Word, not experience, is the sole authority for the believer (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and since Mormons, Muslims, Buddhists, followers of Mary Baker Eddy, spiritualists, outright Satan worshippers, and followers of all sorts of other abominable false religions can with ease also put together a catena of testimonials about how wonderful their religious systems are, testimonials will not be convincing to one who recognizes the truth of sola Scriptura.

While the lack of authority in testimonial is the fundamental failure of Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life, his testimonials are themselves inaccurate. They are either inexcusably historically sloppy or deliberately deceptive distortions of historical data. Inaccurately recorded or recounted testimony is of even less value than testimony that actually represents a person’s perception of reality. Harry Ironside noted, concerning the Higher Life and perfectionist movements generally: “Exaggerations, amounting to downright dishonesty, are unconsciously encouraged by and often indulged in in their ‘testimony’ meetings,”[18] and what Ironside noted of the movement’s testimony meetings in general perfectly describes the testimonials of Boardman’s book in particular. As one reviewer noted:

[T]he proofs . . . [in The Higher Christian Life by which his] theory is supported . . . [are] the most remarkable thing about the whole production. His proofs are drawn primarily from real life. And as far as we have the means of verifying them, there is not one of them that stands upon the ground of historical truth. . . . We confess that when we discovered what was done . . . totally misrepresent[ing] [historical sources] . . . our moral nature felt a shock similar to that we experience when the tidings come to us of the fall, by heinous transgression, of some prominent one in the church that had stood high in our confidence.[19]

Since even accurate testimonial has no authority for Christian doctrine, what value for establishing the alleged truth of the Higher Life can there be in hundreds of pages of Boardman’s revisionist myth-making?

Boardman was closer to Christian orthodoxy than Thomas Upham, Asa Mahan, and Hannah Whitall Smith; he had a testimony of conversion that was reasonable and, possibly, genuine.[20] Nonetheless, since he looked for an ecumenical union of Christendom,[21] he did not separate from those who denied the Christian faith. Instead, he upheld false teachers such as Mrs. Smith and commended the vile heretic Thomas Upham, despite his worship of a Father-Mother duality as deity.[22] Boardman also seriously confused the gospel in his own writing and preaching. Boardman confused the doctrine of justification taught by Paul, replacing the Biblical doctrine of justification entirely based on the legal imputation of Christ’s alien, extrinsic righteousness[23] with the Roman Catholic heresy of justification by both imputed and imparted righteousness—a view that would also endear his belief to Quakerism and its doctrine of justification by inward renewal.[24] Boardman even managed to affirm, in an astonishing piece of historical revisionism—or ignorance—that Luther actually opposed what was at the heart of his view of the gospel; allegedly Luther rejected the Protestant doctrine to favor the Roman Catholic view[25] of justification:

[N]ow, of late, the whole Christian world has come to distinguish . . . justification and sanctification. Luther used the term justification as including both, in the same way that the apostle Paul used the expression righteousness of God. Justification, in the great reformer’s sense, was being made righteous; that is, being reckoned righteous before God, and being made righteous in heart and life . . . he must . . . be holy in heart and life, or he cannot be saved.[26]

Thus, “full justification includ[es] sanctification from sin,”[27] for Boardman, although “the history of the Reformation . . . demonstrates [that] the criterion employed . . . to determine whether a given doctrine of justification was Protestant or not was whether justifying righteousness was conceived extrinsically. This criterion served to distinguish the [Protestant] doctrines of justification . . . from those of Catholicism[.]”[28] Thus, Boardman rejected the heart of the Reformation by repudiating the Biblical doctrine of justification. However, Boardman believed that his Roman Catholic and Quaker doctrine of justification was “the first fact to be taken into account in coming to an understanding of the two separate and distinct experiences” of forgiveness and sanctification;[29] his heresy on justification was the “first fact” that undergirded his doctrine of the Higher Life. Boardman sowed further confusion when he taught: “Literally and strictly the Holy Spirit and not Christ is the justifier,”[30] which, literally and strictly, is absolutely false and a very dangerous confusion of the doctrine of justification. Boardman also threatened the gospel by unqualified assertions that “distinct recollections of one’s conversion, and . . . the knowledge of the time [of this event] is by no means indispensable.”[31] In accordance with a common paedobaptist weakness on conversion, Boardman affirmed that for those whose “life [is] laid on the altar of God, by parental faith in infancy” a little “child” can have “faith” that was “too early in its beginnings, and too steady in its unfoldings to be marked by memory, or recounted in its stages,” and so be converted without a conversion experience such as Paul had on the Damascus road or Jacob experienced at Bethel.[32] Boardman’s understanding of what a Christian is, and how one becomes a Christian—and thus enters into the Christian life—is dangerously deficient.

Boardman also taught that without both justification and the usually post-justification second blessing of sanctification, “the Pentecostal endowment [that] follows conversion . . . the higher starting point of power”[33] that brings entry into the Higher Life, one will be damned: “Sooner or later [one] must be purified . . . [and enter into the second blessing of] full salvation . . . [without which] [m]illions [of Christians] have lived in life-long ignorance . . . trembling often . . . at the thought of death [because] of their own unfitness for heaven.”[34] Consequently, Boardman taught: “It is necessary for all to come to the point of [distinctly] trusting in the Lord for purity of heart to be prepared for heaven . . . [a]nd none but the pure in heart shall see God in peace.”[35] Nonetheless, Boardman also thought that all of those who are true believers will get this second blessing, which he also termed the baptism of the Holy Ghost, before they die, so that they can go to heaven instead of being justified but in hell. In a related error, as Hannah W. Smith denied that all believers have the Holy Spirit,[36] Boardman thought that the Holy Spirit is “with” those who are “regenerate[d] in the new birth,” but “in” those only who have entered the Higher Life—a doctrine passed on to Andrew Murray and others,[37] through whom its kernel made its way into Pentecostalism.[38] Boardman, Murray, and many other advocates of the Higher Life would agree entirely with the charismatic position that “[u]ntil the Pentecostal baptism is experienced the Christian is . . . deprived of the lasting residence of the Holy Spirit; . . . the Spirit only operates on, or is with the Christian, he is not yet within him.”[39] Contrary to Ephesians 1:3, for Boardman “[c]onversion” does not “introduc[e] the convert into all the fulness of the blessings of the gospel of peace”—rather, the second blessing does.[40] How does the justified but unsanctified Christian receive the second blessing and enter the Higher Life so that he can enter heaven? Boardman explained, “Faith alone is the means” of both the first conversion for justification and the second conversion[41] for sanctification.[42] Consequently, despite hundreds of pages of material, Boardman wrote: “[Q]uestions . . . such as growth in grace, discipline, temptations, self-examination, watching and prayer, reading, study of the Scriptures, methods of doing good, and the like, might well form the conclusion of a work upon experimental religion. However . . . we must leave these topics untouched[.]”[43] Once one has figured out, from the testimonials Boardman copiously supplies, how to enter into the Higher Life, “exhortations” to matters like Bible study, watching and prayer, growth in grace, and the like “may be dispensed with,” for knowing about the Higher Life is enough, and receiving it will leave the reader “secure from the adversary and cheerful as the lark.”[44] The second blessing, the second conversion or the baptism of the Spirit, sanctification by faith alone, is enough. Although exhortations to Christians to study the Bible, pray, be disciplined, grow, and the like, fill the New Testament, but exhortations to experience the Higher Life through sanctification by faith alone are absent from its pages, the key matter, for Boardman, is the latter, and for those who experience it, the exhortations that actually are present in the Bible become “dispensable,” for one can be secure from Satan, and happy as a lark, without them. Such teaching will surely lead one to a carefree flight to a Higher Life.

As Robert P. Smith learned the Higher Life from his wife Hannah, so Mr. Boardman came into the knowledge of the second blessing through his wife, who had entered the experience herself through the influence of Wesleyan and Oberlin perfectionism, but had been instructed in the secret chiefly from an old lady who had been excommunicated for dangerous antinomian and perfectionist heresy. Mrs. Boardman was “charged . . . to read [a] book . . . upon the doctrine of Christian perfection . . . by a Methodist minister when on one of his circuit visits” while a “guest” in the Boardman home. She consequently read “the experiences of Professor Finney and Dr. Mahan,” and by means of their testimonies to having discovered “the great secret of the power of God” and obtaining perfection and the Higher Life, entered into the second blessing.[45] Reading Finney and Mahan was essential to entering into her experience, as the Bible certainly did not teach the doctrines of either the Oberlin perfectionism of Mahan and Finney[46] or the Methodist perfectionism of Wesley, so simple exegesis of the Word would never suffice to discover the secret of power. She shared her experience with her husband and brought him to a Methodist meeting so that they could learn more.[47] However, being dissatisfied with certain aspects of Methodist perfectionism, she and her husband turned to a certain old lady to receive further instruction in the Higher Life. Mrs. Boardman explained what they learned from this lady:

She had been a member of Dr. Kirk’s Church, in Albany, and fifteen years before this, she was one of thirty members who had been turned out, as having embraced great error. Half of the thirty had gone into antinomian perfectionism, which led them into many very extravagant ideas, all the while under the impression that they were guided by the Holy Spirit. Because they prayed without ceasing, therefore they followed the suggestion of the adversary, that secret prayer was unnecessary. On the same ground they gave up family worship. So they imagined that the Lord told them they need not observe the Sabbath [the Lord’s Day], as they kept a holy Sabbath every day in their souls. Therefore the wives and daughters did the same on Sunday as on weekdays and while professing holiness, were not ashamed to be seen seated at the window, engaged in sewing, on the Lord’s day. Thus Satan, as an angel of light, led them into many errors, and brought into great disrepute the cause of Christ. . . . [T]his dear old lady, who had been dismissed from the church with the others . . . was God’s special gift to us.[48] She taught us many things, and strengthened me in the belief [in the Higher Life]. . . . All this was a wonderful help . . . [a]s the days went on, we were continually before the Lord in prayer for my dear husband, and the time came when, in a little prayer meeting, he was brought out [and received the Blessing].[49]

Thus, an old lady who had been expelled from the Fourth Presbyterian Church of E. N. Kirk[50] for abominable heresy—the antinomian perfectionism of John Henry Noyes, who joined perfectionism, communism, rampant sexual immorality, “complex marriage” or “free love” that involved spouse-swapping, and Faith Cure—was the instrument in confirming Mrs. Boardman in her perfectionism, specifically in what became one of the features that differentiated the later Keswick theology from Methodist perfectionism, namely, that one who is perfect is not in a “state of sanctification.” The Boardmans learned from this old woman that one does not have “his own holiness” but “Jesus his Sanctification” instead[51]—while the Methodists taught that perfection involved one actually becoming holy, Mrs. Boardman discovered from one who was disciplined for antinomianism that the perfect are not actually more holy in themselves, but rather allegedly have Christ’s holiness in a mystical way. Both ladies together then were used to bring Mr. Boardman into the experience of “the baptism of the Holy Ghost”[52] and this Higher Life of perfection without personal holiness. Mrs. Boardman explained her second blessing to her husband, although she feared that she would be called a perfectionist. He answered her: “I have never found it of the least profit to dwell on doctrines, and why should you?” Just tell out in a simple way what Jesus has done for you, and what He is to you, and let the rest alone.”[53] Aided by Mr. Boardman’s carelessness about Bible doctrine and preference for experiences, both Mrs. Boardman and the old lady under church discipline for Noyes’ perfectionism soon were rejoicing that he, too, had entered the Higher Life, after an allegorical interpretation of two passages of Scripture was “revealed to him” as the final key to unlock the spiritual secret the two women had already experienced.[54] By the secret power of the Higher Life, Mr. Boardman eventually came to the point that to look at his face was to discover the truth of the second blessing. “[S]eeing [his] face” was to “catch a glimpse of heaven,” his face manifesting “the glory of this holy of holies” as it “was lighted with beams of sunshine from the Sun of glory”—people came to be “convinced, not only of the existence of God, but of a future state of blessedness, by seeing [his] face . . . as he passed” by.[55] The possession of such a face was surely a great validation of the truth of his doctrine, as it excelled anything possessed by any mortal man in the New Testament; the first Christians only aspired to a holy life, not a shiny face, as evidence of holiness of heart (Luke 6:43), although others in the late nineteenth century, including many at the Broadlands Conferences that originated the Keswick Conventions,[56] also came to have shiny faces through the receipt of the second blessing, Spirit baptism, and entrance into the Higher Life,[57] and a happy-looking face brought many into the Higher Life that could not be brought in by Biblical exegesis.[58]

Mr. Boardman, after some time, settled into a definite work of Higher Life agitation, Mrs. Boardman also addressing mixed audiences at times in conjunction with influence from Quakerism, as many Quakers were delighted to hear and assist both of the Boardmans.[59] Mr. Boardman and Mr. R. P. Smith worked together in an ecumenical way to reach “the ministers of all denominations” with the message of the Higher Life,[60] their joint efforts culminating in the spiritist-backed Conference at Broadlands and its successors at Oxford and Brighton, the precursors to Keswick.[61] At these Conferences “testimony upon testimony” to the Higher Life theology validated the teachings of Boardman and Smith in a way that grammatical-historical exegesis never could.[62] Hannah W. Smith wrote concerning the Oxford meeting, a paradigm for later Holiness and Keswick meetings:

[A]t Oxford . . . a great wave of blessing seemed to sweep all before it. . . . . [S]ome of the testimonies . . . are really most beautiful. . . . [A]ll sorts of denominations . . . met and mingled in the most happy and blessed union[.] . . . One German Pastor the last morning said, “I came over with our Pastors to report the meetings, very unwillingly, and with my whole mind full of prejudices against this new heresy. I did not believe it was according to good German theology, and for a day or two I did nothing but criticize and get vexed. But now all is changed. I do not know indeed whether it yet is good doctrine or not, but I do know the experience is true, and I have got it!” Such things were continually occurring.[63]

Despite the inability to provide a legitimate exegetical basis for the Higher Life doctrine, countless numbers set the Bible aside, entered into the ecumenical spirit, and received the Blessing through powerful testimonies.

Mr. Boardman also employed evangelistic methods that produced large outward results, so that many could testify to their effectiveness, although when judged by Scripture, they were faulty and dangerous. He asked large crowds, “Will you—do you now accept the Lord Jesus as your Saviour?” and when “a large part of them answered, ‘I do,’” he assumed that they had at the time of their statement actually been born again.[64] By such means many were led to profess entrance into the kingdom of God.

In 1875—the year the Keswick convention was founded—Boardman openly adopted a proto-charismatic doctrine and began allegedly freely working cures along with his preaching of the Higher Life. He had already been working since at least 1870 alongside advocates of the Higher Life for the body as well as for the soul, who had been promoting their healing doctrine in his meetings.[65] His experience of the Higher Life brought him to experience “the office work of our gracious Lord as the Healer.” Boardman affirmed that he discovered both sanctification by faith alone and healing by faith alone through the same experience at the same time, but that he allowed his “restoration of faith in Him as the Healer” to leave his consciousness until years later, proclaiming publicly only sanctification by faith alone for a while.[66] However, he had seen a man enter the Higher Life and receive healing after not just believing in his heart but making a sort of positive confession, similar to those of the later Word of Faith movement, with his mouth.[67] Boardman taught that one must take Christ for justification, then take Him for sanctification, and then proceed to take Him as healer. Those “who are going on to prove the fulness of God in Christ” will have God manifest Himself “[f]irst, as the sin-bearing and pardoning Saviour; next, in His ever-abiding presence as the Deliverer from present sin in its power . . . and lastly, as the Deliverer from all the consequences of sin, and from the heritage of sinful flesh—disease.”[68] The Higher Life of sanctification leads onward to the Higher Life of healing, for the transferal into the present of the perfect deliverance from sin and its consequences that, in Scripture, awaits the eschaton, logically involves not only the perfection of freedom from sin but the perfection of freedom from the consequence of sin in the body, disease.[69] Thus, as Boardman preached and did personal work, many took Christ not merely as their Sanctification but also “took Christ as . . . Healer [and] Keeper in health.”[70] Boardman himself, he claimed, lived an exchanged life, so that in his old age his body was as “fresh . . . through exchange with Him” as it was in youth.[71] His book “on divine healing, The Lord That Healeth Thee, . . . had significant impact on many . . . especially [A. B.] Simpson,”[72] founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance. Boardman, who had written a book entitled Faith Work under Dr. Cullis in Boston,[73] was led to publicly adopt the Faith Cure doctrine through “a meeting with Dr. Cullis[74] during [Cullis’s] visit to America in the summer of 1875.”[75] “Charles Cullis” was “a homeopathic physician and Episcopal layman” who adopted the Faith Cure “as part of his ministry to the sick in 1873. His ‘faith cure’ meetings quickly became one of the focal points of a transatlantic and interdenominational divine healing movement.”[76] He became “a major leader of the broader Holiness movement,” as well as a central figure in the Faith or Mind Cure,[77] promoting not just Boardman, but also the Higher Life continuationists Hannah W. Smith, Theodore Monod, Asa Mahan, and Thomas Upham.[78] The Faith Cure was a physical counterpart to the spiritual Higher life—the Higher Life for soul and for body was really “Arminianism of both the physical and spiritual sorts.”[79] The “nineteenth-century Holiness and health reform movements provide crucial background for excavating the origins and development of divine healing because so many of the movement’s seminal figures were influenced by these two powerful cultural currents. . . . If human beings could hope to attain sanctity of heart and freedom from sin this side of heaven, Holiness advocates reasoned, surely they could also expect to experience physical purity and bodily health in this life.”[80] Cullis was “quite full of the matter” of healing when he met Boardman that year, for the Faith Cure doctrine “had opened up to him a glorious relation of Christ to His Church, and a precious, permanent heritage of His Church in Him, which he had not seen before,”[81] his “espousal of faith healing [being] explain[ed] [by] his background in homeopathic medicine . . . [and] embrace of perfectionist theology[.]”[82] Soon Cullis was reporting that many Faith Cures had taken place through his instrumentality,[83] although he failed to report with the like prominence that he himself suffered, for decades, from a severe heart problem that was never healed.[84] Because of what Boardman had experienced in England during the Higher Life agitation there that led to the formation of the Keswick Convention, he testified, “I was quite prepared, through what I had seen and heard in London, to agree with [Cullis] in this.”[85] However, the testimony of Dr. Cullis to Mr. Boardman of the “remarkable healing of a broken arm in answer to prayer in Philadelphia” was instrumental in bringing Boardman to a firm stance in favor of the Faith Cure. Cullis recounted to Boardman the great marvel of the son of Dr. Read, the physician, being healed, for it was a “most remarkable case” and “quite unexplainable, if not by the power of God.”[86] Indeed, it was “one of the most celebrated instances of faith-healing ever wrought in America . . . nothing less than the instantaneous knitting of a broken bone in answer to prayer.”[87] Boardman recounted,[88] at length, this testimony in his The Lord that Healeth Thee, as a central weight that pushed him over the edge to his firm stance in favor of the continuation of Apostolic healing:

While in Philadelphia I called upon the Doctor [Dr. Read, whose son had experienced the marvel]. He was our family physician, and a dear Christian. I thanked him for all his kindness to my wife and myself, which was not a little, and all without money or price; and then said, “Doctor, I heard in Boston wonderful things about your little son.” “Ah!” said he, “I do not like to speak of it to people generally, they are so unbelieving; but I can tell you. The children were jumping off from a bench, and my little son fell and broke both bones of his arm below the elbow. My brother, who is a professor of surgery in the college at Chicago, was here on a visit. I asked him to set and dress the arm. He did so, putting it in splints and bandages, and in a sling. The dear child was very patient, and went about without a murmur all that day. The next morning he came to me and said, “Dear papa, please take off these things.” “Oh no, my son! You will have to wear them five or six weeks before it will be well.” “Why, papa, it is well.” “Oh no, my dear child; that is impossible!” “Why, papa, you believe in prayer, don’t you?” “You know I do, my son.” “Well, last night, when I went to bed, it hurt me very bad, and I asked Jesus to make it well; and He did make it well, and it is well.” I did not like to say a word to chill his faith. A happy thought came; I said, “My dear child, your uncle put the things on, and if they are taken off, he must do it.” Away he went to his uncle, who told him he would have to be very patient; and when the little fellow told him that Jesus had made him well, he said, “Pooh! Pooh! Nonsense!” and sent him away. The next morning the poor boy came again to me, and pleaded with so much sincerity and confidence that I more than half believed he was really healed, and went to my brother and said, “Had you not better undo his arm, and let him see for himself? Then he will be satisfied. If you do not, I fear, though he is very obedient, he may be tempted to undo it himself, and then it may be worse for him.” My brother yielded, took off the bandage and the splints, and exclaimed, “It is well! Absolutely well!” and hastened to the door for air to keep from fainting. He had been a real, simple-hearted Christian, but in his student days wandered away; but this brought him back to the Lord.” [Boardman comments:] Strange if it had not! To all this I could say nothing, if I had been ever so much disposed, in the way of accounting for it upon any other hypothesis than that of the little fellow himself—that Jesus had made him well. Two competent surgeons had seen the broken arm, felt the bones, and had the evidence of their own senses that it was broken. One of them had set it, dressed it, and after two days, to satisfy the boy and save him from the temptation to take off the dressings, he had taken them off himself, and found, to his amazement, the arm absolutely well. But now I greatly rejoiced in this new proof that Jesus remains today, as in the days when He was here in the body, the Healer of those who trust Him.[89]

Boardman reported this case to many others, so that it became the “most frequently quoted”[90] instance of a Faith Cure in the United States, and through this testimony large numbers adopting the Faith Cure and experienced their own marvels of the like kind, and thus added to Boardman’s ever-growing arsenal of testimonies. For example, a boy who had a “curved spine” after doing some hard work one day was healed, Boardman recounted, or at least after the Cure a “surgeon . . . examined the lad, and said, ‘There is nothing the matter with his spine, and there never was,’”[91] so either he never really had a curved spine, as the surgeon affirmed, or he was healed by a Faith Cure. Other equally convincing marvels were wrought through the inspiring influence of the Faith Cure of the broken arm of the son of Dr. Read, and these marvels, wrought by Boardman and others influenced to adopt the Faith Cure by his testimony, built up an ever more marvelous monument to the restoration of Apostolic healing power, based on the foundation of testimonials. Finally, passionately committed to the Faith Cure by such testimonies, and encouraged to write by Dr. Cullis, Boardman determined to write The Lord that Healeth Thee, a work filled with the testimonies of those healed, so that the doctrine might be propagated. At first, however, he hesitated. Mr. Boardman believed the cures Dr. Cullis and he worked were certainly “real.” However, Boardman averred, “I had not such a mastery of the subject” of healing as taught in the Bible as “would justify me in saying anything about it.” Nevertheless, pressed by the evident facts of marvels being freely worked and convinced of the truth of the Faith Cure system through such testimonies, he said, “finally I determined to do what I could, first in mastering the matter as revealed in the Bible, and then as it is exemplified in the reported instances of healing,” so that he could “haste[n] the return of [Christ’s] beloved Church to the . . . grand heritage in Him as the Healer.”[92] That is, after practicing, preaching, and propagating the Faith Cure for years, although he did not have such an understanding of the Biblical doctrine of healing as would justify him in saying anything about it, he finally decided to examine the Bible from the perspective of his predetermined paradigm in favor of the Faith Cure, so that he could publish a book that would, he hoped, bring all of Christendom into his firmly held conviction in its favor by adding Biblical arguments to the flourishing evidence of testimonial that had convinced him of its validity. As Boardman adopted and propagated his doctrine of sanctification by faith alone in his The Higher Christian Life through the instrumentality of testimonial, not Scriptural exegesis, so he adopted and propagated his doctrine of healing by faith alone by the same means, and experienced much success in convincing the masses to adopt both teachings.

However, when the case of Dr. Read’s son was investigated by Dr. J. H. Lloyd, Doctor Lloyd published a letter from the very child upon whom the marvel of healing was affirmed to have been accomplished, after the boy had grown up and become a physician himself. The letter reads:

Dear Sir:

The case you cite, when robbed of all its sensational surroundings, is as follows: The child was a spoiled youngster who would have his own way; and when he had a green stick fracture[93] of the forearm, and, after having had it bandaged for several days, concluded he would much prefer to go without a splint, to please the spoiled child the splint was removed, and the arm carefully adjusted in a sling. As a matter of course, the bone soon united, as is customary in children, and being only partially broken, all the sooner. This is the miracle. Some nurse or crank or religious enthusiast, ignorant of matters physiological and histological, evidently started the story, and unfortunately for my name—for I am the party—is being circulated in circles of faith-curites, and is given the sort of notoriety I do not crave . . . Very respectfully yours, Carl H. Reed.[94]

Thus, Boardman, like Cullis and advocates of the Faith Cure in general,[95] were “not always as careful as they might be in ascertaining the actual facts of the cases of cure which they report.”[96] In this instance, Boardman’s foundational testimonial to the Faith Cure, he got practically nothing correct about what had actually happened. However, perhaps it should not be surprising that Boardman would accept the Faith Cure doctrine because of testimony and blaze it forth to the world while failing to carefully investigate its alleged successes. After all, because of human testimony, he had already failed to carefully study the Bible before adopting and setting forth to the world his doctrine of the Higher Life.

