The September 2020 Debate - Part 6

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    Click here to listen to part 6 of the Debate on the Off The Shelf podcast.


    The September 2020 debate was released in seven parts as listed below - you are currently in the category that is in bold:


    Jay Cox: Awesome. So then, I'm sorry. I did see somewhere, it does appear I lost track of who asked the last question. So the last question we have here today, I'm not sure exactly whose question it is.

    Rod Bergen: Question five. I think that's where we're at.

    Jay Cox: Yes, we should be on question five.

    Rod Bergen: I started off asking Jesse, so I'll ask Jesse and then he can ask his fifth question and then we'll do a wrap up.

    Jay Cox: Okay. Awesome. Sounds good. Thank you for keeping up where I'm somewhat failing here a little bit.

    Rod Bergen: Jesse, Jesus said in John 1335, that the evidence that we were as followers would be the love that we had for each other. Not only that, but in Matthew 5:43 to 47, we're commanded to love those that don't love us. But given my experience, and that of hundreds of people that I've interacted with who have left the message, this is not what is found in message churches.

    William Branham told of a vision he had of a Pentecostal kitten. When petted, when you petted the animal against the fur, it would spit and become extremely upset. But this is actually a lot more [00:01:00] true of message followers than it is of anyone in the Pentecostal church.

    If the message of William Branham was supposed to restore the church to the faith of its fathers, it failed. How could William Branham be the messenger to the church of Laodicea, the Elijah prophet, the angel of Revelation 10:7, when the fruit of his ministries, his followers, look nothing like the first fruits, the early church.

    Jesse Smith: I'm sorry, Brother. You haven't found love within message circles. That's heartbreaking. That's heartbreaking. And the reason I think is because they haven't obeyed the Bible. I cannot speak for others in the message. I wasn't a witness of any of your interactions. I wasn't there.

    But I hope and believe there is some love in some of those churches there. I would just believe there's somebody there with the real love of God. We're commanded to go to our brothers and meekness Galatians six, one and two. I think the main problem is many are not born again. Jesus said few there be that, find it in Matthew seven, 14.

    It's a narrow road. I think a lot of people [00:02:00] are afraid because they don't have answers. I know, that's what I was when you first started at rod. I just, I never studied these things. I didn't know. I was a young pastor, even younger than I am now. And so I was just hesitant, I didn't know everything.

    I still don't know everything. But I knew the word was right to me. That was my, all those thus saith, the Lord doctrines and everything. I knew that was right for me. That was my understanding because the word of God is living active, sharper than any double-edged sword. And then I had to wait for the time and season the Bible.

    So there's a time for everything. God makes everything beautiful in his time. I think some people avoid you, Rod, because of Romans 16:17, about they think you're causing a division. And so they think they have permission to avoid, but I still think, like you said, they should do it with love. We have to have love.

    That's one thing we got to have in the message is love. Just everywhere, everywhere you got, if you're a Christian, you have to be a loving person. So in my opinion, Brother Branham's message has not failed miserably. Because I've seen it work in my life. Other men, other women of God around [00:03:00] me I was ordained by Isaiah Brooks.

    I was taught the word by Craig Buer. I have friends like Jim Shoemaker, Samuel Brown, and people right around this area. I haven't traveled much in the message. God called me to pastor about four years after I became a message believer. I haven't really got out that much, but, brother rod, in all my sins against I made mistakes against preachers.

    I've whenever I've gone to them, they forgiven me. We reached through our fellowship. I confess my complexes or my sins, or we talk about it. One time, I went in front of the whole church in a Pennsylvania church and apologized in tears for something I'd done wrong. Which, if you preach something publicly, you should repent publicly.

    So I've done that. I think the reason fewer showing love is because of prophecy. Jesus said in Matthew 24:12, because iniquity shall bound the love of many shall wax cold. Paul said, evil seducers shall wax worse and worse deceiving and being deceived. So the conditions of the day, the group is getting narrow people that really have the love of Jesus Christ.

    So I think people [00:04:00] fall under this prophecy and anyone that really doesn't love righteousness. They go into iniquity and they don't manifest the real love of Jesus Christ like this. I believe this message has done for me and I'll stop right there.

    Rod Bergen: Okay. A quick followup. Speaking of the fruit of the message, which I mentioned, we should also look at some of the fruit of the message with respect to what William Branham failed to discern.

    Most people aren't aware that the infamous Jim Jones, who was responsible for the deaths of 909 of his followers with cyanide laced Kool-Aid got his ministry start from William Branham. It's not surprising that any reference to Jones made by William Branham appears to have fallen to the "blank spot on the tape" problem.

    Leo Mercer, one of the tape boys, was accused of molesting and abusing children at the park in testimony given in the Supreme court of California. Other bad fruit would include people like Paulaseer Lowery. Roger Rudin, Paul Schäfer, Don Parnell. Paul Schäfer had a [00:05:00] movie made about him. Details are on our website. We have an upcoming series of podcasts, which will be an exposition of Joseph Coleman and the seven thunders movement.

