The American evangelical faith healing movement and the emergence of Pentecostalism

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The nineteenth-century evangelical faith healing movement emerged from the holiness movement in mid-century. It was born in the middle of an uneasy evangelicalism seeking after greater manifestation of the supernatural--one resembling the first-century apostolic church. The movement gained popular acceptance among those in search of charismatic manifestations as well as those in need of physical healing. As a result of the developing movement's growing popularity and its seemingly incredible claims of divine healing by the prayer of faith, several spokespersons for the religious establishment questioned the movement's validity. About a decade of debate ensued. Near the close of the century, with the decease of the primary leader, a more radical leadership arose. At that time evangelicals were distancing themselves from radicalism. Even some of the early leaders of the faith healing movement retracted their early radicalism. Consequently, at the turn of the century the faith healing movement found itself solidly positioned on the margins of acceptable American evangelicalism. However, the apparent actuality of the healing experience for those who experienced it coupled with the testimony of the experience caused the end-of-century controversy and the evangelical rejection of the faith healing movement. Ironically, the surety of the experience for those who claimed divine healing also caused the growth of that movement and smoothed the way for the acceptance of nascent Pentecostalism. From the periphery of the radical holiness movement where faith healing was a common practice, the occasional appearance of tongues caused repercussions that eventually polarized the radical evangelical camp. From one side of the divide a new movement emerged. This movement called Pentecostalism was more radical than the faith healing movement and it attracted many from that group. As a product of their search for the restoration of the first century church and the Holy Spirit's charismata the faith healing adherents were predisposed to radical supernatural manifestations. So, the faith healing movement merged with this new Pentecostal movement. The ministries of both the faith healing movement's early leadership and the second generation of leaders illustrate the development of that movement. Moreover, those leaders who transitioned from the faith healing movement into the new Pentecostal movement brought the practice of faith healing with them and it has flourished as a cardinal Pentecostal doctrine and a prevalent practice. The leaders examined in this work illustrate the close relationships between the faith healing and Pentecostal movements including links to the mid-twentieth-century healing revival. The continuation of those same practices in today's Pentecostalism, evident in the ministry of Carlos Annacondia, illustrates the long-term continuity of a strong symbiosis between faith healing and Pentecostalism.

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