Video available here: http://youtu.be/JYQQ0taV3jE
I recently was invited to a wedding celebration for my neighbor’s daughter, who is now opening the next chapter of her life with her new husband.
My neighbors are some of the nicest people you will ever meet. Humble, sweet people that are genuine – the kind of people you just really enjoy talking to. I’ve been over to their house from time to time to help them with minor home repairs or advice on some of the larger ones, and they’ve returned the favor with absolutely incredible dinners that leave your mouth watering for days.
My neighbors, my friends, are Muslim. The Muslim community in this country has taken several large hits from the Muslim extremist groups that have brought terror to our nation. In many ways, there are great similarities between these extremist groups and the cults that our nation has bred, though fortunately for our cities, our extremist cults typically implode rather than explode into the cost of lives outside of their groups.
When I mention the name “Muslim,” I can feel the cringing that some of you have at just the very mention of this. In the Christian world of today – especially the American Christians – those extremists have brought fear and separation. And that is at the global scale, not even mentioning the level of separation that is bred by the cult of William Branham.
The programmed mindset of the cult of William Branham is one that causes divisions among Christians. In many circles in the “Message of the Hour,” the cult followers see themselves as better than all of the other Christians because they have special “insight” that they think the other Christians do not have. While we are all sinners, saved by Grace, one group of sinners feel that they are better than another. Human beings who mistakenly feel they are better than other human beings only because they know “a prophet.”
But take those feelings of separation to a much larger barrier. Imagine what would happen if the same wedding celebration we were attending had one half of the room filled with the cult followers of William Branham, and the other half with devout Muslims!
I sat there in awe as I watched the love and harmony in the huge room that was filled with men in long robes and women decorated according to their custom. In my thirty-seven years of being in the Branham cult, I don’t remember ever seeing a group of the followers of William Branham with such harmony! Take any room large enough to hold more cult followers than one single cult church, and you are going to have a fight on your hands. In any given city, no two Branham cult churches can agree on ANYTHING!
As I watched the people praising Allah for the union of this young man and woman, and asking blessings from the god they serve, my mind started to wander a bit.
Yet oddly, I felt relaxed. While in the cult, we were taught to fear other groups like this, because you “might catch an evil spirit.” I was at ease, because I knew where I stood with my God, and I knew that God was sitting there at our table with us.
I started thinking about the three major religious groups that came from almost the same backgrounds: Islam, Judaism, and Christianity.
When you study the origins of each of these three religions, you will find many similarities. Judaism, of course, can be traced all the way back through the Old Testament, and directly through the twelve tribes of Israel, descended from Isaac. Islam follows a different branch from the same root – all the way back to Abraham’s other son, Ishmael.
Neither branch accepts Jesus Christ as the Son of God, yet both recognize Jesus Christ in history. To the Jews, Jesus Christ is believed to be just another man in a long line of false messiahs.
But to Islam, Jesus Christ is recognized as a messenger of God. In fact, the name “Jesus Christ” is mentioned in the Quran twenty-five times while Mohammed is only mentioned by name four times.
While these two religions differ in many ways, both originated from the offspring of Abraham, who loved and served Yahweh. Both groups believe in one god, and many in both groups believe that they are serving the same god in different ways. Each group believes their understanding of god is correct, while they believe that the other one is misguided.
But whether they are worshipping the same god or not, they are missing the fundamental element that Christianity believes: The New Covenant of Grace. The Jews do not accept Christ as the Kinsman Redeemer, and therefore still hold fast to the Mosaic Law – what Paul called obsolete under the New Covenant.
Islam also is bound by law, including parts of the Mosaic Law. They recognize Moses in their teachings (called Musa in the Quaran). Moses (Musa) is mentioned more than any other prophet, and is respected as a prophet, messenger, lawgiver, and leader for Islam.
To the followers of William Branham, the Islamic viewpoint of Moses will sound very familiar: According to Islam, all Muslims must have faith in every prophet (and messengers), which includes Moses and his brother Aaron (Harun).
To Islam, Moses is believed to parallel the ministry of Mohammed, just for a different “age.” What William Branham would have called “a type.”
