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We have used the expression "divine healing" frequently, as describing the therapeutical agency made use of by the founder of Zion in establishing and furthering his organization, and have indicated that it was the chief point of contact with those who were accessible to Zion. It now remains to examine more closely just what is meant by divine healing, how it comes to take such strong hold of some minds as an article of faith, how it is related to or differs from other drugless remedies (if it does),  and what explanation scientists, especially psychologists, have to offer for the phenomena in connection with it.

Faith in "faith cures" has come to be almost a fad. It may be referred to as the Mind-Cure Movement, and will thus take in Christian Science and the independent mental healers who are its offspring, faith healers of all sorts, the divine healing teaching and practice of Mr. Dowie, and mental therapeutics as such. It is a movement almost entirely outside regularly organized Christianity and in open conflict with evangelical Protestantism at almost every point. Prof. James says, * “Within the churches a disposition has always prevailed to regard sickness as a visitation: something sent for good, either as chastisement, as warning, or as opportunity of exercising virtue, and, in the Catholic church, of earning 'merit.'  'Illness,' says a good Catholic writer (P. Lejeune: Introd. a la Vie Mystique, 1899, p. 218), 'is the most excellent of corporeal mortifications, the mortification which one has not one's self chosen, which is imposed directly by God, and is the direct expression of His will.'  According to this view


* Varieties of Religious Experiences, p. 113.




disease should in any case be submissively accepted, and it might under certain circumstances even be blasphemous to wish it away."

That this is practically the attitude of Protestant Christianity the multitude of pulpit polemics against Christian Science and Mr. Dowie bear abundant witness.

Prof. James says further, "Of course there have been exceptions to this and cures by special miracle have at all times been recognized within the church's pale; almost all the great saints having more or less performed them. It is one of the heresies of Edward Irving to maintain them still to be possible." It might be added that this is one of the numerous heresies of Mormonism as well, and of various smaller sects in different parts of the world to-day. That the age of miracles has passed, that is, miracles of healing as such, is the all but universal belief or rather attitude of Protestantism in the first decade of the 20th century.

With almost spontaneous simultaneousness different forms of denial of this belief have sprung up and for the past generation have made and are making great headway. The Mind-Cure Movement is one that has to be reckoned with because of its philosophical, psychological, religious and therapeutical significance. Christian Science claims 100,000 devotees and the New Thought is permeating nearly all popular literature; not to speak of the many thousands who have directly or indirectly been affected by Mr. Dowie's more technically religious divine healing teaching, and the teaching of others holding substantially the same ideas.

It is a revolt against the powerlessness of the Christian church or its unwillingness to mediate help and health to the present life. Again quoting from Prof. James, * "In Mind-Cure circles the fundamental article of faith is that disease should never be accepted. It is wholly of the pit, God wants us to be absolutely healthy and we should not tolerate ourselves on any lower basis."


* Op. cit. p. 113.




It would be objected by believers in divine healing as such that they are not to be classified in this way.  Mr. Dowie has taken pains to denounce all other sects of mind curers as "diabolical counterfeiters" of his own exclusively divine healing, but he really "must on the whole be counted into the Mind-Cure Movement." So Prof. James.

There is one surface difference certainly and in the indicating of that we begin our definition of divine healing as held by Mr. Dowie. He regards sin and disease as realities * to be removed by direct divine interposition in answer to the prayer of faith which effects this display of divine power. "Not healing by faith but through faith; through faith in Jesus by the power of God," he says. ** It is not by subjective influences alone, but by the active operation of the power of God, that the healing comes according to his theory. Other phases of the Mind-Cure Movement speak of sin and disease as errors of the mortal mind, nonentities, unrealities, originating in error; to be removed by becoming convinced they do not exist. Mr. Dowie posits a devil or devils as corrupting the body with actual sin and disease, to be routed and put to flight by the power of the spirit of God in accordance with the written Word.

The outline of Mr. Dowie's theory of healing as he has published it in almost every issue of L. of H. is as follows:






Jesus said "I am the way, and the Truth, and the Life," and He has ever been revealed to His people in all the ages by the Covenant Name, Jehovah-Rophi, or "I am Jehovah that Healeth thee." (John 14:6; Exodus 15:26).




He cannot change, for "Jesus, the Christ, is the same yesterday and to-day, yea and forever;" and he is still with us, for He said: "Lo, I am with you all the Days, even unto the Consummation of the Age."


* See later discussion under Doctrine.


** Pamphlet, Talks with Ministers on Divine Healing.




(Hebrews 13:8; Matthew 28:20). Because He is Unchangeable, and because He is present, in spirit; just as when in the flesh, He is the Healer of His people.




It was prophesied of Him, "Surely He hath borne our griefs (Hebrew, sickness,) and carried our sorrows: ...  and with His stripes we are healed;" and it is expressly declared that this was fulfilled in His Ministry of Healing, which still continues. (Isaiah 53:4,5; Matthew 8:17.)




It is the Devil's work, consequent upon Sin, and it is impossible for the work of the Devil ever to be the Will of God. The Christ came to "destroy the works of the Devil," and when He was here on earth He healed "all manner of disease and all manner of sickness," and all these sufferers are expressly declared to have been "oppressed of the Devil." (1 John 3:8; Matthew 4:23; Acts 10:38).




It is expressly declared that the "Gifts and the calling of God are without repentance," and the Gifts of Healing are amongst the Nine Gifts of the Spirit to the Church. (Romans 11:29; 1 Corinthians 12:8-11).




The first is the direct prayer of faith: the second, intercessory prayer of two or more: the third, the anointing of the elders, with the prayer of faith: and the fourth, the laying on of hands of those who believe, and whom God has prepared and called to that ministry. (Matthew 8:5-13: Matthew 18:19: James 5:14, 15; Mark 16:18.)


