Healing and Revival


 

"The Soul is the Life of the Body"

 

Otto Stockmayer was born October 21, 1838 to Gustav and Charlotte Stockmayer in Aalen, Jagstkreis, Wuerttemberg, Germany. His mother died while he was young and his father was an extremely strict and demanding person. Otto Stockmayer claimed to be converted in 1862 and attended seminary, but did not do well. The teaching was liberal and his faith was shaken. He fell into depression. In the Fall of 1865 he began to earnestly seek God for the fullness of grace and life. On Easter in 1867 Stockmayer had a significant experience with God, which he described like the feeling of cleansing waters flowing over his soul. He also went to Mannedorf Switzerland, where he was prayed for by Dorothea Trudel and Samuel Zeller. The Lord gave him deliverance from a health problem which had lasted for a long time, and was growing increasingly serious. From that time he committed to believe Jesus as his only physician. He stayed at Mannedorf for two years and studied the healing ministry.

Early in 1869 Stockmayer broke relationship with the Christian Committee who provided him with financial support as an evangelist. He felt that God was calling him to depend on Him alone for his needs. In the fall of 1869, while in Geneva Switzerland, he was suddenly struck down by pain in his head. He struggled with this for two months, getting alternatively better and worse. Finally a man came to him who describes as a "prophet to me" and talked with him about his condition. The man told him to humble himself and return to his position with the Committee he had left. It was a struggle but he did it. This man laid hands on Stockmayer and told him he would be healed. Although he did not see the healing immediately, once he reestablished relationship the disease was turned around. Stockmayer entered a season where God called him to walk in holiness in the smallest areas of his life.

A number of years later he opened his own faith home in Hauptweil, Thurgau, Switzerland, where he employed the methods he had seen used at Mannedorf. Stockmayer taught that "the soul is the life of the body" and that God did not intend for His saving and sanctifying ministry to stop with renewal of the soul. Since man was created for the glory of God, he was to do God's will and fulfill every work the person was called to. To accomplish a man's body as well as his soul must be at the absolute disposal of God. Stockmayer believed that healing was available from the atonement, but allowed that God could use sickness, for a time, to purify or humble an individual. He also saw healing as an evangelistic tool. Pastor Stockmayer had a major influence on Elizabeth Baxter who later opened Bethshan Healing Home in London England.

Stockmayer's name became synonymous with the Keswick or Holiness Movement in England, Germany, and the United States. He was a regular speaker at Keswick, England and at Christian and Missionary Alliance Meetings in the United States. He traveled to the United States several times between 1882 and 1904. Stockmayer was considered, for a time, as having some controversial teachings. He expressed extreme views on the rapture and holiness. He later recanted these and returned to the mainstream of the Christian Holiness Movement. He was later looked to by many in the Holiness Movement for direction and teaching on "tongues" and the Pentecostal Movement. His initial attitude was "be loving but be wary." He believed many things done in the name of Pentecostalism were unscriptural and potentially dangerous. His teachings were widely shared in Holiness circles. In 1909 Stockmayer signed the Berlin Declaration, which stated the Pentecostalism was not of God but in reality was a work of Satan.

Stockmayer continued to minister and write until his death in 1917. Over the years he was a very prolific writer. He wrote dozens of books in his native German, covering a wide variety of topics. A few have been translated into English. Of those many were published by Michael and Elizabeth Baxter in London, Stockmayer's lifelong friends and supporters.

Trudel, Zeller, and Blumhardt focused their healing work on local ministry. Otto Stockmayer became the propagator of the divine healing movement in Europe. His book "Sickness and the Gospel" became the foundation for healing teachings throughout Europe and the United States. He influenced A. J. Gordon who called him "theologian of the doctrine of healing by faith."

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