Healing and Revival
"Christ the Healer"
Fred Francis Bosworth was born on a farm in Utica, Nebraska about 1877 in the United States to Burton F. and Amelia M. Bosworth. Burton Bosworth was a civil war veteran. F.F. was musically talented. He began playing the coronet at the age of nine. He eventually played lead in the Nebraska State Band, which gave performances at The Madison Square Garden in New York City. At the age of sixteen F.F and Clarence Bosworth were visiting a friend in Omaha, Nebraska when they were invited to attend Methodist revival meetings. F.F. came under conviction and was saved.
While working for a physician F.F. caught a severe chill and developed lung problems for eight years. He was told that he did not have long to live. He decided to visit his parents. While on the trip he stopped at a Methodist Revival meeting and a woman named Mattie Perry told F.F. that he could be healed. She prayed for him and he was instantly healed. The Bosworth family was drawn to the move of God under John Alexander Dowie and moved to Zion, Illinois. F. F. became the band leader for the Zion City band. The family must have had a foundational belief in healing as he grew up, since this was bedrock to the Zion group. He was a close friend to John G. Lake. He saw tremendous miracles of healing while in Zion.
In 1901, a Mrs. Waldron from Zion had visited Lawrence, Kansas where Charles Parham, the Pentecostal pioneer, had been teaching. She received the "Baptism of the Holy Spirit" and returned to Zion to share what had happened. Dowie was adamantly opposed to the new "Tongues movement". By 1906, however, the Zion community was in disarray. Dowie had brought it to financial ruin, and then suffered a stroke. In September, of that year, Parham came to Zion to preach. Due to Dowie's teaching, there was a lot of resistance to Parham. He held a meeting at the local hotel, which evidently impacted the Bosworths, because their house became the new meeting room. Bosworth and John Lake visited the Azusa Street Mission to experience the unprecedented Pentecostal revival meetings. Shortly afterwards Bosworth made the acquaintance of Dr. E.W. Kenyon in Chicago. They became good friends and Bosworth included some of Kenyon's material in his writings.
In 1910 Bosworth began pastoring the First Assembly of God Church in Dallas, Texas. He was preaching the Pentecostal message when he was invited to Hearne, Texas. Like many Pentecostal preachers he was willing to preach the gospel wherever he was given an opportunity. While there he spoke to both white and "colored" congregations. When leaving he was attacked and severely beaten, but praised God for suffering for Christ's name. In 1912 he invited Maria Woodworth-Etter to hold meetings at his church. She came and held meetings from July to December and people came from all over the United States. There came a point of disagreement between Bosworth and the Assembly of God organization. He came to believe that although tongues were definitely a gift, he also believed that not everyone would speak in tongues when baptized in the Spirit. Since tongues as "initial evidence" became an Assembly doctrine he resigned his membership in the denomination. His brother B.B. was already associated with the Christian and Missionary Alliance in Houston, Texas. F. F. joined them as well in 1918. Bosworth's precious wife died on November 16, 1919. It's hard to imagine the loss but God quickly shifted Bosworth from a local pastor to a traveling evangelist.
Although Bosworth taught on healing, he really was an evangelist who saw healing as the greatest tool to reach the lost. It was in association with the Alliance that Bosworth and his brother Burt (B.B.) held many of their most dramatic evangelistic and healing campaigns in the United States and Canada in the early 1920's. He traveled with his wife, his brother and his brother's wife. His brother acted as music minister. Often F.F. and B.B. and B.B.'s wife would sing together and were called the Bosworth Trio. They were actually asked to play and sing on the radio as a musical group during one campaign. The Alliance published many pamphlets and articles by Bosworth during this time period. In 1924, approximately 12,000 people responded to the salvation message, in one meeting alone in Ottawa, Canada. This was also the year that he published his primary book "Christ the Healer". Many articles about these campaigns were published in the Christian and Missionary Alliance magazine. You will see links to dozens of these articles in the article and reference page connected to this one.
In 1926 things changed and F. F. began to focus closer to home. 1927 and 1928 found him in several revival campaigns with Paul Rader in Rader's Chicago Gospel Tabernacle. He was occasionally joined by his brother for meetings. Many of his sermons were broadcast on radio, a precursor of his later ministry. B.B. began his own evangelistic association and struck out on his own, though unattended by the same level of success he had seen with his brother. In the 1930s F. F. Bosworth became a pioneer of radio evangelism by creating "The National Radio Revival Missionary Crusaders". In a few years F. F.'s radio ministry handled more than a quarter of a million letters. He attempted to avoid the divisions that were occurring in the Pentecostal movement by promoting basic truths which, he felt, were cross-denominational. He continued his ministry until 1947, when he retired to Florida.
His ministry was not over yet! In 1948, Bosworth met William Branham in Florida. William Branham was holding healing meetings and Bosworth decided to come out of retirement to join him. He would travel on the road with Branham, often speaking during the day sessions of conventions, so that Branham would be rested enough to speak in the evenings. He saw thousands healed, and saved, in those campaigns. Bosworth's son says that his trip to Africa, at the age of seventy-five, was the most successful of his career. He traveled with Branham until 1956. Bosworth died, two years later on January 23, 1958. His brother B.B. died just three and a half weeks later on February 17, 1958. The book "Christ the Healer" is considered a classic in the Charismatic and Pentecostal movements and is still being reprinted today.
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