Kathryn Kuhlman: Benny Hinn
You need to pray that the Lord Jesus Christ would enable you grasp the importance of the truth in the world around you a little more clearly
In these chaotic days, we have not only the right but the duty to test every movement by the standard of the Holy Scriptures. In particular, we must direct a Biblical test-lamp onto the paths of outstanding personalities who come up like comets on the spiritual horizon.
We have no right to judge: “Judge not, that ye be not judged” (Matthew 7:1).“Who art thou that judgest another man’s servant?” (Romans 14:4).“There is one lawgiver, who is able to save and to destroy: who art thou that judgest another?” (James 4:12).But we have the duty to test: “Prove all things, hold fast that which is good” (1 Thessalonians 5:21).“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world” (1 John4:1).Kathryn Kuhlman was a healer who drew large crowds to her meetings. Millions came to her for help.
Her meetings were attended by up to ten thou-sand at a time. Kathryn was born in Concordia, sixty miles from Kansas City. Her moth-er was a Methodist, her father a Baptist. As a young girl, she went to a Baptist seminary and was ordained as a Baptist preacher. Her first church was in Franklin, Pennsylvania. One day some people in her congregation said that they had been healed while she was preaching. Kathryn was astonished. When such occurrences became more frequent, she began to preach about faith healing, without ceasing to put the main emphasis on the salvation of the soul. Before long, she moved from Franklin to the great city of Pittsburgh, where ever-increasing crowds flocked to her services. From 1946, she con-ducted an average of 125 healing meetings per year. She used the largest halls in the USA, and her healing meetings were attended by about one and a half million people each year. This figure is given by a doctor named William Nolen.
In addition to the meetings, she appeared on many radio and TV pro-grams. The huge sums of money given as offerings have been used for building twenty-five churches, many schools and homes, and for social projects of many kinds. It is a thankless, but necessary, task to subject the healing work of this woman to the test of the Scriptures. I will do so in such a way as to allow as many other observers as possible to have their say. The background of my views is the material I collected during many lecture tours in the USA. At the time of writing, I have been there thirty-four times for tours. I have read Miss Kuhlman’s books, I have attended a four-hour healing meeting at the First Presbyterian Church in Pittsburgh; and I have had a personal conversation with her. I also have many verbal and written reports from people who attended her meetings. At this point, I must thank most warmly my two principal informants. Mrs. H. Maynard Johnson, wife of the technical director of the Eitel Hospital in Minneapolis, collected twenty-eight cases of healing, with full addresses, from Minneapolis and the surrounding area for me. I also received an excel-lent, scientifically based article from Dr. H. H. Ehrenstein of Songtime Boston. Names of further assistants will appear in the course of the chapter. First of all, I must give a brief sketch of the style of these healing meetings.
After a fantastic organ prelude, Kathryn would appear on the stage dressed in a long blue or white robe. Everyone would stand up. She would say: “How glad I am to have you all here. The Holy Spirit will perform a great work among you.” The atmosphere was heightened by an introductory hymn sung by thousands of expectant people. This was followed by prayer and a short sermon. Then Kathryn would suddenly announce, “Up there in the second row of the balcony a man has just been healed of cancer. Please come down to the platform,” or “a girl in the seventeenth row has just been healed of a lung disease.” It would continue in the same way for several hours. The people who had been healed came to the platform. Kathryn would hold her hands about six inches above the head of each and pray. They then would fall backwards to the floor. Two attendants would catch them as they fell, so they would not hurt themselves. The people who had been healed would lay for ten to thirty seconds unconscious on the floor. When they stood up, they would say that they had a wonderful feeling.
While I was watching, I saw even ministers falling to the floor unconscious, one of them a Catholic priest. Kathryn would then ask those who had been healed one or two questions, different every time. For instance, she asked a woman in her fifties, “Do you believe in Jesus?” “No, I am a Buddhist.” A young man about twenty years old was asked: “Are you a Christian?” “No, I am an atheist.” “Won’t you believe in Jesus now that He has healed your wife?” Kathryn asked. A long silence passed. After much pressing on Kathryn’s part, he finally said, “I will try.” Many people have tussled with the question of how it was that Kathryn could tell which person had been healed of which disease. Many doctors investigated this problem and came up with various answers. Was it clairvoyance or mediumistic contact? The next question is, Did healing really take place, and did it last? Another question relates to the spiritual aspect of these healings. Did the people who had been healed find the way to Jesus, and if they were Christians already, was any harm done to their faith? A sensational aspect was the way those who had been healed fell backwards. What powers were involved? Was it hypnosis? Kathryn’s friends called such people the slain of the Lord
Let us now call some witnesses. Since I am one of them, I will first give three of my experiences.
At the healing meeting in Pittsburgh a woman doctor brought a woman on to the stage. The doctor gave the following report: “This woman had multiple sclerosis in an advanced stage. She used to wear two splints and was almost blind. Her abdomen was partially paralyzed. She had a permanent catheter for three years. Three months ago I went with the patient to one of Kathryn Kuhlman’s meetings. The patient was healed. Since then she has needed neither splints nor catheter. The paralysis has disappeared. She is now a nurse in the hospital in which she used to be a patient.” There is no reason to doubt the truthfulness of this testimony. We know, of course, that the fact of healing gives us no indication of what power it was that brought it about.
