The Wedge in Cessationism: The Anglican tradition of healing prayer

 The Wedge in Cessationism: The Anglican tradition of healing prayer

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The Church of England is the founding church of worldwide Anglicanism, which includes the Episcopal Church in the United States. Anglican Churches are the third largest grouping in Christendom, after Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Within Anglicanism there are presently some thirty-seven independent national jurisdictions and about seventy-seven million adherents,

Currently however, the Church of England, the Anglican Church in Canada and the Episcopal Church in America are all in the process of disintegration due to waves of liberal theology and apostasy that overwhelmed their seminaries. To the contrary, the Anglican churches in Africa and Asia and South America, founded and guided by sacrificial and Bible-believing missionaries, remain solidly orthodox and often Spirit-filled. In the the beginning of the 20th Century, all of Anglicanism (including the Episcopal Church) was basically orthodox and Bible believing.

Historically, the Church of England and the Anglican churches have mightily enriched the theological heritage of all of Christendom. This was because traditional Anglicanism attempted to be a bridge between the Reformed Protestant Churches and the liturgical, “Catholic” churches such as Roman Catholicism and Eastern Orthodoxy. Every since the reign of Queen Elizabeth I (1553-1603), the Church of England has attempted to live out this difficult “bridge” between Protestant and Catholic. The Book of Common Prayer, which directed the daily worship of the Church, included the famous “Thirty–Nine Articles of Religion.” These were thoroughly Reformed in theological orientation. On the other hand, the liturgy of Anglicanism remained sacramental and closer to Lutheran and Catholic forms than to the European Reformed tradition.

This “bridge” status has had a certain awkwardness to it. For instance, the Puritans disliked the Catholic elements of Anglican worship, while other groups, as the later Tractarians, lobbied for worship that was even closer to the traditional Medieval and Catholic patterns. This has meant that Anglicanism has always been divided among factions. Historically this has manifested as “Broad-Church” (moderate), High-Church (near-Catholic) and Low Church (simple liturgy, pro-Reformed).  The unifying factor has been adherence to the Book of Common Prayer – thankfully one of the most graced prayer books of Christendom.[1]

All of this leads to our main point. Anglican clergy and theologians have often been in the forefront of theological excellence and balance, with such names as C. S. Lewis and John R. Stott, to give just two examples.[2] This is so because as a bridge church, Anglican writers have a special freedom, or more accurately, lack of guilt, in accessing insights from theologians of all Christian denominations. Knowing and respecting their own internal divides, they have been accepting of other Christian traditions. This was especially true of Anglican writes at the beginning of the 20th Century, when other Christian writers were highly sectarian and barely noted the literature of other denominations. Anglican writers have also been especially attentive to the writings of the Early Church.

Healing prayer at the birth of Anglicanism:

Early on during the complex and bloody process of the English Reformation there was a moment when cessationism was challenged and healing prayer almost revived to its biblical standard. It happened through a committee of churchmen and scholars who formulated the first set of guiding principles for the newly independent Anglican Church. The document they produced was called The Bishop’s Book (1537). Among its provisions was a reformation of the Catholic rite of “extreme unction,” anointing prior to death, to bring it in harmony with the Bible and the practice of the Early Church.[3] Citing James 5: 14-16, The Bishop’s Book declared anointing it to be “a very godly and wholesome medicine or remedy to alleviate and mitigate diseases and maladies, as well as of the soul as of the body of Christian men.”[4] This was plainly both anti-cessationist, and critical of Catholic practice.

Several years later Henry VIII, who was well read in theology, revised the Bishop’s book and affirmed anointing of the sick as a healing sacrament.[5]  These reforms were carried forward to the first Book of Common Prayer (1549). There the priest was directed to pray:

Hear us, almighty and most merciful God, and Savior: Extend thy accustomed goodness to this thy servant, which is grieved with sickness: Visit him, o Lord, as thou diddest visit Peter’s wife’s mother, and the Captain’s servant. And as thou preservest Thobie [Tobit] and Sara by thy Angel, from danger: So restore unto this sick person his former health, (if it be thy will), or else give him grace so to take thy correction, that after this painful life ended, he may dwell with thee in life everlasting. Amen.[6]

This was what the Reformers, Luther and Calvin and the others, should have done about healing prayer, correct Catholic abuses and exaggerations by returning to the original biblical intension and the practice of the Early Church. As the Anglican scholars of the era demonstrated, that was not an impossible task.

