Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860–1900
Curtis, Heather D. Faith in the Great Physician: Suffering and Divine Healing in American Culture, 1860–1900. Baltimore: Johns Hopkins University Press, 2007.
Curtis examines the Divine Healing Movement of the late 19th century in its attempt to ‘reform’ evangelicalism by including healing. One of the ways she seeks to highlight its rich history is by making relevant comparisons with Christian Science, one of “its better-known contemporaries” (19) —such as their mutual challenge to the devotional ethic of passive resignation to suffering and their rejecting a materialistic view of the body. For both practitioners of Christian Science and participants in Divine Healing Movement faith cure, healing required an ability to act on a belief grounded in a divine truth that lay beyond the body (101). Even their healing examples are quite similar. But the widespread tendency throughout American culture appealing to bodily healing provoked consternation among mainstream evangelical Protestants who saw themselves as the rightful heir of a biblical Christianity. The relationship between faith healing evangelicals and Christian Science worsened as they both matured and gained more followers. Supporters of the Divine Healing Movement maintained that healings ascribed to Christian Science were of the devil. But eventually the Divine Healing Movement split, primarily due to its disagreement over the spiritual healing of children. Half of them turned from healing to form the Christian and Missionary Alliance, while others intensified their healing commitment in Pentecostalism.
ISBN-13 (Hardcover): 978-0801886867
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