My second example shows a spiritual situation. I met a man at the meeting who allowed me to ask him some questions. He was very willing to answer them. “Have you experienced healing?” “Yes, thirteen years ago I was healed at Kathryn’s meeting.” “Do you belong to Jesus? Do you pray and read the Bible?” “Yes, I follow Jesus and know Him as my Lord and Savior.” “Has your healing lasted?” “Yes, for thirteen years.” This is another testimony that I cannot simply dismiss.
A third experience made me begin to have doubts. It was during a personal interview with Kathryn. She suddenly began to pray with me. She held her hands about six inches above my head. At once I began to pray in my heart, “Lord Jesus, if this woman gets her power from You, then bless both her and me. If she has gifts and power which do not come from You, protect me from them. I do not want to come under an alien influence.” While Kathryn was praying, two ushers came and stood behind me to catch me as I fell. I felt nothing, however, and stood like a rock without losing my consciousness in the least. Then came a second surprise. Kathryn nudged me gently, probably in order to make me fall. She did not succeed. Then she asked me, “Do you have a healing ministry yourself?” I answered, “In my pastoral counseling it has happened occasionally, but that is not my calling: my task is to preach the Gospel and bring people to salvation.” Since this experience, I have for years kept my eyes and ears open to try to discover the truth behind these enormous healing demonstrations. There is a problem about the experience of the man who was healed thirteen years ago and yet has suffered no ill effects in his spiritual life. On the assumption that Kathryn did not heal by divine power, as thousands of people believe, would it be possible for a person who had been healed in such a way to suffer no spiritual harm? I have enough examples from counseling people in similar situations to be able to say yes.
A German architect told me that he had found the way to Jesus through the preaching of a minister who was a drunkard. The minister was often drunk, but when he was sober, his preaching was sound. God can bring people to new life even by means of unworthy witnesses.
I have heard of several believers who have found the way of salvation through the ministry of a charlatan who taught unscriptural doctrines. I shall not mention this man by name, although he has done much harm. The next witness we must call is Mrs. H. Maynard Johnson, whom I mentioned above, the lady from Minneapolis who has provided me with so much useful material. The reports she sent to me are of great evidential value, since they describe the situation one year after the healing took place. I will begin with Mrs. Johnson’s own experience, in her own words, but shortened.
“My husband, daughter, and I went to see and hear Miss Kuhlman and pray that I might be healed of what my doctor had just told me could be the first stages of rheumatoid arthritis. I had been having pains in my joints, especially in my fingers and wrists. I have been forced to give up my hobbies of sewing and organ playing. Writing had become painful also. During Miss Kuhlman’s healing service, she spoke from the stage saying that someone seated in our section was receiving a healing of arthritis. My arms went up over my head, and I began wiggling all my fingers and there was no pain. One of her helpers stopped at our row and told me to come with her to the front. As I approached Miss Kuhlman, she asked what I had been healed of; then she lightly touched my forehead with her finger tips, as she called out to God to remove the arthritis from my body. At that instant I was slain in the Spirit. I felt completely separated from my surroundings, as a beautiful peace went all through me. As we left the auditorium that day, I told my family, “If the physical healing wasn’t meant to last, I know my spiritual healing will never leave me.” A year later I can still make that statement: the physical healing has lasted, too. The day after the service, I was scheduled to go to the clinic to have extensive blood work done. My blood tests showed that I was not only normal, but better than normal. I have witnessed to many people regarding this marvelous healing of my body and spirit. My whole life direction has changed since this happened to me. My prayer life took on new meaning. My hunger for the Word has greatly increased. I continue to spread the word as to how great it is when we let God take complete control.” Because I am very grateful to Mrs. Johnson for the twenty-eight case histories she has so carefully reported for me, I might be tempted to keep my own views to myself.
But this case also raises a number of questions.1. In cases of arthritis, the psyche and psychosomatic connections often play a part. Healings from arthritis head the list of all healings by suggestion.2. I cannot accept this phenomenon of being slain in the Spirit as a work of the Holy Spirit. When people fall to the ground in the course of a spiritual revival, in repentance and sorrow for sin, weeping over their sins and asking for God for forgiveness, it is quite a different matter.
- What are we to make of Mrs. Johnson’s reference to a spiritual healing which would still be there even if the physical healing should disappear? The expression spiritual healing is used by many spiritist healers. The only kind of spiritual healing the Bible knows is the process of conversion and re-generation. Mrs. Johnson was already a believing Christian when she went to the meeting. There is no such thing as a second rebirth. This so-called spiritual healing does not make sense and could be compared with what is known in extreme circles as the baptism of the Holy Spirit. Lack of space unfortunately forbids me to discuss all twenty-eight healings in detail, interesting as that would be. I will here record the general conclusion. One year after meeting with Kathryn, the state of all twenty-eight people said by her to have been healed was as follows: Ten had not been healed, seven had experienced an improvement in their condition, eleven had diseases in which the mind can play an important part. In the whole of this extensive report, there is not one clear case of healing from an organic disease.”
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