The Status of Message Believers
This article is one in a series on the Message of William Branham - you are currently in the article that is in bold:
The comments we have received from those in the message include:
That certainly isn't the spirit of Christ. In fact, those that say such things are in danger of condemning themselves, as Jesus said that “God will judge you in the same way as you judge others, and he will apply to you the same rules you apply to others.” (Matt 7:2 GNT)
Additionally, we have had old friends convey to us that they no longer want to have anything do with us in the future.
But the question has also been asked – What is the true status of those in the message?
Some Message Believers are Christians
Having spent many years in the message ourselves as Christians, there is no question that we believe that there are many people in the message that are sincere Christians. There are those that have left the message that do not believe that anyone in the message can or should be considered a Christian, but we take a strong exception to such a judgmental view.
However, there are also those in the message who have not truly accepted Christ’s sacrifice but rather are resting on William Branham’s message for their salvation. We have even talked to a number of people who were raised in message churches and had no concept of the true message of salvation through the sacrifice of Christ on Calvary. Salvation is not found in the Message, Salvation is found only in Jesus Christ.
The Many Problems with Wiliam Branham's message
William Branham not only held himself out to be a teacher, he held out as being as someone who was restoring truth that had been lost for hundreds of years:
The problem with this claim is that it brings great responsibility (James 3:1):
Paul told us how we should look at God's servants:
Was William Branham faithful? What does being faithful mean? Paul went on to state:
The comments below simply reflect some of the main obstacles that people will face in balancing Christianity with their belief in William Branham's role, policies, prophecies and doctrines. The fact is that many things in William Branham's life were hidden in darkness but they have now been revealed and we must judge these things according to scripture.
Paul states in 1 Corinthians 13 (GNT) that
Most individuals that leave William Branham's message are not contacted after they leave by either the church leadership or those in the congregation. If those in the message really think that those who fall away from the message are lost, one has to wonder why there is generally no attempt to go after them. Didn’t Jesus talk about leaving the ninety-nine sheep grazing on the hillside to go and look for the lost sheep? One wonders what kind of Christians those in the message are when they don’t even make a half-hearted attempt to go after those that have left.
Another evidence of a lack of love is a church's response to the poor, or a catastrophe. When disaster strikes, do you say "Thank God no believers were hurt", or do you extend a helping hand to those that were hurt? When the poor come into your church, do you lead them to the deacon (the policeman of message churches) or help them yourself? When the poor don't come to your church, do you find it easy to ignore their problems?
All message believers insist that William Branham's teaching constitute divine revelation.
But true Christian behavior cannot be predicated on William Branham's teachings, which lead to pride, but on the way of love, which is in fact the true way of knowledge.
The tyranny of the message and other special revelations as the basis of Biblical understanding and "spiritual revelation" has a long and unfortunate history in the church, from which most likely few — including the authors of this website — are exempt.
And it is especially tempting, as message believers often do, to use it as a club on others.
This does not mean that such revelatory knowledge is either irrelevant or unimportant, but it does mean that it cannot serve as the primary basis of Christian behavior. Special knowledge or revelation must always lead to love - see 1 Cor 13.
One must always beware of those teachers or systems that entice one by special “revelation” or “deeper insights.” Such appeals are invariably to one’s pride, not to one’s becoming a more truly loving Christian.
In the true Christian faith “special knowledge” or “insight” or "revelation" is never an end in itself; it is only a means to a greater end, the building up of others.
And this is clearly lacking in the message.
Those in the message will state that "love is corrective" which is simply an excuse for clubbing people over the head with their "revelation". However, true corrective love can only come out of relationship.
The problem of spiritual immaturity
It should also be said that those who are Christians in the Message aren't on a great diet for spiritual growth. This is what Paul said:
People that point to a man or believe that following a man like William Branham provides a higher level of spirituality are, at best, spiritually immature.
The hallmark of spiritual maturity is to follow Christ and not a man. That is what Paul is saying.
Shocking lack of credibility
Message believers revere William Branham as a prophet of Biblical proportions. In fact, most believe that he is the greatest prophet that lived, aside from Jesus Christ and, perhaps, Moses. One would expect that such a prophet would be beyond reproach, given the Biblical requirements of servants of the church as outlined in 1 timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:6-9.
But when William Branham's sermons are examined in detail and compared with historical evidence, huge credibility gaps become painfully evident. We have provided a detailed listing of the multitude of our concerns in this regard.