Nonetheless, unaware that the healing that in large measure convinced him to adopt the Faith Cure was a delusion, Mr. Boardman proceeded to teach his doctrine of healing as part of the Higher Life from 1875 onward. Not long after the official foundation, based on demonic Mind Cure ideas that had been circulating for some years earlier, of the “Church of Christ, Scientist,” by Mary Baker Eddy in Boston in 1879, Boardman’s “publication of The Lord that Healeth Thee” in 1881 “fairly launched Mr. Boardman as a teacher of divine healing.”[97] He now propagated his theology of healing by faith as zealously as he did his doctrine of sanctification by faith. He zealously proclaimed a view of the gospel contrary to the grammatical-historical interpretation of 1 Corinthians 15:1-4, which taught that the Good News is salvation through the death, burial, and resurrection of Christ, instead reaching the position that “the gospel . . . may be summarized in the two words, salvation and healing.”[98] The “full gospel” includes doing what Christ did and “healing every sickness and every disease among the people.”[99] Indeed, healing is very important, for it can “turn the day” when “His gentler forces of grace and truth have failed.”[100] Despite many verses in the Bible that teach that miracles do not produce saving faith, but faith is produced by the Spirit through the Word (e. g., Romans 10:17; Luke 16:31; Matthew 11:20; John 12:37),[101] Boardman affirmed that healing can do what God’s grace and truth cannot in bringing men to Christ. The Spirit working through the preached Word is not the best way for men to be awakened—on the contrary, Boardman affirms, “nothing awakens men like His supernatural power in His physical kingdom.”[102] “Nothing ever has touched men like . . . healing power,” for “by means of” it “men . . . are awakened, convinced, conquered, saved. Yes, this, this only, is the faith by which now, as of old, the world is to be turned upside down.”[103] The necessity of the Faith Cure is thus clearly seen, for it can prevail when God’s holy Word cannot, despite being sharper than any sword (Hebrews 4:12) and being empowered by the Omnipotent Holy Ghost. The world cannot be turned upside down by Spirit-empowered preaching of the Word—no—Faith Cures are better.

Letters that testified to healings were read by Mrs. Boardman in holiness meetings, and there soon followed a “visit of Dr. Cullis to England” which “increased and deepened this interest” in the continuation of the sign gifts, “many being blessed and healed at that time.”[104] Testimonials evidenced that “here and there the gift of healing has been bestowed. . . . Gifts of healing have been manifested in a number of places,”[105] including a powerful manifestation of many Faith Cures at Dr. Cullis’ Faith Cure home in Boston,[106] that place of origin, hotbed and center of work for the Christian Science cult and Mind Cure of Mary Baker Eddy.[107] As testimonials were key to Boardman’s adoption of the Higher Life theology of sanctification by faith alone, so his eyes were “opened” to the doctrine of healing by faith alone, not by a close scrutiny of Scripture, but by a “close scrutiny of perhaps a hundred different testimonies written out by those who have been healed through faith.”[108] Soon the “Faith-house called ‘Bethshan’ was opened by Mrs. Baxter[109] and Miss Murray in 1882,” as well as Mrs. Boardman,[110] “to accommodate the patients who resorted to”[111] Mr. Boardman, and “at Bethshan dear Mr. Boardman was both the father and the pastor of the work.”[112] He “presided at the . . . weekly meeting for healing on Wednesday afternoons at Bethshan,” which was followed by a service that anointed people to heal them.[113] Bethshan was the flagship of the late nineteenth century “‘Faith-Homes’ established in America [which espoused] the treatment of disease by prayer alone,”[114] as “little groups of Christians here and there accepted the teaching of Bethshan and . . . other ‘Healing Homes’ were established[.]”[115] At such Faith Homes “treatments . . . did not involve medicinal therapies of any sort . . . the means prescribed [were] prayer, laying on of hands, and anointing.”[116] Bethshan was “in closest fellowship with the [Faith Cure] movement in America, and the teaching of Bethshan was identical with that of the Christian [and Missionary] Alliance.”[117] Boardman, and the Christian and Missionary Alliance that adopted his position, followed Charles Cullis[118] and believed that it was best to reject medicine to follow the example of Christ, who “never use[d] remedies or call[ed] in physicians, but always use[d] His own power” to heal miraculously.[119] Thus, based on Galatians 2:20, Boardman taught:

[Christ] is the Life, the All of life for body as well as soul, complete. In Him dwelleth all fulness; we are filled full in Him. . . . Fulness, absolute fulness of life dwells in Him alone; and in us only as He dwells in us by faith. Fulness of life is fulness of health. Disease is incompatible with fulness of life. His presence in us, welcomed by faith as our fulness of life, and so of health, is really the expulsive power that rebukes and dispels disease. The same is true of strength. . . . Our completeness in Him cannot be actualized until our faith welcomes Him in whom dwells the All-fulness, as our Fulness of life and health in the body, as well as in the soul. . . . He took our infirmities as truly as our sicknesses, and both as truly as our sins . . . And the prominent work of the Spirit is just this—to uplift us into Christ, and unfold Him in all His fulness, the Fulness of God in us.”[120]

One who has received such fulness of life, then, can no longer be sick, weak, or sinful in the least degree, for Christ is entirely free from sickness, weakness, and sin. Christ purchased physical health on the cross, so perfect health must be for today. After all, in the Higher Life theology “Jesus saves me now,”[121] so all the benefits of Christ’s work on the cross must be, in all their fulness, for this very moment. Jesus Christ lives the spiritual and the physical life for the believer, so the Christian who knows the spiritual secret is free from sin and from sickness. Sanctification by faith alone entirely without human effort, and healing by faith alone, entirely without human means such as medicine, stand together in Boardman’s Higher Life allegorization of Galatians 2:20. However, although Christ is also free from the end point of disease, death, and His human body is glorified, Boardman was not willing to affirm that one who receives Christ’s fulness of life will not die, nor that such people already have glorified bodies—such affirmations were too much for him, and, besides, it was very difficult to fill books with the testimonies of those who had lived hundreds of years and already had glorified bodies as they lived on the earth. Consequently, Boardman introduced an inconsistency in his doctrine and admitted that those who believed in the Higher Life still died like their less privileged brethren. Nevertheless, one who is receiving sanctification and healing moment-by-moment[122] from Christ will never get sick. “[A]biding faith in our Lord as the healer of all our diseases” guarantees that “we shall . . . be healed, not once, and in great extremity only, but always whenever we have need.”[123] Those living the Higher Life will “fill up the measure of [their] days” and then, in an affirmation easier to make in the 1880s before much of the progress of modern medicine, the Higher Life possessor will “die of age alone without disease . . . without abatement of strength or dimness of vision”; he will “di[e] . . . though not of disease,”[124] although Boardman himself died of a disease, and nobody actually dies of age apart from disease. At Bethshan, Boardman taught “it is God’s will to heal” in the same manner that Christ did when he was “here in bodily presence amongst us . . . do[ing] His Father’s will in healing the sick.”[125] It is the “will of God to heal all our diseases,” with no exceptions;[126] “it is the Lord’s will to heal all who put their trust in Him for healing, as it is to save all who believe in Him for salvation.”[127] While medical means were not forbidden for those who lacked faith, nonetheless just as supernatural sanctification was by faith alone, without human works or effort, so Divine healing comes by faith alone, without human works of effort such as the employment of medical means, as Christ’s own life within the Christian through the believer’s cessation of effort was the basis for both sanctification and healing. Christ is “for ever a Healer for those who put their trust in Him alone,”[128] and “from first to last healing of the body [is] side by side with salvation of the soul.”[129] Indeed, “we fail to have the fulness of our need met” by Christ if we do not “take Him as . . . our Healer”—“oh, how far short shall we fall” in our spiritual life “if we fall short of being made whole in body!”[130] Testimonials of people who were healed prove the truth of this view indubitably.[131] Thus, by means of the evidences of the “work of healing” in many lives, the “sophism that healing . . . . is simply the seal and sign of plenary inspiration and official authority peculiar to the times of giving the law and testimony of God in the Scriptures . . . this delusion of the devil” is being “practically destroyed,” that is, destroyed by the practical evidences of the testimonies of many people who received Faith Cures, rather than by careful exegesis of the Bible.[132]

While testimonials were key to Boardman’s adoption and propagation of the Faith Cure, he affirmed that Biblical narratives supported it also. The fact that Moses had a rod that could turn into a snake, and that he could put his hand into his bosom and make it become leprous and then cure it by returning it to his bosom again, certainly was proof for the Faith Cure (Exodus 4:1-8). Moses’ “rod . . . [was] the symbol of all power in heaven and on earth,” and Moses could cure all diseases at will since he could put his hand in his bosom and take it out again healthy, proving that there are “two permanent, grand, and comprehensive powers—power over all the power of that old serpent the devil, and power over all diseases of the body” that all Christians possess just as Moses did, because of Matthew 28:20.[133] “The whole church” has been given the authority to “carry on . . . the same work of preaching the gospel and healing the sick . . . exercised by Christ, and given to the twelve and the seventy—power over all the power of the devil to master it, and over all disease to heal it.”[134] Furthermore, because Moses cast a tree into bitter water at Marah and the waters became sweet, and the Lord promised not to send special plagues on Israel as He did on Egypt if they were obedient (Exodus 15:22-26), all who are “shown . . . the tree of Calvary” will have “healing of the body.” This is the “law of health . . . continual freedom from bodily maladies.”[135] Indeed, as in its twin, the Mind Cure of New Thought and Mark Baker Eddy, healing is a “law of His kingdom of grace, as inevitable as any law of His kingdom of nature.”[136] In fact, Boardman’s allegorizing of Exodus 15 is so convincing to him that he named his book after the phrase The LORD that healeth thee found in Exodus 15:26. Many other passages of the Bible, after they are allegorized, give equally clear support to Boardman’s doctrine, from the sending of quail in the wilderness, to the striking of Miriam with leprosy, to the writings of David in the Psalter, to king Solomon’s prayer at the dedication of the temple in Jerusalem—each of these prove that all Christians should be healed.[137] Indeed, even the fact that Elisha cured Naaman’s leprosy shows that all the people of God can heal themselves and others of all diseases by the law of healing—Faith Cure was Israel’s “national faith,” the “faith of the Church [of Israel] in the land . . . from the children up to the king[,] the whole people,”[138] despite the fact that Naaman needed to go to Elisha because nobody else could or did perform such healings, and despite the testimony of Christ that “many lepers were in Israel in the time of Eliseus the prophet; and none of them was cleansed, saving Naaman the Syrian” (Luke 4:27). Boardman finds the narratives of Scripture filled with the doctrine of Faith Cure, and his arguments are all just as convincing as his conclusion from the pericope of Naaman and Elisha. There is no need to recount any more of them—essentially, a person who has seen one of his arguments has seen them all. Someone with an a priori commitment to the Faith Cure doctrine because of testimonial from experience and extrabiblical sources will be happy to have Boardman’s many allegorizations of sacred history as further evidence; someone who is committed to grammatical-historical exegesis and sola Scriptura will view all of Boardman’s argumentation as a wretched allegorization and awful misuse of the holy Word of God.

Boardman does not, however, confine his argument entirely to allegorized narrative, although such allegorizations are the largest part of his appeal to the Bible. Thus, while he does not spend much time on passages that have a better chance at actually supporting his position when interpreted literally, choosing rather to spend many pages of his book on testimonials and allegorized narrative, he also makes a few other arguments in favor of his Faith Cure theology. Boardman affirms that a “comparison of Isaiah liii with Matthew viii plainly shows us that our Lord Jesus Christ bore our sins, sorrows, sicknesses, and all in His own body on the cross on purpose to [sic] take them all away from us in spirit, soul, and body,” so “healing through faith” in this age is guaranteed in the atonement.[139] While the passages in question indicate that perfect spiritual sinlessness and perfect restoration of the body are certainly purchased by Christ on the cross, these benefits are only actually partaken of to their fullest extent in glorification. Indeed, all good things that the saints possess are purchased for them by the cross—every good they receive comes from their heavenly Father (James 1:17), who has adopted them only because of Christ’s propitiatory work on the cross. Boardman, in accordance with his Higher Life theology that moves the spiritual benefits of perfect deliverance from sin from the eternal state into the present, while weakening their truly perfect spiritual nature, also moves the perfect bodily health of the glorified and resurrected body from the future into the present, while likewise weakening the perfect nature of the full bodily deliverance promised the saints. Neither Isaiah 53 nor Matthew 8 indicates that every believer who follows Faith Cure doctrine is guaranteed physical health in this life. Warfield correctly notes concerning Matthew 8:17 and the Faith Cure:

The passage has, of course, no direct bearing on the assertion that miraculous cures continue to be performed in the church. It speaks only of Christ’s own miraculous cures, and does not in the remotest way suggest that his followers were to work similar ones. . . . [As for the idea that Christ bore our sicknesses so that Christians might not get sick in this life, and that healing in this life is guaranteed in the atonement, the] error does not lie in the supposition that redemption is for the body as well as the soul, and that the saved man shall be renewed in the one as well as in the other. This is true. Nor does it lie in the supposition that provision is made in the atonement for the relief of men from disease and suffering, which are fruits of sin. This too is true. It lies in confusing redemption itself, which is objective and takes place outside of us, with its subjective effects, which take place in us; and in failing to recognize that these subjective effects of redemption are wrought in us gradually and in a definite order. . . .

A very little consideration will suffice to show that . . . attempts so to state the doctrine of the atonement as to obtain from it a basis on which a doctrine of faith-healing can be erected betray us into a long series of serious errors. They imply, for example, that, Christ having borne our sicknesses as our substitute, Christians are not to bear them, and accordingly all sickness should be banished from the Christian world; Christians are not to be cured of sickness, but ought not to get sick. They imply further, that, this being so, the presence of sickness is not only a proof of sin, but argues the absence of the faith which unites us to Christ, our Substitute, that is saving faith; so that no sick person can be a saved man. They imply still further that, as sickness and inward corruption are alike effects of sin, and we must contend that sickness, because it is an effect of sin, is removed completely and immediately by the atoning act of Christ, taking away sin, so must also inward corruption be wholly and at once removed; no Christian can be a sinner. Thus we have full-blown “Perfectionism.” . . . Perfectionism and faith-healing, on this ground, stand or fall together. We wonder why, in [this line of] reasoning . . . believers [are still] subject to death. The reasoning which proves so much—too much—proves, of course, nothing at all.[140]

Dr. Warfield’s arguments are conclusive against any argument for the Faith Cure from Matthew 8:17 for those who recognize the sole authority of Scripture and seek to obey the Divine imperative to use logic and the mind (Isaiah 1:18). Unfortunately, the Faith Cure and the charismatic and Word of Faith fanaticisms that developed from it contained at their most fundamental level either a denial or weakening of both sola Scriptura and the Biblical use of logic and the mind.

Boardman also appeals to Psalm 103:3b, “who healeth all thy diseases,” to prove that the Faith Cure is taught in the Bible. However, nothing in Psalm 103 indicates that the healing mentioned is miraculous, any more than the Lord’s crowning His children with lovingkindnesses is miraculous or His giving them good things to eat (Psalm 103:4-5) is miraculous, or whenever the Lord compassionately heals the broken hearts of His sad children a miracle has taken place (Psalm 147:3). Rather, Psalm 103 emphasizes Jehovah’s providential care of His children in all areas of life. Whenever a believer recovers from a disease, it is because the Lord healed him, just as whenever he eats, it is because the Lord provided food for him, for God providentially works all things after the counsel of His own will.[141] The point of Psalm 103:3b is that the Lord, who ordains all that comes to pass, works all things together for good for His children (Romans 8:28-39), not that some believers who have entered the Higher Life can receive miracles of healing when they employ the techniques of the Faith Cure.

Boardman also appeals to James 5:14-15 to prove that the ability to heal like Christ and the apostles continues throughout the church age for all Christians. However, without allegorization and experience-driven hermeneutics, the passage proves no such thing. In fact, Scripture records that the disciples needed to send for Peter or another apostle to perform miracles (Acts 9:38), since the body of the Christian community did not possess miraculous healing gifts themselves. Only the apostles and a few others on whom the apostles laid their hands were able to miraculously heal.[142] James 5:14-18 reads:

14 Is any sick among you? let him call for the elders of the church; and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord: 15 And the prayer of faith shall save the sick, and the Lord shall raise him up; and if he have committed sins, they shall be forgiven him. 16 Confess your faults one to another, and pray one for another, that ye may be healed. The effectual fervent prayer of a righteous man availeth much. 17 Elias was a man subject to like passions as we are, and he prayed earnestly that it might not rain: and it rained not on the earth by the space of three years and six months. 18 And he prayed again, and the heaven gave rain, and the earth brought forth her fruit.[143]

James[144] instructs a very ill person, who must summon the elders to come to him (v. 14) since he is unable to go to them,[145] to call for church leadership[146] to come and pray for him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord.[147] The elders, who are characteristically men of prayer (cf. Acts 6:4), are able to give spiritual and godly counsel and to comfort one who is suffering; thus, they are summoned. Nevertheless, the entire congregation has just as much access to the Father in prayer, including prayer for healing (James 5:16). Since some sickness, but not all, is caused by sin (cf. 1 Corinthians 11:30-32; 3 John 2) or, under Divine permission, by Satan (Luke 13:16),[148] the elders can examine the ill person to see if he is sick as a Divine judgment upon him for his sin (cf. Hebrews 12:6-11). James specifically indicates, in agreement with the rest of the canon, that some sickness, but not all, is the result of personal transgression (James 5:15).[149] If the sick one is not right with God, but is backsliding and sinning, he can confess his sins to God and have them forgiven (1 John 1:9); if he has committed faults against his brethren, he can both confess them to God and also confess them to those he has offended. Such confession will lead to the removal of the Lord’s chastening hand and restoration to health, even as staying right with God and quickly confessing one’s faults against another to the offended party will prevent those illnesses that are Divine chastisement from coming upon believers in the first place (James 5:15-16).[150] On the other hand, a refusal to repent under sicknesses that are the Father’s chastisement can lead to untimely death.[151] The sinning believer cannot pray and receive answers from God (James 4:3); thus, he cannot offer “the prayer of faith” for his own healing (James 5:15) nor will the elders be able to offer the prayer of faith for him.

“The prayer of faith”[152] is a specific,[153] Divinely enabled and energized[154] petition for healing, for the person to be healed and raised up from his bed of sickness.[155] As faith is a gift from God (Philippians 1:29; James 1:17-18), so when a particular healing is in the will of God, the Lord can enable the sick person, the elders, or the church to present the prayer of faith to Him, giving them belief that this specific healing is His will (cf. Matthew 21:22; Mark 11:24), and then answering their Divinely-produced faith. Only when healing is God’s will, giving Him greater glory and bringing a greater benefit to the sick believer than the spiritual strengthening that comes through trial (James 1:2-3, 12), does the Holy Spirit enable any group or individual among the saints to offer the prayer of faith, one free from any doubt (cf. James 1:6), for healing. The prayer of faith cannot be offered by Christians simply convincing themselves that a particular healing is going to take place—supernaturally produced faith must undergird the prayer, and such faith is only at times, not all the time, produced by God in accordance with His will.

Furthermore, James 5:14-15 does not specify that the healing is miraculous. Whenever a person recovers from illness, whenever he is enabled to arise from a sickness that had left him bedridden, it is truly affirmed that the healing comes from the Lord and that it was the Lord who raised the sick one up (James 5:15). Nothing in James 5 requires that the healing be miraculous any more than the promise that the Lord gives wisdom to those who ask Him for it requires the performance of a miracle (James 1:5). Indeed, James does not speak of healing through the sign gift of miraculous healing that was limited to certain Christians (1 Corinthians 12:9, 28, 30), but of healing in answer to prayer that could be offered by any Christian (James 5:16) without any regard for miraculous gifts. When Epaphroditus was sick, and was not miraculously healed, but recovered through the less dramatic means that God uses to cure the overwhelming majority of non-fatal illnesses, Paul could still affirm that Epaphroditus’ recovery was because “God had mercy on him” (Philippians 2:27). James 5:14-15 does not limit God to the exertion of miraculous power in His work in delivering the sick—James recognizes that every good and perfect gift, including recovery from sickness through non-miraculous means, whether plenty of rest or prescribed medicine, comes from the Father (James 1:17). When God answers prayer and a sick believer recovers, whether because of a special supernatural intervention or through the mechanisms the Creator has placed within the human body, which can be assisted by medicine He has graciously enabled men to discover, and which are sustained by the strength of Him in whom we live and move and have our being (Acts 17:28; Colossians 1:17) because of His gracious Divine decree for the restoration of physical health (Ephesians 1:11), it is true that the Lord was the One who healed and raised up the sick. God heals, not only when He works without means, but also when in accordance with His loving will and in answer to the Divinely-enabled prayer of His obedient people, He uses medicine to cure maladies. James 5:14 and 15 never specifies that the healings in question were miraculous, instantaneous, or in other ways identical in character to the miraculous healings Christ and the apostles performed—both on those with faith and on those without faith—as signs to validate their Divine authority.

In fact, the “anointing . . . with oil” of James 5:14 actually requires[156] the use of medicine, rather than prayer alone, for the healing of the sick. The use of oil for healing was accepted medical procedure at the time,[157] and James commends the use of medical means with his reference to anointing with oil.[158] The verb to anoint in James 5:14 is not the verb expected for ceremonial anointing,[159] but a general anointing that would include the use of oil for physical and psychological well-being.[160] The oil is to refresh, strengthen, and heal the body through the natural means God has created in the physical realm. The good Samaritan, to assist physically the wounded man in Christ’s parable, “went to him, and bound up his wounds, pouring in oil and wine, and set him on his own beast, and brought him to an inn, and took care of him” (Luke 10:34).[161] “[W]ounds, and bruises, and putrifying sores” are to be “closed . . . bound up . . . [and] mollified with ointment [oil][162]” (Isaiah 1:6). The “balm in Gilead” was for use by the “physician” so that “health” might be “recovered” (Jeremiah 8:22). Extrabiblical literature contains abundant references of a similar nature to the medicinal use of oil.[163] Indeed, when James 5 teaches that the sick believer is to consider his spiritual needs and fellowship with the Lord, to pray and get godly counsel and fellowship, and to use medicine, he affirms a view of the relationship between God as healer and physicians dominant in inter-testamental Judaism as seen in the Apocrypha in the Wisdom of Ben Sira:

Make friends with the physician, for he is essential to you; him also God has established in his profession. From God the doctor has his wisdom, and from the king he receives his sustenance. Knowledge makes the doctor distinguished, and gives him access to those in authority. God makes the earth yield healing herbs, which the prudent should not neglect. Was not the water sweetened by a twig that people might learn his power?[164] He endows humans with the knowledge to glory in his mighty works, Through which the doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines; thus God’s creative work continues without cease in its efficacy on the surface of the earth. My son, when you are ill, delay not, but pray to God, for it is he who heals. 10 Flee wickedness; purify your hands, cleanse your heart of every sin.[165] 11 Offer your sweet-smelling oblation and memorial, a generous offering according to your means. 12 Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too. 13 There are times that give him an advantage, 14 and he too beseeches God that his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure. 15 Whoever is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor. (38:1-15)[166]

Intertestamental Judaism taught: “Pray to God, for it is He who heals. Flee wickedness; purify your hands, cleanse your heart of every sin . . . then give the doctor his place.” James likewise taught that God heals, but one must use medicine. Rejecting medicine is not Biblical faith—it is disobedience to James 5 and ungodly fanaticism.

James 5:14-15 provides no support whatsoever for Boardman’s doctrine of the Faith Cure, nor for the Keswick, Pentecostal, and Word of Faith misinterpretations of James 5 that developed from the Higher Life Faith and Mind Cure doctrine. Boardman is either ignorant of or ignores the historical background to James 5:14-15 and its support for the use of medicine in healing. Without dealing with arguments to the contrary, Boardman assumes that James 5:14-15 is a binding prescription for believers in the entire church age. Boardman’s faulty, non-Baptist view of the church allows him to believe that the statements of James 5:14-15 are valid for those not part of true Baptist churches, although only such churches truly have church leadership such as elders. Boardman makes all disease the result of sin and failure to ascend to the Higher Life, while James specifically indicates that not all disease is the result of personal sin, and Boardman’s Higher Life and Faith Cure theology was unknown in the first century and for the first 90% of church history. Boardman neglects the fact that the faith of “the prayer of faith” is a gift from God, exercised in accordance with His sovereign will, rather than the spontaneous production of every man at his own will.[167] James, unlike Boardman, teaches that only when it is God’s will to heal can the prayer of faith be proffered to God. Nor does James 5:14-15 specify that the healing is miraculous. Indeed, James enjoins the sick to use medicine to be healed, while Boardman discourages the use of medicine. James 5:14-15, when interpreted in a literal, grammatical-historical way, provides no support whatsoever for Boardman’s Faith Cure. James 5:14-15 is only a witness for the Higher Life healing theology if one possesses an a priori commitment to the Faith Cure, based on supposedly authoritative testimonials to its efficacy outside of Scripture, combined with a hermeneutic of either empty proof-texting or allegorical eisegesis.

In gathering all the arguments—discussed above—from Scripture he can to prove his Faith Cure position, Boardman makes no attempt in his book to carefully study the passages in their contexts, but simplistically proof-texts passages, and then both acts himself and teaches others to act as if what he assumes is in the passages in question is really present. He had no need to carefully exegete the texts, however; he knew his doctrine was true, for it worked—the multitude of testimonials to it was surely a sufficient replacement for the study of God’s Word. Testimony could be compared with testimony to validate the Faith Cure, even if Scripture could not be compared with Scripture to do so.

