Why we must reject the message
We were asked a question recently - "What did William Branham teach that takes a person away from Christ?"
The question was posed to an ex-message believer by someone who still follows the message. The message follower made the point that, even if William Branham's doctrine is hard to understand, or even if some of it is wrong, it shouldn't matter because the spirit behind it is true. He went on to ask: What's wrong with wearing dresses, not drinking, and all of the other rules that message followers live by?
- 1 Why we must reject William Branham's message
- 1.1 William Branham pointed away from our common salvation
- 1.2 William Branham pointed to himself more than to Christ
- 1.3 William Branham pointed to believing his message as the evidence of the Holy Spirit
- 1.4 Message ministers point to the message more than to Christ
- 1.5 The majority of message followers exalt the message above the Bible
- 1.6 William Branham mixed law and grace
- 1.7 William Branham taught a two-tiered Christianity
- 1.8 Message followers condemn everyone outside the message
- 1.9 William Branham said his message was Jesus Christ
- 1.10 The message places William Branham between the Christian and Jesus
- 1.11 The message is built on lies
- 2 Footnotes
- 3 Navigation
Why we must reject William Branham's message
There are a number of reasons why we must counsel people to leave the message and simply follow Christ.
William Branham pointed away from our common salvation
William Branham stated the following in 1964:
- The Word, the Word in the days of the apostles does not work in this day.
But Paul said:
- ...there are some who trouble you and want to distort the gospel of Christ. But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach to you a gospel contrary to the one we preached to you, let him be accursed.
And Jude tells us:
- Beloved, although I was very eager to write to you about our common salvation, I found it necessary to write appealing to you to contend for the faith that was once for all delivered to the saints.
By pointing away from the work of Christ, William Branham distorted the Gospel. There is biblically no room for the message. If it is damnable and dangerous, then we need to flee, and for argument's sake, if it is not accurate in its claims, and yet "harmless", then there is no need for it to even exist. This is a hopeless conundrum for a message believer.
William Branham pointed to himself more than to Christ
The net effect of William Branham's message put his teachings ahead of the Bible. The message becomes your idol.
Here is the testimony of a former message follower:
- As a message believer, when I read about Noah, William Branham was on my mind. When I read about AbraHAM, William Branham was on my mind. When I read about Moses, William Branham was on my mind. When I read about Elijah, William Branham was on my mind. When I read about John the Baptist, William Branham was on my mind. When I read about Paul, William Branham was on my mind. When I read about John in Revelation, William Branham was on my mind.
- And the saddest of all, when I read about Jesus, guess who was on my mind!? Now who continually placed himself in every Scripture he could think of to put my mind on him instead of my Savior? If that didn't take me away from Christ, I don't know what did! Yes, I had to repent with an unbelievable brokenness. I still weep as I write this.
William Branham pointed to believing his message as the evidence of the Holy Spirit
William Branham stated:
- If you are true seed, you will hear that Word; the Spirit will baptize you into the body of Christ, filling you and empowering you, and you will receive the Word for your day and age. See how clear the true evidence becomes when the Word is revealed to you?
- :Now we have been constantly saying that the true evidence of being baptized with the Holy Ghost is for the believer to receive the Word for the age in which he lives.
- There's only one evidence of the Holy Spirit that I know of, and that is a genuine faith in the promised Word of the hour.
But the Bible tells us something entirely different:
- And you also were included in Christ when you heard the message of truth, the gospel of your salvation. When you believed, you were marked in him with a seal, the promised Holy Spirit.
- But you have received the Holy Spirit, and He lives within you, so you don’t need anyone to teach you what is true. For the Spirit teaches you everything you need to know, and what He teaches is true—it is not a lie. So just as He has taught you, remain in fellowship with Christ.
- By His divine power, God has given us everything we need for living a godly life. We have received all of this by coming to know Him, the one who called us to Himself by means of His marvelous glory and excellence.
Message ministers point to the message more than to Christ
By teaching that anyone that doesn't follow the "message" of William Branham is doomed, the "message" becomes the point of salvation, and Christ's sacrifice once and for all time is minimized, if not lost altogether. When people look to the "message" for salvation, they're no longer looking to Christ for salvation.
The majority of message followers exalt the message above the Bible
In response to this, many message believers will say:
- ...I have never put Brother Branham's teachings above the Bible! He told us that the Bible is our absolute and that is what I believe.
While such people may think that they place the Bible above William Branham's teaching, this is in fact not the case. In fact, the opposite is true. William Branham's message ALWAYS trumps the Bible.
William Branham mixed law and grace
William Branham stated that Christ came to magnify the law. Christ come to magnify the law
William Branham used this concept of the magnification of the law, among other things, to bring Old Testament law into the church, thereby going directly against Paul's teaching in the book of Galatians.
William Branham taught a two-tiered Christianity
There is no division in the body of Christ. But William Branham taught that you can't really know God apart from William Branham. It is not the Holy Spirit that leads us into truth, but William Branham alone.
The New Testament teaches no two-level or two-class Christianity. Nowhere in the Epistles do we read of Paul or Peter telling a church that is having problems, “You all need to be baptized in the Holy Spirit.” Nowhere do we hear of the risen Lord Jesus speaking to the troubled and weak churches in Revelation 2–3, “Ask me to baptize you in the Holy Spirit.” Clearly the two-level or two-class view taught by all of these groups throughout history does not have a solid foundation in the New Testament and neither does William Branham's teaching on the subject.
Message followers condemn everyone outside the message
William Branham stated the following:
- Now, when this Angel went to Sodom and begin to speak His message through a man, they mocked at Him and laughed at Him. And they would not receive the message. Neither do they do it today. It's the very same thing, and they won't believe it. There's only one thing left; that's judgment.
- Now there is only one thing can happen. There has to be a Message at the end time, when there is nothing else can follow It. And now the ecumenical world has set up such a regime that there can be no denomination and no not nothing else follow it; you're either in it or you're not in it.
- But he had the end-time message. Now, all that did not believe were condemned, and the ones that did believe the message was saved. God gave them Life and they were saved, and the ones that did not believe It was lost.
This requires those in the message to condemn everyone that does not believe the message. This is completely contrary to the Gospel.
William Branham said his message was Jesus Christ
William Branham stated:
- "What are you going to do with Him, this Jesus called Christ? Christ is the Anointed Word. See? What are you going to do with It? It's the Message of the hour."
By doing this, William Branham effectively places his word above the Bible. If you can't disagree with William Branham, then where he disagrees with the Bible, a message follower must accept William Branham over scripture.
The message places William Branham between the Christian and Jesus
William Branham's message says we need Jesus plus the prophet for this age. But Jesus + Nothing = Everything
Jesus + William Branham = Another Gospel
The message is built on lies
William Branham portrayed himself as a simple, honest, uneducated man who was sent from God as a prophet to forerun the second coming of Christ. However, many of the stories that he told have been proven to be untrue and many of the doctrines that he said he received directly from God were, in fact, plagiarized from other ministers.
- William Branham, 64-0112, Shalom
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ga 1:7–8.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Jud 3.
- William Branham, An Exposition Of The Seven Church Ages, Chapter Four, The Smyrnaean Church Age, para. 154-3 and 155-1
- William Branham, 64-0823E, Questions And Answers #2, para 44
- Ephesians 1:13 NIV
- 1 John 2.27 (NLT)
- 2 Peter 1:3 (NLT)
- William Branham, 58-0928M, The Baptism Of The Holy Spirit, para. 35
- Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 777.