- Branham Tabernacle and related assemblies
- In the 1940s, a movement grew up around the healing ministry of William Marion Branham (1909-65), an independent Pentecostal minister. While healing evangelists such as John G. Lake (1870-1935) had been active in previous decades, Branham's ministry inspired other Pentecostal evangelists to coordinate their activities. The movement coalesced around a magazine, The Voice of Healing, edited by Branham associate Gordon Lindsay (1906-1973).The movement flourished in the 1950s with evangelists such as Oral Roberts (b. 1918), Morris Cerullo (b. 1932), and Velmer Gardner. Toward the end of the decade, Branham became distanced from most of his former associates. He began to preach against the Trinity, and denounced denom-inationalism as the mark of the Beast (Rev. 13:17). Many heard that as a call to leave even the loose denominational associations operating among the Pentecostals and join independent Pentecostal assemblies.In 1963, Branham began to speak about God's promise to send Elijah as a messenger. He allowed others to identify him as the Elijah messenger (mentioned in Malachi 4:5), though he never made the claim himself. Two years later, Branham died. Those ministers and congregations who had come to accept the Elijah message and believed Branham was the messenger began acting on that belief. The Branham Tabernacle in Jeffersonville, Indiana, began publishing audio and print copies of all of Branham's sermons and books. Led by Branham's relatives, the William Branham Evangelistic Association and The Voice of God (the publishing concern) worked to disseminate the message.By the end of the 20th century, Branham's writings were being translated into more than 30 languages and distributed worldwide by an estimated 700,000 believers. Congregations are loosely associated and avoid denominational labels, but are tied together by Branham's non-Trinitarian theology and belief in his prophetic role. The Branham movement exists as a major dissenting community in world Protestantism.Further reading:■ William Branham, Footprints in the Sands of Time (Jeffersonville, Ind.: Spoken Word Publications, n.d.)■ Gordon Lindsay, William Branham, A Man Sent from God (Jeffersonville, Ind.: William Branham, 1950)■ C. Douglas Weaver, The Healer Prophet, William Marion Branham: A Study in the Prophetic in American Protestantism (Macon, Ga.: Mercer University Press, 1987).
Encyclopedia of Protestantism. Gordon Melton. 2005.