Video available here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=GE0HxOCrejM
After the Azusa Street Revival and when the Pentecostal movement was in full swing, the "Health and Wealth Gospel" went forward with ministers and evangelist drawing great crowds with signs and wonders. People were eager to hear and see these attractions, these men who would quote the scripture of "these signs shall follow them that believe" and put their faith into action.
Many were truly genuine hearts, seeking to lead souls to Christ. They were filled with the power of the Spirit, and that Spirit showed the fruits of the spirit which are love, joy, peace, forbearance, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control.
But over time, some of these fruits of the spirit started dropping off the scene, starting with "self-control."
Some of these ministers started feeding on the miracles present in their ministries rather than the Word of God. Those miracles, supernatural "signs," started to replace the fruits of the spirit. The biblical evidence of the kind of tree is looking at the fruits it bore, but the Pentecostal movement quickly turned to these "signs" as evidence of the Holy Spirit.
Over time, the fruits of the Spirit that Paul mentioned were quickly forgotten. Many would start to claim that "speaking in tongues" was evidence of the Holy Spirit. Or as Paul would write, was "the fruit of the Spirit." Some would choose healing, some would choose other miracles, but most would forget the true evidence of the Holy Spirit.
Those genuine, soul seeking, faithful ministers would start to drop off of the scene. If they did not have these miracles present in their ministry, and even if they had the TRUE fruits of the spirit that Paul described in the people they led to Christ, the fundamental Pentecostal belief system told them that they did not have the evidence — or fruit — of the Spirit.
And if a minister DID have the miracles present for a period of time, and these miracles seemed to cease, they were quickly told that they had "grieved the Holy Spirit" and those miracles had left them. They needed to repent! Turn back to God, and the signs and wonders would return!
The problem remains that the Pentecostal ministry did not look for the fruits of the spirit, the evidence of the Holy Spirit that Paul instructed them to look for. They were causing genuine, Holy Ghost-filled ministers of the Gospel of Jesus Christ to doubt their salvation and their walk with Christ.
Most of these ministers dropped off the scene to be long forgotten. Large crowds started following the big names in the Pentecostal movement, the ones who could work the greatest miracle. People would rather see Barnum and Bailey's Circus of attractions than to see a humble man on a street corner preaching the real Gospel of Jesus Christ.
As a father, I have children that constantly need correction. On a daily basis, they are learning, growing, feeling out the boundaries of what they can and cannot do as they advance into adulthood. They do things that sometimes make me cringe, unfortunately even in front of other people.
If these were my employees, I'd fire them. They did not follow the rules, they break them daily, and they are completely worthless to the business. They need to go back to filling bags at a grocery store and hopefully they won't mess THAT up!
But my boys are not my employees; they are my children. I love them to death! They can walk up to me, kick me in the shin, slap me in the face, and I'll take them into the back room of correction dragging them by their ear! â€¦but then I will forgive them! I will ALWAYS be their father; they will always be my sons. My correction will bring discipline, and that discipline will teach them the ways of life. When they grow into manhood, they will be men that I can be proud of!
And even if they are not — if for some reason they fail, I will still love them anyway!
There is a song that I love, called "How Deep The Father's Love For Us," and it describes the way that I feel about MY children. It is without boundaries! It is love beyond measure, unmerited for them — simply because they are my sons!
But as the song says, my love for them is nothing to compare to our Heavenly Father's love for us!
These Pentecostal ministers travelled from town to town, using the same stage acts as they visited each city. The people would sing, some gospel singers would sing, the minister would preach hell fire and brimstone into a calculated fear of eternal separation, and then start attacking the faith of the congregations. This "evidence" or "new fruit" of the Spirit should be present in the lives of the people. If it wasn't they would ask if the people had the Holy Spirit.
Then, after asking the question, they'd present arguments as to WHY they did not have it. Maybe they cut their hair. Maybe they didn't wear the Pentecostal dress code. Makeup, music, and more — all outward things that had very little to do with the heart. Again, the fruits of the Spirit that Paul mentioned had long been forgotten.
But unlike the Father's love for His children, undying love that will never fail, these ministers would start promoting the idea that the people had offended God with their breach of outward appearance. They would attack sins in the lives — even past sins long covered under the Blood of Jesus Christ.
Their goal and intention was to break the people down so that the numbers would be great at the altar call. The greater the number, the more impressive the minister was! He was leading HUNDREDS of souls to Christ! Just look at that altar call!
The man was being glorified — not God.
But this breaking down of Christian faith is unscriptural, and very harmful. What if I were to administer correction to my children when they disobey by telling them, "IF YOU DO THAT AGAIN, I WILL LEAVE YOU!"
William Branham was not honest about his call to the Pentecostal faith after the 1937 flood. He was a Pentecostal minister from the beginning, regardless of his fictional stories recorded on tape. The 1933 newspapers advertise Branham as the assistant pastor of the "Pentecostal Tabernacle" under Roy E. Davis. Once he started his own ministry, the church was called the Pentecostal Tabernacle.
