Healing and Revival
"Father of the Divine Healing Movement"
Ethan Otis Allen was truly a pioneer in the healing and deliverance ministry. With no teaching on healing or deliverance God propelled him into a ministry that lasted over 50 years. It is interesting to note that God's revelation of healing to Allen occurred almost simultaneously with that of Johann Christoph Blumhardt in Germany and Dorothea Trudel in Switzerland during the 1840s and 50s. His background was based in the Methodist movement, but he did not find any groups that he could align himself with until God raised up Dr. Charles Cullis, Carrie Judd (later Montgomery), and A. B. Simpson in the 1870s and 1880s. That meant that Allen forged a path, in healing and deliverance in the United States, almost entirely alone for 25 years.
Ethan O. Allen was born on August 25, 1813 in Belchertown, Massachusetts. He was son of Joel and Lydia (Butler) Allen. (**see note) He grew up outside of Springfield, Massachusetts on a family farm and had a very limited education. There were six children in the family. His father died in 1819 when he was only six years old. He contracted consumption, now known as pulmonary tuberculosis, which left him in very poor health. He wasn't able to do any hard labor so he took a job overseeing the local poorhouse. While working there he developed a deep compassion for the hurting and the broken. He saw many people who had both mental and physical illnesses. Allen met Kezia Davis and they married on March 22, 1837. Their only son, Loring Davis Allen was born on January 6, 1838.
In 1846 Allen had a significant experience with God where he was healed by the laying on of hands of Methodist class leaders. He was converted at the meeting. Upon coming under the presence of God he asked them to pray for his healing. He was instantly and perfectly healed. "He heard the Lord calling him to this ministry in an audible voice, saying, as He did to Peter and the other apostles, 'Behold Igive you power over all the power of the enemy,' and with childlike simplicity he accepted the gift, using the words and methods employed by the Lord." He defined this experience as the Holiness work of "sanctification" and believed that if people were purified from sin they would also be healed. Upon returning to the poorhouse in Westfield, Massachusetts he decided to pray for the sick and the insane. He began to see people healed. He learned to recognize demonic influences in the mentally broken. His ministry was marked by fasting and prayer. He often fasted for several days at a time in preparation for a person's deliverance from sickness. Often he would feel a burden of intercession and pray until he felt a release that God would triumph for a person he'd been praying for.
Allen worked eight years at the poorhouse until the spring of 1857, when he moved his family to Oakfield in Fon du Lac County, Wisconsin. He bought a farm with a family friend in an attempt to improve their financial well-being. Unfortunately it seems that it was not a success for either of the men. They sold the farms in 1861 and returned east once again. Allen prayed for neighbors in the area and saw a mother and daughter healed at different times. In 1862 Allen moved back to Massachusetts to the city of Westfield. By 1866 Allen records he had returned to his roots in Springfield, Massachusetts. He would remain there until the last few years of his life.
Allen had a doctrine based on four pillars: salvation, sanctification, healing, and premillennialism. Allen felt called to the poor and "disinherited" in society. He had a traveling ministry which lasted over 50 years. He primarily traveled in New England and the Eastern United States, although he was known to go as far as Detroit. Allen normally traveled to see a patient and often spent days going over scripture to prepare their hearts for healing. He would travel hundreds of miles to see one patient. He went to people's homes, camp meetings, conventions, and "faith cure" homes after they became established later in the century. He also traveled to the Home for Incurables in Brooklyn, New York. There Sarah Musgrove was dramatically healed. Allen helped to support a Faith Home in Springfield, Massachusetts. He asked a Miss Shoemaker to run the home and spoke there frequently, as well as having other teachers in to share on healing. (Miss Shoemaker was healed under the ministry of Sarah Musgrove) Allen's focus could be defined as miraculous, rather than a more progressive healing style. He asked those he prayed for to believe God and expect Him to heal instantly. He also focused on deliverance as a key to healing.
Allen was a mentor and often traveled with assistants. People who were healed under his ministry would sometimes travel with him for training in divine healing. This is true of Sarah and Edward Mix, an African American couple who had received healing from him. Later in his life Allen became involved with Dr. Charles Cullis and A. B. Simpson, who impacted the US by holding conferences and conventions on divine healing. Allen would speak at these conventions in the 1880's and it was A.B. Simpson who called Allen the "Father of Divine Healing" in America. Allen published a book titled "Faith Healing: or What I have Witnessed of the Fulfillment of James V:14, 15, 16. " Keziah Allen died in Springfield, Massachusetts in September 1893 leaving Allen on his own after 56 years of marriage. Within a couple of years Allen moved to be with his only son in Los Angeles, California. His son built a small cottage for him behind his house. In 1896 Allen held meetings at Carrie Judd Montgomery's Home for Peace and spoke for the local Christian and Missionary Alliance services. He died in Los Angeles, California on January 24, 1903, shortly after the death of his only son.***
The primary scripture on which his ministry was based: "And these signs will accompany those who have believed: in My name they will cast out demons, they will speak with new tongues; they will pick up serpents, and if they drink any deadly poison, it shall not hurt them; they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover." Mark 16:17-18 (NASB)
William T. MacArthur, an associate of A. B. Simpson's and later President of the Christian and Missionary Alliance, came to know "Father Allen" later in his life and wrote a short biography about him about 1926 titled "Ethan O. Allen". This includes testimonies from Carrie Judd Montgomery, Sarah Musgrove, William MacArthur, and Edgar Sellew, along with some quotes from A. B. Simpson. This booklet has been reprinted in several Pentecostal publications including The Latter Rain Evangel, The Pentecostal Evangel, and Confidence under the title of "The Man Who Walked With God."
* If a name is found highlighed in blue then a separate biography is found in the biography section of this site.
** It has been incorrectly reported that Ethan O. Allen was the grandson of the Revolutionary War hero Ethan Allen. His paternal grandfather was Hezekiah Allen.
***Sadly he had no direct family left when he died. His only grandson died at 5 months old in 1875. His only son lost his wife in 1876, just two years after his marriage, due to childbed fever, and chose never to get remarried.
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