Question 13 (ABM) - What is the Message?
The following are a series of questions and answers between one of our editors (referred to as BTS) and an anonymous Branham minister (referred to as ABM). This subset of the Q&A relates to the current status of the "message". The full text of this question and its answer is below.
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Question 13 - What is the Message?
William Branham taught that he was the prophet to the last age and that he was to bring a message to the church:
Assume that I am a Bible-believing non-denominational Christian. In simple terms, what is the message that William Branham brought?
Thank you for asking this question, it is my favorite one yet.
The answer to this question of course will vary from sect to sect of the Branham movement. I think generally you would hear something along this line among the idolaters: "The x number of sermons on magnetic tape is the message," or "every word he spoke," or "every word he spoke under the anointing."
To someone completely unfamiliar, I would answer something more like this. Did you know that about one quarter of all Christians in the world are charismatics? Do you know how the charismatic movement began? It began as a result of a major global revival that occurred from 1946-1958\1960. That revival was started by a God through a man named William Branham. In 1946 he began holding healing revival around the United States, and by 1947 he had gone international. Many other ministers picked up on the same anointing in that time, like Oral Roberts. Roberts began campaigning heavily in 1948. These many evangelists drew huge crowds. Bro. Branham was drawing crowds of 25,000 by August of 1946. He drew 70,000 to the Vancouver meetings in 1947. The other evangelists of the era likewise drew in great crowds. Bro. Branham was universally viewed as the leader of the movement. Bro. Branham, as a result of his role in this revival has left a very important impact on modern Christianity.
These claims can be backed up by numerous sources, including secular sources, and sources critical of his teachings.
David Harrell called Bro. Branham the "unlikely leader" of the the great revival period in his book "The Healing and Charistimatic Revivals in Modern America." (Page 25) Harrell explains how a the peak of his popularity, the Pentecostal World embraced Bro Branham and viewed him as "a prophet to their generation." (Page 39) Patsy Sims in her book "Inside the Tents and Tabernacles of American Revivalist" likewise explains how "the power of a Branham service and his stage presence remains a legend unparalleled in the history of the Charismatic movement." Bro. Branham's lasting legacy can be seen in multiple ways. For example, cult awareness activist and author Greg Sheryl in his 2013 article "The Legend of William Branham" states that Bro. Branham "can justly be called the father of modern faith healers." In this respect, his legacy can be seen in televangelism and in the healing ministry of many men. His name and influence continues to be regularly mentioned on TBN, and his teachings continue to have a profound impact on Charistimatic Christianity in varying degrees.
Bro. Branham taught a doctrine in his meetings that had a far ranging impact on Christianity. Michael Moriarty in his book "The New Charismatics" explains how Bro. Branham is the "principle architect of restorationist thought" among charismatic Christianity. Doug Weaver, in his biography of Bro. Branham entitled "The Healer Prophet" repeats the same assessment and notes Bro. Branham's lasting legacy. Weaver traced Branham's influence though various international religious movement, including the Association of Vineyard Churches (2400 churches), the Apostolic-Prophetic Movement, the Kansas City Prophets, and the direct connection of his teachings to the Brownsville Revival and the Toronto Blessing. The roots of all of these things, and many more, in charismatic Christianity are tied to Bro. Branham and his teaching on christian restorationism. In this regard, we can see the great impact of Bro. Branham's teachings. What is Christian Restorationism? It is not a new concept or teaching, in fact it is very old. But Bro. Branham was the key figure in popularizing and defining the interpretation of this teaching for the charistimatic world.
What is restorationist thought and teachings? It is the idea that Christianity needs to return to its roots. That the liturgy, creeds, organizational structures, and numerous other aspects of modern Christianity that is not found in the scripture as part of early Christianity, should be purged from the church. This is the most basic explanation of the teaching. It has been embraced in varying degrees by the Charistimatic movement. For example, the the trend towards non-denominational churches took off and accelerated coming out of the healing revival period as a result of these teachings. For example, non-denominational Christians are now the second largest group of Christians in the United States. This is a dramatic change from the 1940s before the revival happened.