This false teaching, that you can offend the Holy Spirit enough to make the Spirit leave you and forsake you was bred into him, through and through.
There is a scripture used by many Pentecostal ministers, snipped completely out of context and then twisted beyond all recognition:
And grieve not the holy Spirit of God, whereby ye are sealed unto the day of redemption. -- Ephesians 4:30
This scripture is intended to be read as it sounds, and with the background of a Heavenly Father who loves his children. They are His children, sealed until the day of redemption. Absolutely NOTHING can take away the Love of God, and we are sealed by His Holy Spirit.
Paul begs us not to do anything to cause the Father grief. Just like my wife begs my children, do not cause me grief. Don't do the things that will upset me, otherwise correction will quickly follow! But I'll still love them! They are sealed with my name! They will always be my children!
Branham would quote this scripture often throughout his ministry — even quoting it entirely. But his focus was not on the "sealed" part, it was on the "grieve" part. That focal point would become so magnified that he would often leave off the second half, scaring the people into submission.
And a Christian can't fellowship around like that. It would kill the very Spirit that was in him, grieve the Holy Spirit and It'd go away.
This is not the Father's love! You CAN'T "kill" the Holy Spirit! You can't grieve the Holy Spirit enough to leave you and forsake you! It won't "go away" — you are SEALED! Sealed all the way until the day of redemption!
He would preach sermons that would make the followers question their faith, question whether or not they had grieved the Holy Spirit enough to leave them. They weren't sermons of encouragement, preparing the Christian with strength for the battle. They were sermons intended to break down the faith, to cause them to question their faith. It's evident that he didn't want a convert so much as he wanted an altar call.
Temper breeds temper. First thing you know, you grieve the Holy Spirit away from you, you'll be fussing back. Then the Holy Spirit takes Its flight. Temper breeds temper.
Even the Old Testament representation — or "type as he called it" — of being sealed by the Holy Spirit was twisted completely out of context! When the Children of Israel were told to strike the post and the door with the blood of a lamb. That blood, the blood of a lamb, sealed them from certain death! Just as the Blood of The Lamb, Jesus Christ, seals us from certain death!
In a sermon called "The Token," the sermon that described this blood of a lamb on the post on the door, Branham reversed the "seal." It was no longer a permanent thing, and the weight of holding the seal in place was on YOUR shoulders rather than God's shoulders!
I look at the way I--I feel, what's in my soul, I'm full of temper, anger, I'm jealous. I've got all..." Oh, my! That would grieve the Holy Spirit from you, right now. See? See?
This false teaching, that the Father doesn't love you enough to seal you until redemption, that the Holy Spirit will leave you if you sin, would grow and grow over time. What seemed like a minor heresy would be amplified into one of the most blasphemous statements that William Branham would make in his entire ministry:
The choice of your conduct. You could... You can't mix it now. 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.
Friends, this is not scriptural. It's false teaching and heresy. This is twisting God's Word from the True Word of God into some other form of worship. It is twisting God into some other god. The God who loves us enough to send His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for our sins becomes a God of hate and rage!
And not just hate and rage, God who is the God above all gods is given the weakness of our personalities! He can become "offended" in this twisted theology, offended enough that he leaves us to fend for ourselves.
He no longer is the Father who loves his children, he becomes a dictator whose servants must fear being cut off from the Kingdom.
There are many people who mistakenly think that God was ONLY a God of justice and wrath in the Old Testament. But God was the same Heavenly Father back then as he was after Jesus died on the cross. God does not change; God is eternal. God is not limited to our time and space, not progressive over time.
The Old Testament describe the same Father that loves His children:
Be strong and courageous. Do not fear or be in dread of them, for it is the Lord your God who goes with you. He will not leave you or forsake you."
THIS, friends, is the God who loves you. Not some God of wrath who would smite a man's wife and child in a fictional story about not joining the Pentecostal faith. Not some God who will leave you if you sin. This is the God of Love, the God who cares for His children as His own.
Paul reminds us of this in Hebrews 13. It was so important that we find the same exact scripture two times in the Bible, once in the Old Testament, once in the New.
Keep your life free from love of money, and be content with what you have, for he has said, "I will never leave you nor forsake you."
If you haven't decided whether or not you will serve the god that Branham promoted or serve the God that we find in the Bible, make your choice today! Serve the Living God, the God who loves us no matter what we do as children! Serve the God who remains the same forever, the God who has sealed us until the day of redemption!
Don't serve some selfish god who can be offended enough to walk away. You wouldn't even want friends this selfish! Why base your salvation on something that you wouldn't even do in your personal lives!
Serve the God who offers us salvation with unmerited favor. All we need do is have faith in Jesus Christ!
For by grace are you saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God -- Ephesians 2:8