The idea of Faith healing as a corollary to the Holiness experience exercised an important influence on the "power endued" Holiness movement and by implication on the first Pentecostals; one actually observes an almost inevitable evolutionary leap of the early Holiness oriented healers into incipient Pentecostalism. According to the Dr. Synon, one of the most important early events in the "restoration of healing" occurred not in America, but in Europe:

1843: Johann Blumhardt began praying on a dying girl, placed his hands on her, and she was healed. This created a sensation which drew people from all over Western Europe. This, even though Blumhardt himself insisted that it was not his hands that healed, but God's response to honest prayer. Blumhardt saw sickness as a way that our 'fallen' existence bore the Devil's power into human life. He believed that the way to resist sickness is to confess our sin and repent. As years went by, he emphasized soul-searching to find the 'hidden sin' that could be making us ill. However, he did not believe that one could become perfect or sin-free before God in this lifetime; this means that all of us become ill. (Synan, op. Cit)

There seems to be something of the old errors of the Messalian’s in Blumhardts doctrine of sickness as a manifestation of the devil’s power; such errors continue today in the "Word of Faith Movement." The influence which Blumhardt’s ministry apparently exercised over the first faith-healers of the Holiness may have also also contributed to one of the great misunderstanding’s about the role of the "laying on of hands" in the Church, since there were those (see above) who attributed healing properties to Blumhardt’s hands themselves.

The "laying on of hands" has now become the standard, almost indispensable
method of transferring the "anointing" or "baptism of the Holy Spirit" today, and it is certainly used in healing services also, as though power were flowing from the fingers themselves to the body of whomever is touched. This superstitious attribution of a magical power that is physically transferred via the hands is at total variance with the traditional Catholic and Biblical understanding of the laying on of hands as a symbolic or sacramental transference of authority, power, or blessing-and with the case of the animals to be sacrificed at the Jerusalem temple, of guilt. In the case of the Lord Himself, it is certainly possible that actual contact with His Sacred Humanity could itself be efficacious, as in the instance of the miracles He performedumaniHu , since His humanity was truly and irreversibly united to His Divinity through the Incarnation, but there was never any question of an actual, renewable, transfer of power through His touch, only of its efficacious manifestation. This was also the case when the Apostles laid hands on those whom they confirmed, and who subsequently received certain extraordinary gifts of the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit was not received physically through the hands, like an electric shock, but by means of the sacrament itself, invariably producing its supernatural effects.

Although some would consider that I am again proffering a straw man argument only in order to strengthen my conclusions-that the overwhelming majority of Charismatics would reject such a concept of actual, physical transerence- I would reply that at the grass roots of the movement itself, the "power in the hands" idea is the one that prevails. Time and time again, people I have known talk of the trembling hands of the Charismatic healers transferring a healing heat, of the "slain in the Spirit" being brought about by contact with the hands of the "anointed", of electric shocks, blinding light, etc. The tragic aspect of all this is that certain individuals hands may indeed carry a force which can be transmitted, but this force has nothing to do with the Holy Spirit. Many of the old Mesmerists were able to transmit a physical energy through their hands, as well as many Hindu Yogis. The Yogis even have a term to express the "power through the hands"-they call it Shaktipat, and it can consist of a light touch on the forehead or on the chest, and the devotee may experience something almost identical to the so-called "Baptism in the Holy Spirit." or "slain in the Spirit". Physical healings may often result from shaktipat as well.

In Christian tradition, however, the laying on of hands is principally for the purpose of administering the sacraments of orders, confirmation, and the anointing of the sick, and these are the true channels of graces both ordinary and extraordinary. The words of Our Lord, enjoining the laying on of hands for the healing of sickness, are directed to the Apostles and their immediate collaborators, the presbyters, and this is borne out in the epistle of St. James, chapter five. It is clearly the presbyters of the Church who are to lay hands on the sick and anoint them with oil, not some spurious "anointee." No one but a validly ordained priest or bishop may impose his hands in a sacramental manner, and the laying on of hands is never attributed magical properties in either the New Testament or the early Fathers:

Neither do we permit the laity to perform any of the offices belonging to the priesthood; as, for instance, neither the sacrifice, nor baptism, nor the laying on of hands, nor the blessing, whether the smaller or the greater: for "no one taketh this honor to himself, but he that is called of God." For such sacred offices are onferred by the laying on of the hands of the bishop. But a person to whom such an office is not committed, but he seizes upon it for himself, he shall undergo the punishment of Uzziah. (The Apostolic Constitutions, bk III, ch. 10, 4th century a.d.)

