convened from 8.30 in the morning until 9.30 in the night with two breaks for lunch
and dinner. There was much singing and worshipping.
The saints gave their testimonies as well as their praises
to the Lord. Before the ministration of the Word of
the Lord, a minister would first exhort the saints.
Exhortations took as long as 50 minutes!
I did not expect to
see any American ministers at this convention. But there were two
— one was from Texas by the name of John Henry, an elderly man; the
other was a young man (about 30 years old) from Oregon whose name I will not
disclose. Both came, upon invitation, on the last day of the convention, 25th
December. Being around with
Caucasian ministers for many
years and having tasted their spirit, Bro. John Henry gave me a good
impression, a rare breed. When he preached I listened, and I discerned —
an Evangelist. After the service, he approached me to discuss about the one
subject which seems to evade believers — the Seven
Thunders. We discussed a little and then went to the dinning hall, set down to
eat and talked a little more. I like the man. He's humble, sincere, and not
Now, the young
American minister was a total opposite of John Henry. Sitting at one of the
many dining tables with John Henry for lunch, I saw him came in with several
local ministers. They were discussing something. One of the ministers (Pastor
Franco Togonon) came toward me and said, "Bro. Gan, Brother ~~ wants
to have a private talk with you." I said, "Okay" thinking that
the young American minister knew me or that I had already been pointed out to
him by the local ministers.
ministers and the young American minister set down for their meal at a table
next to us. John and I were trying to get his attention to shake his hand but
he was busy talking. Then he turned to John and introduced himself to him. I
was bypassed, not purposely, I believe. [Wearing a barong (a Filipino
national shirt) I must have blended in well with the Filipino people.
A little later, in
the meal and discussion at his table with the local ministers, there was
something said about the Seven Seals which drew John Henry's attention toward
him. The young American preacher then made a remark, "I came here to the
Philippines to help the believers, but I find much confusion, different
teachings." John Henry turned to him and said, "Hey, we Americans
are the ones who brought the confusion."
asked and the young American stated that the Rapture has taken place but not
completed yet. He stated that all mysteries were revealed. That drew me from
my seat to go sit down opposite him. As I did so, I asked, "If all
mysteries were revealed by the Prophet, tell me what was the mark that God put
on Cain and what was the sin of Ham?" Hitching a little, and without an
answer, he said, "If the Prophet did not preach them, then they are not
important." How foolish!
The young American
preacher emphatically stated that Branham did not make mistakes and that we
should readily accept what the prophet said "if he said a certain thing
one, two, three times". I asked how would he then reconcile the statement
that Bro. Branham made several times (in the sermon, Daniel's 70th Week) that
there are seven years left to the Jews after the Church is raptured. He said
that that was corrected in a question asked by Wm. Palmer and he took out the
book "Golden Nuggets" (authored by Wm. J. Palmer). Then, by memory,
he quoted a statement of Bro. Branham, saying that Christ made a covenant
for one week and in the midst of the week He was cut off, emphasizing that
Jesus Christ preached for 3½ years.
Taking my Bible, I
asked him where in the Bible did Bro. Branham get the verse he just made. I
told him that the prophet was a Typologist and he could draw out types from
Scriptures. Turning to Daniel 9:27 I read the verse and asked him: "Is
this the verse?" (I wanted him to carefully examine the verse.) He
appeared bewildered and asked to read it again. I did and repeated the same
question. His reply was, "I don't know." To that answer, I said,
"How could you be a preacher when you don't even know where Bro. Branham
was referring to in the Scriptures? How could you be a preacher when you don't
even know the Bible?"
Now, his reply was
very cultic, Branhamism in spirit, "I don't need to...as long as I have
the statements of the prophet." Oh my!
Then he pointed to
me and asked, "May I know your name?"
I told him my name, he was surprised and said, "Oh, you are Richard
Gan!" He turned to a pastor and exclaimed, "You said he wasn't a
teacher!" There were some exchange of words between them. (I gathered
that this young American preacher was greatly influenced by some
"elders" in the Branhamism camp. Coming to the Philippines, he must
have felt that it was an opportunity for him to track me down and to correct
me to "help" me see the light.)
The young American
preacher then said, to all the ministers around, "You people don't
believe the prophet, you do not believe the Message." To this, I raised
my voice and said, "Please don't put words into our mouth. We believe the
prophet and we believe his message. He turned us back to the Word and the
Bible is our Absolute."
"William Branham is my Absolute!"
that, John Henry turned to him and asked, "Who did the Prophet point to
when he proclaimed the Message? To Christ the Word or to himself?" The
young American man gave no reply. The question was asked again. Still there
wasn't any reply.
There was a little
commotion and then the young American man said, "It's better that I
leave. I do not want to create confusion here." And turning to Bro.
Henry, he said, "You do not belong here." (Note that racist spirit.)
To John Henry, I
said, "Bro. John, you belong here, you do." He acknowledged,
"Yes, I do."
Later in the
Ministers' Meeting, I was given more information regarding the young American
preacher. The brother who invited him knew his pastor only by mail and taped
sermons. From the tapes, which dealt mainly with Christian living, the brother
felt that the young American preacher, who was already in the Philippines
(being invited by other Endtime Message churches), should be invited to the
convention. However, when the young American preacher arrived at the campsite,
the brother was taken aback by his "arrogant speech" when he asked
to speak to me.