Is Kathryn Kuhlman a false teacher?

Question:

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.

MORE CRITIQUES

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.”

EVANGELICAL: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com/kuhlman.htm

PENTACOSTAL: http://www.pawcreek.org/end-times/kathryn-kuhlman

14 responses

  1. All said and done, Katherine Khulman was a human, and that God should choose a weak and imperfect vessel like her shows the heart of God. She may have had character flaws and many weaknesses, but it is left to God to chose his vessel of choice. In the OT God used a donkey to convey His thoughts which means He can use any one of us with all our stupidity and foolishness…………. May the one who has no sin cast the first stone. God’s ways are highter than our ways and His thoughts, higher than our thoughts. I am glad he has not given up on us, but uses our imperfections to show His perfection, our weaknesses to show His strength.

    • God used those vessels to preach his word not heresy. If it is a message against the truth of the bible then it is not from God. Stupid is one thing. Heresy is another

    • I agree with Rgna003. It is true that Kathryn Kuhlman had character flaws. Everyone has them, including all the skeptics and critics out there. So, let he who has no sin, and has not broken any Biblical law, cast the first stone. I am a woman preacher, but I know my limits. It was the people who heard me preach who first told me about her. Then, the Holy Spirit said something about fashioning. my ministry after the pattern of Kathryn’s ministry. I regard her as my mentor, even though I did not meet her personally. It is true she led many to Christ, and if you think she was a devil, bear in mind that she made it to heaven. I am hoping to be able to make it, like she did! As for her critics, they can tear her and her ministry down as best they could, or they can start preparing to go to heaven, assuming they want to go there!

  2. I would not discount a woman being used by God in most any position – however I would lean the direction as I heard J. Vernon McGee commented on his program: “Show me a woman in the ministry and I will show you a dozen men whom did not step up to God’s leading” (or pretty darn close! its beena few decades).

    Naturally, we have qualifications for being a prophet or praying, examples of Dorcas as a deacon, etc.

  3. Kathryn Kuhlman had many healing meetings at Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim, California pastored by the scoundrel Ralph Wilkerson whose financial escapades caused the church to go bankrupt!

    Melodyland School of Theology (MST) was its theological seminary college level school and had on its staff Walter Martin, who was also known as the Bible Answer Man and head of CRI (the Christian Research Institute), John Warwick Montgomery noted Christian apologist and
    lawyer who later divorced his wife by signing her name to the divorce documents and not telling her about it, Dr. John Rea (noted Old Testament scholar and an editor of the New International Version of the Bible). The first president of the school was Dr. J. Rodman Williams (Charismatic Theologian, author of a Systematic Theology).

    Rev. Ralph Wilkerson was known for doing things that were mean, vindictive and unchristlike. Hence the LA Time reported about Tentative Melodyland Ruling Goes Against Wilkerson
    August 27, 1986|JOHN SPANO | Times Staff Writer

    Fundamentalist preacher Ralph Wilkerson acted without legal authority when he locked a dissident board of directors out of an Anaheim seminary last year and posted armed guards to keep them away, a judge ruled Tuesday.

    Superior Court Judge Judith M. Ryan issued a tentative ruling in the first phase of the complex legal tug of war over control of the Melodyland School of Theology.

    The school was founded by Wilkerson as a spinoff of his independent Melodyland Christian Center at 1400 Freedman Way in Anaheim. The church attracted a congregation of up to 10,000 on Sundays in the early 1980s before falling victim to philosophical divisions within the
    congregation and financial difficulties.
    http://articles.latimes.com/1986-08-27/local/me-14257_1_tentative-ruling

    The LA Times also reported about Pastor Ralph Wilkerson
    Pastor to Talk in Fraud Case
    His lawyer says he will answer questions about Gregory Setser, accused of taking $160 million from Christians.
    July 19, 2004|E. Scott Reckard | Times Staff Writer
    Orange County pastor Ralph A. Wilkerson has agreed to answer questions about a former associate accused of raising more than $160 million from evangelical Christians in an elaborate international investment fraud, Wilkerson’s attorney said.
    Wilkerson, 77, was criticized last month by a court-appointed receiver who said the pastor had failed to help recover assets that would benefit people left destitute by the alleged scam run by Gregory E. Setser, an Inland Empire-based entrepreneur.
    http://articles.latimes.com/2004/jul/19/business/fi-setser19

  4. According to Jamie Buckingham who wrote about her, It’s a fact that Kathryn Khulman hated other ministries including Oral Roberts and FGBMF. She thought her ministry was the only valid one. And the sad reality she died unhealed on the operating table at ORU with a man she hated.
    She also had a big fight with Dino her piano player and many others!
    In reality she was not a nice person?

    • While the reality is that she was an extremely loving person, she was human. She did not want healing following her heart surgery, feeling that she had completed her life’s mission, and made a decision to go home to be with her Lord. Perhaps she would have lived another 15-20 years had she cutback on her schedule and gotten more physical rest. Only God knows. When we continue to break God’s natural laws we pay the consequences and many are not healed for this reason. I am in no way judging Miss Kuhlman’s spiritual state for she sincerely felt that—by the power of God’s Spirit—she could go on working tirelessly a job of five men. It would not be intentional sin but perhaps it was what the Old Testament refers to as “unintentional sin”. Being human, perhaps she missed the mark in terms of not being kinder and gentler on her own physical body.

  5. I belong to the true church-the church of Pentecost. As a result I know that these so-called faith healers are phony. We don’t make a show out of the healing miracles by filling stadiums. My church has been ordaining only men for 2000 years. The pentecostal movement was founded in 1901 and the baptist church in 1609 which means that these churches are false. Only my church is 2000 years old. It sounds brazen to talk like this, but my statements are true.

  6. Honestly stop been critical, each and every minister has a thorn in his/her flesh so as not to glory in oneself…even from your illustration shows nothing but envy,jealous and ungrateful…she left marks which can never be erased…..what have you done? Built your ministry on criticism…..check your life from the time you become a minister and conclude the case….of all the good things God did for His people through her,you still want to find some fault, which you will find in everyone including yourselves….thank you for your hardwork。but let’s work together rather than attacking each other, if you think what God did in her ministry was an error then teach Him how to do it better in your life….

    • Matthew 7:3-5, 16:6; Romans 16:17, 18; 1 Corinthians 5:1, 9-11, 13, 11:19, 14:34, 35; 2 Corinthians 11:13; Galatians 1:6-9, 2.11-14; 1 Timothy 1:20, 6:3-5; 2 Timothy 2:17, 18, 4:14; 3 John 1:9; Jude 1:11; Revelation 2:3, 9.

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