When the Azusa Street Revival broke out, many were displaying gifts that they believed to be directly from God. Taking the prophecy from Joel describing the fire that fell at Pentecost, this new breed of Christians decided to expand upon their teaching regarding these gifts, and replace Paul's description of the fruits of the Spirit with a new doctrine: "Evidence of the Holy Ghost."
The early Pentecostals commonly referred to the Gift of Tongues as evidence of the Holy Spirit, but as time went on and fewer people were given this gift, other spiritual gifts were included in this doctrine of "evidence."
The most common "evidence" referred to by the Pentecostal faith include not only the gift of tongues, but also serpent handling and the gift of healing. This doctrine is taken from the latter portion of the sixteenth chapter of the Gospel according to Mark. Though the earlier manuscripts of the Bible did not include this text, the Pentecostal faith decided to build their foundation upon these words:
And these signs will accompany those who believe: in my name they will cast out demons; they will speak in new tongues; 18 they will pick up serpents with their hands; and if they drink any deadly poison, it will not hurt them; they will lay their hands on the sick, and they will recover.”
Over time, the Gift that was freely given to God's children became more of an achievement. Those who were not blessed with the spiritual gifts counted as "evidence" were questioned in their faith. Many were instructed to continue seeking the Holy Spirit until they were able to achieve their gift.
The following of William Branham refer to Branham's claim to heal as evidence of the Holy Spirit in their movement. Regardless of how strongly the teachings of William Branham differ from the scriptures, this "evidence" of Branham's achievement takes precidence over the conflict in teaching, and some choose Branham over the Bible in these instances because of this achievement.
But as a majority, most of the followers of William Branham do not display the gift of healing that they consider to be evidence of the Holy Spirit -- both during Branham's ministry and long after his death. Because of this, and because of Branham's Pentecostal background, many question whether or not God has given this Gift to them. While most Christians would see this as a disturbing problem, many in the following of William Branham do not see this as an issue. Branham lessoned the importance of the Holy Spirit in the latter part of his ministry, claiming that one could easily "grieve away" the Holy Spirit, and that one could have the Holy Spirit every day in his or her lives and still be lost and bound for hell.
In the earlier part of his ministry, William Branham promoted Paul's description of the fruits of the spirit (love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control) as what Christians should look for as evidence of the Holy Spirit. Over time, his doctrine changed. Basing his experience upon the Pentecostal "gifts," Branham claimed to have noticed Christian Science displaying the same Christian love Paul described in Galatians 5, but denied their having the Holy Spirit because they did not live the lifestyle promoted by the Pentecostal faith.
Towards the latter part of his ministry, Branham promoted the idea that accepting the "messenger" or the "message" for your "hour" [referring to himself] was the evidence of the Holy Spirit.
But this is not the same Holy Spirit described in the Bible. While William Branham claimed that we could "grieve away" the Holy Spirit, God tells us that He will never leave us nor forsake us. Though our sins may grieve the Holy Spirit, the Bible says that we are sealed until the day of our redemption, or salvation.
Jesus and the Apostles describe the Holy Spirit is a Gift. It is not a gift that might be merited by our actions, and there is nothing we can do to conjure up this spirit as we find with elemental spirits of the world. The Holy Spirit is a Gift, sent from the Father after Jesus Christ ascended to the Throne. It is a Gift freely given, by unmerited favor between God and man.
Branham was correct in the early stages of his ministry; the fruits of the Spirit are founded in perfect love. And that perfect love flows from us by the Spirit that is within us.
Read more: www.seekyethetruth.com/resources-bible-holyspirit.aspx