Saturday, February 08, 2020

A Man and his Angel

A Book Review 



Read the book HERE


Reviewed by Sarah H. Leslie


A Man and His Angel -
A Biblical Examination of William Branham's Practices and Teachings:
A Compendium of the Prophet's Legac
y
 

A book authored by Mike Oppenheimer, Let Us Reason Ministries


It is time to shed light on the life and teachings of one of the past century's most notorious and influential heretics, William Branham, whose bad theological leaven has now permeated much of the church world. For many long decades the evangelical media establishment elite has ignored the writings of good discernment experts warning about this man. The evangelical media elite has systematically worked to avoid dealing with his key doctrinal heresies that have influenced generations of evangelical church-goers. Worse, they've lauded the leaders teaching his heresies with high profile accolades, provided them tons of positive press, even propelling them to stardom. Mega-buck$ were made by all.

The evangelical establishment publishing industry has unwaveringly declined to publish high quality discerning books or articles. Thus solid ministries like Mike Oppenheimer's Let Us Reason Ministries have resorted to publishing their own books. This highly esteemed evangelical class of elites frequently states that we only need to preach the truth. They base this on the claim that their preaching is enough, that people in their pews can "figure it out" about false teachers on their own. This flimsy, unbiblical excuse enables pastors to ignore their charge to warn precious sheep about hungry wolves roaming in the flock. Especially they fail to name the wolves by name.

In sum, the evangelical media establishment elite has not only promoted the false teachings that began with Branham but, worse, they have failed to provide a platform to those who would warn about him. This has been a recipe for disaster. False teachers like William Branham have gotten a free pass for so many generations that his bad leaven has now permeated much of the church world. Most people in the pews have never heard of William Branham, nor have they ever heard a warning about him. But it is likely that he affects their faith, their music, their popular Christian books and their favorite teachers on the conference circuits.

(Source)
The Poison of Branham's Leaven
It is a privilege to refer our readership to a book by longtime researcher, Mike Oppenheimer. We first became acquainted with Mike during the 1990s when the late Ed Tarkowski formed the first Internet discernment research and discussion loop. Mike's detailed book is a treasure trove documenting the complete history and beliefs of William Branham. It is a perfect book for those who want to do in-depth research on Branham. Once and for all Branham -- his crazy behavior, controversial history, strange personal life and aberrant beliefs -- has been nailed to the wall effectually and with great attention to accuracy. Here is a brief summary of the book's significance:

In the history of modern healing ministries one person stands out more than any other, William Branham. Over fifty years after his death there are few men that continue to influence the Church and today’s modern healing ministries. Branham’s influence is more extensive today than in his day when he was alive.
William Branham is the main influence for the Latter Rain movement in the late 1940’s that infected so many Pentecostals. He left us the legacy of the healing revivals and signs and wonders, he is also one of the primary sources of the “river” that is flowing today that is the resurgence of the Latter Rain movement....
What you will find in this book is that so many of the errors Branham taught and practiced have been adopted and have become the errors in the church today. Many have no idea that the Word Faith, Latter Rain Third Wave teachers are following in the footsteps of William Branham. This book makes it clear where their teachings and practices come from.

In reading through A Man and his Angel, the section on "The Many Healing Ways; The Operation of Occultism" is particularly devastating to Branham's image of being a Christian.

Branham taught a blend of Kabbalah, Theosophy, Rosicrucianism, Mysticism and Gnosticism. All of it was presented wrapped in Christian terminology to the people. Branham was a man deep into the occult arts. And they called him great, having the power of God, much as they did Simon [Magnus] in Acts 8:9-12.... (p. 280)
(Source)
Branham's Mysticism
The story of William Branham is intertwined with the earliest history of the Pentecostal movement. The reader goes back in time to the earliest decades of the Pentecostal movement when doctrines and practices were chaotic and unfiltered. Mike Oppenheimer has tackled the topic head-on with a definitive history on the life of Branham. His book is a formidable compilation of documentation on not only the life of Branham but all of the people, places and events that influenced his bizarre theology. Oppenheimer does a good job of contrasting truth with the error, so the reader is not just getting Branham’s heresies but also receiving good biblical teaching that refutes it.

This book is a fascinating history of Branham’s life which divulges obscure details. Branham arose to fame during the early decades in the last century where cults were abounding, replete with unusual doctrines and strange practices. Many claimed to be in contact with the spirit world, and some asserted that angels taught them new doctrines. One of the chief doctrines being altered was the concept of the Trinity, or Godhead. This gave rise to heresies such as Oneness, Jesus Only, Adoptionism, etc. Another doctrine was the idea that the church as Christ’s Bride was coming to maturity and could gain dominion over the earth; i.e., Dominionism. Since the 1980s these teachings have had a massive resurgence, adapting to the times and becoming widespread throughout the church world. Only a handful of discernment ministries warned about this onslaught, including Mike Oppenheimer at his Let Us Reason website.

By all accounts Branham was extremely erratic and eccentric. Branham retold his story multiple times throughout his life and this book exposes the extraordinary inconsistencies in his own testimony. One day he would state one thing, another day he would say something totally contradictory. He would exaggerate and inflate facts, often to absurd excess. Something was not right with the man – either he was intentionally lying or he had serious cognitive problems. He was indeed spiritually reprobate.

The historical records documented in A Man and his Angel quickly stack up to indicate that Branham told different stories depending on the group he was addressing. He put forth many wildly different account about how he became "spirit" filled, for example. He was prone to gross exaggeration, and frequently puffed up his spiritual experiential credentials, especially when describing his extrasensory  experiences with lights, tongues, angels, etc.

