Is the Message a Cult?
This article is one in a series on the Message of William Branham - you are currently in the article that is in bold:
What is a cult?
A “cult” has been defined as a religious group founded by and built upon the teachings of a religious leader whose authority is viewed as being equal to or greater than the Bible and whose teachings are in opposition to the doctrines of biblical and historic Christianity.
The crucial part of the above definition of the word cult is, “whose authority is viewed as being equal to or greater than the Bible.” The founder of the cult is viewed as being a “prophet” or “prophetess” of God. Since he or she is the “voice of God,” the person’s teachings are authoritative. Thus the cult is based solely upon the religious authority of the founder. Everything depends on the validity of that authority.
The issue of religious authority is the most basic problem one encounters when witnessing to a cultist. While the child of God looks to the Scriptures as the ultimate standard by which to decide religious truth, the cultist looks to his leader to decide the truth for him. As long as the Christian and the cultist are looking to different religious authorities, there is no common ground between them where they can begin.
Cults either ignore the Bible altogether, or they say, ‘Ah yes, the Bible gives us the truth, but if you really want to understand the Bible, you must interpret it in the light of this revelation which has come to us’. In speaking thus, of course, they resemble Roman Catholicism which also claims this extra authority, this extra understanding, this further revelation. And in practice, whatever lip-service they may pay to the Scriptures, the real authority is this other... this extra... this new... this direct revelation that has been given.
How do cult members act?
It's quite common for the followers of William Branham to claim that he simply pointed them to Jesus Christ. But if this is true, why does the focus remain on William Branham? In fact, why is he still in the equation at all?
If a preacher or an acquaintance shared the Biblical Gospel with you, leading you to Christ, this person would simply be a sign post pointing you to Biblical salvation. They would not be an integral part of your walk with God.
William Branham's followers claim that he was just a sign post pointing them in the right direction, yet they deem him necessary in their walk with God. If William Branham is essential in your walk with Christ, he didn't truly point you to Christ, he pointed you to himself and claimed it was Christ. He didn't point you to the Bible, he became your Bible.
Anything between you and God is an idol. William Branham perfectly fits the description of an idol and his follows are oblivious to it. This is the silent deception within a cult - the Cult leader is essential to his faithful followers. Everything revolves around him, not Jesus Christ. Every "truth" comes directly from him, not your Bible. This is one of the subtle powers of spiritual abuse.
Even in the face of blatant Scriptural error, cult members cling desperately to their cult leader. They refuse to consider that something might be amiss in their paradigm of Christianity. They cannot bear the thought that their "prophet" might have lead them astray.
Why aren't William Branham's followers willing to consider all the facts proving him wrong? The spiritual paralysis of the message movement makes it very difficult for them to look into the issues with his teachings. These issues are not simply a slip of the tongue, these are serious issues that must be addressed, i.e., lies, fictitious vindications, failed prophecies, unscriptural teachings.
Observing message believers attempt to justify the presence of everything "Branham" in their lives, without admitting he is an idol in their heart, is both sad and troubling. Sad because we fully understand the brainwashing that goes on in the message, and troubling because it's so difficult to break that cycle.
Can you say goodbye to William Branham and move fully into Jesus Christ? If not, then he did not truly lead you to Jesus Christ.
William Branham's message is greater than the Bible
It is clear that some followers of William Branham believe that he was Jesus Christ. Many followers of William Branham put his sermons above that of the Bible because they believe that he was infallible. These groups would include most of the followers of Joseph Branham.
But some message believers say:
While such people may think that they place the Bible above William Branham's teaching, is this, in fact, the case? We would ask followers of William Branham to answer the following questions:
If you answered "yes" to any of these questions, you are actually putting William Branham's message above the Bible, whether you admit it or not. How can we say that?
As a result, it is clear that followers of William Branham hold his teachings above that of the Bible.
In the Psalms 138:2, David says:
Anyone that exalts William Branham or his message above the Bible goes against God himself.
Examples of the Bible taking a back seat to William Branham
In a well known racist diatribe, Donny Reagan, the pastor of Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ, stated publicly in a sermon that if Moses was alive today, he would have to follow William Branham's message. This comment clearly shows that Donny Reagan holds William Branham's message as superseding the Bible. He specifically makes this comment in respect of William Branham's teaching that biracial marriages are contrary to God's plan.
But what does the Bible say about biracial marriages?
A Cushite is from Cush, a region south of Ethiopia, where the people are known for their black skin. We know this because of Jeremiah 13:23: "Can the Ethiopian [the same Hebrew word translated "Cushite" in Numbers 12:1] change his skin or the leopard his spots?""
In response to Miriam’s criticism, God does not get angry at Moses; he gets angry at Miriam. Then God strikes Miriam with leprosy. Why? Consider this possibility. In God’s anger at Miriam, Moses’ sister, God says in effect, "You like being light-skinned Miriam? I’ll make you light-skinned." So we read, "When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow" (Num. 12:10)
God says not a critical word against Moses for marrying a black Cushite woman.
So according to the Bible, there is no proscription on biracial marriages. William Branham preached against them. Donny Reagan's comments thus prove that he holds William Branham's message as a higher authority than the Bible.
The following video is a look at interracial marriages from a Biblical perspective by John Piper:
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The message is in addition to the Bible
Conclusion: The message is something in addition to the Bible
Here is proof from William Branham's own lips:
But the proper approach is this:
Are William Branham's teaching in opposition to Biblical Christianity?
We believe that some message believers are Christians. This is because some message churches do believe in and teach the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the only means for the forgiveness of sins. However, that does not mean that the message represents true or restored Christianity.
To the extent that William Branham preached doctrines that agreed with the Bible, his teachings are acceptable. However, he did disagree with true Biblical Christianity in a number of significant areas.
Many of these false doctrines actually were solely designed to point to himself as being God's supreme prophet for the end time:
Other doctrines were simply incorrect if a person reads the Bible in an honest fashion:
Finally, William Branham's teaching on the Godhead were very strange:
Again the answer is "YES", William Branham's teachings contain significant Biblical errors.
As a result of the above, it is clear that "message believers" are members of a cult.
Quotes of William Branham
Based on William Branham's own words, the message as it currently exists is a cult:
William Branham appeared to be afraid that people would think that he was starting a cult: