Rev. Raymond Martin
(1924–December 8, 2004) was the Pastor of Faith Assembly Church. He was the founder and leader of a distinct branch of Branhamism
whose adherents can be found in many countries in varying size and distribution.
Raymond M. 'Junior' Jackson was born to Raymond W. Sr. and Esther Martin Jackson in the town of Borden Indiana in 1924. He attended the Borden public school leaving in the eighth grade to help his father attend to the family farm. His father suffered from tuberculosis
of the spine which left him bed ridden for a long period of time.
Jackson was drafted into World War II at the age of 18 and served in the Pacific theatre during the war. While not directly in combat he was present in many of theater's great battles.
After returning from the War he married his wife, Opal Funk. In 1951 he settled on a farm in Elizabeth, Indiana near the home of his in-laws, he would farm the land for most of his life and remain living there until his death.
He later became involved in the Methodist Church and eventually becoming the traveling pastor of several Methodist Churches in the Elizabeth Indiana area.
Contact with William Branham
In 1952 Jackson was introduced to William Branham
by his wife's cousin, Glen Funk. The two became friends while hunting on Jackson's farm in Elizabeth Indiana. Branham would hunt on Jackson's farm several times while he lived in Southern Indiana
. The first time Jackson attended one of Branham's meetings he said Bro Branham "... made Jesus head and shoulders taller than any doctor of divinity".
From this time on Jackson believed that Branham was a prophet. Between 1952 and 1955 he became a close follower of William Branham's teachings and is often mentioned as 'Junior' Jackson throughout Branham's sermons as a good friend and fellow minister. Jackson also developed a personal relationship with Branham as the two would hunt and visit together regularly while Branham lived in Indiana.
Overall, William Branham would have the single greatest influence on the ministry and teachings of Jackson. Particularly his teachings against denominationalism. Jackson was known to close his own church whenever Branham was holding meetings nearby and encourage his congregation to attend Branham's meetings. Jackson would also on many occasions travel to other states in order to attend Branham's meetings.
Ministry - Faith Assembly Church
In April 1955, after having left the Methodist Church
over differences in doctrine spurred by his contact with Branham, Jackson founded his first church, Faith Assembly Church. After some years he slowly became ostracized from the Branham Movement, or ' The Message
' churches, by refusing to enact Branham's 'Church Order'. Branham established 'Church Order 'to quell the riotous nature of some of the later Branham meetings. Church order was designed to limit the use of the Gifts of the Spirit
from being used in an inappropriate manner that commonly disrupted Branham's services. Jackson believed it was only intended for use in Branham's own meetings and not in other churches associated with Branham's teachings. He believed that since most of the associated churches, including his own, did not have problems with their members 'abusing' the gifts of the spirit it was not necessary for him to implement Church Order in his own assembly. Because he refused to enact church order Jackson became known as "The Blackbird" among many of Branham's followers.
Following the death of Branham in 1965, Jackson's ministry and his followers began to separate from the core of Branham's followers over various doctrinal differences, but mainly over the belief that Branham would raise from the dead and continue his ministry, and also because some in 'The Message' began to believe that Branham was a manifestation of GOD, Christ, or in some cases greater than Christ. This belief led to many of 'The Message' followers being labeled Branhamites. This then led to many of the main stream denominations and peoples outside of The Message to label Branham's followers a cult and further led to all the sects of the Branham movement being viewed as monolithic, when in fact there are several major sects among the Branham followers and numerous more smaller ones. Jackson's sect being one of the larger, but least radical in their beliefs.
The main difference that led to Jackson and his followers in separating from the main stream of the Message were due to Jackson's teachings on unity. Jackson taught that everyone should have a unity of faith and doctrines. The rest of The Message movement believed that most doctrinal differences were of little concern and that it should not prevent fellowship amongst the various groups of 'Message' followers. They believed that so long as everyone attending believed in Branham as prophet that other doctrinal issues were of little importance. Jackson strongly resisted this claiming that there was "... only one true faith" and one true set of doctrines and anything short of this was outside of the will of GOD.
Beginning in 1969, after his own assembly had been well established, Jackson began to travel extensively doing missionary works around the world. Several concentrations of his followers began to appear around the focal points of his missions in Canada, Mexico, Europe (mainly Norway and Germany), Africa (South Africa and Nigeria), The Philippines, India, Singapore, and throughout the United States. His his followers can also be found in most countries in smaller groups. During his missionary work the gulf between Jackson and his followers and the Branham movement widened as he began to come into conflict with missions of the Branham movement. Many followers of the Branham movement began to separate themselves from 'Messages' churches and form assemblies of their own, this being due to Jackson's teachings on untity.
Jackson's doctrines differed in some areas from the other sects of the Branham movement, 'The Message'. It was his philosophy to 'build' upon the Branham's teachings rather than hold strictly to them only for doctrine without adding anything new. His main additions to Branham's teachings were his own teachings on:
- 'Prehistoric Age and the Testing and Fall of Satan', a belief that before the 7 days spoken of in Genesis 1, the earth existed in a prehistoric state where creation was ruled by the angels. In that creation the angel's were tested leading to the fall of Satan and other angels into a state of wickedness. This was a topic only briefly mentioned by Branham.
- 'The Two Laws of Eden', a more in depth and comprehensive teaching of serpent seed doctrine and the two trees of Genesis 2 than that presented by Branham. While not differing on any point made by Branham but filling in the blanks left after his death. The main emphasis being that the two trees where laws or principles rather than physical trees; and that sex was certainly how God intended for the reproduction of life (A doctrine in dispute among different sects of the Message), not sex for pleasure.
- 'The Countdown is On', a chronological profile of events that will occur leading to end of the present world system and the establishment of the heavenly kingdom. While Branham dealt with many of the topics in this doctrine he never fully explained each of them and never placed them in a chronological order in which they would happen.
- 'Showdown and Sundown', a teaching concerning a miraculous war that will establish the Jewish nation and uncontested power of the Middle East which in turn will lead to the fall of Islam and initiate the events of the end time. This was a doctrine seldom mentioned by Branham.
- 'The First Resurrection', the order in which Christians will be resurrected from the dead and reunited with their physical bodies. This doctrine also entails the teachings on the 'Rapture' or the 'Catching Away' and teachings on the second resurrection, which entails the resurrection and judgment of the wicked.
- 'The Godhead', A more well defined explanation of the existence and the being of God than that of Branham's. While not differing on any point made by Branham but filling in the blanks left after his death. The view was basically that the FATHER is GOD. Christ was a human being, only he was perfect and without sin; similar to Adam before he committed sin with Eve. The Holy Ghost is the part of GOD (The Father) that lives inside of a person who has received salvation, and that same Holy Ghost dwelt in Christ in its full manifestation; but in other people only partially because of their imperfection. It is this Holy Ghost that makes Christians, and Christ himself, like God.
- The Clarification of 'Dual Statements, Branham made several contradictory statements prior to his death in various sermons. For example at one point he claimed there was 7 year left to the 70th week of Daniel and at another point only 3 and half years. Jackson came out clearly for 7 years and said the Branham misspoke when saying 3 and half years to catch the Branham movement off guard and to prove if they truly understood his teachings. These clarifications also cause conflict between Jackson and the Branham movement because the Branham movement generally refuses to choose one statement as correct, but rather believes in both.
In addition to these major differences there are various other minor differences between Jackson's teachings and the Branham movements teachings in the areas of Marriage and Divorce, Holiness, Church Order, The Gifts of the Spirit, The Five Fold Ministry, and The Millennium among other topics. But overall Jackson's doctrines can be traced to Branham's teachings and do not differ significantly in most areas.
Starting in 1969 Jackson began publishing his sermons in a magazine titled The Contender
. The paper was named after Jude 1:3
All of his major doctrines are written there and many of them can be found online at The Home of the Contender
The magazine has a global circulation is well known among the Branham Movement. Some in the movement consider it a heresy and forbid it among their assemblies whereas it is embraced by others who consider it a more comprehensible and better edited version of the The Spoken Word
is still in print and can be ordered on the Faith Assembly Church website.
Jackson was hospitalized with pnuemonia December 2 2004
his health rapidly deteriorated and he died shortly thereafter at age 80, on December 4 2004
. His funeral, held December 8 2004
Jackson's followers are located around the world but are concentrated in the areas where his missions went. His followers maintain a loose connection mainly around conventions held at the Assembly in Jeffersonville Indiana. There are multiple assemblies in Norway
, South Africa
, and the Philippines
. There are smaller groups of followers in most other countries with larger groups in Australia
, The Netherlands
, The United Kingdom
, and Argentina
. The largest concentration is in the United States
where there are around 30 assemblies and many more numerous small groups which hold to his teaching and interpretations of Branham's ministry. The largest assembly being his own in Jeffersonville Indiana.
Following his death there have been three distinct offshoots of his teachings. The largest being the group still associating with Jackson's own church and holding closely to his original teachings. A second group which no longer believes in Jackson's doctrines on 'The Countdown Is On'. And a third and smallest group mainly in Africa which no longer believes all of Jackson's doctrines on the 'The Two Laws of Eden'. All three groups claim to be continuation of Jackson's and Branham's beliefs.
- The Contender Publication