Unfortunately, this true reformation of the healing ministry lasted only a short season. The more radical Reformers within the English Church were suspicious that the modified rite of anointing was too close to Catholic “superstitions” and should be totally eliminated.[7] Archbishop Cranmer, leader of the Reformation in England, invited the eminent German Reformed theologian Martin Bucer to assist in reviewing The Book of Common Prayer. Under Bucer’s influence cessationism was reaffirmed, with the result that in the 1552 edition of The Book of Common Prayer the rite of anointing was eliminated – not to be restored until the 1928 version.

However, the healing ministry as a witness against cessationism was never entirely extinguished in the Anglican Church. Several of the factions that developed within Anglicanism attempted to reintroduce healing prayer and anointing of the sick, including the “Non-Jurors” of the 18th Century.[8] But perhaps the most important group to advocate a restored healing ministry was the Tractarians of the 19th Century. This was a “high church” group which attempted to restore Anglican liturgy to its Early Church and Medieval roots. Several Tractarian Bishops and priests wrote in favor of a restored rite of anointing.[9] Fr. Edward Pusey, a major leader of the Tractarians, wrote in his influential and widely circulated letter/essay Eirenicon, a section urging a reformed rite of anointing of the sick that would avoid Roman Catholic abuses. Pusey correctly pointed out that the rite of anointing the sick had never lost its original intention in the Eastern Orthodox churches, and in fact often led to healing of the sick. He also reminded the readers of the healing rite found in the first Book of Common Prayer.[10]

  1. W. Puller (1843-1938), Recovering the Anointing of the Sick:

The Tractarian movement led to a reconsideration of healing prayer just as Christian Science was beginning to impact (and frighten) churchman on both sides of the Atlantic. Several Anglican churchman reacted pro-actively to the Christian Science threat by reexamining the issue of healing prayer, in light of the practice of the Early Church. A pioneer work of this movement, perhaps best termed “restorationist,” was a work produced by an Anglican scholar and priest, F. W. Puller (1843-1938).[11]

Frederick W. Puller was bone into a devout upper class Anglican family and given the best education available – Eton and then Trinity College, Cambridge. He specialized in the literature of the Church Fathers, and was ordained an Anglican priest in 1872. Puller was posted to a small coastal parish in Wales. There he gained a reputation as an effective, loving rector and expert on the Early Church.

In 1880 Puller joined a newly founded Anglican order for religious, the Society of Saint John, modeled after the Catholic Jesuits. The Society sought to combine high intellectual achievement with evangelical and missionary passion. In 1883 Puller was sent to South Africa to labor among the “Collards” (Indians, North Africans and those of mixed race) who were little served by the Anglican Church. Puller was also given charge of a congregation of Black African Christians who had earlier been converted to an enthusiastic and Pentecostal form of Methodism, but now felt a leading to join the Anglican Church. Puller wisely discerned that although their worship was unusual, it echoed that of the Early Church, and the group was allowed to remain Pentecostal and Anglican.

After a decade, Puller was recalled to England and made novice master to the Society of St. John. In that position he was able to continue his scholarly pursuits and wrote a series of high quality and scholarly books.[12] Among these was the classic, The Anointing of the Sick in Scripture and Tradition.[13] Puller’s command to the literature of the Early Church was put to good use as he demonstrated in text after text how the prayerful anointing with oil of the Early Church survived and effectively healed many until morphed into “extreme unction” in the late Middle Ages. This degeneration of the rite made it into a “spiritual” sacrament which promised a detour around Purgatory, but expected no physical healing.

Puller also showed that much of the healing in the Early Church was associated with its liturgy.. For example, he cited from a 4th Century Egyptian liturgy for blessing oil and water to be used for healing:

Grant healing power upon these creatures, that every fever and every demon and every sickness may depart through the drinking and the anointing, and that the partaking of these creatures may be a healing medicine and a medicine of complete soundness in the name of the Only-begotten, Jesus Christ.[14]

This passage may seem strange to modern readers, accustomed to safe drinking water, but his type of blessings continues in active use in many parts of Africa today where the water supply is filled with parasites and other diseases, and blessing and exorcising the water has apparently good effect.[15]

