Dowie moved with his family to Australia as a boy but returned to Edinburgh to study theology. He entered the Congregational ministry in as a pastor in Alma, Australia, and spent the next several years campaigning against the use of tobacco and alcohol. From a personal experience of healing he developed an interest in spiritual healing and eventually founded the International Divine Healing Association. In he went to the U. After receiving little attention in San Francisco, he settled in Chicago.
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Biography[ edit ] Early life and education[ edit ] Dowie was born in Edinburgh , Scotland to John Murray Dowie, a tailor and preacher, and his wife. There Dowie found work in a prosperous bootmaker retail and factory business developed by his paternal uncle, Alexander Dowie. Career[ edit ] After Dowie completed the program and returned to Australia, he was ordained in as pastor of a Congregational church at Alma, South Australia near Hamley Bridge.
Dowie received and accepted a call in to a pastorate at Manly, New South Wales , and at Newtown in They had three children: Gladstone — , Jeanie — , and Esther — About this time he gave up his pastorate as a Congregational clergyman and became an independent evangelist , holding his meetings in a theatre and claiming powers as a faith healer.
After his authoritarian leadership led to a split in the church, Dowie was fined and jailed for more than a month for leading unauthorized processions. He gave his account of the incident in Sin in The Camp. He was able to pay off debts afterward. The event was covered in both local and London newspapers. He first settled in San Francisco , California and built up a following by performing faith healings across the state.
All members were expected to tithe. They made such requests by mail or telegram or later, by telephone.
Dowie prayed in response to requests by paid-up members. Although Dowie funded his lifestyle largely through tithes, he also liked to buy up securities of bankrupt companies and sell them to his members. In the aftermath of this legal and public relations defeat, Dowie moved to Chicago in There he staged elaborate "Divine Healings" in front of large audiences drawn from attendees to the fair. Many of these "healings" were staged: Dowie used audience plants and other dubious methods.
For instance, he arranged for carefully screened individuals to be brought on stage to be healed. He renamed it as the Christian Catholic Apostolic Church in Beyond Chicago, his teaching spread through evangelists and publications across the U. In he was in court fighting charges that he was practicing medicine without a license. In , he announced the founding of the city of Zion, 40 miles from Chicago: he personally owned all the property.
He established a theocratic political and economic structure and prohibited smoking, drinking, eating pork, and the practice of any form of modern medicine. He also established a range of businesses, healing homes, and a large Tabernacle. Followers from across the world descended on Zion. Zion has been characterized as "a carefully-devised large-scale platform for securities fraud requiring significant organizational, legal, and propagandistic preparation to carry out.
It appeared to be a registered entity but was, in fact, an unincorporated entity under his control. Editorial cartoon by Bob Satterfield , depicting Dowie leaving Chicago with his carpetbags full of money T.
His horses are worth a fortune in themselves; his carriages are emblazoned with armorial bearings; his wife is said to dress with the gorgeous extravagance of an empress. When he travels, hemmed round with a little army of servants, the prophet of humility and self-denial has a special train chartered, and whenever the spiritual burdens become too great a tax there is a delightful country residence belonging to him in which to retreat from the clamour and importunate appeals of the faithful.
In , he revisited Adelaide, Australia , but his efforts to conduct services were met with hostility. Voliva , his chief lieutenant. Dowie attempted to recover his authority through litigation, but he was ultimately forced to retire and accept an allowance, which was paid until his death in He believed in an end-times restoration of spiritual gifts and apostolic offices to the Church. This criticism largely stemmed from differences of opinion on the use of "means" or medicine; Dowie was for total reliance on divine healing and against the use of all forms of medicine.
He opened a number of healing homes where people could come for instruction in healing and for specific prayer. In , Ahmad invited Dowie to a contest, proposing a "prayer duel" between the two in which both would pray to God that whichever of them was false in his prophetic claim die within the lifetime of the truthful.
John Alexander Dowie
His father, John Murray Dowie, was a tailor and part time preacher. In his family immigrated to Australia, and moved to the town of Adelaide. Dowie became a member of the Congregational church, and decided he wanted to enter the ministry. He went to the University of Edinburgh to study. While there he was exposed to the teachings of Edward Irving, who had been a student there. Irving believed that cessassionist theology was wrong, and the gifts were still available to the church today.
"A.J. Christ Dowie and the Harmonial Philosophy"
His family emigrated to Australia when he was thirteen; there he attended seminary and held a number of pastoral positions in the Congregational Church before resigning the last to become a full-time non-denominational evangelist in As a young man he experienced a healing from chronic indigestion which he attributed to divine intervention; this led to his growing activity as a faith healer and ultimately to the foundation of his International Divine Healing Association. He left for the United States in , and after two years on the Pacific coast moved to Evanston, Illinois. This assertion Dowie supported by linguistic acrobatics worthy of Joyce himself: "Who are we, if we are not Israel? Whence came we, this imperial Anglo-Saxon race? How this squared with his belief that the Celts were also "I-sax-sons" is hard to make out: "