Until recently, I had never studied the other religions – and truly have only skimmed the surface. Out of all the religions I have studied when trying to find the origins of William Branham’s false doctrines, Islam was the most familiar.
If you take a summary of the history of Islam, compare it to a summary of William Branham’s ministry, and you will find almost the exact same description. In fact, it is so strikingly similar that you could almost present it to some Muslims – telling them that Branham was another prophet that “typed Moses” for another “age,” you might even gain a following.
Listen to this description of Islam:
Islam was founded in 622 CE by Mohammed, a prophet of Medina. Muslims (followers of the faith of Islam) do not view Islam as a new religion, rather that it is the same faith taught by the prophets, Abraham, David, Moses and Jesus. The role of Mohammed as the last prophet was to formalize and clarify the faith and purify it by removing ideas which were added in error. The two sacred texts of Islam are the Qu'ran, which are the words of Allah "the One True God" as given to Mohammed, and the Hadith, which is a collection of Mohammed's sayings. The duties of all Muslims are known as the Five Pillars of Islam.
Let’s take that same description, replacing Mohammed with Branham. Let’s change their fundamental points, and make those words match the “Message of the Hour”:
Message of the Hour was founded in 1945 by William Branham, a prophet of Jeffersonville. Branhamites (followers of the faith of Branham) do not view The Message Of The Hour as a new religion, rather that it is the same faith taught by the prophets, Abraham, David, Moses and Jesus. The role of William Branham as the last prophet was to formalize and clarify the faith and purify it by removing ideas which were added in error. The two sacred texts of The Message of the Hour are the Bible, which are the words of Yahweh "the One True God" as given to Branham, and the Spoken Word, which is a collection of Branham’s sayings. The direction of all Branhamites are known as the Five Fold Ministry.
As you can see, this is practically the same religion – just different names. Both claim to serve the One True God, and both do not accept (in most cases) the New Covenant of Grace. Both believe their prophet restored the “original faith of the fathers.”
I was sitting there watching the bride and groom happily married, trying not to let my mind wander to the cult I came out of, but couldn’t help from laughing when I considered the similarities.
Not because of the similarities themselves, but I started laughing because I remembered something William Branham often said during his ministry regarding these devout people, faithful to their religion. He actually praised the people of Islam for being more devout than Christians!
William Branham often told story about his time spent with a well-known missionary, Paris Reidhead. In the story, which is part of his personal testimony, a Muslim approaches Reidhead. Trying to convert him to Christianity, Reidhead is defeated miserably by the follower of Islam.
In Branham’s version of the story, Branham is the “superhero.” Reidhead quickly fled to William Branham to get his superpowers, and William Branham claimed to give him the gift of speaking in tongues. (Though William Branham himself never had this gift.)
Branham mistakenly called him “Morris” 23 times, but actually got his name (Paris) correct only 9 times -- yet claimed to be good friends. It was like the nurse in the story Branham invented about his wife’s death – They were such good friends for years and years! But what was her name? Let’s throw a few names together and make up as story!
Reidhead got his ticket to fame through Sudan missions in 1945. Four years later at an alter, Reidhead describes his real conversion, where he accepts Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior.
The first time William Branham mentions Reidhead is in 1953 – coincidentally the very same year that Reidhead published his personal testimony on how he received the gift of the Holy Spirit.
I find it strikingly odd that Reidhead attended Branham campaign meetings in Tallahassee, Florida, and then went to Branham’s home where he received the gift of the Holy Spirit – yet even in 1953 he will not admit that he is sitting in the home of William Branham!
Branham’s name is mentioned in his personal testimony, but when receiving the Holy Spirit, Reidhead places the emphasis on a graduate of Chicago University and Princeton Seminary …the OPPOSITE of the poster-child Branham nails up for receiving the Holy Spirit [himself].
Reidhead describes meeting William Branham in April of 1952, and that meeting made him decide to do a soul search. He says that he never attended a single meeting of any of these groups “accused of fanaticism.” In May of 1952, this search led him to a Bible study led by a Baptist minister.
