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F.F. Bosworth's Tangle with Moody Magazine

Personal Visit Made to Defend His Name and Ministry of Divine Healing

By Roscoe Barnes III

Author, F.F. Bosworth: The Man Behind Christ the Healer

Copyright (c) 2018

#FFBosworth

When F.F. Bosworth learned that a prominent minister had criticized him in the pages of Moody Bible Institute Monthly, forerunner of Moody Monthly magazine, he paid a visit to the magazine’s editor. He wanted to clear his name and defend his ministry of divine healing. The little-known visit lasted two hours and resulted in a cordial discussion with plans for more talks and a mutual investigation of the reported healing claims. The editorial about the meeting was titled, “A Visit From Evangelist F.F. Bosworth.” It was published in June 1922. A copy is posted below. The masthead of the magazine lists the following editorial staff members: Editor James M. Grey, Associate Editor J. H. Ralston and Publishing Agent S.A. Woodruff. It is possible that Bosworth met with them together.

The meeting, which occurred in March 1922, was prompted by a speaker’s remarks at the Founder’s Week Conference of the Moody Bible Institute. According to the editor, Bosworth, a "well-known evangelist," contacted the magazine to "protest against certain remarks derogatory to his brother and himself and their work." During those years, Bosworth ministered with his younger brother, Burton B. Bosworth.

The editor noted a speaker (presumably Dr. Arno C. Gaebelein), had questioned reports of “miraculous bodily cures” that supposedly occurred in Bosworth’s Pittsburgh meetings. Reports of the meetings appeared in the Labor Tribune.

He (the speaker) said that similar “cures” had been investigated in connection with their meetings in other places, and not one was genuine. He then read the claims printed in the paper, which included an “ear drum restored after being removed”; a right leg, an inch and a half shorter than the left leg, caused to become the same length; a woman “living without kidneys” entirely healed, and much more of the same kind.

Bosworth came to the magazine prepared. In addition to bringing the paper that publicized his meetings, he brought names and contact information for the doctors who were involved with the reported claims of healing. According to the editor, he did not hesitate to answer questions – and there were many. While he made a strong case for the healing claims, and he assured everyone “that evidence of their trustworthiness could be procured,” the editorial staff was not fully convinced.

Mr. Bosworth was evidently sincere, and unquestionably he was telling the truth so far as his knowledge extended. But did his knowledge extend sufficiently? Was not this a case for medical and legal experts, and indeed as some have suggested for those versed in abnormal psychology as well? Could the general public be satisfied that miracles had occurred without an investigation as to facts, conducted by professional men who were able to recognize such facts, and who were acquainted with the laws of evidence?

The editorial staff presented each of those questions to Bosworth and he “showed no impatience because of them,” according to the editor. He also “consented to co-operate with any committee of Christian brethren who would undertake, in the right spirit, of course, to sift the matter to the bottom,” the editor stated.

This unexpected meeting was not out of character for Bosworth. After all, he was an apologist for divine healing and the author of Christ the Healer, one of the most popular books on the subject. Whatever one thinks about Bosworth -- or about his healing ministry -- it seems clear that he handled this controversy in a godly manner.

He could have launched an all-out attack on the magazine, but he didn't. He could have ignored it and simply remained silent, but he didn't. Instead, he made an effort to meet with his accuser face-to-face. He demonstrated what appeared to be genuine Christian love in discussing the matter. It seems, according to the editorial, that there was no shouting, fighting, or harsh words exchanged.

It would be interesting to see how the proposed investigation actually turned out and if they followed through with their plans. But even without the research, the meeting between Bosworth and the magazine staff provides an example for the church to follow, especially when dealing with conflicts and disagreements. They both showed class, and despite their disagreements, they acted honorably and with a sense of integrity.

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Would you like to know more

about F.F. Bosworth?

Visit the F.F. Bosworth page here!

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For more information: Visit ffbosworth.strikingly.com. 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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