E. W. Kenyon
Kenyon was born on April 25, 1867, in Hadley, New York. At age 17, he was converted in a Methodist prayer meeting. He became a church member in his early twenties and gave his first sermon at a Methodist Church in Amsterdam, New York. Kenyon had a crisis of faith and left the faith for 2 1/2 years prior returning to faith in 1893. Although desiring to be an actor, Kenyon earned a living as a piano and organ salesperson. In an attempt to hone his acting skills, Kenyon attended the Emerson School of Oratory in Boston for one year in 1892 studying acting.
Kenyon first married Evva Spurling. The two were married on May 8, 1893. Shortly afterward, Kenyon attended the services of Clarendon Street Baptist Church led by pastor Adoniram Judson (A.J.) Gordon. At this service, Kenyon and his wife rededicated their lives to the Lord.
Later that year, Kenyon joined the Free Will Baptists and became a pastor at a small church in Elmira, New York. In 1898, Kenyon opened Bethel Bible Institute in Spencer, Massachusetts, which remained in operation until 1923. He was its president for twenty-five years. The school later moved to Providence, Rhode Island and became Providence Bible Institute. It later became Barrington College and merged with Gordon College, which was named after one of Kenyon's many mentors, A.J. Gordon.
Evva Kenyon died in 1914. Subsequently, Kenyon married Alice M. Whitney and had a son and a daughter with her. In 1948, E. W. Kenyon died.
"Positive confession" and New Thought Controversy
It has been suggested by some that Kenyon was the originator of the modern "positive confession" theology which is prevalent in Word of Faith Pentecostalism. Proponents of this view suggest that Kenyon's religious views were heavily influenced by the New Thought Movement during his time at the Emerson School, and that he developed the teaching of positive confession from that influence.
According to Kenyon biographer Joe McIntyre, the actual influence Kenyon's time at Emerson had on his religious views is debatable. Instead, McIntyre suggests that Kenyon developed his positive confession teaching primarily from the teachings of Holiness Movement, Faith Cure and Higher Life Movement ministers of the late 19th Century.
Evidence that the teaching of positive confession was already developing in Christianity before Kenyon is present in time period literature. In the 1884 book The Atonement for Sin and Sickness, Russell Kelso Carter demonstrates an early version of what Kenyon later taught: "I only prayed, O, Lord, make me sure of the truth, and I will confess it; I have nothing to do with consequences; that is Thy part," and again, "Jesus has the keeping part, I have the believing and confessing."
Below are many of E. W. Kenyon's published works:
- The Wonderful Name of Jesus (1927)
- Advanced Bible Course: Studies in the Deeper Life
- Bible in the Light of our Redemption: A Basic Bible Course
- Blood Covenant
- Father and His Family: The Story of Man’s Redemption
- Hidden Man of the Heart
- Identification: A Romance in Redemption (1941)
- In His Presence: The Secret of Prayer
- Jesus the Healer: Has Brought Healing to Thousands
- Kenyon’s Living Poems
- New Creation Realities
- New Kind of Love
- Signposts on the Road to Success
- Two Kinds of Faith
- Two Kinds of Knowledge
- Two Kinds of Life
- Two Kinds of Righteousness (1942)
- What Happened: From the Cross to the Throne
- Wonderful Name of Jesus: Our Rights and Privileges in Prayer
- A New Type of Christianity (CrossReach Publications, 2016)
- Claiming Our Rights (CrossReach Publications, 2015)
- Wade, Peter. "E.W. Kenyon: A Tribute". Retrieved 2007-04-05.
- AtCross. "Who Was EW Kenyon". Archived from the original on 2006-12-25. Retrieved 2007-04-05.
- "who was Kenyon". Kenyons Gospel Publishing Society. Retrieved 5 September 2011.
- "Who was E. W. Kenyon?". Kenyons Gospel Publishing Society. Retrieved 6 January 2016.
- Stanley M. Burgess and Eduard M. van der Mass, eds., The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal and Charismatic Movements, Rev. ed. (Grand Rapids, Michigan: Zondervan, 2003), Kindle edition, "Positive Confession Theology".
- McIntyre, Joe. E. W. Kenyon and His Message of Faith: The True Story. Creation House, 1997, pp. 15-22.
- Carter, Russell Kelso. The Atonement for Sin and Sickness. Willard Tract Repository, 1884, pp. 3-4.