One True Churches
What is a One True Church?
A “One True Church” is a religious group that, through it’s blend of teachings, impresses upon it’s members that their group is THE ONLY path to truth. The entire construct of their teachings, interpretations of scripture, and the conduct of their leaders is to reinforce the perspective that all other groups and churches are virtually apostate in comparison.
An Apostate faith is one who commits the act of apostasy, or the abandonment of it’s former faith. One True Churches often emerge from a movement on the premise that their former associates have somehow departed from “the truth” of the forefathers of the original church. Although the former group still practices their faith, the new church will essentially proclaim (as justification) that the former has virtually forfeited their religion. The new church will thereby assert themselves as the ‘truth’, claiming that only they will restore the true faith of the forefathers.
They will consequently also suggest that anyone who leaves their group is “apostate”.
Is The Message the Way to Salvation?
As part of the Message, it was an interesting discussion throw on the table: is there any way to heaven, aside from the Message?
The responses that you would get were very interesting. Depending on what ‘camp’ of the message a person was from, you could get a wide range of responses. One reason why it is so confusing a subject iss the ambiguity of William Branham. His doctrine and teaching was wildly inconsistent – sometimes offering grace and speaking in terms of “brotherhood” and drawing his circle bigger.
But in this 1963 quote, William Branham made it very clear (in addition to numerous other times).
1963 THE INDICTMENT, Jeffersonville
And through your creeds, and your organizations, and your denominations, with your form of godliness, still talking. Your forms of godliness, you’ve denied the power of His resurrection.
But the hour has arrived, the last days are here, when God promised, according to Malachi 4, that He would raise up in the last days, “and would turn the hearts of the people back to the original blessings and the pentecostal Faith of the fathers.” And you can’t deny it, and you can’t withstand it.
Now I condemn you, guilty, and challenge you, and indict you before God, that with wicked, selfish, denominational hands you’ve crucified the Word of God before the people. And I call you guilty and ready for the Judgment. Amen. Yes, sir!
So it was, as William Branham indicted and condemned the entire church and America, someone who believed in the Message is caught in a no choice situation. If you go back to the ‘systems’, you are indicted.
Is the Message of the Hour the only “One True Church”?
No. Can we say that again? NO.
This is a very helpful realization. The Message follows a very close pattern with several other groups. These patterns are not to be ignored. Once patterns are detected, one can begin to recognize the direction and the essential basis upon which a leadership is heading. For example, historical research exposes the nature of a government, not by a leader himself, but by the characteristics of policy, laws and freedoms.
Consider these names: Fidel Castro, Chairman Mao, Benito Mussolini, Joseph Stalin, Saddam Hussein and of course, Adolf Hitler. They are of distinct nationalities, cultures, and traditions. And yet, in order to achieve the level of Totalitarianism that they held over their countries, there were common factors in each instance.
- One Leader, with one program: Someone led the charge, and became to centralizing figure to rally around. He alone established the thrust, the vision, the voice and the fearful allegiance. Usually, this is a charismatic and/or captivating personality.
- Absence of individual liberty: they answer to the establishment and adhere to the common program. Individuality is swallowed up by the interest of the state. Maximum obedience to the laws is equated to the maximum liberty. Mussolini believed that “people do not want liberty but they want law and order.”
- Extreme Patriotism & National Glorification: Intense loyalty and devoted self-sacrifice are given to the state, as it is viewed by it’s members to be the equivalent of “God’s” nation, above all others.
- Totalitarian Stateship: A form of leadership that attempts to control virtually all aspects of the social life including economy, education, art, science, private life and morals of citizens.
- Racialism: As part of nationalism/patriotism, discrimination against other groups establishes the sense of entitlement and expectation for a particular ‘kind’ of loyalist, and the elimination of any person(s) who do not represent this ideal.
- Willing Militants: a nation that is willing to fight to gain and to protect at all costs, at the expense of it’s citizens and without regard for it’s enemies is a formidable foe. Mussolini stated: “War is to the man what maternity is to the woman.”, and Hitler stated: “In eternal warfare, mankind has become great; in eternal peace it will be ruined.” Bravado, posturing, rhetoric and forceful denomonstrations all serve to intensify the perception of power and superiority within the state.
Do not mistake this as an accusation that we see the Message as a “dictatorship”. The principle we want to point out is that in order for a system to exist that permits a dictatorship, there are dynamics in place that are common to any such group, regardless of culture and geographical location. There are also usually social economic conditions and factors involved that invite a radical leadership to step into power. Lenin and Stalin were the benefactors of revolutionary tides as Russia crumbled in economic turmoil. Hitler was the benefactor of a depleted, broken Germany after the First World War. And so on. When the people begin to cry out for radical change, it often comes in radical ways.