Puller’s work was published in 1904, at the height of Christian Science’s influence and growth. His work clarified and solidified the arguments for a restored, orthodox, and Church based healing ministry.  His work laid one of the foundations of the recovery of healing prayer, but his work did not produce an immediate rush to do so. The more practical work of establishing the healing ministry on a parish level was largely due to another Anglican churchmen, and one who formed the first orthodox, lay Christian healing group in Christendom.[16]


The Rev. Percy Dearmer (1867-1936): Pioneer of Healing Theology[17]


The Rev. Pearcy Dearmer was a person of seemingly endless energy and enthusiasm.  Priest and vicar of St. Mary’s of London, secretary of the Christian Socialist Union, he labored to bring social equality and compassion to the class bound Victorian church.  He was an historian of the Medieval English Church, and an expert and enthusiast of the spiritual value of art.  He was also the editor and major contributor to the English hymnal.  Throughout his life he maintained a vigorous writing career on a wide variety of religious topics, and before his death was honored by a call to be Dean of Westminster Cathedral, one of the most prestigious positions in the Church of England.

Dearmer was for a period an enthusiast of the Christian healing ministry. He was one of the three founders and chairman of the Guild of Health, England’s first orthodox Christian healing organization (1904) in England. His major book on healing, Body and Soul, published in 1909.[18] It was better circulated and more influential than Puller’s work. Like others of the period, the Rev. Dearmer was shocked into investigating the “healing issue” due to the sudden rise of the Christian Science Church. When he studied the Christian Science movement he immediately understood its heretical nature, yet wisely cautioned gentleness in dealing with believers of Christian Science.

[T]his new movement which is so hopefully stirring around us, though it often speaks the language of heresy, is really a return to a forgotten orthodoxy with which we are much concerned, because it is a restoration of the original Christian idea [of healing prayer].[19]

The Rev. Dearmer understood that the Mind Cure and Christian Science groups were exaggerating the truth they had discovered, by making divine healing into the central, almost sole aspect of their belief. Whereas in true Christianity, healing should be only one of many parts, of which worship is the principal duty.[20]  But Dearmer also understood that the cause of so many defections by Christians to Christian Science was the traditional Church’s own absence of healing power. Unlike most of his contemporaries, Dearmer understood the concept of heresy as “first hypothesis” and was anxious that the Church learn what it needed to from these unorthodox groups.[21]

A religion that ignores the physical effects of the Spirit – health, that is to say – and the spiritual element of healing is clearly not commensurate with the Christianity of Christ. It is defective…

It is beyond controversy that our Lord devoted a great deal of his ministry to healing the sick, that he sent forth his first disciples to carry out the same two-fold mission of preaching and healing…Our duty is to take him as our pattern and to be imitators of him.[22]


Healing and Sacrament:


At the core of both Puller’s and Dearmer’s theology of Christian healing was his Anglican understanding of the “sacramental principle.” That is that the Holy Spirit can embody matter and make the union of matter and spirit whole and holy.  For Dearmer, the incarnation of Jesus was the greatest manifestation of this sacramental principal.[23] Dearmer’s sacramental theology led him appreciate the healing effectiveness of the Lord’s Table:

A sacrament, we may conclude, rightly received, raises the vitality and thus strengthens the body.  It is a means of healing; and to this we bear witness whenever our English form for the reception of Holy Communion is used – “The body of our Lord Jesus Christ, which was given for thee, preserve thy body and soul unto everlasting life.”[24]

We need to say something more about the meaning of “sacrament.”  This concept was unfortunately one of the divisive issues of the Reformation period. The sacramental view of healing played an important part in the development of Anglican and Episcopal healing practices, but also many other aspects of the Christian healing movement, including the influential theology of Agnes Sanford, who we will study later (see chapters 00).

By the Middle Ages the Catholics numbered the sacraments at seven. Besides Baptism and Holy Communion, these included matrimony, confirmation, confession, the ordination of priests and Bishops, and anointing of the sick. (The Catholic list missed foot-washing, which had a stronger biblical warrant than some of the others.)[25]  Protestants normally recognize only two sacraments, Baptism and Holy Communion. Evangelicals often call the sacraments “ordinances” to separate themselves from what they consider the excesses of Catholic sacramental theology.


Biblical Definition of Sacrament:


The Anglican definition of a sacrament is “an outward sign, signifying an inward grace.”  As a Catholic boy I memorized the Roman Catholic definition; “An outward sign instituted by Christ to give grace.”[26] Both definitions miss an important element, that a sacrament both signifies and activates a covenant relation of grace and mercy between God and mankind. The clear Biblical example is found in Luke’s commentary on the Baptism of John.