In his addresses he emphasizes two points.* First, that Jesus is unchanged in power and will. That he is as much present in power and in spirit today as when he stood in the flesh upon the earth. "This being so we have ever presented in our teaching that He is able, that He is willing, that He is present, and that He is longing to heal His people as in the days of His flesh."  Second, (under the necessity of repetition) that disease is God's enemy, and the devil's work, and can never be God's will. "When Jesus heals he is not undoing the work of the Father, but the work of Satan. The


* See Talks with Ministers on Divine Healing, p. 3 ff.




will of God is to heal now, as it was centuries ago, all who believe ... We teach also 'the redemption of the body,' (Rom. 8:23) that 'the life also of Jesus may be manifested in our mortal flesh' (2 Cor. 4:11). This redemption of the body was never taught by Jesus as something belonging to the hereafter. He taught that this was to be the continuous work of the Holy Spirit in all ages. ... We have no teaching outside of the Word of God in this matter. We do not present our theories, we hold fast to Jesus' words."

This has an element of popularity, in that it is hitched on to the traditional orthodoxy of Protestantism. It would be a difficult task indeed to combat the theory upon Mr. Dowie's own ground, and it would seem that the inconsistency lies with the churches which deny the present power of Jesus to heal when acknowledging his presence to bless and give moral guidance.

There is a transition from theory to practice which we must notice in our analysis of Mr. Dowie's position. He quotes, "They cry unto the Lord in their trouble, and he saveth them out of their distresses," (Ps. 107:6) and says, "and we do not believe that he does this by pills and potions and plasters, but, 'he sendeth forth his word and healeth them, and delivereth them.''' (Ps. 107:17ff.). *

Mr. Dowie further, "And so the whole mission is first of all a teaching mission, and is based on the Word of God. We therefore present that word as fully as we can always remembering that this was the way in which Christ carried out His great earthly mission. He taught, he preached, he


* It might suffice on this point to say that Mr. Dowie in theory has been opposed to doctors and drugs as have the Christian Science people - holding that it is distrusting God to resort to their use. His consistency has been questioned as he has had the services of a physician at least to diagnose cases at different times. This licensed medical doctor, Mr. Speicher, has been associated with him since the beginning of his Chicago work. Dentists ply their trade in Zion City and it is reported that in addition to having his teeth cared for he has employed an oculist for his diseased eyes.




healed. Matthew 4:25 and 9:35 have exactly the same phraseology.  'Jesus went about all the cities and villages, teaching in their synagogues, and preaching the gospel of the Kingdom, and healing all manner of diseases and all manner of sickness.'  Teaching came first. That is the divine order in which it was ever put and the Kingdom of God can only be extended by that three-fold ministry. ...  We have found in connection with this beautiful fact of the gospel of divine healing that it is put after salvation. ... We remind our readers that it is written, 'Bless the Lord, Oh my soul, and forget not all his benefits: Who forgiveth all thine iniquities; who healeth all thy diseases,' (Ps. 103:2, 3). Forgiveness first and healing second.  Jesus put it in the same order: 'Son, be of good cheer; thy sins are forgiven,' preceded 'arise, and take up thy bed, and go unto thine house,'" (Matt. 9:1-7).

"So we have taught that God requires saving faith on the part of those who come to seek him for healing. There must first be a surrender of the spirit, and a reception of Christ as Saviour from sin, and that is the sine qua non, a condition without which we can not ask the Lord acceptably for healing. We have nothing whatever to do with those who will not first receive Christ as Saviour. Divine healing is the children's bread and it can not be given to those who are wilfully children of the Devil, for these can not exercise faith."

The real point is that the teaching is a part of the healing process, and here, perhaps instinctively, Mr. Dowie and divine healers are in accord, in the underlying principle of operation at least, with Christian Scientists who hold readings and give instructions as a basis of healing.

With this method of procedure, agree substantially all the testimonies of those for whom Mr. Dowie has been the agency of healing.* Zion's people delight to honor the "teaching," and to those who doubt they say in substance, "you would


* See Chapters, Point of Contact, and People of Zion, also testimonials in L. of H.




see it if you would come and get some of the teaching."  There is just a suggestion of something mysterious or esoteric here and the "teaching" is regarded more or less reverently as something in itself possessed of efficacy.

The teaching represents among other things, repentance, which means a forsaking of known sin and a restitution or making right of all wrongs so far as possible, with a seeing and receiving of Christ * This has been the method of preparation to receive the blessing, at least for those who receive it consciously, and it puts the subject in a position of mental submission to the healer as a voice of God's requirements. We must keep this in mind as we proceed in order to be able to arrive at an understanding of the underlying law of Mr. Dowie's practice. **

"Receptive faith," says Mr. Dowie, "must be followed by a retentive faith, a faith which holds fast to Christ," (psychologically-fixity of attention). "That is followed by active faith; a true Christian must work for Christ." This simply serves to intensify the idea of submission on the active side. "Active faith must be followed by passive faith, the highest and yet the lowliest, form - a strong Christian calmly resting in the Lord. It is not in our seeing, our receiving, our holding fast, or our working that the power lies; power comes to him who is fully resting in the Lord." In the report of sworn testimony given in the Justice Court of Hyde Park, Chicago, *** Mr. Dowie is questioned and answers as follows:


* "I understand the general conditions to be repentance and restoration as far as possible where wrongs have been committed against others." - Personal letter to me from Zion officer.


** "Getting right with God," is a favorite phrase in Zion. I have heard it in the devotional meetings many times, and once in a meeting a young girl in a wheel chair was seeking healing and this was about all the leader had to say to her, "submit entirely to God and get right with him." The words "submit entirely" are significant for all faith healings whether by mental therapeutics, hypnotism, suggestion, or Christian Science.


*** Case, City of Chicago vs. John Alexander Dowie, before Justice Quinn. June 19, 1895.




Q. "Do you ever pray with anyone who is not a Christian and who does not profess to be?

A. Never. I teach in the Tabernacle with a view of bringing men and women to repentance. Then I teach them to have faith in Christ for salvation, and then in Christ for healing. We require absolutely that no person shall apply to be admitted in the healing room who is not a Christian, and any persons who enter that room, enter it telling a lie, if they are not Christians.

