Kathryn Kuhlman

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Kathryn Kuhlman

Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman

(1907-05-09)May 9, 1907
Concordia, Missouri, U.S.
Died February 20, 1976(1976-02-20) (aged 68)
Tulsa, Oklahoma, U.S.
Cause of death complications from open heart surgery
Nationality American (of German ancestry)
Occupation Evangelist
Known for Faith healing
Spouse(s) Burroughs Allen Waltrip (Mister), October 18, 1938– ? 1948 (divorced)
Parent(s) Joseph Adolph Kuhlman and Emma Walkenhorst

Kathryn Kuhlman (May 9, 1907 – February 20, 1976) was an American healing evangelist.

Personal life[edit]

Kathryn Johanna Kuhlman was born in Concordia, Missouri, to German-American parents.[1]

Kathryn met Burroughs Waltrip, a Texas evangelist who was eight years her senior. Shortly after his visit to Denver, Waltrip divorced his wife, left his family and moved to Mason City, Iowa, where he began a revival center called Radio Chapel. Kathryn and her friend and pianist Helen Gulliford came into town to help him raise funds for his ministry. It was shortly after their arrival that the romance between Burroughs and Kathryn became publicly known.

Burroughs and Kathryn decided to wed. While discussing the matter with some friends, Kathryn had said that she could not "find the will of God in the matter." These and other friends encouraged her not to go through with the marriage, but Kathryn justified it to herself and others by believing that Waltrip's wife had left him, not the other way around. On October 18, 1938, Kathryn secretly married "Mister," as she liked to call Waltrip, in Mason City. The wedding did not give her new peace about their union, however. After they checked into their hotel that night, Kathryn left and drove over to the hotel where Helen was staying with another friend. She sat with them weeping and admitted that the marriage was a mistake. No one seems to know exactly when the separation took place. In a 1952 interview with the Denver Post Kathryn said, "He charged—correctly—that I refused to live with him. And I haven't seen him in eight years." That would put the separation in 1944—which is probably accurate. This means they lived together for the better part of six years."[2] She was divorced by Burroughs Waltrip in 1948.


Kuhlman traveled extensively around the United States and in many other countries holding "healing crusades" between the 1940s and 1970s. She was one of the most well known healing ministers in the world.[according to whom?] Kuhlman had a weekly TV program in the 1960s and 1970s called I Believe In Miracles that was aired nationally. She also had a 30-minute nationwide radio ministry of teaching from the Bible and, frequently, would feature excerpts from her healing services (both music and message).The foundation was established in 1954, and its Canadian branch in 1970. Towards her latter years she was supportive of the nascent Jesus movement, a spread of interest in Jesus among young teens formerly associated with drugs and the counter-culture.

By 1970 she moved to Los Angeles, conducting healing services for thousands of people each day as an heir to Aimee Semple McPherson.[3] She became well known for her "gift of healing" despite, as she often noted, having no theological training.[3] She was friends with Christian television pioneer Pat Robertson and made guest appearances at his Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) and on the network's flagship program "The 700 Club."

In 1975, Kuhlman was sued by Paul Bartholomew, her personal administrator, who claimed that she kept $1 million in jewelry and $1 million in fine art hidden away and sued her for $430,500 for breach of contract.[4][5] Two former associates accused her in the lawsuit of diverting funds and of illegally removing records, which she denied and said the records were not private.[6] According to Kuhlman, the lawsuit was settled prior to trial.[7]

Death and legacy[edit]

In July 1975 her doctor diagnosed her with a minor heart flareup and she had a relapse in November while in Los Angeles.[8] As a result, she had open heart surgery in Tulsa, Oklahoma from which she died in February 1976.[1] Kathryn Kuhlman is interred in the Forest Lawn Memorial Park Cemetery in Glendale, California. A plaque in her honor is located in the main city park in Concordia, Missouri, a town located in central Missouri on Interstate Highway 70.

After she died, her will led to controversy.[9] She left $267,500, the bulk of her estate, to three family members and twenty employees.[9] Smaller bequests were given to 19 other employees.[9] According to the Independent Press-Telegram, her employees were disappointed that "she did not leave most of her estate to the foundation as she had done under a previous 1974 will."[9] The Kathryn Kuhlman Foundation has continued, but in 1982 it terminated its nationwide radio broadcasting.

She influenced faith healers Benny Hinn and Billy Burke. Hinn has adopted some of her techniques and wrote a book about her.[10]

In 1981 David Byrne and Brian Eno sampled one of Kuhlman's sermons in their album My Life in the Bush of Ghosts. The track was entitled "The Spirit Womb," a mis-hearing of Kuhlman's actual utterance "the spirit world." When Kuhlman's estate refused to license the use of her voice, the track was re-recorded as "The Jezebel Spirit" with an unidentified exorcist's vocal replacing Kuhlman's.[11]


Many accounts of healings were published in her books, which were "ghost-written" by author Jamie Buckingham of Florida, including her autobiography, which was dictated at a hotel in Las Vegas.[12] Buckingham also wrote his own Kuhlman biography that presented an unvarnished account of her life.[13] An estimated two million people reported they were healed in her meetings over the years.[14]

Following a 1967 fellowship in Philadelphia, Dr. William A. Nolen conducted a case study of 23 people who claimed to have been cured during one of her services.[15][16][17][18] Nolen's long term follow-ups concluded that there were no cures in those cases. One woman who was said to have been cured of spinal cancer threw away her brace and ran across the stage at Kuhlman's command; her spine collapsed the next day and she died four months later.[7][19][20]