Indeed, Scripture could also simply be ignored when it was convenient. For instance, the fact that God warned Israel, “thou hast no healing medicines” (Jeremiah 30:13) is ignored by Boardman. That a lack of medicine is a Divine judgment, not a commendable aspect of an alleged Israelite doctrine of Faith Cure, does not fit well within Boardman’s paradigm, so surely it can simply be passed by. That God, by the mouth of Jeremiah, would assume that “balm in Gilead” and the “physician” is the normal means through which “the health of the daughter of my people [is] recovered” (Jeremiah 8:22) is very difficult for Boardman’s Faith Cure doctrine to explain. That, when extraordinary Divine judgment for sin is not in view, it is appropriate to receive a command to “take balm . . . for pain” and to “use many medicines” (Jeremiah 46:11; 51:8)[168] is very difficult if God’s view is truly that one should abandon medicine for the Faith Cure since the use of medicine is really a lack of trust in the Lord. Jeremiah, and the rest of the Bible,[169] when interpreted literally, provide not a shred of evidence for the Faith Cure, but clearly and repeatedly contradict it. However, in light of the many testimonials validating Boardman’s doctrine, Scripture’s teaching that medicine is good, while a lack of healing medicine is Divine judgment, could surely be passed by.

Nevertheless, Boardman had an answer for those who appealed to Scripture to prove that it was not always God’s will to heal—at least for the parts of the Bible that he did not ignore. 1 Timothy 5:23, Boardman explains, was just about Timothy having “frequent weaknesses,” not frequent sicknesses,[170] although the word is used of disease every time it appears in the gospels, is also translated “sicknesses” (Matthew 8:17) and “diseases” (Acts 28:9), and is never used for any kind of “weakness” that would have existed in an unfallen world or existed in the incarnate Christ whose life allegedly is the sanctification and healing of the Higher Life advocate,[171] and, furthermore, the related verb[172] is used in the pastoral epistles only of Trophimus’ sickness (2 Timothy 4:20), which Boardman admits is actual sickness.[173] Despite the exegetical facts, Boardman knew that 1 Timothy 5:23 could not refer to Timothy getting sick or weak from sickness and needing to be in better health by changing his dietary habits; rather, Timothy was just “weak” in some sense that Christ, it seems, can be weak at the right hand of God, living Timothy’s physical life for him; Timothy was not really sick, and, in fact, not really weak either, for Timothy was surely an advocate of the Higher Life of healing, and so he was like Moses and lived his entire life “without disease . . . without abatement of strength or dimness of vision,”[174] regardless of what grammatical-historical interpretation of 1 Timothy 5:23 might indicate to the contrary.

Furthermore, 2 Timothy 4:20 does not prove that the Lord sometimes allows His servants to be sick and unhealed, nor does Philippians 2:25-27, for both Trophimus and Epaphroditus were healed, for sure—the healing was just “delayed,” so that Trophimus was “attacked and prostrated by disease.”[175] Although Scripture does not record the healing of Trophimus at all, while Epaphroditus was “nigh unto death”[176] for some time from sickness, the fact that the Higher Life advocate is to live his entire life “without disease . . . [and] without abatement of strength”[177] is still, somehow, not obliterated. It is certain that many of Boardman’s Faith Cures were very much “delayed” and left people prostrated from disease and nigh unto death, until they actually suffered death, as Christ’s supposed living their physical life and the Faith Cure could not keep them alive. When Christ cured leprosy, reattached limbs, raised the dead, gave the blind from birth sight, and perfectly cured every single other disease, no such “delay” took place—the Lord never had to explain to lepers that they were still leprous, that men with withered hands still had withered hands, that the dead were still lifeless, that missing body parts were still missing, that the blind still could not see, and so on, because healing was “delayed.” This radical discontinuity between the Faith Cure and Biblical miraculous healing, however, was not truly extant, according to Boardman. Indeed, even 2 Corinthians 12:5-10, although specifically indicating that the Lord did not heal Paul of his thorn in the flesh, his disease,[178] and specifically stating that Paul submitted to the Lord’s will that he not be healed, actually does not prove that God does not will to heal some disease during the earthly pilgrimage of His saints—rather, Boardman knows, the truth is that Paul was “purified to the Lord alone in his faith,” and once having stepped into the Higher Life, he was cured and “made strong,” and therefore in 2 Corinthians 12:5-10 there is “nothing to shake, but everything to confirm, our confidence that it is the will of the Lord to heal all our diseases according to our faith, even as it is to save all who rest in Him for salvation.”[179] In light of the many testimonials from Boardman’s experience, and the confirmation of what he already knew to be true from an allegorical reading of various Biblical narratives, 1 Timothy 5:23; 2 Timothy 4:20; Philippians 2:25-27; and 2 Corinthians 12:5-10 must all—whatever the cost—be explained as signifying something other than their obvious and natural sense. The Faith Cure, Boardman affirmed, still stood as valid, despite these passages.

Furthermore, Boardman required faith in connection with his cures, although nowhere does the New Testament say that healing requires faith by the recipient. There is no record in the Gospels where anyone who came to Christ for healing was turned away unhealed, whether a believer or an unbeliever.[180] If someone is not healed, the problem is with the one seeking to do the miracle, not with the one seeking to be healed, even if that person is “faithless and perverse” (Matthew 17:14-21). Christ sometimes healed immediately after condemning those who came to him for their unbelief (Matthew 17:17-18; Luke 9:41-42).[181] In no instance did the Lord Jesus Christ refuse to heal someone who came to him for healing because of a lack of faith. He healed without discrimination as to person or afflic­tion. The vast majority in Galilee did not believe in Christ, but He healed all that came to Him (Matthew 4:23-25).

The Lord had no limitations as to place or time for healing. He healed throughout “Syria” (Matthew 4:24), at the bottom of a mountain (Matthew 8:8), in a desert place outside the cities (Matthew 14:14), on a mountain by the Sea of Galilee (Matthew 15:30), and in the coasts of Judaea beyond Jordan (Matthew 19:1). Luke 9:6 explicitly says that He healed “everywhere.” There were no “healing meetings” in the Bible, nor did anyone have to come to a Faith Cure home to receive healing, or have a “delayed” healing that required one to be hospitalized for a while in a Faith Cure home or any other such institution.[182]

The Lord Jesus had no relapses or failed healings, nor did anyone have to wait for Jesus’ healing to take effect. He had the power to take care of every sickness or injury immediately.[183] He immediately cleansed lepers (Matthew 8:3; Luke 17:14). He immediately restored the hand of a withered man (Matthew 12:10-13).

Christ also healed every disease, including organic ones. Christ reattached the ear of Malchus after it had been completely cut off by Peter (Luke 22:51, 52). Matthew 9:35 indicates that He healed “every sickness and every disease” in Galilee (cf. Matthew 4:23). In John 9 He healed a man born blind.[184] Matthew 15:30-31 reads: “And great multitudes came unto him, having with them those that were lame, blind, dumb, maimed, and many others, and cast them down at Jesus’ feet; and he healed them: insomuch that the multitude wondered, when they saw the dumb to speak, the maimed to be whole, the lame to walk, and the blind to see: and they glorified the God of Israel.” Someone who truly has the gift of healing will be able to immediately make visibly incurable and irreparably damaged body parts perfectly healthy and also reattach the body parts of people who have lost them.

Christ also raised people from the dead (Matthew 9:18, 24; Luke 7:12-15). He exercised His power to raise those who had been dead for days and were already decomposing (John 11). Christ’s Apostles also raised people from the dead (Matthew 10:8; Acts 9:40; 20:10-12). Someone who does miracles like Christ and the Apostles will also raise the dead.

While Boardman affirmed that the type of healing practiced by Christ and the Apostles was also found in his Faith Cure, in fact the type of healing practiced by Boardman was radically different and vastly inferior to that of Scripture. When the Lord Jesus and the Apostles healed people, the miraculous character of their healing was self-evident (John 11:47-48; Acts 4:16), but sometimes nobody knew—including Boardman himself—that the miracles he worked were actually miraculous, rather than the product of natural causes.[185] Indeed, “in many of the meetings for healing there would be nothing for the eye to see.”[186] Nobody was marveling because of evident miraculous power, as they did when Christ healed in Matthew 15:30-31. When Boardman and other Higher Life advocates practiced the Faith Cure, “healing was not instantaneous”[187] the great majority of the time; rather, people were “not healed perfectly at once,” but simply “felt comfortable.”[188] In the “faith-cures of our time . . . many . . . are not instantaneously entire, but by stages, and some of them quite lingering . . . healing remains incomplete.”[189] Many of those “healed” never recovered at all; they remained sick. Testimonials of healing that were supposed to be convincing enough to be included as evidence in Boardman’s book, but fell incredibly short of the miracles of healing found in the Bible, were very numerous—testimonials that were comparable to miracles such as the dead being raised (Luke 7:22), or Christ’s instant healing of a man born blind (John 9), or Christ’s instantly reattaching missing or amputated body parts (Matthew 15:30-31; Luke 22:51-52), were entirely absent. Boardman mentioned, as choice evidences for his Faith Cure, a “poor woman” who “probably” had “cancer,” although she might have had some other disease, and was, in any case, “not quite well” after being Faith Cured, although she felt “strengthened and relieved.”[190] A “child” with “a foot put out of joint” was healed, so that “she look[ed] quite bright and happy,” although she had “not tried yet to walk.”[191] A woman claimed a cure, stopped using all medical means, and then was “healed slowly,” indeed, over the course of at least a year, and never became normal.[192] Another lady, a missionary, was healed, although her “disease continued with UNABATED force” for some time.[193] Another woman was healed, although it took “a few months” for her disease to be gone.[194] A man had a lung disease, decided to take the path of the Faith Cure and so “took no medicine,” and was consequently healed, although he testified, “I have not the full use of my hepatized lung.” Nonetheless, he doggedly affirmed, “it will recover entirely,” using the future tense, for it still had not done so, despite his testimony of healing.[195] A child was healed, although “for nearly three months” the “child seemed to grow steadily worse” after medical means were abandoned and only prayer was employed for healing, and, indeed, “after nearly three years” the child’s mother testified, “I am still waiting upon God to have this wonderful cure completed.”[196] Had Christ practiced this sort of “healing,” a “healing” that involved years of delay without a cure, those “healed” at the start of His ministry would first get even more sick, and then still be diseased as His earthly ministry drew toward its close. For the sake of the truth of the gospel and the Messiahship of the Lord Jesus, the Christian greatly rejoices that the miracles of Scripture were of an entirely different class than the marvels of the Faith Cure, marvels that have been replicated in pagan religions and pseudo-Christianity. While Boardman insisted that his healing powers, and those of other practitioners of the Faith Cure, were of the same nature as those of the Lord Jesus and His Apostles, he nevertheless admitted that they were not in reality what they claimed: “[N]ot a few of those healed in our time have not been instantaneously made whole, as most of those were who were healed in the time of our Lord and His apostles,”[197] he conceded, although the accurate statement, that nobody was being healed of all diseases in the manner that Christ and the Apostles healed, and the Lord Jesus and the Apostles always—not merely “most” of the time—immediately healed everyone at their will, is left unsaid.

Indeed, the Faith Cure was an abysmal failure in actually healing everyone like Christ and the Apostles did (Matthew 9:35)—most of the time the healing did not heal. Boardman explained this failure by asserting that full healing came only to full faith, and partial healing came to partial faith.[198] In so doing, he contradicted his alleged parallel with justification, for full faith in Christ alone does indeed result in justification, but partial faith in Christ brings, not partial salvation, but nothing but a curse and damnation.[199] Those who are “fully brought into union with Him” are without fail “made whole in body,”[200] Boardman avers, leaving himself a way of escape for those who fail to be healed—their faith, supposedly, must have been deficient. The “responsibility for failure, partial or entire,” of the Faith Cure “rightfully” is placed “upon those who should have full and firm faith”—they are not healed immediately because they do not have enough faith.[201] While Boardman could not prove his position from the Bible, “experience” taught that “want of faith in the patient” led to “restoration” to health “not [being] immediate.”[202] Faith Cure did not fail because it was not Biblical, but because the person who needed to be healed did not have enough faith.

Further justification of the failure of the Faith Cure can come by assaulting the power of the Son of God and degrading His miracles during His earthly ministry; Boardman taught that Christ only healed “as the faith of the people would afford Him opportunity,”[203] and only healed “to the full measure of faith”[204] of those who came to Him, reducing His real, miraculous, perfect cures of everyone to the level of the marvels Boardman sought to affect with his Faith Cures. Boardman attempts to claim that those who were not healed by the Faith Cure missed out on their miracle because of a lack of faith, as, supposedly, took place in the Gospels and in Acts, although the accounts of Christ’s life teem with stories of people who did not believe but were healed. One wonders if the people Christ raised from the dead believed in their state of death as a prerequisite to healing. However, neither Boardman nor Cullis actually were able to see, as their doctrine required, the most holy receive cures and the less holy turned away; rather, as Hannah W. Smith observed, by means of the Faith Cure of Cullis and Boardman “there are far more failures than successes, and I dread the reaction. For these failures are nearly always with the most devout Christians, and it is an awful strain on their faith.”[205] However, the Faith Cure practitioner could always reply that the most devout Christians were not really the most devout; after all, even Job, although the Lord Himself directly testified that there was “none like him in the earth, a perfect and an upright man, one that feareth God, and escheweth evil” (Job 1:8; 2:3), suffered from disease, Boardman affirms, because of Job’s “trust in himself . . . in . . . his own unselfish righteousness of life.”[206] God permitted Job to suffer disease so that he would not “remai[n] in his false trust in his own righteousness”[207] but enter into the Higher Life and because Job was not willing to listen to God’s warnings,[208] an insight into that holy man’s life which one needed Mr. Boardman to reveal, as one could never find it in the book of Job. Mr. Boardman’s argument sounds dangerously like that of Job’s three friends, which kindled Jehovah’s wrath (Job 42:7); Boardman perhaps should have paused over Job’s question, “Will ye speak wickedly for God?” (Job 13:7), but such wicked speech is not Mr. Boardman’s sin, for, of course, the Higher Life is true and Job was wrong for not having entered into it. However, when at the end of the book Job came to recognize that “in his own heart he had trusted in himself,” then “the Lord gave Himself . . . to His beloved servant, in place of his own wisdom and righteousness, sanctification and redemption,” and Job, freed from “the evil of trusting in his own righteousness of heart,” was “in that moment” freed from both “Satan” and his bodily “malady,” being instantly transferred into the Higher Life and “therefore delivered from the evil trio—the evil one, the evil of trusting in his own heart, and the evil disease of his body.”[209] Mr. Boardman, and all others who had entered into the Higher Life, had thus reached a pinnacle of spirituality far above that of Job, one from which they were enabled to be free from all bodily disease of the kind Job suffered for his sin. If Boardman’s view of Job—which was passed on to the Keswick and Higher Life movement generally,[210] for without it the Higher Life theology is obliterated[211]—is false, such an affirmation would smack of immense pride, an astonishing lack of insight into the point of the book of Job,[212] and consequently a very low level of spirituality—even apart from the devastating pastoral consequences of telling the Lord’s beloved children, who were walking in uprightness of heart, that, when sick, they were ill because of some sin in their lives. However, Boardman’s affirmations about Job cannot be false, although there is not a shred of evidence in the Bible for them, because his theory of Faith Cure is destroyed if Job was indeed the most righteous man on the earth and his sickness was not a result of personal sin in his life and a failure to discover the Higher Life—and Boardman has such an abundance of testimonies to his doctrine of sanctification and healing by faith alone, that they must necessarily be the truth, despite the torture of the text required to manufacture evidence for his theology in Scripture.

Warfield summarizes the problems with the Faith Cure:

First of all, as regards the status quaestionis let it be remembered that the question is not:

(1) Whether God is an answerer of prayer; nor

(2) Whether, in answer to prayer, he heals the sick; nor

(3) Whether his action in healing the sick is a supernatural act; nor

(4) Whether the supernaturalness of the act may be so apparent as to demonstrate God’s activity in it to all right-thinking minds conversant with the facts.

All this we all believe. The question at issue is distinctly whether God has pledged himself to heal the sick miraculously, and does heal them miraculously, on the call of his children—that is to say without means—any means—and apart from means, and above means; and this so ordinarily that Christian people may be encouraged, if not required, to discard all means as either unnecessary or even a mark of lack of faith and sinful distrust, and to depend on God alone for the healing of all their sicknesses. This is the issue, even conservatively stated. For many[213] will say that faith gives us as clear a title to the healing of our bodies as to the salvation of our souls; and this is often interpreted to mean that it is the heritage of every Christian, if a true Christian, to be free from all disease and bodily weakness, and it is a proof of special sin in a Christian if he is a special sufferer from disease.

With reference to this question it is to be said at least:

(1) No promise of such miraculous action on God’s part exists in Scripture.

(2) No facts have been adduced which will compel the assumption that such miraculous healing takes place.

(3) Such a miraculous method on God’s part would be wholly unnecessary for the production of the effect desired; God can heal the bodily hurt of his people without miracle.

(4) The employment of such a method of working would be contrary to the analogy of God’s mode of working in other spheres of his activity.

(5) It would be contrary to the very purpose of miracle, which would be defeated by it. If miracles are to be common, everyday occurrences, normal and not extraordinary, they cease to attract attention, and lose their very reason of existence. What is normal is according to law. If miracles are the law of the Christian life they cease to serve their chief end.[214]

(6) The contention of the faith-healers overlooks numerous important Biblical facts. Primarily the fact [is overlooked] that the miraculous gifts in the New Testament were the credentials of the apostles, and were confirmed to those to whom the apostles had conveyed them—whence a presumption arises against their continuance after the apostolic age. Then, again, [it is overlooked] that there are instances of sickness in the New Testament which were not removed by the prayer of faith. There is, for example, Paul’s leaving of Trophimus at Miletum sick, and his recommending to Timothy, when sick, not the seeking of healing by the miraculous act of God, but the use of medicinal means—the drinking no longer of water but of a little wine for his stomach’s sake and his often infirmities. It seems quite clear that Paul did not share the views of our modern faith-healers.

(7) The faith-healing arguments presuppose or lead to many false doctrines. A desultory allusion to some of them may not be without its uses: (A) Sickness and sin are often connected in an utterly un-Scriptural manner. That all the sicknesses which afflict our race are a result of sin is true. But that special sicknesses infer special sin our Saviour himself explicitly denies [John 9:3]. (B) These arguments would be equally valid to commend Perfectionism.[215] If sinfulness is not to be removed in this life, neither is sickness. Both are the fruits of guilt, and both are removed on the basis of the work of the guilt-bearer; and both are removed only when the subjective salvation is completed [in the eschaton]. (C) They are founded on a completely un-Scriptural view of the functions of suffering, and the uses of sickness and pain. All sickness and suffering are spoken of as if they were from the Evil One alone; as if they were sheerly the mark of the displeasure of God; and as if they were a fruit of particular sin. Scripture says, “Behold whom the Lord loves he chastens, and scourges every son whom he receives” [Hebrews 12:6]. Sickness is often the proof of special favor from God; it always comes to his children from his Fatherly hand, and always in his loving pleasure works, together with all other things which befall God’s children, for good.

(8) The faith-healing contention leads to contempt for God’s appointed means, and this leads to the fanatical attitude of demanding from God apart from all means that for the attaining of which he has ordained appropriate means. We are not to refuse to cultivate the soil and then demand to be fed by miracle.

(9) The faith-healing practice leads to the production of “professionals,” standing between the soul and God. There is grave danger in a soul permitting an unauthorized intermediary to take up a position between it and the gracious activities of God toward it. From this germ the whole sacerdotal evil has grown. And, on the other hand, to the practitioner himself there comes inevitable temptation to spiritual pride and autocracy, which is most disastrous to his spiritual life; and sometimes even something worse. . . . [T]he faith-healing delusion has [brought about] the production of a series of these practitioners, whose activities have not always been wholesome.[216]

The price for retaining Boardman’s Faith Cure doctrine might indeed seem high—the rejection of literal interpretation for allegory, Scripture-twisting, turning Job into someone who was sick because of a sinful failure to discover the Higher Life, a reduction of the miracles of Christ and the Apostles to the mockeries of real miraculous healing in the Faith Cure that are not evidently miraculous, but often delayed, partial, or non-existent, the spiritual confusion of telling those who are sick that some sin and failure to practice the Higher Life is the cause of their illness, countless medically unnecessary early deaths, lamenting widows and widowers, children without fathers and mothers, and the dishonor to God that arises from all these evils.[217] Nonetheless, Boardman continued preaching his faith-healing and Higher Life message until, being struck at Bethshan with paralysis that paralyzed his entire right side, and failing to be healed, although he held on in his paralyzed state for a week,[218] he died in 1886, following the pattern of very many others who had visited Bethshan, failed to be healed, and died. Despite Boardman’s false teachings and practical failures, he was very influential. Andrew Murray, who also preached for and fellowshipped with A. B. Simpson, imbibed Keswick theology and adopted the Faith Cure after a healing experience at Bethshan in 1882 and reading the writings of “Boardman and Cullis.”[219] The “broad holiness principles” of Boardman “summarize distinctive holiness theology as they later undergirded distinctive Pentecostal theology.”[220] Indeed, Boardman not only influenced the rise of worldwide Pentecostalism indirectly by spreading the Faith Cure in Higher Life meetings, but he influenced and worked directly with various Pentecostal pioneers.[221] The healing doctrine of Boardman, Murray, and other Higher Life and Keswick leaders was influential in the development of the Pentecostal and charismatic movements and the Prosperity Gospel or Word-Faith movement,[222] as “a whole host of . . . participants in the divine healing movement . . . [spread by] Charles Cullis” and channeled through the Higher Life movement “became Pentecostals.”[223]

Applications from the Life and Teachings of William Boardman

The faithful Christian and historic Baptist church member can consider and learn much, both positive and negative, from William Boardman’s life and his errors. However, there is no need to read his writings to learn positive truth. Rather, Mr. Boardman should be recognized as a pernicious false teacher whose writings and false teachings should be rejected wholesale. Believers should beware of his corrupting influence upon later Higher Life teachers—one can imbibe the false doctrines of Mr. Boardman by reading later Keswick writers without ever even being aware of his existence. Indeed, his influence places the Higher Life and Keswick movements with which he was intimately associated, and which certainly never exposed his errors or sought to root out his influence, under grave suspicion of doctrinal and practical corruption, a suspicion that is sadly confirmed by the false teachings of those who followed Boardman in proclaiming the Higher Life. With an all-sufficient Scripture and many far better volumes of Christian literature, there is no need to read anything Mr. Boardman wrote. Put him away—the sooner the better.

Glory in the doctrine of justification solely by Christ’s imputed righteousness. Echo the words of Isaiah 61:10: “I will greatly rejoice in the LORD, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments, and as a bride adorneth herself with her jewels.” How precious it is to know that you have Christ’s very righteousness as my legal standing before God! What glory does God receive in saving sinners through Christ’s sufficient merits, so that His love and justice, His grace and holiness, are all infinitely exalted by this precious, precious salvation through the cross! What abasement of self, destruction of self-righteousness, sweet comfort in the wounds of Christ, and love for your Redeemer is engendered by thoughts of this blessed truth of justification! How terrible it would be were I to have to meet the legal requirement of perfect holiness by means of my terribly imperfect sanctification! Indeed, such would be nothing less than certain spiritual death, everlasting wrath and damnation, and an eternity shut out from the face of God. Reject, then, with horror and disgust the least corruption of the blessed Biblical truth on justification, including the assault upon this truth by Mr. Boardman. Be willing to lay down your life rather than compromise the doctrine of justification in any way whatsoever.

When you are sick, you need to pray, confess your sins, examine yourself and be sure you are right with God and are trusting in Him, and use the best medicine medical science can provide. Failure to use the best medicine available is a violation of James five and of the sixth commandment.[224] Rejecting medicine for the Faith or Mind Cure, or for anti-medical Pentecostal, charismatic, and Word of Faith concepts that developed from the earlier Higher Life and Christian Science cult pseudo-Cures, is a great sin, as is the employment of untested and unproven New Age and quack medical methods.[225] Christians are never led by God to disobey the teaching of Scripture on the proper use of medicine and the use of means for the preservation of life. Anti-medical notions are forbidden by Scripture in the same manner that a failure to pray, confess sin, and trust in God are contrary to Scripture.

Do not seek to advance the kingdom of God with half-“truths” or lies, such as Mr. Boardman does with his shoddily documented and often flatly false testimonies to the Faith Cure that are such an insult to the Biblical standard for the miraculous. Be able to say with Paul that you and the believers with whom you fellowship “have renounced the hidden things of dishonesty, not walking in craftiness, nor handling the word of God deceitfully; but by manifestation of the truth [are] commending [y]ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God” (2 Corinthians 4:2). Indeed, you must by no means allow any one’s testimony to anything to alter one jot or tittle what Scripture, literally interpreted, teaches. God’s Word is infallible truth, while testimonies can be lies—as is attested not only by Mr. Boardman’s delusion and false witness to the world concerning Dr. Read’s son, but by the lying prophet who led astray a faithful servant and prophet of God in the Scripture (1 Kings 13). The formerly faithful prophet’s allowing testimonial to change his interpretation of the Word of God led to his early death—in 1 Kings at the hand of a lion—and the replacement of repentance and revival in the northern Kingdom (1 Kings 13:33) with spiritual declension, apostasy, and the eternal damnation of many. So Boardman’s testimonial-based Faith Cure delusion has also led many who could have been healed by medicine to an early death, and his corruption of truth has contributed both to the destruction of true spirituality for the errors of the Higher Life and to the rise of vast realms of modern continuationist apostasy, which have likewise led to the eternal damnation of very many. You are neither responsible to know, nor think upon any person’s testimony to any allegedly extra-Biblical marvel. You are not responsible to explain anyone’s testimony to miracles he claims to have experienced. But you are responsible to know, think upon, obey, and live by every Word of God, and must have that Word alone as your sole authority for your faith and practice. By rejecting all false authorities—including the alleged authority of testimonials to this or that—and cleaving only to the Bible, you will be a fit instrument for the Lord to mightily advance His kingdom through you.

