Video available here: http://youtu.be/znjLPpX8mwI
In 1956, William Branham started a doctrinal teaching that is still used by the cult to this very day. You may have heard it:
There are three types of believers: 1) Believers 2) Unbelievers 3) Make Believers.
From the surface, this seems to be a solid doctrine. In any crowd, you are going to have those that believe in Jesus Christ, those who do not believe in Jesus Christ, and those who only darken the door because they have friends who believe
From a scriptural perspective, we must be very careful with any new doctrine – especially one coming from a man who had prophecy that failed. We must line this teaching up with the Word, and see if it passes the Word test
When you really stop to think about it, the only reason Branham uses THREE categories is because of his superstitious, Hindu numerology surrounding the number three. While cult pastors still use this exact phrase in their sermons, the listener quickly realizes that there are only TWO categories: Those who believe in William Branham, and those who do NOT believe in William Branham. Those that are “for us” and those that are “against us.”
This is common with the cult mindset. Deep programming to cause the cult follower to believe that the entire world is against them promotes a grip of fear that will keep the follower bound in chains. Often in the sermons, we find pastors instructing their congregations to stay away from the other TWO categories – you might “catch that doubting spirit.”
I invited one man enslaved in the cult over for dinner a few weeks ago, not to discuss religion or theology, but just to have a good time eating a few steaks. From this man, claiming to be a Christian, came the words: “if the dog lies with the fleas, he will have fleas on his back.”
So I asked him: Is that what Jesus said when He sat with the publicans and sinners?
Religious cults draw a “line in the sand” that separates humans from other humans. All through history, we find the same exact thing – which has led to religious wars and ethnic cleansing. The cult mindset is very damaging to humanity when you consider the invisible boundaries that surround the close-knit group.
In fact, that is the reason that we find so many communes setup in “extremist” cults. Extremist cults are no different than any other religious cult – they are good, loving people led astray by false teaching and cult programming. The only real difference is that they have let this “us against them” theology to push them all the way into a corner. Once they are trapped in the corner, the only way out is death – or life through Jesus Christ. Considering some of the extremist cults and the horrendous tragedies that shut them down, you can easily see which choice they made.
But Branham’s doctrine of the “three types of believers” is a “line in the sand.” The first category, the believers, obviously are those who believe him to be a “vindicated prophet” regardless of whether or not his prophecies came to pass. Those who are “unbelievers” are those who have noticed the prophecies that failed, and said, “Hey! Wait a minute! This guy lied to me!”
Then we have the third category, and those are the ones I really feel sorry for. To me, they seem like they wear the thickest and heaviest chains: the “make-believers.” Those who sit in the congregation, knowing there is just something not quite right with all of this. They see those making their exodus from the cult, but haven’t been able to study “why.” They don’t quite fit in, but it would destroy their entire family and lifestyle to go to another church of … Christians.
I use the word “Christians,” because in the three categories given by these religious cults, and in their “three types of believers,” Christ is not considered at all for this theology. Like the other extremist cults, this doctrine has nothing to do with Christ, but more to do with mind control.
Take the same doctrine, and change the words to what they ACTUALLY MEAN. Let’s call it “The Three Types Of People Sitting In A Branham Cult.”
- You have the Christians who believe that William Marrion Branham is the prophet of Malachi 4, Elijah who had many prophecies that (they think) did not fail because history has been altered by some devious conspiracy.
- You have the Christians who do NOT believe that William Branham could POSSIBLY be a prophet – because when it comes right down to it, there is not a single prophecy except a few failed visions about a brown bear, India revivals, and a tent.
- Then you have the Christians who sit there knowing all of this mess, and pretend to believe in William Branham’s failed ministry.To forfeit their place in the cult by not giving that appearance of belief, they must also forfeit family, friends, and a close-knit cult lifestyle designed to hold them bound.
But in these three categories, when we change the doctrine to what it ACTUALLY means, we must also add a fourth: Those who do not believe in Christ.
It’s odd when you think about it – someone sitting in a “Message” church who does NOT believe in Christ? Most in the cult would quickly say, “NO. Absolutely NOT. Those that are in OUR GROUP believe Christ, because there is “POWER” in the Message of William Branham.
You see the point that is made when they said that? Those in the congregation believe in Christ – yet we still find the “three types of believers.” It’s because that doctrine has absolutely NOTHING to do with Christ.
