Healing and Revival


"Theologian of the Divine Healing Movement"

A.J. Gordon was born in New Hampton, New Hampshire April 13, 1836 the second of nine children. His parents were John Calvin and Sallie (Robinson) Gordon. They were devout Christians and named their son after American Baptist missionary Adoniram Judson (1788–1850). What a heritage to start life with! At 15 he committed his life to Christ, and at 20 felt called to be a minister. He went to college and then seminary. Upon graduation he accepted a pastorate near Boston, and stayed there six years. He then moved to the Clarendon Street Baptist Church in Boston, where he would meet and reveal Christ in a new way.

Clarendon Street Church was in poor spiritual condition. Singers were hired from the local opera to sing, the pews were rented, and the lost were not welcome. Gordon's heart was broken over the state of the church. One night Gordon fell asleep while preparing his sermon and had a dream. In this dream he was preaching to his congregation, when a man walked up the left side looking for a place to sit. He wondered who the man could be. The man did find a place and sat next to one of the regular attendees. After the sermon the stranger left and Gordon asked his parishioner who the man was. His answer.. "don't you know him? That was Jesus of Nazareth. He has been here today, and he will come again." (see the reference link below for the full dream narrative)

When he awoke Gordon realized that it was not important what men thought about his ministry, but only what the Lord Jesus Christ thought. It caused him to review how he preached, why he preached, and what he preached. He realized the most important person he had to please was Jesus Himself. His life and ministry would never be the same after that. He began to preach as he believed would honor Jesus. His church became one of the most vibrant, missions-oriented churches in the nation. He also eventually founded a seminary to train students in the "Higher Life", which bore his name.

Gordon was close friends with three other giants of the faith, D.L. Moody, A. B. Simpson, and Dr. Charles Cullis. He was one of the most prominent leaders in Moody's Northfield conventions In his work "Ministry of the Spirit", Gordon presents the work of the Holy Spirit having three aspects: sealing, filling, and anointing. He was also strongly impacted by the theological writings of Asa Mahan. Through his relationship with Cullis, Gordon became a staunch defender of divine healing. In 1882 he published his book "The Ministry of Healing", in which he asserted that healing for the body was part of the atonement. Using Psalm 103:3 “who forgiveth all thine iniquities, who healeth all thy diseases,” (KJV) and Matthew 8:17 “He himself took our infirmities and carried away our diseases,” (KJV) Gordon concluded that divine healing for the body was included in the atonement, along with the forgiveness of sins for the soul. His church held regular meetings where the sick were prayed for.

Much of Gordon's teaching is foundational to several groups in the body of Christ, including Pentecostal, Charismatic, Holiness, and Christian and Missionary Alliance churches. Gordon became ill suddenly and died of pneumonia on February 1, 1895 at the age of 58. His passing was deeply grieved by the many people he had influenced. His heart for the lost and broken had touched people all around the world.

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Want to read more about his dream and read his article on healing in the atonement?


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