David Edwin Harrell, Jr.
Indiana University Press - Bloomington and London
We express our deepest appreciation to the publishers for permission to use excerpts from this book.

"But William Branham became a prophet to a generation"
David Edwin Harrell, Jr..

We will in this page only give excerpts of Professor Harrell's history of the healing revivals as it relates to William Branham and the early days of the Revival. We will include brief excerpts concerning the "origins", the "Two Giants", and "the flowering" of the Revival. We highly recommend this book for those who are seeking to better understand the Revival of the 1940's, 50's and 60's. The author presents in simple language, an easy to read, clear, concise picture of the revivals - written with respect.

Professor Harrell's book contains a wealth of information, giving a very unbiased account of what went on within the ranks of the Healing and Charismatic Revivals of Modern America. I would encourage interested readers to check with their local bookstore to obtain a copy. It is still in print and available from the Indiana University Press. If unable to obtain a copy through your local bookstore contact the Publishers of this Home Page at the Email address below.

In the "Preface" of his book Professor Harrell stated...

"IT HAS NOT BEEN EASY TO BE OBJECTIVE about the healing and charismatic religious movements. Healing revivalism invites caricature, but this book is based on the belief that the movement is too important to be handled carelessly or flippantly...In an effort to avoid needlessly cluttering the manuscript, I have not used labels such as "allegedly" and "reportedly" when relating the stories of healing and other miracles as viewed through the eyes of the believers. No one should understand this as endorsement of the testimonies...As it happens I do not share the presuppositions of the charismatic revivalists, but in my many conversations with them, I have insisted that my religious views are, if I do my job properly, irrelevant to the telling of the story."
Professor Harrell is to be complimented for his literary expertise. His account of the acts and actions of the Revivalists and the Revival is 'refreshing' in it's honest, straight-forward manner. For someone who "does not share the presuppositions of the charismatic revivalists" of whom he writes, Professor Harrell produced an expository masterpiece. There is absolutely no hint of the bias or prejudice that is sometimes found in accounts written by participants or open religious opponents of the Revival.

In his book in 'Part One - Prayer For The Sick', Professor Harrell stated...

"Salvation from sin was preached, but, whatever the intention of the evangelists, it was never the central theme of their meetings. All the gifts of the Holy Spirit, including speaking in tongues and prophesying, and all the expressions of joy so common in pentecostal worship were present in the early revivals, but they were not the central theme. The common heartbeat of every service was the miracle - the hypnotic moment when the Spirit moved to heal the sick and raise the dead."
During the early part of the Revival the emphasis in William Branham's ministry was also on "Signs and Wonders" - healing the sick and raising the dead. But according to Brother Branham, God was doing this to get the attention of the people for a Message (the Revealing of the Mysteries of the Word) which would follow that Revival. Eventually, William Branham told the Revivalists that too much emphasis was being placed on Healing and not enough on Salvation. In 1961 the Angel who had appeared to William Branham many times throughout his life, came and told him that the people were "leaning on the sign post" and not believing as they ought to. Off course, this was the result of the emphasis which MOST of the Evangelists placed on "signs and wonders" for so long.

Referring to the dedication of the Evangelists, Professor Harrell said...

"Most were dedicated to back-breaking work and spent long grueling hours in the centers of the platforms of the big tents praying, clapping, shouting, pleading with the crippled to, walk, commanding the blind to see, and bowing dramatically amidst shouts of "Praise the Lord" and Hallelujah." It was an exhausting, grinding, draining way of life. William Branham was a broken man after little more than a year; Jack Coe was physically exhausted at the time of his death: A.A. Allen, an incredibly tough campaigner, tottered constantly on the brink of psychological collapse; the resilience of Oral Roberts became a legend among his peers."
These hard-working, dedicated Evangelists were the links in a revival that the Evangelical religious world would never forget and would NEVER SEE AGAIN. Memories and written records of this revival create a longing in the hearts of men and women for another move just like that one. But in the words of William Branham, "The Gentile world has seen it's last world-wide Revival.....I know you're looking for it but the next is for the Jews". Never again would the world witness the rise of such powerful ministries as Professor Harrell mentioned above. Never again would the Evangelistic world "recapture the uniform and spontaneous milieu of the early meetings of the Revival." Today, Evangelistic campaigns and Evangelists have become more stereotyped, more staged, and more professional. William Branham called it, "Hollywood Evangelism - merely emotional in their approach, or desirous of something physical rather than desiring that which is truly Spiritual", causing them to 'line up with every Word of God'. - programs and entertainment replaced the spontaneous moving of the Holy Spirit and Worship.

