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Are You A Preacher?

John Collins09/13/2013

Video Available Here:  http://youtu.be/lg6kErj-A9U

I always get a chuckle when a new person stumbles across something I’ve written on my website or on a forum, and asks me the question, “Are you a preacher?”

It’s funny, because to most Christians, this would be a compliment.  To be recognized as a person who cares enough about the things of God to tell another is very encouraging, and should be a blessing to us as Christians.

But the reason this question brings humor is in the situation.  While all other Christians would receive this as a compliment, I know that when this question comes from a person programmed with the teaching of William Branham, it is intended to insult.

But the greater irony is the comparison between what we see in this contrast of Christians verses cult is when we begin to compare it to the early days of Christ.

Those of us that have left the “Message,” the denomination of faith that follows the teaching of William Marrion Branham, have mostly been condemned or outcast by the cult followers.  I will admit that not everyone has, but the vast majority of people have went through the struggle to find new friends, new support groups, and even men or women to replace that love that a mother or father will no longer show for their new walk with Christ.

Under the Old Covenant, God instructed the Children of Israel to be a separated people.  They were to strictly follow the Mosaic Law, and any person refusing to follow or who rose in opposition to that Law were outcast.  God was building a church, and the Children of Israel were the foundation to that church.  The Levitical priesthood were to remain pure and holy, and the tribe of Judah was going to produce the greatest Gift that this world has ever known.

The Law was harsh.  If you study how that Law was given, you’ll find that it could almost be considered a punishment for the Children of Israel after they breached the first covenant that Moses received from God.  In God’s wrath, He gave the children of Israel a set of rules that He knew they could never uphold.  And they didn’t.

Constantly, they fell into idolatry.  They begin to worship one thing or another, and the trail of false gods can be found all through the history of the Children of Israel. 

It’s interesting, because archaeological digs in the places where Israel were known to have lived have produced household idols of Asherah, the “breasted god.”  When these were first found, the Archaeologists that did not know their bibles falsely believed that the Children of Israel worshipped this idol as well as Yahweh.  As news of what they found began to spread, this belief that Yahweh had a female counterpart in the form of an idol actually took hold.  You’ll find websites of men proclaiming this fall to idolatry without the corresponding scriptures where God’s wrath was shown for including pagan gods in their worship. 

This even took hold in the cult of William Branham.  Branham taught that “El Shaddai,” or the God of Abraham, was the “breasted god.”  Branham was fascinated with things of science, and relayed them to his people on recordings with a “spiritual twist” that made his followers believe these things came to him by divine revelation.

But under the Old Covenant Law, there was a strict priesthood.  Not just anybody could be a priest, only those from the tribe of Levi.  The Levitical priesthood was carried down from generation to generation, and would ultimately produce the men in the priesthood that Christ would one day rebuke. 

And the Israelites would rebuke Christ in return, because He was not a Levite.  Jesus was born in the tribe of Judah, and was nothing but a simple son of a carpenter.  The Bible emphasizes the stark contrast, because the ones that had abandoned love completely to enforce Law were of the respected Levitical bloodline.

So when Christ started standing for Truth, and started teaching the people the way of life that God wants for His Children, all sides scorned and condemned.  Women, who under custom were not permitted to be involved with spiritual discussions or learn spiritual teaching were now sitting around Christ as he taught how the Law had failed and Grace was required.  Those women, breaking the tradition to become Christian, were scorned and mocked by the friends and families that they once knew and loved.  As Christ taught them freedom in Grace, their friends scorned them for breaking the Law.

This scorn was compounded by the true nature of the Gospel.  When you hear the real Gospel of Jesus Christ, the Good News that Christ came to fulfill the Law, lived the perfect life that we could never live, died on the cross for the sins of the world, and rose again so that we can rise with him – simply by believing that He did this for us – you become excited!  You must tell others!  You want everybody to know what Jesus Christ did for you!

The Gospel has the power to save.  The Gospel alone.  When men or women hear of freedom for earthly things, they quickly grow excited, and they cannot sleep until they have told another.  And another.  How much more the freedom in Christ?

Paul said that we are now free, and that ALL things are lawful.  Paul carried the Gospel of Jesus Christ to the nations, spreading the Good News that Jesus Christ had set us free from Law.  Now even the Jews, once bound by the penalty of the Law, were set free to serve God without the same oppression that once had them bound.  And they were free to worship God with the Gentiles, which was a clear violation of the Law. 