Q. Do you remember Mr. Kehoe?

A. I do. I always ask two questions in the healing room in the tabernacle, which contains seventy at a time. The people are admitted by tickets given away gratuitously and only to professing Christians. I ask first, 'So far as you know your own heart, have you repented of your sins and given yourself entirely to God in the name of Jesus for salvation?' Then comes the response, 'Yes sir.' Are you determined by his grace to rest in him alone for healing? 'Yes sir.' Then I usually say, 'Are there any here who are not Christians? If so you know that you are here under false pretenses, that God, therefore, can not bless you, and you are required at once to leave if you are deceiving.'"

Two things are seen to be essential and have been found to be efficacious. The real analysis, however plausible that of Mr. Dowie may seem, is, (a) fixity, or concentration of attention, (b) submission. Thus the patient is prepared.

There is also a relation between the specific sort of preparation, which is truly religious (in this sense rightly divine), based upon a certain form of teaching, and the actual objective practice of divine healers of the Mr. Dowie class. Disease is conceived of as a reality and inheres as such in the body. God is conceived of vividly as an objective entity and exerts the sort of power that can remove this disease directly by his touch, or immediate influence of his spirit. We would naturally expect the practices of the healer to be adapted to this belief, rather than to accord with that of the Christian




Science practitioner, for example, whose presuppositions with regard to the underlying cause of disease and healing are so different. And it is so.

Of the four modes of healing which Mr. Dowie says are scriptural, two, "the anointing of the elders, with the prayer of faith, and the laying on of hands of those who believe and whom God has prepared and called to that ministry," are definitely objective, and correspond to the kind of expectancy which the teaching has created in the mind of the patient. Mr. Dowie and his elders have practiced these two forms, and a majority of the testimonies would show that laying on of hands had been resorted to especially in the earlier and more fruitful ministry of Mr. Dowie. *

He says himself that the majority need teaching, which indicates that he or someone capable of instructing and practicing the ministry of healing needs to be with the patient. In all cases so far as I know the usual practice when the patient is present, has been prayer with the laying on of hands, although I have only attended a few healing meetings and never was so fortunate as to see anyone healed.

In the court proceedings referred to, a witness, Mr. Sheldrake, testifies as follows: **




Q. "You didn't go there for the purpose of taking the treatment yourself?

A. I did not.

Q. You found people there who were trying to get cured of diseases?

A. Yes sir.

Q. And they remained there?

A. They lived there while I was there.


* Almost all Zion people confess that in the earlier years of his ministry greater power was manifested. After Mr. Dowie became wealthy and careless he was shorn of power.


** See above, p. 116.




Q. Does the doctor come and pray with them in the homes, or in the Tabernacle only?

A. He prays with those in the homes. He prays with the people who come from the outside, and also from the homes, in the Tabernacle.

Q. My question was whether he prayed in the homes or in the Tabernacle only?

A. Both in the homes and in the Tabernacle.

Q. Did you see Dr. Dowie, at any time when he prayed with the sick lay his hands on their heads?

A. I did.

Q. Does he every time he prays with the sick?          

A. Every time I saw him.

Q. Will you please explain to the jury how he places his hands?

A. He places his hands on the head, touches the eyes lightly, ears, and back of the neck; or the part affected, generally. If it is a paralyzed arm he strokes his hands gently down the arm, or on the parts affected."

With this discussion of theory and practice in divine healing as represented by Mr. Dowie before us, we defer coming to our final conclusions, in order to notice some of the results and reports of healings. Much sifting must be done here, and the task seems almost hopeless. If we could take at face value all the reports of cures and printed testimony which Mr. Dowie has edited and issued, our work would be simplified. But his career is shadowed by falsehood and deceit, clever trickery and misrepresentation, as indicated in our other chapters, and in the printed confession of Deacon Newcomb. * One says ** of a prominent case of reputed healing by Dr. Dowie reported in L. of H., Vol. III No. 3, "Miss Markley's (now Mrs. Piper) healing was reported in such a way as to deceive all who read it. All believed the healing was complete until they saw the girl, when they found that she


* See Leaves of Healing. April 7, 1906.


** Tract - "Dowieism Exposed." Elder I. C. Bowman, Phila., Pa.




was as lame as ever. This was a great disappointment to me as well as to many of my church. I felt sure it was not right to practice this kind of deception through a religious paper to make the Lord's work go. After talking with Miss Markley I tried to accept her statement, also tried to satisfy and pacify all the best I could. I always felt some misgivings about such a 'botched job,' but much more about covering up the facts. They told me that Dowie said that nature would have to have its time for the bone to grow in below the ankle; later some of them said that Dr. Dowie did not know anything about the defective ankle when he prayed. Whatever the reason may be with all their boastings of her wonderful healing she is not healed, but limps to the present time." He says further, "If all were approximately true (yet I know they are not), they are purposely given so as to deceive the masses of people. He uses cunning, worldly, dishonest methods to succeed.  Anyone who may doubt what I say, let him do as many of us have done - sit down and write to a number whose names and addresses are given in the L. of H. and he will find the truthfulness of what I say. The first time I visited the Home I expected to see many healed. I was there for three days, saw him pray for hundreds, but did not see a marked healing. I have been there several times since, and in all this time not one was healed."

What percent of the reported healings the misrepresentations of Mr. Dowie invalidates we cannot know, but the evidence to substantiate any of them must consequently be stronger than that given in printed testimony, and for the severe cases well nigh overwhelming.