    One of the worst examples is Lee Vayle, who took William Branham's teachings, and from them, started teaching that Jesus Christ was not deity. He got that from William Branham's teaching. His followers are not even Christians. How could William Branham be the messenger of the church of Laodicea with such a lack of discernment with respect to bad leadership fruit?

    Jesse Smith: Okay. One thing is true, I'm sure a lot of those things are true. I don't know why God didn't give him discernment. I guess that'd be between him and God. You and I, Rod, we can't discern everybody, and I think the same is true about Brother Branham. The disciples, now I know they didn't have the Holy Ghost, but they couldn't discern Judas because at the last supper they said, is it, I that's going to be betray us. God kept it from him. So there's times God keeps it from us where we're not able to discern everybody.

    And [00:06:00] the other thing is maybe at that time, Leo and. Lee Vayle, maybe at the time of brother Branham's life, maybe they were living true. I don't know. I wasn't there, but just because there's bad fruit, like Judas, doesn't mean Jesus was a bad teacher. Judas, we all seen that meme. Judas had the best pastor, but he still chose money over the word of God.

    The same is true with the message. The message still has really good fruit. There's really good message believers out there. I'm trusting by God's grace, I'm one of them that can bring forth the love of Jesus Christ and the power of Jesus Christ. And it breaks my heart that there's bad fruit out there.

    And I don't know why God didn't give him the discernment. I don't know. But I don't want to just because of bad fruit or bad people around the true prophet, throw out the prophet. Cause I know what the prophet said was the word of God. And I have to look at the good fruit that's in my life and that's in people's lives.

    And we know it's going to be a small flock. Jesus said little flock. Jesus had few there be that, find it.

    Jay Cox: And you guys are doing perfectly here. I haven't even had to mention the [00:07:00] one minute mark, or call out anything. This is nice. Go ahead. I didn't mean to cut you off or anything.

    Rod Bergen: Jesse's got question five now.

    Jay Cox: Alrighty.

    Jesse Smith: Rod, the last one, are you willing to agree that the following three prophecies, spoken with thus saith the Lord, were spoken beforehand? Cause I know that's something you care about. We all, and we all do care about that and are in the process of coming to pass. The immoral condition of American churches, dancing to rock and roll, bobbing hair, et cetera. No greater ministry to the Gentiles will rise and Brother Branham's gift of discernment and no denomination would ever break up and come back to the word. Okay. That's all I have to say.

    Rod Bergen: Okay, one word answer. No. I don't think I can deal with these three properly in five minutes, but we'll see where I get to, and then we'll decide whether you want me to go longer.

    First, let me start out by saying, I believe in the gift of prophecy in the church and there should be prophets. However, a prophet under the old covenant is not the same as a prophet under the new covenant. We read first Corinthians 14, two or three prophets should speak, the other should evaluate. First [00:08:00] Thessalonians five, don't despise prophecies. But you gotta be careful 'cause verse 21 continues, but test all things, hold onto what is good.

    So we know that first are apostles, then are prophets. Prophets would include Agabus, Philip's four daughters. We know that a prophet is someone that has the gift of prophecy. And we know that prophets can be male or female. That's throughout the New Testament. We also understand Matthew 7:22 that it's possible for a person to prophecy and that it not be of God. So let's take a look at the first quote, prophesy, unquote, you selected. William Branham stated on January 1st, 1965 that the church of the United States, that it would be who dancing, paint, shorts, bobbed hair, smoking cigarettes, twisting as they walked to rock and roll, unquote. There are a number of things that show that William Branham's prophecy was fault.

    First. The CDC says there's been a 67% decline in smoking in the US from 1965 to 2017. Very [00:09:00] few people smoke, as compared to 1965, and it's still falling every year. Secondly, in 2013, research by Gallup showed that three times as many people smoke, who don't attend church than those who attend weekly.

    Given that now there are only 15% of the people in the U S who were smokers in 2017. The amount of people who smoke and regularly attend church is minuscule. So William Branham's prophecy that church would be a bunch of smokers is not a true prophecy. It's also interesting to note that William Branham related the same vision on April 29th, 1965. And he added this... quote... after awhile, when she come back this way, it said now the modern church will come into preview and here come the Asian church up. I never seen such a filthy bunch, unquote. This is another false prophecy. Last year, the BBC reported that Christian persecution is that near genocide levels in Asia and that [00:10:00] one in three Asian Christians now experienced high levels of persecution for their faith. Another news report stated that the church in Asia had grown from 62 million people in 1972, more than 266 million in 2015. And it is estimated that number will climb to 431 million by 2050. But nearly 140 million Christians in Asia suffered hostility last year. Persecution, according to the annual Open Doors world watch list. What do you call a church that is persecuted, but in spite of the persecution is growing at an unbelievable pace. To me, Jesse, that sounds like the early church, but William Branham said of the Asian church, I've never seen such a filthy bunch.