Precious Christian ladies should recognize that they need to trust Biblical leadership and see their need for the guidance of the male authorities God has placed in their life. Women need the protection of their father, their husband, and their pastor, for they are more easily deceived (1 Timothy 2:11-15), and their men, consequently, need to live up to the role with which God has entrusted them. Many heresies have arisen as a consequence of Satan’s ability to deceive women more easily, as the Fall itself came through Adam’s failure to protect and lead his wife to obey God’s Word and Eve’s consequent deception by the Serpent. The story of the Boardmans, and of the Pearsall Smiths, illustrates this Biblical fact. Mrs. Boardman was led into Higher Life perfectionism first, having herself discovered the Second Blessing from an old woman under church discipline for antinomian heresy. This old woman and Mrs. Boardman than brought Mr. Boardman over to their position. The Keswick doctrine that the believer does not become the least bit more personally holy throughout the course of his Christian pilgrimage is the teaching that this antinomian lady conveyed originally to Mrs. Boardman. Similarly, Mrs. Smith first found the Higher Life, bringing into the doctrine her hesitant husband. She also encouraged her husband to learn from Dr. Foster, that great proponent of the erotic baptism of power, the receipt of which led Mr. Smith into the work of Higher Life agitation and then to his public disgrace, downfall, and apostasy from Christianity. Women from the Old Testament to the New Testament Jezebel (1 Kings 16ff.; Revelation 2:20), to Ellen G. White, to Mary Baker Eddy, to countless other women preachers and prophets have led, taught, and misled men. The Second Blessing would have been shorn of very much without Phoebe Palmer, the Keswick theology without Jessie Penn-Lewis, and Pentecostalism without vast numbers of women, going back to Agnes Ozman, the first to receive the restored gift of speaking in gibberish in connection with Charles Parham. Men should not be sitting at the feet of women preachers such as Hannah W. Smith or Jessie Penn-Lewis and learning doctrine from them. Furthermore, women must not allow their more emotional and less rational nature to preserve in them an attachment to Higher Life books, authors, and theology, nor in the least discourage or dissuade their husbands from rejecting the Higher Life because of its unscriptural character. They must not allow their God-given tendency toward nurture and softness—which is, in its proper place, a wonderful blessing—to lead them to encourage their husbands, pastors, or other spiritual leaders to soften their stand against perfectionism. Furthermore, men must take spiritual leadership and protect their wives, daughters, and church members from exposure to false teaching, including the Higher Life, and if they have failed to do so in the past, must repent and then lead their women out of error, even if their initial resumption of obedience to the leadership role God has given them incurs opposition.

Literal interpretation of Scripture does not ignore context, nor does it wrest promises that have their complete fulfillment in the future so that they are allegedly completely fulfilled at this present time. Such an abuse of God’s revelation of Himself is not faith, but sin; not confidence in Divine promises, but rebellion and unbelief. Consequently, Boardman’s doctrine of the Higher Life, both for the body and for the soul, is rebellion and unbelief, for taking promises that pertain to the future and twisting them into false and watered-down present fulfillments is at the heart of the Higher Life. Rather than hearkening to Mr. Boardman’s doctrine of faith, hear the word of God’s prophet, Isaiah: “he that believeth shall not make haste” (Isaiah 28:16).[226]

Congregations and pastors that allow Higher Life doctrine and its advocates to influence them and those they have spiritual responsibility for because of the truths retained in their system from the older orthodox model of sanctification—such as the importance of faith in the Christian life and the repudiation of self-dependence—will not be able to limit the Higher Life influence to the Scriptural elements. The errors and heresies will creep in also. The leaven of false doctrine will enter, spread, and cause more and more corruption. The Higher Life doctrine of sanctification is intimately connected with the Faith Cure continuationism; the same hermeneutical errors produce both ideas. Why accept the torture of texts of Scripture, the de facto rejection of sola Scriptura for the authority of experience, the spiritual confusion, and the other extreme dangers associated with the Higher Life simply because some Scriptural elements are retained? Why drink polluted water when the pure is available in the Word of God, and vastly better devotional writers are also available?

Indeed, non-charismatic and cessationist advocates of the Higher Life will find that consistency with their perfectionist hermeneutic will lead them where they do not want to go. Their divided house will not stand. Either they should go all the way and become charismatic fanatics, embracing their strange fire from the spirit world, or they should turn their backs on the Higher Life and return to cessationism and the vibrant spirituality that is a fruit of a serious study of and commitment to the regulative authority of Scripture alone and the Lordship of God the Father, mediated by Christ and applied by the Holy Spirit. By all means, let the people of God be filled with true heavenly fire—but let them not seek for the true fire by bringing the false near to them, for so they will reap a terrible devastation.

[1]           “Wesleyan and Reformed Impulses in the Keswick and Pentecostal Movements,” Peter Althouse. Pneuma Foundation.

[2]           Pg. 100, Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick Theology, A. Naselli.

[3]           cf. pgs. 155ff., Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman; pg. 20, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874.

[4]           E. g., pg. 52, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[5]           Pg. 48, Only Believe, Paul L. King. The “re-discovery” of the Higher Life theology by “W. E. Boardman . . . was eagerly welcomed and widely disseminated—at meetings convened for the purpose, and through books; and among its most gifted exponents were Mr. and Mrs. Robert Pearsall Smith, a Quaker couple who had ‘come into the blessing’” (pg. 14, Keswick’s Authentic Voice, ed. Stevenson). Compare Robert P. Smith’s hagiographical commendation of Boardman at the Brighton Convention, coupled with an affirmation that the Brighton teaching was that of Mr. Boardman (pgs. 46-47, pg. 12, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875; at Brighton testimony was also given to how Boardman’s teaching brought people into the Higher Life; cf. pgs. 217, 462-463, ibid.).

[6]           Pgs. v-vi, Pg. 48, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[7]           Pg. 254, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[8]           Pg. 104, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Boardman’s focus in his book on experience, rather than Scripture, enabled him to write quickly. He did not need to spend large amounts of time studying the Bible.

[9]           Pg. 16, So Great Salvation, Barabas.

[10]         Pg. 215, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman. If the Higher Life only came “distinctly and prominently before the mind of the church” in Boardman’s day, how could he write a book of testimonials about people from Luther to Baxter to Edwards who supposedly experienced the Higher Life in in earlier eras? Perhaps Boardman justified the historical revisionism in his testimonials on the presupposition that godly men from earlier eras experienced his Higher Life doctrine without knowing about it. Consequently, historical records that did not actually affirm his doctrine could be revised so that those who secretly held his system could have the hidden Higher Life teaching not present in their conscious thought brought out. On the other hand, perhaps Boardman simply handled history in whatever way was most convenient for the support of his system without any conscious need to justify his mythmaking. A third and related possibility, and what appears to be the most probable, is that Boardman simply did not know how or care to take the time to learn what is involved in making historically accurate affirmations, especially since the truth of the Higher Life was already certain in his own mind because of his experiences and drawing pro-Higher Life conclusions from history was very desirable.

[11]         Pg. 13, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[12]         Pg. 248, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[13]         Pg. vii, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[14]         Pg. 249, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[15]         Pgs. 270-274, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[16]         One who, nevertheless, wishes to read a balanced analysis and critique of Boardman’s work can examine “The ‘Higher Life’ Movement,” Chapter 4 in Perfectionism, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield.

[17]         Pg. 101, Let Go and Let God? A Survey and Analysis of Keswick Theology, A. Naselli.

[18]         Pg. 36, Holiness: The False and the True, Ironside, 15th printing.

[19]         Pgs. 520-523, Review of William E. Boardman’s The Higher Christian Life, Jacob J. Abbott. Bibliotheca Sacra (July 1860) 508-535. On pgs. 520-527, Abbott gives seven illustrations of Boardman’s shady manner of manufacturing Higher Life testimonies: 1.) Boardman’s claim, in his preface, that Jonathan Edwards wrote a book that is the “account of . . . remarkable cases of higher life attained after conversion,” although, in fact, the book “says not a single word about ‘cases of higher life attained after conversion,’ except in [one] sentence, in which [Edwards] speaks incidentally of the refreshing the church had received” from the conversion of many sinners. Boardman even changed the title of Edwards’s book. 2.) Boardman’s gives, as the first example of entering into the Higher Life, and one that “is entitled to great weight as an example,” the life of Martin Luther. Luther’s alleged “second conversion” is “the masterpiece of the whole work, developed at length, and often afterwards referred to.” Boardman’s narrative about the Reformer never directly quotes Luther’s writings even once, but is drawn from a secondary source, J. H. Merele D’Aubigné’s History. One who reads Boardman’s statements and then “[t]urn[s] . . . to D’Aubigné himself . . . will be . . . surprise[d] to see that he is totally misrepresented.” Simply reading the sentence immediately before Boardman’s quote of D’Aubigné, and even a sentence omitted from the middle of the quotation, “spoil[s] the whole” of Boardman’s argument. “What shall we say to such an expedient for getting the patronage of great names in support of an ISM, in direct opposition to the general belief of the church! What would Luther say to it, if he could speak for himself? —a doctrine that he never, in his life, thought of, and one most abhorrent to his cherished belief!” 3.) The testimonial Boardman gives after Luther is “the historian of Luther, D’Aubigné himself. The same use and abuse is made of him.” 4.) Boardman creates another testimony from Dr. Payson, but one who “will take the pains to turn to the Life of Dr. Payson . . . will see that there is no foundation for that representation of his . . . views on the subject of Christian sanctification” made by Boardman. 5.) Boardman, “as a climax of the absurdity and ridiculousness of building up his demonstration out of standard orthodox testimonies . . . crowns the pyramid with the [Westminster] Assembly’s Catechism,” with a “professed quotation . . . [that] is not found . . . in either the Confession or the Catechism of the assembly of divines.” 6.) Boardman then turns to alleged testimonials to the Higher Life in Scripture. “From the way in which the testimonies of men are handled, it can be readily inferred how those of the holy Scriptures would be handled also.” The Apostle Peter’s life and preaching are manhandled; for example, Acts 2:38 is quoted, but the phrase “for the remission of sins” is removed, without any indication that a phrase has been expunged from the Scripture, to make the verse into a testimony about entering into the Higher Life. 7.) Paul’s writings and testimony are also misused. In light of Boardman’s abuse of both Scripture and history, Abbott concludes: “Upon the whole, we would say, as a self-evident truth, the more the book is circulated, the less sanctification there will be in the world” (pg. 535).

[20]         Indeed, the presence of a reasonable conversion testimony in Mr. Boardman (cf. pgs. 1-24, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. New York, NY: D. Appleton, 1887) is a refreshing contrast to the absence of such a reasonable confession of genuine conversion in Hannah W. Smith and numerous other Keswick leaders.

[21]         Boardman longed and anticipated a time when “the church of the future . . . become[s] completely united” as the “grey prejudices of sect” are set aside to “cement all into one” based on the reception of the Higher Life theology (pgs. 226-235ff, The Higher Christian Life). The church age will not end in apostasy, as dispensationalism affirms (cf. 2 Timothy 4:1-7), but in a great ecumenical and apparently postmillennial “growing . . . incoming glory” (pgs. 306-307, ibid), culminating in a one-world church and an ecumenical union which was now “at hand” and which will “usher in the jubilee of Redemption” (pg. 315).

[22]         E. g., note the favorable references to Upham on pgs. 129-131 of The Higher Christian Life, where a lady discovers from Upham that, according to her view of the matter, although she had never “made an entire surrender of myself to [Christ], to do his will, but only to receive his salvation,” she was nonetheless saved, as surrender comes at some unknown point after forgiveness, and was not needed for justification, but only to enter into the Higher Life. Note the discussion of Upham above in the “Background and History of the Keswick Convention and Keswick Theology” within the section “An Analysis and Critique of Keswick Theology as Set Forth Particularly in So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention, by Stephen Barabas.”

[23]         See The Doctrine of Justification: An Outline of its History in the Church and of its Exposition from Scripture, James Buchanan (Carlisle, PA: Banner of Truth, 1997 (orig. pub. 1867)) for a fine exposition of the Biblical doctrine of justification.

[24]         In the words of the “Orthodox” Quaker Declaration of Faith Issued by the Richmond Conference in 1887, “justification is [the act] . . . through which, upon repentance and faith, [God] pardons our sins, and imparts to us a new life,” that is, justification is not simply and only by the imputation of the righteousness of Christ, but by the impartation of new life—a false gospel (“Justification and Sanctification,” Elec. acc.

[25]         That is, as defined by the Council of Trent, Rome affirms that justification is “[n]ot remission of sins merely, but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man, through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts by which an unrighteous man becomes righteous” (Session 6 Chapter 7). Demarest summarizes the Roman Catholic position:

The canons and decrees of the Council of Trent represent the authoritative statement of the Counter-Reformation. Session six of the Council (1546–47) stated that justification occurs in three stages. (1) The preparation for justification. Blessed by prevenient grace and addressed by the call of God, the individual “is able by his own free will … to move himself to justice in His sight” (chap. 5). In adults this preparation includes faith, repentance, and the intention to accept baptism. (2) The beginning of justification. Through the Spirit’s regenerating work, God infuses grace, hope, and love into the soul at baptism, thereby remitting past sins and making the person righteous. Thus justification “is not only a remission of sins but also the sanctification and renewal of the inward man through the voluntary reception of the grace and gifts whereby an unjust man becomes just” (chap. 7). (3) The increase of justification. Because Trent defined justification as the process of becoming righteous, justification must be augmented if the viator would attain heavenly glory. Thus, “through the observance of the commandments of God and the church, faith cooperating with good works,” believers “increase in that justice received through the grace of Christ and are further justified” (chap. 10). Justification can be forfeited by mortal sin, but also can be recovered by the sacrament of penance (chap. 14). Since justification can be lost, the pilgrim possesses no certainty of present and future pardon. “No one can know with the certitude of faith, which cannot admit of any error, that he has obtained God’s grace” (chap. 9). The realistic attitude of the pious person is hope mixed with “fear and apprehension” (chap. 9). Agreeable with tradition, Trent maintained that God regards the good works individuals perform (Matt 10:42; 16:27; Heb 6:10) as meritorious. Such God-enabled human efforts increase righteousness and facilitate the attainment of eternal life (chap. 16).

In the Canons that follow, Trent repudiated the Reformation tenet of justification by faith alone. “If anyone says that the sinner is justified by faith alone, meaning that nothing else is required to cooperate in order to obtain the grace of justification … let him be anathema” (canon 9). The Council, moreover, placed the ban on Protestant Reformers who insisted that justification is not increased by good works. “If anyone says that the justice received is not preserved and also not increased before God through good works, but that those works are merely the fruits and signs of justification obtained, but not the cause of its increase, let him be anathema” (canon 24). Canon 32 added an anathema against the Reformers who denied that a person’s good works merit eternal life. In sum, according to Trent, justification is more a matter of spiritual and moral renewal than the judicial absolution of guilt and the forgiveness of sins. (pgs. 351-352, The Cross and Salvation: the Doctrine of Salvation, Bruce A. Demarest. Wheaton, IL: Crossway, 1997).

Romanism did not oppose justification partially by imputation and by impartation—it rejected the Biblical truth that justification was entirely and solely based on the imputed righteousness of Christ.

[26]         Pg. 55, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman. Italics in original. Naturally, Boardman never quotes Luther, as it would have been a great surprise to the Reformer and to Lutheranism to discover that the German Protestant leader denied what was at the core of Lutheran opposition to Rome, according to the actual historical data, so that he could favor Boardman’s doctrine of the Higher Life, a system which he never wrote or preached about, and of which there is no evidence that he even conceived. A brief examination of Luther’s doctrine of justification, that actually quotes Luther, is found in “A Survey of Luther’s Theology, Part II: Luther’s Doctrine of the Application of Salvation,” John Theodore Mueller. Bibliotheca Sacra 113:451 (July 1956) 227-238. For a more extensive discussion, see pgs. 218-247, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, 3rd ed., Alister E. McGrath. New York, NY: Cambridge University Press, 2005. Unlike Boardman, Mueller and McGrath quote Luther and evidence an understanding of what the Reformer taught.

[27]         Pgs. 234-235, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[28]         Pgs. 209-210, Iustitia Dei: A History of the Christian Doctrine of Justification, McGrath. 3rd ed.

[29]         Pg. 56, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[30]         Pgs. 97-98, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman. Note the discussion of Boardman’s dangerous error here and its connection to his erroneous view of sanctification on pgs. 268-269, “Means and Measure of Holiness,” Thomas Smith. The British and Foreign Evangelical Review (April 1876) 251-280.

[31]         Pg. 149, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[32]         Pgs. 205-206, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[33]         Pgs. 203-4, The Higher Christian Life, 2nd ed. Boston, MA: Henry Hoyt, 1871.

[34]         Pg. 215, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[35]         Pg. 206, The Higher Christian Life, 1859 ed., see pgs. 478-479, Warfield, Perfectionism, vol. 2.

[36]         E. g., at Broadlands Hannah Smith preached that “God wish[es] us [Christians] to have the Holy Spirit,” while some Christians “do . . . not” have Him (pg. 193, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910).

[37]         Pg. 153, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Mr. Boardman’s book In the Power of the Spirit expounds on his idea that the Holy Spirit is only “in” some believers, but “with” them all, but believers would do better to read Romans 8:9 and Galatians 4:6, receive the plainly revealed fact that the Holy Spirit is “in” all true Christians, and not waste their time reading Mr. Boardman’s book. Boardman was not alone in his affirmation, however; Hannah W. Smith also believed that through “the baptism of the Holy Ghost” one received “the full indwelling of the Spirit, whereby we become, not judicially, but really and actually the temples of the Holy Ghost, filled with the Spirit!” (Journal, April 29, 1868, reproduced in the entry for April 15 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter).

[38]         Compare the dual doctrine of the Baptism of the Spirit in the work of modern Keswick advocate John R. Van Gelderen in Chapter 8 of his book The Revived Life and the very similar (although not absolutely identical) Pentecostal dual doctrine exposited on pgs. 60-61, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner.

[39]         Pg. 70, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner. Italics in original. Of course, Boardman and Murray would take the minority Pentecostal position that a variety of spiritual gifts, including but not including exclusively tongues, could accompany the post-conversion “Pentecostal baptism,” while the majority view in Pentecostalism requires that tongues will in every case be the initial evidence (pgs. 76-77, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, F. D. Bruner).

[40]         Pg. 284, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[41]         “In th[e] early days . . . [at] Keswick . . . there were many testimonies of a practical deliverance from the power of besetting sin . . . which formed so new and blessed an experience that many spoke of it as a ‘second conversion’” (pg. 76, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck).

[42]         Pg. 113, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[43]         Pg. 319, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[44]         Pg. 320, The Higher Christian Life, Boardman.

[45]         Pg. 48, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Hannah W. Smith could likewise write: “I delight in Mahan’s book” (Letter to Mary, January 8, 1878, reproduced in the entry for August 15 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter).

[46]         Finney and his followers could also, of course, appeal to experience to validate their system; e. g., Finney’s doctrine of “praying through” was validated by a miraculous healing the Jesuit missionary Francis Xavier performed by its means (pg. 122, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton).

[47]         Pgs. 50-52, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[48]         Mrs. Boardman affirms that the lady was expelled “without sharing in th[e] errors” of the others. Unlike the rest, she was expelled for no reason, since she was doctrinally sound, Mrs. Boardman averred. Perhaps it was not easy for the church in Albany to know who was espousing and spreading antinomian perfectionism, communism, free love, and other abominable errors and who was orthodox, because orthodoxy is very easy to confuse with such vile errors; or, on the other hand, perhaps Mrs. Boardman was a gullible woman and was herself deceived, since differentiating orthodoxy from such heresy is about as easy as differentiating between Christianity and the worship of the devil.

[49]         Pgs. 53-54, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[50]         See chapter 2, Perfectionism, vol. 2, Warfield.

[51]         Pg. 56, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[52]         Pg. 44, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[53]         Pg. 54, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Indeed, Boardman not only had no care for doctrine himself, but he also led others to abandon sound doctrine so that they could experience the Higher Life. For example, Boardman narrates: “One of the most singular instances of blessing [on a trip to Sweden to propagate the Higher Life, where he also preached in the Lutheran state churches] is that of Mr. W . . . a Baptist minister[.] . . . I felt constrained one morning to try and set two of the Bible women free about Baptism [that is, to view much of what God has commanded in the ordinance of believer’s immersion as a matter of indifference], and took the matter up freely . . . Mr. W came in . . .while I was talking and opening up the Scriptures . . . and overheard my talk about freedom, specially in the matter of baptism; and the Lord used it to set him at liberty and fill his soul. . . . [T]hat was the Lord’s way for giving him the fulness of blessing” (pgs. 207-212, ibid).

[54]         Pgs. 55-56, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. The two passages were the promise of church perpetuity in Matthew 28:20 and Matthew 1:21. Neither passage has anything to do with the doctrine Mr. Boardman adopted and began to promulgate—at least when grammatical-historical interpretation is employed, rather than mystical, experience-based, and allegorical interpretation.

[55]         Pgs. 239-240, 242, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[56]         See, e. g., pgs. 128, 132-134, 170, Memorials [of William Francis Cowper-Temple, Baron Mount-Temple], Georgina Cowper-Temple. London: Printed for private circulation, 1890.

[57]         E. g., Robert P. Smith came to see his need for Spirit baptism and the sensual thrills associated with it because those who had “this baptism . . . had something that I had not; something that made their faces shine.” He taught that those who come to this physical knowledge of the Bridegroom gain “an imparted radiance in the[ir] faces” (pgs. 252, 271, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874). What those first century Christians with holy lives would view as the deepest inward darkness—Robert P. Smith’s doctrine of an erotic bridal Baptism—gave those who entered into it shiny faces unknown to the believers of the apostolic era.

[58]         E. g., the key Keswick leader, Evan Hopkins, testified: “I watched [the] countenance [of one who already had received the Blessing.] . . . I felt that, in spite of the objections of good earnest Christians, which were my greatest difficulty, a faith which gave such inward rest could scarcely be wrong” (pg. 176, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874). In other words, Hopkins rejected the Biblical objections to the Higher Life theology because of someone who had a happy face. Surely following the happy face instead of the Biblical text can scarcely be wrong.

[59]         Cf. pgs. 146-147, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. The “gentleman

with whom we [Mr. & Mrs. Boardman] were staying, who belonged to the ‘Friends,’ said, ‘You brethren must not expect to occupy much time, for there’ll be a crowd gathered to hear the ladies.’”

[60]         Pg. 158, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman.

[61]         Compare pgs. 25-26, 32, The Keswick Story: The Authorized History of the Keswick Convention, Polluck.

[62]         Pgs. 160-161, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman. The importance of giving a public testimony to keeping the second blessing, which figured so prominently in the Faith and Mind Cure movements, Keswick, the Welsh holiness revival, and the Pentecostal and charismatic movements, developed from the theology of the woman preacher and perfectionist Phoebe Palmer (cf. pgs. 62-63, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan).

[63]         Letter to Father and Mother, June 9, 1875, reproduced in the entry for July 25 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter.

[64]         Pg. 164, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman. Truly, “the last day will declare the sum total of the conversions which took place” in this manner (pg. 164, ibid)—but one fears that such methods of inducing regeneration may not produce the genuine fruit Mr. Boardman expected in the day of judgment.

[65]         Pg. 51, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[66]         Pgs. 10-11, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[67]         Pgs. 62-63, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. There are a variety of parallels between Boardman’s idea of confession and the Word of Faith doctrine. Boardman recounts the same instance on pgs. 11-14 of The Lord that Healeth Thee, although he adds that he has “not . . . any decidedly convincing proof that [the man] had the disease he was supposed to have, or that if he had it was actually permanently cured. The facts could be accounted for in more ways than one” (pgs. 13-14, The Lord that Healeth Thee). This rather significant notation was not mentioned in Boardman’s autobiography, where the man is mentioned as a plain evidence of the truth of Faith Cure and as the recipient of a miracle.

[68]         Pg. 11, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[69]         Another logical consequence is freedom from physical death, but Boardman was not willing to go that far; some of his successors in Keswick, Pentecostal, and Word of Faith continuationism were, however, willing to do so. Boardman also sought to separate a healing continuationism from a continuationism of at least certain other sign gifts such as tongues (cf. pgs. 56-57, 140, The Lord that Healeth Thee), although his final conclusion was that other signs and wonders were very possibly being restored at that time also; “another great special period may . . . even now be opening before us, in which the Lord may have occasion once more for miracles as signs and wonders” (pg. 57, ibid). Furthermore, Boardman believed, practiced, and preached about the correct method of performing miracles of exorcism; through the laying on of hands, evil spirits are cast out (pgs. 124-126, 132, Record of the International Conference on Divine Healing and True Holiness held at the Agricultural Hall, London, June 1-5, 1885, ed. William Boardman. London: J. Snow & Co., 1885;  cf. pg. 127, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007).

