III.D.3.a The Real Faith; the Testimony of Dr. Charles Price

Part III  –  Application to Pentecostal Theology

Subpart D  –   The Positive Confession Error

Article 3 – The Genuine Positive Confession

Section (a) – The Real Faith; the Testimony of Dr. Charles Price

By Daniel Irving

i.     Conversion & Early Ministry

ii.   Pentecost Experienced through Ministry of Amy Semple McPherson

iii.  Anointed Ministry

iv.  The Real Faith

Price Charles 03

Section (a)  – THE REAL FAITH; THE TESTIMONY OF DR. CHARLES PRICE 

i.  Conversion & Early Ministry

Although a corrupted message was beginning to infiltrate the Pentecostal movement of the 1920’s and 1930’s in the form of Positive Confession Theology, there were also powerfully anointed ministries raised up to declare the truth concerning the faith.  One of the most effectual healing ministries with a true testimony concerning the faith was an offshoot from the ministry of Amy Semple McPherson.  This was the ministry of Dr. Charles S. Price.

Price was an immigrant from England who was converted to Christ through an experience he had in Spokane, Washington.  One night while leaning against a lamp-post listening to a small band of Methodist mission workers as they sang.  He writes:

When the street meeting was over a little old lady detained me.  “Do you know God wants you?” she said.  Suddenly I felt uncomfortable.  I am afraid that I was rather rude in the way I excused myself and hurried away.  Halfway across the Monroe Street Bridge, I stopped.  A peculiar feeling had come over me.  I began to feel as if God had spoken to the old lady and a feeling of dread and awe came upon me.  Slowly I retraced my steps and I arrived eventually at the mission.[1]

Price responded to an altar call at the mission.  While he states he “did not have the great emotional experience,” he would later have, he knew that his commitment to Christ was sincere and effectual.  He labored at the mission under Wesleyan Holiness teaching and was later ordained a minister.  While serving as a Methodist minister in Spokane, he heard news that Pentecost had been restored in Los Angeles through the outpouring at Azusa Street.  Apostolic Faith Group 1910He agreed to meet with one of its missionaries in order to seek the experience himself, but as it happened, he was  convinced away from the experience.  He writes:

On my way to the prayer meeting the next day I met a certain minister.  I enthusiastically explained the situation to him and that I was on the way to a prayer meeting.  To my amazement he gripped me by the arm and said, “Price, I cannot let you go.  You’ll wreck your future-your life.  You are young and inexperienced.  If you take this step you will regret it as long as you live.”  Listening to his voice, I yielded.  He pleaded for the chance to show me wherein these people were wrong.  All afternoon I sat with him in his study, and when I left he had given me half a suitcase of books that I promised to read.  I did not go to the prayer meeting.  That was the turning point of my life.  With all my heart I believe that God led me to Spokane so that I might step through the open door into the glorious experience that I am enjoying today, but I listened to the voice of a modernist, and by my own act I closed the door.  I foolishly turned my back on the Cross and started along the trail that led to the labyrinth of modernism.  I very soon got to the point where I could explain every religious emotion from the standpoint of psychology.  The result of it all was that I drifted down the long highway that led to modernism.  I never gave an altar call – never led a soul to Jesus – never preached the glory of the born-again experience.  I was spiritually blind, leading my people into the ditch.[2]

Price was promoted within the Methodist Episcopal Church and became a popular speaker in churches throughout the region.  He would later deeply regret these years he spent in dead religion, when they “might have been filled with so much good for God.”[3]

ii.  Pentecost Experienced through Ministry of Amy Semple McPherson

After spending some time in Alaska, Dr. Price assumed the pastorate of a church in Santa Rosa, California, followed by another in the city of Oakland, and another in the city of Lodi.  While pastoring the First Congregational Church in Lodi, he was brought into contact with the Pentecostal ministry of Amy Semple McPherson during her San Jose campaign of 1921.  Semple McPherson & Jennings BryantThe account begins when a member of his congregation met him on the church lawn exuberantly saying to him, “Hallelujah – I have been to San Jose and I have been saved – saved through the Blood.  I am so happy I could just float away.”[4]  Price was unimpressed, and when he learned other members of his congregation were visiting McPherson’s San Jose meetings, “a bitter antagonism commenced to creep into [his] heart.”  Price decided he would attend one of Ms. McPherson’s meetings in order to disprove their miraculous nature.  He ran an advertisement in the newspaper announcing that his Sunday sermon would be entitled, “Divine Healing Bubble Explodes.”   He then traveled to San Jose with pen and paper in hand in order to debunk the notion that God moves in Pentecostal power in the present day.  He writes:

