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F.F. Bosworth Mentioned in "History of the Word-Faith Movement in America"

Paper Written for Graduate Program at Bob Jones University

By Roscoe Barnes III
Author, F.F. Bosworth: The Man Behind Christ the Healer
Copyright (c) 2018

#FFBosworth
#BosworthMatters
#BosworthMention

Robert M. Bowman Jr. is cited in Elizabeth A. Johnson's
paper on the Word of Faith Movement.
 

F.F. Bosworth is mentioned in a 2017 paper on the Word of Faith movement that was submitted for a Master of Arts degree at Bob Jones University. The paper is titled, "History of the Word-Faith Movement in America." It was written by Elizabeth A. Johnson and submitted to the faculty of BJU's Seminary and Graduate School of Religion.

Johnson's paper can be read here.


Johnson acknowledges the fact that Bosworth played a role in the controversial movement, but she does not analyze his contributions or give him the attention he deserves.

Johnson begins her paper with a look at the "Foundations of the Word-Faith Movement" where she discusses the connection between Pentecostals and the Holiness and Faith-Cure movements. She also suggests metaphysics as a factor that had an influence on the movement. After introducing such influential leaders as A.J. Gordon and A.B. Simpson, she notes, albeit briefly, the roles of Charles Parham and F.F. Bosworth in Word-Faith history. On page 3, she writes:

By the beginning of the nineteenth century, the Pentecostal or charismatic movement was in full swing. Men such as Charles Parham and F. F. Bosworth were preaching the restoration of a New Testament type of Christianity; they focused especially on the continuation of the five-fold offices of the church as listed in Ephesians 4:11-12 (pastors, teachers, evangelists, apostles, and prophets), and the charismatic gifts mentioned in 1 Corinthians 12 (healing, miracles, prophecy, and tongues). They also popularized the belief, which greatly influenced the practice of today’s faith healers, that seeking supernatural healing was generally incompatible with seeking any form of medical help.

Note: I believe Johnson meant "20th century" in the first sentence.
For the information presented on Bosworth, she drew on Robert M. Bowman Jr.'s The Word-Faith Controversy: Understanding the Health and Wealth Gospel (Baker Books, 2001).
Johnson's 28-page paper presents a brief overview of the movement with emphasis on the movement's alleged ties to metaphysics, New Age, and Christian Science. While she cites some of the most popular writings on the topic, she also omits some of the most current scholarship.

Given the importance of Bosworth's contributions to the movement, one would expect to see more references to him and his book, Christ the Healer, which has been a required text at Kenneth E. Hagin's school, Rhema Bible Training Center. Unfortunately, that is not the case. Instead, Bosworth is mentioned only once, and his famous classic is not cited. There are other areas (and claims) in the paper that many Pentecostals would question. Even so, the paper is still useful as it gives another example of how non-Pentecostals view the Word of Faith movement.

 

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For more information:
Visit ffbosworth.strikingly.com. The Bosworth page is here. Questions about the research and commentary on F.F. Bosworth may be directed to Roscoe Barnes III via email at doctorbarnes3@gmail.com or roscoebarnes3@yahoo.com. For updates on F.F. Bosworth history, simply follow this blog or @Roscoebarnes3 on Twitter. #ChristTheHealer

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