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Young Foundations

John Collins10/28/2013

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When the Divine Healing movement started to gain steam, the world was watching.  A prophet’s boasting, his adversaries standing firmly against the movement, and the walls packed with people from coast to coast who came to see this man who could heal others by the power of God.  As he began to prophesy, proclaiming to be Malachi 4, his followers took their stance firmly in the faith that this man was receiving the Word from the Lord, while the other churches began to take notice and observe the movement’s sudden increase.  Many left their jobs, homes, and families to move closer to the church, not realizing that they were laying a foundation that was built around a man instead of the God they were seeking.

But that man fell.  Sexual sins and adultery were hidden in the shadows.  The love of money had consumed the prophet, and that foundation that was being laid was self-serving to the ministry and its elders.  Buildings that were constructed to hold the oncoming populous were abandoned.  Those who had started their new lives around the prophet must start once more, having learned that the fruits of this spirit were unclean.

That prophet died in 1907, and a city still remains in remembrance to all that a movement that produces signs and wonders can be the devil in disguise.  When John Alexander Dowie died, and the people learned that their “Elijah” had failed them, they were devastated.  The foundation that they had laid began to crumble, and without support from God, was completely ground into dust.  They had laid a foundation that could not stand.

As humans, we look for the satisfaction of the work of our own hands.  Like artists, we watch the canvas of our lives begin to fill with vibrant color, and we admire the half-finished work as though we were in full control of the paintbrush.  So easily we forget that God controls our work.  We forget the Hands that hold the paintbrush as we watch our spiritual walk with Christ unfold.  Too many times, we try to take the paintbrush back from the Painter.

When Dowie rose into fame, he advanced a ministry proclaiming restoration of the Church.  The prophecies of the Old Testament that pointed to Christ as the Restorer of Israel were refocused to the Divine Healing movement, and scriptures were subtly changed to trick the believers into thinking that there was no Hand holding the paintbrush for the last several centuries.  The ancient idea that was based on Mosaic Law was resurrected, and the state of saving Grace could only be accomplished through the laying of a new foundation of Christianity.  Through these works, Dowie taught that Healing of the Body could be accomplished as a milestone on the way to salvation.  In his publication, “Leaves of Healing,” Dowie convinced a nation that was marveling at the success of his power to heal, and over a hundred thousand people moved into what would become Zion City, Illinois. 

But that restoration movement died unfinished.  Though it once produced the fruits of healing for the body, it did not produce the fruits of the Spirit that the restorer proclaimed would come through ascetic lifestyles.  Rather than seeing the demolished state of the foundation, the followers of Dowie instead saw a foundation that was awaiting another restorer to come and built the temple on its platform.

Under Dowie’s teaching and faith healing ministry, Fred Francis Bosworth received “spiritual enlightenment” with regards to the Divine Healing ministry, having spontaneously been healed from lung disease that nearly claimed his life.  Believing that healing was a “fruit of the spirit,” F. F. Bosworth joined the Pentecostal faith promoted by the followers of Dowie, and went on to become involved with the Christian and Missionary Alliance – spreading this new “gospel of healing” to the world.  Bosworth himself had widespread fame, and not just because of his book, “Christ the Healer.”  Bosworth was one of the founding fathers of the Assemblies of God denomination of faith, which has produced fruits such as Benny Hinn, Jim and Tammy Faye Bakker, A. A. Allen, and more.  This widespread fame caught the attention of another young minister, one that would later believe that he was building upon the foundation laid by John Alexander Dowie.

In a meeting in Zion City, Illinois appealing to the followers of the false prophet Dowie, William Branham claimed to have been born the day after Dowie Died in 1907.  Though Branham signed his birthdate as April 8, 1908 on government records, and would later claim to have been born April 6, 1909, Branham’s appeal to the followers of Dowie was the passing of “Elijah’s mantle” of the Divine Healing Movement to himself.  Referring to a woman who knew Dowie personally, he said this:

She was acquainted, of your, our great renowned brother that's--that's sleeping tonight, no, not sleeping (his body is); his soul's with Jesus: Doctor Alexander Dowie. "And forty years before... When he died, he prophesied," she said.