[70]         Pg. 199, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman; cf. pg. 212, 242.

[71]         Pg. 243, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[72]         Pg. 48, Only Believe, Paul King. Boardman’s affirmation about the superiority of Faith Cure to medicine on pg. 54 of The Lord that Healeth Thee expresses Simpson’s position exactly.

[73]         Faith Work under Dr. Cullis in Boston, William Boardman. Boston, MA: Willard Tract Repository, 1874. Dr. Cullis believed that “the seal of the Spirit has been set upon the work by the conversion of all save one, who entered the Home unconverted out of the whole eight hundred and seventy-two,” and even this “one may have been brought to Jesus at last” (pg. 287, ibid). The manner in which people were assumed to be converted is recounted in the book. For example, a girl stated: “I prayed to Jesus to take away my pain and it went all away, and I fell asleep, and I dreamed that I was a little child in the arms of Jesus, and that he loved me and told me I should always be with him.” She was counseled that her dream meant “that Jesus does love you and you are his little child” (pg. 40), indicating that having a nice dream was assumed to be evidence of genuine conversion. On another occasion, Cullis, in a gathering in his Faith Home Chapel, “put the question to all present, whether they would like to be . . . filled with the Spirit, and asked them if so to express it by raising the hand. He thought all raised their hands. To make sure he asked all who desired it to rise, and instantly every one in the room rose, Catholics and Protestants side by side, those who had, and those who never before had confessed Christ, and when they were seated, the Doctor proposed prayer in faith, for the fulfillment of this universally expressed desire. They all bowed together. Several short prayers went up, one after another, in the fervor and confidence which asks and receives, and they arose and dispersed. . . . And who would dare, to say that the blessing was not, like the expressed desire, all embracing?” (pgs. 10-11). In this way, both those already professedly converted and those who were not, both Protestants and Roman Catholics, were led by Dr. Cullis to be filled with the Spirit—and nobody, certainly, would dare to say that such a blessing was not received by all—expect one who cleaves to Scripture alone as his authority, and thus recognizes that an unconverted Roman Catholic who worships the bread of the Mass, prays to Mary, and trusts in baptism for salvation could not possibly be filled with the Holy Spirit and that there was not the slightest reason to conclude that a room full of unsaved Catholics came to Jesus Christ in repentant faith alone for salvation simply because prayers were made that such people would be Spirit-filled. By means of such teaching about conversion and Spirit-filling in his chapel, and by means of his Faith Training College for “Christian workers in the higher life,” his tracts and articles, and other means, Cullis influenced great numbers of “[m]inisters of all denominations” and large numbers of other “Christian workers” (pg. 249, 294-295) to adopt the doctrines of the Higher Life and the Faith Cure.

[74]         The Episcopalian Cullis had a “Faith [healing] Home for consumptives in Boston” (The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The Unpublished Personal Writings of Hannah Whitall Smith, ed. Melvin E. Dieter, entry for June 5), and he believed “all disease is from the devil” (ibid, entry for November 12; note, however, pg. 16, The Bible and the Body, Bingham, but cf. Boardman’s doctrine on the superiority of the Faith Cure to medicine). However, as Hannah W. Smith observed, by means of his methods “there are far more failures than successes, and I dread the reaction. For these failures are nearly always with the most devout Christians, and it is an awful strain on their faith” (ibid, entry for November 19). Hannah, having heard of “a great many cures by Dr. C[ullis] . . . finally . . . invited thirty invalids whom I knew to meet him at our house for him to pray with them, and, if possible, to heal them. He held a little meeting with them and pointed out that their faith must be added to his faith or nothing could be done, and he induced each one of that thirty to express the faith that they were healed, but I am sorry to say that as far as my knowledge went not a single one found any difference. Against this, I must put the fact that there were remarkable healings of nervous disorders, which, however, one could easily understand would be affected by a change of mind” (pgs. 262-263, Religious Fanaticism, Strachey).

[75]         “The ‘Higher Life’ Movement,” in Perfectionism, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield; pg. 17, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[76]         “Faith Healing, Christian Science, and Kindred Phenomena: Women and Healing in Late-Nineteenth-Century Boston,” Heather D. Curtis. Elec. acc. See also pgs. 122ff., Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton; pgs. 59ff., Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[77]         Pgs. 122-124, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton. Dayton effectively demonstrates the close connection between the Higher Life and the continuationist healing movements.

[78]         Pg. 63, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[79]         Pg. 62, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[80]         Pgs. 63-64, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[81]         Pg. 223, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[82]         Pg. 63, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.

[83]         Pg. 24, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[84]         Pg. 131, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton.

[85]         Pg. 223, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Mr. Boardman had heard two testimonies of Faith Cure while in London; see pgs. 16-17, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[86]         Pg. 19, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. Cullis noted that the marvel with Dr. Read’s son was the only one which he knew of through which a broken bone was healed by Faith Cure (pg. 157, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis. Baltimore, MD: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007); for, indeed, Cullis regularly refused to attempt to heal broken bones or restore amputated body parts (pg. 156, ibid), unlike Jesus Christ, who healed amputated body parts at will as easily as any other physical malady (Luke 22:50-51). Boardman, based on the testimony of the healing of Dr. Read’s son by Faith Cure, disagreed with Cullis and believed that the Cure healed broken bones also (pg. 157, ibid)—however, Dr. Read’s son was the only evident example that Boardman set forth also.

[87]         Pg. 249, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield.

[88]         Boardman was followed by others, such as A. J. Gordon, who in his The Ministry of Healing, or Miracles of Cure in All Ages (2nd. rev. ed, 1883) references the instance reproduced by Boardman as a powerful support for the Faith Cure. “Gordon worked out his teachings on healing . . . in dialogue with the emerging Christian Science of Mary Baker Eddy,” was closely associated with Charles Cullis (pgs. 128-129, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton), and was happy to follow and quote the arguments of the father of American liberal theology, Horace Bushnell, in favor of continuationism (pgs. 117-118, New Dictionary of Theology, ed. Ferguson) and the presence today of the gifts of “[h]ealing, prophecy, and gifts of tongues” (pgs. 110-115, The Ministry of Healing: Miracles of Cure in All Ages, A. J. Gordon. New York, NY: Christian Alliance Publishing, 1882, citing Chapter 14, “Miracles and Supernatural Gifts are not Discontinued,” in Nature and the Supernatural, Bushnell). Thus, out of a mix of Mind Cure, Christian Science, theological liberalism, and Oberlin and Keswick perfectionism (pg. 106, ibid), “A. J. Gordon” was “identified . . . as a major figure on the way to Pentecostalism” (“Asa Mahan and the Development of American Holiness Theology,” Donald W. Dayton. Wesleyan Theological Journal 9:1 (Spring 1974): 60-69); “A. J. Gordon . . . had been [a] champio[n] of divine and miraculous healings. Gordon had even argued that just as the gift of healing should continue past the Apostolic age, so perhaps should the gift of tongues” (pg. 94, Fundamentalism and American Culture, George Marsden). Warfield discusses and refutes Gordon’s theology of the Faith Cure on pgs. 212ff. of Counterfeit Miracles.

[89]         Pgs. 18-20, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[90]         pgs. 54-55, Faith-Healing, Christian Science, and Kindred Phenomena, J. M. Buckley. New York, NY: The Century Co., 1892.

[91]         Pgs. 22-23, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[92]         Pgs. 24-25, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. “[T]his book,” The Lord that Healeth Thee, “is the result” of these efforts, Boardman stated (pg. 25).

[93]         “Green stick fracture . . . a bone fracture in a young individual in which the bone is partly broken and partly bent” Merriam-Webster’s Collegiate Dictionary (11th ed., 2003), Mirriam-Webster.

[94]         Pg. 250, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield, citing The Century Magazine, XI, 784. See also pgs. 54-55, Faith-Healing, Christian Science, and Kindred Phenomena, J. M. Buckley. New York, NY: The Century Co., 1892.

[95]         Writing of Faith and Mind Cure testimonials in 1891, Votaw noted:

Current reports of cures are untrustworthy; the strong presumption is, that one has not all the facts in the case, and also that such facts as one has are perverted, either purposely or inadvertently. . . . In the second place, the number of cures published by practitioners cannot be trusted at all; partly because many of the practitioners carry on the business solely for money, and have become unscrupulous in advertising themselves and their cures; and partly because such a list, even when kept in good faith, contains the names of all who have ever acknowledged a cure, and takes no note of those who, again burdened with their disease, find themselves to have been deceived or mistaken. The relapses all pass for complete cures yet we venture the assertion that they are in the large majority. The patients are worked upo[n] and induced to profess themselves cured . . . the cure, honestly enough credited at the time, [is] afterwards seen to have been illusory and unavailing. In the third place, when a bone fide case is found, three questions about it are always pertinent: Was there really anything the matter with the patient? If so, was it the disease which the person supposed he had? And, was the cure actually the result of the treatment, or would it have come about anyway, by natural restorative processes? (pgs. 255-256, “Christian Science and Faith Healing,” Clyde W. Votaw. New Englander and Yale Review. New Haven, CT: Tuttle, Morehouse & Taylor, 1891)

[96]         Pg. 248, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield.

[97]         Pg. 224, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[98]         Pg. 48, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[99]         Pg. 49, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman, citing Matthew 9:35.

[100]        Pg. 58, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[101]        Wilhelmus à Brakel properly noted:

[T]he means whereby man is regenerated . . . is the Word of God alone, be it read or heard—or whatever the way may be whereby one comes to the knowledge of the truths which are revealed only in the Word. “Of His own will begat He us with the word of truth” (James 1:18); “Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth for ever” (1 Pet 1:23).

God does indeed use external means which cause man to be disturbed and to come to himself—such as poverty, extraordinary judgments upon the nation, the home, or oneself; fear for and being in danger of death; dreams and unrealistic imaginations as if they saw visions; extraordinary deliverances and temporal prosperity; the observation of the godliness of others and their mutual love, as well as other incidents. These, however, are not means unto conversion, but only means to bring them to the Word, to subdue them, and to make them pliable. The Word of God, however, is the only means. The conversion of those who do not attain to the knowledge of the way of salvation is not true conversion. (pgs. 237-238, The Christian’s Reasonable Service, vol. 2, Wilhelmus á Brakel)

[102]        Pg. 82, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[103]        Pgs. 83-84, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[104]        Pg. 224, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[105]        Pgs. 117-118, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[106]        Pg. 118, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. Cures had been taking place at Boston since at least 1871, notes Boardman (pgs. 135-138, ibid); after all, Mary Baker Eddy had been cured in 1866.

[107]        It is noteworthy that Mary Baker Eddy, who was herself greatly “influenced by Spiritualism, participated in séances, and shared some basic assumptions with Spiritualism” (pg. 61, New Age and Neopagan Religions in America, Sarah M. Pike. New York, NY: Columbia University Press, 2004), published Science and Health, with Key to the Scriptures, her main work, in 1875 in Boston. The Faith and Mind Cure were a united idea in the second half of the nineteenth century, with common origins. Modern Pentecostal attempts to separate Faith Cure from Mind Cure are historical revisionism.

[108]        Pg. 111, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[109]        Mrs. Baxter was a preacher of the Higher Life and the Faith Cure from the late 1870’s; cf. pgs. 98, 105-106, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[110]        Pgs. 234ff., Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[111]        “The ‘Higher Life’ Movement,” in Perfectionism, vol. 2, B. B. Warfield.

[112]        Pg. 237, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. Cf. pgs. 124-125, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton; pgs. 144-145, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis.

[113]        Pg. 234, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman.

[114]        Pg. 212, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield.

[115]        Pg. 23, The Bible and the Body, Bingham. See pgs. 142ff., Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis, for the rise and development of the Faith Home movement. As soon as 1885, A. B. Simpson reported, there were already approximately thirty Faith Homes in the United States and numerous similar resorts abroad.

[116]        Pg. 154, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis.

[117]        Pg. 23, The Bible and the Body, Bingham.

[118]        Thus, at Cullis’ facility, those with the faith of the Higher Life were “to abstain from medicine, having faith that [their] healing had been accomplished, whether or not [their] body actually bore witness to the miracle. In other words, any lingering physical pain or signs of disease should be interpreted as ‘trials of faith’ to be prayed about rather than treated. [T]here would be no more visits to physicians, who used their senses and instruments to probe and observe and attempt to classify . . . symptoms. Instead, [one] was to think of h[is] flesh as a field upon which the contest between faith and doubt would be played out” (“Faith Healing, Christian Science, and Kindred Phenomena: Women and Healing in Late-Nineteenth-Century Boston,” Heather D. Curtis. Elec. acc. Thus, Cullis anticipated the later Word of Faith doctrine that one who is “healed” is to ignore the symptoms of disease: “You may have the symptoms of your disease, but count the work as done and . . . take this stand—I am healed” (pg. 90, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis, citing Other Faith Cures, Cullis, pgs. 4 & 9 verify this).

[119]        Pg. 73, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman. However, medicine could be used for those who lacked faith (cf. pg. 74), although Christ healed everyone who came to Him regardless of faith and thus never needed to send anyone, believer or unbeliever, to a doctor for help. Any medical remedies used, Boardman taught, required specific Divine direction (pg. 103), so simply following what medical science had determined was the most likely method of obtaining restoration to health would not acceptable nor be living by faith. One needed specific Divine direction to know whether or not to employ a medicine that was 95% likely to work or one that was 5% likely to work; such a requirement of specific direction was not tempting God or sinfully putting one’s life at risk—although, in fact, employing medicine at all was truly a lack of faith.

[120]        Pgs. 231-233, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. New York, NY: D. Appleton, 1887. Italics in original.

[121]        “Jesus saves me now” was the famous catchphrase that Robert P. Smith adopted and proclaimed in the years during and after his preaching with Boardman in the meetings that led to the establishment of the Keswick convention. As Hannah W. Smith wrote, describing the Brighton Convention:

The watchword of the whole meeting was “Jesus saves me now.” And finally we got a chorus all to sing together, in our different tongues[:]

Jesus saves me now,

Jesus saves me now,

Yes, Jesus saves me all the time,

Jesus saves me now.

You cannot think how lovely it was to sing it all together in our own languages. The words were on everybody’s lips. The Earl of Center made me write my name in his Bible and underneath it this sentence, “Jesus saves me now.” (Letter to Father and Mother, June 9, 1875, reproduced in the entry for July 26 of The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life, Hannah W. Smith, ed. Dieter)

The phrase came from a hymn by E. Gebhardt of Zurich which was entitled “Jesus saves me now” when translated into English from German (pgs. 18, 368, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875.).

[122]        Boardman taught that men must have their health “preserved through faith just as they have been healed through faith” (pg. 110, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman). A cessation of moment-by-moment faith can make one’s health also go away in a moment, just as one’s sanctification instantly departs.

[123]        Pg. 111, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[124]        Pg. 55, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[125]        Pgs. 235-236, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. New York, NY: D. Appleton, 1887.

[126]        Pg. 77, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[127]        Pg. 78, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[128]        Pg. 25, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. A. B. Simpson, who adopted the continuationist doctrine of healing from Boardman, held either an almost or an entirely identical position on the question of medical means. Cf. also pgs. 69-71.

[129]        Pg. 26, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[130]        Pg. 82, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[131]        In addition to those in his own experience and those of Dr. Cullis, Boardman refers, first, to Dorothea Trüdel and the Lutheran Blumhardt (pgs. 85-89, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman; cf. the testimonials on pgs. 90-138). Trudel was a leading testimony for the Faith Cure, although her health remained “very feeble” her whole life, she died at age forty-eight of typhus fever, and there was no evidence that organic disease was ever cured at her Faith Cure home (pg. 243, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield). Boardman indicated that “Pastor Blumhardt” is “a highly-esteemed Lutheran minister” (pg. 86, The Lord that Healeth Thee), and healer, refraining from mentioning or ignorant of the fact that Blumhardt was an advocate of “radical Christian socialism” (pg. 77, New Dictionary of Theology, S. B. Ferguson & J. I. Packer. Downers Grove, IL: InterVarsity Press, 2000) who “influenced . . . [an] important group of pastors and theologians” who were also apostates and heretics, “including Barth, Thurneysen, Brunner, Bonhoeffer, Ellul and Moltmann” (pg. 76, The Dictionary of Historical Theology, T. A. Hart. Carlisle, United Kingdom: Paternoster, 2000; cf. Blumhardt, Johann Christoph & Blumhardt, Christoph Frederick, New International Dictionary of the Christian Church, J. D. Douglas, gen. ed.). In addition to influencing heretics, he also practiced exorcisms (pg. 76, The Dictionary of Historical Theology, Hart), his works on demonic activity being cited favorably by Jessie Penn-Lewis (cf. “Symptoms of Demon Possession” in War on the Saints, Penn-Lewis). He could not, however, get the devil out of Barth, Brunner, and the rest (see also pgs. 120-121, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton).

Of course, the reason people needed to live in a Faith Cure home, such as that of Trudel, was that they actually were not miraculously and instantly healed—the very existence of such homes evidences that healing like that of Christ and the Apostles was not taking place.

[132]        Pg. 84, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[133]        Pg. 28, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman; see also pg. 49. Note that Jessie Penn-Lewis, John A. MacMillan, and others followed Boardman in his allegorical interpretation of Moses and his staff; the allegorization of Moses’ “uplifted hands” as “not the hands of prayer, but the hands of authority and power” was proclaimed at the Brighton Convention also (pg. 155, Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875).

[134]        Pgs. 50, 53, 78, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[135]        Pgs. 29-32, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[136]        Pg. 64, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[137]        Pgs. 32ff, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[138]        Pgs. 39-41, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[139]        Pg. 139, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[140]        Pgs. 234-235, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield.

[141]        Ephesians 1:11; Isaiah 14:27; 45:7; Amos 3:6; Genesis 50:20.

[142]        Pgs. 50-51, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman. James 5:14-15 was the favorite Faith Cure text of Dr. Cullis, while Boardman’s favorite was Psalm 103:3b (pg. 17, ibid).

[143]        14 aÓsqenei√ tiß e˙n uJmi√n; proskalesa¿sqw tou\ß presbute÷rouß thvß e˙kklhsi÷aß, kai« proseuxa¿sqwsan e˙p∆ aujto/n, aÓlei÷yanteß aujto\n e˙lai÷wˆ e˙n twˆ◊ ojno/mati touv Kuri÷ou: 15 kai« hJ eujch\ thvß pi÷stewß sw¿sei to\n ka¿mnonta, kai« e˙gerei√ aujto\n oJ Ku/rioß: ka·n aJmarti÷aß hØ™ pepoihkw¿ß, aÓfeqh/setai aujtwˆ◊. 16 e˙xomologei√sqe aÓllh/loiß ta» paraptw¿mata, kai« eu¡cesqe uJpe«r aÓllh/lwn, o¢pwß i˙aqhvte. polu\ i˙scu/ei de÷hsiß dikai÷ou e˙nergoume÷nh. 17 ∆Hli÷aß a‡nqrwpoß h™n oJmoiopaqh\ß hJmi√n, kai« proseuchØv proshu/xato touv mh\ bre÷xai: kai« oujk e¶brexen e˙pi« thvß ghvß e˙niautou\ß trei√ß kai« mhvnaß eºx, 18 kai« pa¿lin proshu/xato, kai« oJ oujrano\ß uJeto\n e¶dwke, kai« hJ ghv e˙bla¿sthse to\n karpo\n aujthvß.

[144]        Merrill Unger comments:

Is the practice of the early Hebrew Christian church reflected in James 5:14–16 identical with divine healing as it should be practiced in the church today or does the rest of the New Testament warrant, and does human experience necessitate, making a careful differentiation? . . . The following reasons are offered to show why this of necessity is so, and why modern “faith healers” who ignore the historical context and time setting of the passage fall into fanaticism or the unwitting practice of magic.

First, James 5:14–16 was never addressed to the Gentile Church. It was written to “the twelve tribes” in the dispersion (James 1:1), that is, to the very earliest Jewish converts to Christ during the transition period (Acts 1:1—9:43), before the gospel had been released to the Gentiles and the first Gentiles were added to the church and before God’s purpose for the new age to visit the Gentiles to take out of them a people had been announced at the first church council A.D. 48 or 49 (Acts 15:14–15). Internal evidence places this epistle as one of the earliest of all New Testament books to be dated, possibly as early as A.D. 45. . . . Believers still assembled in the “synagogue” (James 2:2).

The Epistle is also shown to be very early by the exceedingly elementary character of its doctrinal content. There is a silence with regard to the relation of the church to the non-Jewish world. No evidence appears of the church as the Body of Christ, nor of the distinctive teachings of grace revealed in Paul’s letters. Indeed the question of the incorporation of Gentile believers does not appear to have been broached, indicating a date of authorship before the Jerusalem council in A.D. 48 or 49. There is no more Jewish book in the New Testament. Indeed, if the several passages referring to Christ were eliminated, the whole Epistle would be as proper in the canon of the Old Testament, as in the New Testament. The Epistle could be described as an interpretation of the Mosaic law and the Sermon on the Mount in the light of the gospel of Christ.

Second, James 5:14–16 is based on the healing covenant made with Israel. . . . This healing covenant concerned Israel only, the people of the covenants (Rom 9:5). . . . As a healing covenant it was operative upon Israel from its constitution as God’s chosen nation at the Exodus to the nation’s setting aside in unbelief (Acts 28:23–29), the Epistle of James being written before this climactic event.

When the nation Israel will be saved and restored to national blessings at the second advent (Isa 53:1–12) the healing covenant will be reinstated, accompanied by the restoration of miracles of healing and other supernatural powers (Isa 35:5–6; Heb 6:5). . . . [T]he healing covenant with Israel guaranteed early Hebrew Christians instantaneous and complete healing in response to faith in Christ. Healing “in the name” and “through faith in the name” brought such miraculous deliverance as was manifested in the cripple at the Gate Beautiful (Acts 3:6, 16). Such healings among Hebrew Christians were the order of the day until the setting aside of Israel in unbelief and with this event, the abrogation of the healing covenant with the nation (Acts 4:30; 5:12–16; 6:8; 8:7–8).

The use of oil also connects with the Jewish setting of James 5:14–16. Such anointing with oil was a general Jewish practice, as shown by the Talmud. The Lord and His disciples adopted this custom (Mark 6:13). . . . [E]fficacious faith for healing was divinely imparted to the Apostolic Jewish Christian elders as they claimed the promises of Israel’s healing covenant (Exod 15:26). But the all-important point for the correctly instructed Christian minister to see, now that the nation Israel and her healing covenant have been set aside while the great “Gentile” church is being called out, is that such “prayer of faith” is divinely given and divinely operative in the established Gentile church only when it is God’s will to heal. The great Epistles addressed to the church clearly teach that it is not always God’s will to heal, nor is it always for the believer’s highest good to be healed. Chastening, testing, molding into Christlikeness and other factors condition the Lord’s healing of a Christian’s sicknesses (1 Cor 5:1–5; 11:30–32; 2 Cor 12:7–9; 1 Tim 5:23; 2 Tim 4:20).

This is the reason why nowhere in any of the church Epistles is anything said about anointing the sick with oil (cf. 2 Cor 5:7) and the prayer of faith saving (healing) them. “The prayer of faith,” however, does save (heal) them, but it is only given when God’s purpose is determined in each case, and such prayer is offered in God’s will. For so-called “faith healing” to teach that it is always God’s will to heal believers and to command “God in Jesus’ name” is a Satanic snare, into which so many modern faith healers have fallen. It is an open door to “white magic,” where despite the use of God’s name and religious pretentions, the creature dares to make the Creator his lackey. By so doing he captures the very essence of “magic,” which is Satanic opposition to God’s will and desire to be like God and use His power independent of Him (Isa 14:12–14; 2 Tim 2:26). To accomplish such a misguided purpose, however, innocent or sincere as it may be, is an open invitation for demonic deception and operation, and it is high time for all who seek physical healing to realize this peril. (“Divine Healing,” Bibliotheca Sacra 128:511 (July 1971) 234-244. Note, contrary to Unger, that Acts 15 is not a church council in the later sense of the term.)

Unger’s comments are worthy of consideration, especially in connection with the Jewish practice of using oil for healing. The view that the promise of James 5:14-15 “applied only those miraculous days [of the first century], and is no longer to be claimed . . . seems to have never been without advocates among leading Protestants” (pg. 229, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield). Nonetheless, even if James 5:14-15 is valid for the entirety of the dispensation of grace, it does not even come close to proving the Faith Cure theology, as demonstrated in the text below.

[145]       The passage speaks of pastors engaging in hospital visits, as it were, not going to help those who have the sniffles.

[146]        Only true churches really have church leaders such as elders. Thus, those not associated with true churches—historic Baptist churches—do not really follow the practice of James 5:13-18, for the leaders of their religious organizations are not truly church elders any more than the leaders of any secular corporation, such as leaders in a restaurant chain or a department store, are church elders. However, God in His great mercy can grant answers to prayer for healing to those not members of true churches, especially since in James 5:13-18 the emphasis is not upon the office of elder, but the elders are simply representatives of the congregation; thus, in 5:16, all the congregation is commanded to pray, so that healing may come.