In fact, it would be good to re-examine these three categories in the eyes of Christ. Christ is our Example, and we should model our lives after Christ. The examples given in the Gospels are how we should live our lives. Loving, caring, wanting everyone to be saved.
Let’s take the same three categories, and change the doctrine title once more: “Three Types Of People Under Christ.”
First, we have the “believers”. Those are the people who have had a real life-changing experience and KNOW that Christ is the Son of the Living God. Those are the people like Job, who can’t be swayed, and are a strong testimony to the Grace of Jesus Christ. Those are the ones who, like Christ, want every soul to be saved. Those are the ones that would be extremely excited if there was not a SINGLE person in hell – they would rather everyone be saved than one single soul lost.
But in the eyes of Christ, this category is really named “sinners.” To Christ, these are the sinners that were saved by Grace through Faith in Him.
Next, we have the “unbelievers.” These are the ones that have never heard of Christ. Or they are the ones who heard of Christ, but it was in a legalistic, cult church that pretended to teach Christ, but instead taught some other gospel that was bound with law and dictatorship. Maybe they are some who DID hear the real Gospel, but rejected it. They were not convinced that Christ died on the cross for their sins.
To the REAL believers of Christ, this category should be named “opportunities.” They are the targets of the missionaries and evangelists. They are not sitting on the other “line in the sand,” because there is NO line.
These are the ones that the REAL believers spend their time with, trying to show them an example of Christ in their lives that will make them realize there IS a God who loves them. I’m not sure that any in the cult of William Branham realize this, but these are actually the ones that Christ died for. He did not come to save the “saved,” Christ came to save the “lost.”
This category, in the eyes of Christ, is also named “sinners.” To Christ, these are sinners that are just as guilty as the first category. But they have not accepted Christ, and will be bound for hell if they are not reached by those in the first category. Many times, these are the ones who suffer trials that place them into situations to be reached by the “believers of Christ.”
The last category, the “make believers,” are the Christians who have made their decision to follow Christ, yet do not believe. They are not sitting in a mosque worshipping Mohammed, not rubbing the belly of Buddha. They are sitting in a church dedicated to worshipping the One True God.
But they have not yet had that experience. They are sinners, and they KNOW they are sinners. Why else would they put themselves through long sermons and prayer meetings? Why not just get up and leave?
Again, this is the group I feel the most burdened for. Why has the pastor not convinced them to follow Christ? Is that charismatic screaming of condemnation driving more people into this category? Why do the pastors tell them that they must “accept William Branham by faith,” when the pastors themselves know there are more holes in Branham’s ministry than Swiss cheese?
Maybe it’s because the pastors themselves are in this category?
In the eyes of Christ, these people are sinners. While the cult blasts this category with the most hatred, Christ showed the same love and forgiveness.
Remember the boy’s father who told Jesus, “I believe, help thou my unbelief?” The cult even sings songs with these words – yet have never accepted what they mean.
If that same man were asking William Branham to use the “power of the angel” to heal his boy, and told Branham to help his unbelief, the entire cult would have blasted him with insults calling him a “make believer.”
This is a passage everyone should be familiar with, though I doubt very many in the cult of William Branham have read the full passage in context. It comes from Mark 9:
And when they came to the disciples, they saw a great crowd around them, and scribes arguing with them. And immediately all the crowd, when they saw him, were greatly amazed and ran up to him and greeted him. And he asked them, “What are you arguing about with them?” And someone from the crowd answered him, “Teacher, I brought my son to you, for he has a spirit that makes him mute. And whenever it seizes him, it throws him down, and he foams and grinds his teeth and becomes rigid. So I asked your disciples to cast it out, and they were not able.
Picture the setting here. We have the disciples (the good guys) arguing with the scribes (the bad guys). (I say that jokingly, because again, that is an us-versus-them attitude that is NOT Christ like.)
This man had asked the disciples (the believers) to heal the child by casting out the demon. And they failed. Were they not believers? Did they not have the same “power?”
Jesus did not condemn the father. He did not condemn the disciples. He did not even condemn the scribes. Jesus did not create three categories – there was only ONE category. He condemned the “evil and adulterous generation,” because it was a generation of sinners!
And he answered them, “O faithless generation, how long am I to be with you? How long am I to bear with you? Bring him to me.” And they brought the boy to him. And when the spirit saw him, immediately it convulsed the boy, and he fell on the ground and rolled about, foaming at the mouth.
