Divine healing: Recommended resources
A good survey of the history of healing prayer in the church is Amanda Porterfield, Healing in the History of Christianity (2005). For the Bible and early church, look at Ramsay MacMullen, Christianizing the Roman Empire (A.D. 100–400) (1984); R. J. S. Barrett-Lennard, Christian Healing After the New Testament (1994); Harold Remus, Jesus as Healer (1997); Andrew Daunton-Fear, Healing in the Early Church (2009); Lee Jefferson, Christ the Miracle Worker in Early Christian Art (2014); and Craig Keener, Miracles (2011) and Between History and Spirit (2020).
Some stories of healing in the Middle Ages appear in Peter Brown, The Cult of the Saints (1981); Ronald C. Finucane, Miracles and Pilgrims (1977); and Donald Prudlo, The Martyred Inquisitor: The Life and Cult of Peter of Verona (2008). To read about approaches to healing in the Protestant and Catholic Reformations, look at Craig Harline, Miracles at the Jesus Oak (2003) and Ronald K. Rittgers, The Reformation of Suffering (2012).
For some healing stories from the First Great Awakening through the nineteenth century, consult Robert Bruce Mullin, Miracles and the Modern Religious Imagination (1996); Ann Taves, Fits, Trances, and Visions (1999); Rick Ostrander, The Life of Prayer in a World of Science (2000); Nancy Hardesty, Faith Cure (2003); James Opp, The Lord for the Body (2005); Heather Curtis, Faith in the Great Physician (2007); Sam Storms, Signs of the Spirit (2007); and Thomas S. Kidd, The Great Awakening (2007). You can read J. C. Blumhardt’s own testimony in Blumhardt’s Battle (translated 1970) and Gospel Sermons (translated 2017).
For more on Pentecostalism, read Vincent Synan, The Holiness-Pentecostal Tradition (1997) and The Century of the Holy Spirit (2001); Grant Wacker, Heaven Below (2001); and Gastón Espinosa, William J. Seymour and the Origins of Global Pentecostalism (2014) and Latino Pentecostals in America (2016).
To begin to understand the Charismatic movement, look at Francis MacNutt, The Healing Reawakening (2006) and Amy Collier Artman, The Miracle Lady: Kathryn Kuhlman and the Transformation of Charismatic Christianity (2019).
To read more about the Third Wave, check out Peter Wagner, The Third Wave of the Holy Spirit (1988); Bill Jackson, The Quest for the Radical Middle (1999); Carol Wimber, John Wimber (1999); Tanya Luhrmann, When God Talks Back (2012); and Wonsuk Ma, Hyeon-sung Bae, and William Menzies, eds., David Yonggi Cho (2016).
For the global spread of healing, consult Philip Jenkins, The New Faces of Christianity (2006); Candy Gunther Brown, ed., Global Pentecostal and Charismatic Healing (2011); Wonsuk Ma, Veli-Matti Karkkainen, and J. Kwabena Asamoah-Gyaduand, eds., Pentecostal Mission and Global Christianity (2014); and Craig Keener, Miracles Today (2021).
Much literature about healing and prayer in the context of medicine and science has been published in scientific journals; you may want to look at Christianity and Psychiatry and Complementary Therapies in Medicine as well as some of our web links. Also check out Richard Casdorph, The Miracles (1976); Rex Gardner, A Doctor Investigates Healing Miracles (1986); Harold Koenig, The Healing Power of Faith (1999); and Candy Gunther Brown, Testing Prayer: Science and Healing (2012).
Some primary sources for understanding today’s various divine healing movements include Agnes Sanford, The Healing Light (1947); Kathryn Kuhlman, I Believe in Miracles (1962); Morton Kelsey, Healing and Christianity (1973); Francis MacNutt, Healing (1974); John Wimber and Kevin Springer, Power Healing (1987); Jack Deere, Surprised by the Power of the Spirit (1993); Julie Ma and Wonsuk Ma, Mission in the Spirit (2010); Jon Mark Ruthven, On the Cessation of the Charismata (2011); Randy Clark, Power to Heal (2016); and Lee Strobel, The Case for Miracles (2018).
Christian History issues
Read these past issues on our website—some are still available for purchase:
23: Spiritual Awakenings in North America
49: Everyday Faith in the Middle Ages
58: The Rise of Pentecostalism
82: Phoebe Palmer and the Holiness Movement
Videos from Vision Video
Videos relevant to this issue’s topic include About Miracles; Angel Miracles; Great Awakening; It’s a Miracle; Logan’s Story; Miracle Matt; Miracles from Heaven; and Outpouring of the Holy Spirit.
As always, you can read many of the pre-twentieth-century figures we’ve discussed in their own words at the Christian Classics Ethereal Library and the Post-Reformation Digital Library (which actually has many Reformation sources), as well as the Internet Medieval Sourcebook and the Internet Modern History Sourcebook.
The Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center and the Consortium of Pentecostal Archives have a number of resources on Pentecostal and Charismatic Christianity including a full run of Seymour’s Apostolic Faith newspaper. Regent College Library also has an excellent set of links to resources.
The Global Medical Research Institute maintains a list of sources related to scientific testing of healing prayer in their online library.
Finally, most of the modern ministries discussed in our final interview have websites, which are linked in the online version of the article. CH
By the editors
[Christian History originally published this article in Christian History Issue #142 in 2022]
Questions for reflection: divine healing
Christians have approached divine healing in different waysthe editors
America's book: did you know?
How the Bible has formed the American churchthe editors
America's book: executive editor's note
A magazine forty years in the making.Bill Curtis, executive editor
America's book: managing editor's note
Second in a two-part series of the Bible in AmericaJennifer Woodruff Tait, Managing editor
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