I intended to return the following Sunday and blow the whole thing to pieces.  As I neared San Jose, a peculiar feeling came over my mind.[5]

Dr. Price arrived at the large tent seating a capacity audience of six thousand with large crowds unable to even get in.  He recognized several individuals from his denomination, one of whom met him and declared, “Charles, this is the real gospel.  I have been baptized in the Holy Ghost.  It is genuine, I tell you.  It is what you need.”  Another old acquaintance, a Swede who was acting as an usher, met him with, “Hallelujah!  Praise the Lord Jesus!  I ban been filled with the Holy Ghost!”[6]  His usher-friend led him to the front of the audience and found seating for him among the cripples who were hoping for healing.  Price writes that to his embarrassment, his friend:

. . . pointed to a chair that was empty in the section reserved for cripples.  That was where I belonged, but I did not know it at the time.  All the way down the aisle I could hear people mentioning my name.  My face turned red.[7]Semple McPherson 1921 Denver

After leaving the meeting, Dr. Price found himself unable to sleep, restless with doubts concerning the course his ministry had taken since his rejection of Pentecost.  He returned the following night to hear a sermon from McPherson that seemed to dismantle his modernistic theology and to pierce his heart.  He went again for a third night, and as he was wandering about looking for a seat, a minister-friend led him to the front row.  As an altar call was made, a minister sitting next to him said to him, “Charles, she is calling for sinners.  She is calling for people who need to be saved.”  When McPherson called, “Come down and kneel before the Lord.  Come ye weary and heavy laden and He will give you rest,” Price came forward to the front, knowing he would be recognized by many in the audience.  He writes:

I was in the act of kneeling at the altar when the glory of God broke over my soul, I did not pray for I did not have to pray.  Something burst within my breast, an ocean of love divine rolled across my heart.  This was real!  Throwing up both hands I shouted, “Hallelujah!”  So overcome was I with joy that I commenced to run across the altar.  Dr. Towner followed me and wept for joy![8]

Overwhelmed by the presence of God, Dr. Price began visiting the Baptist church night after night in order to “tarry” for the baptism in the Holy Spirit.  On the night  of his baptism he entered the Sunday school room of the church to see many people under the power of God.  He noticed a little space behind the piano where he thought he could remain inconspicuous and took with him the piano stool to rest his arms upon as he prayed.  He writes:

I started to pray and I prayed and prayed until I lost all sense of time.  About 1 o’clock in the morning Dr. Towner came along with two deacons and started moving the piano.  He looked at me and said: “Why don’t you get out in the middle of the room where the power is falling?  Get where God is blessing the people.” [9]

As Dr. Towner began to pray with him, Dr. Price raised his hands above his head for the first time.  He writes:

When my hands were up for a little while I felt an electrical feeling staring down my fingers and when it got to my arms, my hands began to tingle and I looked at them and they were shaking.  I was surprised, and I couldn’t have stopped if I had wanted to, and I wouldn’t resist the Spirit.  Then down it came to my body, glorious, wonderful power; and I suddenly got a whole bolt of glory.  Did you ever watch the waves of the ocean as they break and roll and break?  A wave breaks and then rolls back and then another wave?  Then, with my eyes closed, I seemed to be looking up into the dark.  Suddenly like a knife, there appeared in that awful dark, a light and it flashed like a lightning flash across the blackness above my head.  The heavens were split and they commenced to fold up until I could see the glory of a light through that opening in the sky.  Then as I gazed at that beautiful light, a ball of fire came down towards me; lower and lower it came until it got to the level of the darkness on either side.  It began to shoot out darts of fire.  Then the ball came down a little lower.  It shone so brightly it banished the darkness.  I just watched, fascinated and entranced, those tongues of fire.  It then touched me on the forehead and I felt a quiver go through my body and then my chest began to heave and I started praising God.  The Comforter had come![10]

iii.  Anointed Ministry

Upon his return to his Lodi congregation, Price found a new strength resonating in his message.  He writes of the following Sunday:

How easy it was to preach that morning!  The glory of God flowed like a river until I could hardly speak for the sobbing of the people.  “As long as I am pastor,” I said, “you will hear one burning message from this pulpit – Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”  At the conclusion of the sermon I gave an altar call.  To my amazement over eighty people knelt at that altar.  My own church people were hungry for more of God.  We commenced to hold meetings and multiplied the number of prayer services.  The power of God commenced to fall.  Attendance reached the thousand mark and the church auditorium and the Sunday school rooms would be full of praying people.  People came from neighboring cities.[11]

Dr. Price’s church became a catalyst for a growing Pentecostal revival throughout the city of Lodi that did not diminish until higher church authorities began to interfere.  On August 17, 1922 he bid a sad farewell to his Lodi congregation and commenced a career as an itinerant evangelist.

Price’s first evangelistic campaign was to the city of Ashland, Oregon where an auditorium was rented with a seating capacity larger than the city’s population.  As he preached to overflowing audiences, the power of God fell on the people.  In fact, the first person he prayed for was both healed and fell under the power of God.  This made him fearful, but when those that had fallen stood back up proclaiming they had been healed, he was encouraged to continue.  “Scores and scores would be prostrated under the power at one time.”[12]  God’s power was evident as he preached up through the Pacific Northwest into the Canadian cities of Victoria and Vancouver.

His Vancouver meetings drew a quarter of a million people over a mere three weeks.  One particularly well known incident there was the healing of Rev. W.J. Sipprell whose large goitre disappeared on stage before the eyes of all as Price prayed for him.  The healing of  Ruby Dimmick from curvature of the spine seemed to awaken the province of British Columbia.  After Vancouver, Price campaigns were held throughout Canada and the upper Midwest drawing phenomenal crowds and resulting in powerful demonstrations of the power of God.  Dr. Price would go on to preach in the power and demonstration of the Holy Spirit throughout the world, until his death in 1947 at the age of 60.

iv.  The Real Faith

During the 1920’s and 1930’s (through newly itinerant ministries such as F.F. Bosworth’s) the Pentecostal movement was subjected to the influences of the distorted theology of E. W. Kenyon known as Positive Confession, kenyon ewwhich presented Faith as a principle through which men may utilize spiritual means to manipulate the material realm for earthly ends.   If any Pentecostal ministry was effective in combating this doctrine, it would have to be the ministry of Dr. Charles Price, who eloquently described the true principle of faith in his best known book entitled, The Real Faith.

Dr. Price begins, not by emphasizing the many healings that occurred throughout his ministry, but by reflecting upon those that never received their healing.  He writes:

The crowds were shouting because of some who were healed; but I was weeping because of those people who dragged their tired, sick bodies back to their homes – just as needy as they were before they came into the services . . . Why were some healed in such a miraculous way, and others dismissed with an appeal to keep on believing . . .?Price Charles 01 . . . There are thousands and thousands of these miracles; and they prove conclusively that Jesus is really the same yesterday, today, and forever.  Not that we should rely upon experience to prove the Word, but it is blessed indeed when we can see manifestations of answered prayer.  Yet, from those meetings, I have gone home with the faces of poor supplicating people haunting me.  I have seen them do their best to rise from the wheel chair, only to sink back again in sorrow and disappointment.  I have been moved by the groans, cries, and intercessions around altars, until they have lingered with me for days after the services were over.[13]

Dr. Price concluded that faith is a living thing that can only come from God.  While many make faith “a condition of mind,” it is rather a matter of “divinely imparted grace.”  We may end our foolish struggle to “believe” at such time we “come to the realization that we can receive faith only as He gives it.”[14]

