Ministers must marry a virgin

From BelieveTheSign
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This article is one in a series of studies on William Branham and legalism - you are currently on the page that is in bold:

What is a requirement of someone that is a pastor or minister in a church?

What is taught in the Message

William Branham believed, and it is commonly taught in the message, that a man cannot minister in a church (for example, as the pastor) if his wife was not a virgin at the time that he married her.

This is based on taking references to the Levitical priesthood out of the Old Testament and applying them to the New Testament church. However, this is not Biblical teaching.

What the Bible teaches

The law, that is the Old Testament mosaic law, is not required to be followed in the New Testament church. In fact, Paul refers to the law as the "ministry of death":

 Now if the ministry of death, carved in letters on stone, came with such glory that the Israelites could not gaze at Moses’ face because of its glory, which was being brought to an end, will not the ministry of the Spirit have even more glory? For if there was glory in the ministry of condemnation, the ministry of righteousness must far exceed it in glory.[1]

Paul says that if you are under the law, you are under a curse:

 For all who rely on works of the law are under a curse; for it is written, “Cursed be everyone who does not abide by all things written in the Book of the Law, and do them.” 11 Now it is evident that no one is justified before God by the law, for “The righteous shall live by faith.” 12 But the law is not of faith, rather “The one who does them shall live by them.” 13 Christ redeemed us from the curse of the law by becoming a curse for us—for it is written, “Cursed is everyone who is hanged on a tree”— 14 so that in Christ Jesus the blessing of Abraham might come to the Gentiles, so that we might receive the promised Spirit through faith.[2]

Furthermore, the Apostle Paul laid down the requirements for deacons and overseers (which applies to pastors) in the church and did not include the strange marriage requirement that was adopted by William Branham. these requirement can be found in 1 Timothy 3:1-13 and Titus 1:5-9.

This requirement which William Branham laid on ministers of the Gospel was simply another example of his legalistic approach to the Gospel.

Quotes of William Branham

There is no minister that can marry a widow. Did you know that? You want to read that? All right, you get in the Leviticals, Leviticus 21:7 and Ezekiel 44:22, and It'll show you that the priesthood was not to marry a woman that's been touched by man. This type is of the virgin Bride of Jesus Christ, because they handled the Fire of God, the priests did, Aaron's sons. We haven't got time to read It all, and get out by noon, we got twenty minutes yet. And them is Aaron's sons that handled the--the--the Fire of God, so they could not marry a woman that had been touched by another man. The unchanging God said so. They could not marry another woman, and a woman been touched by a man, showing in type here, if you want to see it, that the Church of the living God is purely, unadulterated, the Word of God, and not a denomination that's been handled by man.

Solomon could marry any woman that wasn't married, he could marry any woman he wanted to. A priest could marry only a woman that was a virgin. Solomon...

Like David, he married (what was her name?) Abigail. Which, there was a man called a "fool," he had a nice wife, and he died. And Abigail was married to David; he was a king, not a priest, see, so he--he married.

But a priest could not do that, because he had touched or got a woman to be his wife that was already been some man's wife. So that shows the virgincy of the Church of the Lord Jesus Christ, the Bride will have to be unadulterated, the Word, not one Word missing nowhere. Certainly. Could you imagine a correct bride, one breast off, and, the other one, something another wrong, you know? That's not going to be the Bride of Christ. She is perfect. She is everything the Word, not one Word failing anywhere. No.[3]


  1. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 2 Co 3:7–9.
  2. The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), Ga 3:10–14.