"The Oneness Pentecostals stress that God is absolutely one (Isa 44:6, 8, 24)—that is, one without distinction of persons. There are no distinctions in God’s eternal being, and the Godhead does not consist of three centers of consciousness (as some Trinitarians hold). Moreover, in Jesus dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily (Col 2:9)." (Oneness Pentecostal Confession. 9,34. 2007)
An Examination of the Doctrine of Branhamism by Elder Steve Epley
Elder Steve Epley
This is a work prepared by Elder Steve Epley for a missions works in Brazil and India that were being assaulted by this false teaching several years ago. Anyone wanting to know more about the false teachings of William Branham will enjoy Elder Epley's inimitable sayings and writing style. ____
The reason I have chosen this title even though I realize it will be offensive to the exponents of this heresy is that you cannot separate this man from his teaching since much of the teaching surrounds who and what role he purported himselfto be. I will not even attempt to castigate nor defend his humble beginnings. Whether he was a sincere and devout man who went astray or whether he was a charlatan influenced by a evil spirit. I will allow others I know which are in both camps to fight that out. But I do know particularly from the late 1950's until his untimely death on December 24,1965, he preached doctrines that are not only false but demonic inspired.
I will try to attempt to accurately state then deny by the Bible these false teachings. Lest anyone would not feel that I am qualified to my utter shame I reluctantly acknowledge I believed in this man and his message for over a decade of my life. While I cannot ever recall those wasted years I can try to help some unlearned person to not fall into the same trap that captured me as a young simple honest but deceived man. So with that out of the way, lets begin.
William M. Branham
WILLIAM MARRION BRANHAM 1906-1965
As one the forerunners of the modern day charismatic movement and one of the leaders in what is now known as "LATTER RAIN MOVEMENT' his place in Pentecostal history in this century cannot be overlooked. There is not one history study in modern Pentecostalism that his name does not occur. While there are brief mentioning of him by other Oneness historians that do speak somewhat of his teachings not many of them accurately tell what he taught and then refute his teaching accurately. Branham taught by inference that he was the long awaited Prophet Elijah that was to come to restore the elect to the original faith of the Apostles. Also that the seven churches spoken of in Revelation 2 & 3 are actually seven church ages and the angels are messengers sent to each age in which only they alone had the revealed truth for their day. Since the seventh age is the last church age the seventh messenger is also the Seventh Angel of Rev. 10:7. While I will refute each of these erroneous positions I ask one question? If Branham was this overly humble lowly servant of God, then please explain to me how you can be humble then claim you are the only human of this century who has the complete revelation of God not only for this day, but even knows what is on the backside of the book that is not even written in scripture. I dare them to say he didn't teach that. At least Bishop Johnson was ignorant enough to say if you hadn't heard it from my mouth you haven't heard it. But this false humility is part of the lure to ensnare the simple.
POINT ONE: WHO WAS WAITING FOR ELIJAH TO RESTORE THE CHURCH BACK TO THE DOCTRINE OF THE APOSTLES? NOT THE TRUE JESUS NAME CHURCH. Regardless what false teacher teaches the church somehow fell into total apostasy then was somehow restored by the reformation that concept only exist in the minds of folks that have a problem really believing the necessity of the new birth message and are ignorant of true church history and evidently have a problem believing what Jesus himself said about the duration of the church. Jesus said without reservation"UPON THIS ROCK I WILL BUILD MY CHURCH AND THE GATES OF HELL SHALL NOT PREVAIL AGAINST IT." Mt.16:18 This mighty flame of truth may have been reduced to a flicker at times in history but you can rest assure it has always existed pure in doctrine and life until this very day. If not, you make Jesus a Liar and one who can produce a church but did not have the power or will to preserve it. So in short there is no restoration of the Apostolic Church. Much less Elijah coming to restore it. The passage misused teach this is found in Malachi 4:5-6. Branham borrowed this concept from Alexander Dowie who founded a cult in Zion, Il. in the latter part of the 1900's. Does this passage in Malachi promised that at the end of the Gentile age Elijah is going to come? Well you can believe Branham or Jesus. Jesus very clearly states in Mt.17;10-13 that John the Baptist was Elijah or the fulfillment of this promise note the wording "THAT ELIAS IS COME ALREADY AND THEY KNEW HIM NOT," not so bad that those people in the first century could not recognize who John really was but it is twice as bad when we have the written record WRITTEN IN RED if you please that Elijah isn't coming he has come nearly 2000 yrs. ago and Mr. Branham and his followers still don't know it. Branham said there are 5 comings of Elijah promised in the Bible. We only ask this one simple question WHERE? They may say well in Malachi it says dreadful day of the Lord. Anyone that has a casual knowledge of history must confess since Israel's rejection of John, Jesus, and the Apostles from 70 AD up to the present the dreadful judgement of God has been on that land and people of that land even the Holocaust of this century will testify to that fact. So the first false premise of a latter day prophet evaporates into oblivion when tested by the Bible.
