Photo shared by Bishop Paul Francis Lanier
Like millions of people before her, Maya Angelou was probably a reader of F.F. Bosworth. According to a 2015 post on Facebook, his book, “Christ the Healer,” was found in her personal library following her death on May 28, 2014, in Winston-Salem, N.C.
Bishop Paul Francis Lanier of Hope Community Church, Winston-Salem, shared this news on Sept. 9, 2015. He wrote:
“Following service a precious member of many years and dear friend presented me an amazing gift …. It was a copy of F.F. Bosworth’s “Christ the Healer.” Of course, I love this book. Even more special, when I opened it I discovered that it came from the personal library of Maya Angelou. Many of Dr. Angelou’s things were sold recently at an auction. I just think it is the coolest thing that she had Brother Bosworth’s book, and that someone thought of me when they saw it. So blessed. So very blessed.”
Friends of Lanier quickly responded with congratulatory comments. “Wow .. doubly cool,” replied Donna Schambach. One friend shared, “What a treasure to your heart.” Another wrote: “My copy stays on my desk. I refer to it often. No words can explain the Power of God that was present with F.F. Bosworth as it was written!”
“I have that great book!,” posted one friend. “Surprised that Maya Angelou also had it!”
While we don’t know if Angelou actually read the book, we are certain that it was inside her home. Given her love of books and her voracious appetite for reading, there’s a good chance that she did indeed read Bosworth’s book. Even so, it would be interesting to know how she acquired the book and what she thought of it.
Angelou was an iconic figure, especially in the areas of writing and social justice. She was a famous poet, dancer, scholar, actor, popular speaker, and civil rights activist. One of her most well-known books was her autobiography, “I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings” (1969). She was also a mentor to Oprah Winfrey.
In 1992, Susan King, staff writer for the LA Times, inquired about Angelou’s faith in an interview about the PBS special, “Maya Angelou: Rainbow in the Clouds.” At the time, Angelou was 64, and she acknowledged the importance of faith. In fact, she attended a Methodist church and a Baptist church.
King asked, “Have you always had strong religious beliefs?”
Angelou replied as follows:
Yes. I have always tried to find myself a church. I have studied everything. I spent some time with Zen Buddhism and Judaism, and I spent some time with Islam. I am a religious person. It is my spirit, but I found that I really want to be a Christian. That is what my spirit seems to be built on.
I just know that I find the teachings of Christ so accessible. I really believe that Christ made a sacrifice and for those reasons I want to be a Christian. But what kind, I don’t know. I don’t know what time of day I am at.
During his salvation-healing campaigns, Bosworth often invited doctors and other medical professionals to attend his services and verify the claims of healing. Although many reported being healed in the meetings, Bosworth believed that far more were healed through the teachings in his book.
“When in the year 1924 we wrote the messages for the first edition of this book, little did we dream that the truths presented were to bless such vast numbers in so many parts of the world,” Bosworth wrote in the Author’s Preface to his book. He later wrote: “In this book we have tried to use the vocabulary common people understand, and a continual stream of testimonies comes to us from those soundly converted and miraculously healed through their own faith which came to them while reading and meditating on the truths of the Bible which we have tried to make plain.”
During the post-World War II healing revival, evangelists used his book as a how-to guide – a practical textbook -- for the divine healing ministry. Gordon Lindsay promoted the book in the pages of The Voice of Healing magazine. The book also was a favorite of Kenneth E. Hagin, who made it a required text at Rhema Bible Training Center. According to T.L. Osborn, “Christ the Healer” was “one of the most outstanding books ever to be published on the subject of divine healing.”
Now, nearly 100 years since its publication, “Christ the Healer” is in the public domain. It is being published by Chosen Books, Baker Publishing Group, Whitaker House, and other companies. If Bosworth was surprised by the public response to his book in the 1920s, one can only imagine how he would feel today. Even though he died in 1958, the impact of his ministry is still being felt through his writings. Thanks to the longevity of this single book, “Christ the Healer,” his ministry continues to have a global impact, reaching Pentecostals and non-Pentecostals alike.
Note: My book, F.F. Bosworth: The Man Behind "Christ the Healer," can be purchased here with a 25% discount. Use the discount code (all caps): BOSWORTH25.
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Visit the F.F. Bosworth page here. Questions about the research and commentary on F.F. Bosworth may be directed to Roscoe Barnes III, Ph.D., via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com. For updates on F.F. Bosworth history, simply follow this blog or @bosworth_fred and @Roscoebarnes3 on Twitter. #ChristTheHealer #BosworthMention #BosworthMatters