Realistically, a watchdog observing the mood and conditions of a nation could almost predict the direction it may go. As Hitler raised to power, there were observers who were extremely worried about the tone and actions of the German people and the fledgling “Nazi Party” who was gaining influence in 1930’s Germany. Why? Because the conditions were ripe and the common factors were all beginning to take root.
Likewise, there are factors that allow for religious figures to rise and movements to gain traction (notice the rise of pentecostalism had invited a wave of super-spiritual movements). Researching abusive, cult-like groups reveals that ALL groups possess nearly identical characteristics. While involved in the Message, former believers could agree it was extremely hard to recognize the signs, patterns and conditions. Imagine standing up in the crowd in Germany to voice your opinion against Nazism? Why do you suppose the movement against that regime went underground?
Ask a currently serving Message Believer if there is something wrong with the Mormon Church, and the answer is easy! Joseph Smith and William Branham are nothing alike! Yet, blind to see it, the truth is Mormonism parallels the Message as though it were a near cousin! So do the Jehovah’s Witnesses. So did the Church of God under Herbert Armstrong. The Message isn’t the only group claiming miracles, supernatural manifestations, Malachi 4 & the Spirit of Elijah, prophecies and end-time revelation. And all of the groups that share these common ‘beliefs’ also share common characteristics – to extraordinary detail.
Characteristics of All One True Church Groups
Churches Claim to be the Only One
- “This church is the only true and living church on the face of the whole earth.”
– Mormonism (D and C 1:30)
- “There is one church! There is one God. There is one kingdom of God and this is it!”
– International Church of Christ (The Great Commission, audio tape, Weger/Rock, Hodge/Hamann/Fulcher/Fields)
- “Since we keep all ten Commandments and have Ellen White as our prophet, we Seventh-day Adventists are The Remnant Church!”
– Seventh Day Adventists
- “God has made no covenant with any other church”
– Church of God in Christ, Mennonite, John Holdeman, A History of the Church, page 20
- “Oh, listen. All those who rejected the Message of the hour, before doom, the Gospel was preached to the doomed, first, before they went; without mercy. Noah, shut up, was a testimony. God shut the door, after his Third Pull. After the Third Pull at Sodom, the doors was shut. There was no more mercy. The ten couldn’t be found. And the lost had the Gospel preached, that could not be saved, because it was just… Been that way in every age, every age reject the Message before judgment. Have they done it again? Is that appearing in a Pillar of Fire down here on the river?” – William Branham – 1963, Souls that Are in Prison Now
- “Now, God’s promise to Noah won’t work for us today. God’s promise to–to Moses, we couldn’t have Moses’ Message. Moses couldn’t have had Noah’s message. We got the Message of the hour.” – William Branham – 1965, Doors in a Door
- But now is the Bride-calling, now is when the Seven Seals has been opened, now when the complete things that the reformers left has to be opened; and only Malachi 4 can do that, because it takes the revelation straight from God to an individual to do so. That’s right! It can’t come to a group, never did. One man! – William Branham – 1965, Trying to Do God A Service Without it Being His Will
Churches Claim to be the Restoration of Christ’s “Failed” Church
- “All of the doctrines of God were restored by Mr. Armstrong!”
– Philadelphia Church Of God
- “William Irvine started this way; it was a divine revelation from God. He was raised up to revive the truth just like the Word of God was dormant for 400 years…”
– Cooneyites: (Sharon Williamson, worker, stated in Rockport, Illinois gospel meeting, February 1994).
- “The True Church will be a restored Church, (and was restored by Heavenly messengers in 1829!)”
- “That’s what John Holdeman did; he removed the debris of false doctrine and neglect of doctrines, and laid a new foundation, upon which we believed we could build and be safe for eternity.” – Church of God in Christ, Mennonite
- “But it will be after the coming of the last-day messenger that will return the hearts of the people back to the original Gospel, the Faith of the early fathers, the kind they had at–in the new Church at Jerusalem. And that will be restored in the last days, to the… It’ll be in a minority group, but it will be just the same kind of a character as Elijah and John, both wilderness-lovers, “women-haters,” and so, and denominational-blasters. And it’ll be just the same type of person, but have the Truth, a vindicated, identified Truth. It’s promised.” -William Branham, 1964, Scriptural Signs of the Time
Churches Claim to Have the Only Truth and Practice
- “…that truth is in only one church today, God’s church. Only God’s Philadelphia Church has retained God’s Law in this end time” – The Philadelpia Church of God (The Philadelphia Trumpet , p.5 March 1994).