(The reader will recall that King Uzziah ,whose story can be found in the second book of Chronicles, was the Israelite king who arrogated the priestly office to himself, and offered incense at the altar of the temple. For this he was punished by God with leprosy.)

Miraculous healings, of course, do occur, but almost never in an ambience of
theatricality, suggestibility, or of unnatural fervor. They are to be attributed principally to the omnipotence of God, who oftentimes chooses to work through the intercession and instrumentality of a particular saint, or holy man or woman. There is no such thing as a "miracle ether" which somehow lies around inert until "activated" by the laying on of hands, or by hand passes, or by speaking phrases or key words over and over. Such ideas come from occultism, from the kundalini of the tantrists, and from vague Theosophical speculations, and are repudiated by traditional Christianity. Nevertheless, such absurdities are openly promulgated and accepted by millions within the Pentecostal and Charismatic movements today, and anybody who has the courage to question such ideas is disparaged as an unbeliever or a blasphemer.

Whatever he himself personally thought about the laying on of hands, Blumhardt’s healing doctrines were soon to exercise an enormous influence over the Holiness movement and incipient Pentecostalism:

…the widening understanding of the Spirit -filled life revived the expectation of the reactivation of the gifts of the Spirit in the lives of Christians for ministry in the Church and in the world. In most instances divine healing teaching found friendlier acceptance within those holiness associations which were most ecumenical in make up…John Inskip testified to a miraculous healing by faith as R. Cullis prayed for him…Cullis, an Episcopalian homeopathic physician, was the father of the healing revival in the holiness movement as well as in the Pentecostal movement. The latter movement eventually gave it more prominence than did the former…William Boardman joined him in strong promotion of the doctrine.

A.J. Gordon, prominent higher life Baptist pastor, and most significantly of all, A.B. Simpson, founder of the Christian and Missionary Alliance were strongly influenced by Cullis and Boardman’s work. All of them in turn were influenced by the work of Pastor Blumhart (or Blumhardt) and Dorothea Trudel in Switzerland… (Dieter, op. Cit. pp 175-176)

It was at this juncture that one of the most heterodox elements to have come out of the Pentecostal world-view first saw the light of day- the idea that bodily sickness is caused almost exclusively by a lack of faith in the person of the afflicted. Today, this is repeated ad nauseam by the "Word of Faith" preachers, who berate their audiences for their lack of faith- "all you have to do is claim the healing, or repeat over and over, ‘I rebuke the sickness in the name of Jesus’, to be healed." As for those sick who are not healed, they are sinners through lack of faith. (Most prominent "Word of Faith" preachers do not hesitate, however, to avail themselves of the very best doctors and hospitals when it is they themselves who are ill. I say "most", because it was the prominent "Faith" preacher Hobart Freeman’s misfortune to take his own doctrine seriously, and refuse to seek medical treatment. This led eventually to his death from heart disease.) For those who insist that such teachings are a latter day aberration, which has somehow crept into the
Charismatic world by stealth, historical facts clearly demonstrate the contrary, as still another controversy erupted between the more "power oriented" holiness preachers and the more orthodox Wesleyans over this novelty:

The early teaching of the holiness healing movement, influenced by such leaders as Cullis and Boardman, was that healing now by the prayer of faith was assured to all who would believe in the finished redemptive work of Christ… The nature of the prayer of faith for divine intervention, consequently, divided holiness teachers. These differences continue to the present. The understanding of most of the holiness churches was to be rooted in the later understanding of healing as providential and subservient to God’s higher wisdom and providence…the more radical position, which may more properly be called "faith healing" developed into the healing theology common to the Pentecostal movement of the twentieth century. In that tradition, to end a prayer for healing with "Thy will be done" constitutes a sign of unbelief and defeat…(ibid, pp 176-177)

I myself once heard this very same error expressed by one of the most prominent lay leaders of the Charismatic Renewal, Jose (Pepe) Prado Flores, at a Charismatic convention or conference in Navojoa, Sonora, Mexico in 1986. Pepe Prado insisted that God did not ever wish for anybody to be sick, and that all that the Christian had to do was "claim" the healing, on faith. At this same conference, Prado spoke somewhat contemptuously of Catholics who put the virtue of charity before the "empowerment" or anointing in their lives.

