Do message believers place the message above the Bible?
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It is clear that some followers of William Branham believe that he was Jesus Christ. But what most in the message do not understand is that they themselves put his sermons above that of the Bible because they believe that he was infallible. These groups would not only include virtually all of the followers of Joseph Branham but the vast majority of those following William Branham's message in all of its various forms.
How the message is exalted
But some message believers 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. Why? Because here is what they actually believe:
- William Branham was one of the greatest prophets of all time, if not the greatest. Exactly how great he was may vary between message believers BUT, at the very least, they will state that William Branham was one of the seven church age messengers and, therefore, at least the equal of Paul the Apostle. In addition, they generally believe that his ministry as the Seventh Angel puts him in a league above all the other church age messengers.
- As the seventh angel, William Branham could not make any significant doctrinal errors because the purpose of his ministry was to reveal all of the hidden mysteries of God. As a result of this, a message believer does not have the option of disagreeing with William Branham, except possibly in respect of a relatively few, small issues.
- To the extent that you can prove that William Branham did make a significant error, they believe that God corrected him before he died. This has resulted in the doctrine of Progressive Revelation, which basically states that if William Branham taught different things about a subject, one should rely on his last teaching on the issue.
- Message believers hold that the only true evidence of the baptism of the Holy Spirit is believing the Word for your hour. This refers specifically to the teachings of William Branham. As a result, if you think that William Branham's message has any significant errors, to a message believer this proves that you don't have the Holy Spirit. But if you believe what William Branham taught, then you have the baptism of the Holy Spirit.
- We have heard message believers state on many occasions that "the message is Jesus Christ". This statement in and of itself is puts William Branham's message above the Bible.
- That William Branham's teachings are above that of the Bible in the eyes of his followers is clear. If presented with a clear teaching in the Bible that disagrees with William Branham, they will always accept William Branham's teaching and never that of the Bible.
So the answer is "YES", the followers of William Branham hold his teachings above that of the Bible.
In the Psalms, David says:
- I bow down toward your holy temple and give thanks to your name for your steadfast love and your faithfulness, for you have exalted above all things your name and your word.
Anyone that exalts William Branham or his message above the Bible goes against God himself.
Examples of the Bible taking a back seat to William Branham
In a well known racist diatribe, Donny Reagan, the pastor of Happy Valley Church of Jesus Christ, stated publicly in a sermon that if Moses was alive today, he would have to follow William Branham's message. This comment clearly shows that Donny Reagan holds William Branham's message as superseding the Bible. He specifically makes this comment in respect of William Branham's teaching that biracial marriages are contrary to God's plan.
But what does the Bible say about biracial marriages?
- Miriam and Aaron spoke against Moses because of the Cushite woman whom he had married, for he had married a Cushite woman.
A Cushite is from Cush, a region south of Ethiopia, where the people are known for their black skin. We know this because of Jeremiah 13:23: "Can the Ethiopian [the same Hebrew word translated "Cushite" in Numbers 12:1] change his skin or the leopard his spots?""
In response to Miriam’s criticism, God does not get angry at Moses; he gets angry at Miriam. Then God strikes Miriam with leprosy. Why? Consider this possibility. In God’s anger at Miriam, Moses’ sister, God says in effect, "You like being light-skinned Miriam? I’ll make you light-skinned." So we read, "When the cloud removed from over the tent, behold, Miriam was leprous, like snow" (Num. 12:10)
God says not a critical word against Moses for marrying a black Cushite woman.
So according to the Bible, there is no proscription on biracial marriages. William Branham preached against them. Donny Reagan's comments thus prove that he holds William Branham's message as a higher authority than the Bible.