Let us examine the second "proof text"
The Messenger of the Seventh Church Age is the Seventh Angel of Rev. 10:7. Point one these letters were addressed to the seven churches that ARE IN ASIA. Now whether they may type the history of the church up to the present may very well be but do not overlook the obvious these are seven local congregations in Asia Minor. And these letters were sent to the angels or pastors of those seven local churches. It is very interesting that as Branham attempts to name these seven men in church history who are to fulfill these roles some of which were not even members of the Lord's church if the Bible can be believed. I will only name two while there are others also who are questionable. Martin Luther he declares is the Angel to the Sardis Church Age.
John Wesley is the Angel to the Philadelphian Age.
Now even Prophet Branham sees his problem in getting folks to be baptized in Jesus Name preaching this so he is clear to let you know that they are only reformers but the seventh messenger will be a prophet. Well you can't have both if Baptism in Jesus Name is only baptism recognized by God in scripture then that leaves Martin and John out. Not only are they not the Angels of the Church they are not even in the Church. What a joke! Except a man be born of water he cannot see or understand the kingdom of God. Now here are two men by their own writings have not experience the new birth how could they possibly restore any truth to the Church. Luther believed in the doctrine of the Trinity, Infant baptism, a Calvinistic style of personal predestination, thought the Jews should be killed for crucifixion of Christ, and even had a Oneness man burned to the stake for his denial of the Trinity. So if Branham's theory is correct then maybe we should be Lutherans.
John Wesley did not preach truth if what even Branham preached was true. So two of these so-called Messengers are down and we have one to go. Please notice the linking of the Angel of the Church of the Laodiceans with the Seventh Angel of Rev. 10:7. Just a note Branham borrowed his interpretation of Rev. 10:7 from another late false prophet Joseph Smith who founded the Mormon Cult.
As already stated the seven angels of chapters 2&3 were the pastors of seven local assemblies in Asia but the Seventh Angel in 10:7 must be a celestial Angel if context means anything at all. Note 8;1 mentions these angels through the next 2 chapters they are given their commissions if keeping biblical context means anything then if the Angel of 10:7 is Branham then the other six were these other men he proclaims to be the messengers of the ages. Of course anyone causally reading these verses would see the absurdity of this position.You can't have it both, if 10;7 is the Laodicean Messenger then Luther was the angel with the key to the bottomless pit read 9:1. This hog-pog piece work of interpretation would be hilarious if men were not tying their eternal destination to it.
Also a last thought on "WHO'S ON FIRST" interpretation Branham taught the Church would go out in chapter 4 ( at least we have one bit of prophecy he's right on) How can the Church go out in chapter 4 and the Messenger still be here in chapter 10? Maybe he didn't make it. Deut.13 clearly warns us that if a prophet or seer of visions or dreamer of dreams give you a sign or wonder and they come to pass, and he bids you to go after other gods do not follow them. So all the halo pictures, cloud pictures, and other so-called proofs don't mean a blessed thing if they are not preaching the Apostle's doctrine. It doesn't matter how many Angels appeared to Branham, Joseph Smith, or any other so-called prophet Paul declared for us to let them be accursed:8 POINT TWO; Now to this restored doctrine we have been breathlessly waiting for since the time of Paul. THE NEW BIRTH AS TAUGHT BY BILL BRANHAM. Branham never could make up his mind whether Baptism remits sin or not. His followers may try to deny this but anyone familiar with his tapes or books know that he made conflicting statements. On some occasions he held the Baptist view that baptism is for sins that are already remitted. Then on other occasions he emphatically stated that baptism remits sin. I am not going to try to second guess him, but honestly by my acquaintance with the movement the majority would believe the first position. The scriptures clearly teach "ONLY THROUGH BAPTISM IN THE NAME OF JESUS CHRIST CAN REMISSION OF SIN BE OBTAINED." So on this part of the new birth he is so muddy there is no clear sound. If he would have been sent to restore the Apostolic Message wouldn't he a least been positive about the first Message preached on Pentecost in Acts 2;38. Here is a side note Branham preached in Jeffersonville, In. a message entitled"It Wasn't So From the Beginning" in that message he stated anyone who baptized in the trinity was false prophet then the next week preached a Trinity camp in Ohio and at the altar call he told converts at the altar he was not there to baptize them but the good men of the camp could baptize them.
How can they be false prophets on Sunday and good men to baptize them into a false baptism later in the week. He constantly was preaching for and fellow shipping with Trinitarians proclaiming them to be men of God. Spent several year promoting the FULL GOSPEL MENS ASSOCIATION, which for those who don't know was the springboard of this modern Charismatic movement. So Elijah sure was different here than on Mt. Carmel.
Now to the second part of the new birth. Branham clearly taught one did not have to speak in tongues to receive the Holy Ghost. This he borrowed from F.F. Bosworth who was asked to leave the Assembly of God for this position. Again we find him again at odds with the early church and his so-called restored church. Restored simply means to be put back to the original state or condition. Acts 2:4 clearly declares THEY ALL SPOKE WITH TONGUES. Everyone in that upper room spoke in tongues.
When Peter and the brethren from Joppa went to the Gentiles in Acts 10 and the were filled with the Holy Ghost they knew they had received the same experience FOR THEY HEARD THEM SPEAK WITH TONGUES. Acts 10:46 Well I'd rather believe the written record than any modern revelation. Here is any interesting side note: Branham taught the evidence of the Holy Ghost was receiving the word of God. Acts 8 makes that concept very interesting Phillip goes and preaches Christ to the Samarians he baptizes them in Jesus Name, here is the kicker in verses 14-15 the Apostles at Jerusalem hear that the people at Samaria RECEIVED THE WORD, they sent Peter & John to lay hands on them that they might receive the Holy Ghost. So here they got the evidence before they got the Baptism.
That record really messes up Branham evidence theory. The purpose for Branham teaching his is that the proof you have the Holy Ghost Baptism is that you are able to receive the message of your day with in effect is if you do not accept William Branham to be the Seventh Church Age Messenger you do not have the Holy Ghost. The majority of his disciples cannot tell you when they received the Holy Ghost. So this False Message prevents honest people from receiving the New Birth Experience. Not only does Branham's message not only not restore but actually perverts the Message and Experience of the Church of the New Testament. POINT THREE: THE MYSTERY OF THE SERPENT SEED DOCTRINE. Branham said this was one of the great mysteries that was to be revealed by the Seventh Angel. This doctrine also he borrowed from the School of Prophets a Two-God Pentecostal group began by William Sowders in the early 1900's . Although he revised it with his own touch it certainly did not begin with him nor did it end with him. Sun Ya Moon the founder of the Unification Church(the Moonies) and Witness Lee of the Local Church Movement also believe some version of this doctrine.