[147]        James’ emphasis upon prayer, rather than upon the anointing with oil, is seen in both the fact that the imperative in v. 14 is to pray, while anointing is a dependent participle (proseuxa¿sqwsan e˙p∆ aujto/n, aÓlei÷yanteß aujto\n e˙lai÷wˆ), and in the fact that v. 15 mentions hJ eujch\ thvß pi÷stewß, “the prayer of faith,” without any mention of anointing. That the main subject of James 5:13-18 is prayer appears from the occurrence of the word prayer in each verse of 5:13-18; indeed, only in this section of James’ epistle is prayer mentioned at all. The shift from the present tense verbs afflicted, pray, merry, sing psalms (Kakopaqei√ . . . proseuce÷sqw . . . eujqumei√ . . . yalle÷tw) of 5:13 and sick (aÓsqenei√) of 5:14 to the aorists call, pray, anointing (proskalesa¿sqw . . . proseuxa¿sqwsan . . . aÓlei÷yanteß) in 5:14 and then back to the present imperatives confess and pray (e˙xomologei√sqe . . . eu¡cesqe) in 5:16 indicates that the call for the elders and the anointing with oil is to take place only on irregular seasons or infrequently, while the confession and prayer of 5:16 is to be the normal and continuing practice of events.

[148]        It should be noted that just as Satan, to advance his overall plan, can allow unconverted false teachers who are under his control to cast out demons (Luke 11:19), so he can allow false teachers to supernaturally heal diseases that were Satanically caused in the first place, so that, by means of these supernatural exorcisms and healings, people come to follow the false teachers as if they are proclaiming the truth (cf. Revelation 16:14) and come into a worse place of deception than before the “good” of the demonic healing wonders took place.

[149]        ka·n aJmarti÷aß hØ™ pepoihkw¿ß, aÓfeqh/setai aujtwˆ◊.ka·n is kai÷ + e˙a¿n, and so the statement presents a third class condition, not a first class condition. Sin causing the sickness is only a possibility, not a presumed reality. Similarly the subjunctive mood in the perfect periphrastic hØ™ pepoihkw¿ß indicates the possibility, but only the possibility, not the certainty, that the sick person committed sin in the past with results that continued into the present (that is, the sin was not confessed and repented of), so that sin was the cause of the sickness.

[150]        In 5:16, “healed” is from i˙a¿omai and is clearly used for physical healing, in accordance with the large majority, but not the totality, of its uses in the New Testament (Matthew 8:8, 13; 13:15; 15:28; Mark 5:29; Luke 4:18; 5:17; 6:17, 19; 7:7; 8:47; 9:2, 11, 42; 14:4; 17:15; 22:51; John 4:47; 5:13; 12:40; Acts 3:11; 9:34; 10:38; 28:8, 27; Hebrews 12:13; James 5:16; 1 Peter 2:24). The verb always refers to physical healing in the New Testament when it is not in a quotation. James moves from the specific case of sickness in 5:14-15 into the general principle, enunciated in 5:16, that being right with God will keep believers free from sickness as Divine chastisement.

[151]        The truth that a believer’s backsliding can bring him to an early death is clearly the teaching of Scripture in general (2 Chronicles 16:12-13; Hebrews 12:5-10; 1 Corinthians 11:30). One could argue that it is also the teaching of James 5:19-20. On this view, James considers the one who errs from the truth a backslidden but born-again believer, and he uses the verb convert (e˙pistre÷fw) in the same sense as Luke 22:32 for the restoration of a backslider. The sins of the backslider will be forgiven, and he will not suffer physical death as chastisement for continued impenitence (James 5:20), including physical death as a result of sickness decreed by the Father as chastening (5:14-20).

On the other hand, in favor of the view that James 5:19-20 refers to the conversion of a lost person, only the lost are clearly designated by God as “sinners” using the Greek word in James 5:20 (aJmartwlo/ß; Matthew 9:10–11, 13; 11:19; 26:45; Mark 2:15–17; 8:38; 14:41; Luke 5:8 (Peter’s self-designation in a moment of great emotion, not Christ’s designation of Peter), 30, 32; 6:32–34; 7:34, 37, 39; 13:2; 15:1–2, 7, 10; 18:13; 19:7; 24:7; John 9:16, 24–25, 31; Romans 3:7; 5:8, 19; 7:13; Galatians 2:15, 17; 1 Timothy 1:9, 15; Hebrews 7:26; 12:3; James 4:8; 5:20; 1 Peter 4:18; Jude 15). The use of “brethren” (∆Adelfoi÷) in 5:19 is not conclusive; James is not necessarily referring to fellow true believers, but could be speaking of fellow Jews (James 1:2, 9, 16, 19; 2:1, 5, 14–15; 3:1, 10, 12; 4:11; 5:7, 9–10, 12, 19; cf. Acts 15:13), and, in any case, the one who needs to be converted is not necessarily specified as a brother but only as one who is among the brethren (tiß e˙n uJmi√n). The phrases to “err from the truth” (planhqhØv aÓpo\ thvß aÓlhqei÷aß), “convert him” (e˙pistre÷yhØ . . . aujto/n) and “he which converteth the sinner from the error of his way shall save a soul from death” (oJ e˙pistre÷yaß aJmartwlo\n e˙k pla¿nhß oJdouv aujtouv sw¿sei yuch\n e˙k qana¿tou) are more easily interpreted of the conversion of a lost man, and the salvation of his soul from eternal death, than of the backsliding of a believer and his consequent premature physical death. Thus, it appears that James 5:19-20 refers to the conversion of a lost sinner, and his being saved from spiritual and eternal death, rather than the restoration of a backsliding true believer and his deliverance from premature physical death.

[152]        hJ eujch\ thvß pi÷stewß. Note the use of the article.

[153]        The use of the words eujch/ and eu¡comai for prayer in 5:15-16 supports the character of the prayer in question as a specific petition, here for healing (cf. the use of the words for a specific vow). Other words for prayer are much more common. The noun eujch/ appears in the New Testament only in Acts 18:18; 21:23 & James 5:15. It appears in the LXX in Genesis 28:20; 31:13; Leviticus 7:16; 22:21, 23, 29; 23:38; 27:2; Numbers 6:2, 4–9, 12–13, 18–19, 21; 15:3, 8; 21:2; 29:39; 30:3–15; Deuteronomy 12:6, 17, 26; 23:19, 22; Judges 11:30, 39; 1 Samuel 1:11, 21; 2:9; 2 Samuel 15:7–8; Job 11:17; 16:17; 22:27; Psalm 21:26; 49:14; 55:13; 60:6, 9; 64:2; 65:13; 115:9; Proverbs 7:14; 15:8, 29; 19:13; 31:2; Ecclesiastes 5:3; Isaiah 19:21; Jeremiah 11:15; Daniel 6:6, 8, 13; Jonah 1:16; Nahum 2:1; Malachi 1:14; 1 Esdras 2:4, 6; 4:43, 46; 5:52; 8:57; Judith 4:14; 2 Maccabees 3:35; 15:26; Ode 3:9; Sirach 18:22; Baruch 6:34. The verb eu¡comai appears in the New Testament in Acts 26:29; 27:29; Romans 9:3; 2 Corinthians 13:7, 9; James 5:16 & 3 John 1:2, and in the LXX in Genesis 28:20; 31:13; Exodus 8:4–5, 24–26; 9:28; 10:18; Leviticus 27:2, 8; Numbers 6:2, 5, 13, 18–21; 11:2; 21:2, 7; 30:3–4, 10; Deuteronomy 9:20, 26; 12:11, 17; 23:22–24; Judges 11:30, 39; 1 Samuel 1:11; 2:9; 2 Samuel 15:7–8; 2 Kings 20:2; Job 22:27; 33:26; 42:8, 10; Psalm 75:12; 131:2; Proverbs 20:25; Ecclesiastes 5:3–4; Isaiah 19:21; Jeremiah 7:16; 22:27; Daniel 6:6, 8, 12–14; Jonah 1:16; 2:10; 1 Esdras 4:43–46; 5:43, 52; 8:13, 49; 2 Maccabees 3:35; 9:13; 12:44; 15:27; 4 Maccabees 4:13; Ode 3:9; 6:10; Wisdom 7:7; Sirach 18:23; 34:24; 38:9 Baruch 1:5; 6:34. The usage in the New Testament, the canonical Greek Old Testament, and the Apocrypha supports the sense of a specific petition in James 5:15-16.

Furthermore, hJ eujch\ thvß pi÷stewß is characterized at the end of James 5:16 as a de÷hsiß, an “urgent request to meet a need, exclusively addressed to God, prayer,” used “to denote a more specific supplication” than “proseuch/, the more general term” (BDAG). “proseuch/ [is] . . . prayer in general, de÷hsiß [is] . . . prayer for particular benefits” (pg. 188, Synonyms of the New Testament, Trench).

[154]        That is, in 5:16 e˙nergoume÷nh is passive, referring to a prayer the believer is enabled to pray by the Holy Spirit, a de÷hsiß . . . e˙nergoume÷nh, v. 16. Compare e˙nerge÷w in Philippians 2:13; Colossians 1:29.

[155]        hJ eujch\ thvß pi÷stewß sw¿sei to\n ka¿mnonta, kai« e˙gerei√ aujto\n oJ Ku/rioß. sw¿sei is here used for physical salvation or deliverance of the sick one (to\n ka¿mnonta), and e˙gerei√ refers to being “raised up” from the sickbed (cf. Mark 1:31; Luke 5:24-25; Proverbs 6:9, LXX).

[156]        That is, since “anointing” (aÓlei÷yanteß)is a participle dependent upon the imperative “let them pray” (proseuxa¿sqwsan), the use of medicine, as the oil is here used as a medical instrument, is required. Faith Cure advocates and Pentecostals who contend that one must follow the procedure of James 5:14-15 in healing, but who either reject the use of medicine or affirm that its use is only optional, disobey James 5. Nobody has been led by the Holy Spirit to reject the use of the best medical means available for healing because of James 5:14-15, since the Spirit required the use of medicine in the passage. Nonetheless, while both prayer and medicine are enjoined, the emphasis of James is on prayer rather than upon the medical anointing with oil, since “let them pray” is the specific command and “anointing” is a subordinate participle. Sometimes good medical means are not available, but the believer always can and should pray.

[157]        Such medicinal oil as is commended in James chapter five had been in use in Israel for centuries, made by men such as the godly apothecaries who helped rebuild the walls of Jerusalem (Nehemiah 3:8).

[158]        “The word aleipsantes (‘anoint’) is not the usual word for sacramental or ritualistic anointing. James could have used the verb chrio if that had been what he had in mind. The distinction is still observed in modern Greek, with aleipho meaning ‘to daub,’ ‘to smear,’ and chrio meaning ‘to anoint.’ Furthermore, it is a well-documented fact that oil was one of the most common medicines of biblical times. See Isaiah 1:6 and Luke 10:34. Josephus (Antiq. XVII, 172 [vi. 5]) reports that during his last illness Herod the Great was given a bath in oil in hopes of effecting a cure. The papyri, Philo, Pliny, and the physician Galen all refer to the medicinal use of oil. Galen described it as ‘the best of all remedies for paralysis’ (De Simplicium Medicamentorum Temperamentis 2.10ff). It is evident, then, that James is prescribing prayer and medicine. . . . In answer to ‘the prayer offered in faith,’ God uses the medicine to cure the malady” (Expositor’s Bible Commentary, gen. ed. Frank E. Gaebelein, on James 5:14-15).

“The oil specified was olive oil (elaion) which was freely available . . . [and] was used for dietetic, toilet and medical purposes. There is no indication that the oil needed to be specially consecrated for its use in anointing the sick. Two different words are used for the application of oil in the New Testament. Aleipho is the humbler one and usually means to apply oil for toilet purposes (Matt. 6.17, Luke 7.46). Chrio is the ritual and official word for anointing and is used only in the figurative sense of anointing by God. Here in James the humbler word is used. . . . [A]n analysis of the usage of the verb aleipho in the New Testament appears to support the medical view [of James 5:14] rather than the religious one. . . . It is never used in the gospels of anointing for a religious purpose, but only for toilet or medical purposes. . . . Anointing with oil . . . was used only for the healing of physical disease in the New Testament. . . . James was saying that normal medical methods should be used in the name of the Lord and based on prayer . . . we may translate [the relevant] clause in verse 14 as ‘Giving him his medicine in the name of the Lord.’ . . . James held that healing should be a combination of medical and non-medical methods, and in illustration referred to a contemporary medical method of anointing with oil which he said should be used in the name of the Lord and with prayer. . . . [In] James’ reference to anointing with oil . . . he is here recommending the employment of both physical and non-physical methods of healing. . . . [Methods of] medical healing . . . are God’s gifts to suffering humanity and are to be used in healing the sick” (pgs. 338-339, 343, “Healing in the Epistle of James,” John Wilkinson. Scottish Journal of Theology 24 (1971) 326–45).

[159]        Thus, when Faith Cure advocates generally, from Boardman to Charles Cullis to A. B. Simpson, argued that the anointing in James 5 is ceremonial, and that ceremonial anointing “is the divine prescription for disease; and no obedient Christian can safely dispense with it” (pgs. 118-125, Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860-1900, Heather Curtis), they were clearly in error.

[160]        aÓlei÷fw. The verb appears in Matt 6:17; Mark 6:13; 16:1; Luke 7:38, 46; John 11:2; 12:3; James 5:14. In all of these texts, the anointing is not ceremonial, with the sole possible exception of Mark 6:13; but note even on that verse: “Oil was used medicinally in OT times (Is. 1:6; Jer. 8:22; 51:8) as in other ancient societies, and the action of the Samaritan in pouring oil and wine on the wounds of the traveller in Jesus’ parable (Lk. 10:34) was probably common practice. It may be, therefore, that the disciples’ use of oil was purely a pragmatic, medical measure” (The Gospel of Mark : A Commentary on the Greek Text, R. T. France, on Mark 6:13). Note also in the LXX Ruth 3:3; 2 Samuel 12:20; 14:2; 2 Kings 4:2; 2 Chronicles 28:15; Esther 2:12; Daniel 10:3; Micah 6:15; Judith 16:8 (however, note also Genesis 31:13; Exodus 40:15 (yet also note cri√sma later in the verse); Numbers 3:3). Contrast the ceremonial emphasis in the New Testament uses of cri÷w: Luke 4:18; Acts 4:27; 10:38; 2 Corinthians 1:21; Hebrews 1:9, an emphasis which is the strongly dominant use in the LXX (Exodus 28:41; 29:2, 7, 29, 36; 30:26, 30, 32; 40:9–10, 13; Leviticus 4:3; 6:13; 7:36; 8:11–12; 16:32; Numbers 6:15; 7:1, 10, 84, 88; 35:25; Deuteronomy 28:40; Judges 9:8, 15; 1 Samuel 9:16; 10:1; 11:15; 15:1, 17; 16:3, 12–13; 2 Samuel 1:21; 2:4, 7; 5:3, 17; 12:7; 19:11; 1 Kings 1:34, 39, 45; 5:15; 19:15–16; 2 Kings 9:3, 6, 12; 11:12; 23:30; 1 Chronicles 11:3; 14:8; 29:22; 2 Chronicles 23:11; 36:1 Psalm 26:1; 44:8; 88:21; 151:4; Hosea 8:10; Amos 6:6; Isaiah 25:6; 61:1; Jeremiah 22:14; Ezekiel 16:9; 43:3; Sirach 45:15; 46:13; 48:8), although there are a few exceptions, and possible exceptions, or alternative uses (such as painting a house, Jeremiah 22:14; cf. also Deuteronomy 28:40; Isaiah 25:6; Jeremiah 22:14; Ezekiel 16:9; 44:3; Judith 10:3). Thus, while it is true that anointing with oil at times is used to represent the Holy Spirit, one would expect cri÷w rather than aÓlei÷fw in James 5:14 if pneumatic typology was the intended emphasis.

[161]       “The good Samaritan used oil and wine to treat the wounds of the injured man (Lk 10:34). Because of its alcoholic content, the wine would have an antiseptic action, but at the same time would tend to coagulate the surface of the raw wound and permit bacteria to thrive under the coagulum. The oil, by its emollient effect, would tend to nullify this latter undesirable side effect of wine and would also be soothing due to its coating action. A dressing was then applied, and the patient was taken to a resting place” (pg. 1430, Baker Encyclopedia of the Bible, W. A. Elwell & B. J. Beitzel. Grand Rapids, MI: Baker Books, 1988). “[O]live oil and wine . . . were the provender that the Samaritan had with him on his journey. A mixture of them for medicinal purposes is known from Theophrastus, Hist. plant. 9.11, and from the later rabbinic tradition (m. Šabb. 19:2). In the OT olive oil is said to be a softener of wounds (Isa 1:6); elsewhere in the NT it is used to anoint the sick (Mark 6:13; Jas 5:14). The acidic nature of wine would serve as an antiseptic” (pgs. 887-888, The Gospel According to Luke X-XXIV, J. A. Fitzmyer, on Luke 10:24).

[162]        NRmRv.

[163]        For example, Josephus wrote concerning the death of Herod:

After this, the distemper seized upon his whole body, and greatly disordered all its parts with various symptoms; for there was a gentle fever upon him, and an intolerable itching over all the surface of his body, and continual pains in his colon, and dropsical tumors about his feet and an inflammation of the abdomen,—and a putrefication of his privy member, that produced worms. Besides which he had a difficulty of breathing upon him, and could not breathe but when he sat upright, and had a convulsion of all his members; insomuch that the diviners said those diseases were a punishment upon him for what he had done to the rabbis. Yet did he struggle with his numerous disorders, and still had a desire to live, and hoped for recovery, and considered of several methods of cure. Accordingly, he went over Jordan, and made use of those hot baths at Callirrhoe, which run into the lake Asphaltitis, but are themselves sweet enough to be drank. And here the physicians thought proper to bathe his whole body in warm oil, by letting it down into a large vessel full of oil; whereupon his eyes failed him, and he came and went as if he were dying, and as a tumult was then made by his servants, at their voice he revived again. Yet did he after this despair of recovery, and gave orders that each soldier should have fifty drachmae apiece, and that his commanders and friends should have great sums of money given them.

656 ⁄Enqen aujtouv to\ sw◊ma pa◊n hJ no/soß dialabouvsa poiki÷loiß pa¿qesin e˙meri÷zeto pureto\ß me«n ga»r h™n ouj la¿broß knhsmo\ß de« aÓfo/rhtoß thvß e˙pifanei÷aß o¢lhß kai« ko/lou sunecei√ß aÓlghdo/neß peri÷ te tou\ß po/daß wJ/sper uJdrwpiw◊ntoß oi˙dh/mata touv te h¡trou flegmonh\ kai« dh\ ai˙doi÷ou shpedw»n skw¿lhkaß gennw◊sa pro\ß tou/toiß ojrqo/pnoia kai« du/spnoia kai« spasmoi« pa¿ntwn tw◊n melw◊n wJ/ste tou\ß e˙piqeia¿zontaß poinh\n ei•nai tw◊n sofistw◊n ta» nosh/mata le÷gein 657 oJ de« palai÷wn tosou/toiß pa¿qesin o¢mwß touv zhvn aÓntei÷ceto swthri÷an te h¡lpizen kai« qerapei÷aß e˙peno/ei diaba»ß gouvn to\n ∆Iorda¿nhn toi√ß kata» Kallirro/hn e˙crhvto qermoi√ß tauvta d∆ e¶xeisi me«n ei˙ß th\n ∆Asfalti√tin li÷mnhn uJpo\ gluku/thtoß d∆ e˙sti« kai« po/tima do/xan de« e˙ntauvqa toi√ß i˙atroi√ß e˙lai÷wˆ qermwˆ◊ pa◊n aÓnaqa¿lyai to\ sw◊ma calasqe«n ei˙ß plh/rh pu/elon e˙klu/ei kai« tou\ß ojfqalmou\ß wJß teqnew»ß aÓne÷streyen 658 qoru/bou de« tw◊n qerapeuo/ntwn genome÷nou pro\ß me«n th\n fwnh\n aÓnh/negken ei˙ß de« to\ loipo\n aÓpognou\ß th\n swthri÷an toi√ß te stratiw¿taiß aÓna» penth/konta dracma»ß e˙ke÷leusen dianei√mai kai« polla» crh/mata toi√ß hJgemo/si kai« toi√ß fi÷loiß. (War 1:656-658; cf. Antiquities 17:168-173)

Philo wrote:

Again: why need we seek for more in the way of ointment than the juice pressed out of the fruit of the olive? For that softens the limbs, and relieves the labour of the body, and produces a good condition of the flesh; and if anything has got relaxed or flabby, it binds it again, and makes it firm and solid, and it fills us with vigour and strength of muscle, no less than any other unguent.

ti÷ de« touv aÓpo\ thvß e˙lai÷aß e˙kqlibome÷nou karpouv ple÷on e¶dei zhtei√n pro\ß aÓlei÷mmata; kai« ga»r leai÷nei kai« ka¿maton sw¿matoß lu/ei kai« eujsarki÷an e˙mpoiei√, ka·n ei¶ ti kecalasme÷non ei¶h, sfi÷ggei pukno/thti kai« oujdeno\ß h∞tton e˚te÷rou ÔRw¿mhn kai« eujtoni÷an e˙nti÷qhsin. (Dreams 2:58)

Pliny, in his Natural History 23:39-53 discusses in detail the “medicinal properties of the various kinds of oil,” commenting on olive oil, green oil, castor oil, almond oil, laurel oil, myrtle oil, cypress oil, citrus oil, walnut oil, oil of balsamum, radish oil, sesame oil, palm oil, and many other types of oil, whether fresh or aged. His discussion underscores the very significant medicinal use of oil in ancient times—sometimes in accordance with what God has enabled science to verify experimentally today, and sometimes not.

Patristic references to the medicinal use of oil include: “Antony, the great monk . . . rejected the practice of anointing with oil, and the use of baths and of similar luxuries likely to relax the tension of the body by moisture.” (Ecclesiastical History, Sozomen, Book 1:13); “Or what castle or house is beautiful and serviceable when it has not been anointed? And what man, when he enters into this life or into the gymnasium, is not anointed with oil? And what work has either ornament or beauty unless it be anointed and burnished?” (Theophilus of Antioch, Theophilus to Autolychus Book 1:12). Compare also the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament, ed. Kittel, on aÓlei÷fw.

Lightfoot records the following material concerning medical anointing with oil from Jewish sources:

R. Simeon, the son of Eleazar, permitted R. Meir to mingle wine and oil, and to anoint the sick on the sabbath. And he was once sick, and we sought to do so to him, but he suffered us not.” [Talm. Jerus. In Berachoth, fol. 3, col. 1]

“A tradition. Anointing on the sabbath is permitted. If his head ache, or if a scall come upon it, he anoints with oil.” [Id. In Maazar Sheni, fol. 53, col. 3

“If he be sick, or a scall be upon his head, he anoints according to the manner.” [Talm. Bab. In Joma, fol. 77, 2.]

Lightfoot then comments:

[A]nointing with oil was an ordinary medical application to the sick. . . . Now if we take the apostle’s counsel, as referring to this medical practice, we may construe it, that he would have this physical administration to be improved to the best advantage; namely, that whereas “anointing with oil” was ordinarily used to the sick, by way of physic—he adviseth that they should send for the elders of the church to do it; not that the anointing was any more in their hand, than in another’s, as to the thing itself, for it was still but a physical application—but that they, with the applying of this corporal phsyic, might also pray with and for the patient, and apply the spiritual physic of good admonition and comforts to him. Which is much the same, as if . . . . a sick person should send for the minister at taking of any physic, that he might pray with him, and counsel and comfort him. . . . [The] [A]postle, seeing anointing was an ordinary and good physic . . . directs them . . . to get the elders, or ministers of the church, to come to the sick, and to add, to the medical anointing of him, their godly and fervent prayers for him[.] (Pg. 316, The Whole Works of John Lightfoot, vol. 3, John Lightfoot, ed. John Rodgers Pitman. London: J. F. Dove, 1832)

A search of the Talmuds of Jerusalem and Babylon will provide further evidence of the sort set forth by Lightfoot.

It is also noteworthy that the recorded and commended uses of oil for medicinal purposes in the Bible are those for which there is a rational scientific purpose (Luke 10:34; Isaiah 1:6, etc.). The medically questionable or harmful uses that are mixed into discussions such as that of Pliny are not commended in God’s Word.

