Question 15 (ABM) - What doctrines comprise the message?

From BelieveTheSign

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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Complete list of questions

Q&A relating to William Branham's Prophetic Ministry

Q&A relating to William Branham's Credibility

Q&A relating to William Branham's Doctrine

Question 13 - What is the Message?

Question 14 - What if a person rejects the message?

Question 15 - What doctrines comprise the message?

Question 18 - Why do we need the message?

Question 32 - Is the message a cult?

Question 15 - What doctrines comprise the message?

This is a follow-on question from “What is the message?”

You indicated that Willam Branham was the root cause of many things in the Charismatic Movement. However, I think this is much too simplistic. WMB may have been the initiator of the healing revival, which I agree with, but others like Oral Roberts also had a significant impact. Furthermore, your view ignores the influence of third wave pentecostalism and the influence of people such as John Wimber and Chuck Smith.

You also state that “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 degree.“ Again, I disagree. As Weaver states in his book on Branham, “In the days of his prominence, the 1950’s, what Spirit-filled believer did not know his name. But today, we may wonder, what believer does?”

Today, as Weaver confirms, William Branham is largely unknown outside the message. His followers are few and self-isolating.

Compare this to the ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not known outside of Israel at the time of his death, but within 30 years after his resurrection, the new Christian church came under the direct persecution of the Roman emperor Nero in A.D. 64. Paul and Peter were both killed by Nero. Christians were known throughout the Roman Empire less than 50 years. But over 50 years after WMB died, he has been forgotten by virtually all of Christianity.

To his followers, William Branham is the most important person since Jesus Christ (and to many, he is even more important). But to the Christian and non-Christian world, he is virtually unknown. That is his true "vindication" and something that cannot be said of Jesus Christ or every true prophet or apostle in recorded history.

You state the primary message of WMB was that “liturgy, creeds, organizational structures, and numerous other aspects of modern Christianity that [are] 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”.

While William Branham did call for a return to the early church, I do not think that is the bulk of what he taught. He taught things that were clearly outside of what Paul and the apostles taught and what Jesus taught. His teaching on the seven seals and seven church ages were largely plagiarized from Clarence Larkin, with some minor changes. We will get to these things.

I am a person who believes the Bible and I do not hold to any specific denominational creed or belief. Anything I believe, I take back to scripture and that is one of the problems I have with WMB’s teachings. There are many things that are based on WMB’s eisegesis (that is, he started with a belief and then read that belief into the Bible). He constantly took things out of context and used proof texts to prove his point.

This brings me to my primary question: What are those primary beliefs or doctrines that will get me into the “Bride”? Given that I am a person who holds to the Bible, what are those unique teachings of WMB that will make me eligible for the "rapture"?

Thanks,

BTS

Response

BTS,

Thank you for your continued dialogue. I will take your last email has a lot to unwrap, so I will respond paragraph by paragraph.

