William Branham was just human
On September 12, 2020, the first-ever English language debate between a message pastor (Jesse Smith of Akron, OH) and an ex-message Christian (Rod Bergen from the Off The Shelf podcast) took place. The discussion was moderated by Jay Cox and Tim Kraus.
Message believers often defend, or attempt to justify, William Branham's lies with comparing him to the "humanness" of the characters in the Bible.
Abraham lied about Sarah
They say "Well, Abraham Lied". This is true, but the facts that are in a lie, and who it affects, bear a lot of weight on the gravity of the lie. To say "she is my sister" to one man to save his skin, is one thing. What if the whole story about God coming and telling him that He was going to give him a son was a lie? Or the story about God sending a ram to keep him from slaying his promised son, what if that was a lie? Those lies would have a much farther reaching affect. So to justify Bro. Branham's lies with that comparison is not an honest assessment. William Branham's lies were for the express purpose to deceive as many as he could get to believe him. His lies are affecting millions of honest people. His lies were about the foundational aspects of his ministry. His entire ministry was built upon those lies.
It would be like finding out that The Angel never came to Mary and that Jesus was actually the bastard born son of Joseph. That all of Christianity was predicated upon a lie. You see, not all lies have the same far reaching consequences.
David and Bathsheba
Another Bible character that gets mentioned a lot to justify William Branham, is David. He stole another mans wife and then had him murdered to cover up the sin of adultery that ensued. Yet God said that David was a man after Gods own Heart. The reason God said that about him was because David had the capacity to repent with Godly sorrow. Bro. Branham never repented or corrected the lies that he told. If he had, there would be no "message" to follow. The reason that we gave him "poetic license" as it were, to interpret Scriptures with out question, is because of the lies he told that were his foundational vindications. If you remove those, what do you have? Just another man's opinion about Scripture.
The Bible says that the Old Testament was a school master and a shadow. God saw to it that, after Israel asked for a law to serve Him by, that all of the human aspects of the people that live under the law were made manifest so that we (New Testament believers) would see that we can't live the law... We need God's Grace or we are done. So now we are saved by grace through faith, and that not of ourselves, it is the gift of God. Does that make me want to live any old way? God forbid. Now, it is the Love of God (or my love for God) that constrains me to do the will of God.
And isn't that what God wanted all along, a people that would serve him from the heart? So that being said, God gave us His spirit to help us live a life that pleases Him, and when we fall short, and we will, we are covered by the Blood.
The Old Testament saints did not have access to the life of Christ to help them live a Godly life. So, I think that our expectations should be different for a man that claims to have "The literal Life of Jesus Christ". Should we expect perfection? No. But I don't think honesty is too much to ask for.
Please understand, we are not bitter against William Branham at all. But we are disappointed.