William Branham, his message and the followers of his message are not without controversy. The important issue with controversy is to determine which issues are valid concerns and which issues at not significant.
The following list comprises issues which we feel are valid concerns. This is not an inclusive list but we have tried to list everything that we are aware of. If there is anything that you feel should be dealt with on this page or information that will bring greater accuracy or clarity to this information, please contact us.
- 1 Why Are These Controversies Showing Up Now?
- 2 External Controversies
- 3 Controversies Relating Directly to William Branham
- 4 Doctrinal Controversies/Questions
- 5 Controversies Relating to Followers of the Message
- 6 Footnotes
- 7 Navigation
Why Are These Controversies Showing Up Now?
There are a number of factors that have allowed research to be carried out now that was incredibly difficult only a few years ago. These include things such as:
- word and phrase search functionality for the Bible on the internet (do a search for "in the name of"--- very informative, particularly the OT scriptures).
- word and phrase search functionality for the message AND an affordable way for all households to access all of the message.
- multiple researchers who have published articles/books/videos showing issues with the message (it's much harder to ignore or discredit a multitude of voices). This has caused other people to add to the research, increasing the amount of objective information on the message.
- google (search engines used to be MUCH harder to use
- email (instant communication)
- unlimited long distance (remember the days of itemized telephone bills?)
- Skype (some people are much easier to get to know when you see their faces than when you merely read their typed words).
- the perspective of time - we can see the fruits of the Message movement over time.
The Hagin Prophecy
Did Kenneth Hagin and Anna Schrader predict William Branham’s death in 1964? This question is addressed in the article on the Hagin Prophecy.
Controversies Relating Directly to William Branham
Visions that were Unfulfilled, Incorrect or Changed Over Time
- Proof of the Prophetic
- The Municipal Bridge Vision
- The Vision of the Meetings in South Africa
- The Brown Bear Vision
- The Voice on the Ohio River in 1933
- The 1933 Prophecies
- Rattlesnake Mesa
- Destruction of Los Angeles
- Heavenly Vision
- The Pillar of Fire
- The Marilyn Monroe Vision
- The Tent Vision
The problem with unfulfilled visions is that they are directly in conflict with Deut. 18:21–22 which states:
- And if thou say in thine heart, How shall we know the word which the LORD hath not spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the LORD, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the LORD hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously: thou shalt not be afraid of him.
Cognitive dissonance is a condition in followers of William Branham. This psychological condition shows itself in a number of manifestations, including the develoopment of the The Returned Ministry Sect as a means of dealing with unfulfilled prophecies and visions..
The Credibility of William Branham
Are the stories that William Branham told true and factual? Do they hold up under scrutiny? Is he believable?
If not, then this has a significant impact on everything that he stated in his sermons. Here are some issues that need to be considered in determining whether he was credible.
- The Cloud
- Prophecy of the Cloud
- Rattlesnake Mesa
- When did William Branham embrace Pentecostalism?
- The Explanation for His Poor Grammar
- The Voice on the Ohio River in 1933
- The Man from Windsor
- Changes to Congressman Upshaw's story
- The Donny Morton story
- The story of King George VI
- William Branham messes up as God speaks through him
- God moved the rock that Moses stood on to the Arizona desert in 1964
Doctrinal issues directly relating to William Branham's teachings are detailed on our page - Doctrines
Controversies Relating to Followers of the Message
The Doctrine of Progressive Revelation
What is the doctrine of Progressive Revelation? Is it supportable from scripture?
The Credibility of Message Ministers
A number of message ministers have been plagued by scandal. Here is a message minister that is know for embellishing stories to the point where they are no longer true. Sound familiar?
Sects within the Message
The followers of the message of William Branham are not a united group. There are varying interpretations which have formed into sub-sects or denominations within the message. These subgroups have little or nothing to do with anyone in other message subgroups. Some of these sects would be considered Christian in a broad sense while others can only be considered cultic and Christian in name only as their beliefs have significantly departed from those of the Bible in critical areas.
The underlying theme of most of these subgroups is very similar to that of the message itself - if you do not believe the "special revelation" that the specific subgroup holds, then you are not part of the "true bride" and you will not participate in the rapture. Those outside of a subgroup are viewed by the members of that subgroup as "foolish virgins" or "pentecostals", a derogatory term used by many followers of the message.
- Returned Ministry - Believing that William Branham will return to fulfill those visions that remained unfulfilled at his death
- Josephism - Believing that Joseph Branham is a prophet carrying on the works of his father.
- Christ Branham or Diety - Believing that William Branham was God in flesh.
- Jospeh Diety - Believing that Joseph Branham is God in flesh.
- The Seven Thunders - followers of Joseph Coleman
- Vaylism - followers of Lee Vayle
Additionally, there are a number of individual churches that espouse the message but would be considered cultic or cult-like because of their Sociopathic Leadership. These would include:
- Cloverdale Bibleway, Surrey, BC, Canada
- Golden Dawn Tabernacle, Tucson, AZ, USA
- Word of Life Tabernacle, Edmonton, AB, Canada