- “Only Jehovah’s people… have an organization that completely abides by what God’s Word has to say on sexual immorality, abortions, drunkenness, stealing, idolatry, racial prejudice, and other worldly pursuits and practices. And they alone are the ones obeying the command to preach the good news of Jehovah’s Kingdom.” – Jehovah’s Witness:
- “Only this church gives meat in due season. Only this church is doing God’s work!” – The Philadelphia Church of God
- “In my books, the truth is stated, barricaded by a ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ The Holy Spirit traced these truths upon my heart and mind as indelibly as the law was traced by the finger of God upon the tables of stone.” – Seventh-Day Adventism
- “There is nobody else in this country that That has the true gospel — that is, trying to make disciples of Jesus. There is nobody else in this entire world. This is the movement of God! There is no place to go.” – International Church of Christ ( (Nick Young. Tulsa Reconstruction meeting, August, 1992, audio one, side two)
- “This written lineage of the Church of the Living God is the place, pillar, or ground where God has always revealed the whole truth; it is contained alone as a whole in this Church [The Church of God in Christ, Mennonite], and He will never do it elsewhere.” – Church of God in Christ, Mennonite John Holdeman, A History of the Church of God page 189.
- “We notice here again, if the Word is in us and has come to us, as It did Elijah in that day, It’ll do the same thing that he did, he would feed on the secret Things of God which is hid from the world. Oh! Again, it makes the Message and the messenger as one. The spiritual Food is ready, and It’s in the season now. And each one of you can have this Food if you wish It, if you are willing to steal away from all of the unbelief of this hour, if you are ready to come into Christ, come into His promise.” – William Branham – 1965, Spiritual Food in Due Season
Churches Claim to be the True Church Because of Their Unity
- “Just taking a look at the hundreds of Christian churches in existence today, it doesn’t take much to notice all the disputes among beliefs, practices, doctrines, and authority that divide each denomination. It would be impossible to join all these churches, even the Protestant sects, into one church. Therefore, all of them do not make “one body without schisms”. There can only be one, and I testify that the one is The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.” – Mormons
- “People who do not understand spiritual unity attempt to explain it away by calling us cultic and brainwashed. Yet, this unity remains.” – International Church of Christ
- “Some people say there are other fellowships that can be alright. No, there can’t be, because there is only one body that Jesus had.” – Cooneyites
- “We find no justification for the proliferation of denominations, all claiming to be part of the church of God, when at the same time they subscribe to many different irreconcilable interpretations of God’s Word.” – Church of God in Christ, Mennonite MOT Vol. 101, No. 21
- Most anybody can make a tape, that’s got the intelligence to turn on a tape recorder, or can sell. But it takes guidance of the Holy Spirit to guide a little group together like this, this morning, and keep them together in harmony and unity, and still clinging to the Message. – William Branham – 1965 POWER OF TRANSFORMATION, PRESCOTT.AZ
Churches Teach that either Salvation or Complete Christian Life is Impossible Outside Their Group
- “There is no salvation outside the church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints” – Mormonism
- “Outside of the organizational structure of the PCG there is no salvation.” – Philadelphia Church of God
- “People can come to Christ only through us” – Cooneyites
- “Outside the true Christian congregation what alternative organization is there? Only Satan’s organization…”
– Jehovah’s Witnesses ”(Watchtower 3/1/1979 p.24)
- “For it is through Christ’s Catholic Church ALONE, which is the universal help toward salvation, that the fullness of the means of salvation can be obtained.”
– Catholicism The Second Vatican Council’s Decree on Ecumenism
- “There is no salvation where anyone will not unite with the Church of God against better knowledge.”
– Church of God in Christ, Mennonite A History of the Church of God, page 188.
- “Only in this last church age, and that by prophetic fulfillment, do we see this mighty God unveiled to humanity in rapture-time fullness. A prophetic message given by Christ Himself to His 7th and last messenger (Revelation 1:20, 3:14, 10:7) The work of Christ that would be required to give rapturing faith to His bride at the end time. True faith only comes by hearing the Word of God. Romans 10:17 “So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God”. It is all because God kept His Word that He would reveal Himself to His family in an unprecedented way just before the end of the ages. This was part of a plan by God to fully reveal Himself to His bride body, and by and through this revelation restore the Kingdom of His divinely elected family back to their rightful position that fell by sin in the Garden of Eden.” – William Branham Apologetic Website: A Living God (http://alivinggod.com/forever/election.html)
- But what is the evidence of a believer? That will but believe the identified Word of the hour. It’s always been that way. The people get It scrupled up, in all kinds of traditions, and religions, and denominations, and educations, and so forth. But God comes along, with His Word, and confirms It for the hour. That’s the evidence. – 1964 AND WHEN THEIR EYES WERE OPENED THEY KNEW HIM, Tampa, Florida – William Branham
Churches Claim Defectors Have a Bad Heart or Foreign Spirit and are arrogantly standing alone against “The Truth.”