He said, "It'll be forty years after my death, that this city shall go on the rock, but after that forty years there'll come a revival, that'll be more glorious than it was in the first place." And I have the writings here in--in--in just in part that I might read there. It's kinda... "Doctor Dowie prophesied that some forty years after his death, that the churches would be restored in more power and glory than they were in--in the former."


In a later sermon to the followers of Dowie, Branham started the “Elijah’s Mantle” teaching, appealing to the group as the “Elisha” to Dowie’s “Elijah.”

Oh, if I... If Jesus tarries, and I can stay that long, let me be like that. That's right. Brother Richey here, how I could speak of him, of how down through the age when I was a little boy in school, he was out there preaching the Gospel and praying for the sick, when I was just a boy. Your mothers and dads listened to him preach the Gospel on Divine healing, both of them out of Zion, Illinois. Candidates are out from under the--the great teacher late Doctor Dowie. How Doctor Dowie in his death prophesied that I would come to that city forty years from the time that he died. Not knowing nothing about it, he died on one day, and I was borned on the next. And forty years to the day I entered the city, not knowing nothing about it. Oh, how God's great move is coming together; I hear the sound of abundance of rain.

--51-0929 OUR.HOPE.IS.IN.GOD

But the underlying problem with this foundation is that it was built upon healing of the body – not upon the Work that Christ did on the cross.  While Christ and the Apostles taught us that our earthly bodies are fading and of little importance, the Divine Healing movement refocused our attention from our spiritual bodies once more to our flesh and blood.  Because this foundation required a “restorer” in human form, and following scriptures out to their conclusions, scriptures that pointed to Christ must also be redirected to the leader of the movement.  Only a few days before God removed William Branham from this earth in accordance with scriptures against false prophecy, Branham claimed that he was Christ itself.  This “Elijah’s Mantle” that was passed from Dowie to himself was promoted to be greater than Dowie.  While Dowie was just the man that fell to sins that split a following, Branham claimed that THIS Elijah [himself] was the Lord Jesus Christ:

Now, we've had Elijahs, and Elijahs' coats, and Elijahs' mantles, and Elijahs' everything. But the Elijah of this day is the Lord Jesus Christ. He is to come according to Matthew the seventeen-... Luke 17:30, says the Son of man is to reveal Himself among His people. Not a man, God! But it'll come through a prophet. Now, He never had two major prophets at the same time, never, in the world. See? No matter how much there's... two--two heads can't... It has to be one head. God has to get one man under His control. See? There's one God; there was Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, but one God over it all, notice, and just used them offices. So has He with Elijah, the Spirit of Elijah; He used that Spirit, but the same God controlling It all the time to fulfill His Word.



But again, the foundation that was laid atop of another crumbling foundation cannot stand.  The restoration that proclaimed Divine Healing, a new gospel that associated healing with salvation cannot stand from its own foundation.  Unless it was a foundation laid by God, it will crumble yet again.

The fruits that this ministry promised as its gospel was proclaimed were all fruits that described worldly things:  outward appearance, healing of the flesh, and restoration of the law – or of partial law.  With the restoration of these things, the ministry proclaimed a restoration of the church.  If the members were to uphold the foundation themselves by upholding the commandments of men, Branham claimed that the wall would increase into a “Word Bride,” that could give themselves “rapturing faith.”

But the problem, again, is foundation.  Paul called the Mosiac Law the “Law of death.”  He said that it was obsolete, and that it was given as our tutorial as we rose into maturity with instruction that we could never save ourselves.  Man was not designed to save himself, God in his perfect plan built mankind to require a Savior.  He did not want us to have the glory in our salvation; God wanted us to look to His Son for our salvation.  The Bible says that we sin daily, and to deny this is to deny the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  What good is the Good News if we could save ourselves?  For what purpose would God send His only Son to die for us if he knew that we could simply lift ourselves into “rapturing faith” and save ourselves from the fire?