Most the Evangelists who took part in the Revival of the 1940's, 50's and early 60's were a different breed. They were men of 'faith not programs'. They were inspired, not by Hollywood, but by the ministries of those whom God had used since the turn of the twentieth century - such men as Alexander Dowie, Smith Wigglesworth, F. F. Bosworth and Charles Price. Of course Aimee Simple Mcpherson is not without due recognition for the part which she played. Professor Harrell guides us along the path to the "great revival" of the twentieth century, introducing us to these Evangelists who paved the way for others to follow. The last of these Evangelists was Charles Price - he passed away in 1947, leaving a vacuum in the Divine Healing ministry.

On Page 20 of the Professor's book we read.....

"As the older generation thrilled to memories of the miracle ministries of the 1920s, the young yearned for a new rain of miracles."

The need of the hour was for leaders. "The deaths of Charles Prices and Smith Wigglesworth within a few days of each other early in 1947," wrote Donald Gee in 1956, "certainly fired many pure young hearts with a holy desire to pick up the torch of their ministry and carry it forward to new achievements." The deaths of these pioneer evangelists, along with that of Aimee Semple McPherson, left a void. Some troubled older pentecostals wondered if the days of revival were over. In fact, the greatest pentecostal revival, identified by some as a part of the prophetic "latter rain." was about to begin. The pioneers of divine healing revivalism were gone, "but almost simultaneously with their passing, God raised up . . . many others to carry on a new wave of revival that has reached nearly every nation of the free world."

In 1947 the 'great revival' erupted, giving the new rain of miracles for which the young had yearned. On page 21 a comparison is made between the previous revival and the 'new' out-pouring that was now breaking on the world.....
The revival that began in 1947 was, to say the least, numerically an astonishing success. "Vast crowds have gathered in many places in the world," wrote Donald Gee in 1956, "that far exceeded those of the former generation of evangelists." The postwar healing revival dwarfed the successes of earlier charismatic revivalists; it had a dramatic impact on the image of American pentecostalism and set off a period of world-wide pentecostal growth. A generation grew up that would never forget the ecstatic years from 1947 to 1952, years filled with long nights of tense anticipation, a hypnotic yearning for the Holy Spirit, and stunning miracles for the believers performed by God's anointed revivalists. In the hallowed atmosphere under the big tents. it seemed most surely that all things were possible.
William Branham spoke of the years "1947 - 1953" (the years of mighty signs and wonders) as "God's memorial of seven years". Referring to his own ministry he said, "...The reason He (God) has brought me in of the field and set me down, I believe it's His memorial, seven years - He's going to raise up another bracket, go on a little further. "When the enemy comes in like a flood", He said, "I'll raise up a standard against it."

The "another bracket" was reference to another phase of his ministry. From 1946(7) - 1953 was a period of "signs and wonders", previously witnessed only in the Ministry of our Lord Jesus Christ. From 1953 - 1960 Brother Branham began to lay in doctrine - straightening out those areas where the churches had strayed from the Word. From 1960 - 1965 were years of "deeper teaching" and multiplied visions, laying in the Church Ages of Revelation chapters 1 - 3; a series on "The Spoken Word Is the Original Seed"; The Prophecy Of Daniel, etc.; and the Crowning series was the Revelation of the Seven Seals of Revelation chapters 4 - 10. The "Standard" he spoke of was of course "The Word".

In the prologue of his book "All Things Are Possible", Professor Harrell mentions TWO Evangelists - one of whom he singles out as the "leader" or "initiator" of the revival. On Page 25 he states...

"The healing revival that erupted in 1947 thrust into positions of world-wide prominence a group of unsuspecting men. Chapter 3 discusses the two men who first came to the forefront-the two giants of the healing revival, William Branham and Oral Roberts. They were remarkably different personalities, but they quickly recognized one another as the premier leaders of the revival."

"Most of the participants of the revival looked upon Branham as its initiator. Out of his massive union meetings in 1947 spread reports of hundreds of miracles and marvels. Branham seemed an unlikely leader....his preaching was halting and simple beyond belief. But William Branham became a prophet to a generation. A small, meek, middle-aged man with piercing eyes, he held audiences spellbound with tales of constant communication with God and angels. Night after night, before thousands of awed believers he discerned the diseases of the sick and pronounced them healed."

Yes, William Branham was an unlikely leader indeed. But, when we look into the Scriptures we find that most of the men whom God used were "unlikely leaders". William Branham certainly didn't go looking for this position or the ministry he possessed. He never asked God for it - but rather, it was sovreignly ordained of God. He never asked God to send an Angel to him with this Commission to spearhead a Worldwide Revival. It was God's choosing. Of all the Evangelists William Branham stood apart - he was unique in his calling, his humility, his gifts, his ministry AND his Message.

