‘She’S Another Kathryn Kuhlman’
Kathryn Kuhlman, well-known American evangelist and healer, died on February 20. According to her close friend, Reverend Ralph Wilkerson, pastor of the Melodyland Christian Center in Anaheim, California, some poeple are already hustling to become the “second Kathryn Kuhlman.”
In the Los Angeles Times, Ralph was quoted as saying, “A famous lady evangelist is already saying, ‘I’ve got her (Kuhlman’s) mantle.’ It’s ridiculous.”
Ralph’s right. It is ridiculous. But it’s not unusual. There’s an evangelist running around today whose publicist (who was Philip’s publicist?) calls him “the new Billy Graham.” They’ve taken Billy’s mantle and he’s not even dead.
And I’m sure there are “little Oral Robertses,” “young Bill Gothards,” “new Norman Vincent Peales,” and freshly squeezed Anita Bryants dotting the landscape. It’s ridiculous, but it’s not new.
In the church at Ephesus, I’m convinced there were young aggressive go-getters who saw themselves as “new Pauls.” And throughout history there have been those (deranged and otherwise) who have considered themselves the Messiah.
I wonder when we’ll learn to be ourselves in the Body of Christ. Just us. Not another Peale or Paul. Not another Calvin or Kuhlman. Just the real Arnold Pepper. Or the authentic Nancy Justice.
And I wonder when we’ll accept people as they are instead of saying, “He’s just like Somebody” or “She’s the new Whatchamacallit.”
But then who am I to talk. I can’t even be me. I’ve got to be “another Eutychus.” Where is Ralph Wilkerson when I need him?
I was the co-ordinator of the Christian Arts Festival at Westminster Seminary and am writing on behalf of the Arts Committee to remark on Miss Forbes’s report, “Affirming ...1
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