I just read your response to women preachers in the church. It caught my attention because I too shared the same view on that topic. But once I read kathryn kuhlman’s bio and listened to her sermons and it’s obvious that God called her to that ministry It was very obvious that God sovereignly lead her into giving up everything for the preaching the Gospel. That was His plan/will for her life. Sure, i’d have to agree there are women out there that feed off of power and are driven by rebellion to from authority but I don’t understand how you can blunted say for God that he will never call and anoint a woman to preach over both men and women. Because in kathryn kuhlman’s life, she bared the fruits of the spirit and was a women who feared the Lord.
CAN WE JUDGE AT ALL?
I want to be very careful and avoid being a “heresy hunter,” or a person who is solely focused on finding faults and flaws in everyone and everything. I understand everyone has flaws and is fallible, and it’s not my intention to chase down every person who does or thinks something wrong, for I myself surely have. However, things said publicly and taught as doctrine, need to be addressed publicly. Public figures who take their lives into the public eye, should be judged publicly. The Scriptures command us to judge and discern the truth, and they remind this to us very often (Mat 7:15,16; 2 Tim 4:3,4; Acts 20:29-31; 2 Pet 2:1, 3:16,17; Col 2:8; Heb 13:9). In the Bible Jesus is shown warning people to beware of false teachers even those who do miracles and appear to have done prominent things in Christian ministry (Mat 7:21-23). Some think that if you critique any well known leader you are simply jealous of their level of influence, and just that you merely hate everyone who is well known. This may be true in some cases, however, it is a logical fallacy to assume any critic is merely jealous and therefore the criticism should be ignored.
PROOF OF GENDER ROLES BECAUSE OF HER LIFE?
Your argument seems to come down to the fact that because she accomplished much (which is open to debate) she is clearly the evidence for a particular view of women in ministry. The error with that view is that it makes experience become as valid in defining doctrine, and perhaps even more so, than scripture, tradition, or reason. What if a teacher of another religion, such as Islam, had the same results as Kuhlman? What if that person had a huge ministry with many followers, claimed to believe in the Old Testament and in a historical Jesus? What if many people claimed to have experienced many good things from an encounter with this muslim? Would his life and the personal experience of those who encountered him convince you to join his movement? If you are a Christian, I hardly think you would take into account that as your evidence. Accounts of miracles have been shown to be false on many occasions, even though people have believed them to be true (1). In any event, is this not the specific method that Jesus warns us to avoid? He spoke of false teachers that would come and try to sway people with their miracles and their works. If we view a “supernatural resume” as the reason for validating any manner of Biblical teaching, we end up in exactly the snare Christ warned us about. For then any antichrist could come in, do a few signs and miracles, and sway everyone to believe in his teachings.
HER MINISTRY WAS MARKED WITH INCONSISTENCIES
Kathryn Kuhlman, as well as most people, has said numerous things that were beneficial to others, however, in conjunction she taught other things were harmful. In the end this type of concoction of truths with untruths is dangerous because with the good we take in the bad. Below are some reasons I am skeptical of her ministry, I’m not sure if we can be certain whether she purposefully deceived others, or was herself self-deceived, though I would guess it is the latter. We are not asked to judge her heart, motives, or intentions but since she was a public minister, we ought to carefully weigh her words and actions and compare them to what the Bible teaches (Acts 17:11). In the end she has a resume that includes some very questionable behaviors and teachings, which were done publicly but never repented of in the same fashion.
She committed open and unrepentant adultery
She became involved in an affair with a married evangelist Burroughs Waltrip. There is a collection of serious evidence, including many eyewitness reports that she was involved with him as far back as in 1935 (Telephone Interview with Dennis Brown, February 25, 1992 as reported in “The Woman Behind The Miracles.”). He left his wife with two young children and married Kathryn a few years later in 1938. This was not something she ever considered a sin, though the Scriptures say it is. In fact Kuhlman had a personal (false) prophecy to validate it, she literally said about their new life together “that God had revealed a new plan” (Daughter Of Destiny, Jamie Buckingham). According to her it was by Gods revelation that she take a married man away from his wife and children. This is highly questionable.
She had an “unbiblical” and unrepentant divorce.
Details of this are few and in between, but both her and Waltrip separated in 1946, partly due to the fact that details about their affair became well known and hindered both her and his public ministry. There is record of her telling her friends “it was a mistake” before getting the divorce. However, she never publicly recanted for her prophetic declaration that her marriage was according to God’s desire.
She lied to cover it up
She repeatedly lied and tried to cover up this part of her life, never repenting. Instead of admitting her self-prophecy and adultery was a sinful act or failure, she often got frustrated and tried to cover her past. According to her official biography (Daughter Of Destiny, Jamie Buckingham) when questioned by reporters she would make statements like “We were never married. I never took my marriage vows,” she said, her eyes flashing. ‘Do you know what happened? I’ll tell you what happened. I fainted — passed out completely, I tell you — right before I was to take my vows.’” In this case the book continues by saying the reporter showed her a photocopy of the marriage license which she denied by saying “she didn’t remember.”
