Dowie was born May 25, 1847 in Edinburgh, Scotland to Christian parents who had much hope that their son would grow to be "a great man of God". At the age of seven, Dowie received his call to the ministry and at age 21 he made an absolute decision to answer the call God had on his life. After being totally healed of "chronic dyspepsia" and reading the will of God concerning healing, he would develop a strong antipathy to surgery and medicine.
While pastoring in Newton Australia, a death-wreaking plague swept through the region, people were dying at such a high rate that they were totally paralyzed with fear and dread. Having great faith, he began healing his people, and not another member of his church died of the epidemic. As a result of this revelation, the great ministry of John Alexander Dowie was launched.
At one point in his life, Dowie was moved by the political scene thinking he could influence more out of the political arena then the church groups, so he decided to enter the race.
After his defeat, Dowie wounded his church and disgraced his ministry but continued in his fleshly desires to push himself in this area neglecting his healing ministry. Once he repented and returned to the message of divine healing, great physical and spiritual blessings came to him.
Soon, Dowie bought 6600 acres 40 miles north of Chicago. He then began to build the city of Zion. He proclaimed himself as overseer of the city of Zion, it was obvious that something was not right.
He had now come to the point where he had brought criticism on God's work. I think the devil had succeeded in distracting Dowie, and this distraction weakened Dowie's spiritual condition to the point where now people were looking at his whole ministry as something that was not legitimate or from God. Dowie continued his life with much controversy till his death on March 9, 1907.