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Posts Tagged ‘visions’

Before getting into specifics about William Branham I will give a bit of general background to my own experience.

It seems to me that one of the easiest ways for a Christian to be led away from Bible truth is when their admiration for or interest in a particular preacher, ministry or place becomes their main focus.  Add to that the erroneous belief that a true Christian cannot be deceived and you have the potential for a shipwreck ahead – hopefully not permanent!

I’ve mentioned in previous posts that when my husband and I were very young in the faith, we joined the local Elim church and were taken under the wing of a very nice man, David, who came regularly to our home to teach us from the Bible.

We were enthralled as he related stories to show us that God  was still doing miraculous things , just as He did in the early church, in the ministries of the great healing Evangelists around at that time [late 60s -70s]. He explained that God was restoring the five-fold ministries [Eph 4:11] to the church and fulfilling Joel’s prophecy as on the Day of Pentecost in Acts.

We were not sufficiently knowledgeable in the scriptures ourselves at the time to question, nor did we see the need to challenge anything we were being taught. He was a lovely Christian man, we got on well with him and he knew his Bible inside out [it seemed to us] –  so what could possibly be wrong? It was years later that we learned these were the heretical teachings of the Latter Rain movement. He also was a member of the Full Gospel Business Mens Fellowship who also believe the same.

Well –  the Pastor of our church did not approve and forbade David to meet with us anymore. There was no explanation why , so the inevitable happened and we eventually departed the Elim church and became a small house fellowship. We later met in a small building as our numbers grew.

Then – I think through David – we began to have connections with a church community in Chard, Somerset,  which everyone got very excited about because of the wonderful things that were happening there.

A preacher came from Chard specifically to teach and encourage us all in the gifts of the Spirit. But something he said set the alarm bells ringing. His words were: ” If the [first] voice you hear isn’t the Holy Spirit – then who are you being led by?”  This seemed very unwise counsel to my husband and I – especially as no mention was made of the need for conformity to the scriptures.

Needless to say, things began to happen in the meetings , including being ‘slain’ in the Spirit, as discernment and caution flew out the window in this newfound confidence and freedom.

When we tried to voice our concerns we were faced with anger and the general caution was not to ‘quench the Spirit’ because this was all part of God’s end time outpouring and restoration of signs and wonders to His church.

During our association with David the name of William Branham cropped up regularly. He was much admired and held in almost reverential awe by his followers. We were impressed by the ministry God had given him. We were completely ignorant about him and listened in wonder to the accounts of miraculous healings by this great ‘man of God’.

I am always willing to be objective about people and not to simply accept what may be personal prejudices about anyone , so to that end I read accounts both for and against. I am amazed now at the true picture that emerges from some of those who were close to him and  that William Branham was so accepted [and still is] in pentecostal/charismatic circles without question. There are some enlightening and very interesting videos and articles on line and I’ll put links at the end of this post.

One of the first things I came across was a video by Ed Byskal[?] . It’s titled ‘I Am A Witness’ and begins with a quote from Luke’s opening words to his gospel account. So – you would think it’s a witness to the Lord Jesus Christ wouldn’t you? But NO – it’s his witness to William Branham!

A young looking Ed B. explains that he wants to share his personal experiences so that “you may know with certainty the things of which I am a witness” Luke 1:4   So, the whole video is a defence of and excuses for WB’s many false prophecies and heretical teachings. It seems WB was a humble servant of God with faults and failings, but so exalted and blessed by God with the miraculous, that it made any false teachings and prophecies of no account!  EB , tragically seems to have made it his life’s calling to defend WB – unless of course the selective videos are giving me an unfair picture.

WB had psychic phenomena happening at his birth and throughout his childhood. These included voices, visions and angel visitations, which always frightened him .  This is not surprising when you read that his extremely young parents were not Christians and believed in  fortune telling.

If WB’s followers were/are aware of all this – it doesn’t seem to phase or bother them because they place God’s ‘anointing ‘ above His word. I came across this quote from the FGBMF  ‘Voice’ mag 1961. ‘In Bible days, there were men of God who were Prophets and Seers. But in all the sacred records, none of these had a greater ministry than that of William Branham.

I will end with a concerned appeal to those who think that Christians cannot be deceived – you are in a danger zone if your focus and admiration is on a particular person, ministry or ‘revival’ location  – however spectacular the signs and wonders and however humble and sincere they may be.  Your focus must always be on the Lord Jesus Christ and the Apostle’s teachings as they are revealed in the Bible.  ‘Thy word is a lamp to my feet and a light to my path’ Psalm 119:105

And don’t let yourself be put off, if, when you think something is wrong and unscriptural, you are told not to ‘judge’, not to ‘touch God’s anointed’, ‘not everything God does is in the Bible’, ‘you have a critical spirit’, or that Bible believers ‘worship’ the Bible or are legalistic.

