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Agnes Sanford: Apostle of Healing and First Theologian of the Charismatic Renewal, Part 1, by William L. De Arteaga

Ministry at Tilton Army Hospital

By the outset of World War II she was well read, well practiced in healing and strong in discernment. Mrs. Sanford volunteered for service as a Gray Lady at Tilton Army Hospital at Ft. Dix. Every week she would spend a full day there. Her assigned duties were to pass around a cart of comic books, magazines, candies and flowers for the wounded men in the hospital. It was strictly and absolutely forbidden to pray for the men. Soon however her compassion overcame her respect for the lawfulness of authority (Acts 4:18-22). Often she would place her hands underneath a copy of Life magazine (the largest magazine available) so that the authorities would not see what she was doing.

Agnes later came to see this period in her life as the most fruitful one in her healing ministry. God’s healing power flowed through her to an unusual degree, partly because there was no publicity and partly because war wounds were not associated with personal sin of the soldiers. Thus the healing power of God could flow without impediment from unresolved sin or unforgiveness. As she gained more confidence in this secret ministry, she began to teach the soldiers how to pray for themselves and one another. She had particular success in the “wet ward” where soldiers with infected wounds were often relegated to die slow deaths. Not long after she finished teaching the men to pray for one another, that ward was closed down with the soldiers discharged and healed.25

Just after the war ended Agnes was caught in the very act of praying for a soldier! She was brought to her supervisor, a dedicated, orthodox Christian woman, who tongue lashed her as a dangerous heretic and witch, and dismissed her. Agnes was shaken and hurt by this, but understood that she needed to forgive the nurse or her healing ministry would be weakened. The Lord turned evil into good. Agnes then had time to return to her writing, and she wrote a best-selling novel about her experiences at Tilton Army Hospital, Oh, Watchman!26 She also continued a busy schedule of appearances at church healing missions and lectures.

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Category: Church History, Pneuma Review, Spring 2006

About the Author: William L. De Arteaga, Ph.D., is known internationally as a Christian historian and expert on revivals and the rebirth and renewal of the Christian healing movement. His major works include Quenching the Spirit: Discover the Real Spirit Behind the Charismatic Controversy (Creation House, 1992, 1996), Forgotten Power: The Significance of the Lord’s Supper in Revival (Zondervan, 2002), Agnes Sanford and Her Companions: The Assault on Cessationism and the Coming of the Charismatic Renewal (Wipf & Stock, 2015), and The Public Prayer Station: Taking Healing Prayer to the Streets and Evangelizing the Nones (Emeth Press, 2018). Bill pastored two Hispanic Anglican congregations in the Marietta, Georgia area, and is semi-retired. He continues in his healing, teaching and writing ministry and is the state chaplain of the Order of St. Luke, encouraging the ministry of healing in all Christian denominations. Facebook

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