The Apostle of Divine Healing
The Story of John Alexander Dowie
By Gordon P. Gardiner
John Alexander Dowie “was unquestionably the apostle of divine healing in his day.”’* This considered judgment concerning such a radical and controversial figure is particularly valid coming as it does from a conservative Episcopalian clergyman, Dr. Kenneth Mackenzie (1853-1943), a man of God universally recognized not only for his deep spirituality but also for his sound scholarship. Furthermore this opinion was quite unprejudiced, for Dr. Mackenzie held it in spite of the fact that he did not agree with much of what Dr. Dowie said and did, and to defend him opened himself to sharp criticism from his fellow evangelical leaders. Still Dr. Mackenzie boldly acknowledged Dr. Dowie was as “a giant of faith” and “If God was not in [his work] then we have little ground for ascertaining His hand in any movement.”
* MacKenzie, Kenneth, Our Physical Heritage in Christ (Fleming H. Revell & Co., New York, 1923) p.20
Dr. Mackenzie was further ably qualified to render an opinion on Dr. Dowie because he had been a careful student of the entire divine healing movement since its beginning in the United States under Dr. Charles Cullis, a Boston physician. In addition to this, he was a personal friend and lifelong associate of A. B. Simpson, another man who was mightily used of God in the ministry of healing. And yet Dr. Mackenzie in discussing “the recurrence of the doctrine” of divine healing concludes that of these “three great figures” it was the “doughty Scotchman” who under God was primarily responsible for restoring this truth to the Church of Christ. This he was forced to believe as a result of his personal investigation of Dr. Dowie’s work and from reading his weekly, Leaves of Healing.
Dowie “brought to his task every element of stolid, uncompromising devotion to truth as he saw it. If he angered men by his caustic epithets, they were compelled to honor him for his sincerity. He produced fruits; and no one dared to deny the fact.”