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Our Stories - Iron Sharpens Iron

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Our Stories - Iron Sharpens Iron:

It's been years since I left the "Message" believers. The version of that religion that I see today has changed quite a bit from the days when Bro. Branham was alive. His revivals were open doors to all Christians, at least they were until the last few years of his life. It must be hard for "Message" preachers today to play some of his tapes in their church when Bro. Branham is saying "good evening friends" to Baptists, Methodists, Oneness, Lutheran, and even Catholics. I remember hearing him saying one time that if they cut you out of their fellowship, you should work all the harder to bring them back in.

I think many of us in the older generation noticed how much the "Message" has changed over the years. New preachers who were born and raised in the "Message" who have never fellowshipped with other Christians started leading churches with the mindset that their opinion was right and everyone else was wrong. My bible says iron sharpens iron, and I have to question how "sharp" this younger generation of pastors can be if they've never openly discussed the Bible with other Christians with a different understanding.

When I left the "Message", it wasn't about the money to build youth camps or the next "prophet" that would come and finish what Bro. Branham didn't before he died. The "Message" for us was what Bro. Branham said, even if it was uncomfortable. When he said we Christians were no denomination, and that "fellowship" was "two brothers in one ship" -- without boundaries to separate us, we believed that. By the time I left, the "Message" had so many boundaries that it felt like a prison camp! We had built our own walls to separate us from other Christians, which by all means was the description of a denomination -- and Bro. Branham warned against that. We even had boundaries separating us from other "Message" churches. Some of them wouldn't even fellowship with each other. We even had boundaries inside the churches over this doctrine or that. Bro. Branham spoke against that all through the tapes, so I'm sure this younger generation is either not listening to them or not paying attention. I struggle sometimes, having been away from all this and remembering what we had. It felt like fellowship. It felt like family. But look what it became!

When I finally built up the courage to try other churches, I realized how important that "iron sharpens iron" really is. Other Christian churches have so much better understanding of the Bible. They can tell you what it says, what it means, and what other parts of the Bible confirm it. I felt like an infant! I was so far behind them, I'm sure they wondered if I'd ever even read my bible. Part of me was ashamed because I probably didn't as much as I should have. I just took for granted that Bro. Branham knew what he was saying, and I come to find out, he missed quite a bit.

In the fifties and sixties, I think everybody missed quite a bit. We didn't' have access to the digital bible searches, the instant quick references, and the other tools Christians have now. If a preacher says something I question, I can now take out my phone and see if he's right or not. If he's not, he gladly welcomes anybody to show him because iron sharpens iron!

I can see now that Bro. Branham struggled with the fame from the revivals. Some say the "Message" is a cult, and it probably is now. He said things that made people think he was more than just a man. But he also said a lot of things that made it clear that he didn't want people to think that. It's hard to imagine people listening to one side or the other of what he said and choosing to lift him up like they have. If I said the soup was delicious and also said the soup was poison, wouldn't you want to make sure which one was right before you tasted it?

People say there is no harm in what the "Message" has become. They say nobody should speak out against how they worship a man or how they consider his tapes to be more inspired than the next preacher. That may have been right years ago when other Christians weren't looked down on by "Message" believers. Without their iron to sharpen "Message" iron, there's harm that everyone outside looking in can see very clearly. We've seen it for years, and we can watch it as it gets worse and worse. Christians need to help these people turn their focus and attention back to the Bible and remind them that those tapes are recordings of just a man like me, you, or anyone else. He said some good things. He said some bad things. He got some things right. He got some things wrong. If they'd just have some good iron to sharpen against, they'd say the same thing.