On Page 26, Harrell spoke of the other ministries who became known around the world as each played his part in the Revival...

"Each of the ministers who became prominent within the movement had his own special approach, whether they were able to establish permanent organizations or only flamed brilliantly for a time. Gordon Lindsay, a bright young Assembly of God minister...became the organizer and publicist of the revival. Until his death, Jack Coe, was a hulking, friendly man with a raucous wit and a reckless boldness, challenged Oral Roberts as the foremost hero of the people.

Oral Roberts was a man of talent and organizational skill... T. L Osborn was a young missionary who built a desire to take the revival abroad into a powerful empire. A. A. Allen, whose turbulent personality was both his greatest asset and his deadliest enemy, repeatedly turned adversity into victory. Scores of other evangelists established national reputations and ministered to thousands of believers. Each was different, each made his own contribution to the revival, each fought his own battle to survive. Their stories are the stuff of the revival.
As Professor Harrell interviewed hundreds of those who participated in the Revival, one story was added to another, producing volumes of information. But it was easy to identify the "Two Giants" who stood out from among all the others - it was of course, William Branham and Oral Roberts. As already noted above he singled out William Branham as the one who spearheaded this great revival. In Chapter Three of his book he expounds more fully on these "Two Giants". He begins with a quote by Gordon Lindsay about William Branham:
"The STORY OF THE LIFE of William Branham." wrote his friend Gordon Lindsay, "is so out of this world and beyond the ordinary that were there not available a host of infallible proofs which document and attest its authenticity, one might well be excused from considering it farfetched and incredible." The climactic chapter in Branham's life began on May 7, 1946, when he received an angelic visitation which was to thrust him to the front of the revival. In the two decades that followed, Branham repeated the story of his vision before hundreds of thousands of listeners:
Of course the Angel came to Brother Branham, not once, but many times throughout his life. William Branham was just seven years old when he first heard the Angel speak to him. It was also at the age of seven years that he received his first vision - Incidents such as these indicate the sovereignty of God in bestowing this unique prophetic ministry on William Branham.

Contrary to what other participants in the Revival would lead you to believe, GOD DID KNOW WHAT HE WAS DOING. Brother Branham was accused by many of the other Evangelists of "going off into error in his teachings", when in reality, it was the others who were in error and God had sent this prophetic ministry to bring them back to the Truth but they refused to listen.

From the time of that first supernatural encounter, the Angel remained with Brother Branham, guiding and directing his ministry from one phase to another. In 1963, Seven Angels appeared to him with his Final Commission.

On page 29, Chapter Three of his book, Professor Harrell said:

William Branham's personal life at that time was a study in the suffering and tragedy of a depression. At the height of his ministry, his halting tales of personal hardship generated a magical empathy with his audiences. He unashamedly told of having his easy chair repossessed by a finance company With pathos he told of losing his wife and child when the Ohio River flooded in 1937. He was the poorest of the poor. He worked at different jobs before becoming an Indiana game warden, the position he held when he received his famous angelic visit in 1946.

In late 1945 and early 1946 Branham repeatedly told his congregation of new visions. Then, on May 7, 1946, Branham described the angel's visit, the promise of the gift of healing, and a revelation that he would be standing before thousands in packed auditoriums.

Not one of William Branham's visions and/or prophecies ever failed. In discerning the "thoughts and intents" of the hearts of thousands, never one time was it wrong. Thousands were influenced and inspired by the ministry of this kentucky hillbilly. The "common people heard him gladly", so said a former manager of Brother Branham's meetings. But he went on to say that the more affluent members of the clergy were 'embarrassed' with Brother Branham's simplicity of speech. Yet there were others who were greatly blessed by this man's simple, humble ways. On page 30 of his book, Professor Harrell points out that.....
"Among those who attended the Branham revival in Arkansas were some of the members of the oneness pentecostal church in Shreveport Louisiana, pastored by building contractor Jack Moore: The Shreveport visitors brought back - "incredible reports of what they saw" and Branham was invited to the church for a revival. Moore's' daughter later recalled his arrival at their home:"

"All things we heard about him seemed quite incredible; but as he was traveling southward. he stopped with us ... and since that time we have never really doubted that William Branham is truly a prophet sent from God. Could I ever forget the first time I saw him - that Sunday afternoon in 1947 when a little '38 Ford turned in our driveway, and a slight, tired man with the deep eyes of a mystic got out and looked around. As I watched him from the window, I began to weep for no apparent reason, except that my heart seemed to break."