Some message churches teach a distorted, heretical, view of basic truths that most would assume have to be believed properly in order to be a Christian. We have compiled a list of all of the doctrinal issues that we have identified to date. Many of these doctrines are heretical or non-biblical.
For example, is it possible for a person to be saved if they do not believe that Jesus Christ was God in flesh (Matthew 1:23)? Certain followers of Lee Vayle hold to a heretical view of the Godhead – that Jesus Christ was not deity. Such doctrinal beliefs are against the plain teaching of scripture (John 20:28), and therefore put those who believe such teachings at risk of missing the basic tenets of the teachings of Jesus Christ and the Apostles.
Most message believers view William Branham's message as being superior to the Bible. Can one really be considered a Christian if they hold William Branham's teachings as superseding those of the Bible?
Many message believers condemn denominational and non-denominational churches on the basis that those congregations are lukewarm. However, message congregations can also fall within the same classification as lukewarm. The message of Revelation 3:16 is crystal clear when the Lord states “because you are lukewarm, neither hot nor cold, I am going to spit you out of my mouth.” The peril of being lukewarm is the same, whether in relation to a message church or a non-message church!
As Francis Chan puts it:
The legalistic teachings of William Branham have a decidedly negative impact on believer’s spiritual development. So while there are those in the message that have experienced Christ’s redemptive work, they are weighed down by a theology that is inconsistent with Paul’s teachings regarding the grace of Christ. Paul states that such beliefs can alienate a person from the grace of God – “Those of you who try to be put right with God by obeying the Law have cut yourselves off from Christ. You are outside God’s grace.” (Gal 5:4 GNT)
A man named Simon thought that he could buy the Holy Spirit with money. It appears that some message believers are trying to buy the Holy Spirit by public demonstrations of their own righteousness.
Paul clearly states that the ten commandments, written in tablets of stone, represented the ministry of death. Paul also was clear that Jesus did not redeem us from the curse of sin but from the curse of the law:
Failed visions and constantly changing prophecies
One significant problem with William Branham's prophetic ministry is that we have been unable to find a single occurrence where we have a clear prophecy recorded on tape that was later clearly fulfilled. We have compiled a comprehensive listing of all of the problems with William Branham's prophetic ministry.
The Abuse of Message Believers by Ministers
We have been shocked by the number of former message believers that have contacted us and have clearly been abused by their former pastors while in the message. While that is clearly not the experience in all message churches, it certainly occurs in enough churches to represent a significant problem within the message. Additionally, message ministers when they become aware of abuse in other churches rarely say anything and avoid criticisms of any other ministers, regardless of how abusive they have become or how questionable their personal conduct.
The Main Problem
We have been told that the problems we have with the message are just a few "cherry pits" and that they don't destroy the basic goodness of the "cherry pie" that is the message of William Branham.
But what if you are eating a piece of cherry pie and you discover that what you have in your mouth also contains maggots - or something that will make you very ill? At that point of realization, you have to throw out the whole pie and go back to the source of truth - the Bible. That is what we have done. We are not pointing anyone to a specific church or to any man. We are simply urging people to get back to basic Biblical teaching and to find a church that teaches simple Biblical truths. And, yes, such churches do exist.
William Branham's message has problems in three major areas:
If you want some of the major problems we have identified, simply go to our Youtube channel and watch some of the videos we have produced.
William Branham held himself out to be a prophet but we have been unable to find one unambiguous prophecy that he stated publicly (i.e. on tape) in advance that was later fulfilled in a clear manner! We have also found several prophecies that William Branham stated were from God but were clearly not fulfilled. All of these issues are addressed in our apology to message believers entitled "Humble Pie". We invite you to read that apology.
In short, William Branham's message is not healthy. You can eat junk food, but if that becomes your diet you will eventually experience side effects. A Christian will have a healthier spiritual life outside of a faulty belief system, and that is what William Branham taught – a view of the scriptures and reality that is seriously flawed.
The solution to the problem - Follow Christ
We are not pointing to ourselves, to another man, or to any church. Paul said that we are to follow the teachings that he laid out in scripture (2 Tim 1:13). Peter said the same thing:
A minister of the Gospel only speaks authoritatively to the extent that what he says agrees with scripture. But we don't follow these men, we follow Christ. We examine their lives and if they are worthy of being examples of the Gospel, then we may want to imitate them. But we must judge their teaching and their lives by the Gospel as the writer of the Hebrews stated:
We are not to follow a single man but those leaders (plural) that provide a godly example of a Christian life in word and deed. And we are to judge their teachings based on scripture.