EW Kenyon

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Born: 1867

Died: 1948

Dates Active:

Also Known As: Esseck William Kenyon, Father or Grandfather of the Word of Faith Movement

Locations: New England, United States; California; Seattle, Washington

Leaders: EW Kenyn

Groups: name

Revival Connections: FF Bosworth (Led to); John G Lake (Led to); TL Osborn (Led to);

Characteristics: Healing, Discipleship, Evangelism

History of the Revival

Esseck William “EW” Kenyon is a controversial figure, often referred to as the “Father or Grandfather of the Word of Faith Movement”

While Kenyone initially received Christ at 18 while attending a Primitive Methodist Chapel, after a while he left the church because he had become disillusioned and desired to make a better income.

He married his wife Evva on May 8, 1893. Evva Helped to affirm his dissolusionment. She had been brought up in some very difficult times, and did not believe that God could have allowed it, so she was opposed to the gospel.

Just a month following their wedding, in June of 1893, E.W. and Evva attended a meeting in the Clarendon Street Church, in Boston that was being pastored by A.J. Gordon. During the meeting he came under conviction and rededicated his life to Christ, not turning back.

Shortly afterwards, we went into the ministry. After speaking in a Free Baptist church in Amesbury, Massachusetts the couple decided to align themselves to the denomination. Kenyon pastored several small churches in New York, and then Massachusetts.

It was during his time in Massachusetts that Kenyon came into the understanding of the Holy Spirit as a person. While in Massachusetts, a book by George Mueller book came into Kenyon's hands. This stirred his faith to believe that God could provide finances and not be dependent on constant fund-raising. The church could not see how this could work, so they left the denomination and decided to work independently.

As they stepped out on their own, they made a covenant to act on the Bible exactly as it was written. They went to the YMCA in Worcester and taught what they had come to believe and the converts began to come in.

Now, the Kenyons had been exposed to the belief in Divine Healing through the Free Will Baptists, but had never acted on it. A man with consumption (cancer of the day) came to live with them. One day while Evva was praying God gave her the scripture from Mark 16:18, “they will lay hands on the sick, and they will recover.” (NASB) She went and prayed for this man and he immediately was healed.

E.W. felt that God had confirmed His written word and included healing in his services from that time on. Many healings began to occur in their meetings.

Young people began to come from all over the area to receive training. The Kenyons opened a bible school and began to train the young people. They purchased a farm and called it the Bethel Bible Institute. E.W. would be president of the school in Spencer, Massachusetts, for twenty-five years.

The school later moved to Providence, Rhode Island, and became Providence Bible Institute. It later became Barrington College, and in a fateful irony, merged with Gordon College, named after one of Kenyon's many mentors, A.J. Gordon.

It was entirely a faith work. No tuition was charged and the teachers were not paid a salary. Everything was done through prayer. Well educated Bible teachers gave up good positions to join Kenyon in training young people and live the life of faith. Missionaries were trained and sent from the Institute around the world and around the United States.

Evva Kenyon died in 1914. Subsequently, Kenyon married Alice M. He would come to moved west in 1924, and settled in California where healings were a regular part of his ministry.

He preached for many pastors in the area and he was extremely well received. Miracles of healing were common when he preached. Eventually, Kenyon pastored a work in Los Angeles which grew to about a thousand members. He had two books in print and a monthly publication. An enthusiastic audience greeted him at each of his many weekly services.

Tragedy struck Kenyon in 1930 when his wife, Alice, left him during the height of his popularity, accusing him of having affairs with other women.

Kenyon fled to Washington where he spent his last years as an evangelist and prolific writer, founding the Kenyon's Gospel Publishing Society. Then he moved to Seattle where he established New Covenant Baptist Church.

In general, the largest impact of Kenyon’s life was his teaching of the Word of Faith Doctrine. Much like many modern Word of Faith teachers, Kenyon had no formal theological training and in his case his doctorate was self-instituted.

Understanding the Father-heart of God, who we are in Christ, and the authority and privileges of the believer were central to Kenyon’s message. In his writings Kenyon calls the believer up and out of the mire of traditional unbelief into the deep, rich treasures of our redemption in Christ. Many lives have been transformed reading his simple, yet profound books.

That said, the doctrine he taught came with a fair share of ctonroversy that is still debated today.

Men of God such as F.F. Bosworth, who had a notable healing ministry throughout his life, continually referred to and applied E.W. Kenyon's teachings throughout his entire life. John G. Lake was also fond of E.W Kenyon's teachings. The great healing revivalist T.L. Osborn considered E.W. Kenyon one of the greatest exponents and teachers on the subject of Divine Healing in his book “Healing the Sick.” E.W. Kenyon influenced a generation for God.

Impact

Controversies

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