[164]        Ben Sira refers to Exodus 15:25, following the Jewish tradition that “supposedly, the water passed through the porous wood, which filtered out enough of the impurities to make it potable” (pg. 84, Exodus: The JPS Torah Commentary, N. M. Sarna, on Exodus 15:25). Indeed, the Targum Pseudo-Jonathan on Exodus 15:25 specifies that Moses used the “bitter oleander tree” (ynpdrad ryrm Nlya), since “Palestinian tradition accords the power of sweetening brackish water . . . [to] bitter oleander” (pg. 577, Exodus 1-18: A New Translation with Introduction and Commentary, W. H. Propp, on Exodus 15:25). Likewise, Philo wrote:

181 And when they had departed from the sea they went on for some time travelling, and no longer feeling any apprehension of their enemies. But when water failed them, so that for three days they had nothing to drink, they were again reduced to despondency by thirst, and again began to blame their fate as if they had not enjoyed any good fortune previously; for it always happens that the presence of an existing and present evil takes away the recollection of the pleasure which was caused by former good. 182 At last, when they beheld some fountains, they ran up full of joy with the idea that they were going to drink, being deceived by ignorance of the truth; for the springs were bitter. Then when they had tasted them they were bowed down by the unexpected disappointment, and fainted, and yielded both in body and soul, lamenting not so much for themselves as for their helpless children, whom they could not endure without tears to behold imploring drink; 183 and some of those who were of more careless dispositions, and of no settled notions of piety, blamed all that had gone before, as if it had turned out not so as to do them any good, but rather so as to lead them to a suffering of more grievous calamities than ever; saying that it was better for them to die, not only once but three times over, by the hands of their enemies, than to perish with thirst; for they affirmed that a quick and painless departure from life did in no respect differ from freedom from death in the opinion of wise men, but that that was real death which was slow and accompanied by pain; that what was fearful was not to be dead but only to be dying. 184 When they were lamenting and bewailing themselves in this manner, Moses again besought God, who knew the weakness of all creatures, and especially of men, and the necessary wants of the body which depends for its existence on food, and which is enslaved by those severe task-mistresses, eating and drinking, to pardon his desponding people, and to relieve their want of everything, and that too not after a long interval of time, but by a prompt and undeferred liberality, since by reason of the natural impotency of their mortal nature, they required a very speedy measure of assistance and deliverance. 185 But he, by his bountiful and merciful power, anticipated their wishes, sending forth and opening the watchful, anxious eye of the soul of his suppliant, and showed him a piece of wood which he bade him take up and throw into the water, which indeed had been made by nature with such a power for that purpose, and which perhaps had a quality which was previously unknown, or perhaps was then first endowed with it, for the purpose of effecting the service which it was then about to perform: 186 and when he had done that which he was commanded to do, the fountains became changed and sweet and drinkable, so that no one was able to recognize the fact of their having been bitter previously, because there was not the slightest trace or spark of their ancient bitterness left to excite the recollection. 181 a‡ranteß d∆ aÓpo\ qala¿tthß me÷cri me÷n tinoß wJdoipo/roun mhke÷ti to\n aÓpo\ tw◊n e˙cqrw◊n ojrrwdouvnteß fo/bon. e˙pilipo/ntoß de« touv potouv trisi«n hJme÷raiß, au™qiß e˙n aÓqumi÷aiß h™san uJpo\ di÷youß kai« pa¿lin h¡rxanto memyimoirei√n wJß mhde«n eu™ propeponqo/teß: aÓei« ga»r hJ touv paro/ntoß prosbolh\ deinouv ta»ß e˙pi« toi√ß prote÷roiß aÓgaqoi√ß hJdona»ß aÓfairei√tai. 182 qeasa¿menoi de« phga»ß e˙pitre÷cousin wJß aÓruso/menoi cara◊ß uJpo/plewˆ, di∆ a‡gnoian taÓlhqouvß aÓpathqe÷nteß: pikrai« ga»r h™san: ei¶ta geusa¿menoi gnamfqe÷nteß twˆ◊ par∆ e˙lpi÷da ta¿ te sw¿mata parei√nto kai« ta»ß yuca»ß aÓnapeptw¿kesan oujc ou¢twß e˙f∆ e˚autoi√ß wJß e˙pi« toi√ß nhpi÷oiß paisi« ste÷nonteß, ou§ß aÓdakruti« poto\n ai˙touvntaß oJra◊n oujc uJpe÷menon. 183 e¶nioi de« tw◊n ojligwrote÷rwn kai« pro\ß eujse÷beian aÓbebai÷wn kai« ta» progegono/ta hØjtiw◊nto wJß oujk e˙p∆ eujergesi÷aˆ sumba¿nta ma◊llon h£ dia» metousi÷an aÓrgalewte÷rwn sumforw◊n, a‡meinon ei•nai le÷gonteß tri÷ß, oujc a‚pax, uJp∆ e˙cqrw◊n aÓpoqanei√n h£ di÷yei parapole÷sqai: th\n me«n ga»r a‡ponon kai« tacei√an touv bi÷ou meta¿stasin oujde«n aÓqanasi÷aß diafe÷rein toi√ß eu™ fronouvsi, qa¿naton d∆ wJß aÓlhqw◊ß ei•nai to\n bradu\n kai« met∆ aÓlghdo/nwn, oujk e˙n twˆ◊ teqna¿nai to\ fobero\n aÓll∆ e˙n mo/nwˆ twˆ◊ aÓpoqnhØ/skein e˙pideiknu/menon 184 toiau/taiß crwme÷nwn ojlofu/rsesi, pa¿lin i˚keteu/ei to\n qeo\n Mwushvß e˙pista¿menon th\n zwˆ¿wn kai« ma¿lista th\n aÓnqrw¿pwn aÓsqe÷neian kai« ta»ß touv sw¿matoß aÓna¿gkaß e˙k trofhvß hjrthme÷nou kai« despoi÷naiß calepai√ß sunezeugme÷nou, brw¿sei kai« po/sei, suggnw◊nai me«n toi√ß aÓqumouvsi, th\n de« pa¿ntwn e¶ndeian e˙kplhvsai, mh\ cro/nou mh/kei, dwrea◊ˆ d∆ aÓnuperqe÷twˆ kai« tacei÷aˆ, dia» th\n touv qnhtouv fusikh\n ojligwri÷an ojxu\n kairo\n thvß bohqei÷aß e˙pipoqouvntoß. 185 oJ de« th\n iºlewn auJtouv du/namin fqa¿nei proekpe÷myaß kai« dioi÷xaß to\ touv i˚ke÷tou thvß yuchvß aÓkoi÷mhton o¡mma xu/lon dei÷knusin, o§ prose÷taxen aÓra¿menon ei˙ß ta»ß phga»ß kaqei√nai, ta¿ca me«n kateskeuasme÷non e˙k fu/sewß poiouvn du/namin, h£ ta¿ca hjgno/hto, ta¿ca de« kai« to/te prw◊ton poihqe«n ei˙ß h§n e¶mellen uJphretei√n crei÷an. 186 genome÷nou de« touv keleusqe÷ntoß, ai˚ me«n phgai« glukai÷nontai metabalouvsai pro\ß to\ po/timon, wJß mhd∆ ei˙ th\n aÓrch\n e˙ge÷nonto/ pote pikrai« du/nasqai diagnw◊nai, dia» to\ mhde« i¶cnoß h£ zw¿puron thvß aÓrcai÷aß kaki÷aß ei˙ß mnh/mhn uJpolelei√fqai. (Moses 1:181-186)

While Exodus 15:24-27 likely records an actual miracle, so that Jewish tradition to the contrary is erroneous—although the statement in Exodus 15:25 that the Lord “taught” Moses a tree (X$Eo ‹hOÎwh◊y …whôérwø¥yÅw) to use for the healing in response to prayeris suggestive—the Jewish tradition that the passage records an event where the Lord healed Israel, not by direct miracle, but through natural means, the purification of the bitter water by Divinely and providentially ordered properties in the tree that Moses employed, illustrates the Jewish view that healing through the employment of medicine and properties the Creator placed within His creation was by no means despised or looked down upon, as in Boardman’s Faith Cure doctrine. The Jews believed that the power of God was declared and His glory manifested through the use of medicine in healing. Boardman’s allegorical doctrinal extrapolations from Exodus 15:24-27, and his wild claim that Israel’s “national faith” was his own doctrine of the Faith Cure (pgs. 29-32, 39-41, The Lord that Healeth Thee) are not a little different from what Israel’s national faith about the use of medicine actually was.

[165]        Compare Sirach 38:10 with James 4:8, “Cleanse your hands, ye sinners; and purify your hearts, ye double minded” kaqari÷sate cei√raß, aJmartwloi÷, kai« aJgni÷sate kardi÷aß, di÷yucoi.

[166]        Sirach 38:1 ti÷ma i˙atro\n pro\ß ta»ß crei÷aß aujtouv timai√ß aujtouv kai« ga»r aujto\n e¶ktisen ku/rioß 2 para» ga»r uJyi÷stou e˙sti«n i¶asiß kai« para» basile÷wß lh/myetai do/ma 3 e˙pisth/mh i˙atrouv aÓnuyw¿sei kefalh\n aujtouv kai« e¶nanti megista¿nwn qaumasqh/setai 4 ku/rioß e¶ktisen e˙k ghvß fa¿rmaka kai« aÓnh\r fro/nimoß ouj prosocqiei√ aujtoi√ß 5 oujk aÓpo\ xu/lou e˙gluka¿nqh u¢dwr ei˙ß to\ gnwsqhvnai th\n i˙scu\n aujtouv 6 kai« aujto\ß e¶dwken aÓnqrw¿poiß e˙pisth/mhn e˙ndoxa¿zesqai e˙n toi√ß qaumasi÷oiß aujtouv 7 e˙n aujtoi√ß e˙qera¿peusen kai« h™ren to\n po/non aujtouv mureyo\ß e˙n tou/toiß poih/sei mei√gma 8 kai« ouj mh\ suntelesqhvØ e¶rga aujtouv kai« ei˙rh/nh par∆ aujtouv e˙stin e˙pi« prosw¿pou thvß ghvß 9 te÷knon e˙n aÓrrwsth/mati÷ sou mh\ para¿blepe aÓll∆ eu™xai kuri÷wˆ kai« aujto\ß i˙a¿setai÷ se 10 aÓpo/sthson plhmme÷leian kai« eu¡qunon cei√raß kai« aÓpo\ pa¿shß aJmarti÷aß kaqa¿rison kardi÷an. 11 do\ß eujwdi÷an kai« mnhmo/sunon semida¿lewß kai« li÷panon prosfora»n wJß mh\ uJpa¿rcwn 12 kai« i˙atrw◊ˆ do\ß to/pon kai« ga»r aujto\n e¶ktisen ku/rioß kai« mh\ aÓposth/tw sou kai« ga»r aujtouv crei÷a 13 e¶stin kairo\ß o¢te kai« e˙n cersi«n aujtw◊n eujodi÷a 14 kai« ga»r aujtoi« kuri÷ou dehqh/sontai iºna eujodw¿shØ aujtoi√ß aÓna¿pausin kai« i¶asin ca¿rin e˙mbiw¿sewß 15 oJ aJmarta¿nwn e¶nanti touv poih/santoß aujto\n e˙mpe÷soi ei˙ß cei√raß i˙atrouv.

Translation from pgs. 438-439, The Wisdom of Ben Sira: A New Translation with Notes, Introduction and Commentary, P. W. Skehan, & A. A. Di Lella (2008). New Haven; London: Yale University Press, 2008. Note also their commentary on the passage.

[167]        Indeed, the Higher Life theology in general neglects the fact that faith is a gift from God, rather than an autonomously generated product of man.

[168]        Jeremiah certainly also makes it clear that when disease is caused by personal sin, and one is unwilling to repent of that sin, or when a nation is rebellious and unwilling to repent, personal or national sickness can come as a Divine judgment, and the use of doctors and medicine to eliminate disease in such instances can then fail. Furthermore, Jeremiah certainly recognizes that God, not medicine, is the ultimate cause of healing; physicians and treatments are merely a subordinate cause. Such facts are recognized by Baptist and Protestant cessationists and are entirely consistent with their position, while Jeremiah’s assumption that the use of medicine is normal and proper is highly problematic for one who advocates abandoning medicine for a Higher Life of the body.

[169]        E. g., the positive reference to physicians that were Joseph’s servants in Genesis 50:2—another text ignored by Boardman.

[170]        Pg. 75, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[171]        The complete list of New Testament texts employing aÓsqe÷neia is: Matthew 8:17; Luke 5:15; 8:2; 13:11–12; John 5:5; 11:4; Acts 28:9; Romans 6:19; 8:26; 1 Corinthians 2:3; 15:43; 2 Corinthians 11:30; 12:5, 9–10; 13:4; Galatians 4:13; 1 Timothy 5:23; Hebrews 4:15; 5:2; 7:28; 11:34.

[172]        aÓsqene÷w. The complete list of New Testament texts with the verb is: Matthew 10:8; 25:36; Mark 6:56; Luke 4:40; 7:10; 9:2; John 4:46; 5:3, 7; 6:2; 11:1–3, 6; Acts 9:37; 19:12; 20:35; Romans 4:19; 8:3; 14:1–2, 21; 1 Corinthians 8:9, 11–12; 2 Corinthians 11:21, 29; 12:10; 13:3–4, 9; Philippians 2:26–27; 2 Timothy 4:20; James 5:14.

[173]        Pg. 75, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman. Boardman does not give any indication that he is even aware that the Greek noun astheneia and verb astheneo are employed in 1 Timothy 5:23 and 2 Timothy 4:20, texts which he seeks to deal with so differently; nor is there any evidence that he was aware that James 5:13 employs the verb astheneo also.

[174]        Pg. 55, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[175]        Pg. 76, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[176]        Pgs. 73-75, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[177]        Pg. 55, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[178]        Note the explanation of this “thorn in the flesh” including both aÓsqe÷neia and aÓsqene÷w in the passage, as well as kolafi÷zw, meaning “to cause physical impairment, torment . . . of painful attacks of an illness” (BDAG).

[179]        Pg. 80, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[180]        The fact that faith was not required when Christ or the Apostles healed men does not mean that, at times, those with faith were blessed with the receipt of miracles of healing over others (cf. Matthew 8:13; 9:29; 15:28; Acts 14:9), and that at times, as the just Judge who must punish sin, Christ refused to remain in an area or to heal those there who refused to believe in Him and come to Him for healing (Matthew 13:58; Mark 6:5-6). In such situations, Christ “could there do no mighty work” (Mark 6:5) not because He lacked ability, or because He was dependent upon men rather than being the Sovereign King of Kings, but because to do so was not in accordance with His wisdom, goodness, and His holy justice. He was unable to deny His attributes and fail to punish unbelief and transgression, just as Jeremiah recorded, “the LORD could no longer bear, because of the evil of your doings” (Jeremiah 44:22). Christ cannot deny His justice and leave sin unpunished, for He cannot deny Himself (2 Timothy 2:13), just as He cannot lie (Titus 1:2; Hebrews 6:18). Christ’s omnipotent power was regulated by His Divine wisdom, which recognized that healing unbelieving and rebellious people who would not even come to Him for healing would have no positive spiritual effect on them. He would not deny His goodness by healing these people who refused to come to Him and receive Him and the gospel, for being physically healed and seeing miracles while refusing spiritual salvation would have greatly aggravated their judgment (Matthew 11:23-24). There is no record in Mark 6:5 that people actually came to the Lord and asked for healing—rather, because they did not believe, they did not come to Him for healing at all. If, when Christ did a miracle in a particular area, the people who lived there did not bring their sick to Him, but came to Him and told Him to leave, He did not perform further miracles, but left (Mark 5:15-17), just as He avoided areas where the people came to hate Him and sought to kill Him (John 7:1; Luke 4:16-30).

Comparably, immediately after the rejection of Mark 6:5 (see v. 7-11), Christ commanded the Apostles to go into Jewish villages and “[h]eal the sick, cleanse the lepers, raise the dead, cast out devils: freely ye have received, freely give” (Matthew 10:8). However, if those in a particular house or village refused to receive them (Matthew 10:14), they were to depart and shake off the dust on their feet, and nobody would then be healed in that house or village. The fact that Christ limited the miracles He performed in specific situations and left people unhealed in regions where they did not come to Him for healing but tried to kill him instead does not change the fact that, over and over again throughout the whole of His earthly ministry, Christ healed absolutely everyone who came to Him (Matthew 4:23-25; Luke 4:40) from every disease (Matthew 9:35), just like the Apostle Peter healed everyone that came to him of every disease (Acts 5:15-16). The fact that Christ did not heal people who refused to ask Him for healing but told Him to leave or who tried to kill Him does not help the purveyors of the Faith Cure or of Pentecostalism explain away their abysmal failure to duplicate Biblical miracle healing. Pentecostal marvel-peddlers do not run away from people who try to kill them but heal everybody who asks them for healing. Rather, they fail to heal those who come to them for healing and kill those who trust in them by encouraging them to forsake life-saving medicine.

[181]        When the King James Bible records Christ telling people, “Thy faith hath made thee whole” (hJ pi÷stiß sou se÷swke÷ se, Mattthew 9:22; Mark 5:34; 10:52; Luke 8:48, 50; 17:19), He addressed people who were spiritually saved from their sin; the same Greek phrase is translated “thy faith hath saved thee” (Luke 7:50; 18:42), for “whole” is the Greek word usually translated “saved,” swˆ¿zw, signifying “salvation from sin” (compare the use of i˙a¿omai for solely physical healing in Matthew 15:28, and the swˆ¿zw/i˙a¿omai contrast in Mark 5:34). Christ equally healed ten lepers, but only to the one who was spiritually saved did He say, “thy faith hath made thee whole” (Luke 17:12-19). The other nine were just as physically healed, but they were not spiritually made whole or saved by faith. Those who believed in Christ were both physically and spiritually made whole (Matthew 9:22), and could consequently “be of good comfort” and “go in peace” as the children of God (Luke 8:48), while those who did not believe in Him were physically healed if they came to the Lord to get well, but they were not truly made whole or saved in the deepest and most necessary way.

[182]        Indeed, the very existence of a Faith Cure home or hospital where people who were still sick were left to recover is proof positive that the Faith Cure does not heal like Christ and the Apostles healed. The Lord Jesus did not need to send anyone to a hospital because He healed everyone of everything by simple and immediate acts of Divine power.

[183]        One could affirm that Mark 7:33-35 constitutes an exception to Christ’s pattern of instant healing, but such an affirmation would be false. The Lord did what is recorded in v. 33 to help the man to understand that his hearing and speech were to be restored, and then Christ healed him immediately by simply speaking (v. 34-35).

The New Testament does, however, record one exception to Christ’s pattern of instant healing in Mark 8:23-26. However, in this episode Christ healed the man in two stages because, as validated by the context of Mark 8:14-22, His healing paralleled His illumination of the spiritual sight of His disciples. The Lord healed by two distinct and deliberate acts of miraculous power to illustrate a spiritual point, while those who affirm that they have the gift of healing like Christ fail to either heal instantly, as the Lord chose to do the overwhelming majority of the time, or to heal with two distinct acts of miraculous power, as Christ chose to do in this solitary instance for a specific spiritual purpose—rather, moderns who claim Apostolic healing abilities “heal” in a manner that is consistent with natural causes the overwhelming majority of the time, and neither heal instantly in one supernatural act of power nor in two distinct and deliberate acts of miraculous power.

In Mark’s account of the healing of the blind man at Bethsaida not only the climax of the story but the entire narrative is constructed on the motif of “seeing.” In English translations several of the words used for sight are the same, but in the original Greek there are eight different words used for nine instances of seeing in 8:23–25! The redundancy of references to sight and seeing provides a counterbalance to the redundancy of accusations of blindness and misunderstanding in the previous story. Yet another link between this miracle and the previous story occurs in the speech of Jesus to the blind man. At a miracle Jesus normally speaks an authoritative word or makes a pronouncement. Here, however, he asks a question, “Do you see anything?” (v. 23). That unusual question looks like an echo of Jesus’ pleading questions of the disciples in the previous story, the first of which was “Do you still not see?” (8:17). The blind man’s response that he can see people who “look like trees walking around” (v. 24) is a clue that the disciples themselves will be enabled by Jesus to begin the process of moving from blindness to sight.

The healing of the blind man of Bethsaida is the only miracle in the Gospels that proceeds in stages rather than being instantly effected. . . . The . . . repeated touches cannot imply for Mark insufficiency on Jesus’ part . . . since elsewhere Jesus performs more difficult miracles (from a human perspective) without fail, such as healing the Gerasene demoniac (5:1–20) or raising a dead girl (5:35–43). The two-stage cure in the present miracle thus suggests a process of revelation — as much for the disciples . . . as for the blind man at Bethsaida. (The Gospel according to Mark. The Pillar New Testament Commentary, J. R. Edwards, on Mark 8:23-25)

[184]        See also Matthew 9:27-30; Mark 8:22-25.

[185]        Cf. pgs. 62-63, 222-223, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. New York, NY: D. Appleton, 1887. On pg. 62, The Lord that Health Thee, W. Boardman indicates that skeptics could mock at and deny the reality of the Faith Cures—something that the enemies of the gospel could not do when Christ and the Apostles healed.

[186]        Pg. 236, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. New York, NY: D. Appleton, 1887.

[187]        Pg. 17, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[188]        Pg. 21, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[189]        Pg. 62, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[190]        Pg. 93, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[191]        Pg. 94, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[192]        Pg. 94, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[193]        Pg. 113, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. Capitalization in the original. Nonetheless, she found that her “faith to grasp” the Faith Cure “was greatly strengthened by the relinquishment of outward means . . . the use of means . . . hindered” her from “looking off unto the Lord.” Happily, she did not relinquish means and then die from her unabated disease, but ended up getting better, so Boardman put her testimony in his book, as he did various others who “abandoned physicians and remedies, laid aside all their appliances, and [began] trusting simply and solely in the Lord to heal . . . by His power in answer to the prayer of faith” (pg. 130, ibid).

[194]        Pg. 123, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[195]        Pg. 134, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[196]        Pgs. 130-131, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[197]        Pgs. 141-142, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. Boardman attempts a justification of the discontinuity between Biblical healing and the Faith Cure on pgs. 142-143, one which is more notable in its admission of discontinuity than in the success of its explanation. Despite vociferous claims of continuity throughout Boardman’s book, he ends with an admission of very notable discontinuity.

[198]        Pgs. 105-107, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[199]        Compare the contradiction in Stephen Barabas’ So Great Salvation on partial faith bringing a partial sanctification, despite the alleged parallel between justification and sanctification being by faith alone, in the section above, “An Analysis and Critique of Keswick Theology as Set Forth Particularly in So Great Salvation: The History and Message of the Keswick Convention by Stephen Barabas,” and also pgs. 263-264, “Means and Measure of Holiness,” Thomas Smith. The British and Foreign Evangelical Review (April 1876) 251-280.

[200]        Pg. 63, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[201]        Pg. 142, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[202]        Pg. 127, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman.

[203]        Pg. 53, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. As explained earlier in more detail, Matthew 13:58 and Mark 6:5-6 by no means prove that the Lord Jesus did not have the power to heal people who did not believe. Rather, the verses speak of Christ’s righteous withholding of miracles of healing as judgment upon the unbelieving people in the particular context under consideration; furthermore, the people did not bring their sick to Christ for healing, so He did not heal them. These two passages do not contradict in the least the strong testimony of many other texts that Christ healed all who came to Him for healing, even though the great majority of the population did not believe.

Compare Hannah W. Smith’s related misuse of Matthew 13:58 & Mark 6:6 at the 1874 Broadlands Conference (pg. 127, The Life that is Life Indeed: Reminiscences of the Broadlands Conferences, Edna V. Jackson. London: James Nisbet & Co, 1910).

[204]        Pg. 73, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[205]        Letter of Hannah W. Smith to Priscilla, Monterey, California, August 14, 1882, reproduced in The Christian’s Secret of a Holy Life: The unpublished personal writings of Hannah Whitall Smith, M. E. Dieter, entry for November 19.

[206]        Pg. 66, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[207]        Pg. 67, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[208]        Pg. 65, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[209]        Pgs. 68-69, The Lord that Healeth Thee, Boardman.

[210]        E. g., at the Brighton Convention the question was faced: “We are sometimes asked [if the Higher Life is true], what we are going to do with such portions of Scripture as the book of Job?” The answer was given:

Job had so much conflict when otherwise he might have known rest. . . . He did not clearly perceive the life of the child of God. He . . . kn[ew] Jesus Christ as the Saviour, but [he did] not know Him as the life. . . . [He was] a man full of himself[.] . . . Job . . . was righteous in his own eye—self-righteous—and that is what every man is who is not depending entirely on the Lord Jesus Christ. (pgs. 205-208,          Record of the Convention for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness Held at Brighton, May 29th to June 7th, 1875. Brighton: W. J. Smith, 1875)

However, finally Job found the Higher Life, and then the Lord gave him seven more sons and three daughters, whose beauty allegorically interpreted signified “resurrection fairness” (pg. 208). In such a manner, through the gross abuse and misreading of the book of Job, the Higher Life of ease and rest could be maintained against the evident and literal teaching of God’s Word, and Hannah W. Smith could be justified above one who God Himself testified was the holiest man on the earth in his day.

[211]        E. g., Robert P. Smith taught at the Oxford Convention:

Do not permit the Devil to suggest difficulties, as that a life of full consecration to God will make you miserable. Banish instantly a thought so unworthy of God! He is your Father—your Heavenly Father. Does an earthly parent make the thoroughly obedient child miserable? Shame on the thought! Let it never be allowed entrance to any heart here! (pg. 223, Account of the Union Meeting for the Promotion of Scriptural Holiness, Held at Oxford, August 29 to September 7, 1874. Chicago: Revell, 1874. Italics in original.)

For Smith to maintain this Higher Life teaching, abandonment of the obvious teaching of the book of Job was clearly necessary, as what that inspired book of wisdom plainly teaches is ascribed by Mr. Smith to the devil. Smith supported his belief that the Christian life is perpetual “rest” and “ease” by twisting Psalm 25:12, overlooking the fact that only a handful of verses later in the same psalm David affirmed: “I am desolate and afflicted” and, “[t]he troubles of my heart are enlarged,” although he could also affirm: “Mine eyes are ever toward the LORD” (Psalm 25:15-17), so the man after God’s own heart was looking to the Lord in faith although undergoing affliction.