Dr. Price cautioned against any teaching which tries to manipulate the mind into “believing.”  He writes:

. . . when we try to believe ourselves into an experience, we are getting  into a metaphysical realm.  But faith is spiritual . . . warm and vital . . . it lives and throbs; and its power is irresistible, when it is imparted to the heart by the Lord.  It is with the heart that man believes unto righteousness.  Heart belief opens the door of communication between us and the Lord and a divinely imparted faith becomes possible.[15]

Price reminded his readers of the Lord’s admonition that a mere mustard seed portion of faith is sufficient for a Herculean task.  As for the methods of the Positive Confession teaching, Price found them dangerous.  He writes:

The mistake with many people has been that they have confused their own ability to believe for the faith which is of God.  To sit down and repeat over and over – I am healed – I am healed is not only unscriptural, but extremely dangerous spiritually.[16]

Price stressed that faith is simply not intellectual.  Rather it is “the deep consciousness divinely imparted to the heart of man that it is done.[17]  Price provides accounts of various persons who came to him for prayer, many of whom he could see before ever praying for them whether or not they possessed the faith to be healed.

Price tells of a hardened and scoffing atheist who lived alone in a hotel room.  This man requested private meetings with Price to discuss the issue of Faith, yet flatly maintained he had no faith to believe.  Price asked him, “Do you want to know the truth?”  The man replied, “What is truth?”  Price turned to a painting on the wall depicting Christ in the garden of Gethsemane, and said, “He is Truth.  He is the Way.  He is your Life and Faith.  He has an abundance of what you say you do not have. . . . He came to make you free . . . free from doubts like yours . . . free from fears and misgivings . . free from unbelief and free from sin.”  A week later the man returned.  Price writes:Price Charles 03

When I looked at his face, I knew the miracle had happened.  Into his heart there had come not only the conscious knowledge of sins forgiven, but a manifestation of the sweetness and love of God which had made him a new creation in Christ Jesus.[18]

The man explained to Price that he had confessed to God that he had no faith to believe until he sought it from Christ.  The man said, “so He gave me His faith, and I believed.  The work is done.”  This experience demonstrated for Price the importance of always crying aloud, “Whosoever will may come,” because he knew “that He will impart the faith which is needful to every sincere heart.” [19]

Price tells of a godly woman over whom he and her children prayed earnestly many times for the healing of her terminal condition, yet to no avail.  One day she came to him radiant.  When he asked if she had been healed, she replied:

“No, not yet; but I shall be tonight.  I have been prayed for publicly, and I believe my Lord wants to touch me by His power in the service tonight, so that all may see that He is faithful.”   There was no strained, tense atmosphere; no struggle; but rather, sweet and beautiful rest in the Lord.  Then she told me her story. [20]

The woman had been shown an unforgiveness she harbored in her heart.  She heard her Master say, “And when ye stand praying, forgive.”[21]  She went and had spent an hour in prayer with the person she had harbored the unforgiveness for, resulting in God having placed within her heart a deep and beautiful Christian love.  God had now spoken to her heart, telling her she was healed:

Wonderful place of communion, where we talk to God, and in which God talks to us!  The wounds are healed!  The envy melted away, and the love of Jesus flowed in.  When at last she arrived home, she told the family at the supper table that she would be healed that night.  She knew it; but she did not know how she knew it.  The consciousness of it was as real as life itself.  There was no doubt about it.  There was no intercession.  That had been a work of the past.  There was no agonizing and pleading.  It was done; and yet it was not!  That is the paradox of faith.  Then she said to me, “My brother, do you know what Jesus has done? . . . He has given me His faith,” she said.  “Honestly, I do not know the moment I received it; but, praise His name, I know it is here.”  And it was.  That night the heavenly breezes blew.  That night the Christ of the healing road touched  with the power of Omnipotence, the sick, weary body of His needy child.  That night a cancer was melted by the touch divine.  A mountain was moved by the faith of God which had been imparted to a sick woman by the Lord of Glory Himself. [22]

Dr. Price told such accounts as these in order to show “the difference between human effort to believe, and the faith that is the gift of God.”  He noted how much better, and more scriptural, it is to wait until Jesus of Nazareth passes by and speaks the word of faith to the needy heart, than to mistake our belief in healing for the faith which He alone can give. [23] Price explained that faith is not something within the man to invoke and to operate, but true faith is the province of Christ alone.

