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Beatle Healing Mania

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Beatle Healing Mania:

In August of 1964, the Beatles became the first British band to break out big in the United States, sparking the "British Invasion" which would bring legends such as the Rolling Stones and the Kinks. The "Bible Belt" of America were appalled by this sudden onslaught of British pop culture in an overly conservative time period of our nation. Many began describing this "invasion" as a tool from the hand of Satan to divide the sheep from the goats, and it was a popular sermon in Pentecostal circles to condemn what would today be considered "elevator music." William Branham was no exception. He often described the Beatles and their music as a direct opposition to Christianity, lifting them from mortal men to spiritual forces of evil.

This especially became a fundamental element of many sermons after many began to associate "Beatlemania" with healing of the sick -- Branham's very own claim to "vindication" of a movement from God. According to 1964 newspapers, literally hundreds were writing and calling in for the Beatles to come visit their sick and afflicted. Newspapers such as the Chicago Tribune compared this to the "laying on of hands."

"Hundreds of people called him to ask if the boys [Beatles] could find time to visit a sick or infirm child -- Taylor calls it a request for the 'laying on of the healing hands.'"
- Chicago Tribune, Sept 3, 1964

This did not sit well with William Branham, who had preached for years that his healing power was a sign by God that his ministry was "vindicated by God." Were the Beatles also "vindicated by God?" Branham referred to his teaching as the "Gospel of Divine Healing," and the Beatles quickly became his arch nemesis. In that same month of that same year, Branham compared the fab four to Satan himself:

"Divine healing is a gift of the Holy Ghost, and here Beatles are doing it. See? Satan can impersonate any of those gifts!"
- Branham, 64-0823E

But did he always teach this?

When the Post WWII Healing Revival went forth, there were many skeptical of the movement. During the 1940's and the 1950's, many could actually compare the sudden onslaught of Pentecostal-style ministers in healing campaigns to that of the British Invasion. Instead of rock-and-roll, these men filled tents with large crowds and taught new doctrines unfamiliar to many who had never experienced Pentecostalism. Townspeople, recognizing the business aspect of these meetings, realized that their potential customers were spending all of their money on a traveling "elixer salesman," and the profits from that "elixer" was not going to their community. Letters to editors of newspapers can be found during that time period almost begging the cities to tax these money-making machines operating under the name of religion.

Ministers would quickly counter these claims by their focus on the supernatural. "Can satan cast out satan?" they would often ask their congregations. How can this be of the devil, when so many are being healed? Over time, ministers would make statements similar to Branham's 1956 defense of the "Gospel of Divine Healing":

"Satan has no power to heal. I give anybody anything they wish, that I could do, if you'll show me one Scripture that says Satan can heal. ... 'I'm the Lord who heals all thy diseases,' said Jesus. Now, now, they can't ... Satan can't heal, it takes God, and it's upon the basis of your faith that God heals."
- Branham, 56-0401M

One quickly as to ask the question, "Which is it?" Why would Branham change his position?

On the surface, this appears to be a simple question, and should William Branham be in the wrong, it is a simple error. He taught both polar-opposite opinions on the same subject. Did he change his mind?

His original position was critical to the establishment of his ministry. He asked his followers to believe that he was the forerunner of the second coming of Jesus Christ, a "prophet for this age," whose ministry was vindicated by God through the healing ministry. Should other well-known atheists and agnostics be able to replicate this "healing," it places even Branham's multiple conflicting stories about his "angelic commission" into question.

"He said, "As the prophet Moses was given two signs for a vindication of his ministry, he will turn his hand to leprosy, and then healing it, and the—and the stick to a snake, and so forth," He said, "so will you be given two signs. One of them, you'll put your hand on the person. Then it'll be given... Don't think nothing of your own, it'll be given to you. Then it'll come to pass, after so long a time, if you'll be reverent, if you'll be reverent, then will be given to you to know the very secrets of their hearts, and the things that's wrong with them."
- Branham, 52-0713A - Early Spiritual Experiences

But should it not be in question? Should Christians accept Branham as a mediator between God and man simply because he said so?

"Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, for many false prophets have gone out into the world."
- 1 John 4:1

For false christs and false prophets will arise and perform great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect.
- Matthew 24:24