Perhaps the most prominent member of the faith healing fraternity in the nineteenth century holiness movement was the controversial John Alexander Dowie. He popularized end times "restorationism", the idea that, as the Church was now in the final age of the world, immediately preceeding the second coming of the Lord, the extraordinary signs and wonders of the apostolic age were to be granted it anew; and preeminent among these would be the gift of healing. A disciple of the radical "faith healing" which we read about above-the idea that divine healing is the Christian’s to claim, as spiritual as well as physical health was won for Christians through the atonement; therefore, as noted above, to pray for healing conditional to God’s will was for Dowie a lack of faith, as was seeking medical treatment. Hence Dowie refused to permit his followers to consult with physicians or avail themselves of any medical treatment. This was to be one of the factors which would eventually contribute to his downfall, as he established a faith healing center known as " the city of Zion" near Chicago, and would actually prohibit the ill under his charge to seek medical assistance. There have since been many such "faith healing centers" in the United States and around the world, and Dowie is generally considered the true father of the faith healing movment. Dowie was also to exercise an enormous influence on the nascent Pentecostal movement, as many of the prominent leaders of its first generation were actually members of Dowie’s commune:

Those who arose from Zion City to become influential in the Pentecostal movement included F.F. Bosworth, John Lake, J. Rosewell Flower, Daniel Opperman, Cyrus Fockler, Fred Vogler, Marie Burgess Brown, William Piper, F.A. Graves, Lemuel Hall, Martha Robinson, Gordon Lindsay, and Raymond Richey. Influential Assemblies of God minister Gordon Lindsay, editor of Voice of Healing, wrote Dowie's biography and gave him credit for influencing "a host of men of faith who have had powerful ministries," referring to generations of Pentecostal preachers. (Extracted from: The Strange History of Pentecostalism, distributed online by: Way of Life’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service, copyright 1998)

In light of the following, this is a startling and significant revelation, as it is documented that not only many of the Pentecostal pioneer elite were once adherents of a bizarre and cultish commune, whose founder preached a totally heterodox doctrine of healing and of apostolic restoration, but also that eight of the founding members of the Assemblies of God, the world’s largest trinitarian Pentecostal denomination, were also devotees of Dowie. This should give pause to all adherents of classical Pentecostalism and of the Charismatic movment, since God would never ratify the message of a false prophet. That so many leaders of incipient Pentecostalism fell under the spell of Dowie attests to the fact that not only was he a peripheral figure in the beginnings of Pentecostalism, but his influence with regards to the movement’s adoption of the faith healing banner was probably decisive. This taken by itself represents should represent a devastating blow to the propagandists of a new Pentecost, but when coupled with the other little known facts about the origins of Pentecostalism should lead any and all
Christians desirous of being led to the truth that this movement was nothing but a successful deviation of historical Christianity.

Dowie’s attitude towards divine healing would lead him to deny those under his "care" any access whatsoever to doctors or medicine. Such actions are generally not in the interest of the public good, and the state of Illinois was soon to charge Dowie with the crime of manslaughter. Around this time a group of followers approached Dowie and attempted to convince him that he himself was the prophet Elijah, come in the spirit and power to restore all things before what they were sure was the imminent parousia. Dowie initially rejected such ideas, but as time went on and his following increased, it was inevitable that the spiritual pride that goes with being regarded by so many as a great healer would play on his manifest spiritual immaturity-not to mention the absence of any check on such illusions by the salutary intervention of a religious or ecclesiastical authority. Dowie, like most such cult figures, was answerable to no religious authority or board, merely to the power of the state. As time went on, these factors were to produce the inevitable march from spiritual pride and pseudo-religiosity to downright diabolical deception and delusion. Dowie eventually made the public declaration, in 1901, that he was indeed the prophet Elijah, and dressed himself in the robes of the Jewish high priest, whereupon he lost much of his following. However, since common sense or logical consistency is seldom in abundance wherever charlatans such as Dowie are revered, most of his previous devotees, in particular those who were most prominent in the subsequent Pentecostal revival, did not deny that he had once possessed the "anointing", or that the Holy Spirit had enabled him to work miracles. The farthest they were willing to go was to maintain that Dowie’s spiritual pride had led to his downfall.

