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All Things Are Possible

All Things Are Possible: The Healing and Charismatic Revivals in Modern America

David Edwin Harrell
Copyright Date: 1975
Published by: Indiana University Press
Pages: 320
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  • Book Info
    All Things Are Possible
    Book Description:

    "... a book about healing revivalists that takes them seriously and treats them fairly." -Journal of Southern History

    "... will be a definitive work for some years to come." -Reviews in American History

    "Harrell has obviously attended countless rallies, read sheafs of literature, and personally interviewed many of the principals. He... tell[s] the story in a largely biographical format. This makes for lively reading." -Harvey G. Cox, New York Times Book Review

    "... will attract readers interested in the reasons behind the various fat and lean periods among revivalists." -Publishers Weekly

    "All Things Are Possible is the first book to tell the story of the enterprisers who have personal followings. The narrative is full of surprises: of seriousness and scandal strangely blended. Professor Harrell has done a staggering amount of research in hard to discover sources; his scholarship is impressive and he is eminently fair-minded. Here is a missing link in the chain of American religious movements." -Martin E. Marty, The University of Chicago Divinity School

    "Harrell's book will doubtless be the definitive work on the subject for a long while-who else will wade through Healing Waters and Miracle Magazine with such fastidious care?" -The Kirkus Reviews

    This is the first objective history of the great revivals that swept the country after World War II. It tells the story of the victories and defeats of such giants of the revival as William Branham, Oral Roberts, Jack Coe, T. L. Osborn, A. A. Allen. It also tells of the powerful present day evangelists who are carrying on the revival, including Robert Schambach and Morris Cerullo. The book includes pictures of Schambach, Allen, Cerullo, Branham, Roberts, Osborn, Coe and many others. Those who lived through the great revival of the 1950's and 1960's will be thrilled to read about those exciting days. Those who do not remember those days need to read this book to see what has led us up to this present moment in time.

    David Edwin Harrell, Jr. is a professor of history at the University of Alabama in Birmingham. He has tried to write this book in an objective way, although you may not agree with all that he says. Dr. Harrell has visited Schambach revivals.

    eISBN: 978-0-253-01342-2
    Subjects: Religion, History
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Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents (pp. vii-viii)
  3. PREFACE (pp. ix-xii)
    David Edwin Harrell Jr.
  4. I Prayer for the Sick
    • 1 Introduction (pp. 3-9)

      Once an object of derision, in the 1970s pentecostal religion became almost fashionable. Many judged the charismatic movement the most vital single force in American religion. The gifts of the Holy Spirit (charisms), speaking in tongues (glossolalia), and divine healing were subjects studied in nearly every American church, and cells of charismatic believers appeared in most American denominations. By 1975, perhaps 5,000,000 or more Americans were taking part in the charismatic revival.

      Pentecostal, or charismatic, religion in the 1970s was a many-faceted phenomenon. Most prominent were the many small churches which had grown out of the pentecostal message in the...

    • 2 Origins (pp. 10-22)

      Few christian rituals have a more legitimate ancestry than prayer for the sick. Most Christians in all ages have believed in the miraculous intervention of God in the affairs of men. A recent report on the charismatic movement among Roman Catholics emphasized the precedent for the gifts of the spirit in the historical church:

      It should not be forgotten that in the course of the Church’s history the Holy Spirit and his charisms were not absent. The Holy Spirit manifested himself in a multiplicity of ways in various epochs of the Church’s history. One could mention the lay monastic movements,...

  5. II The Healing Revival, 1947–1958
    • PROLOGUE (pp. 25-26)

      The healing revival that erupted in 1947 thrust into positions of world-wide prominence a group of unsuspecting men. Chapter 3 discusses the two men who first came to the forefront—the two giants of the healing revival, William Branham and Oral Roberts. They were remarkably different personalities, but they quickly recognized one another as the premier leaders of the revival.

      Most of the participants of the revival looked upon Branham as its initiator. Out of his massive union meetings in 1947 spread reports of hundreds of miracles and marvels. Branham seemed an unlikely leader. He had long been a pastor...

    • 3 Two Giants (pp. 27-52)

      “The story of the life of William Branham,” wrote his friend Gordon Lindsay, “is so out of this world and beyond the ordinary that were there not available a host of infallible proofs which document and attest its authenticity, one might well be excused from considering it farfetched and incredible.”¹ The climactic chapter in Branham’s life began on May 7, 1946, when he received an angelic visitation which was to thrust him to the front of the revival. In the two decades that followed, Branham repeated the story of his vision before hundreds of thousands of listeners:

      Then along in...