- “Sometimes those under discipline reject the church’s proving of their spiritual need. They may claim fellowship with the Lord. This only substantiates their fall from spiritual discernment.” – Church of God in Christ, Mennonite: Bible Doctrines and Practice, page 190.
- “If someone is disfellowshiped, he must at the time have had a truly bad heart and/or been determined to pursue a God-dishonoring course. Peter said that the condition of such a person is worse than before he became a Christian; he is like ‘a sow that was bathed but has gone back to rolling in the mire.’ ” – Jehovah’s Witness
- “We have people that, you know, all of a sudden they say, ‘You know, I really, you know, I just question your church. I think there are other churches that are OK….’ It has nothing to do with the church,…They have gone back to their worldly ways.” – International Church of Christ
- “I feel that it is just a personal problem that they (ex-members) have.” – The Potter’s House
- “So He’s got to do the same thing today… My message that’s truly unadulterated Gospel and Scripture, and the people have to reject it to fulfill the Word. Although no matter what He does, they still won’t believe. The Bible said that though He had done so many miracles among them, yet they could not believe it because Isaiah said, “They got eyes and can’t see, ears and can’t hear, that they might see with their eyes, and hear with their ears and be converted.”
We’re living in a–a wonderful time for the believer. And we’re living in a terrible time for the unbeliever, because he’s rejected. And remember, the very thing that destroyed the world saved Noah. And the very Gospel that they’re laughing at today, will rapture the Church and destroy the unbeliever.” – William Branham, Sirs We Would See Jesus, 1957
Churches Claim Anyone Leaving Their Group is Lost
- “All who desire to draw away from God’s remnant people in order to follow their own corrupt hearts would throw themselves willingly into Satan’s hands.” – Seventh-Day Adventists:
- “if you leave the church, God is not going to bless you and you’re going to be a sheep out of the flock… and the wolves are going to come out and get you.” ‘ – The Potter’s House Schoner Arizona Daily Sun/October 2, 1988
- “Those who leave The Way are accounted as “apostates,” for whom there is absolutely no hope! They cannot be renewed to repentance, and can only await “a certain fearful looking for of judgment and fiery indignation, which shall devour the adversaries” – Cooneyites
- “your salvation is hanging in the balance. …. When you walk away from the movement of God, there is no where to walk. Walking out of the light into the darkness.” – International Church of Christ: (Nick Young. Tulsa Reconstruction meeting, August, 1992, audio one, side two)
- “Sometimes those under discipline reject the church’s proving of their spiritual need. They may claim fellowship with the Lord. This only substantiates their fall from spiritual discernment.” – Church of God in Christ, Mennonite Bible Doctrines and Practice, page 190.
