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The Holy Spirit Is Our Anchor

John Collins02/06/2013There are many false doctrines William Branham brought to his followers that led to confusion.  One of these false teachings had greater implications, because there was no other intent than to hold the follower captive.  This was Branham's teachings about the "Baptism of the Holy Ghost."

Every Christian who has given his or her heart to the Lord has a goal, a finish line that brings a great celebration.  The Christian seeks to be filled with the Holy Ghost.  In the Branham cult, the youth reaching an age to seek out Christ for themselves look for the Holy Spirit in awe, waiting for that day when they can understand the "formula" for receiving the Holy Spirit, and learning more about what this change will bring.  

In the works-righteous movements that have risen over the years, even the Penticostal movement had it easier.  For them, speaking in tongues was the evidence of the Holy Ghost.  Many of Branham's followers claim that Branham's ministry showed signs of the Holy Spirit because of the many healing signs and wonders Branham claimed to have, yet very few if any can heal others as Branham claimed to do.  If this is evidence, practically none of them have the "evidence" of the Holy Ghost.

Branham, in his many false teachings on the subject, led his followers into a state of confusion by giving them a goal that was hidden in further mystery.  Even the change in one's life after receiving the Holy Spirit was twisted into a state of confusion.  Let's examine just one of the many twisted teachings on the subject, one so false that even his own followers are confused by it:

"You're either for God or against God, and the outward expressions shows exactly what's on the inside. See? The cocklebur... Many of you think, "I got the baptism of the Holy Ghost, I'm going to Heaven." That don't mean one thing that you're going to Heaven. No, sir. You can have the baptism of the Holy Ghost every hour in your life, and still be lost and go to hell. The Bible says so. Uh-huh, that's exactly right." - Branham, 65-1207

In this single paragraph, Branham leads the follower to such a state of confusion that even after accepting Christ and receiving the Holy Ghost, they live in fear that they may lose it all.  There are two main points Branham drives through the hearts of the followers:

1.  Outward expressions, coming from the inside, have greater impact on your salvation than the Holy Spirit
2.  The Bible says that you can have the "baptism of the Holy Ghost" every hour and still be lost and go to hell.

Let's examine these two main points, comparing them to the Word of God.


1.  Outward expressions, coming from the inside, have greater impact on your salvation than the Holy Spirit

Throughout his ministry, Branham explains what these outward expressions are, and how to know the Christians who have received the Holy Spirit and are going to heaven, versus the Christians who have received the Holy Spirit and are going to hell.  

Though Esther in the Bible used cosmetics to become even more beautiful for her king, Branham taught that the usage of cosmetics to increase beauty was a device by Satan, and was a sign of the evil on the inside.  Though women in the Bible shaved their heads for mourning, Branham taught that trimming women's hair was another sign.  Though Ezekiel describes God placing earrings and a nose ring on His bride, Branham lists earrings as another sign.  Though men in the Bible girded up their loins, making "shorts" out of their robes, Branham listed this as another sign.  The list goes on and on, and he was very cunning.  Branham spoke harshly against works-righteous faith, yet all the while imposing a works-righteous faith on his own people.  

As with Branham's many false doctrines, there is a thread of truth to each deceiving statement.  In this statement, for example, there is a hint of truth.  When the Holy Spirit comes upon a person, the inside is changed and the outward man reflects the inward man.  The deception is that this person could possibly have the Holy Ghost every hour of his or her life and still be doomed to hell for one of Branham's false 'rules.'

For a man who claimed to have preached the same 'message' that Paul preached, Branham seems to argue against Paul in almost every doctrine.  Paul places absolutely nothing into the hands of the believer -- the Blood of Christ has the power to save, not the works of a man.  

"For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God" - Ephesians 2:8


2.  The Bible says that you can have the "baptism of the Holy Ghost" every hour and still be lost and go to hell.

In this statement, William Branham is not arguing against Paul, he is arguing directly with Jesus Christ.

"And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; [Even] the Spirit of truth; whom the world cannot receive, because it seeth Him not, neither knoweth Him: but ye know Him; for he dwelleth with you, and shall be in you." (Joh 14:15-17)

A few things to note in this statement by Jesus, as compared to William Branham's false teachings.  

1.  The Father was sending a Comforter, and that Comforter would abide with us forever.  Not while we are "being good," but forever.
2.  That Comforter is the Spirit of Truth, not prone to telling fabricated stories and giving visions that failed again and again.
3.  The World cannot even receive this Spirit of Truth, because they do not know Him, and the Christian knows Him, because the Spirit of Truth dwells within.

