Kathryn Kuhlman: Healer and New Age diva

world | Dec 12, 2007 | By Robert Duncan

Kathryn Kuhlman was a founding member of a New Age movement that synchronized Christianity and spiritualism together with pop psychology and a lavish serving of capitalism. Thanks to Kuhlman's pop status websites now sell the claim of  being personally transformed and healed by practising Christian yoga.

It is thanks to Kuhlman that the practise of being "slain in the spirit" is said to have been made more popular in evangelical circles, and where attendees of her crusades passed out on the floor, saying they had been touched by the Holy Spirit. Kuhlman could be an original mega-church pastor, from her 2,000 seat Denver Tabernacle, to her top billing at the Los Angeles Shrine Auditorium. While Kuhlman received an Honory Doctorate from Oral Roberts and being a Baptist, it was with the Pentacostal movement that she is often associated, despite her divorce and view on speaking in tongues - which she didn't normally allow at her services. 

Time Magazine once called her a "veritable one-woman Shrine of Lourdes," such was the fervor that Kathyrn Kuhlman (1907-1976) garnered. Wayne E. Warner, in his book "The Woman Behind The Miracles," goes so far to claim that Catholics would prefer to save money and attend a Kuhlman crusade than travel to a Marian shrine.

With the public came the television and fame - and money, including an investigation by the IRS. Kulman's biographer and friend Jamie Buckingham admitted that "she loved her expensive clothes, precious jewels, luxury hotels, and first class travel."

But it wasn't just the luxury that created a fog around Kuhlman. Some critics claimed Kuhlman's slaying was the work of unholy spirits. 

Despite being a Baptist preacher, many of Kuhlman's critics came from her own quarters. Among some of the harsher criticisms was the view that she was soft on Catholics.

In response to reports that she had a private audience October 11, 1972 with Pope Paul VI, some extreme Protestants still find their blood  boiling: "Katherine Kuhlman was a witch that was accepted by many. Do you suppose that the Pope blessed her for serving Jesus? Or could it be that an anti-christ was blessing one of his own servants."

Buckingham writes in her book "Daughter Of Destiny," that Kuhlman had "a special love for doctors, and wanted them either on the stage or on the front rows of the auditorium. The same was true of priests and nuns -  especially if they were ‘in uniform’. Nothing thrilled Kathryn more than to have thirty or forty Catholic clergymen, especially if they wore clerical collars or, better yet, cassocks, sitting behind her while she ministered. Somehow it seemed to lend authenticity to what she was doing — and helped create the proper climate of a trust and understanding which was so necessary for a miracle service."

Warner, in the aforementioned book "The Woman Behind The Miracles," also noted Kuhlman's attraction to Catholics.

"Kathryn had but one pass through Las Vegas, and she would deliver the gospel with power! Hundreds of people in Las Vegas as well as the faithful in Youngstown, Pittsburgh, and Franklin had agreed to pray that the Holy Spirit would stir the city. Not far away a Roman Catholic priest said a Mass for the meeting the day before," wrote Warner.

It's often reported that Kuhlman's first church was in Franklin, Pennsylvania - something that isn't entirely correct. More apt, perhaps would be to say that the Franklin church was where a re-born Kuhlman was launched.

Kohlman was born in Concordia, Missouri to German parents and said she was born-again at the age of 14 in her home town Methodist Church.



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Robert Steven Duncan is a consultant and a widely published foreign correspondent who lives in Spain. Besides having articles appearing in WSJ, Barron's, Smart Money, Newsweek, the National Catholic Register and many other places, he has held various leadership posts in the communication sector. He publishes the "RSD Report" at http://www.robertstevenduncan.com

The views and opinions expressed herein are those of the author only, not of Spero News.