However, recent investigation into Kuhlman's ministry by Professor Keener found that there were well documented miracles alleged to have occurred. Keener concludes that "No one claims that everyone was healed, but it is also difficult to dispute that significant recoveries occurred, apparently in conjunction with prayer. One may associate these with Kathryn Kuhlman's faith or that of the supplicants, or, as in some of Kuhlman's teaching, to no one's faith at all; but the evidence suggests that some people were healed, even in extraordinary ways." [21]

There was also much criticism of Nolen's analysis of Kulhman, Lawrence Althouse complains that the research in Nolen's widely hailed book "would hardly have been adequate for a college freshman's term paper," since it involved a single visit to one of Kuhlman's services and "a clumsy follow-up on some of the people allegedly cured at that service." [22] Further critiques of Nolen were offered by Dr. Richard Casdorph.[23] In his book, "The Miracles", Casdorph supplies medical evidence, such as before-and-after X-rays, in support of Kuhlman's miracle healings and this was also supported by philosopher Breggen.[24]


For several decades there has been serious debate regarding the authenticity of Kathryn Kuhlman's ministry. Some[according to whom?] would suggest that she was a modern-day prophet exercising the power of God. The debate continues today with many believers upholding Kuhlman as an important forerunner (including proponents of the "Prosperity Theology" & "Faith Healing" movement, such as Benny Hinn), and with some Christian cessationist apologists.[25]

Questions about her were raised in the Crusaders Series of Christian Comics dealing with True Doctrine in the Church, which are published by Jack Chick.

She was mentioned on more than one occasion on the Mary Tyler Moore Show. Ruth Buzzi did a character based on Kathryn Kuhlman on Rowan and Martin's Laugh In.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b Settle, Gary (February 22, 1976). "Kathryn Kuhlman, Evangelist And Faith Healer, Dies in Tulsa". New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  2. ^ Buckingham, J. (1976) Daughter of destiny: Kathryn Kuhlman...Her story. Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International, p. 82 ISBN 0-88270-784-1
  3. ^ a b "Aimee Macpherson has a Dazzling Successor". Pasadena Star-News. July 4, 1970. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  4. ^ "Evangelist Sued By a Former Aide". Washington Post. July 18, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  5. ^ Chandler, Russell (July 3, 1975). "Ex-Aides Sue Kathryn Kuhlman". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  6. ^ "Kathryn Kuhlman Sued By Former Associates". St. Petersburg Times. July 12, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12. [dead link]
  7. ^ a b "Inside Religion: Kuhlman Tested By MD's Probe". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 8, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12.  |first1= missing |last1= in Authors list (help)
  8. ^ "Kathryn Kuhlman Is Dead". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. February 21, 1976. Retrieved 2007-11-12. [dead link]
  9. ^ a b c d "Kuhlman Bequests Listed". Independent Press-Telegram. April 17, 1976. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  10. ^ Nickell, Joe (May–June 2002). "Benny Hinn: Healer or Hypnotist?". Skeptical Inquirer. Archived from the original on 2007-10-12. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  11. ^ Kembrew McLeod and Peter DiCola (14 March 2011). Creative License: The Law and Culture of Digital Sampling. Duke University Press. p. 167. ISBN 9780822348757. Retrieved 11 February 2014. 
  12. ^ Buckingham, J. (1976) Daughter of destiny: Kathryn Kuhlman...Her story. Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International, p 167 ISBN 0-88270-784-1
  13. ^ Buckingham, J. (1976) Daughter of destiny: Kathryn Kuhlman...Her story. Plainfield, New Jersey: Logos International ISBN 0-88270-784-1
  14. ^ "Tulsa World; February 20, 2016". Retrieved 2016-11-22. 
  15. ^ "Psychic Healing? Investigator declares no". The Greenville News. August 16, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12.  Also see: William Nolen, Healing: a doctor in search of a miracle. New York: Random House ISBN 0-394-49095-9
  16. ^ "Dr Nolen Looks at Faith Healing". The San Mateo Times. March 7, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  17. ^ Michaelson, Michael (February 2, 1975). "Men of medicine and a medicine man". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  18. ^ "Extra-Dispensary Perceptions". Time. March 17, 1975. Retrieved 2007-11-12. 
  19. ^ "A follow-up study of 23 patients 'cured' in a Kathryn Kuhlman service". St. Petersburg Times. November 2, 1974. Retrieved 2007-11-12. [dead link]
  20. ^ Randi, James (1989). The Faith Healers. Prometheus Books. ISBN 0-87975-535-0. 228. 
  21. ^ Keener, Craig (2011). Miracles: The Credibility of the New Testament Accounts. pp. 614 (ebook format). 
  22. ^ Althaus, Lawrence (1977). Rediscovering the Gift of Healing. Nashville: Abingdon,. p. 59. 
  23. ^ Casdorph, Richard (1976). The Miracles: A Medical Doctor Says Yes to Miracles!. p. 169. 
  24. ^ Hendrik van der, Breggen (2004). Miracle Reports, Moral Philosophy, and Contemporary Science. p. 382. 
  25. ^ Counterfeit Revival Hannegraaff, Hank (1997) Word Publishing ISBN 0-8499-1182-6

Books by Kuhlman[edit]

  • Kathryn Kuhlman, I Believe in Miracles Bridge-Logos Publishers; Rev Upd edition (October 1992) ISBN 0-88270-657-8
  • Kathryn Kuhlman, Never Too Late Bridge-Logos Publishers (August 1995) ISBN 0-88270-720-5

External links[edit]