    • 4 The Flowering of the Healing Revival (pp. 53-83)

      More than any single man, Gordon Lindsay brought system and unity to the healing revival. Lindsay contributed to the revival an orderly mind, a keen business sense, boundless energy, badly needed literary skills, and an ecumenical spirit. He very correctly surmised that the revival needed a coordinator and publicist much more than another evangelist. Lindsay’s calm temperament, his career as an itinerant evangelist in the 1930s, and a well-deserved reputation for integrity pushed him quickly to the foreground.¹

      The life of Gordon Lindsay singularly equipped him for leadership in the healing and charismatic movements. His father was a teacher and...

    • 5 Promises and Problems (pp. 84-116)

      The great outburst of healing momentarily became the center of the pentecostal world. Gordon Lindsay believed that the healing meetings had been raised up in the providence of God to encourage world-wide revival. The Full Gospel movement, he wrote, owed “to a great extent, its existence to this ministry.”¹

      A belief in divine healing has always been a cardinal truth in the pentecostal message, but it had been less marked in early revivalism than the baptism of the Holy Spirit and glossolalia.² As the pentecostal denominations grew more sophisticated, they minimized the miraculous, but even in recent years, the campaigning...

    • [Illustrations] (pp. 117-132)
  6. III The Charismatic Revival, 1958–1974
    • PROLOGUE (pp. 135-137)

      However compelling the need of the huge independent revival organizations to find new forms that would allow them to survive into the 1960s, their day was not over. The revival had set loose new forces that would revitalize the independent ministries.

      One of those forces was a body of people disenchanted by what they deemed the limited vision and autocratic leadership in their pentecostal denominations. They offered permanent support to the independent ministers and became their financial patrons while they devised new programs. In addition, hundreds of thousands of members of traditional churches had been attracted to the revivalists by...

    • 6 From Healing Revival to Charismatic Revival (pp. 138-149)

      By the early 1960s, the healing revival obviously had faltered. At the end of the previous decade, evangelist David Nunn could write, “The Holy Spirit has revealed to me by revelation that the greater part of the revival is yet to come.”¹ Evangelist Velmer Gardner could assure his followers, “This present healing revival will not taper off—but up.... Never have I seen such a hunger for Cod .... We are having the largest crowds we’ve ever had.”² Now the increasingly dominant mood was the disappointed concern expressed by Donald Gee:

      Mass healing campaigns have lost their novelty, especially in...

    • 7 Innovators and New Breeds (pp. 150-193)

      No man measured the pulse of the emerging charismatic revival more astutely than Oral Roberts. Roberts generally moved slowly and cautiously, after much thought, but no innovation escaped his scrutiny. Then, in moments of crisis, he would make shocking and unexpected changes in his ministry. It was agonizing to abandon what had worked in the past, but when hard pressed he acted again and again decisively and with uncanny success. More than all other charismatic evangelists combined, Oral Roberts put his mark on the neopentecostal movement which grew out of the healing revival.

      Faced with a shortage of funds in...

    • 8 Old-Time Revivalism (pp. 194-224)

      A. A. Allen saw clearly the signs of change in the late 1950s, but his commitment to healing revivalism never wavered. Perhaps he had no choice. Estranged from the churches because of charges of personal misconduct and already embarked on a sensational miracle ministry, Allen could hardly have chosen to evolve into a charismatic teacher. Neither was it his style to institutionalize his ministry and build a secure financial base instead of tirelessly beating the campaign trail. “It was lean through the early sixties,” recalled his young associate Don Stewart, “but Allen never slowed his pace.”¹

      In the late 1960s, Allen...

    • 9 New Promises and Problems (pp. 225-239)

      The charismatic revival—including all of its diverse manifestations—was a powerful force in American religion in the mid-1970s, overshadowing the small pentecostal denominations that spawned it. The movement was too nebulous to define, much less measure, but millions of Americans had been touched by it. The independent ministries were supported by gifts ranging between $30,000,000 and $50,000,000 a year. Many of the ministers were secretive about their incomes, but yearly budgets ranged from the marginal subsistence of the small tent revivalists to the reported $15,000,000 yearly budget of Oral Roberts’ wide-ranging empire.

      The charismatic preachers of the 1970s drew...

  7. BIBLIOGRAPHICAL ESSAY (pp. 240-254)
  8. NOTES (pp. 255-296)
  9. INDEX (pp. 297-304)