The number of failures of which nothing is said has been very considerable, although this would not affect our conclusions with respect to the true explanation of healing in the genuine cases. It sufficiently refutes the claim of all divine healers however, that all manner of diseases are cured, or that it is the Lord's will to heal all who sincerely and trustingly apply to Him in prayer for healing. "Dr. Dowie reports a few




deaths in his homes, as many say, 'not yet healed,' though they are still hoping. Many of these finally give up in despair. But the most conclusive indication of the extent of failure; comes from Dr. Dowie's own statements. He says, in a certain issue of his paper: 'I pray and lay my hands on 70,000 people in a year.' At that rate he would have prayed with 175,000 in two and a half years. But in the two and a half years immediately preceding this statement, he reports only 700 cures. The conclusion is indisputable that only a small portion of those prayed with are cured." *

Mr. Dowie's theory would give him a way of escape and make it possible to throw the blame upon the patient on the ground that there was still something wrong with the life, and that the conditions had not been met. But we would then have numberless repetitions of the situation of Job and his friends, for in all this number of uncured ones we would find many as devout and sincere, as good Christians and as submissive and willing to fulfill the conditions, as any who meet with better success. They could say of Mr. Dowie and his elders, "Ye are all physicians of no value." **

In a stay of a week in Zion City I have seen the same persons who were crippled, or in a wheel chair, or otherwise manifestly diseased, and there to seek healing, but no visible help or change of condition during my stay.

The Manager of the Lace Factory says, *** "As to healing. Yes, I know of several cases of healing. One was in the home in Chicago when we arrived and he was paralyzed in his


* Dr. H. H. Goddard: "The Effect of Mind on Body as evidenced by Faith Cures," p. 35.


** In L. of H. Feb. 4, 1905, Mr. Dowie gives an account of his personal attendant, Carl Stern, who had died after leaving Zion City to join him in the Bahama Islands. He says. "He and those around him believed he had been healed of his disease, and simply needed the rest and warmth which he could find in Nassau to restore him to vigor and to work." This certainly does invalidate the testimony of every one in Zion, even the one who experiences healing.


*** Personal letter to me. April 29. 1905.




right arm and side and both legs. He recovered gradually and is a well man to-day. I may say, however, that some testimonials I have found much overdrawn and the people have had symptoms constantly returning when they claim they had perfect healing. A great many failures, too, more than we know because they are never mentioned, but some I have seen being lifted into the train going home disappointed. A good few die, consumption especially. Mrs. Speicher died of that disease. Mrs. Dowie has heart trouble and has to use herself with care."

This letter raises the further question of the competency of the patient to give satisfactory testimony. That a number, contrary somewhat to Mr. Dowie's teaching, however, say they are well and try to act as though they were, (the result of the kind of teaching A. B. Simpson has been giving for years) is certainly true. Their theory is that to act or talk otherwise would be to allow distrust to God to enter the life. Many mistake tendency toward recovery, for complete cure; or relieved feeling of any kind for full release, only to lapse back into the old condition or worse, after their testimony has gone forth.

With regard to competency of patients to give trustworthy testimony, Dr. Buckley says, ** "All honest and rational persons are competent to testify whether they feel sick, and whether they seem better, or believe themselves to have entirely recovered after being prayed for and anointed ... but their testimony as to what disease they had or whether they are entirely cured, is a different matter, and to have value


* There have been a number of sad deaths in Zion. Miss Esther A. Dowie the only daughter of the founder was so badly burned on May 14, 1902, as to be past human help. Her father was with her the twelve hours preceding her death, but nothing could be done to save her. A physician was called in, but no one could blame the desperate father although it was at his request. Rather would we blame him had it not been done. That he made capital out of the sad affair is true, but we forego a discussion of the details. - See L. of H., May 17 and 24. 1902.


* Dr. J. M. Buckley. "Faith Healing," p. 7.




must be scrutinized in every case by competent judges.

In general, diseases are internal or external. It is clear that no individual can know positively the nature of any internal disease that he has. The diagnosis of the most skillful physician may be in error. Post-mortems in celebrated cases have often shown that there had been an entire misunderstanding of the malady. Hysteria can simulate every known complaint: paralysis, heart disease, and the worst forms of fever and ague. Hypochondria, to which intelligent and highly educated persons of sedentary habits brooding over their sensations are liable, especially if they are accustomed to read medical works and accounts of diseases and their treatment, will do the same. ...  Especially in women do the troubles to which they are most subject give rise to hysteria, in which condition they may firmly believe that they are afflicted with disease of the spine, of the heart, or indeed of all the organs. I heard an intelligent woman testify that she had 'heart-disease, irritation of the spinal cord, and Bright's disease of the kidneys, and had suffered from them all for ten years.' She certainly had some symptoms of them all. ... The foregoing observations relate to internal diseases, but it is by no means easy to determine what an external disease is. Tumors are often mistaken for cancers, and cancers are of different species - some incurable by any means known to the medical profession, others curable. It is by these differences that quack cancer doctors thrive. ... There is also a difference in tumors: some under no circumstances cause death; others are liable to become as fatal as a malignant pustule. ...  Often the account of the cure has been exaggerated: relapses have not been published, peculiar sensations still felt, and resisted, have been omitted from the description, and the mode of cure has been restricted to one act or a single moment of time, when in response to questions it has appeared that it was weeks or months before the person could be properly said to be well.  In all such cases it is obvious that the written testimony is of little value; indeed, it is seldom that a published




account in books supporting marvels of this kind shows any sign of being written by a person who took the pains, if he possessed the capacity, to investigate the facts accurately. Frequent quotations of such accounts add nothing to their credibility or value. ... The object of these remarks is not to discredit all testimony, but to show the conditions upon which its value depends."

We are compelled to classify much of the Zion testimony as suggested by this quotation, because of the cases we have seen to be untrustworthy, and because of manifest exaggeration. For example: One of  Mr. Dowie's celebrated cases which is cited on a little slip printed for distribution, is of a woman who claims to have been healed of nineteen cancers. She swears to this in court. *




Q. "What did you go there for? Did you have cancer?

A. I had nineteen cancers.

Q. Are you sure they were cancers?

A. Well, I guess Drs. Link and Murphy ought to know.

Q. What became of the cancers?

A. God took them away and I thank God for it.

Q. Dr. Dowie prayed for you?

A. He prayed with me.

Q. Did he give you any medicine?

A. He did not know I had cancer. I came there and he prayed with me in the name of the Lord Jesus, and he did it in the presence of about a hundred ladies. I had no pain. I had those cancers for seven and a half years. In eleven weeks they were all gone. I have been healed of nineteen cancers."