However, there are charlatans and there are charlatans, and it is important to consider that men like Dowie do not gain their considerable followings merely on account of their fanciful oratory, or their generic "charismatic personality"- not if they claim to be divine healers and to work miracles. Did Dowie possess some kind of real power? At this juncture, once can only speculate, but it would appear that he did indeed "heal" certain individuals, most significantly the wife of John Lake, who was later to become the founder of Pentecostalism in Africa. Lake was to have some rather strange paranormal experiences himself (which we will document further on). But any faithful and sincere Christian should know that recognizewhatever powers Dowie did exercise on occasion could not have been of God, since God will not ratify the message of a false prophet, and there should be no doubt in any sincere Christian’s mind that Dowie was a false prophet. Dowie was not only reverenced by early Pentecostals such as Lindsay and Lake- he exerted a considerable influence on the founding father of Pentecostalism, Charles Fox Parham either directly or via the religious commune of Shiloh, founded by another cult leader, Frank Sandford, and which will be considered further on. Dowie was to die an embittered and generally forgotten figure, destroyed by the same illusions of spiritual pride and generally ignored (but by no means repudiated) by most of the members of the movement that he himself was instrumental in laying the foundations of.


Another figure in the healing movement who was to have a profound impact on the beginnings and development of the "healing tradition" or movement within Pentecostalism and, by implication, the Charismatic movement, was Mariah Woodworth Etter.

Born in 1844, Maria Woodworth-Etter lived in Lisbon, Ohio. God called her to
preach at a time when people did not believe that women should preach. In fact, at this time women were not even allowed to vote. She saw the death of her little children one by one until she decided to obey Jesus Christ and go and preach the Gospel. It has been recorded that she had one of the most powerful ministries and anointings - with astounding healings, miracles and wonders - that has ever been docu- mented in the history of the church. Reports state that she would come into a town after sleeping in a tent, and within days there would be approximately 20,000 people in her meetings. At times, God would give people working in the fields in a fifty-mile radius around her meetings visions of heaven and hell, and they would fall to the ground under tremendous conviction. It was like a "blanket" anointing that would come down upon the whole area. It has been reported that for whole blocks around her meetings, people would be falling to the ground and repenting. (Andrew Strom, Great Healing Revivalists: How God’s Power Came: Mariah Woodworth-Etter, copyright 1998, by Andrew Strom)

Woodworth Etter is cited in Hank Hannegraaff’s illuminating and fascinating
Counterfeit Revival as the forerunner of such female revivalists as Katherine
Kuhlmann and the notorious Aimee Semple Macpherson, especially with regards
to popularizing the so called "slain in the Spirit" (euphemized for more discrete sensibilities by Francis Macnutt as "resting in the Spirit") phenomenon. Both Macpherson and Kuhlmann will be considered in detail further on. A cursory reading of Woodworth-Etter’s biography demonstrate that Woodworth-Etter, while she may have been sincere, put preternatural phenomena, especially the so called "falling under the power" first on her list of priorities while supposedly preaching repentance and the "gospel of Calvary." While she may indeed have been sincere, this itself proves nothing. Edgar Cayce, the demonically obsessed "sleeping prophet" was also sincere-and less vindictive, apparently, than Woodworth-Etter. One reads of continuous victories by this woman over sinners and doubters, brought about by the so called "anointing" which supposedly hung about this woman like a cloud hugging a mountainside:

The Lord revealed wonderful things to me in a few moments; my fears were all
gone. Those who were lying over the house as dead, after lying about two hours, all, one after another, sprang to their feet as quick as a flash, with shining faces, and shouted all over the house. I never had seen such bright conversions, nor such shouting. They seemed as light as a feather. The ministers and old saints wept and praised the Lord with a loud voice. They said it was the Pentecostal power; that the Lord was visiting them in great mercy and power, and there was great victory coming. (Mariah Woodworth-Etter, Signs and Wonders, ch. 4)

