Mid-Twentieth Century Revivals
1947 – April-July – North America – Healing Evangelism Revival
Following World War II, especially in 1947-48, the Lord began imparting powerful ministries to people who later had worldwide impact. These included William Branham, Kathryn Kuhlman, Oral Roberts, Billy Graham, and T.L. and Daisy Osborn.
William Branham reported that on Tuesday, May 7, 1946, an angel spoke to him saying:
Fear not, I am sent from the presence of Almighty God to tell you that your peculiar life and your misunderstood ways have been to indicate that God has sent you to take a gift of divine healing to the people of the world. If you will be sincere, and can get the people to believe you, nothing shall stand before your prayer, not even cancer (Riss 1988, 106).
He became renowned for accurate words of knowledge and amazing healings in his powerful evangelism.
On Sunday, April 27, 1947, when Kathryn Kuhlman began a teaching series on the Holy Spirit in Franklin, Pennsylvania, a woman in the audience was healed of a tumor and testified about it the following night. That marked the beginning of Kathryn Kuhlman’s 30 years of incredible healing evangelism. Based at Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, starting in 1948, she held regular services in Carnegie Hall and the First Presbyterian Church, developed a daily radio ministry, and produced over 500 telecasts for the CBS network. For ten years she regularly filled the 7,000-seat Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles at her monthly miracle services there.
On May 14, 1947, following seven months of intensive prayer, including fasting, Oral Roberts received direction from God about beginning his now-famous healing evangelistic ministry. He himself had been healed through prayer at age 17 after being bedridden with tuberculosis for five months. In 1948 he used a tent that seated 2,000 people, and by 1953 he needed a tent that seated 12,500. By 1956 his monthly magazine, Abundant Life, had a circulation of over a million. In 1965 he opened a college, which later became Oral Roberts University, now with 4,500 students. By the 1980’s 15 million copies of his books had been sold, and thousands of people continue the healing and evangelistic ministry he began.
On June 24, 1947, Henrietta Mears, Christian Education Director at First Presbyterian Church of Hollywood, spoke at a teachers and leaders conference at Forest Home in the nearby mountains. A group of young leaders, including the newly converted Bill Bright (later founder of Campus Crusade for Christ), met late that night for prayer with Henrietta Mears, confessing sin with much weeping and crying out to God.
God moved upon them, giving a mighty vision of college campuses teeming with students needing to be saved. Students were the key to leadership for revival around the world.
Annual College Briefing Conferences were then held at Forest Home. Billy Graham and Edwin Orr spoke at the 1949 conference there, where Billy Graham also experienced a deep infilling of the Holy Spirit as the Presence of God engulfed him while he prayed alone on a mountain. His Los Angeles crusade later that year attracted wide press coverage and launched him into an international ministry.
In July 1947 Tommy and Daisy Osborn, Pentecostal pastors in Oregon, were deeply moved at a camp meeting by a message about seeing Jesus. They had returned to America after an unsuccessful time as missionaries in India in 1945–6 where sickness plagued them. Following that camp meeting T.L. Osborn wrote:
The next morning at six o’clock, I was awakened by a vision of Jesus Christ as he came into our room. I looked upon him. I saw Him like I see anyone. No tongue can tell of His splendour and beauty. No language can express the magnificence and power of His person.
I lay there as one that was dead, unable to move a finger or toe, awe-stricken by His presence. Water poured from my eyes, though I was not conscious of weeping, so mighty was His presence.
Of all I had heard and read about Him, the half had never been told me. His hands were beautiful; they seemed to vibrate with creative ability. His eyes were as streams of love, pouring forth into my innermost being. His feet, standing amidst clouds of transparent glory, seemed to be as pillars of justice and integrity. His robes were white as the light. His presence, enhanced with love and power, drew me to Him.
After perhaps thirty minutes of utter helplessness, I was able to get out of bed to the floor, where I crawled into my little study and lay on my face on the floor in full surrender of my entire life to Him whom I had come to know as LORD. I lay there on my face until the afternoon. When I came out of that room, I was a new man. Jesus had become the Master of my life. I knew the truth; He is alive; He is more than a dead religion.
My life was changed. I would never be the same. Old traditional values began to fade away, and I felt impressed daily by a new and increasing sense of reverence and serenity. Everything was different. I wanted to please Him. That is all that mattered since that unforgettable morning (Osborn 1986, 394–5).
In September 1947 the Osborns attended a meeting where William Branham healed the sick and cast out demons, including deliverance of a deaf-mute girl who then heard and spoke perfectly. T.L. Osborn reported:
When I witnessed that and many other miracles, there seemed to be a thousand voices whirling over my head, saying over and over, “ You can do that! That’s the Bible way! Peter and Paul did it that way! That’s the way Jesus did it. That proves that the Bible way works today! You can do that! That’s what God wants you to do!”
We went home in total awe and reverent exuberance. We had witnessed the Bible in action. It was the thing I had always longed for. At last, I had seen God do what He promised to do through a human person. Our entire lives were changed that very night (Osborn 1986, 397).
Since then the Osborns have ministered to millions, preached to crowds of 20,000 to 250,000 in crusades in 76 countries, and led hundreds of thousands of people to Jesus Christ. Vast numbers have been healed, including the deaf, blind, and crippled. Body organs have been recreated and restored, cancers have died and vanished, lepers have been healed, and the dead have been raised.
Most of their powerful evangelism and healing ministry have been with huge crowds in developing nations. They regularly established 400 churches a year in these nations.
© Geoff Waugh. Used by permission.