Notice the power of Christ. When the child was brought to Jesus, the evil spirit immediately fell trembling in fear. No prayer card was needed, and Jesus didn’t have to guess his name and address to administer healing. …and He didn’t turn the child away, saying, “sorry, this is a really hard ‘case’.”
And Jesus asked his father, “How long has this been happening to him?” And he said, “From childhood. And it has often cast him into fire and into water, to destroy him. But if you can do anything, have compassion on us and help us.”
Notice the evil spirit that had grips on him – he could not escape. He was bound. Gripped by the spirit, and that same spirit tried often to kill him.
The ONE verse that you WILL hear in the cult of William Branham is next: “All things are possible for them that believe.” But you may have never heard what is said after that sentence:
And Jesus said to him, “‘If you can’! All things are possible for one who believes.” Immediately the father of the child cried out and said, “I believe; help my unbelief!”
Now I ask you: Did Jesus send the man away, saying “Get away from me, you in the third category of believers! You are a MAKE BELIEVER! You are the one that plagues my congregation and hinders the work of the Holy Spirit! You are the flea that jumps on my dogs backs!”
And when Jesus saw that a crowd came running together, he rebuked the unclean spirit, saying to it, “You mute and deaf spirit, I command you, come out of him and never enter him again.” And after crying out and convulsing him terribly, it came out, and the boy was like a corpse, so that most of them said, “He is dead.” But Jesus took him by the hand and lifted him up, and he arose.
Look at the POWER that Christ had. He was the Son of God, and was given authority over the spirits of this world. There was no “vibrating hand” like the Wiccans or guessing games of what disease afflicted him. There was no telling the boy, “now you continue on believing, or that same evil spirit will come back on you with ten-thousand more like him!”
This last part of the story is my favorite. It’s one that we often forget, but one that we should pay close attention to:
And when he had entered the house, his disciples asked him privately, “Why could we not cast it out?” And he said to them, “This kind cannot be driven out by anything but prayer.”
You preachers that still teach Branham’s twisted doctrine of the “three types of believers,” have you read this part? When you draw your little lines in the sand to keep your “little flocks” away from them evil unbelievers (those who know William Branham lied), why not use the power of prayer?
Why do you turn your congregations AWAY from the lost instead of sending them out to help save the lost? Why do you create a bunch of couch-potatoes who have no knowledge of the scriptures, who mistakenly think they have a free ticket to heaven by believing “there was a man sent from God and his name was William Branham?”
You should be equipping these people with the Word of God. Not the twisted word, taken out of context like William Branham did when he said, “Let me take this little verse to make a context.” The Bible IS the context.
You should be sending out soldiers in the army of Christ who know no boundaries or “lines in the sand.” Missionaries that spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ – not missionaries that spread some inconsequential belief that some Kentucky hillbilly had a vision! Don’t point to the vision, point to the God Branham pretended to serve!
I know there are some good, loving people in the cult of William Branham. To those, I will leave you with this question:
Which of the two comparisons in doctrine would you rather follow? The one Branham gave of the “three types of believers?” The one that condemned those in TWO out of three categories to HELL? The one that made you separate yourselves from other Christians just because some guy told you that he had a vision several years in the past with no proof whatsoever? Do you REALLY want to condemn others to hell?
Wouldn’t you rather follow Christ? The Truth (not doctrine) that we are ALL sinners, saved by Grace? The one where we know no boundaries, and we can reach out a loving hand to help snatch another soul from the fire?
Think about Branham’s crazy pyramid theology that he got from Freemasonry. The one where Christ was the “capstone” to the idol that the Egyptians sacrificed their children to.
There IS a pyramid of growth in Christianity, and it is NOT the idol that Branham worshipped. Christ is the capstone of THAT pyramid, but it is upside down as compared to Branham’s idol.
We do not lift ourselves up to a higher plane so that Christ can cap the top of our mountain of works-righteous faith. That is not the Gospel of Jesus Christ. In fact, it is AGAINST the Gospel of Christ, which makes it ANTICHRIST.
Christ came down to us, not us to him. He was the cornerstone, not the capstone. The beginning of the New Covenant of Grace.
When another block is added to the building, that block will spread the Good News to another. Those blocks will be stacked on top, and bring in more souls for Christ.
I’ll leave you with this. When you think of the false doctrine of the “three types of believers,” think of the words Christ gave when he sent the missionaries out into the world. It wasn’t a “line in the sand.” Christ said this:
The harvest is plenty and the workers are few.