William Branham: The Spoken Word versus The Holy Spirit:
When people contact our website after having made the decision to leave the cult following of William Branham, they are often filled with questions concerning the Holy Spirit. How could the Father "send" the Holy Spirit in Branham's Oneness theology? Are we still looking for a "prophet" to come if the Holy Spirit is now our Guide?
More often than not, their theological questions quickly turn into complex questions about life's choices. How could the Holy Spirit have led us into a doomsday cult? I felt something in that cult church, how could I not have known that it was not of God?
Many of these questions are surrounding a personal walk with God, and are not questions that we can even answer. All we can do is point to passages of Scripture, and only the person seeking can answer. Could God have used William Branham? The Bible tells us that God used Pharaoh, and hardened his heart. Had God not continually pushed the Children of Israel deeper and deeper into oppression from the Egyptian cults of the ancient world, they might never have left the security of the mighty world power that protected them -- even if they were enslaved.
But when a new seeker begins to examine the ministry of William Branham, they find themselves in an awkward position with regards to their own enslaved and indoctrinated past. It is very easy to confuse their own cult programming with these sensations, which can lead to confusion. To fully grasp what has happened to them, they must learn to separate what other Christians are taught -- from the Bible -- about the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.
When normal (not programmed) Christians use the phrase "the Word of God," they are referring to the Holy Bible and all of the books contained. Interestingly, this traditional use of this phrase has decreased the original understanding of the "Word of God" Normal (not programmed) Christians take for granted what the deprogramming cult mind is only now beginning to understand.
John 1:1 says that "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God," and at the time this sentence was written, the Bible Canon as we know it did not yet exist. It was not until a little after 400 A. D. that the Book of Revelation was accepted into the New Testament. In the original Greek, the "Word" was the "Logos." And the word "Logos" itself contains the subject matter for a wide range of theological understanding. It was the thought expressed from the very mind of God, personified in the man Jesus Christ. To speak of the Word in this context is to speak of Christ Himself.
But religious cults, especially doomsday cults, attempt to limit the power of "The Word." Their words must be increased in value, which in turn decreases the value of "The Word." And no longer can the Holy Spirit be the guide for the cult follower; the cult leader must be the guide. But he must be much more than a guide -- doomsday cult leaders position themselves as the mediator between God and man. They must indoctrinate their victims to believe that their own words are a "spoken word"
Jim Jones of the Jonestown Massacre followed Branham's example. William Branham kick-started Jones' ministry at the Cadle Tabernacle in Indianapolis, IN, and Jones is identified in sermon transcripts on Branham.org, the website for Voice Of God Recordings. Though his voice no longer exists on the Cadle Tabernacle series, we can still find Branham identifying the doomsday cult leader in his audience at other locations. Like Branham, Jones indoctrinated his following with the belief that he [Jones] was the "Spoken Word"
Without a prophet, you cannot be saved. Thatâ€™s what I am. The Word. The Spoken Word. The Living Word.
Jim Jones, Transcript Q612
Weâ€™re not in a praying house here, weâ€™re in a speaking house. The Spoken Word is here. The Word is made flesh.
Jim Jones, Transcript Q353
William Branham often referred to the "Spoken Word" in his recorded sermons. To the casual listener, one would assume that he is referring to the oral reading of Scripture, however Branham is very clever in his strategy. There are multiple parts to his architecture of cult leadership: he [Branham] is the Spoken Word, life can only come through his Spoken Word, he [Branham] is the "Word Prophet" for the "Age," and without listening to his [Branham's] Spoken Word, you will die. But strategically, Branham very seldom combines all of these doctrines. One must listen to the full set of recordings to grasp his concept of deity.
Those who are making their journey out of Branham's cult following must examine all of his doctrines -- not just one or two. They must follow all of his teachings out to their conclusion. When they do, they will be shocked to find that all paths lead towards Branham's claiming to be much more than a man.
Take an example of just four pieces of his much larger puzzle. Each of these quotes in the center of an individual sermon with an individual concept. One can read each sermon having no prior knowledge of Branham's strategy, and mistakenly assume that he is referring to the God of the Bible, the Holy Writ, and the leading of the Holy Spirit. But after combining these four ideas, re-read each sermon in its entirety. You'll be shocked to suddenly find that all four sermons are pointing to himself rather than the God of the Bible:
There is nothing can give you Life but the Spoken Word of God. It's the only where that Life can come is through his Spoken Word.
- Branham, 63-1229M
The Word of the Lord comes to the prophet, and him only. That is, the Word that's spoken for that day is made manifest by the prophet of that age, always has been.
You setting here in front, you believe me to be God's prophet? A prophet is a messenger to an age. You believe I have God's message?
- Branham, 59-0812
If you neglect to give the Holy Spirit the Word of God, you'll die!
- Branham, 65-0919
After understanding Branham's strategy, and comparing it to the Gospel of Jesus Christ as found in scripture, we often get this question: The Gospel is so simple, why would anyone want to add all of this 'message' on top of it? Why would we need to follow a man if we have the Holy Spirit as our Guide? Why would we need any "spoken word," when the Holy Spirit is reminding us of the words of Christ?
But the Helper, the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in my name, he will teach you all things and bring to your remembrance all that I have said to you.
- John 14:26 https://youtu.be/ScvM5X8v49A