Mr. Dowie makes the following statement upon the death of Carl Stern, his personal attendant: **


* See case formerly cited.


** Leaves of Healing, February 4, 1905.




“Dear Carl, he was so radiantly happy, and he believed that he had received his healing, and was thanking God for His blessings to him!

And who shall say that he did not receive it? It is for him to know.

I believe with him that he did receive the healing of the disease, but that the final coming away of that horrid matter took so much of his already exhausted strength that it left the heart's action too weak, and he ought to have been able to be absolutely quiet after that. But we never know what is best to do, and we do not see until it is too late oftentimes."

If this isn't a complete surrender of his whole position, what is it?

Here are some of the cases given in Leaves of Healing as miraculous healings over the signature of the healed, given in all good conscience.  Some of these I have had corroborated by former Zion people whom I know to be convinced that they are genuine, but who have no motive to laud Mr. Dowie, in fact no longer believe in him:




TUMORS, ABSCESSES, ETC. - Vol. I, No. 24 - Miss Sadie Cody, healed when dying of Spinal Inflammation, Spinal Abscesses, and Tumor, after eight months' intense suffering.

RAISED FROM THE DEAD. - Vol. XVI, Page 86, and Vol. I, No. 31 - Mrs. Jennie Paddock, healed at the very moment of prayer, when dying of abdominal Tumor.

SHORT LIMBS, PARTIAL PARALYSIS. - Vol. III, No.3 - Mrs. Lydia Markley-Piper, healed of Partial Paralysis  and Short Limb, after suffering for sixteen years.

EPILEPSY. - Vol.  III, No. 39, and Vol. V. No. 41 - Elder F. A. Graves, healed of Epilepsy after twenty years of suffering.

CANCER OF MOUTH AND BLOOD-POISONING. - Vol. III, No. 48 - Miss Ethel Post, healed of Cancer of the Mouth and Blood-Poisoning, after her case was considered hopeless by Eminent Physicians.

NINETEEN CANCERS. - Vol. IV, No. 3 - Mrs. Mary Casey-Gough, healed of one large and eighteen small cancers when Specialists said there was no hope for her.


Vina Peck-Graves, healed of Curvature of the Spine, Bright's Disease of the Kidneys, Heart Trouble, Defective Eyesight, Headaches, and Nervousness, after two years of awful suffering.

TUMOR.-Vol. V, No. 17 - Mrs. Sara Leggett-Brooks, healed instantly, when dying, at the time of laying on of hands and prayer.




CANCER OF THE THROAT. - Vol. V, No. 32 - Della King, healed of a terrible Cancer of the Throat over twelve years ago, about eighty-seven years of age and enjoying good health.

HORRIBLY CRUSHED AND BROKEN LEG AND FOOT. - Vol. VI, No. 23, and Vol. IX, No. 18 - Christopher McCormick, healed of Kidney Trouble, Blindness, and horribly Crushed and Broken Leg and Foot.

TOBACCO, LIQUOR, CONSUMPTION, ETC. - Vol. VII, No. 5 - Testimony of George D. Chenoweth, formerly of Harvey, Illinois, now of Zion City, Illinois.

RUPTURE, SPINAL TROUBLE, AND WHOOPING-COUGH. - V. IX, No. 23 - Miss Edith A. Hoskin gave up truss and was healed of rupture and spinal trouble, and spasms resulting from whooping-cough.

CONSUMPTION, CURVATURE OF THE SPINE. - Vol. XI, No. 21 - Miss Mary Hornshuh healed of Consumption, Curvature of Spine, and other diseases.

FIBROUS TUMOR. - Vol. XI, No. 16 - Mrs. Isaac Mill, instantly healed when at the point of death from Fibroid Tumor.

TERRIBLE INJURY, CANCER. - Vol. XIII, No. 3 - Noble E. Ryther, quickly healed of terrible injury; his wife delivered from Cancer.


The healing of Mrs. Isaac Mill is generally held by residents of Zion City, to have been the last marked miracle of healing. After all the talk about divine healing in connection with Zion City this case occurring three years ago is practically the last with the exception of the recoveries from slight ailments, such as are daily taking place in any community. There will be multitudes of these of course, and among a people already convinced of the truth of the theory of divine healing they will all be cases coming under that head.

But what of the marked healings? The antecedent probability is against their having occurred under just the conditions and with the miraculous interpretation the patient has given. Parallel cases such as those given up by physicians to die, the patient contrary to expectation fully recovering, can be cited in any community, and they occur with tolerable frequence. * It is more than likely that an unusual number of such cases would come within the scope of Zion influence


* It would be interesting in any group of persons to ask for particulars as to such cases and see how many know of such.




and notice. They would all be cited as miraculous without careful investigation.

Are we to accept as genuine any of the cancer cures? The medical profession says the malignant cancer is incurable. They are either correct and cancer is incurable by any means at present known, in which case wrong diagnosis is a part of the explanation, or the divine healer has accomplished the scientifically impossible. There is no reason why medical science has a right to affirm that what it has found no cure for, cannot be cured. It is fair for the divine healer to urge this. Dr. Goddard says,*  "The physician who knows the whole history, the physiology and etiology of cancer, who has seen every kind of remedy tried, including divine healing, without success, is the first to admit his mistake when he sees the disease that he has thought was cancer, cured. He cannot do anything else and he would do the same if his own remedies had cured the disease." 

