What if William Branham was a Prophet?
We do not believe William Branham to be a prophet, at least in the context of those following the message.
But what if William Branham was the prophet of Malachi 4? What if he was the messenger to the last church age as those in the believe? What then?
No significant consequences
If you are following Jesus Christ, and are filled with the Holy Spirit, it would not matter whether William Branham was actually a prophet. Is it possible to be a true follower of Jesus Christ outside of the message? Certainly!
We understand from scripture that God's "divine power has given us everything we need for a godly life through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness."
Only two of Jesus' disciples were previously followers of John the Baptist. It was not a requirement to follow John in order to follow Jesus. Why should it be different now?
The problem of Deuteronomy 18:20-22
More importantly, Deuteronomy 18:22 can't be ignored. There are multiple failed visions - see, for example:
- The Municipal Bridge Vision
- The Brown Bear Vision
- The Vision of the Meetings in South Africa
- Prophecy of the Cloud
- The Marilyn Monroe Vision
Since we reject the doctrine of the Returned Ministry, the only logical conclusion is that William Branham failed the true test of a prophet. We have not attempted to discredit his healing or discernment ministry but those are gifts that were promised to the church in 1 Corinthians 12. They do not make a person a prophet.
Message ministers and message believers cannot deal with this and so end up intentionally bypassing all of the issues because of the process of Cognitive Dissonance - they simply rationalize the problems away.
Also, nothing that William Branham taught was salvational, i.e. there is nothing unique to the message that one's salvation is dependent on. Indeed, some of his teachings were just plain non-scriptural (see Michael the Archangel and Marriage and Divorce). But your salvation and standing with God is not dependent on whether you believe The Serpent's Seed doctrine. Salvation is solely dependent on accepting the finished work of Calvary. It is not "Jesus plus something". It is not "Jesus plus the message". It is not "Jesus plus Serpent's Seed Doctrine". It is just Jesus!
The only thing that matters is that you are a Christian. You must be led by the Spirit of God, because those that are led of the Spirit are the sons and daughters of God. While there are those in the message that are Christians, the vast majority of message believers are lukewarm, and their hearts are no different than the people in denominational churches that they preach against.
The major problem with the message is that it mixes law and grace. Paul said that the result of mixing law and grace is that you alienate yourself from Christ.
How can Bro. Branham be a prophet when he failed the simple test of Deuteronomy 18:22? We certainly appreciate that there are ways to rationalize oneself around all of the problems, just like the UFO cult followers did in our article on cognitive dissonance. But to the simple and the unlearned, William Branham failed the test.
- The New International Version (Grand Rapids, MI: Zondervan, 2011), 2 Pe 1:3.