Such was the impact that William Branham had on many of the people he met. They stood in awe of his humility, simplicity of faith and the "power and authority" he excerised (in the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ) over demon powers, unclean spirits, sickness and disease. Evangelists T. L. Osborn said, "Here was a man who was practicing what we were preaching (Mark 11:23). He spake as one with authority"

Another observer in the early 50's wrote, "The trait which most impressed Branham's audiences and won the respect of his colleagues was his "outstanding humble spirit. There is nothing boisterous or arrogant about him. He is a meek and humble man... He is a man loved by all. No one begrudges him any of his success or is envious of his great popularity." Professor Harrell stated: "And yet, the power of a Branham service - and of Branham's stage presence - remains a legend unparalleled in the history of the charismatic movement.

One observer wrote: I marveled at the simplicity of these messages as brought by his humble servant. It will always be remembered how he spoke with the voice of authority and yet in a gentle way pleaded with sinners to accept Jesus Christ as Savior and then turning to the Christians, he would exhort them to line up with the Word of God and be prepared, for the coming of the Lord draweth nigh.

This is further confirmed by Professor Harrell's statement on page 36.....

By the 1950s, the field had become crowded with charismatic healers, but Branham's name awed even the boldest newcomers. Branham's stature was most clearly reflected by the honor he drew from Oral Roberts, the energetic and talented evangelist who increasingly dominated the revival. Roberts deeply respected Branham; he prized a "rare photograph" taken during his 1948 visit to Branham's Kansas City campaign.

Roberts was no follower; his mushrooming ministry was his own. But he was obviously flattered when Branham attended his Tampa crusade in 1949. In a dramatic meeting the two "embraced and bowed before the Lord in appreciation of what the Master was doing through their humble lives, and each asked God's richest blessing upon the other's ministry during these last days. "Roberts continued to publicize the Branham meetings for several years after his own work had begun its unparalleled growth.

The younger deliverance evangelists viewed Branham as a man "set apart. just like Moses was set apart." "He was number one" said evangelist H. Richard Hall: "of the common run of evangelists that we have now, put twenty of them on one end and William Branham on the other end and he would outweigh them." He was, said old friend Jack Moore, "the most gifted of all."

This gift, which many insisted was "exactly 100 per cent" successful, made Branham "a channel for more than the mere gift of healing" - it made him a "Seer as were the Old Testament prophets."

Exactly! He demonstrated in every way the 'signs' of a Prophet - a seer; Time after time, when praying for the sick. Incidents of their lives - past, present and future, would unfold before William Branham, by way of visions. Concerning God's Prophets the Bible says in Amos 3:7, "Surely the Lord God will do nothing, but he revealeth His secret unto His servants the prophets." Again in 2nd Chronicles 20:20 it says, "...Believe in the Lord your God, so shall ye be established; believe His prophets, so shall ye prosper." An endtime generation will be judged because they refused to "hear the voice (message) of God's prophet.

History testifies of the fact that God has sent a prophet, with an "open-vision" ministry to "turn the hearts" of a religious world back to the True Word of God. One day the words of Professor David Edwin Harrell, Jr. will rise in judgment against a generation that refuses to "Believe His (God's) prophet, so shall ye be established". Indeed, I believe Professor Harrell was an instrument in the hand of God, to present to the world an unbiased, unprejudiced, straight-forward, honest account of the prophetic ministry He sent to this Twentieth Century.

On page 38 of his "History of the Charismatic and Healing Revival of Modern America", Professor Harrell continues his narrative.....

Perhaps the most impressive facet of the early Branham meetings was his quiet mastery of his audiences. He was notably "gentle and quiet spoken in all his dealings with the people." In marked contrast to the flamboyant tactics of many of the revivalists, Branham seldom "raised his voice or got excited or disturbed."
After attending one of Brother Branham's meetings and witnessing the ' unique power and anointing' upon the man, Daisy Osborn returned home and said to her husband, T. L. Osborn, "This night I saw Jesus Christ in flesh". She was over-whelmed with the ministry she witnessed. Bro. T. L. Osborn was determined to witness this for himself. Sitting in the meeting he found himself surrounded by ministering brethren who were critical of Brother Branham. But when the prayer line started, Bro. Osborn was absolutely awed by the "results" which Brother Branham produced with his "quiet, humble manner" of praying for the sick - speaking and commanding evil spirits of disease, in a quiet, almost whispering voice. In his own words, Bro. Osborn said, "Before I got 'prayed up' the work was done".