    That's just straight up false. What should I call someone that makes a prophecy that is false? Now let's look at your second so-called prophecy. July 7th, 1962, William Branham stated, quote, in the name of the Lord, you'll never see nothing greater.

    A couple of [00:11:00] comments on this statement. First, if I pay attention to the clear wording of the prophecy, this is a double negative.

    So therefore the prophecy is saying that I will see something greater. So, if you're saying that we need to pay attention to exactly what William Branham says, that this isn't really a prophecy, but let's look at some interesting facts about William Branham's ministry. First, we are now 55 years after William Branham's death.

    He has faded into oblivion. Virtually no one today knows who he is. What happened in the 55 years after the. The resurrection? Well, the most powerful man on the planet, the emperor Nero knew all about Christianity. To the extent that he killed the two main leaders in the church, Paul and Peter. That happened within 40 years after the resurrection.

    Second, do you know about the third wave that democratization of miracles? The de-emphasis of the clergy/laity distinction that came about through the ministry of John Wimber and others?

    Third, Walter Hollenweger, a noted Pentecostal historian who worked as a translator for a William Branham in Switzerland, [00:12:00] wrote that William Branham possessed an extraordinary diagnostic gift, could identify the illness of people he had never seen. Unfortunately, his healing prognosis was accurate only in rare cases. The excuse of healing evangelists, in such cases, has always been the patient did not really believe, for they were convinced the faith leads automatically to healing.

    Hollenweger also wrote that, by contrast to what he claimed, only a small percentage of those that sought healing were actually healed. William Branham's ministry was not what it seemed. God has done much greater things through the church since William Branham's departure. And with respect to William Branham's discernment ministry, it is interesting to note that William Branham admitted that he guessed diseases at the start of his ministry. His discernment ministry is amazingly similar to what I have read about in Darren Brown's books, Tricks Of The Mind. So I don't have time, I've run out of time to deal with the third prophecy, but you say it's being filled and I don't think it has.

    [00:13:00] And I could explain that in detail.

    Jay Cox: And then pastor Smith, your three minutes.

    Jesse Smith: Rod, go ahead and finish. Can you quick, I got to get home pretty soon. Can you finish?

    Rod Bergen: William Branham stated that denominations will not come back to the word. He was stating that they would not believe what William Branham preached, which was not the true word, but simply his incorrect interpretation, in my view.

    He stated they would go into the antichrist. That certainly is no more closer to happening now than it was when William Branham was alive. But I appreciate your coming at this with your message glasses on. There's actually no way for me or you to prove or disprove that this prophecy has been fulfilled or not fulfilled.

    It's too ambiguous in my view, not a prophecy.

    Jay Cox: And then go ahead and respond there if you'd like Pastor Smith.

    Jesse Smith: Okay. Yeah. I agree with a lot of what you said about prophets at the beginning. It's hard. The first prophecy Yeah, I Brother Branham never said how much of the church would smoke. So to me, I don't think that's an important part there.

    But I've met preachers. I met a Lutheran pastor that I was [00:14:00] talking about how God delivered me from cigarettes and he had a pack of cigarettes under his robe. And so I think it was just the acceptance of cigarettes cause people don't preach about it. So that's, we could differ on that, but I think there, I think we have to be careful how we interpret that.

    We didn't say how many people would be smoking. The modern Asian church Brother, we have a sister in our church from Hong Kong and her family is not in the message and all their friends go to Catholic church and they're Asians, of course. But they don't read their Bibles. They don't even live Christianity. And so from her perspective, her observation is most Asians do not really truly serve God. Now that's her opinion. I don't know. So I'm just responding to that. That's from her. She was raised in Hong Kong. I'm not even sure they have the right version of the Bible. I heard some things about that, but like I said, I've never been in contact with people.

    Now as far as never seeing anything greater, he said, what quote would there is? I think there's six quotes where he talks about that with us. Say the Lord, they'll never see a greater gift than his, during the Gentile church ages. Let's see. And as far as him being [00:15:00] rejected, Paul wrote in Timothy that all Asia had rejected him at the end of his ministry.

    So for a preacher, a prophet to be rejected by most people that's, I think that's a common theme in scripture. No preacher today. It has discernment like Brother Branham's. Just from the testimonies of the few people I've met, it was legitimate. It was honest, Tom Brown foreign tombs. They were clearly discerned and even told the future, Sister Humes was told the future.

    And but the man rebuked the demon in the name of Jesus Christ and it came to pass. So yeah, I don't see any gift. I've never seen any gift compared to brother Branham's genuine discernment that happened. I know Owen Jorgensen. I've never met him, but I read in his article. He knows someone who was in Brother Branham's meetings and it was discerned correctly.