- “All, that had not the Spirit of God, had the mark of the beast. The Seal of God is the Holy Spirit. The Bible said so. Every place in the Scripture speaks of It, says It’s the mark of God, “the seal of God.” And all that did not have It, was the one who reject It. And how did they reject It? By refusing to hear It. Is that right?” – William Branham – 1960, THE.TEN.VIRGINS.AND.THE.HUNDRED.AND.FORTY.FOUR.THOUSAND.JEWS, Jeffersonville, IN
Churches Claim the Bible Must be Interpreted by Their Group
- “The world is full of Bibles…why then do the people not know which was to go? Because, they do not also have the teaching or law of the mother, which is light.” – Jehovah’s Witness (WT 5/1/1957, p.274)
- “Those sent by God—His inspired messengers—are the ones exclusively given the understanding of His words. They speak the words of God.” – IglesiaNi Cristo:
- “As the only church that claims to have modern prophets who carry the same authority as Biblical prophets, it is the only church that can even claim that a particular ambiguous verse means this or that.” – Mormon
- “No, it is beyond man’s power and intelligence to study and understand the truth, which is God’s word by himself, without the guidance of God’s messenger.” – Iglesia ni Cristo (PASUGO, November 1973, p. 19
- “God’s servants are the understanding Authority of the word of God.”Cooneyites: [Olympia Washington Convention, August 26, 1979]
- “In my books, the truth is stated, barricaded by a ‘Thus saith the Lord.’ The Holy Spirit traced these truths upon my heart and mind as indelibly as the law was traced by the finger of God upon the tables of stone.” – Seventh-Day Adventists Ellen G. White
- “His Word is revealed to one. It’s always been, a prophet came with the Word of the Lord, each age, every time, down through the Scripture. The Word comes to one. In every age, the same, even in the church ages, from the very first to the last. Others have their places, that’s right, notice, but stay away from that Pillar of Fire. See? What a lesson we learn here! See, everybody wanting to be a Moses, and everybody… You remember what Dathan and them said out there? They said, “Now, Moses, wait here just a minute! You take too much upon yourself, see. Now, there is other man here that God has called. That is true. They, each one, were following fine as long as they went along, but when one tried to step up and take God’s position that He give Moses, which was predestinated and ordained to that job, tried to take it, fire come down and opened up the earth and swallowed them right into it. See? See? Be careful. See? Just be a good, God’s godly Christian, believing the Word. See? Stay away from that Pillar. What a lesson! – William Branham, 1964, the Unveiling of God, JEFFERSONVILLE.IN
Churches Impose Commandments of Men and Extreme Legalism
- “Sometimes we say that in God’s Kingdom there are no rules, no regulations, no forms or traditions, but if we have a proper understanding of God’s Kingdom, we will find to our advantage and benefit, that God hasn’t left us without some guiding influences to govern and to guide our lives. If this were not true, where would we be? Everyone would go by his own thinking. God gave us this new nature first of all, then an understanding that made us want to be under the new rule. The point is, are we willing to walk according to this rule?” – Cooneyites [Olympia WA Conv 1957] REF #174
- “This conference [where all the rules are made and recorded into a book called Conference Decisions] will give them a hands-on feeling for that operation of the church that has always been considered the final authority on faith and practice.” – Church of God in Christ, Mennonite MOT Vol. 101, No. 7
- “Without this Heavenly counsel, some may begin to entertain false notions and lose the way.” – Church of God in Christ, Mennonite MOT Vol. 101, No. 7
- “Conference decisions are mandatory” – Church of God in Christ, Mennonite General Conference 1974 #6
- “You women that claim you’ve got the baptism of the Holy Ghost, and not the audacity to let your hair grow out; when the Bible condemns it and said a woman’s… a man has got a right to put away his wife in divorce if she bobs her hair. Honored before God, to do so. The Bible said, if she cuts her hair, she dishonors her head. And it’s a common; just, you know, what any old common thing is, for a woman to even pray with bobbed hair. See?
Wearing shorts, and these slacks, and things! The Bible said, “Any woman that will,” (oh, you say…) “that put on a garment that pertains to a man, it’s an abomination to God,” filthy, dirty, like an old stinking bathroom somewhere. See? Oh, my! The filth in God’s nostrils! And then you try to pray or offer up prayers in such a thing as that? God refuses it, turns it away. That’s right.” – William Branham, Christ is the Mystery of God Revealed, 1963
Churches Encourage Submission, Not Questions
- “How is such independent thinking manifested? A common way is by questioning the counsel that is provided by God’s visible organization.” – Jehovah’s Witness
- “If you question the group, you are persecuting Jesus.” – The Potter’s House:
- “Now, what will you do if you are confronted with apostate teaching – subtle reasonings – claiming that what you believe as one of Jehovah’s Witnesses is not the truth? For example, what will you do if you receive a letter or some literature, open it and see right away that it is from an apostate? Will curiosity cause you to read it, just to see what he has to say? You may even reason: “It won’t affect me; I’m too strong in the truth. And, besides, if we have the truth, we have nothing to fear. The truth will stand the test.” In thinking this way, some have fed their minds upon apostate reasoning and have fallen prey to serious questioning and doubt.”… “Do you wisely destroy apostate material?” – Jehovah’s Witness: Watchtower March 15th 1986
- “We can see the effectiveness of a healthy, functional church where its members do not question her authority” – Church of God in Christ, Mennonite MOT vol. 101, No. 21
- “Like Pilate, many are asking, ‘What is truth?’ This sly, questioning spirit is confronting the church today, …” – Church of God in Christ, Mennonite MOT Vol 101, No. 4, p.
- “You ain’t got no thought coming. And that’s right. You say, “I think this. And I…” You haven’t got a thought.” – William Branham, 1963 World is Falling Apart.