She had shady financial practices
She lived a rich and lavish lifestyle, and had serious financial allegations against her that were settled privately and secretly. Her official biography reports her buying dresses for a modern equivalent of $5000 each, a $750,000 jet and etc. All this with money donated from her crusades. Kuhlman was sued by Paul Bartholomew, her personal administrator, who claimed she kept $1 million in jewelry and $1 million in fine art hidden away and sued her for $430,500 for breach of contract.Two former associates accused her in the lawsuit of diverting funds and illegally removing records, which she denied and said the records were not private.According to Kuhlman, the lawsuit was settled prior to trial. She also changed her will to give most of her cash (obtained through donations) to her friends and family instead of the ministry like promised. Unfortunately her finances on many occasions appear to be highly irregular and secretive, which appears to be inconsistent with what the Bible teaches.
She had many false healings/prophecies
A thorough examination of 23 of her publicly reported healings by a medical doctor (Healing: A Doctor in Search of a Miracle, William A. Nolen MD 1974) showed zero true healings in the long run. These people examined were not those that merely thought they were healed, but actually were confirmed by Kuhlman’s prophetic word. One example is a “woman who was said to have been cured of spinal cancer threw away her brace and ran across the stage at Kuhlman’s command; her spine collapsed the next day, according to Nolen, and she died four months later.” (Ibid. pg 228). An interesting story that documents how Philip Yancey nearly lost faith because of a Kuhlman event (2). Doctor Nolan was a Christian and said of Kuhlman “[her] lack of medical sophistication is a critical point. I don’t believe she is a liar or a charlatan or that she is, consciously, dishonest. I think that she believes the Holy Spirit works through her to perform miraculous cures. I think that she sincerely believes that the thousands of sick people who come to her services and claim cures are, through her mini-strations being cured of organic diseases. I also think–and my investigation confirms this–that she is wrong.” (Quotes and facts are from an article in McCall’s 9/74)
She taught many “unbiblical” things
Many of her teachings obscured the traditional Christian teachings about Jesus and replaced the cross with mystical ideas about spirituality. According to many Christians, the most dangerous type of false teacher is one who speaks many true things and then adds something untrue into the mix. Dr Nolan, among many others noted that that the focus of her teachings tended to shift away from Jesus Christ and onto the Holy Spirit. Whereas the scriptures seem to say that the Holy Spirit will testify of Jesus, not the other way around. Kuhlman often focused solely on spiritual things instead of traditional biblical teaching. For example she coined some of the terminology for “slain in the spirit,” teaching that: “Our spiritual beings are not wired for God’s full power, and when we plug into that power, we just cannot survive it. We are wired for low voltage; God is high voltage through the Holy Spirit.” (Warner, Kathryn Kuhlman, 220). This is inconsistent with the Scripture. It far exceeds and adds to what the Bible very often teaches about the Holy Spirit, namely that He is a helper, a comforter and our sanctification, not one who is a electrical power to shock us to the floor. Another example is that Kuhlman taught that “whenever we find the presence of the Holy Spirit, we will always find the supernatural.” This seems very proper at first, however, it completely invalidates the mainstream Christian view of the internal work of the Holy Spirit on human hearts in sanctification. She also taught that “Faith is that quality or power by which the things desired become the things possessed.” This is a very mystical statement, one that draws away from the object of faith (Jesus) to the psychic power of personal faith (human), making her teaching inconsistent with traditional Christianity. This is the way mystics teach their pupils to attain magical powers, by using strong personal “psychic faith-power” to force things to happen. Christian faith is different, see my article on the topic here: http://egblog.yuriyandinna.com/2010/04/20/faith-is-super-psychic-mind-force/
She promoted spiritual oneness with Catholics
She was very prominent in promoting a oneness union between protestants and Catholics. When she spoke with Pope Paul, she said ““When I met Pope Paul there was a Oneness.” This “oneness” was carried into and through her interdenominational healing services until her death.(Part One Foundations For Apostasy: 1950-1985, Ed Tarkowski). Part of what defines Protestant Christianity is the disagreement over catholic doctrines, such as Mary being another mediator between man and God, for Kuhlman. For Kuhlman this division was nonexistent because her form of Protestant Christianity was not explicitly defined by the bible, instead it was experiential in nature, and any who shared the experience, regardless the theology, were in unity with her. This point does not make her “guilty by association” but conveys the inconsistency of her beliefs and the very staunch charismatic fundamentalists who are often her followers.
Below are more critiques of Katheryn Kuhlman from evangelical and pentecostal perspectives as, just so you can see I am being extremely fair and not simply quoting people who don’t believe in modern faith healers but only “cold dead faith.”