In fact, the Apostle Paul calls these “restorers” immature.  They come laying new foundations that are not built upon Christ, but instead are built upon the work of our own hands.  He calls these things “dead works,” because Christ’s Work on the cross was once-for-all.  There is nothing that we ourselves can do to earn our salvation, and our “rapturing faith” is simply to believe that as sinners, we are saved by Grace as a Gift from God. 

Therefore let us 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, and of instruction about baptisms and the laying on of hands, the resurrection of the dead, and eternal judgment.

Hebrews 6:1-2

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.

Ephesians 2:8-9

But again, that foundation crumbled.  According to William Branham, 1977 was the “year of jubilee,” and Branham claimed that according to Divine Inspiration, this date in time would usher in the new millennium.  Many lived through that year, watching “Divine Inspiration” fail.  Those that remained continually discuss what, exactly, this jubilee meant since there was no spiritual significance, and some invent new doctrines surrounding events that took place in 1977 without binding them to Branham’s entire teaching of that year.  They can find history that supports one or two elements of the “Message Year of Jubilee,” but 1977 did not produce all aspects of the “Divine Inspiration.”

The crumbling of Branham’s foundation of works has continued, until even the followers are starting to notice the questionable fruits of the ministry.  One church will not associate with another, because of doctrinal division.  Some claim that their teaching holds the mystery behind the seventh seal, while others believe that Branham alone held this mystery.  Those that have left and entered Christian Churches with solid foundations realize that the Lamb alone was worthy to open the seals, and that no man can know this mystery.

From the hundreds that have contacted me personally, having left the Branham denomination, there is a wide variety of people and reasons for leaving.  Like myself, some have discovered prophecies that did not come to pass exactly like William Branham claimed, and quickly started to realize that all prophecy was given after-the-fact.  Others, having a strong desire to start studying their Bibles, started to realize that the teaching recorded on tape does not match scripture, and that many verses were invented, twisted, and combined, adding to the scriptures and taking away from God’s Word.  But some left because of the fruit produced from this foundation, knowing nothing of the false teaching or failed prophecy.

The Love that Christ displayed is not dominating the movement.  Specific churches claim to have this love, and even claim to love others that are outside of Branham’s foundation, but as a whole, they started to realize that this was not the case.  Around the world, churches claiming to hold fast onto the Branham foundation have an unusual amount of bitterness towards their fellow man, and heeding Branham’s advice, point fingers at all other churches calling them the “Mark of the Beast.”  The mainstream fruit of this foundation is the belief that without faith in William Branham, one cannot be saved.  They have built their faith upon Branham’s foundation rather than the cross.

But William Branham was not able to produce “rapturing faith” in the days leading up to his horrific death, and Branham’s “year of jubilee” was fruitless.  1977 produced nothing with the exception of a great falling away by those that were seeking fulfillment of failed prophecy against the United States.  The elders of this faith and their families – the ones with their outstretched hands uplifting the foundation that Branham built did not produce “rapturing faith” through their ascetic lifestyles, and those that have sweat beads running down their faces from bearing the load blame the failure upon those that live normal lives that William Branham considered to be “worldly.”  Branham’s foundation, laid atop of Dowie’s foundation, has crumbled.

There is only one answer to this problem, when trying to earn salvation from any other foundation than Christ.  When your platform turns to dust, you must erect another.  And since the elders were not capable of saving themselves through dead works and since they are growing weak while bearing the load of Branham’s crumbling foundation, there must be another generation to carry the burden.

We must have Young Foundations.

Children of today are not smarter than the older generation, but they have access to a wealth of knowledge that their fathers could not see.  While their father’s listened earnestly as William Branham praised the false prophet Dowie, the children can easily access history of his failed prophecies and sinful failures with just a few keystrokes.  Children have keyword searches to Branham’s own prophecies, and can line them up in order to watch them gradually change from their original “spoken word” and into a completely and entirely different “prophecy” – all while “prophesied” after-the-fact.  They must be trained to ignore the cracks in the wall, patch them with their own sweat and blood, and try to uphold what their fathers could not.  The entire burden of producing “rapturing faith” is now placed upon the children.