It is quite obvious from the words of Woodworth Etter herself that such manifestations went well beyond the emotional outbursts that Wesley had described:

Those who fell would lie, some fifteen minutes, some half an hour, some one or two hours, some a day and night, and others longer. They would all come out praising God. I commenced the meetings at nine o'clock in the morning, and continued till twelve at night. We could not close, there were so many outside; when one went out, one came in. Sinners were struck down at their homes, and along the highways. They were saved for miles around. (Ibid, ch. 5)

It should be obvious, (if her accounts are to be believed) that Woodworth-Etter was no ordinary "woman preacher." Indeed, the argument can be made that her powers, which were potent and real, bore more resemblance to those acquired by the Shamans and Magicians of primitive cultures, who are able, on occasion, to wield tremendous preternatural powers; such powers can be wielded at times even over certain geographical regions, and it is well known that certain black magicians or sorcerers have the power to project actual images (much like movies) before an audience, and to exert hypnotic powers over those who willingly become their disciples and open their powers of suggestion up to such individuals. People being "struck down along the highways," who happened to be in the vicinity of this woman does not testify to her being anointed by the power of the Holy Spirit, but most likely to the fact that she was able, through the power of suggestion, manipulation, or diabolical intervention to project power. Woodworth-Etter, as is well documented, would preach to Quakers and Mormons and Universalists, and seemed to have considered doctrine a secondary issue, unlike the apostles, for whom doctrine was the supreme test, even, as St. Paul insisted, of an "angel from heaven." (to the Galatians, 1:8) As has been reiterated throughout this book, the Holy Spirit does not act as a force field or an "anointing" that throws people down, or puts them into a rigid or corpselike trance.

What is described by Woodworth-Etter is decidedly not the ecstasy of mystics such as St. Teresa or St. John of the Cross, and attributing such actions to the Holy Spirit would therefore be going against the overwhelming consensus of Catholic tradition. This does not imply, however, that in Woodworth-Etter’s case, there was not a certain spirit at work, although it was most certainly not the Holy Spirit. The point is that such actions as those described by Woodworth-Etter (and by most of the early Pentecostals and Charismatics) could be in certain instances the work of evil spirits. This is very trenchantly illustrated by St. Cyril of Jerusalem:

…this name of spirit is common to many things; and every thing which has not a solid body is in a general way called spirit. Since, therefore, the devils have not such bodies, they are called spirits: but there is a great difference; for the unclean devil, when he comes upon a man’s soul (may the Lord deliver from him every soul of those who hear me, and of those who are not present), he comes like a wolf upon a sheep, ravening for blood, and ready to devour. His coming is most fierce; the sense of it most oppressive; the mind becomes darkened; his attack is an injustice also, and so is his usurpation of another’s possession. For he makes forcible use of another’s body, and another’s instruments, as if they were his own; he throws down him who stands upright (for he is akin to him who fell from heaven; he twists the tongue and distorts the lips; foam comes instead of words; the man is filled with darkness; his eye is open, yet the soul sees not through it; and the miserable man gasps convulsively at the point of death. The devils are verily foes of men, using them foully and mercilessly.

Such is not the Holy Ghost; God forbid! For His doings tend the contrary way, towards what is good and salutary. First, His coming is gentle; the perception of Him is fragrant; His burden most light; beams of light and knowledge gleam forth before His coming. He comes with the bowels of a true guardian: for He comes to save, and to heal, to teach, to admonish, to strengthen, to exhort, to enlighten the mind, first of him who receives Him, and afterwards of others also, through him. And as a man, who being previously in darkness then suddenly beholds the sun, is enlightened in his bodily sight, and sees plainly things which he saw not, so likewise he to whom the Holy Ghost is vouchsafed, is enlightened in his soul, and sees things beyond man’s sight, which he knew not; his body is on earth, yet his soul mirrors forth the heavens. He sees, like Esaias, the Lord sitting upon a throne high and lifted up; he sees, like Ezekiel; Him who is above the Cherubim; he sees like Daniel, ten thousand times ten thousand, and thousands of thousands; and the man, who is so little, beholds the beginning of the world, and knows the end of the world, and the times intervening, and the successions of kings,- things which he never learned: for the True Enlightener is present with him. The man is within the walls of a house; yet the power of his knowledge reaches far and wide, and he sees even what other men are doing. (St. Cyril of Jerusalem, Catechetical Lectures XV, 15-16)

