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William Branham's Uncertain Assurance of Salvation

Seek The Truth Blog

William Branham's Uncertain Assurance of Salvation:

Yesterday, we received a question from readers that we often get, especially from those who are making their journey out of the religious cult following of William Branham. To any who were fully immersed in the teachings of Branham, it is a question you will recognize, especially if you were born and raised in this religion. To the youth, this question brings constant fear.

The question that came in:
Can a believer be lost even if he is sealed with the Holy Spirit? Bro. Branham preached that even if you received the baptism of the Holy Spirit , you can still go to hell.

To a normal (not programmed) Christian, this is a strange question. Those who have accepted Jesus Christ and have been given the assurance of the Eternal Covenant of Grace do not even consider this to be a question that a Christian would ask. But in the cult following of William Branham, this question is almost constantly on the minds of those who believe Branham's "message" to be the "Voice of God." This question is referring to statements Branham made such as this:

Many of you think, "I got the baptism of the Holy Ghost, I'm going to Heaven." That don't mean one thing that you're going to Heaven. No, sir. You can have the baptism of the Holy Ghost every hour in your life, and still be lost and go to hell. The Bible says so. Uh-huh, that's exactly right.
- Branham, 65-1207

On the surface, one would mistakenly think that this is a new extra-biblical teaching that came only from William Branham. But to any who have experienced a religious cult -- especially a doomsday cult -- this appears to be nothing more than a structural component required to form the cult's invisible walls: constant fear of losing one's salvation and therefore being ex-communicated from the elite group.

When one examines the many religious cults that have used psychological techniques to entrap wandering souls, especially pseudo-Christian doomsday cults, one finds a shocking truth: they operate almost exactly the same. Though differences can be found in agenda or doctrine, the structure of the cults could be considered replicas from the same mold.

In their right mind, no person would willingly "join" a cult. And also in their right mind, no person would willing remain inside. Cults do not advertise, "join us! We are a doomsday cult!" And they openly state that any person is free to leave at any time. But this is only partial truth. What they do not tell you is that during the course of their indoctrination process, they will psychologically implant fear of shunning, torment, torture, death, and even eternal separation should you leave their group. Why? If a person leaves, they are leaving the new "mediator," when man they believe is necessary for salvation or escape.

William Branham's cult following is no different than the other doomsday cults created by the same mold. To the cult following, William Branham is the mediator between God and man. When confronted, a cult follower will give partial truth to convince otherwise, but in the end, the cult structure requires William Branham to achieve their extra-biblical "rapturing faith." This is the idea that William Branham restored esoteric "mysteries" required to achieve a level of faith greater than other Christians. According to Branham's doctrine, one must have this level of faith to bypass the doomsday vision that he himself created. Branham taught that all other Christians who do not accept him as the "prophet for their day" will suffer great torment. Women will be openly raped in the streets, bodies torn limb from limb, and a fate worse than death awaits all who do not accept him as the mediator.

To achieve this level of programming, William Branham had to first decrease value of Scripture. He had to decrease the assurance given to Christians by the Apostles, and increase their fear of eternal separation. When the Christian Bible taught that we were sealed unto the day of redemption, Branham had to add stipulations to that seal. In other words, the Bible itself was not good enough. One must also have Branham's "fine print." When referring to the judgment, Branham often referenced his own teaching as the measuring stick that God would use to accept or reject the people for his "age." If they did not accept Branham's extra-biblical teaching, they would be rejected.

"I looked around and I thought, "Well, I don't get it." I said, "Oh, where is Jesus? I want to see Him so bad." They said, "Now, He's just a little higher, right up that way." Said, "Someday He will come to you." You see? Said, "You were sent for a leader. And God will come, and when He does, He'll judge you according to what you taught them, first; whether they go in or not. We'll go in according to your teaching."
60-0515M - The Rejected King

Like the doomsday cults before him, Branham taught a works-righteous faith. His cult followers are required to meet his extra-biblical expectations fully or risk "grieving the holy spirit away." As a cult follower makes their journey out of the cult and into Grace, they begin to untangle Branham's twisting of scripture to realize that there is nothing they can do to make the Father love them any less. God specifically did NOT want salvation to rest upon the works we do, because He did not want any man to boast in his own achievement:

For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, 9 not a result of works, so that no one may boast.
Ephesians 2:8-9

And the Holy Spirit seals. Not just until we stumble and fall -- according to the Christian Bible, we are sealed until the day of redemption:

And do not grieve the Holy Spirit of God, by whom you were sealed for the day of redemption.
Ephesians 4:30

Once sealed, that same Spirit gives us promise that we, too, inherit eternal life:

If the Spirit of him who raised Jesus from the dead dwells in you, he who raised Christ Jesus from the dead will also give life to your mortal bodies through his Spirit who dwells in you.
Romans 8:11

As you make your journey out of the cult, compare Branham's teaching on the Holy Spirit with the letters from the Apostles. Why would Branham say that we could "have the baptism of the Holy Ghost every hour in your life, and still be lost and go to hell" when the Apostles say otherwise? Was this really the "same Message Paul taught, as Branham claimed?

There are a number of reasons people decide to rise against the programmed fear and leave the cult following of William Branham. Each person seems to have a different "message button" that when pressed, causes them to deprogram and unravel the web of fiction that surrounds and blocks their ability to critically examine their faith. For some, it is a failed prophecy or twisted scripture. Others realize that a great deal of Branham's life stories were fiction, and begin to deprogram. But even after the deprogramming process starts, it takes a significant issue to press through the fear to find the door that leads fully to freedom.

For me, this was the issue: an insecure, or shallow "Holy Spirit." I could not allow our children to be raised under this type of spiritual abuse. I refused to allow any man to indoctrinate them with insecurity. As their minds are maturing, they will be forming doctrinally correct assurance that their God loves them as an earthly father loves his child. They will not serve Branham's "god," a narcissistic god who rips away assurance when his brittle feelings are hurt. They will not serve a weak god who cannot protect his own, a god who is no better than the ancient gods of Egypt, Greece, Rome, Babylon, or any other pagan god.

Our children will be raised to understand that the Holy Spirit, sent by the Father, will never leave them nor forsake them.