The Gentiles were scorned by the tradition of the Law.  They were uncircumcised, ate food sacrificed to idols in their temples, and were descendants from a long line of people that sacrificed human flesh to the Baals. 

Yet the power of the Gospel knows now boundaries.  Even the pagan priests, once slaying innocent victims on an alter of a false god, can be saved by simply hearing the Good News that God sent His Only Son to die for the sins of the world and set us free!

So when I get asked this question, “Are you a preacher,” it gives me a good chuckle.  That very question tells me that I am dealing with a person bound by law – and they have no idea that there are spiritual chains hanging from their hands and feet.  Like the Jews, this law is the only law they know.  They do not know the Grace of Jesus Christ, or the Gospel of Jesus Christ – otherwise they would have read the many scriptures Paul wrote in his letters to the church describing freedom from this law!

They would know that spreading the Gospel does not require a priesthood, and that our new High Priest is Jesus Christ – not some mortal born in sin.  They would have read how Hezekiah broke down the brazen serpent that once brought “Divine Healing” to the children of Israel, and later became an idol that they worshipped ALONG WITH the One True God!  They would know that these stories of the Old Testament paved the way for a people burdened by Law that Christ would one day set free!

That very question, “Are you a preacher,” tells me that I am dealing with a person who has been falsely programmed to believe that only a cult pastor can read, understand, and tell others about the Gospel of Jesus Christ and the things of the bible.  William Branham programmed his cult following to believe this by twisting a scripture opposite of its intended meaning:

The Bible said, that, "Prophecy is of no private interpretation." Why? Why ain't it a private interpretation? Why? "The Word of the Lord came to the prophets." It is interpreted by the prophet

Branham, 62-0401 

This teaching came from a scripture snipped out of 2 Peter 1, reversed, and taken “as a context” and a “potion of scripture” by William Branham to trick his followers into believing that his lack of understanding of the Bible was instead some new sort of revelation.  When he gave the people a jumbled mixture of verses taken out of context, he WAS creating a “potion,” and that mixture cast a spell on the followers to trick them out of studying their Bibles.

If you read the verses before and after, you’ll find that Peter is telling us that God gives understanding of scripture to anyone desiring to learn.  We are now led by the Holy Spirit – not man.  And God does not allow one single man to interpret scripture and lift himself up as an idol over the people.

For we did not follow cleverly devised myths when we made known to you the power and coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, but we were eyewitnesses of his majesty.  For when he received honor and glory from God the Father, and the voice was borne to him by the Majestic Glory, “This is my beloved Son, with whom I am well pleased,” we ourselves heard this very voice borne from heaven, for we were with him on the holy mountain.  And we have the prophetic word more fully confirmed, to which you will do well to pay attention as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts, knowing this first of all, that no prophecy of Scripture comes from someone's own interpretation.  For no prophecy was ever produced by the will of man, but men spoke from God as they were carried along by the Holy Spirit. But false prophets also arose among the people, just as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Master who bought them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction.  And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed.  And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.

2 Peter 1:16-2:3

 

It’s difficult to stop at that verse, because the more we read, the more thought Peter gives to this subject.  Peter speaks against those who trick the people into their spiritual power.

It’s ironic, because the cult of William Branham condemns the Catholic Church for this very thing.  They recognize the authority of the Pope and his ultimate authority of scripture.  They condemn it and are very vocal against this hierarchy that was replaced under the New Covenant of Grace.

But while picking the speck out of the eye of the Catholic, they ignore the log in their own eyes.  They do not see that they have set up the very same thing the Catholic Church has established, only worse.  The Catholic Church takes their teaching back to scripture, and at least makes an effort to place the Bible as their absolute authority.  But whether they realize it or not, the cult of William Branham has made Branham their new High Priest that exceeds the authority of the Papacy.

The evidence in this is given in the long conversation that follows that question, “Are you a preacher.”  The programmed next question to my response of “No” is to bash me over the head with quotes from William Branham that belittle me for standing firmly on the leading of Holy Spirit as I read God’s Word. 

While the Bible instructs me to do this, William Branham instructs against it.  In fact, Branham’s message is a direct argument against the second book of Peter!