Here goes and I'm not making it up; the serpent in Genesis 3 was the missing link of Darwin in that he was an upright beast like man to the point he would be able to have sexual relations with humans. The Devil got in the serpent and he seduced Eve into committing adultery with him from which she became expecting with Cain her firstborn son which was Able's twin. From this a wicked linage was produced that actually are regarded as beasts and are predestined to Hell. Adam's sin was that he still lived with Eve even though she was defiled. All sin is the fault of the woman not the man that is why the virgin birth came through the woman. This also resulted in man being able to have more than one wife but the woman only being able to have one husband. No this is not a joke or even an exaggeration it is in a nutshell the Serpent Seed Doctrine. Now let's examine the "proof texts" of this revealed mystery. Did you know the word beguile means to morally seduce so when Eve said the serpent beguiled me she was really saying the serpent committed adultery with me. According to that understanding then in Gen. 29:25 Laban seduced Jacob and had evidently homosexual sex with him, if you keep true to the definition they apply to beguile. Also the Gibeonites sexually seduced Joshua and the Isrealites in Josh.9:22. Then Paul was afraid of the Devil who is a spirit that does not even have sexual organs of sexually seducing the Corinthian Church. 2Cor.11:2
So the first point is proven mute by their own definition of their word beguile. I will tell you how the Devil beguiled Eve the same way he has beguiled the people who believe such a fanciful tale as this. By telling them a lie. He told a lie and she believed a lie that is how she was beguiled not by some sordid sexual affair. "Proof text number 2" Did you know that eat doesn't mean to consume with the mouth but also means partake look at Pro. 30:20 "Such is the way of an adulterous woman;she eateth and wipeth her mouth and saith I have done no wickedness".
See how crafty these folks are these two passages absolutely have no relationship to each other. If you want to see what eat means in Genesis 2 &3 read the context. Look 2:9 every tree was good for FOOD ALSO THE TREE OF THE KNOWLEDGE OF GOOD AND EVIL. Nothing could be any plainer that. In 3;6 we see the actual transgression....she took the fruit thereof,and did eat and gave also to her husband WITH her;and he did eat. Reading this verse through their glasses would have to read like this"Eve committed adultery with the Serpent while Adam was WITH her evidently he was a pervert to watch her and this missing link committing adultery then he had relations with a defiled woman. What an imagination to get a convoluted warped lurid story out of that verse. No one can read the Bible particularly the law without realizing God gets very plain in his descriptions of sinful activities regarding sex, so why would God shroud this original sin in such simple clean cut language that you have to intentionally misread it to misunderstand it.
Nothing in this or any other passage in the entire Bible even remotely gives a hint that adultery was the sin Eve committed. Other problems in this tale the record clearly states Adam knew his wife and she conceived and bare Cain. Every other place in the Bible where a man knows his wife and she conceives there is no doubt to the parentage of the child. But didn't you know Cain was of that Wicked one 1Jn.3;12 yes verse 8 of the same chapter tells you how "he that committed sin is of the devil, ...in this the children of God and the children of the devil are made manifest" and he uses Cain as an example if the passage means that Cain was physically birthed by a union between Eve and the Devil possessed serpent then all that are sinners should recheck their birth certificates. Paul rebuked Elymas in Acts 13:10 " O thy child of the devil" was Elymas' mother impregnated by the missing link. How about Mat. 13:38 "the tares are the children of the wicked one" and I could go on but time and space forbids. All who sin are of the devil not because we were born of an adulterous union but rather because we sin. Then because of this sin there are two distinct bloodlines on the earth the righteous bloodline of Seth and the wicked bloodline of the serpent.(on a side note some racists use this theory to demean the blacks to say they do not have a soul) Does the bible teach two blood lines well listen to Paul the one Branham came to restore us to his understanding Acts 17:26 GOD HATH MADE OF ONE BLOOD ALL NATIONS OF MEN...Sorry Bill but Paul hadn't heard you two blood theory. Here is the great fact that completely destroys this false doctrine note; EIGHT GOT ON THE ARK AND EIGHT GOT OFF, so even if this had been so about the seed of the serpent they all got drowned not a one of the wicked linage of Cain survived. Can't say it was one of Noah's daughter-in-laws they cannot produce without a man and only Noah's sons were present.
This is a perplexing thought if one who is a natural descendant of the serpent cannot be saved and it is passed through natural linage then how can one person in a family believe the Branham message and be of the righteous line then all his family be serpent seed. Or how can a believer of the Branham message be a seed of God and his offspring never become believers. If this doctrine is so then if you have one only one of family that is lost then all of your family is lost including you. How do you like that for endtime revelation then. That would make Branham lost because his father was an alcoholic and never claimed to be saved, much less a believer in the so-called Endtime Message.