Many of Branham’s mystical beliefs seemed to come straight out of the occult, especially Theosophy. His views even paralleled certain aspects of Mormonism. He believed in an evolution that took trillions of years, not the biblical account in Genesis. Branham got the plain Bible account of the Creation all mixed up and obsessed on varying revisions of the Creation story throughout his life, often making wild claim about earth’s and man’s origins. He believed in a spiritual evolution where God created androgynous male and females.

In fact, Branham had a horrible view of women, that “every sin that ever was on the Earth was caused by a woman… the very lowest creature on the Earth.” (p. 249) It even gets downright creepy as he obsesses that women are sinfully beautiful because “Satan designed her.” “She is designed, alone, for filth and unclean living.” (p. 250)

(Source)

Branham's Dominionism
Other Branham beliefs were also peculiar:

“God wrote three Bibles: one, the Zodiac, one in the pyramids, one on paper.” (53-0509, The Pillar of Fire, Bible Hour Tabernacle, Jonesboro, AR). (p. 197)

He was also panentheistic:

“God is in nature. God is in His church. God is just all around.” (58-0302, Door To The Heart, Memorial Auditorium, Chattanooga, TN) (p. 198) 

Branham held to a curious belief that Jesus was dead in his mother’s womb until He was born, not unlike what was taught in ancient Gnosticism. In fact, he believed that all babies were spirits until born. Obviously such a belief would contribute to the modern-day abortion argument. Here is just one of many examples of Branham’s outrageous statements:

“that unborn children are not alive until they take their first breath. “You say, ‘Oh, it’s alive!’ No, it isn’t! That’s little nerves jerking, muscles.… The baby hasn’t received life till it’s born.” (Seven Church Ages, pp. 275-286.) (p. 204) 

Branham’s Gnostic teachings included the idea that men have pre-existent spirits, not unlike Karma in Hinduism, telling folks that a “little angel, little spirit… comes into the body” of a baby. (p. 216) and that “And then, first, man was made, he was a spiritman, in the image of God.”(p. 254) In fact, he egotistically proclaimed he himself was pre-existent “with Moses at the burning bush,” saw the Red Sea parted, and was with John the Baptist and Lazarus and in the Upper Room! (p. 229)

Branham also taught that “When God made man in His image, He made him a theophany. And He only placed him in flesh....”(p. 255) Mike Oppenheimer explains that theophany literally means God appearance, i.e., a god, which is taught by both the occult and cults:

To say Adam was made spirit, a theophany first and is God (before he was made from the earth) clearly is heresy. This where we find all the Word Faith teachings based on today.
According to Branham the soul and the spirit of man are the same and they are God. Adam was then God in the flesh.(p. 255) 

Worse, Branham, talking to Pentecostals, told them “each one of you is a creator,” “ye are gods,’” and “man himself is Deity.” Oppenheimer observes that “here Branham introduces the ‘manifest sons of God’ teaching that was incorporated in the Latter Rain movement, which in our generation has given rise to the New Apostolic Reformation. (p. 265) Branham’s taught that since God made man a god, “he gave him a dominion, and he had rulership” over the earth (p. 270). This is the seedbed of Branham’s dominionism. It is this view that has so totally permeated large segments of the evangelical church world today.

Branham said he had a supernatural birth replete with signs and wonders. He made the preposterous claim that he had seen visions in the womb, at eighteen months old, and at 3 years old, and then “tens of thousands of visions,” “hundreds of thousands of visions,” and “thousands times thousands of visions.” (p. 227-228) The fact that statements like this are bizarre on their face should have set off red flags. But to this day many in the church follow Branham's heretical precepts without any clue as to the occult origins of his heresies.

Oppenheimer points out that Branham’s beliefs were highly influential and notes how remarkable similiarities can be seen in the aberrant Word-Faith doctrines of Benny Hinn, Kenneth Copeland and Kenneth Hagin. The reader of A Man and his Angel will find extraordinary parallels to modern-day teachings promulgated by huge segments of the evangelical church. It is a devastating fact that the evangelical elite has so nearly totally ignored this foundational issue within its own ranks. This book ought to be required reading in every seminary ministerial class!


Another Gospel
A Man and his Angel explains how William Branham taught another gospel, not the Gospel of salvation of Jesus Christ. The book summarized with the following warning to readers:
So we see that Branham taught man is a spirit in the form of man, pre-existed along with the angels (Which is when he said God made in his image and likeness Gen.1:26) before he made man out of the ground. Branham claims that man was made as a god. 

As we can see Branham often had a different interpretation than the Bible’s explanation on nearly everything that is called essential teaching. If one claims to be under the inspiration of God but says things contrary to God, denying his nature or person, then they are not anointed by God, they are NOT a prophet of God. And they should not be promoted as one but instead avoided for the spiritual safety and welfare of the church. Considering the acceptance of Branham’s doctrine through others we are in a dangerous point of church history because of his teachings spreading through those enamored with spiritual power. (p. 280)

"For there must be also heresies among you,
that they which are approved
may be made manifest among you."

(1 Corinthians 11:19)


To read A Man and his Angel go to http://www.letusreason.org/bookw.branham.htm. For those who are concerned with modern-day errors in the church, this book is a must-have for your library.

For further reading, see http://www.letusreason.org. Also see: http://www.deceptioninthechurch.com. Our Herescope blog has written numerous articles covering the history and theology of William Branham, including:

Who Invented Dominionism?
The Serpent Seed & The Nephilim
A Second Pentecost?
Presence Eschatology
David's Tent DC
7 Mountain Politics and Theology