"The mental scientist (or divine healer) however, again complains, and with apparent justice, that it is illogical and unscientific for the doctor of medicine to make an arbitrary classification and to declare all disease incurable which he has been unable to cure. And when a new claimant for therapeutic honors comes into the field, he rejects it on the basis of the old determination that such diseases are incurable. The argument is good, and yet, so long as the physician puts himself under the same rule, he cannot, be accused of unfairness. In reality his procedure is the only one possible. Any other would lead to inextricable confusion.

We must act on the basis of what is most probable; and in this mental science stands on the same ground as any drug. Whenever any remedy, be it drug or idea, is shown to cure cancer oftener than the law of chance will allow spontaneous cure or wrong diagnosis, then and not until then will it be accepted as specific for that disease."


* Op. cit. pp. 28, 29.




The questions of diagnosis and of the adequacy of testimony, while of extreme importance, can never be settled. Men will differ in their judgments here. The patient's own diagnosis or that of a quack doctor is of no value.

Any of the testimony of Zion people elicited in public by Mr. Dowie when addressing them and asking these who have been healed of certain diseases to stand, must be rated as absolutely valueless. It would not be accepted anywhere as scientific testimony. And the same holds good of not a little of the printed testimony for reasons discussed above.

But cures do take place. Many can say, have said, and appearances bear it out, "whereas I was sick, I am now well." I have no reason to doubt any of the personal letters from followers of Mr. Dowie to me as being insincere or willfully misrepresenting the real experience. Allowing liberally for a coefficient of enthusiasm and erroneous diagnosis and the like, I am convinced that these people know themselves to have been healed as assuredly as anyone would who had gone to a regular practitioner and received help. Dr. Goddard says, * "Another class of cases that is quoted as among the most startling, has to do with muscular functions. These are the inability to walk, from various causes, such as one leg short, paralysis, sprain, etc., etc. Dr. Dowie prays with these people, tells them to walk, and they obey, much to the surprise of all, and to the glory of God as they devoutly believe." Dr. Goddard made an extensive study of some of Mr. Dowie's earlier reputed healings and this is a part of his findings. I was convinced of the genuineness of a number of Mr. Dowie's healings by being present in Zion City, April 10, 1906, the day when he was expected back from Mexico after having been shorn of authority by the regime under Overseer Voliva. I talked with the people who had loved their deposed leader with complete devotion because they were assured that he had been the agency of blessing to them, and it was all the harder to renounce him as he had been the


* Op. cit, p. 30.




instrument of their healing. Many with whom I talked that day had experienced healing at his hands.

However, we are not by any means to regard all genuine healings as miraculous, although they have taken place simultaneous with, or soon after the praying and laying on of hands by Mr. Dowie or one of Zion's accredited teachers, even when the diagnosis is approximately correct and the testimony perfectly sincere and reasonably reliable. They would be so reported by Zion as signs or evidence of their teaching being divine.

There is no a priori reason that seems to me valid for saying that the miracles which occurred in New Testament times may not occur in ours, but certain things have to be noticed with respect to all recoveries from sickness under whatever system of treatment and whenever occurring, in addition to those we have already discussed. We must take into account at all times what is known as vis medicatrix naturae, the final element in all recoveries. Dr. Buckley * quotes Sir John Forbes, M. D., one of the eminent regular physicians of England as saying: "First, that in a large proportion of the cases treated by allopathic physicians, the disease is cured by nature, and not by them. Second, that in a lesser but still not a small proportion, the disease is cured by nature in spite of them; in other words, their interference retarding instead of assisting the cure. Third, that in, consequently, a considerable proportion of diseases it would fare as well or better with patients if all remedies - at least all active remedies, especially drugs - were abandoned." He also quotes Sir John Marshall, F. R. S., as follows: "The vis medicatrix naturae is the agent to employ in the healing of an ulcer, or the union of a broken bone; and it is equally true that the physician or surgeon never cured a disease; he only assists the natural processes of cure performed by the intrinsic conservative energy of the frame, and this is but the extension of the force imparted at the origination of the individual being."


* Op. cit. p. 277




This force has helped Mr. Dowie and all divine healers to secure cures, and in a large number of cases would if left entirely free bring about recovery. The inherent powers of recuperation in the ordinary constitution are all but marvelous, and many cases which seem to be in extremis, recover because the natural vitality is sufficient. A physician told me that twenty-seven out of twenty-eight sick persons of all kinds of cases, mild and severe included, would recover if left alone, provided the cares and worries and nervous strains of civilization could be removed for the time. * Mind curers and divine healers seek and accomplish the concentrating of the thought of the patient upon health, or life, or God, and so remove the obstructions to nature's free working. The divine healers dare all kinds of cases if the religious conditions set forth above are complied with, and it would be impossible that they fail to pray and lay on hands coincident with the recovery, or at least the cessation of pain and symptoms, of a great many of their patients. The proportion of their healings in different types of cases does not differ greatly from those of materia medica, unless perhaps in neurotic cases where the presence of care and anxiety is a hindering cause.

It occurs not infrequently that cases practically given up by regular physicians are cured by faith healers of one sort or another (and Mr. Dowie at this point has no advantage over his diabolical counterfeits) because the very thing necessary to release the springs of nature's new life is some kind of mental or volitional dynamic. But we are running ahead - the point here is that multitudes of people get well if let alone, or if assisted a little to lay their worries one side and adopt the dynamic idea of health or wholeness.

For one who believes in the God who works in nature this would truly be divine healing, especially if prayer and religious faith have helped the mind to become composed and have


* He did not have data for fully bearing out his statement of the proportion. He referred to the cases of ordinary ailment where no physician is called and where care and some nursing bring about recovery.




removed anxiety. And who is to say that this is not the truest reaction upon the situation? It will be persons of naive and primitive type of mind however, who posit a direct and miraculous interposition of God as the cause of the healing.

