At the time i was Pastoring a church in the city of Ashland, Oregon. I had the pleasure of seeing that church grow into a thriving and prosperous assembly. It so happened that while Bro. Moore was witnessing the Power of God in the Branham Revivals, we were in the midst of a revival with Evangelist J.E. Stiles, in which some fifty received the Baptism of the Holy Ghost. At that time, we were all impressed that God would soon reveal to the church - how soon we could not say - a new ministry of power in which mighty signs and wonders and miracles would take place. In fact, in years previous God had shown us by the spirit of prophecy that this would happen.
So it came to pass in the Providence of God, as the Stiles meeting came to a close, that on the 24th of March, 1947, we received a letter from Brother Jack Moore which read as follows:
Dear Brother Gordon:
I know you will be surprised to hear from me here in Oakland, California, but this is what happened. We had a Brother Branham of Jeffersonville, Indiana, a Baptist minister who has received the Holy Ghost, and has great success in praying for the sick on such a scale as I have never before seen. We had a meeting in Shreveport, the like of which has never been before. So Brother Young Brown and myself came along with him out here to fill some engagements he had made.
We haven't found buildings large enough to take care of the crowds. Last night was our first night here, and the building was packed out and all standing room was taken. We will be here through the 25th and then go to Sacramento for three nights. So we will be in this country for several days and I would surely like to see you and would like for you to see what this brother is doing...
With deep regards,
J ack Moore.
We read the letter slowly several times with mingled emotions, and finally took it and read it to Brother Stiles. His own spirit witnessed with us on the matter and we both determined to make the trip down to Sacramento and observe the unusual ministry of this Evangelist that my friend had written about. Within the next day or so Brother Jack Moore flew up by plane to Ashland to pay us a visit, and the following day we all went by automobile to Sacramento, a distance of about 300 miles. When we arrived, we found the church where the meeting was to be held, though located out toward the edge of the city, was already filled with people.
Certainly the service that we witnessed that night was different than any we had ever been in before. Never had we known of any preacher calling deaf mutes and blind people to pray for, and then to see those people delivered on the spot. The last one that was prayed for that night was a little cross-eyed child. I saw the mother and the girl sitting disconsolately at one side - there were so many to pray for, and it seemed the evangelist would never get to them. Time came for the service to close, with many yet desiring prayer. The Evangelist was preparing to leave and had reached the steps of the platform, when he happened to look back and see the child. Instantly his compassion went out to her, and he took her, put his hands over her eyes and prayed a brief prayer. When the child looked up, lo, her eyes had come perfectly straight!
Indeed Brother Moore, having witnessed the unusual power of the ministry of this Evangelist, saw the advantage of the inspiration of such a ministry being made available to all God's people. For indeed when the Angel had given Brother Branham charge, he straightly told him that his ministry was to be to all people. Because our associations had been in the larger Full Gospel circles, it had suggested itself to Brother Branham and Brother Moore, that perhaps I might be the one to introduce him to the ministers of these groups. Thus it was that we found Brother Branham immediately willing to consider our invitation for him to come north and hold some campaigns the following fall in Oregon and adjacent states.
We returned to Ashland, convinced that God was in our trip and that this was the ministry that would reach the masses. We began to look forward to the possibility of arranging several brief campaigns for Brother Branham in the region of the Northwest.
It was our desire, however, to get into a few additional meetings with Brother Branham before the Northwest campaigns. Our church gave us permission to visit a forthcoming campaign at Tulsa, Oklahoma. The assent of the congregation was unanimous, but all were very solemn that morning as if they had a presentiment that we might not be their pastor much longer.
In June, 1947, we left for Shreveport, Louisiana. Brother Moore was ready when we arrived and with several others we drove North to Tulsa. That evening we again had opportunity to observe the ministry of this man. The large church auditorium was packed to the doors and many wonderful things took place that night. There were so many to be prayed for that the service ran until two o'clock in the morning. Thus it had been for the past year. What a shame, we thought, that with millions of sick people, so few were really exercising mastery over demons and disease, and that this little brother had to pray for the sick until he was physically exhausted.
Up till this time, few union Full Gospel campaigns had been undertaken. Doctrinal differences and other reasons had caused one group to be suspicious of the other. If all were to get the benefit of these great services, we saw it would be necessary for the campaigns to be organized on the inter-evangelical basis, where all concerned would agree not to precipitate debate on controversial subjects, but would join together in a united effort to bring this message of deliverance to all the people. Could this be effected? We thought it could. Brother Branham was enthusiastic about the idea, for indeed the uniting of believers had been the burden of his heart from the time that the angel had visited him. Before we left Tulsa, definite plans were made for a series of meetings to be held in the West that fall.
Two months later, while on a trip to the General Council at Grand Rapids, Michigan, we stopped over at Calgary, Canada, where Brother Branham was holding a seven-day meeting. We had opportunity to assist in the prayer line, and there had a close-up view of the ministry of our brother. In one instance, we watched as he talked to a man lying on a cot. At first there was no sign of an intelligent response from the man. Explanation then came from the wife standing by, that the man was not only dying of cancer, but was deaf and could not hear what was being said. Brother Branham then said that it would be necessary for the man to receive his hearing so he could instruct him concerning the healing of his cancer. There was a moment of prayer. Suddenly the man could hear! Great large tears rolled down the cheeks of that man whose face all evening had been so expressionless and impassive. He listened with deep interest as he was told of his deliverance from cancer.