All the people, even the tax collectors, when they heard Jesus’ words, acknowledged that God’s way was right, because they had been baptized by John.  But the Pharisees and experts in the law rejected God’s purpose for themselves, because they had not been baptized by John. (LK 7:29-30)

This is a scripture that has not drawn much attention form Catholic theologians since is credits John’s baptism (pre-Christian) as an authentic, grace giving sacrament. It also makes many Evangelicals unhappy because it is too close to the Catholic belief of the automatic, grace giving action of a sacrament. But the biblical text is clear: the Jews who came to John’s baptism expressed repentance and expected to received God’s forgiveness (Acts 19:3-4). They received that, but in addition, an unexpected grace of openness to Jesus’ teaching.

Analogously, Holy Communion normally brings a person closer to Our Lord, but it can do unexpected things, as in physical or emotional healing. All of this is to point out that Pearcy Dearmer’s understanding of the relationship between a sacrament and healing is not just an imaginary construct, but biblically based and supported by observation and continued Church experience.[27]


Healing as Continuous in the Church:


One of the most significant parts of Dearmer’s Body and Soul was the appendix which contains a selection of documents showing the continuity of Christian healing throughout the Middle Ages to the present day. Unlike Fr. Puller’s work which concentrated on anointing as the central healing agent, Dearmer showed many kinds of healing prayer were present throughout Church history.  Among the accounts from the Catholic saints is one particularly charming story from the life of St. Bernard (1090-1153):

At Toulouse…was a certain regular canon [Cathedral official] named John. John had kept his bed for seven months, and was so reduced that his death was expected daily. His legs were so shrunken that they were scarcely larger than a child’s arms…When the poor creature heard of Bernard’s proximity, he implored to be taken to him. …The abbot [St. Bernard] heard him confess his sins, and listened to his entreaties to be restored to health. Bernard mentally prayed to God: “Behold, O Lord, they seek for a sign, and our words avail nothing unless they be confirmed with signs following.” He then blessed him [John] and left the chamber…In that very hour the sick man arose from his couch, and running after Bernard kissed his feet…One of the canons, meeting him, nearly fainted with fright, thinking he saw his ghost. John and the brethren then returned to the church and sang a Te Deum.[28]


Dearmer went on to show that the healing ministry continued through faith-filled men and women of God to modern times.  He gave documentary coverage to the healing of George Fox (1624-1691), John Wesley, (1703-1791), John Christopher Blumhardt (1805-1880) – a German pastor who had a healing and deliverance ministry, and others. What all the documentary evidence of Body and Soul attempted to accomplish was to raise the reality of Christian healing from the realm of uncritical, and sometimes mythical, “saints tales” of the Middle Ages to the level of classification and comparison found in of William James’ classic, The Varieties of Religious Experience, for which Dearmer had the greatest respect.


Medicine and Healing Prayer:


Unlike Christian Science followers, and many of the early Faith-Cure advocates (see below, chapter 00) and later Pentecostals, the Rev. Dearmer held medicine in highest respect, and encouraged both medicine and spiritual healing to be practiced simultaneously. He credited other forms of therapy, such as the new psychoanalysis of Dr. Freud, and the older suggestive therapies then popular, as acceptable forms of healing, but he believed that healing prayer was the most complete and powerful.[29]

On this issue Dearmer, as an Anglican, had an advantage over his Pentecostal brethren. The Anglicans, unlike classical Protestants, have always recognized the “greater cannon.” That is, the Greek books of the Old Testament that had been included in the Septuagint, and accepted by Catholics as scripture, but rejected by the Reformers as sub-biblical. Among these writings is the book of   Ecclesiasticus which includes a long section lauding herbal medication and physicians as gifts from God not to be despised.

Hold the physician in honor, for he is essential to you, and God it was who established his profession…God makes the earth yield healing herbs which the prudent man should not neglect…[God] endows men with the knowledge to glory in his mighty works, through which the doctor eases pain and the druggist prepares his medicines…Then give the doctor his place lest he leave; for you need him too. There are times that give him an advantage, and he too beseeches God that his diagnosis may be correct and his treatment bring about a cure. He who is a sinner toward his Maker will be defiant toward the doctor (Ecclesiasticus 38:1-15, NAB).

