Progressive Revelation is a doctrine to which most followers of William Branham adhere. Its basic premise is that William Branham grew in revelation, and so quotes from later sermons are:
This doctrine is a necessary reaction to the fact that William Branham contradicted himself on a number of issues in his recorded sermons. For example, without this doctrine Message Believers could not reconcile these two statements of William Branham:
If you take this doctrine to its ultimate and logical conclusion, then the last thing that William Branham said on any subject is the correct interpretation of that issue.
Revising history, not just doctrines
Arguably the most blatent evidence of this doctrine in action is Rev. Gerald Lush's re-written version of "A Man Sent From God" originally written by Gordon Lindsay. Evidence of this is as published on the williambranhamhomepage.org website:
The problem with this doctrine is that it is also applied to visions, prophecies and other non-doctrinal statements. The result is revisionary history, as opposed to seeking the "original seed" of truth in historical documents.
Message preachers choose to ignore the written tract for the audio sermon as the facts don't otherwise reconcile, and as the 1946 retelling fits better with the doctrine that Bro. Branham's commission dovetailed with Israel becoming a nation (even though that happened in 1948).
So Gerald Lush revised what Gordon Lindsay wrote, after Gordon Lindsay revised what Rev. Robert Daugherty wrote, in a document that William Branham had published, then revised a number of times:
Is this doctrine scriptural?
While God's disclosure of Himself was a progression from the Old Testament era to the New Testament, nowhere in scripture does God correct Himself or change His mind. Even William Branham agrees with that - You say, "God changes His mind." He doesn't change His mind! (Modern Events are made clear by Prophecy, December 6, 1965)
So is the "message" doctrine of progressive revelation correct?
William Branham was a man and, therefore, made mistakes. But doesn't that mean that his last opinion on a subject could have been as much a mistake as his first opinion? Is there any scriptural support for this doctrine?
Some message believers, as a result of this problem, have decided only to believe those things which William Branham stated were "Thus Saith The Lord". But the 1933 visions were "Thus Saith The Lord", yet they changed over time and some parts of them are wrong.
Other message believers only take what William Branham said after he preached the Seven Seals. However, it is after he preached these seals that the Angel rebuked him (see his life story), and told him to go back to being an evangelist.
How could one individual be wrong his whole life and then be instantly correct on everything he said just before he died?
Does this "doctrine" apply to anyone else in the Bible?
One would think that if this applied to William Branham, it would also apply to other prophets in the Bible or at least have been referred to in the Biblical literature.
For example, why don't we put less emphasis on the early writings of Paul (such as 1 Thessalonians and Philippians) and more on the later ones (such as 2 Timothy and Titus)?
The fact is that we don't have any incorrect doctrine in the Bible and this would seem, by this one fact alone, to exclude William Branham from being a prophet (in the sense used by message believers).