The true enlightenment which the great Father of the Church here speaks is brought about by the gentle and life giving presence of the Comforter and Spirit of All truth in the soul, infused thereby by means of the Sacraments which are the true channels of divine grace. This obviously has nothing to do with the puppet master spirit who would slay Woodworth-Etter’s hearers en masse:

The class-leader's little boy fell under the power of God first. He rose up, stepped on the pulpit, and began to talk with the wisdom and power of God. His father began to shout and praise the Lord. As the little fellow exhorted and asked the people to come to Christ they began to weep all over the house. Some shouted; others fell prostrated. Divers operations of the Spirit were seen. The displays of the power of God continued to increase till we closed the meetings, which lasted about five weeks. The power of the Lord, like the wind, ( And suddenly there came a sound from heaven as of a rushing mighty wind, and it filled the house where they were sitting . . . and they were all filled with the holy Ghost. (Acts 2. 2, 4.)) swept all over the city, up one street and down another, sweeping through the places of business, the workshops, saloons and dives, arresting sinners of all classes. The Scriptures were fulfilled. The wicked flee when no man pursueth. Men, women and children were struck down in their homes, in their places of business, on the highways, and lay as dead. They had wonderful visions, and rose converted, giving glory to God. When they told what they had seen their faces shone like angels'. The fear of God fell upon the city. The police said they never saw such a change; that they had nothing to do. They said they made no arrest; and that the power of God seemed to preserve the city. A spirit of love rested all over the city. There was no fighting, no swearing on the streets; the people moved softly, and there seemed to be a spirit of love and kindness among all classes, as if they felt they were in the presence of God. (Woodworth-Etter, op. Cit, )

The first night of the meeting, while we were singing, I reached over to shake hands with a man who was standing in the aisle. I asked him to come to Christ. He began to tremble and fell backward. I thought I would not talk to any one else for fear the people should attribute the power to me instead of God. As I stepped back one of the ministers on the pulpit, the pastor of the church, threw up his hands and fell… They thought if the ministers had to go down there was no chance for them to escape…When the minister came out of the trance he told of the wonderful vision he had, of the horrors of hell and the beauty of heaven. He said heaven was a real city. (Except a man be born from above he cannot see the kingdom of God. (John 3. 3.)) He saw many of his friends there, and talked with them. He saw the hosts of angels. He saw the people in hell that he knew on earth… The ministers came to the altar for a baptism of power. Nearly all their members followed.

One night there were one hundred and fifteen converted. Nearly all who were saved during this revival when the Spirit of God came in their hearts, fell under the power, or sprang to their feet, shouting the praises of God. Those who fell would lie, some fifteen minutes, some half an hour, some one or two hours, some a day and night, and others longer. They would all come out praising God. I commenced the meetings at nine o'clock in the morning, and continued till twelve at night. We could not close, there were so many outside; when one went out, one came in. Sinners were struck down at their homes, and along the highways. They were saved for miles around.

…One day fifteen doctors came from different cities to investigate the power and trances. When they came I was lying under the power of the Holy Ghost. I remained several hours. God used me and others that were in a trance at the same time in a way that convinced them that it was the power of God. One of the doctors was a class-leader. He did not want to admit the power was of God. He would have been glad if they could have proved it was something else. He came to investigate the trances but he was called to another part of the house; he went expecting to find something new. To his surprise he found his son at the altar, and wanted his father to pray for him. He could not pray. God showed him what he was, and what he was doing. He began to pray for himself. While praying he fell in a trance, and saw all the horrors of hell. He was falling in. After a terrible struggle God saved him…Not less than five hundred were saved in one week, and hundreds after the meeting closed, as the result. Men and women were converted miles from the church. Many were struck down, and lay like dead men, on their way home, and miles away from the meeting. Would to God the people could see that it is the mighty moving power
of God we need to save the people, as on the day of Pentecost, when three thousand souls were saved. (Ibid)