We shall see, that because the Protestant cannon did not contain an equivalent scripture, many of the early Christian faith-healers advocated a complete denial of all medication – often with disastrous results (see below, chapter 00).[30]


The Rev. Dearmer’s Theology of the Holy Spirit 


A decade after the publication of Body and Soul, the Rev. Dearmer published a book on the work of the Holy Spirit, The Power of the Spirit.[31] Like his work on healing, it was far ahead of its time.  His work showed a dept of understanding and appreciation for different Christian denominations across the centuries, and of the Holy Spirit’s continuous activity.  He credits the English Irvingites, Catholic Jansinists, the Quakers, and Protest Huguenots with having had movements of intense faith where the Spirit of God moved with dramatic manifestations (what we now identify as the gifts of Spirit). The Rev. Dearmer’s discussion of the Holy Spirit’s activity built on the traditional Roman Catholic position, but it is informed and expanded by knowledge of the movements of the Holy Spirit that occurred across denominational lines.  Like Catholic theologians, he called the “gifts” of the Spirit those characteristics identified in Isaiah 11:2, and he calls the manifestations described in 1 Cor. 12, the “talents” of the Holy Spirit (this is not a mistake, but a judgment call, for the Greek text is ambiguous on this).

It was Dearmer’s view that these talents (gifts) appear in every generation, but only among individuals of superior spiritual development, and that these talents are the product of long process of Christian spiritual life.  This of course is a form of the Galatian Bewitchment, and would disagree with this position today.  In spite of this, his understanding of the various facets of the Holy Spirit’s gifting was fuller and more accurate than many of his contemporary Pentecostal writers. Specifically, Dearmer attempted to coordinate the traditionally defined gifts (Isaiah 11:20), the “talents” of 1 Cor. 12, and the other gifts enumerated in Rom. 12:3-8 into an overall picture of the eternal work of the Holy Spirit.

Many of the writings of the Rev. Pearcy Dearmer are milestones of Christian theology. Body and Soul, could easily be mistaken for a contemporary book on the healing ministry.  Time after time, his insights were both biblically valid and a half century ahead of his contemporaries.  In a sense, Dearmer’s works were so far ahead of their time that the general pubic could not fully understand or incorporate them into a real healing revival.

The Rev. Dearmer’s other achievement in art history, social reconciliation, liturgy and especially hymn writing, tended to obscure his work on the healing ministry and the Spirit’s gifts. In fact, after 1913 he left the subject of the healing ministry to others and focused his prodigious talents and intelligence on other issues.[32] Dearmer’s biography, written by his wife shortly after his death, stresses his work as social reformer and hymnologist, with not a word on his healing writings or labor in the Guild of Health.


The Healing Guilds:

Perhaps Dearmer’s greater legacy in the struggle against the stealth heresy was his part in the creation of the Guild of Health.[33] In the Anglican churches, Guilds have been a form of “in house” religious club which focus interest and activities on specific aspects of church life. For instance, Dearmer was also member of the Guild of St. Michael’s, which strove to encourage social justice and the rights of workers.  The healing guilds, the Guild of Health, and later the Society of the Nazarene (founded in 1914 to be specifically Anglican in membership) would meet regularly, discuss books or issues of the healing ministry, and sponsor “missions” to churches. These missions would last several days and combine teachings on healing with services for the laying on of hands for healing prayer. The guilds strove to make healing prayer normal in church life, and give the healing ministry an “orthodox” setting in which to operate, and in these matters were at least partially successful.

The guilds did not bring a huge healing revival to the Anglican Church, but they made definite inroads, and many parishes during the 1920s and 1930s already had regular healing services. It is easy to miss the point that Anglicanism, part of the traditional, established churches, did have an active ministry of healing well before the other mainline churches.


James Moore Hickson: Lay Healing Revivalist:


Out of this healing resurgence came a major lay healing revivalist, Mr. James Moore Hickson. Practically unknown today, he had an effective and wide-ranging healing ministry similar to the more famous Pentecostal healing evangelists of the era such as Aimee Semple McPherson. [34]  Hickson was a devout Anglican who experienced a strong healing anointing as a boy of fourteen when he heard the Lord’s voice command him to lay hands on and heal his cousin of a severe sinus infection. He did so and ministered several other healings among his family. Hickson recalled in his autobiography:

My mother then spoke to me, and said, Jimmie, this is a gift of God,” and she showed me that it must be consecrated to Him and used always with prayer.[35]