Another case was the healing of a deaf mute child. After prayer it was evident that the boy could hear. The startled expression on his face as he heard the sound made it clear to every one that the deaf spirit had been cast out. The next night I saw the mother again, and happily she told us that already her boy had learned several words. (Elsewhere in this volume is a newspaper account of the Calgary meeting.)
We asked ourselves what was the matter. Why in the space of two generations had such a complete declension taken place. We then were reminded of the days of Joshua. Israel served God during Joshua's lifetime and also during the lifetime of those who outlived Joshua, and "WHO HAD SEEN ALL THE GREAT WORKS OF THE LORD THAT HE DID FOR ISRAEL... AND THERE AROSE ANOTHER GENERATION AFTER THEM WHICH KNEW NOT THE LORD, NOR YET THE WORKS THAT HE HAD DONE FOR ISRAEL. AND THE CHILDREN OF ISRAEL DID EVIL IN THE SIGHT OF THE LORD AND SERVED BAALIM." (Judges 2:7-11 )
But then as now there will always be those, such as Gideon, who will not accept the devil's plausible explanation that the days of miracles are past. An Angel appeared to him and said, "The Lord is with thee, thou mighty man of valour." But Gideon replied and said, "If the Lord be with us, why then is all this befallen us? And where be all his miracles which our fathers told us of, saying, Did not the Lord bring us up from Egypt? But now the Lord has forsaken us, and delivered us into the hands of the Midianites." (Judges 6:12-13 ) Gideon was not like the religionist of our day, who is perfectly satisfied with a non-miraculous gospel, and cleverly explains the absence of miracles in his ministry by saying that the "days of miracles are past," and that it is now the will of God for Christians to be oppressed by sickness. Gideon refused to fool himself; he faced the facts.
If God be with us, where were the miracles, he wanted to know. Notice that the angel did not say, "Gideon, you are excited; the days of miracles are past." The Angel honored Gideon's faith by performing a miracle right there. As he touched the sacrifice that Gideon had prepared, "there rose up fire out of the rock, and consumed the flesh and the unleavened cakes."
Indeed the angel of the Lord told Gideon to "go in this thy might, and thou shalt save Israel from the hand of the Midianites; have I not sent thee?" When the Spirit of God came on this man of faith he became a different man, and all Israel was soon to witness a mighty deliverance wrought through the power of the supernatural.
Gideon was quite startled when the Angel commissioned him to go forth as Israel's leader. He come from a poor family and he was the least in his father's house. Still, Gideon was God's Choice After God had blessed Gideon with victory he still remained humble, and refused to accept the offer to be ruler over Israel. He told the people, "The Lord shall rule over you." He restored harmony among his jealous brethren, and during many years that followed there was peace and quiet in the land.
A parallel to the story of Gideon is apparent in the life of William Branham. Both men were born in very poor families, and neither had any ambition to become great. Each received a visitation and commission from the angel of the Lord. Each believed that if God were with His people then the days of miracles could not have ended. Both of these men received a special enduement of the Spirit. Both disdained becoming a ruler over God's heritage, and both labored to bring harmony among God's people.
With a very small army God
gave Gideon victory over a host of the enemy. With no
backing of human organization and having few
natural qualifications, William Branham obeyed
the call to minister the gift that God gave him,
and multitudes flocked to hear him, many being
delivered from the enemy's afflictions. Gideon
suffered from the opposition of jealous brethren and
the carnally minded. Such has also been the case with
William Branham. Each of these men responded to
those who spoke against them with gentle forbearance
and patience, and God vindicated both in His own
Like Elijah of old, William Branham just appeared on the scene. He did not arise out of 'mainstream' Pentecostal, Evangelical circles. Like Elijah, William Branham was a man of the wilderness. Like Elijah, William Branham had a Powerful Anointing upon his Ministry. He challenged the people to believe God. Like Elijah, William Branham fearlessly called out against sin in the churches and among the clergy, screaming "Repent or perish!" He took sides with no denomination. He, like Elijah, was on the Lord's side. As Elijah indicted Israel for it's sin, so also God used Brother Branham to indict America, the nations and the churches for it's unbelief. Like Elijah, William Branham was given Authority over devils, demons and unbelief, that he might fully carry out his commission.
A parallel in conditions existing in the days of Gideon and Elijah and our day is also apparent. A couple of generations ago (The early 1900's - 1944) the Full Gospel movement sprang into existence, attended by many signs and wonders. But now a new generation has arisen, and all they know is denominations, inter-denominational and non-denominational groups, Charistmatics, following the leadership of men. They take part of the Word (interpreted by man) and refuse other parts. In many churches the tendency has been to seek substitutes (emotionalism or sensationalism) for the power of God and to gravitate to a purely human level of worship riddled with worldliness - a form of godliness, denying the true Power of God.
On our return to Oregon it was impressed upon us with great force that the manifestation of the power of God was the only answer to the question, "How can we reach this generation with the message of the Gospel in the brief time that remains before the coming of Christ?" Indeed, the ministry committed to William Branham would meet the need of the hour: To testify of Jesus Christ, the Same yesterday, today and forever; To give proof of His Healing and Resurrection Power; To call an Age to repentance; To direct the Believer back to the Word for Rapturing faith; To deliver a Message of warning before judgement. Nothing less than a Prophetic Ministry was what we needed and in the Commission God gave William Branham our need was met and God's Word was fulfilled.