This is the second post in a multi-part series on when Brother Branham became involved with Pentecostal churches.
In our last post, we presented Hope’s obituary which indicated Brother Branham’s church was named the Pentecostal Tabernacle. This concerned us because the tragedy of Hope’s death was the result of Brother Branham listening to his mother-in-law instead of going out to preach amongst the Pentecostal “holy rollers” he’d met in Mishawaka. We decided to search the newspaper archives to see what we could discover about Brother Branham and his tabernacle. The very idea that Brother Branham had a Pentecostal church before Hope’s death was shocking, to say the least. After all, in his life story, it was clear that he was a Missionary Baptist.
On November 30, 1936, about eight months before Hope died, Brother Branham’s father passed away. Here’s his father’s obituary from the December 1, 1936 Jeffersonville Evening News:
Notice that Brother Branham is listed as the pastor of the Pentecostal Tabernacle in this obituary.
Going back further in the archives, we discovered an article from August 6, 1935 when Charles Branham, Brother Branham’s younger brother, died in a tragic automobile accident. Here’s the article that appeared in the Jeffersonville Evening News:
It is interesting that the church is identified as the Branham Tabernacle in this article when it is referred to as the Pentecostal Tabernacle in the later obituaries. This article, combined with Brother Branham’s words from Testimony Of a True Witness preached in Jeffersonville, Indiana on November 5, 1961 indicate to us that Brother Branham was already preaching amongst the Pentecostals in 1935:
And this morning while laying on bed thinking of that… The first one to go in our family was my brother Edward. And I was out west working on a ranch when he went. I wasn’t home, but I saw him, yet a sinner, saw him in a vision before he went.
The next one to go was Charles. I was… He went quickly, suddenly. He was… I was preaching down here at the little, colored Pentecostal church that night, when Charles was killed up on the highway by an automobile.
We know that the church was referred to as the Pentecostal Tabernacle in 1936, and that Brother Branham was preaching in Pentecostal churches at least in 1935, a full two years before Hope’s death. There’s evidence that Brother Branham had been involved in Pentecostal Churches even earlier. On March 26, 1953 Brother Branham preached a sermon titled Israel And The Church in which he talked about building the tabernacle:
The big churches made fun and pointed their fingers. They said we were holy-rollers. When I built the–I laid the cornerstone there, they said they’ll turn that little old thing into a garage. It’s been twenty years ago, and the Holy Ghost still lives here. Hallelujah. That’s right. And what they said was fanaticism and everything, kings and monarchs across the world has called. Great men has been healed, the powers of God has swept the world around, till now we stand millions strong. Hallelujah. And one of these mornings… She’s went through the critics. They said it would burn out. They said to me down here, said, “Oh, Billy, you lost your mind. That’s all there is to it.” Even my own mother-in-law said, “Why, the boy’s gone crazy.” But if I am, I’m having a wonderful time.
In this account, Brother Branham indicates that the people attending the Tabernacle when it was built were referred to as “holy-rollers”, the same deragatory term used by his mother-in-law to refer to the Pentecostals he’d met in Mishawaka.
We decided to step back even further and examine Roy Davis’ church since this is where Brother Branham was ordained.