Fortunately Hickson found a clerical ally in the figure of the Bishop of Worchester, who recognized his gift and allowed him to continue to minister in various churches. Such clerical support would not have happened before the Dearmer and Puller works, and the healing guilds appeared. Hickson was careful never to use anointing oil in his services, as he believed that was a specifically sacramental ministry proper only to the ordained ministry. His laying on of hands healing services attracted much attention in his world-wide tour of 1919-1923. In the US. (1919-1920) he received generally favorable press attention as he touched the lives of thousands.[36]  The Episcopal Bihop of Washington DC, the Very Rev. Alfred Harding wrote of  Hickson’s services in his area:

Some remarkable instances of almost instantaneous healing have come to under my personal observation, and I hear of many others. The child you laid your hands on and prayed for outsided of the Bethlehem Chapel that last evening you were here is entirely recovered – a case which has puzzled many physicians and for which they had no remedy. The child’s mother also has been healed of her case of phlebitis, which her doctor told her could not be cured.[37]

Hickson’s greater effectiveness was limited by the bitter opposition he elicited from some Anglican and Episcopal Church leaders. Many of the clergy disliked any disturbance in their cessationist theology – especially by a non-seminary educated layperson. Most harmful was the long running opposition to Hickson’s minstry by the Rev. William Ralph Inge, Dean of St. Paul’s Cathedral.[38] Dean Inge was the consummate Christian Hellenist, who believed more in the philosophy of Plato and Plotinus than in the Bible. He wrote several influential books on Christian mysticism that were much in vogue and unfortunately have become standards on the topic.[39] As a liberal and “modernist” he believed that contemplative prayer and mysticism were the best form of prayer. Such prayer it placed the person in communication with God (and did no early works). For Dean Inge, mysticism was something that St. John of the Cross and Plotinus had in common.  But Inge also strongly disbelieved in the miraculous. Thus the consistent reports that the Christians saints and mystics did miraculous works (such as the healing miracle of St. Bernard quoted above by Dearmer) were all myths fit only for the uneducated.[40] Hickson’s healing missions, and the healings they were producing, were daggers at his entrenched stealth heresy and “Sadduceeic” theology.[41] His prestige as Dean of St. Paul’s, and his long standing position as columnist for the London Evening Standard gave him an edge in the controversy, and he was able to throw a smoke screen over Hickson’ ministry as merely “psychosomatic healing.”[42]


[1] An wonderfully readable introduction into the beginnings of Anglicanism and the formation of the Book of Common Prayer is issue # 48 of Christian History, “Thomas Cranmer and the English Reformation,” Oct. 1995.

[2] Lately, the reverse has been true, Western Anglican Church have produced the greatest of the apostates, such as Bishop John Shelby Spong, Bishop of Newark, New Jersey.

[3] See my discussion of how the anointing with oil morphed from a rite of healing into one not expectant of any healing , but assuring the receiver of a “happy death.”

[4] Cited in Charles W. Gusmer, “Anointing of the Sick In the Church of England,” Worship 45 #5, 263.

[5] Ibid., 263.

[6] The entire first Book of Common Prayer is available at:

[7] For a detailed account of the triumph of cessationism in the English Reformation see: Aaron Kester, “The Charismata in Crisis: The gifts of the Holy Spirit in the Reformation Church of England,” Dissertation, Miami University, 1990.

[8] Gusmer “Anointing,” 265. The Non-Jurors’ were a group of devout clergymen who, out of conscience, would not renounce their loyalty to James II, and affirm William of Orange as their new king.

[9]Ibid., 267-268.

[10] Edward Pusey, An Eirenicon (London: John Henry & James parker, 1865). It can be accessed as a Google book.

[11] There is no published biography of Puller, due in part to the policy of the Society of  St. John which disdains publicity for its members. This author’s section on Puller and his work was assembled from his published works and several obituaries. See: William L De Arteaga “F. W. Puller: Scribe of the Kingdom,’ Sharing (May 1992), 7-11. Note the text of the article was mistakenly retyped by the editor, so that the title reads “F.W. Fuller.”

[12] Several of his works are available online see:

[13] Frederick W. Puller, The Anointing of the Sick in Scripture and Tradition (London, SPCK, 1904).

[14] Puller, Anointing, Chapter three, “The Witness of the Liturgies,” 79-80.

[15] See the interesting YouTube segment :

[16] We shall see (chapter 00) that the Faith-Cure movement pre-dates the healing movement of the Anglican Church by several decades, but the Anglican healing guilds are the first healing groups to stay within an established Christian church.

