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William Branham, Dowie, and Wigglesworth

Seek The Truth Blog

William Branham, Dowie, and Wigglesworth:

When it became common knowledge among the cult following of William Branham that prophecies were left unfulfilled, prophecies were changed and "brought up to date" through the hands of Leo Mercier and the tape editors, and prophecies failed before Branham's untimely death, Voice of God Recordings started a campaign "Because He Said So." Initiated through a newsletter publication, this campaign was proclaimed through the voices of the cult ministers that it was acceptable for Branham's prophecies, doctrines, life stories, and ministry to have fundamental conflicts and error, because -- they claim -- the Bible itself is also filled with internal conflict.

Instead, Voice of God Recordings and later the cult pastors began proclaiming Branham's "healing ministry," claiming that this "prophet" was vindicated by signs and wonders -- not by whether or not his prophecies were successful. Imagine, if you will, a baseball player that is "vindicated" by how well he can play badminton. Both are sports -- just as both healing and prophecy are gifts from God, but in both cases a separate and sometimes distinct function.

Over time, however, new thoughts were added upon Voice of God Recordings' initial response. These cult ministers -- some who have claimed prophecy as "vindication" for over fifty years, were now proclaiming "healing" as "vindication of a prophet." And just as they proclaimed that Branham had a gift of prophecy "like no other" for the last several decades, they now proclaim that Branham had a divine healing ministry "like no other."

Those who have studied the history of the post-war evangelists with ministries focused on the gift of healing know otherwise.

When the modern-day Pentecostal movement began, they required a supernatural gift as "evidence" of the Holy Spirit's work in your life. It was a new "gospel," much different than the descriptions given in the letters of the Apostle Paul. They began proclaiming that "speaking in tongues" was "evidence of the Holy Spirit."

Over time, some realized that this was in error. There was more than one spiritual gift given to the church, yet they were only focusing on one single gift as evidence of the Spirit. Divisions in the Pentecostal faith began segregating Pentecostals into different bodies of people.

One such branch of people separated themselves and began to follow John Alexander Dowie, "Elijah prophet" and "divine healer" from Zion, Illinois with worldwide fame for his amazing healing ministry. This camp recognized the "Gift of Divine Healing," and over time, appears to have initiated the "Gospel of Divine Healing."

Followers of this new "gospel" often proclaimed successors. It was commonplace to follow a "prophet leader" until their death, and then a "successor leader" in their place. Sometimes this new leader was described through prophetic statements, as in the case with Dowie and Wigglesworth. This leader-succession, under the doctrines of this new "gospel," was compared to Elisha's succession of Elijah's prophetic gift. For this reason, some of the leaders in this new movement claimed to be the "Elijah" for this day.

William Branham claimed to be the successor of both evangelists in the Divine Healing movement:

"And how that Dr. Price had prophesied of a great move coming. And Dr. Price moved off the earth one day. Wigglesworth moved off one night, Dr. Price the next morning. And the next day I was visit by the Angel of the Lord just to go out. And man foresaw it coming (You see?), and here it is now."
Branham, 57-0325 - The Lamb And The Dove

"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.
Branham, 51-0929 - Our Hope Is In God

In a world without airplane travel, it could be argued that Dowie's ministry was more impacting than that of Branham or Wigglesworth, though Wigglesworth would have had access to air travel in his later years. Dowie's following had grown so large that he declared "Zion" a city in Illinois in 1901, and churches were established world-wide to his honor. Churches were established in South Africa, which quickly spread throughout the country as the "Zionist Christian Sect" movement.

To a normal (not programmed) Christian, this new logic from Branham cult ministers is problematic. Cult pastors claim that Branham's ministry brought forth the "Gospel of Divine Healing" is in error -- this movement was initiated by Dowie before the Azusa Street Revival. Their claim that no other minister has influenced the world with a healing ministry like Branham is also in error -- Branham himself claimed to have been the successor to two such men! But most importantly, their claim that Branham's "message" originated with Branham is in error -- this "message" was a continuation of the men Branham molded his ministry after.

It was truly a message of the "Gospel of Divine Healing," and Branham honored the dead "Elijah" ministers well. He continued their ministry far into the 20th century, and influenced men of his following who would later become "Elijahs" in distant lands.

But to the normal (not programmed) Christian, any "gospel" other than the Gospel of Jesus Christ that Paul proclaimed is accursed.