The doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture is one of the primary reasons for concluding that the message of William Branham is unnecessary for Christians today.
Are scriptures sufficient?
The doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture can be defined as follows:
- Scripture contains all the words of God he intended his people to have at each stage of redemptive history, and that it now contains everything we need God to tell us for salvation, for trusting him perfectly, and for obeying him perfectly.
This definition emphasizes that it is in Scripture alone that we are to search for God’s words to us. It also reminds us that God considers what he has told us in the Bible to be enough for us, and that we should rejoice in the great revelation that he has given us and be content with it.
Should the Bible be sufficient for Message believers?
Sadly, followers of William Branham are not content with the wisdom and knowledge that God has provided us in scripture.
The apostle Paul told Timothy this:
- But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
The apostle Peter tells us:
- I can pray this because his divine power has bestowed on us everything necessary for life and godliness through the rich knowledge of the one who called us by his own glory and excellence.
Should we add to scripture?
It is important to understand that never in church history has God added to the teachings or commands of Scripture: Nowhere in church history outside of Scripture has God added anything that he requires us to believe or to do. Scripture is sufficient to equip us for “every good work,” and to walk in its ways is to be “blameless” in God’s sight. Similarly, God has not spoken to mankind any more words which he requires us to believe or obey other than those which we have now in the Bible.
The sufficiency of Scripture reminds us that we are to add nothing to Scripture and that we are to consider no other writings of equal value to Scripture. This principle is violated by almost all cults and sects. Message believers claim to believe the Bible, but they also claim divine authority for William Branham's message. In practice they hold the sermons of William Branham on a par with Scripture or above it in authority. Since these claims violate God’s commands not to add to his words, we should not think that any additional words from God to us would be found in these writings.
Even in Christian churches a similar error is sometimes made when people go beyond what Scripture says and assert with great confidence new ideas about God or heaven, basing their teachings not on Scripture but on their own speculation or even on claimed experiences of dying and coming back to life.
The sufficiency of Scripture also tells us that God does not require us to believe anything about himself or his redemptive work that is not found in Scripture. The sufficiency of Scripture shows us that no modern revelations from God are to be placed on a level equal to Scripture in authority. We must insist that God does not require us to believe anything about himself or his work in the world that is contained in these revelations but not in Scripture. And we must insist that God does not require us to obey any moral directives that come to us through such means but that are not confirmed by Scripture.
What are we to conclude?
If someone claims to have a message from God telling us what we ought to do, we need never assume that it is sin to disobey such a message unless it can be confirmed by the application of Scripture itself to our situation.
What William Branham taught
William Branham initially appeared to believe in the doctrine of the sufficiency of scripture:
- And I said, "Well brother, I want to tell you something." I said, "I'm not a prophet. It is—that's what people say." But I said, "I—that's," I said, "I'm just His servant." But now, you don't need a prophet to straighten you out; you just need the word of God." .
However, he later changed his mind and stated that the church needed a scriptural sign (which is not taught in the Bible):
- The church needs a Scriptural sign, Truth, in this last days. It needs something.
This progressed to, rather than simply needing to focus on the Bible, we needed a prophet (hint... William Branham):
- Will there ever rise somebody among us, who can preach the Word and tell the Truth, and God vindicate it and prove to the people that He is the same yesterday, today, and forever? We don't need a seminary. We don't need a theologian. We need a prophet. That's right. God promised it, too. 
A prophet (hint... William Branham) was needed to interpret the word. Scripture was not sufficient in itself, we needed a prophet to get it right:
- What we need today. Let me close, in saying this. Now I'm going to close. What we need today is another true prophet. Amen. We need a man for the Word of God to come to. Yes, brother. He'd be rejected and run out, and cast out, but he'd sure blast a hole. He, he could. Yeah. He'd sure as throw such Seeds till the Elected would find It. Uh-huh. That's right. We need a prophet. We need a man who the right interpretation of the Word comes to, that God speaks through him and vindicates the Word, to make It true. That's what we need. And, brother, we are promised one, according to Malachi 4, "To restore." What? "The Faith of the people, back to the Bible." We're promised one. He'll do it.
And the prophet is.... William Branham.
- To my precious, dear brothers and sisters, to all of you. As a servant of God, I never said this before, in the world, in this church, I never said. But as a prophet of the Lord, I say to you, “This is the Light. Walk ye in It.”
But this was not true in that as early as 1951 he had told his church in Jeffersonville that he was a prophet:
- You accept me as God’s prophet? Raise up your hands in the name of the Lord. Stomp your feet up and down. The arthritis leaves you; go off the platform; here is your pock—pocketbook. Saying, thank the Lord, and go ahead off, and praise Him. Let’s say, “Praise the Lord.” like this, everybody give God praise. All right. Have faith.
- Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 127.
- The Holy Bible: English Standard Version (Wheaton: Standard Bible Society, 2001), 2 Ti 3:14–17.
- Biblical Studies Press, The NET Bible First Edition; Bible. English. NET Bible.; The NET Bible (Biblical Studies Press, 2006), 2 Pe 1:3.
- Wayne A. Grudem, Systematic Theology: An Introduction to Biblical Doctrine (Leicester, England; Grand Rapids, MI: Inter-Varsity Press; Zondervan Pub. House, 2004), 131–133.
- William Branham, 55-0311 - The Seal Of The Antichrist, para. 30
- William Branham, 63-0731 - There Is Only One Way Provided By God For Anything, para. 155
- William Branham, 64-1212 - The Harvest Time, para. 283
- William Branham, 62-0513M - The Way Of A True Prophet Of God, para. 342
- 61-0813 - Faith, para. 78
- 51-0923 - The Principles Of Divine Healing (Jeffersonville), para. 101