[17]Pearcy Dearmer’s first biography was written by his wife, Nan Dearmer, The Life of Percy Dearmer, (London; The Book Club, 1941), unfortunately she gave little notice of his healing activities and research.  A recent biography, which gives rich details of his education and family life, and his work with the Christian Socialist Union, does the same thing, giving only one page of coverage to his work on healing prayer. See: Donald Gray, Percy Dearmer: A Parson’s Pilgrimage (Norwick: Canterbury Press, 2000). On Dearmer’s healing theology see: J. Barrington Bates, “Extremely Beautiful, but Eminently Unsatisfactory: Percy Dearmer and the Healing Rites of the Church, 1909-1928,” Anglican and Episcopal History 73 (June 2004), 196-207.

[18] Pearcy Dearmer, Body and Soul; An enquiry into the effect of religion upon health, with a description of Christian works of healing from the New Testament to the present day. (New York; E.P. Dutton & Co., 1909), 2nd printing, with a preface from A. J Gayner Banks, 1923. 1st published in London in 1909.

[19] Dearmer, Body and Soul, 346.

[20] Ibid, 214, 343.

[21] The idea of heresy as first hypothesis to orthodoxy was elaborated by the noted Evangelical scholar Harold O. J. Brown in his masterful , Heresies: The image of Christ in the mirror of heresy and orthodoxy from the Apostles to the present (Garden City: Doubleday, 1984).

[22] Ibid., 8.

[23] Ibid., 14-16

[24] Ibid., 212.

[25] There was wide practice in the Early Church of foot washing, and it may have been a significant rite in Paul’s churches (1 TI 5:10).

[26] Sister Morine, my saintly first grade teacher would be pleased that I can rattle that definition off over fifty years after learning it.

[27] See the description of life resuscitation of an infant through Baptism in Agnes Sanford’s The Healing Light (St. Paul: Macalerter Park, 1947) CITE PAGE. Evangelicals are discovering this today, as in Perry Stone’s The mewal that Heals (Cleveland, TN: Voice of Evangelism, 2002).

[28] Dearmer, Body and Soul,  360

[29] Ibid 136.

[30] A friend recently pointed out that one could read 2 Chr. 16:12-13 similarly, that medicine and prayer go together. Indeed one could, but it is not as obvious as the passage in Ecclesiasticus

[31]Pearcy Dearmer, The Power of the Spirit, (London: Humphrey Milford, 1919. available online from the Dearmer web site mentioned above.

[32] Gray, Percy Dearmer, 81.

[33] The guild of Health is active to this day in England see:

[34]Stuart Mews, “The Revival of Spiritual Healing in the Church of England, 1920-1926,” In: W.J.Sheils, ed., The Church and Healing (Oxford, England: Basil Blackwell, 1982), 301-303, and Raymond J. Cunningham, “James Moore Hickson and Spiritual Healing in the American Episcopal Church,” Historical Magazine of the Protestant Episcopal Church 39 (March, 1970), 3-16.

[35] Hickson, Behold the Bridegroom Cometh (London: Methuen & Co., 1937). 101

[36] For instance: Mabel Potter Daggett, “Are There Modern Miracles?” The Ladies Home Journal (June 1923), 20.

[37] James Moore Hickson Heal the Sick, (New York: E.P. Dutton & Co., [1924]) 35-36.

[38] Dean Inge was popularly called “The Gloomy Dean” because of his sour demeanor- a red flag that something was wrong with his spirituality

[39] Especially his, Christian Mysticism (London: Methuen and co., 1899), reprinted many times.

[40] For a contemporary and specifically charismatic view of the Catholic mystics and saints, and their miracles and giftings in the Spirit, see: Judith Tyding, Gathering a People: Catholic Saints in Charismatic Perspective (Plainfield: Logos International, 1977).

[41]Recall that the Sadducees controlled the Temple organization, but did not believe in the miraculous and had no hope of the resurrection of the dead (Acts 23:8).

[42] See the excellent article by Robert Bruce Mullin, “Debate Over Healing in the Episcopal Church, 1870-1930,” Anglican and Episcopal History, 60  (June, 1991), 213-234.

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William DeArteaga

William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include, Quenching the Spirit (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), and Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He and his wife Carolyn continue in their healing, teaching and writing ministries. He is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations.

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