[212]        Indeed, Mr. Boardman appears to justify Job’s three counselors in their attributing Job’s illness to personal sin, despite the fact that “the LORD said to Eliphaz the Temanite, My wrath is kindled against thee, and against thy two friends: for ye have not spoken of me the thing that is right, as my servant Job hath” (Job 42:7).

[213]        Such as Boardman, Simpson, the Word of Faith movement, etc.

[214]        Warfield speaks of what might be called “sign miracles.” An act like regeneration, or the work of the Holy Spirit in sanctification, would be denominated by Warfield as “supernatural,” but not as a “miracle.” Warfield’s definition is supported by the use of the English word miracle in the Authorized Version (Exodus 7:9; Numbers 14:22; Deuteronomy 11:3; 29:3; Judges 6:13; Mark 6:52; 9:39; Luke 23:8; John 2:11, 23; 3:2; 4:54; 6:2, 14, 26; 7:31; 9:16; 10:41; 11:47; 12:18, 37; Acts 2:22; 4:16, 22; 6:8; 8:6, 13; 15:12; 19:11; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28–29; Galatians 3:5; Hebrews 2:4; Revelation 13:14; 16:14; 19:20). Warfield’s definition of miracles also receives support from the Hebrew and Greek words rendered miracle, although other words indicate that, in a different sense, it is legitimate to call an act such as regeneration a miracle, not simply something supernatural.

Three words are translated miracle in the Old Testament; tEpwøm, twøa, and aDlDÚp. tEpwøm appears 36 times (Exodus 4:21; 7:3, 9; 11:9–10; Deuteronomy 4:34; 6:22; 7:19; 13:1-2; 26:8; 28:46; 29:2; 34:11; 1 Kings 13:3, 5; 1 Chronicles 16:12; 2 Chronicles 32:24, 31; Nehemiah 9:10; Psalm 71:7; 78:43; 105:5, 27; 135:9; Isaiah 8:18; 20:3; Jeremiah 32:20–21; Ezekiel 12:6, 11; 24:24, 27; Joel 3:3; Zechariah 3:8), is predominantly translated wonder (25x), then sign (8x). It is rendered miracle twice (Exodus 7:9; Deuteronomy 29:3). The word is used of miracles such as the ten plagues the Lord brought on Egypt (Exodus 7:3; 11:9) or the miraculous rending of the altar at Bethel (1 Kings 13:3, 5) or the wonders God will perform in the Tribulation period (Joel 2:30) or God’s miraculously making Hezekiah’s sundial go backward ten degrees (2 Chronicles 32:24, 31). It is also used of supernatural wonders done by false prophets (Deuteronomy 13:1-2). The word is also used of Isaiah, Ezekiel, and others who, by their actions or in other ways, visibly typed or manifested the supernaturally given prophecies of the prophets (Isaiah 8:18; 20:3; Ezekiel 12:6, 11; 24:24, 27; Zechariah 3:8). The miraculous, as tEpwøm, functions in character as a sign by its unique character, causing men to wonder. In all these instances—the large majority of uses, which include both texts where the English word miracle appears—is employed of events that unquestionably pass beyond providence to match the limited definition Warfield gives miracle. Indeed, the Theological Dictionary of the New Testament affirms that tEpwøm is “always connected with a miraculous occurrence” (vol. 7, pg. 209, art. on shmei√on). Deuteronomy 28:46 & Psalm 71:7 constitute the only possible exceptions, where the word could apparently be used of what are evident signs of God’s working, but which do not necessarily surpass the level of providence. However, Psalm 71:7 affirms not that the Psalmist “is” a “wonder” or tEpwøm, but that he is “as a wonder,” tEpwømV;k, simply making a comparison. Furthermore, the language of “sign . . . and . . . wonder” in Deuteronomy 28:46 recalls the judgments Jehovah put upon Egypt (Deuteronomy 4:34; 6:22; 7:19; 26:8; 29:3; 34:11), which were clearly miraculous. While the Deuteronomic curses predicted by Moses in 28:46 certainly including awful providential judgments upon Israel, they will ultimately be fulfilled in the miraculous judgments upon unconverted Israel in the Tribulation period (which include the descent of the unconverted into hell), described in the book of Revelation with significant allusion to the Egyptian plagues in Exodus. Consequently, there are no clear or certain exceptions to the pattern that a tEpwøm points to a sign, wonder, or “miracle” in the narrow sense defined by Warfield.

twøa appears 79 times (Genesis 1:14; 4:15; 9:12–13, 17; 17:11; Exodus 3:12; 4:8–9, 17, 28, 30; 7:3; 8:19; 10:1–2; 12:13; 13:9, 16; 31:13, 17; Numbers 2:2; 14:11, 22; 17:3, 25; Deuteronomy 4:34; 6:8, 22; 7:19; 11:3, 18; 13:2–3; 26:8; 28:46; 29:2; 34:11; Joshua 2:12; 4:6; 24:17; Judges 6:17; 1 Samuel 2:34; 10:7, 9; 14:10; 2 Kings 19:29; 20:8–9; Isaiah 7:11, 14; 8:18; 19:20; 20:3; 37:30; 38:7, 22; 44:25; 55:13; 66:19; Jeremiah 10:2; 32:20–21; 44:29; Ezekiel 4:3; 14:8; 20:12, 20; Psalm 65:9; 74:4, 9; 78:43; 86:17; 105:27; 135:9; Job 21:29; Nehemiah 9:10). The word is translated sign sixty times, token 14 times, and miracle twice (Numbers 14:22; Deuteronomy 11:3). twøa usually describes unquestionable miracles, such as the plagues in Egypt wrought through Moses (Exodus 7:3; 8:23), or the miracles wrought in the wilderness journey from Egypt to Canaan (Numbers 14:11, 22), or the miraculous fire brought out of a rock by the Angel of the LORD (Judges 6:17), or the miracle of making Hezekiah’s sundial go back ten degrees (2 Kings 20:8-9; Isaiah 38:7), or the virgin birth of the Messiah (Isaiah 7:14). The word is employed alongside of tEpwøm of the supernatural works or prophecies of false prophets—their prophecies sometimes come to pass (Deuteronomy 13:1-2) but sometimes do not (Isaiah 44:25). twøa is employed like tEpwøm, although not as frequently, of people that type or manifest supernaturally given prophecy (Isaiah 8:18; 20:3), as well as of actions that type or manifest prophecy (Ezekiel 4:3). However, twøa is also employed of what is obviously less than strictly miraculous, such as the sign of circumcision (Genesis 17:11) or the celebration of the feast of Unleavened Bread (Exodus 13:9) or the Sabbath (Exodus 31:17). It is used of the sign or token Rahab requested from the spies (Joshua 2:12) and of the twelve stones taken from the Jordan river and made a monument (Joshua 4:6), as well as other monuments (Isaiah 19:20). It is used of the providentially guided answer of the Philistines to Jonathan and his armorbearer (1 Samuel 14:10), of the “signs of heaven” that the heathen feared in their pagan astrology but the people of God were to not be dismayed at (Jeremiah 10:2), and of the ensigns of war of the ungodly (Psalm 74:4). Thus, while twøa is very often a reference to what Warfield would designate a strict miracle, broader uses are also present.

When a specific event is designated a “sign and wonder,” employing twøa and tEpwøm together, reference is always made to the work of Jehovah, and the strictly miraculous is always in view: Exodus 7:3; Deuteronomy 4:34; 6:22; 7:19; 26:8; 28:46; 29:2; 34:11; Nehemiah 9:10; Psalm 78:43; 105:27; 135:9; Isaiah 8:18; 20:3; Jeremiah 32:20–21. Note that Deuteronomy 13:1-2 does not fit in this category, because it refers to a sign “or” wonder (t`Epwøm wñøa twäøa). Isaiah 8:18; 20:3 refer to the confirmation of miraculously given prophecy.

The verb aDlDÚp, which is usually rendered with a form of wondrous or marvelous, is also frequently used of the strictly miraculous (thus, the Niphals in Exodus 3:20; 34:20; Joshua 3:5; Judges 6:13 (the sole text where the word is translated miracle); Jeremiah 21:2; etc.)—indeed, the verb is employed when the Lord distinguishes His wondrous and miraculous power, manifest in the Exodus, as superior to anything performed at any previous time in any nation before that period, indicating that Divine miracles of Exodus character were not performed constantly, nor replicated by fallen angels: “And he said, Behold, I make a covenant: before all thy people I will do marvels [t$OaDlVpˆn h∞RcToRa], such as have not been done in all the earth, nor in any nation: and all the people among which thou art shall see the work of the LORD: for it is a terrible thing that I will do with thee” (Exodus 34:10; in the Tribulation period, miracles will be in a class comparable to those of the Exodus, Micah 7:15). The Niphal of aDlDÚp is also frequently used for “wondrous works” that include both the miraculous and non-miraculous acts of God (cf. Job 5:9; 9:10; Psalm 9:2; 26:7; 71:17; 72:18; 75:1; 78:4, 11, 32; 86:10, etc.), for the fundamental idea of the word is not what Warfield would define as miracle, but an act that produces wonder in those who learn of it. The Niphal is consequently employed of what is clearly not miraculous but is wonderful (Deuteronomy 17:8; 30:11; 2 Samuel 1:26; 13:2; Job 42:3; Proverbs 30:18; Daniel 11:36; etc.) The miracle idea is not at all strong outside of the Niphal (Piel, Leviticus 22:21; Numbers 15:3, 8; Hiphil, Leviticus 27:2; Numbers 6:2; Deuteronomy 28:59; Judges 13:19 (an instance of the miraculous outside of the Niphal); 2 Chronicles 2:9; 26:15; Psalm 17:7; 31:21; Isaiah 28:29; Joel 2:26; Hithpael, Job 10:16). The complete list of texts with the verb is Genesis 18:14; Exodus 3:20; 34:10; Leviticus 22:21; 27:2; Numbers 6:2; 15:3, 8; Deuteronomy 17:8; 28:59; 30:11; Joshua 3:5; Judges 6:13; 13:19; 2 Samuel 1:26; 13:2; 1 Chronicles 16:9, 12, 24; 2 Chronicles 2:9; 26:15; Nehemiah 9:17; Psalm 9:1; 17:7; 26:7; 31:21; 40:5; 71:17; 72:18; 75:1; 78:4, 11, 32; 86:10; 96:3; 98:1; 105:2, 5; 106:7, 22; 107:8, 15, 21, 24, 31; 111:4; 118:23; 119:18, 27; 131:1; 136:4; 139:14; 145:5; Job 5:9; 9:10; 10:16; 37:5, 14; 42:3; Proverbs 30:18; Isaiah 28:29; Jeremiah 21:2; 32:17, 27; Daniel 8:24; 11:36; Joel 2:26; Micah 7:15; Zechariah 8:6).

In summary, the Old Testament employs the terms tEpwøm, twøa, and aDlDp to speak of miracles. aDlDÚp and twøa are used of both for what Warfield would designate as the strictly miraculous and of wonders and signs that are broader than Warfield’s definition of miracle. tEpwøm, on the other hand, is always associated with what Warfield would designate as the strictly miraculous; it constitutes a sign and wonder that is an evident breaking of the supernatural into the natural order.

The New Testament translates both du/namiß and shmei√on as miracle. The words te÷raß, megalei√on, e¶ndoxon, para¿doxon & qauma¿sion are also related (cf. § xci, Synonyms of the New Testament, Trench).

The noun du/namiß is usually translated power (77x out of 120 uses); mighty work (11x) is the second most common rendering. The word is translated miracle in Mark 9:39; Acts 2:22; 8:13; 19:11; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28-29; Galatians 3:5; Hebrews 2:4. When du/namiß is used of miracles, it emphasizes the power or capability involved. While the word is employed in senses where the performance of a miracle is not in view, in every such case a particular act is not under consideration (Matthew 6:13; 22:29; 24:29–30; 25:15; 26:64; Mark 9:1; 12:24; 13:25–26; 14:62; Luke 21:26–27; 22:69; Romans 1:20; 8:38; 1 Corinthians 14:11; 15:24; 15:56; 2 Corinthians 1:8; 4:7; 6:7; 8:3; 12:9; Ephesians 1:21; 2 Thessalonians 1:7; Hebrews 6:5; 7:16; 11:34; 1 Peter 3:22; 2 Peter 2:11; Rev 1:16; 3:8; 4:11; 5:12; 7:12; 11:17; 12:10; 15:8; 17:13; 18:3; 19:1). When a particular act is specified with du/namiß, the act in question is always miraculous—non-miraculous works are never clearly identified with du/namiß. Thus, the word is regularly used of the performance of miraculous acts (Matthew 7:22; 11:20, 21, 23; 13:54, 58; 14:2; Mark 6:2, 5, 14; 9:39; Luke 10:13; 19:37; Acts 2:22; 8:13; 19:11; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28-29; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Galatians 3:5; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Hebrews 2:4), and in other uses the word is clearly associated and related to the performance of miracles (Mark 5:30; Luke 1:17 (a legitimate instance, despite John 10:41, where shmei√on, not du/namiß, is employed; John led many to miraculous regeneration—he led many to turn from disobedience to wisdom so that Israel could be prepared for the Lord, as Elijah also had done; cf. 1 Kings 18:39. John’s work of bringing many to regeneration through his preaching as a prophet was a miracle as du/namiß, but not as shmei√on.); 1:35; 4:14; 4:36; 5:17; 6:19; 8:46; 9:1; 10:13, 19; 24:49; Acts 1:8; 3:12; 4:7, 33; 6:8; 8:10; 10:38; Romans 1:4, 16; 9:17; 15:13; 15:19; 1 Corinthians 1:18; 24; 2:4–5; 4:19–20; 5:4; 6:14; 12:10; 15:43; 2 Corinthians 13:4; Ephesians 1:19; 3:7; 3:16, 20; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:11, 29; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2 Timothy 1:7–8; 3:5; Hebrews 1:3; 11:11; 1 Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 1:3, 16; Revelation 13:2). The Theological Dictionary of the New Testament (ed. Kittel, pg. 230, vol. 7) notes that “in the plural du/nameiß even became a technical term for ‘miracles’ in the NT,” an affirmation supported by the evidence (Matthew 7:22; 11:20–21, 23; 13:54, 58; 14:2; Mark 6:2, 14; Luke 10:13; 19:37; 21:26; Acts 2:22; 8:13; 19:11; 1 Corinthians 12:10, 28–29; 2 Corinthians 12:12; Galatians 3:5; Hebrews 2:4; 6:5—the sole exceptions are instances where does not refer to acts at all, Matthew 24:29; Mark 13:25; Luke 21:26; Romans 8:38; 1 Peter 3:22). The best argument against du/namiß referring specifically to the miraculous would be the class of texts where the word is employed in association with Christian salvation, a category which is inclusive of sanctification and of the bestowal of spiritual gifts (Romans 1:16; 15:13; 1 Corinthians 1:18; Ephesians 1:19; 3:7, 16, 20; Philippians 3:10; Colossians 1:11, 29; 1 Thessalonians 1:5; 2 Thessalonians 1:11; 2 Timothy 1:7, 8; 3:5; 1 Peter 1:5; 2 Peter 1:3). However, it is better to conclude from the existence of this category that regeneration is a miraculous work of Divine power, and the Spirit’s power in progressively eradicating indwelling sin in Christians, producing spiritual fruit, and performing other works associated with salvation is a similar work of Divine power, rather than a priori concluding that Christian salvation is non-miraculous, and from this a priori establishing a category, otherwise not clearly attested in the New Testament, where du/namiß refers to non-miraculous actions. The identification of salvation with the miraculous is clearly supported elsewhere in Scripture with texts that indicate that personal regeneration is in the same category as a work of Divine power with the transformation, the cosmic regeneration, involved in establishing the Millennial earth (Matthew 19:28; Titus 3:5; paliggenesi÷a) or the fact that both bringing into being a universe and bringing into being a clean heart are works of creation (Genesis 1:1; Psalm 51:10; a∂r;Db). Furthermore, the identification of du/namiß with the miraculous establishes that a Biblical miracle, as a work of God’s power, is not necessarily a rare event, for the exercise of Almighty power in sustaining the universe employs du/namiß (Hebrews 1:3). While God constantly sustains the universe, Scripture indicates that this is a miracle in the sense of the word du/namiß. Furthermore, while they are not able to replicate everything done by the Almighty, the powers of darkness can perform miracles (2 Thessalonians 2:9).

The word shmei√on appears 77 times in the New Testament (Matthew 12:38–39; 16:1, 3–4; 24:3, 24, 30; 26:48; Mark 8:11–12; 13:4, 22; 16:17, 20; Luke 2:12, 34; 11:16, 29–30; 21:7, 11, 25; 23:8; John 2:11, 18, 23; 3:2; 4:48, 54; 6:2, 14, 26, 30; 7:31; 9:16; 10:41; 11:47; 12:18, 37; 20:30; Acts 2:19, 22, 43; 4:16, 22, 30; 5:12; 6:8; 7:36; 8:6, 13; 14:3; 15:12; Romans 4:11; 15:19; 1 Corinthians 1:22; 14:22; 2 Corinthians 12:12; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; 3:17; Hebrews 2:4; Revelation 12:1, 3; 13:13–14; 15:1; 16:14; 19:20), and is translated by a form of sign 50 times, by miracle 23 times, by wonder three times, and as token once. The word is translated “miracle” in Luke 23:8; John 2:11, 23; 3:2; 4:54; 6:2, 14, 26; 7:31; 9:16; 10:41; 11:47; 12:18, 37; Acts 4:16, 22; 6:8; 8:6; 15:12; Revelation 13:14; 16:14; 19:20. With the exception of a handful of texts where the word signifies “a visible mark by which someone or something is recognized” (Matthew 26:48; Luke 2:12; Romans 4:11; 2 Thessalonians 3:17), the word refers to miraculous signs: Matthew 12:38-39; 16:1, 3, 4, 24:3, 24, 30; Mark 8:11, 12; 13:4, 22; 16:17, 20; Luke 2:34 (Christ Himself is a shmei√on because of the miracle of the incarnation; cf. Luke 11:30; Isaiah 11:10-12); 11:16, 29, 30; 21:7, 11, 25; 23:8; John 2:11, 18, 23; 3:2; 4:48, 54; 6:2, 14, 26, 30; 7:31; 9:16; 10:41; 11:47; 12:18, 37; 20:30; Acts 2:19, 22, 43; 4:16, 22, 30, 5:12; 6:8; 7:36, 8:6, 13; 14:3; 15:12; Romans 15:19; 1 Corinthians 1:22; 14:22; 2 Corinthians 12:12 (Apostles have miracle-working power to validate their office); 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Hebrews 2:4; Revelation 12:1, 3, 13:13, 14; 15:1; 16:14; 19:20. The powers of darkness can perform false signs or miracles (shmei√on); Matthew 24:24; Mark 13:22; 2 Thessalonians 2:9; Revelation 13:13-14; 16:14; 19:20. “In the religious sphere, sēmeion has always meant a prodigy that is recognizable and provides proof for everyone. In the NT, it is a category of miracle, together with mighty works (dynameis) and wonders (terata, Acts 2:22; 2 Thess 2:9; 2 Cor 12:12; Heb 2:4); but it retains its value as a sign or demonstration” (pg. 252, Theological Lexicon of the New Testament vol. 3, Spicq). The shmei√on, unlike the du/namiß, always refers to something specific and unique: “If in face of the varied nature of NT usage a basic meaning can be laid down . . . this seems to reside in the fact that in a specific situation which cannot be repeated shmei√onstates or indicates a possibility or intention or the indispensability of a definite human reference” (pg. 231, Theological Dictionary of the New Testament vol. 7, Kittel). Consequently, shmei√onis not used for works such as human regeneration and sanctification, as du/namiß is.

Consequently, while a miracle, as an act of God’s power, as a du/namiß, is broader in scope than Warfield’s definition, a miracle as a sign, as shmei√on, supports Warfield. The glorious and stupendous acts of God’s power in both the parting of the Red Sea and in raising a dead sinner to new life are miracles in the sense of du/namiß; only the former is a sign-miracle, a shmei√on.

In conclusion, while there are words that designate miracles in the Old and New Testament that encompass ideas broader than that Warfield designates “miracle,” his definition nonetheless has clear Biblical support, not just as a definite idea present within the semantic range of all the words translated miracle in the Authorized Version, but also in the sign-miracles specified by tEpwøm and shmei√on.

[215]         So, indeed, the Higher Life theology and the Faith Cure are very closely bound together.

[216]        Pgs. 252-255, Counterfeit Miracles, Warfield.

[217]        Pg. 23, The Bible and the Body, Bingham. Boardman believed: “[I]f after all [the teaching of The Lord that Healeth Thee] should be found not of God, the effect would be disastrous” (pg. 5, The Lord that Healeth Thee, W. E. Boardman. London: Morgan and Scott, 1881).

[218]        Pg. 242, 246, Life and Labours of the Rev. W. E. Boardman, Mrs. Boardman. New York, NY: D. Appleton, 1887.

[219]        Pg. 461, Biographical Dictionary of Evangelicals.

[220]        Pg. 43, A Theology of the Holy Spirit: The Pentecostal Experience and the New Testament Witness, Frederick Dale Bruner. Grand Rapids, MI: Eerdmans, 1970.

[221]        For example, Boardman invited John Dowie to “an international conference on divine healing and sanctification . . . in 1885” (pgs. 116-122, The Pentecostals, Hollenweger; cf. the discussion of this conference and the contributions to it of Andrew Murray and Otto Stockmayer on pg. 353). Dowie was a heretic, an advocate of Keswick-holiness views, an ardent Faith Cure wonder-worker (cf. pgs. 86-87, Aspects of Pentecostal-Charismatic Origins, ed. Vinson Synan; pg. 5, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee), the founder of Zion City, Illinois, a utopia filled with allegedly Pentecostal signs and wonders (at least until it went bankrupt and famine set in) where hospitals were unnecessary, and a mentor for Pentecostal healing evangelists in the USA, South Africa, Switzerland, and Holland. Dowie, who developed his healing doctrine in the standard Higher Life background (pgs. 136-137, Theological Roots of Pentecostalism, Dayton), founded “subsidiaries” of Zion City “in Zürich, Amsterdam, and South Africa,” and his “sermons and healings . . . exercised a considerable influence on the early Pentecostal movement. The American healing evangelists appealed directly to him, and many leaders of the Assemblies of God, as well as the funds for the Swiss, Dutch, and South African Pentecostal movements, came from Dowie’s Zion Church” (pg. 354, ibid). “Key early Pentecostal leaders came from Dowie’s organization. They included Fred Vogler, Harry Bowley, F. F. Bosworth, F. A. Graves, and Marie Burgess (later better known as the wife of Robert Brown, pastor of Glad Tidings Tabernacle, New York City)” (“Keswick and the Higher Life,” Indeed, “In 1900,” the Pentecostal founder Charles “Parham visited Zion, probably because he was interested in Dowie’s healing ministry” (“Wesleyan and Reformed Impulses in the Keswick and Pentecostal Movements,” Peter Althouse. Pneuma Foundation.; cf. pgs. 50, 76, 128-131, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson. See also pgs. 118, Azuza Street: The Roots of Modern-Day Pentecost, Frank Bartleman, ed. Synan; pg. 5, The Pentecostal Movement, Donald Gee). Agnes Ozman, who first spoke in tongues under the guidance of Parham, also had visited Dowie’s Zion City (pg. 51, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson). Dowie was finally ejected from Zion City on charges of misappropriation of funds and polygamy (pgs. 72-73, Vision of the Disinherited: The Making of American Pentecostalism, Robert Anderson).

[222]        Compare the biographical material below. See also pgs. 465-494, Perfectionism, Warfield, vol. 2.

[223]        Pgs. 23-24, A Different Gospel, McConnell.

[224]        Compare the fine statement of what is required by the sixth commandment in questions 134-136 of the Westminster Larger Catechism: “The duties required in the sixth commandment are all careful studies, and lawful endeavors, to preserve the life of ourselves [Eph 5:28-29] and others [1 Kings 18:4] by . . . a sober use of . . . physic[.] [Isa 38:21] . . . The sins forbidden in the sixth commandment are . . . the neglecting or withdrawing the lawful and necessary means of preservation of life; [Matt 25:42-43; James 2:15-16; Eccles 6:1-2] . . . and whatsoever else tends to the destruction of the life of any [Exod 21:18].”

[225]        Compare the article “New Age Medicine: An Examination of Reiki, Ayurveda, Homeopathy, Reflexology, Iridology, Acupuncture, Chiropractic, Macrobiotics, Naturopathy, Rolfing, Applied Kinesiology, Neuro-Emotional Techniques, Touch for Health, and Behavioral Kinesiology,” by David Cloud, accessible at, as well as the other resources exposing New Age and quack medicine on that site. See also Can You Trust Your Doctor? The Complete Guide to New Age Medicine and Its Threat to Your Family, John Ankerberg & John Weldon. Brentwood, TN: Wolgemuth & Hyatt, 1991.

[226]        vy`IjÎy añøl Ny™ImSaA;m`Ah. “shall not make haste; or be impatient for the fulfillment of this prophecy, but patiently wait for it, knowing that it is for an appointed time, and will not tarry; and that God will hasten it in his own time; or will not make haste to lay any other foundation, being satisfied with this that is laid” (Commentary on Isaiah, John Gill, note on Isaiah 28:16).

More Resources on Soteriology: The Biblical Doctrine of Salvation