The following video is a look at interracial marriages from a Biblical perspective by John Piper:
The message is in addition to the Bible
Conclusion: The message is something in addition to the Bible
Here is proof from William Branham's own lips:
- If you believe the message of the Bible, and the present Message of the day, a vindication of It; the reason you are sitting here, because you were predestinated to set here. You wouldn't have been here, otherwise; you would have been on the street, maybe drunk, some of you; and some of you out here and running around with some other man's wife; and you women out, married, and running around with some other women's husband, or something like that. See, but you were predestinated to be here. See, you can't help it. You have a Father, He is God, and you were a seed.
But the proper approach is this:
- If we once get above our Bibles, and cease making the written Word of God sole rule both as to faith and practice, we shall soon lie open to all manner of delusion, and be in great danger of making shipwreck of faith and a good conscience. Our blessed Lord, though He had the Spirit of God without measure, yet always was governed by, and fought the devil with, 'It is written.'
Are William Branham's teaching in opposition to Biblical Christianity?
We believe that some message believers are Christians. This is because some message churches do believe in and teach the substitutionary sacrifice of Jesus Christ as the only means for the forgiveness of sins. However, that does not mean that the message represents true or restored Christianity.
To the extent that William Branham preached doctrines that agreed with the Bible, his teachings are acceptable. However, he did disagree with true Biblical Christianity in a number of significant areas.
Many of these false doctrines actually were solely designed to point to himself as being God's supreme prophet for the end time:
- Matthew 17:11
- The Fulfillment of Malachi 4:5
- Enoch being the seventh from Adam
- Reading between the lines
- God only deals with one prophet at a time
- The Importance of a Seven-Lettered Name
Other doctrines were simply incorrect if a person reads the Bible in an honest fashion:
- The Serpent's Seed
- Michael the Archangel
- His Lazy Theology
- Enoch was a type of the wise virgin, and Noah was a type of the foolish virgin
- Illegitimate children cannot be part of the rapture.
- Christians that were required to believe Satanic doctrine
- If your wife cuts her hair, you can divorce her.
- A man can remarry after divorce but a woman can't
- Capernaum is under the sea
- John never wept because there was no one worthy to open the book- he was weeping for joy.
- Three holy words of the Bible
- His reasons for rejecting of Eternal Sonship
- The difference in meaning of Eternal vs. Everlasting
Finally, William Branham's teaching on the Godhead were very strange:
- In some ways, his teachings were most similar to those of Emmanual Swedenborg
- In some of his teachings, his view of the Godhead seems to be a form of modalistic monarchianism. As a result, many message churches effectively espouse the "oneness" view of the Godhead.
- But some of his teaching also leans toward an Adoptionist view of the Godhead. Followers of Lee Vayle's have essentially espoused this view (which some refer to derisively as the "Twinity" doctrine).
Again the answer is "YES", William Branham's teachings contain significant Biblical errors.
As a result of the above, it is clear that "message believers" are members of a cult.
Quotes of William Branham
Based on William Branham's own words, the message as it currently exists is a cult:
- But if you've sold your inheritance, if you sold out and done these things… What am I saying? Return back. If you joined up with some cult that tries to keep you away from fellowship with other brethren, leave the thing. This is jubilee. Amen. I feel religious. Return. Return. This is jubilee. Don't let it pass by. Remember, don't let it pass by.
William Branham appeared to be afraid that people would think that he was starting a cult:
- There had to come forth, must come forth; God ordained it so, that there must come forth, them Seven Seals must be opened. It was supposed to be done in this Laodicean age. And I think, beyond any shadow of doubt… Not as we brag; we have no brag, only on Jesus Christ; none of us. We only brag on Jesus Christ. But we are thankful with the… for the privilege of knowing by any… beyond any shadow of doubt, God has chose us in this last days, and has proven it by the signs in the Heavens and in the earth; and every one of them coming right straight back to the Word, to prove that it's so, this age that we live in, the Message and how It is. We're not a cult. We're not a bunch of fanatics. We are servants of God, that's been called by the Holy Ghost. You'll have all kinds of names tacked to you, but that don't mean it's so.