Here is what William Branham told, embellishing the story over the years:
And he knelt there by the old coffee table. (I just picked up from up here; the man is setting back there who fixed it just awhile ago up here.) Setting there, broke the glass on top of it as he kneeled down. He said, "God, have mercy on my sinful soul." And then I laid hands on him, and the baptism of the Holy Ghost come upon him right there. That's right. - 54-0515 QUESTIONS.AND.ANSWERS
But listen to Reidhead’s account:
On Saturday evening of that week I visited with a man whom I felt by his life and ministry could help me. In his home on that occasion a young man was present who was pastor of an Evangelical and Reformed Church, a graduate of Chicago University and Princeton Seminary and who had spent eight years in seeking that relationship to God that he knew should be his. These two earnest, Godly men patiently answered my questions. Most of these questions I had settled in my own mind through months of pervious study, but it was my purpose to ascertain that everything I was seeking should be in complete accord with the Word of God. My primary concern was not for an experience of an emotional and subjective nature, but rather for a relationship to God which would result in a degree of fruitfulness in life and effectiveness in service which I felt would be more honoring to Him Who had redeemed me
William Branham injected himself as the power behind Reidhead’s conversion, never mentioning the other guy who studied his Bible.
It is also ironic that in later testimonies given by Paris Reidhead, he starts to realize that his experience at the alter call in 1949 was his true conversion. The story of this “unknown Baptist minister” is wiped from his testimony.
Isn’t it interesting that out of all of the great men William Branham hung around, not a single one stuck with him except for those who followed John Alexander Dowie’s teaching? Ern Baxter – who would have witnessed all of Branham’s “superpowers” did not stay in the cult. In fact, he was the teacher and Branham was just a “side show” in the Baxter-Branham campaigns.
Reidhead is a conundrum to cult programming. If he received the Holy Spirit in Branham’s presence, wouldn’t that mean that he should follow the cult’s theology? I will guarantee you that if any single person receives the Holy Spirit in any cult church, and then leaves the cult after learning about the failed prophecy, that person would be condemned by the pastors in the cult churches. They would be outcasts, with all the little-old-ladies pointing their fingers saying they “never received the Holy Spirit, or they would not have left!”
Many times when Branham retold Reidhead’s testimony, he quoted Reidhead with a statement I’d like to ask any cult follower in the Branham cult:
" Why, don't you just renounce your old dead prophet, Mohammed, and receive the resurrected Lord Jesus?"
Branham enjoyed retelling this testimony of how the Muslim guy won over the Christian guy – and then made it sound as if this happened because Reidhead had not began the spiritual enlightenment journey up the mount to see Branham – just like those who seek to find Ghandi.
In fact, as the additional details are added, the entire Islamic faith becomes strong, much stronger than Branham’s description of Christianity. The entire religion is described as a powerhouse of faith, but faith in Mohammed instead of Jesus Christ. And the Christians seem to grow less and less in power in the story – Branham’s descriptions make the Christian people sound weak and inferior.
In 1955, he says this:
Said, "Kind sir, the Mohammedan religion can produce just as much psychology as Christianity can." That's right. He said, "Look, you people's had two thousand years to prove that your Lord raised from the dead." And said, "Only one-third of the world ever heard about it." He said, "Let our prophet raise from the dead, which he will someday, and the whole world will know about it in twenty-four hours." That's right. That's true. You see? Christianity... Not Christianity, but the ministers of Christianity has totally failed. Greatest failure in the world is the clergy of Christianity, the messengers of Christianity.
An interesting problem is created here. While Branham uplifted many theologians that he handpicked, he condemned theologians in general. The ones he praised seem to be praised only because they crossed paths and he could use their names to gain momentum.
Seminaries, schools that teach scriptures, are openly condemned in the cult of William Branham. The name is changed jokingly to “cemeteries.”
Because of this, we have cult pastors telling their followers that only the “prophet” was able to interpret the scripture. “His teachings only SEEM to conflict with scripture – we just do not know how to interpret it!”
And Branham is correct. Place any cult follower up against a Muslim in a debate of scriptures, and you will find that the Muslim can quote the Quran backwards and forwards while the Branhamite struggles to remember what the Bible says.
Many times, they have Branham’s twisting of scripture memorized, and their memory is absolutely nothing like the Bible. Or they remember the single verses Branham chose “for his context,” and can quote what Branham said fluently while struggling to quote the scriptures.
