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More on Alliance Leaders' Initial Criticism of Bosworth's Healing Ministry

Additional thoughts by Dr. Paul L. King

By Roscoe Barnes III, Ph.D.
Author, F.F. Bosworth: The Man Behind "Christ the Healer"
 
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A.B. Simpson, left, and Paul Rader in 1912
Photo courtesy of C&MA National Archives

In the 1920s, leaders in the Christian and Missionary Alliance initially criticized F.F. Bosworth for going too far with his healing ministry. According to Dr. Paul L.King, that criticism might have been prompted in part by the need for balance – a view shared earlier by A.B. Simpson.

 

In a December 17, 2020 email, King wrote that he had been thinking about Paul Rader’s initial criticism of Bosworth in which he suggested Bosworth placed too much emphasis on healing and that it overshadowed the message of salvation. King wrote: “One of the reasons for [the criticism], I believe, was that A.B. Simpson and early Alliance leaders wanted to maintain the balance of the Fourfold Gospel of Jesus as Savior, Sanctifier, Healer, and Coming King.”

 

King also shared a quote from Simpson that was made in 1894. Simpson said: “Keep from all side issues and mere phases of truth. Don't let it be purely a Divine healing meeting, or a Holiness meeting. Avoid criticisms or mere phases of holiness, or other truth. Keep all error out, . . . and things that divide Christians, and separate them from the true centre.” [1] 

 

Interestingly, King noted, there is a story about John Alexander Dowie wanting Simpson to team up with him to do healing crusades. However, Simpson refused, according to King. He said Simpson replied as follows: "I have four wheels on my chariot and I cannot run on just one."

 

Simpson, to be clear, was a staunch believer in divine healing and the power of the Spirit. Not only did he personally experience the Lord’s healing power firsthand, but he frequently prayed for others who were sick and he reportedly saw many healed. Simpson also wrote The Gospel of Healing, an important book, which has become a classic.

 

King’s comments about Bosworth stemmed from a discussion that he and I had in May of this year about Bosworth’s healing ministry. Specifically, we looked at some of the criticism that Bosworth received from Alliance leaders. Some, including Rader, initially accused Bosworth of placing too much emphasis on divine healing. At the time of our discussion, King suggested Rader’s reaction may have been based on reports from second-hand sources, as well as Pentecostal excesses among followers of Bosworth’s ministry. After giving it some further thought, he suggested Simpson’s teaching on balance might have been another reason for the criticism.

 

King’s view of this matter, not surprisingly, is on point and certainly plausible. His view is supported by a critical analysis of key points in Bosworth’s life history. Whatever the exact reason or reasons might have been for the criticism, Bosworth and Rader worked out their differences and eventually became close friends. Bosworth also held revival meetings in Rader’s church. For a number of years, Bosworth’s book, Christ the Healer, was distributed by the Alliance denomination and was even required reading in ordination studies for a time.

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[1] A.B. Simpson, “How to Build Up the Alliance,” CAMW, May 4, 1894, 272.

 

Related article:

"Did Bosworth Go Too Far? Paul Rader and other Alliance leaders initially accused him of placing too much emphasis on divine healing." See here.
Further reading:
King, Paul L. Genuine Gold: The Cautiously Charismatic Story of the Early Christian and Missionary Alliance. Tulsa, OK: Word & Spirit Press, 2006. See here.

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Reminder: "F.F. Bosworth History" is now on Twitter. Follow @bosworth_fred

Note: My book, F.F. Bosworth: The Man Behind "Christ the Healer," can be purchased here with a 25% discount. Use the discount code: BOSWORTH25.

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For more information:

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 doctorbarnes3@gmail.com or roscoebarnes3@yahoo.com. For updates on F.F. Bosworth history, simply follow this blog or @bosworth_fred and @Roscoebarnes3 on Twitter. #ChristTheHealer #BosworthMention #BosworthMatters

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