After one hears these descriptions of the lady’s power, it is not difficult to imagine why she was deemed the "Voodoo priestess" and the "trance evangelist" by a number of the Protestant clergymen of her day. She eventually established something like a "temple" in Indiana, took it upon herself to establish her own church and ordain her own ministers (something which is clearly opposed to both scripture and tradition-St. Paul, inspired by the Holy Spirit, forever precludes the possibility of women as exercising a leadership role in the Church.) She also prophesied that San Francisco would be completely destroyed by an earthquake in 1903. Certainly such a prophecy represents an enigma- there was, of course, a major, devastating earthquake in the area in 1906, but it hardly wreaked total destruction. This raises the question of why people such as Woodworth-Etter, Edgar Cayce, Nostradamus, etc. are sometimes able to successfully "prophesy" future events with a certain accuracy, yet, unlike the Biblical prophets, are never entirely accurate. Anyone who is familiar with the writings of such individuals must admit that they make-like Woodworth-Etter- many false prophecies and perhaps a few accurate ones. Where a preternatural agency is at work, this may be due to the fact that the prophecies inspired by evil spirits are based upon the knowledge which such spirits possess by reason of their natures. They possess a greater intelligence than humans by nature, and their mode of acquiring such knowledge does not depend primarily on discursive learning or reasoning. It is quite possible that an evil spirit could lead his human "channeler" to intimations of his highly superior, advanced knowledge which far surpass the human knowledge of the day-say, with regards to the science of geology of Woodworth-Etter’s day. Such individuals would be empowered to prognosticate with a "greater than human" faculty, yet in a manner totally inferior to the inspired prophets, saints and mystics of Sacred Scripture and Catholic Tradition. These latter are the immediate recipients of God’s Divine Revelation, or the truth’s immediately related to it, and their prophecies, being truly inspired by the Holy Spirit, cannot err.

Despite the fact that Woodworth-Etter’s ministry was accompanied by so many elements which can be considered occultic in nature, she is still considered an important pioneer in the Pentecostal healing circuit- an important forerunner of people like Aimee Semple Macpherson, Kathryn Kuhlmann, Oral Roberts, Paul Cain, and scores of other Pentecostals and Charismatics who have the "anointing". Her participation in, and acceptance by the early Pentecostal movement is beyond dispute-and it was inevitable that, as the Holiness-Pentecostal movement gradually lost the elements which, although incomplete, approached the truths of Catholicism, such as a thorough, expositional grounding in the Bible, and the primacy of sanctification in a strict Wesleyan sense, etc.- that it would eventually admit heterodox elements, and go further and further into the realm of occult notions and practices. Once the pursuit of spiritual power replaces the striving after Charity, which must always be the master of any power which God grants to those whom He has chosen to "spread and communicate His Son"-then the floodgates have been opened up and it is only a matter of time before there will be an overwhelming confusion of spirits, and error and division will be the order of the day. Persons like Dowie and Woodworth-Etter, as well meaning as they may have been, precipitated this sad degeneration by confusing the seeking after "power" with the following of Jesus. The consequences, in the case of Woodworth-Etter, were disastrous, and there were many among the more conservative Holiness clergy who spotted the dangers:

Reports of trances were rather frequent. In Indiana they were no doubt encouraged by the presence of Mrs. Marie Woodworth-Etter, the noted "trance-evangelist" who conducted services in Fairmont and Kokomo. Later, "A Word of Warning" concerning Mrs. Woodworth-Etter was printed in the denominational periodical, citing her as a Zinzendorfian, a church splitter, a liar, and a person seeking economic benefit for herself. Still later, after 1906, she associated herself with the emerging pentecostal movement. (Haines, op. Cit., pge. 1310)

Despite these warnings, and the obvious occult nature of her so called "signs and wonders", Woodworth-Etter is still held in great esteem by most of the pentecostal-charismatic world today. She is acknowledged as a great and anointed prophetess of the "latter rain" or the "new pentecost."

Brian Hughes