So it raises the question: Did Branham WANT the Muslim to be more studied in their holy book than the Christian did in HIS Holy Book? Did he purposefully teach against people studying their Bibles in institutions with years and years of scriptural and historical understanding so that new converts would be a greater challenge?
It is really ironic, because Branham’s hatred for any to study the scriptures by any other means than his one-liner contexts is in direct conflict with 2 Timothy 3. Ironic, because 2 Timothy 3 CONTAINS one of those one-liners.
“Let me take this little verse here as my context, or to build my context.” This is the REVERSE of the way it should be. The Bible should be the ENTIRE context, and we should point back to the Word, not point one line of the word to our sermon!
2 Timothy 3 first describes those men that would rise, like William Branham, and be led astray by their passions. The first part of the chapter is one that you will be very familiar with:
But understand this, that in the last days there will come times of difficulty. For people will be lovers of self, lovers of money, proud, arrogant, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, heartless, unappeasable, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not loving good, treacherous, reckless, swollen with conceit, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having the appearance of godliness, but denying its power. Avoid such people.
People speak against us for pointing cult followers away from the false prophet and back towards Christ. But how many of these attributes did Branham display? He loved these fabricated stories that uplifted himself! He loved those expensive hunting trips, and was very proud and arrogant against all other Christians! He was heartless towards women, and slanderous against the Word itself. He added the words “To Dwell In,” claiming that God spoke something God did not speak!
All of this has the appearance of godliness, and seems to have “power,” but is denying the power of THE WORD. It is promoting power of THE PROPHET.
Paul does not have good things to say about these people:
For among them are those who creep into households and capture weak women, burdened with sins and led astray by various passions, always learning and never able to arrive at a knowledge of the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so these men also oppose the truth, men corrupted in mind and disqualified regarding the faith. But they will not get very far, for their folly will be plain to all, as was that of those two men.
This is exactly what happened to William Branham. Now that his lies are being exposed, there are two men who are really exposed – caught with their pants down in a bundle of lies: His two sons. They oppose the truth by uplifting the false. And now, their folly is plain for all to see.
And those who stand for the truth have a hard road to travel: persecution on every side. Paul describes his journey as much the same:
You, however, have followed my teaching, my conduct, my aim in life, my faith, my patience, my love, my steadfastness, my persecutions and sufferings that happened to me at Antioch, at Iconium, and at Lystra—which persecutions I endured; yet from them all the Lord rescued me. Indeed, all who desire to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil people and impostors will go on from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived.
Paul does not tell others not to study the Word. In fact, he was their example:
But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have firmly believed, knowing from whom you learned it and how from childhood you have been acquainted with the sacred writings, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.
Notice that last part: All Scripture is breathed out by God and profitable for teaching, for reproof, for correction, and for training in righteousness, that the man of God may be complete, equipped for every good work.”
How can we be equipped if we don’t study the Word? How can we stand against the enemy if the Word of God is not flowing through our minds? Why do the cult pastors promote Branham’s words as equal to the Word of God – tainting the words that should be flowing through us?
When we were enslaved by the cult of William Branham, were we really different than the Muslims that we looked down upon? And why did we look down on them? Were we so far from the words of Christ that we lost the love of our fellow man?
What if the Apostle Paul had done the same? What if he avoided the Greek temples because they offered human sacrifice or temple prostitution? What if he took the cult stance that you must “avoid these forms of evil, or you might catch an evil spirit.” Is the power of God REALLY that weak to these religious cults?
We should not have a form of godliness and deny its power. And that power should not be signs and wonders, guessing names off the back of a prayer card, or double-exposing photographs to show others a “supernatural picture.” Throw those old film-cameras away; you’ll like the digital cameras much better anyway!
The power of God is in his Word. If that Word flows through us, it has the power to save others. We can snatch others from the fire by telling them the Gospel of Jesus Christ. We have the power over Satan, and it does not come from knowing the prophet Mohammed or any other prophet who pretends to be just like Mohammed.
The power comes from letting the Word of God flow through us as a living, breathing, powerful, saving Word that points others to Jesus Christ.
Which direction are you pointing? To a prophet? Or to Jesus Christ?
Loving the Lord God: Personal Testimony by Paris Reidhead