Another word needs to be said with respect to the assistance toward recovery in cases such as these, or for that matter with respect to all cases influenced by the divine healer really or seemingly. To quote Dr. Buckley,* "The mind can influence the body toward health or disease, and God has constant access to every mind. Hence by increasing the invalid's hope or diverting him from pernicious attention to his symptoms, and by insensibly affecting the train of ideas in the minds of physicians and surrounding friends or foes, the ever present God may, without contravening any visible ordinary method of cause and effect, promote recovery. Nor can any prove that God never does interfere directly, tho beyond human ken, between natural cause and effect."

If we accept, however, what seems to be the most reasonable hypothesis, the view that all recoveries are natural recoveries, we still have to account for the assistance the divine healer renders in the cases where we grant that he has performed a certain function. In a word, for it is reduced to this, what is the real explanation of divine healings of the kind Mr. Dowie and Zion have accomplished? Or to be true to their own notion of it, how has he mediated the power leading to recovery?

Allowing for all absolute failures which have falsely been regarded as cures for one reason or another; allowing for lapses after temporary cures (and the temporary cure would require explanation) have been wrought, allowing for the cases where only tendency toward a better state of health has been achieved rather than actual results of healing; there yet remain many cases which have been actually healed of more or less violent disease by Mr. Dowie, or in coincidence with his prayer and efforts for their recovery. The same may also


* Dowie Analyzed and Classified, Pamphlet.




be said for many of the officers and teachers of the C. C. A. C. in Zion.

We are compelled to proceed without regard to the religious notions involved, * because of the similarity in general between all anti-medicine cures both as to the character of the cases and the limitations surrounding the differing theories. Innumerable cases of purely natural mental cures can be cited by reference to the works Dr. Tuke, Dr. Carpenter, Dr. A. T. Schofield, or in fact the diary of almost any reputable physician. These cases are not always of people superstitious and ignorant, nor are the diseases imaginary as some erroneously suppose. ** In all such cases "the cure or relief was the natural result of mental states. As long ago as the time of John Hunter, it was established by a variety of experiments and by his own experience that the concentration of attention upon any part of the human system affects first the sensations, next produces a change in the circulation, then a modification of the nutrition, and finally an alteration in structure." ***

Hypnotism popularly misunderstood and considered the possession of a few who can by its power do anything they


* The character of Mr. Dowie is now generally believed to have been shaded by duplicity and willful dishonesty, if not immorality, and yet many of his healings which must be allowed if any are, took place after such was the case with him, if he were ever thoroughly trustworthy. The belief that objective power of a spiritual nature was exerted by him in these healings has to be abandoned even by those who fully believe in divine healing. His followers say that he was a man of God, a mighty power for God, etc., but with their denial now that he is a godly man, and their praying that he may be brought to repentance, they invalidate their own theory of the ministry of healing, and must explain these healings that took place after he became dishonest, in some other way. The psychologist knows that it doesn't make any difference about the operator or healer, if the people are for the time convinced of his uprightness. The channel of blessing is not the character of the healer but the mind of the patient.


** Cf. Goddard, op. cit., 27.


*** Dr. Buckley, Faith Healing, p. 25.




like with the persons who fall under their influence, is a means by which numerous cures have been wrought in certain classes of cases. * Suggestion is a term in better repute, but it is simply hypnotism, with the exception that the patient does not sleep. Both depend upon the influence of the mind over the body for any tangible results. The suggestion in either case is only realized where the inhibiting influences in the mind of the patient are fully overcome and the idea of the operator acquiesced in, and then only in such measure as the nature of the case, or the individual under treatment will allow. Not all are equally suggestible or capable of being influenced very much in this way. Nearly everyone is more or less, for the tendency is for every accepted idea to generate its actuality.

Dr. Goddard states the law in regard to the cure of disease by suggestion as follows: ** "The idea of health tends to produce health in proportion to the strength of the idea, or inversely as the opposition to be met. This opposition to the acceptance of the idea of health comes from the presence of other ideas or beliefs and also from physical conditions which require, often, long time for their complete correction. The time required weakens the strength of the fixed idea."

Fixity of attention, submission or faith on the part of the patient and acceptable suggestion with no organic hindering causes, would be ideal conditions for a cure.

Now remembering that in Mr. Dowie's theory of healing fixity of attention and submission are taught and enjoined, and that the practice almost uniformly corresponds to the intellectual presuppositions of the patient, the best sort of conditions for mental healing are present. The suggestion or idea of health or recovery in the form of a command to walk and the like, comes at an opportune time in such cases and with conditions all favorable for its realization. The


* See discussion of this in Goddard, op. cit., also Prof. James' Psychology.


** Op. cit., p. 55.




testimonies which came to me in letters, presented in chapters on "Point of Contact and People of Zion," show the writers to have been in this attitude at least in some of the cases. But let us look at a few testimonies from the more intelligent believers in divine healing, who are perhaps more capable of analyzing their experiences.

"I simply gave up the use of doctors and all remedies, so called, in the medical realm and obeyed Rom. 12:1,  'present your bodies a living sacrifice wholly acceptable to God.' '' Result: "Total deliverance from pain and perfect ability to use my paralyzed arm. I united with the C. C. A. C. in Zion because it measures up with the Bible teachings as is found in none of the denominations."

"I have been healed in answer to prayer many times in the past nine years. I was healed in Oakland, Cal., before I had ever heard of Dr. Dowie or his work. The two most striking experiences along this line were in connection with healing received for my eyes and appendicitis. ... In December, 1899, I was stricken very suddenly with a very severe attack of appendicitis, from which I had suffered more or less in periods of from three to six months for three years. ... In answer to prayer which was specially made in my behalf by Overseer Mason ... deliverance came and since that time I have never had a return of the trouble. ... As far as the appendicitis is concerned there were the usual severe pains in the bowels, inflammation and high fever, accompanied with intense pains extending into the groin and into the muscles of the legs. ... In August of 1899, having read one copy of Leaves of Healing, and having examined very closely the scriptural passages cited in the little tract entitled 'God's Way of Healing,' a copy of which I inclose, I became fully convinced that Divine Healing was just as real as Divine Salvation in Jesus the Christ through the Holy Spirit. ... My healings were both instantaneous. ... In the case of the attacks of appendicitis the pain left the abdomen at once and tho weak from the four days of heavy fever and intense suffering,




I immediately was able to eat everything. In this attack of December, 1899, I returned to school with the opening of the new term of January 22nd. I had formulated no plan with reference to my healing. The conditions which I believe the Word of God teaches must be fulfilled, were those of true repentance, faith in Jesus the Christ as the Healer as well as the Saviour, and the determination to be wholly obedient to the Holy Spirit wherever he might lead me. ... My mental state and religious state at the time of cure was that of a confident, hopeful, loving disciple of the Lord Jesus the Christ." 