I recently studied Romans 10, and find that it is a fitting answer to this question.  If I were to simply answer, “No, I am not a preacher,” then the programmed cult mind would never understand.  To them, I AM a preacher, because I am reading and studying God’s Word.  I am pointing out conflicts between God’s Word and the words of William Branham.  I am pointing out how prophecies taken out of the Popular Science Magazine about egg-shaped cars have absolutely nothing to do with the things of God.  I’m examining scripture that condemns Branham for his failed prophecies, and instruct us to stand against false prophets.  To them, I am a preacher.

But to all other Christians in the Body of Christ, I am nothing.  They recognize that there is no attempt to gain a following.  They see that what I do is painful, against the will of human nature.  They see me as more of an ox – one who carries the burden that nobody else is willing to carry.  I’m the pack-mule, not a preacher!

Romans 10 describes this exact scenario.  Paul is telling us about those willing to stand for the Gospel.  He tells us that the Jews bound by Law will never understand – they are only capable of hearing their rules and regulations from a priest.  Though there is no distinction between the Gentiles who never knew Law and the Jew that was bound by it, Paul says that they are all the same in the eyes of God.

Paul says,

“For Moses writes about the righteousness that is based on the law, that the person who does the commandments shall live by them.  But the righteousness based on faith says, “Do not say in your heart, ‘Who will ascend into heaven?’” (that is, to bring Christ down)  “or ‘Who will descend into the abyss?’” (that is, to bring Christ up from the dead).  But what does it say? “The word is near you, in your mouth and in your heart” (that is, the word of faith that we proclaim);  because, if you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.  For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth one confesses and is saved.  For the Scripture says, “Everyone who believes in him will not be put to shame.”  For there is no distinction between Jew and Greek; for the same Lord is Lord of all, bestowing his riches on all who call on him.  For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.”

 

How then will they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how are they to believe in him of whom they have never heard? And how are they to hear without someone preaching?  And how are they to preach unless they are sent? As it is written, “How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the good news!”  But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For Isaiah says, “Lord, who has believed what he has heard from us?”  So faith comes from hearing, and hearing through the word of Christ.

 

But I ask, have they not heard? Indeed they have, for  ‘Their voice has gone out to all the earth, and their words to the ends of the world.’  But I ask, did Israel not understand?”

Romans 10:5-19

 

While the cult followers are bound by the laws that Branham imposed on their lives, they will never understand.  While they serve Branham as their High Priest, and honor the new priesthood placing authority back into the hands of their pastors, a cult follower will see any stand for the Word of God as “preaching.” 

It is interesting, because while telling those making their stand for the Word that they do not have authority to “rightly handle the Word of Truth,” they will give you a hundred quotes from the “book of Branham.”  I’ve often thought about responding to the onslaught of Branham quotes of twisted scripture with, “Are you a preacher?”

So to those of you who have now been set free, and to those that are in Christian churches outside of this cult, you will understand:  No, I’m not a preacher.  I’m the ox that everyone likes to poke sticks at.

I’m the one that has placed myself out front so that the sexually abused can escape to freedom while I bear the brunt of their attacks.  I’m the one that gives a face to the underground railroad so that pastors can spew their hatred towards me instead of those sneaking out from under them.  I’m the one that this cult can show anger and hatred towards, venting their frustration while the suicidal person can escape and find new life in Christ.

We have private groups established helping many people just like I’ve described.  All tell stories of abuse, ranging from sexual to physical and spiritual.  After deprogramming, all will tell you that their spiritual abuse was far worse than sexual abuse or physical abuse could ever become – because the spiritual abuse promotes a system like the Catholic Church and the Message of William Branham where the priests can sweep the evil under the rug unnoticed.

If you are a person asking this question, and you are truly trying to find a preacher, I recommend that you open your phone book and find a good, healthy church.  One that is based on the Gospel of Jesus Christ, this Good News that Christ came to set us free from Law.  Find one that does have a preacher – not some man who is just a broken record restating over and over something that was said over forty years ago. 

You will find many resources online describing what makes a healthy church, and I strongly recommend for you to read through them.  If you are in a healthy church, tell others about Jesus and bring new faces into your house of worship.  If you are not in a healthy church, get out and find one that is.

My favorite resource for studying the signs of a healthy church comes from John MacArthur, on his website “Grace To You.”

http://www.gty.org/resources/questions/QA121