William Branham "invented" a Bible scripture:  "For I will be with you even in you unto the end of the world."  
Branham claimed that Jesus Christ would be in us all the way to the end, while Jesus said that His Father would send another to us: The Holy Spirit.  Throughout his ministry, William Branham argued with Jesus in this statement -- except for the times when Branham was appealing to a Trinitarian crowd and called the Holy Spirit the "third person."

That Comforter is the Spirit of Truth, yet almost every aspect to Branham's ministry has proven to be a fabrication of some sort.  Branham gave three different birth years, appealing to three different sets of people.  Branham told many fabricated childhood stories about his fatherless adventures in Kentucky, while he and his father lived in Indiana.  Many spiritual events, like the cloud, when Branham was in another state at the time of the event.  Prophesies that changed over time to fit the actual history.  The list goes on. 

Branham attempted to sever the Body of Christ, telling his followers that others who had the Holy Spirit could be lost and go to hell.  Yet Jesus said that the "world" could not even receive the Holy Spirit!  Jesus says that the reason is because they do not know Him, which is exactly what Paul stated.  It is only by Grace and because of our Faith in Jesus Christ.  It has absolutely nothing to do with anything that we are in control of!

Branham was very careful in tying each of his false teachings to the "baptism of the Holy Spirit."  One of which was the words spoken during baptism.  

To receive the Holy Ghost, Branham claimed that the follower must use the words "In the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ," because the Bible instructed us to use those words to receive the Spirit.  In a joke that appealed to his following, he described others using different words as "going down a dry sinner and coming back up a wet one."

To the Bible student who is in the Word every day, however, it is clearly a false teaching.  Acts gives example of the Holy Spirit filling the people before they were baptized, not after.

"While Peter was still saying these things, the Holy Spirit fell on all who heard the word.  And the believers from among the circumcised who had come with Peter were amazed, because the gift of the Holy Spirit was poured out even on the Gentiles.  For they were hearing them speaking in tongues and extolling God. Then Peter declared, 'Can anyone withhold water for baptizing these people, who have received the Holy Spirit just as we have?'  And he commanded them to be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ. Then they asked him to remain for some days." -- Acts 10

This claim by William Branham that Christians can receive the Holy Spirit every hour of their lives is an argument against the words of Paul in Hebrews 6.

Paul practically calls William Branham immature.  He says, "leave the elementary doctrine of Christ and go on to maturity, not laying again a foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God"  

The things that we try to do to "try to hold onto" the Holy Spirit mean absolutely nothing.  Paul calls them "dead works."

If, like William Branham, we snip sections of Paul's words from the scriptures instead of reading the entire scroll, it may seem like Paul is agreeing with Branham.  Paul says, "For it is impossible, in the case of those who have once been enlightened, who have tasted the heavenly gift, and have shared in the Holy Spirit, and have tasted the goodness of the word of God and the powers of the age to come, and then have fallen away, to restore them again to repentance, since they are crucifying once again the Son of God to their own harm and holding him up to contempt."

But we must ask ourselves:  Was Paul disagreeing with Jesus?  Will the Holy Spirit really leave us?  Absolutely not!

The very next paragraph describes Paul's reasoning.  He says that though he spoke so harshly, he did not feel that this was the case for the believers.  God is not unjust, Paul says.  We should be imitators of the faith, showing patience to inherit the promises.

Paul goes on to describe the promises that God made with the great men of old.  And God never broke those promises.  This New Covenant of Grace is exactly the same, God guaranteed our salvation with an oath, and Paul says that it is impossible for God to lie.

He says that we no longer have priests of this world, and therefore our salvation is in a steadfast anchor.  Christ was the forerunner on our behalf -- Jesus already took care of everything for us!  

If this New Covenant was not in place, then yes, we could lose our salvation after receiving the Holy Spirit.  We would be required to meet the standards of the Mosaic Law, and we would be burdened with a works-righteous faith that required sacrifice by a high priest.  We would only be saved if we lived according to the Law.

But Paul says that Jesus became our new High Priest.  He is a High Priest forever, and is ever interceding for us!

As Christians, we should ask ourselves:  Are we guilty of following a false teacher who tried to lay a new foundation?  Did we follow a false prophet who argued with the words of Jesus and the Apostle Paul?  Are we still trying to hang onto "dead works," things that we can do to "earn" our salvation?  Or have we accepted the Blood of Jesus Christ for our salvation?