    I think he told them 15, brother Branham told her 15 details about it. And that was all accurate. And prophecy says the Christian group is going to get smaller and smaller. So I that's what I believe with that. I didn't know Brother Branham guessed about something, so I have to get the website, he admitted, guessing about healings off to get the, your website about that.

    And the [00:16:00] last one, what was the, I have to remember to look up the last one. Give me a moment here. Oh, denominations. Yeah. So that's just my, my that's from our perspective, I agree again, it's your perspective against our perspective, as far as the denomination coming back to the word, but again, when the apostolic fathers said God was one person, they never called them three.

    When five examples in the book of acts, they baptize in the literal name of Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus Christ. And when we see all the church and then a lot of denominations are electing homosexuals to lead them. I'm not condemning them to hell. I'm just saying I'm warning them. The Bible says you won't inherit the kingdom of God, if you are a homosexual. With all those signs, I believe we cannot see any denomination coming back to any form of apostolic, Bible based teaching.

    Jay Cox: Real quick. I do want to say something. I, wasn't going to share this until I read the numbers and realize that I'm not entirely sure who it helps or hurts.

    So I am going to share it because I think [00:17:00] the information is neutral, but as it turns out, there's a Gallup poll, which says about 12% of people who attend church once a week are smokers. If you add people who attend almost every week, according to the poll that increases to 26%. And once a month increases to 48%. So I don't know what exactly that information means.

    Rod Bergen: Jay, that can't be right. I'd have to check what date is that because there's a 2017 poll, which showed that only 15% of the people in the U S smoke. And that you're, if you don't go to church three times more likely. And this was CDC and Gallup.

    The CDC, I trust their numbers too. So there's no way that 50% of people that go to church smoke. Hardly anybody smokes now, hardly anybody. Just to say, I want to get spoken to the hospitals, it's just, Nope, nobody smokes anymore. There are a few people, but not very many well.

    Jay Cox: Like I said, I won't get necessarily too deep into it, just because, this is obviously [00:18:00] your guys' conversation, but just to give you an idea of where I got the source, it's a Gallup Hathaway, our Gallup health ways joint wellbeing index based off of, I think it says 350,000 interviews in 2012.

    Rod Bergen: Yeah, it's 2012. The CDC and the Gallup stuff I read was from 2017. So it's a lot, it's later. Jay Cox: And I would say that would be pretty interesting if it did drop that fast I'd want to compare those two. I think that's a good thing for the audience though, to know those two exist.

    I will, once we post this. Take both that 2017 article and the article I got for you guys right now, and actually post that along with some other references that you guys have made .

    Rod Bergen: I will post this on our website too.

    Jay Cox: Absolutely. Yeah. This has been a great conversation. Is there anybody else that had anything else you wanted to add here?

    Rod Bergen: I just got one follow-up that I want to do on this issue. And that is Deuteronomy 18 has a one strike and you're out test. All that I have to do is show one single vision or prophecy that failed, and we have multiple. Just showing that [00:19:00] something you assert might have come to pass doesn't cut it.

    You have to conclusively disprove everything we show relating to William Branham's failed visions and prophecies. And we didn't even talk about the seven, or maybe he was the 10, visions of 1933. And I would challenge all of our listeners to go to the sermons of William Branham and find where he lays out the seven visions clearly. Guess what?

    He never does. You have to piece them together from 1953 to 1964. He doesn't even mention the last of the seven or, I mean 10, until 1964. They change over time. Even though he says they were written down. Some were flat out wrong. President Roosevelt did not start World War II. Try teaching that in school, and so how far you get.

    It's also important when we deal with prophecies that you referred to, that you need to consider all of William Branham's before the fact prophecies. And we've talked about this. William Branham said in 1954, the Russian empire will drop an atomic bomb of some sort on the Vatican city, destroy it in one hour, thus saith the Lord.

    Then in [00:20:00] 1962, he says, they say communism will go take the world over. Don't you believe that communism ain't going to take over. So the Bible says Romanism will take over not communism. He's got conflicting prophecies. The second one appears to be actually more true re communism, but I don't think Rome is taking over anything.

    I haven't seen, Jesse, that you've been able to show any unambiguous prophecies that William Branham made before the fact that were clearly fulfilled. And I know you, you won't admit it, because if you did, you'd have to admit that William Branham was not a prophet. And you can't, since that's against your religion, you can't admit that. I get that, but I just don't think the evidence is there.

    Jay Cox: And then, pastor Smith. Did you have anything you wanted to add before we go to concluding statements? Jesse Smith: No, I think I've laid out scripturally where I stand with everything and I believe all the prophecies have to look at individually to see if they're conditional or unconditional. So we can go to the closing.