Kathryn Kuhlman (1907-1976) was a woman of God that walked with God. She also gave major development to Pneumatology among Pentecostals and later Charismatics. This leads to the question: What did she believe about the Holy Spirit?
As a young teenager, her sister told her to get her theology straight and she didn’t even know what theology really was. She would regularly claim to have learned her theology at the feet of Jesus, this is not totally true. She was educated and mentored by Aimee Semple McPherson, the founder of the Foursquare Church.
I got my schooling at the feet of the greatest teacher in the world….it was in the school of prayer under the teaching of the Holy Spirit.
Despite the question of how honest this was, the truth is a major part of her theology was birth in prayer and spending time in the presence of the Spirit.
She believed that miracle are based on the atonement like the rest of Pentecostals. However, she took it a step past that and ask questions about the role of the Holy Spirit in the miracle operation. This is a different ideal and one that causes some questions in theology and in practice.
Preach the Holy Spirit!
She would see miracles happen as she would teach on the reality of the Holy Spirit or Pneumatology. An example of this happened the third night she was in Pennsylvania. A woman came up to her the next night with the medical confirmation that a tumor was gone. No one prayed for her. She didn’t give an offering. She was just healed by hearing about the Holy Spirit.
Out of this encounter, Kuhlman considered if she had been teaching a strong enough message on Pneumatology. Had the healing evangelists from the 1950’s became too focused on what people must do to get healed and not focused on what the Spirit does in our healing?
Rightful so, her theology rejected that if we just get our “confession” right, then we will be healed. While not popular in his era, she did not accept the erroneous teaching of positive confession in connection with the prosperity preachers of the day. Later, it was condemned by many groups including the Assemblies of God.
She also disagreed with the idea that people of faith have no problems. She would tell people that in the midst of suffering and darkness, the Holy Spirit would be there and would comfort them. There was never a denial of suffering but rather a comforting in the midst of it.
She would hold that sickness is not part of suffering. She believed that the Holy Spirit could and would heal the sick all by Himself with or without aid from a preacher or even a believer. This was a different model that people would have seen in the healing tents from the 1950’s and 1960’s with people like Oral Roberts, Jack Coe and A.A. Allen.
She firmly put all the work on the Holy Spirit.
How the prayer model changed?
Kuhlman would not have people form in a line and she would sit in a chair. In the old way, people like Oral Roberts would interview the person, ask them what the sickness was, pray for them and interview them if they were healed. It was quite humiliating for people if they were not healed.
She would not call people forward but pray mass prayer for them in their seats where they could confirm if they were healed later. If they were not healed, there was not humiliation. She would just pray for them the next night and people did not know who was or was not being prayed for.
This model is used widely today with people like Bill Johnson, Randy Clark, Carlos Annacondia and others. God uses it in amazing ways in Brazil with Global Awakening, for example.