But alas, this ministry was not to continue with the same momentum with which it had started. The people were beginning to lean on 'sign posts' and they wouldn't believe unless they saw a 'sign'. The more they saw, the more they wanted. In 1955 Brother Branham was again visited by the Angel from the Lord; this time he was informed that there was coming a change in his ministry. He was also told that this final phase of his ministry "would not be a public show like the first and second phases, with the sign in his hand and discerning the thoughts of the heart."

In 1961 the Angel told Brother Branham, "You are catering too much too the people with these signs." From the mid 1950's to the end of his ministry in December 1965, the emphasis was now on the Doctrines the the Bible, calling men, women, and churches to repentance and to line up with the Truth. Indeed, this was not a public show.

On page 159-160 of his book Professor Harrell explained that...

By the late 1950s William Branham's admirers had come to wonder why "the shout in the camp has died down to a whisper, and why the great shining light has faded to a distant glimmer in the dark." Branham himself described the decline of his ministry: "The multitudes that once thronged the services by the thousands have dwindled to a mere trickle of hundreds. The thousands who received healing in a single night, no longer move through the long prayer lines, but only a few are received on the platform each night." Investigated by the Internal Revenue Service, and with no effective organization, Branham endured several hard years. "Where once he had gotten a thousand letters a day," wrote follower Pearry Green, 'his mail had dropped down to 75. He didn't sell anything. He didn't promote anything ... And because he didn't promote ... people in the natural way - they sought those that seemed to be more popular." From one point of view, William Branham had passed the peak of his career; the massive auditorium meetings of the early decade were over, never to return.

Yes, it was from 'one point of view' he had 'passed the peak of his career'. But a more closer and through look at the man and his ministry from the late 1950's to December 1965, reveal that what happened in his ministry was "all part of a plan". He knew the separation that was coming between him and the other participants of the Revival. On June 26th. 1956 he warned the Full Gospel Businessmen International concerning the "charismatic-Ecumenical" direction they were taking. In 1961 the Angel told Brother Branham that to walk with God, he would walk alone. On January 23rd. and 26th. 1963 Brother Branham again rebuked and warned the Full Gospel Businessmen's International for it's denomination spirit.

The message he preached on January 23, 1963 was entitled, "Identification". Near the end of the Message he was calling out against the direction Pentecostals and the FGBMI were going. A prophecy comes forth from the audience confirming what Brother Branham was saying on the platform.

Perhaps Professor Harrell was not fully aware of ALL that happened in William Branham's ministry and ALL that William Branham had to say about 'that' revival. Yet, considering the volumes of information he had to glean through and the fact that he "does not share the religious pre-suppositions of the Revivalists", I feel that he presented the material as accurate as he could. In his historical representation of William Branham, I (as a believer in that Ministry) found only a very few paragraphs which indicated Professor Harrell's words or an Observer's quotes, lacked a full understanding of the "Scriptural purpose" of Brother Branham's Ministry and Message.

In Chapter 7, entitled, "Innovators And New Breeds", Professor Harrell stated.....

William Branham was preeminently the visionary of the healing revival. He lived in a miraculous world. Simple almost to the point of transparency, Branham ministered to a generation of credulous people, a man of his times. To a pentecostal world that craved marvels in the years immediately after World War II, he offered his sincerity and his fantastic array of personal spiritual experiences. To the modish charismatic movement of the 1960s, Branham was an outdated figure. He himself recognized he had little place there. He could not adapt to the new needs, nor compete with powerful organizations for funds. His lack of sophistication made him susceptible to those who wanted to use his reputation for their own financial or doctrinal benefit. Perhaps his death saved him from obscurity or further scandal. And yet, on the cutting edge of healing revivalism in the 1970s was a generation that remembered longingly the legendary power of William Branham. Young evangelists still wondered if the Lord might call them in a similar way. "Walk closely to the Lord as Elisha did Elijah," wrote one revivalist, "so that Bro. Branham's mantle may fall on you . . . in the great revival just ahead."
No disrespect is intended to the author of the book "ALL Things Are Possible", or some of the other individuals quoted in the book; but I wonder whether or not some of the people of Jesus' day would come to the same conclusions about Jesus Himself in His day. Especially, in the light of His very controversial life, ministry and doctrines - First a great prophet with great signs and wonders, then a man who had gone of into error - at least that's what the religious leaders said. Maybe some would say that Jesus' death saved Him from obscurity or further scandal. Pause, think and ponder these things in your heart - history repeats itself over and over again.

For those who are interested in a further account of the relationship between William Branham, the Latter Rain Movement, other Revivalists, and the Full Gospel Businessmen's Fellowship International from 1948 - 1963, I refer you to the following link...

Now It Can Be Told

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