These are just fear tactics [probably because they are in fear themselves] to keep you quiet and in bondage to their authority.  Don’t be afraid to follow up your doubts and be a good Bible searching Berean.  Read everything in context and get an overall view of what verses are actually saying and don’t let others do your thinking for you. 2 Tim 2:15 and 2 Tim 3:16,17  seem appropriate here.

NB:

For articles on William Branham I would recommend http://www.Letusreason.org.  If you go to the left side bar on their home page you will be able to scroll down to Latter Rain and click to see them.

A You Tube search will find Ed Byskal’s video titled I Am a Witness. There are several other interesting and informative videos there too.

Another ministry that concerns me is The Healing Rooms  and John G Lake.  Let Us Reason has some excellent articles on him too.

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Some Christians seem to think that walking in the Spirit means to excercise the gifts or be led in their daily walk with God via supernatural means, or to read their Bible a lot or be much in prayer. But to walk in the Spirit and not the flesh, according to the Apostle Paul [Gal 5:16-25]  is to show forth love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, meekness,  and temperance.  If we walk in the Spirit we will not fulfil the desires of the flesh. If we are led by the Spirit, we are not under law.

How often have we had really strong feelings about something that has turned out to be wrong?  The[ fallen] human mind is a strange and powerful thing and can certainly lead us astray and the Bible has a lot to say about the vain imaginations of the heart.

I wouldn’t pretend to understand or know how and when God moves by His Spirit [see John 3:8] but all too often Christians claim that God is guiding them in specific ways and directing them. I’ve always been extremely wary of those who say – ‘the Lord told me this or that’ because very often they are mistaking their own very strong feelings or impressions for the voice of the Holy Spirit, thinking that because they are a child of God it must be His voice.  When events prove them wrong they are very reluctant to admit they were wrong and will provide other explanations.

When the Lord has clearly shown us something in His word – is it then right to spend much time in ‘seeking His will’ for us ? Are we putting our feelings before everything else? For instance – if we see from scripture that our church is digressing from the path of truth – we obviously should defend the faith. If it’s set on its path then we must ‘come out of her’  – if only for our own spiritual welfare, let alone the Bible tells us to.  It is our fleshly feelings that don’t want to rock the boat or think how much we will miss our friends [or even family] and their fellowship, or even the wonderful music, plus the relative safety of staying.  Our feelings may tell us that the ‘time is not right’ and we hope and pray the church will change …. but eventually it dawns on us that it won’t.

It becomes more serious however when Christians experience visions, dreams, near death experiences or angel visitations and bring little or no scriptural discernment to bear.  Indeed, ‘ discernment’ becomes simply a matter of their own feelings again – it feels right  so it must be right – irrespective of what the Bible says.

From whence come false teachings? Well – from these very ‘supernatural’ sources. All Cults stem from them and unfortunately more and more genuine Bible- believing churches are following mystical experiences and ‘signs and wonders’ – believing them to be from God.

For the Born again Christian, indwelt by the Holy Spirit, a straightforward reading of the Bible and a genuine love for the truth will keep you on the straight and narrow. But as sure as eggs is eggs, if you have a separate source of teaching or revelation eg angelic, or prophecy [your own or someone else’s] telling you God is doing a new thing or ‘revival’ is on the way,  then the warning bells should be ringing loud and clear – no matter how trusted, famous, admired or important the ‘channel’ might be.

It is the job of seducing spirits to lure believers away from the Word of God and what better or more effective way than through a paranormal experience?  In our day, whole denominations are falling under their influence as Leaders and followers trust their feelings and experiences over and above God’s Word.

Almost every church website I’ve had occasion to look up, display the same ‘visionary’ message and use the same buzz words/slogans/ religious ‘in words’ and usually present the same evangelistic theme.  All this ‘unity’ would be excellent if it were centered on the true Gospel, but sadly it is encased in the social gospel of Dominionism.

Even those churches who may not have embraced false teachings completely, still show their  influence by the language and methods they use for church growth and evangelism  – probably without even being aware they are. It’s become a mixture of a little bit of Dominionism, a little bit of Latter rain, a little bit of Kingdom Now, a little bit of Word of Faith, a little bit of Shepherding, a little bit of  New Apostolic Restoration, with a little bit of Mysticism and Emerging thrown in. The list of ingredients in this mix is endless!

Oh dear –  this all sounds very gloom and doom I know – but it is undeniably happening and is an important sign of living in the Last days.  The Apostle Paul couples it with the rise of the Antichrist in 2 Thess 2:1-12  BUT – he goes on to say verses 13-17:

But we are bound to give thanks always to God for you, brethren beloved of the Lord, because God has from the beginning  chosen you to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth.  Whereunto He called you by our gospel, to the obtaining of the glory of our Lord Jesus Christ.

Therefore, brethren, stand fast, and hold the traditions which you have been taught , whether by word or our epistle. Now our Lord Jesus Christ himself, and God, even our Father, who has loved us and has given us everlasting consolation and good hope through grace, comfort your hearts and stablish you in every word and work.

What a wonderful God and Saviour we have …. His word is so precious !

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