Are we wrong to highlight the problems with William Branham and his message?

From BelieveTheSign

A few Christians have questioned why we take the time to highlight the problems with William Branham and his message. However, we believe the scripture requires us to highlight any false teachings and to let people know about them.

Here is what the Bible says:

We are required to warn people about false teaching

In Acts chapter 20, Paul told the Ephesian elders that false teachers would arise to draw people after them. He charged them to be on their guard, to warn people, and to keep watch over the church of God:

Therefore, I declare to you today that I am innocent of the blood of any of you.  For I have not hesitated to proclaim to you the whole will of God. Keep watch over yourselves and all the flock of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers. Be shepherds of the church of God, which he bought with his own blood.  I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock.  Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them. So be on your guard! Remember that for three years I never stopped warning each of you night and day with tears.[1]

We are to name names

Paul specifically gave the names of people who were false teachers:

;Their teaching will spread like gangrene. Among them are Hymenaeus and Philetus, who have departed from the truth. They say that the resurrection has already taken place, and they destroy the faith of some.[2]

Notice that Paul also names the teaching itself. It is important that we are sure that the teaching is false (which is why we have provided detailed reasons for each issue). It is also important that we do not slander false teachers unfairly.

We are to refute false teaching

Paul instructed Titus:

...encourage others by sound doctrine and refute those who oppose it. For there are many rebellious people, full of meaningless talk and deception, especially those of the circumcision group. They must be silenced, because they are disrupting whole households by teaching things they ought not to teach—and that for the sake of dishonest gain. ...rebuke them sharply, so that they will be sound in the faith and will pay no attention to Jewish myths or to the merely human commands of those who reject the truth.[3]

The Greek word "silence” used here is the same word that refers to muzzling an animal.

==We are not to provide them the opportunity to speak--

John tells us in his second epistle:

If anyone comes to you and does not bring this teaching, do not take them into your house or welcome them. Anyone who welcomes them shares in their wicked work.[4]

The issue here is not about not letting cultists into your house. There were very few public buildings where Christians met, so they met in house churches with itinerant teachers. The important think is to not let such people have teaching authority.

What are some characteristics of false teaching?

How do we discern false teaching or false teachers?

False teaching looks appealing

In 2 Corinthians 11:14, Paul tells us:

And I will keep on doing what I am doing in order to cut the ground from under those who want an opportunity to be considered equal with us in the things they boast about.  For such people are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ.  And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.  It is not surprising, then, if his servants also masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will be what their actions deserve.[5]

Why does Satan disguise himself as an angel of light? To appeal to people. He cloaks falsehood in more beautiful packaging.

We are told to be fruit inspectors

Jesus warns us in Matthew chapter 7 to look at fruit:

“Watch out for false prophets. They come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ferocious wolves.  By their fruit, you will recognize them. Do people pick grapes from thornbushes, or figs from thistles?  Likewise, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit.  A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, and a bad tree cannot bear good fruit.  Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire.  Thus, by their fruit, you will recognize them.[6]

‘good fruits’ = ‘good works’ or ‘deeds’. How can we say that?

Jesus told us:

Produce fruit in keeping with repentance.[7]
No good tree bears bad fruit, nor does a bad tree bear good fruit. 44 Each tree is recognized by its own fruit. People do not pick figs from thornbushes, or grapes from briers.  A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart.[8]
This is to my Father’s glory, that you bear much fruit, showing yourselves to be my disciples.[9]

And Paul told us:

...the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.[10]
Live as children of light (for the fruit of the light consists in all goodness, righteousness and truth) and find out what pleases the Lord. Have nothing to do with the fruitless deeds of darkness, but rather expose them. [11]
...please him in every way: bearing fruit in every good work, growing in the knowledge of God...[12]

But William Branham said you could not rely on looking at a person's fruit. Why did he contradict Jesus and Paul?

Compare teaching to the Bible

Paul warns us:

I am astonished that you are so quickly deserting the one who called you to live in the grace of Christ and are turning to a different gospel — which is really no gospel at all. Evidently, some people are throwing you into confusion and are trying to pervert the gospel of Christ.  But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse![13]

We know what Paul and Jesus taught from what is clearly written in the Bible. But William Branham clearly taught things that disagreed with the plain reading of scripture.

Paul also warned Timothy:

In the presence of God and of Christ Jesus, who will judge the living and the dead, and in view of his appearing and his kingdom, I give you this charge: Preach the word; be prepared in season and out of season; correct, rebuke and encourage — with great patience and careful instruction.  For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear.  They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. [14]

Watch out for fabricated stories

Peter admonishes us:

But there were also false prophets among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you. They will secretly introduce destructive heresies, even denying the sovereign Lord who bought them—bringing swift destruction on themselves.  Many will follow their depraved conduct and will bring the way of truth into disrepute. 3 In their greed, these teachers will exploit you with fabricated stories. Their condemnation has long been hanging over them, and their destruction has not been sleeping. [15]

Heresy is a teaching that is sufficient to divide one from the true church, or truth from falsehood. William Branham clearly caused division within the church through his teachings.

And William Branham was a master at fabricating stories - see our articles on his credibility.

Quotes of William Branham

What is the fruit of the Spirit? Love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness. That right? [Congregation says, “Amen.”—Ed.] Fruit of the Spirit, many people rely upon that. Sometime that’s the devil. He can impersonate that, to the letter; he cer-…he can impersonate speaking in tongues, to the letter; interpretation of it, to the letter. Any of those gifts, he can impersonate it.[16]

You can’t rely upon the fruit of the Spirit, because the first fruit of the Spirit is love. And the Christian Science exercise more love than anybody I know of, and they even deny Jesus Christ being Divine. See? There’s only one evidence of the Holy Spirit that I know of, and that is a genuine faith in the promised Word of the hour! ...So see, those priest were gentle, meek, understanding man. When it come to the fruits of the Spirit, they could show more fruits of the Spirit than Jesus ever could. [17]



Footnotes

  1. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ac 20:26–31.
  2. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 2 Ti 2:17–18.
  3. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Tt 1:9–15.
  4. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 2 Jn 10–11.
  5. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 2 Co 11:12–15.
  6. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Mt 7:15–20.
  7. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Mt 3:8.
  8. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Lk 6:43–45.
  9. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Jn 15:8.
  10. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ga 5:22–23.
  11. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Eph 5:8–11.
  12. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Col 1:10.
  13. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), Ga 1:6–8.
  14. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 2 Ti 4:1–5.
  15. The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 2 Pe 2:1–3.
  16. William Branham, 64-0206B - Paradox, para. 219-220
  17. William Branham, 64-0823E - Questions And Answers #2, para. 44, 46


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