BTS: You indicated that Willam Branham was the root cause of many things in the Charismatic Movement. However, I think this is much too simplistic. WMB may have been the initiator of the healing revival, which I agree with, but others like Oral Roberts also had a significant impact. Furthermore, your view ignores the influence of third wave pentecostalism and the influence of people such as John Wimber and Chuck Smith.
ABM: I believe there is a middle ground here. I am not asserting that Bro. Branham is singularly responsible for the charismatic movement or its present state. I am merely stating that in one aspect, he is key. He is a key figure in defining how the charismatic movement views restorationism. This is repeated many times in charismatic literature, both within and without of the charismatic movement. This is something important and not be overlooked, because it is the key and central element of the message.
BTS: You also state that “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 degree.“ Again, I disagree. As Weaver states in his book on Branham, “In the days of his prominence, the 1950’s, what Spirit-filled believer did not know his name. But today, we may wonder, what believer does?”
ABM: Here I believe we disagree, or perhaps you are misunderstanding my position. I agree quite fully with Weaver's opinion on this topic of Bro. Branham's legacy. You seem to be stopping short of fully accepting what he says. You seem to accept his position that his name is not widely known (with which I agree), but you seem to discount Weaver's position on the Branham's lasting legacy. On page v, it states clearly "American religion needs to take another look at the ministry of William Branham, for in this thriving subculture of contemporary independent charismatic religion, Branham's legacy is alive and well." I have additionally provided citations to multiple other authors outside of the Branham movement who agree, including Patsy Sims (Who is interestingly a researcher and author on the KKK, and goes out of her way to note Bro. Branham's embrace of African Americans. I wonder if Collins read her book yet?), Michael Moriarty (an anti-Charismatic writer), and Greg Sheryl (a cult awareness activist). In his book, Weaver goes on to explain how Branham's teachings and influences carried on into Charismatic Christianity through Paul Cain, Bill Hamon, Kenneth Hagin, and other "restoration prophets". Benny Hinn and Jim Bakker regularly evoke Bro. Branham's name, and Bakker does so on his TBN television program. His name has also been invoked positively by Jonathan Cahn on television. Beyond these demonstrable type of things, I know personally what I am saying is true: William Branham is still widely known and respected within a large part of the Charismatic movement for his activities during the healing revival.
BTS: Today, as Weaver confirms, William Branham is largely unknown outside the message. His followers are few and self-isolating.
ABM: I am not trying to be contentious, but I disagree, I think you are selectively reading Weaver. Because he clearly traces his influences through a large swath of Charismatic Christianity. And besides Weaver, you have other sources I have cited to you to confirm his assessment. I am not trying to suggest that Bro. Branham is a household name, but I am trying to say that the influence of his ministry is widespread in Charismatic Christianity. Be careful not to overlook that, because it is an important fact relating to our discussion.
BTS: Compare this to the ministry of Jesus Christ. Jesus was not known outside of Israel at the time of his death, but within 30 years after his resurrection, the new Christian church came under the direct persecution of the Roman emperor Nero in A.D. 64. Paul and Peter were both killed by Nero. Christians were known throughout the Roman Empire less than 50 years. But over 50 years after WMB died, he has been forgotten by virtually all of Christianity.
ABM: This is an apples to oranges comparison, in my opinion. In our scenario, Bro. Branham is analogous to John the Baptist, not Christ or the apostles. Bro. Branham himself when preaching the seals stated of what was soon to follow him saying "I must decrease, he must increase"
Quote: Maybe this ministry that I have tried to take people back to the Word has laid a foundation; and if it has, I'll be leaving you for good. There won't be two of us here at the same time. See? If it is, he will increase, I'll decrease. I don't know. But I have been privileged by God to look and see what it was--unfold to that much. Now, that is the truth.
Bro. Branham has surely decreased. It is the message that is the forerunner, not Bro. Branham. Bro. Branham's message, in its basic form, is known and had an impact on a large portion of Christianity.
BTS: To his followers, William Branham is the most important person since Jesus Christ (and to many, he is even more important).
ABM: I would amend this sentence. To "some of" his followers.... Or perhaps "To his "idolatrous" followers... There are many people who have selectively accepted elements of his message but do not view him with such importance - like Jim Baker or Kenneth Hagin. Do you disagree that men like them have selectively accepted elements of Bro. Branham's teachings? There are likewise people who accept his message in what we believe to be its entirety and do not elevate him to a level of importance second only to Christ. I think you are looking at all his followers as though we are like Eddie Byskal or Pearry Green. If Bro. Branham was an old testament style prophet, then his level of importance is below that of any true New Testament ministry... This is another area where the idolators have gone off track. They in fact have rejected the most key element of the message: to return to the form of early Christianity. Rather than a ministry of apostles, prophets, evangelists, pastors and teachers, they have tapes and expert quoters.
BTS: But to the Christian and non-Christian world, he is virtually unknown. That is his true "vindication" and something that cannot be said of Jesus Christ or every true prophet or apostle in recorded history.
ABM: I have to disagree. First in the comparison itself: We know almost nothing about the apostle Phillip, for example. Other men which Bro. Branham selected as important, such Columba, are similarly almost without any fame today. I dare say the average Christian could not even name more than five of the apostles... I suspect you could not name all twelve without looking them up. But you see, none of them are important in themselves. The only one who is important is Jesus Christ and his message of truth. They were just carriers of the message. Their legacy is irrelevant, just as it is with Bro. Branham. It is the legacy of the message of truth, the Gospel of Christ, which is important. They are only important insofar as it furthers us in our relationship with Christ. The same applies to Bro. Branham. Your logic is most excellent in tearing down the views of the idolaters, but their views are wrong to begin with.
BTS: You state the primary message of WMB was that “liturgy, creeds, organizational structures, and numerous other aspects of modern Christianity that [are] 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”.
BTS: While William Branham did call for a return to the early church, I do not think that is the bulk of what he taught. He taught things that were clearly outside of what Paul and the apostles taught and what Jesus taught. His teaching on the seven seals and seven church ages were largely plagiarized from Clarence Larkin, with some minor changes. We will get to these things.
ABM: Your question was not what was the bulk of what he taught, your question was "What is the message?" The message, if we believe he is the fulfillment of Malachi 4:5-6, is told in the Bible itself. To go beyond that is to go beyond the bible. This is what the idolaters have done. Bro. Branham is not above the bible any more than I. His key message was to return to the faith of our fathers and a form mirroring that of early Christianity. This teaching of his has wide acceptance in Charismatic Christianity, and when you define things properly (which the idolaters have failed to do all along) the picture can make sense. You are correct, he did minister on more, but "the message" is at its most basic element Christian restorationism. I will leave your comments on Larkin to a later time.
BTS: I am a person who believes the Bible and I do not hold to any specific denominational creed or belief. Anything I believe, I take back to scripture and that is one of the problems I have with WMB’s teachings. There are many things that are based on WMB’s eisegesis (that is, he started with a belief and then read that belief into the Bible). He constantly took things out of context and used proof texts to prove his point.
BTS: This brings me to my primary question: What are those primary beliefs or doctrines that will get me into the “Bride”? Given that I am a person who holds to the Bible, what are those unique teachings of WMB that will make me eligible for the "rapture"?
ABM: I would suggest to you that if you believe the bible is the final authority and you with all your heart seek to follow all that you see to be true, you should go in peace and I hope to see you in the rapture. We have not really discussed much doctrine up until this point. It may be, and I hope so, that your understanding of what Bro. Branham taught is merely muddied by your time with the idolaters. I would also suggest to you that your rejection of denominationalism and its creeds it attributable to Bro. Branham, whether you accepted it via the message churches or outside men who were themselves influenced by Bro. Branham directly or indirectly.

Kind regards,

ABM


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