So, what is the message? We believe Bro. Branham to be the fulfillment of Malaci 4:5-6, and that he would "turn the hearts of the children to the fathers". The bible thus tells us what is message is. It is a message to to turn the hearts of the children to the fathers. This matches Bro. Branham's quote as you gave it, "A Message to bring them back to the Bible" Is that not what the restorationist doctrine is at its core? The doctrine encouraging modern Christianity to return to its roots,is the message to turn their hearts of the people back to the faith of our early church fathers? So at its most basic element - that is the message. And its impact is huge and far and wide - whether people realize it is a result of Bro. Branham or not. That is not relevant. Bro. Branham was not the message.
Bro. Branham began the healing revival. The healing revival gave rise to the charismatic movement. The charismatic movement has impacted hundreds of millions of Christians. Bro. Branham's restorationist teachings have been carried throughout this movement. This is an undeniable cause and effect which has Bro. Branham at it's root. Viewed in this way, whether you are a "message believer" or not, the impact of Bro. Branham in this way is undeniable. I gave you a few accounts of people outside Branham movement who agree with the statement, and there are many more examples that I can provide if you would like a full list of all the charistimatic ministers I am aware of who credit Bro. Branham in this way.
I could stop here because I have give the basic answer to your question "What is the message William Branham brought?" But the message did not stop with Bro. Branham. Before he died, in the later years of his ministry after the healing revival ended, he began to go into the next phase of the message (Which was the Third Pull, I say this to you, not the average non-denominational christian. The idolaters have so confused this picture.) It is not just to return to the form of early Christianity, but also to return to the teachings and to the leadership of God in revelation. Bro. Branham brought several key teachings to help his followers distinguish the true doctrines of the church world from the false. Denominational Christianity is a patchwork of doctrines, many incompatible with each other. Should we accept conditional election or unconditional election as truth? What about the week of Daniel? Should we accept the Baptist teachings or the 7th Day Adventist teachings, or reject it altogether? Bro. Branham himself brought very few teachings that were new or without precedent, but he pulled teachings from various groups to put together a set of doctrines in a unique way. This is another area in which the idolaters have gone off track. Bro. Branham was not advocating a version of the doctrine of sanctification any different than the version promoted by John Wesley. He did not promote a doctrine of predestination any different than John Knox, or eternal security different than John Calvin, or eternal hell different than Charles Parham, etc, etc. Most of his doctrines are exact copies of what other men brought before (not plagarism as some suppose, only the idolaters ever supposed these thing to be original to Bro. Branham) So we can look directly at those men, and see what they taught on the subject to have a fuller understanding. Which is exactly what those in our "sect" of the movement have been doing from the beginning. Bro. Branham was often just pointing to the already established teachings which we should accept, rather than trying to make new doctrine.
In addition to sorting through the doctrines of the church world to give a foundation of truth for this newly restored church to build upon, he also brought by divine revelation the message of the seven seals. This is truly a message he preached which contained a fully unique teaching of his own. (I understand some allegations of copying Larkin on this, but in this aspect the similarity is only superficial) The meaning of the seals themselves is the only doctrine he preached I am aware of that has no precedent anywhere in Christianity. These messages contain a unique new way to look at the book of Revelation and prophecy and helping us to understand the end time. He himself did not have time to fully preach and develop these doctrines because of his death in 1965, but the message is still going on. Men have picked up right where he left off, and there are believers around the world teaching, promoting, and building upon the revelation. The majority of charismatic Christianity has rejected this second phase of the message, which is ongoing. But does not the bible give a parable of wise and foolish virgins? All are virgins who will be saved. All heard the midnight cry. But some also became wise with understanding.
I am not sure if you look at it this way or not. But I hope you will look into it. If you have only ever heard the idolator's version of things, I suspect you may not have heard all of this before. They would never want you to look beyond Bro. Branham, to the men who came before him, nor to the Charistimatic world he so dramatically impacted.
Bro. Branham's ministry was not inconsequential.