In other words, all true faith begins and ends in Him.  It does not say that He is the Author and the Finisher of His faith alone, but it states that He is the Author and Finisher of my faith and of yours.  There is nothing before the Alpha and nothing after the Omega. He begins it, and it begins in Him.  He ends it and it ends in Him.  When I want it, I must seek His face!  I cannot get it anywhere else, but from that matchless One of whom it is said, He is the Author and the Finisher of our faith.  Not of His alone but of yours and mine.  . . . Remember that faith acts, but the act comes from the faith, rather than faith from the act.  That is why it is very easy to step over the border line from the Faith God imparts into the realm of presumption. [24]Price Charles 03

Price stressed that true faith comes from God, and has its object in Jesus Christ.  He said, “Our chief difficulty is that we seek healing instead of the Healer.”  He writes:

Do you not see how foolish we are to struggle, and to try to believe mentally, when we ought – according to the Word – to believe spiritually?  There will be head belief, for the mind will acquiesce; but the renewed mind will say “Amen” to all the works of grace, by faith.  Fundamentally, faith is born in the heart.  The heart will accept the unreasonable.  It believes what the mind says is impossible.  It counts the things that are, as though they were not; and the things that are not, as though they were.[1]

Price quotes the words of Paul when discoursing on the faith of Abraham, who said:

. . even God, who quickeneth the dead, and calleth those things which be not as though they were.        Rom. 4:17

In an era when doctrinal disorder and spiritual presumption began their inroads into the Pentecostal movement, God provided the movement with an anointed teacher on the subject of Faith. Dr. Price’s book, The Real Faith is a much under-read classic which may prove of tremendous benefit to this present generation, much in need.


[1] Taken from article: The Story of the Conversion and Healing Ministry of Dr. Charles S. Price as Told by Himself (Installation I) from the Voice of Healing (magazine) issue date December 1952 at pg. 2.

[2] Ibid. pg. 16

[3] Ibid. pg. 16

[4] Ibid. pg. 16

[5] Ibid. pg. 16

[6] Ibid. pg. 16

[7] Ibid. pg. 16

[8] Taken from article: The Story of the Conversion and Healing Ministry of Dr. Charles S. Price as Told by Himself (Installation II) from the Voice of Healing (magazine) issue date April 1953 at pg. 12.

[9] Ibid. pg. 12

[10] Ibid. pg. 12

[11] Ibid. pgs. 12-13

[12] Ibid. pg. 13

[13] The Real Faith, by Dr. Charles S. Price – Chapter 1, – In Which I Confess

[14] Ibid. Chapter I – In Which I Confess

[15] Ibid. Chapter I – In Which I Confess

[16] Ibid. Chapter II – Till All Our Struggles Cease

[17] Ibid. Chapter II – Till All Our Struggles Cease

[18] Ibid. Chapter IV – The Origins of Faith

[19] Ibid. Chapter I V – The Origins of Faith

[20] Ibid. Chapter II – Till All Our Struggles Cease

[21] Mark 11:25

[22] Ibid. Chapter II – Till All Our Struggles Cease

[23] Ibid. Chapter II – Till All Our Struggles Cease

[24] Ibid. Chapter II – Till All Our Struggles Cease

[25] Ibid. Chapter VI – Your Mountains are Moved

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About Lamp-Stand

I was converted to the faith of Jesus Christ in 1982 at which time I received water baptism and Spirit baptism. In the Spring of 2008 I was led of the Spirit through a process of repentance upon which I had an encounter with Christ that worked a profound change upon my inner being. I became aware that I had been forgiven a great debt of sin. I soon felt the Lord's direction that I close my office that my energies not be divided from the study of doctrine.
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