There is a cost for abandoning the Gospel of Jesus Crist.  After Paul condemned those that would rise to lay new foundations, he was not mildly speaking against them with a gentle persuasion.  Paul rebuked them heavily, saying that their only end was to be burnt by the fire.

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.  For land that has drunk the rain that often falls on it, and produces a crop useful to those for whose sake it is cultivated, receives a blessing from God.   But if it bears thorns and thistles, it is worthless and near to being cursed, and its end is to be burned.

Hebrews 6:4-8

But sadly, these children are slaves to the desires of their parents.  Because they themselves could not produce “rapturing faith,” they must decide whether they were holding a failing foundation for the majority of their lives, or whether they were failures in life that were unable to produce Branham’s perfect will.  To admit failure is to admit false religion, and in the eyes of their children, become ignorant to the Word of God.  The children are enslaved to the failures of their parents, now having to bear the burden of weight as they reconstruct  the crumbling foundation of their fathers.

But with each new foundation laid, it grows further and further from the original foundation, which is the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  The Good News that none are worthy, is forgotten.  The Gospel that describes a loving Father sending His only Son to die to save those who could not save themselves is not taught to these children, in replacement for the doctrines of a failing foundation.  The children are re-taught the same doctrines from the same foundation that failed to produce rapturing faith, and these new “Young Foundations” are destined to suffer the same defeat. 

And the load is much more difficult to bear than before.  With each new exposure of the fictional stories that Branham claimed to represent his past life, a new question is raised.  With each new invented scripture found, the younger generation with access to the information highway are now staggering to the combination of questions as to why the past foundation failed, why the teachings do not align with scripture, and why they are forced to carry the load for something that they did not build themselves.  To these people, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is appealing – because Christ carries the load for them.

My heart bleeds for the “Young Foundations.”  Like myself, many will suffer through life not realizing that the work they do is in vain.  Their entire lives become another book of Ecclesiastes, and their struggle to uphold the extra-biblical teachings of their fathers will never produce any sort of faith greater than what is given to them by the Gift of the Holy Spirit.  They will blindly wander through life looking for something that was not meant to be.  It is only by the Grace and Mercy of God that we are able to enter the kingdom, and there is nothing we can do to earn our place in the New Jerusalem.

If nothing changes, these children will come to a great fall.  Unless the old foundation is abandoned, and the Gospel of Jesus Christ is taught, they will suffer a fate worse than their parents, because their load is much harder to bear.  The parents ask something of their children that they could never do themselves. 

If you are a child that has been born into this cult, you are not alone.  Many of us from around the world were destined to fall, just like you are now.  Many of us, like myself, have fallen.  The weight was unbearable, and our attempt to earn this “rapturing faith” did not succeed.  We went through a punishment worse than death for the sake of our fathers and their failed attempt, simply because we had never been taught the Gospel of Jesus Christ.  We never knew that Christ would carry this load for us, never knew that our outward appearance and ascetic lifestyle had no merit, and never knew that Christ’s work on Calvary was sufficient for every age.  We never knew that the Covenant of Grace was eternal – because under dispensationalism, the Covenant of Grace un-scripturally had an end. 

If you are a child that has already fallen, you are also not alone.  Many have broken under this load, and fled Christ.  Many did not know that this god we served in the Message was not the God of the Bible.  We were taught the “god of wrath” that ignored the cross to smite a wife and daughter.  We were taught a different jesus, one that died on the cross as just a man.  One that was nothing more than an angel, which is now lower than even humans.  We were not taught the Christ of the bible, and many fled to different gods or no god at all.

But do not worry.  God will never leave you nor forsake you.  Many of those same people are now coming back to Christ, and the Holy Spirit is constantly calling out for those that are buried under the rubble of the foundation their fathers could not uphold.  Come to Christ, and make Him your foundation.  Do not look for a “young foundation” to build something better than the cross – look to the Foundation that was laid over 2000 years ago.