Ethan Otis Allen: 19th Century Faith Healing Pioneer

Ethan AllenThis Week in AG History — July 8, 1939

By Glenn W. Gohr
Originally published on AG News, 09 July 2020

Ethan Otis Allen (1813-1903) has been called the father of divine healing in America. After experiencing his own healing, he often prayed for the sick, and he influenced others toward a divine healing ministry.

The Pentecostal Evangel featured Allen’s life story in July 1939. Born on a farm in Belchertown, Massachusetts, on Aug. 25, 1813, he grew to adulthood in Springfield, Massachusetts. In his youth he became afflicted with consumption (pulmonary tuberculosis) and found work as an overseer at a poor farm because he was unable to do hard labor.

In 1846 Allen attended a Methodist meeting in a country schoolhouse. At the close of the meeting, one of the leaders said to him, “Brother Allen, don’t you think it is time for you to seek religion?” He felt conviction and went forward to accept salvation. Afterwards, “great joy filled his soul and there was much rejoicing.”

In the enthusiasm of his new-found joy, he said, “Brethren, if you will pray for me, I believe this mighty power that has come upon me will heal my lungs.” One of the men spoke up and said, “Does it not say, ‘They shall lay hands on the sick and they shall recover’?” They gathered together and prayed for him, and instantly Ethan Allen was healed.

Allen went on his way rejoicing. He went back to his job at the poor farm and began praying for the sick under his care. Soon he felt the Lord calling him to a greater ministry of healing. He reported that he heard God speak audibly: “Behold, I give you power over all the power of the enemy.” He believed that all sickness was either directly or indirectly the work of Satan, so at times he felt directed to cast out an evil spirit before he prayed for healing.

Allen also had a strong belief in fasting and prayer and sometimes would refuse both food and water for several days as he prayed for someone in need. Numerous times he was called upon to pray for the sick, and they would recover. One time he was summoned to the Home for Incurables in Brooklyn, New York, to pray for a woman that doctors had given up on. Sarah M. C. Musgrove had been ill for about five years. She had faith for her healing, and after Allen prayed for her, she was healed. He stayed and prayed for others at the home as well. Sarah Musgrove later ran the Four-fold Gospel Mission in Troy, New York.

It is reported that Ethan Allen was one of the first in America to teach and practice divine healing. In the 1880s he became associated with Dr. Charles Cullis and A. B. Simpson who impacted the U.S. by holding conventions on divine healing. Allen spoke at these conferences, and Simpson called him the “Father of Divine Healing.” Allen wrote a booklet in 1881 titled, Faith Healing: or What I have Witnessed of the Fulfillment of James V:14, 15, 16.

Another person Allen prayed for was an African-American woman named Sarah Freeman Mix. After she was healed in December 1877, she was called into a healing ministry of her own. She is the first recorded African-American female healing evangelist in the U.S. Mrs. Mix prayed the prayer of faith for healing for Carrie Judd Montgomery in 1879, and they became friends. Ethan Allen later stayed for some time at Mrs. Montgomery’s Home of Peace, a healing home she established in Oakland, California.

The last four years of Allen’s life were spent in California where he lived in a small house which his son built for him. An aged relative cared for him, and when people came to visit him, they spoke in hushed tones as if they were standing on holy ground when they were in his presence.

Although he had been given up to die when he was young, he lived to be 89 years old and passed away in Los Angeles on Jan. 24, 1903. He did not have much earthly wealth; his treasures were stored in heaven. Ethan Allen impacted the world through his ministry of divine healing.

Read “Miracles Wrought Through Prayer: The Story of a Man Who Walked With God,” on page 1 of the July 8, 1939, issue of the Pentecostal Evangel.

Also featured in this issue:

• “Mantle Christians,” by Robert A. Brown

• “Having God’s Approval on Your Life,” by J. W. Welch

• “The Ministry of Witnessing,” by A. H. Argue

And many more!

Click here to read this issue now.

Pentecostal Evangel archived editions courtesy of the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center.

Do you have Pentecostal historical materials that should be preserved? Please consider depositing these materials at the Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center (FPHC). The FPHC, located in the Assemblies of God national offices, is the largest Pentecostal archive in the world. We would like to preserve and make your treasures accessible to those who write the history books.

Flower Pentecostal Heritage Center
1445 North Boonville Avenue
Springfield, Missouri 65802 USA
Phone: 417.862.1447 ext. 4400
Toll Free: 877.840.5200

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