"I have often been healed in answer to prayer, both before coming into Zion and since. ... Healing has sometimes come instantaneously. ... I understand the general conditions to be repentance and restoration as far as possible where wrongs have been committed against others, then to trust God for healing, which comes in answer to one's own prayers or in answer to the prayers of those who have the gift specified in Corinthians."

"Replying to your first question, will say that before knowing anything about the work or teachings of Zion, after having given fifteen years of Christian work and to the preaching of the Word of God, I overworked and was for four years under physicians' care and nothing the better, only growing worse, with hope almost despairing and in supplication to God the Scripture came:  'If you will ask anything in my name I will do it.' I then and there said, 'First, I do not know how to pray in his name as I should. Secondly, When I learn how to thus pray I shall be healed.' The nature of my malady consisted of indigestion, dyspepsia, constipation, rheumatism, and nervous prostration in the shape of brain fag, which had been coming on me for four years or more. * ... Perhaps it will suffice that after being carefully examined by a physician who could discover nothing organically the matter


* His whole trouble was probably constipation, which is more or less a matter of mental control.




with me, he was surprised in taking my temperature to find that I had a sub-normal temperature ranging from a degree to a degree and a half, which is a more precarious state than a temperature of 103 or 104. ... No person suggested it to me, no reading brought it to me, but the Spirit of God brought this scripture which seemed to be a beacon light to me: 'Cast not away therefore your confidence which has a great recompense of reward.'... That October morning at ten o'clock the divine power of God, which quickened my spirit at the age of thirteen into a newness of life, which gave me fellowship with God, that same divine touch quickened my body that morning and the disability and the complication which had been upon me for years ... passed away. ... As to answer eight, concerning plans formulated or conditions stipulated which have been fulfilled, will say that I gave myself up to a season of heart-searching and agonizing crying to God covering a period of some days, in which I ransacked my own life, praying God to discover unto me the exceeding sinfulness of sin. ... You ask of my mental and religious state at the time of the cure. Will say that I was calm in mind, ... and believe that through the exercise of the period of waiting upon God which I went through I drew nearer to Him than ever before, and believe that He was nearer to me, so that altho years of Christian life preceded this the knowledge of God gained in this brief time seemed proportionately greater than anything that I had before known. ... The healing came first to my spirit. The energizing power of God in the Spirit, like an electric flash permeated my whole being, so that with a heart abounding with gratitude to God, ... I was healed. Before this, however, the medicine that I was taking was abandoned ... as tho God himself had spoken to my spirit to the effect that the stuff that I was taking was poison. ... I have found in God, I believe the fountain of living waters."

These were all healed by the prayer of faith made personally, but there is the same fixity of attention evidenced in the giving




up of medicine and looking only to God, the same submission and suggestibility. The suggestion is the same, only it is in a sense auto-suggestion, based upon the conviction that God heals directly by his touch.

We are prepared to say since the evidence is in accord with it, and there is no other theory that could be more strongly supported, that the healings of Mr. Dowie and Zion fit into the theory of healing by suggestion, or waking hypnotism, and are therefore mental healings. In so far as they are not spontaneous or natural mental healings there has been a certain amount of assistance given by the teachings of Mr. Dowie or by his personal presence and efforts.

With this agree the conclusions of the study of mental and divine healings made by Dr. Goddard. "Suggestion is the bond of union between all the different methods, divine healing, Christian Science, Mental Science, etc. And the law of suggestion is the fundamental truth underlying all of them, and that upon which each has built its superstructure of ignorance, superstition, or fanaticism." * In divine healing, Christian Science and other forms of mental healing, the reasoning which would oppose the suggestion is silenced, not by sleep, but by some powerful argument, dogma or assertion of the healer. If the patient accepts the teaching of the healer, without question, then the ideas which the healer suggests tend to work themselves out. And, so far as the healer is concerned, the patient is in a state analogous to that of the hypnotic subject, though in all other respects he may be wide awake.

"In both hypnotism and Christian Science it is the fixed idea in the mind of the patient - placed there by the healer or operator or suggested by a book or elaborated by the patient's own reasoning that accomplishes the result through its tendency to generate its actuality." *

And what of all this? Is divine healing wrong per se? The narrowness and dogmatism of which it is the outcome


* Op. cit., pp. 51, 69.




and which it in turn engenders, as witnessed in Zion, is to be deplored most certainly. That it can never in the nature of the case take the place of common sense, and scientific study of disease and remedy, we feel assured. Nor are we forced to the conclusion either that there is not a legitimate place for prayer and religious meditation and reflection in any complete system of therapeutics.

How shall the Christian Church react toward the Mind-cure Movement? This lies outside the scope of our study, but it is one of the questions raised that needs solution in order to make the recurrence of religio-therapeutical cults impossible, because unnecessary. Their limitations will come to be fully recognized in time by their adherents, but there are some things the church may learn from them that are valuable.

The influence of Mr. Dowie's teaching has been in the main salutary, although his own life, if consistent with his theories, would doubtless have made it more so. Moral reformation has resulted in a large number of instances, and the clean living required in order to secure the blessings of divine healing as Zion has taught, has been a great benefit to many. It is to be deplored that perfect candor and honesty have not been the uniform atmosphere in which people thus reclaimed to a holier life might live and work, in newness of spirit and soundness of body.



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