THE WAY INTERNATIONAL CRITIQUE SHEET A Pubulication of Apologetic Research Coalition INCOR

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THE WAY INTERNATIONAL CRITIQUE SHEET A Pubulication of Apologetic Research Coalition INCORPORATED NAME: The Way International, Inc. COMMON DESCRIPTORS: The Way, Way Corps, WOW Ambassadors FOUNDER: Victor Paul Wierwille (d. 20 May,1985) CURRENT PRESIDENT: B. Craig Martindale MEMBERSHIP: 110,000 DISTRIBUTION: U.S., U.K., Australia, South America HEADQUARTERS: New Knoxville, OH PERIODICALS: The Way Magazine (bi-monthly) TV & RADIO: None (PFAL course is on films) PUBLISHER: American Christian Press EDUCATION INSTITUTION:Emporia, KA; Rome City, IN HISTORY Victor Paul Wierwille, founder of The Way Intemational, was born in the kitchen of the family farm house on 31 December, 1916. In school he was a "C" student and even flunked out of the 11th grade. After high school he received a Bachelor's degree from Mission House Seminary (now defunct). In 1941 he was granted a Master's degree in "Practical Theology" (no Greek or Hebrew studies included). Wierwille's "Doctor's" degree was issued from Pikes Peak Bible Seminary which is a degree mill. Furthermore, Wierwille claimed to have taken every correspondence course offered by Moody Bible Institute. However, Moody Bibie Institute has absolutely no record of Wi- erwille having completed a single course. Still more serious, Wierwille's scholarship is seriously undermined since he incorporated many large blocks of direct quotations from others' works without attributing credit to them (some would call this plagiarism). In 1942, after a year as a pastor, Wierwille came to a spiritual crisis provoking him to throw out his entire 3,000-volume theological library. He was determined to study only the Bible and pursue the power of the Holy Spirit. Although his "healing ministry" began in the mid- 1940's, it was not until November of 1950 that Wierwille actually spoke in tongues. During the following three years Wierwille developed his "Power for Abundant Living" course. In 1957 Wierwille was asked to resign from the Evangelical & Reformed Church. Upon resigning in May of 1958, he founded a "Biblical Research Center" on the 147-acre famiiy farm in New Knoxville, OH, calling it "The Way." The Way did not experience significant growth until 1968, when Wierwille filmed his "Power for Abundant Living" course and proselytized a couple of new-born Christians from the burgeoning "Jesus Movement." With the newly filmed PPAL course and a couple of dedicated converts, Wierwille parlayed his small, rag-tag group into a new religious force numbering over 110,000 in 61 countries. Since 1974 they have opened two training schools (Emporia, KA: Rome City, IN). This pseudo-Jesus Movement even has it's own "Rock of Ages" festival featuring Way rock bands like Takit and Good Seed . The government of the Way is highly centralized. Wierwille himself likened it to a tree (root, trunk, limb, branch, twig), with the "twig" as the local "church. "The informal "twig" meetings may occur several times a week and are conducted in a home wiM singing, praying and listening to Wierwille's tapes. The Way's missionies, "W.O.W. Ambassadors" (Word Over Me World), support themselves with part-time jobs. While the Way's financial 'cords are closed, there is no doubt that they have taken in millions of dollars since they own both a publishing concern and a record company in addition to all the courses they offer. [The PFAL course alone has ranged from $20(1953) to $200(1980) back to $40 (1985).] BELIEF SYSTEMS REVELATlON: Way dogma rests entirely upon Wierwillie's inter- station of the Bible. His authority is carefully shaped, controlled and preserved. While taking "the Doctor's" PFAL course you are not allowed to ask questions or take notes. Whereas one cannot question Wierwille's interpretations, it is brought to light that Way members believe he spoke with supreme and enfallible authority. His interpretations are elevated virtually the level of scripture itself since Wierwille claimed that God gave him a special revelation which conferred authority on him not known since the first century: "And that's when He [Godl spoke to me audibly, just like I'm talking to you now. He said He would teach me Me Word as it had not been kno# since the first century if I would each it to others." Wierwille claimed that the New Testament was originally written Syrian Aramaic. moreover, Wierwille deified the Christian scriptures when he proclaimed "The Word is as much God as God is God." GODHEAD: Wierwille rejected the Biblical view of one God existing in three persons. He argued that the word "Trinity" not in the Bible and that it was instituted at the Council of Nicaea (325 AD). By contrast, the Way teaches that God is Holy" and God is "Spirit, "therefore God is the "Holy Spirit" (capital 'H' and 'S'). CHRlSTOLOGY: Like the Jehovah's Witnesses, the Way International adamantly rejects the deity of Jesus Christ. Wierwille maintained that the Bible calls Jesus "Son of God" 50 times while calling Him "God" only 4 times. Therefore, 50 to 4, Jesus cannot be God. He also taught that the early church did not believe that Jesus was God. Instead, Wierwille asserted that Jesus existed only in God's foreknowledg before Bethlehem. Wierwille also rejected the virgin birth of Jesus Christ, holding at Mary was a virgin only at the conception of Jesus. ATONEMENT: Originally, according to Wierwille, God deeded the earth to Adam. At this time man (Adam) was a whole person, body, soul and spirit. Supposedly, he was to receive instructions on ruling creation through his spirit. But when Adam fell, man lost his spirit. Therefore, Adam deeded the earth over to Satan, all very legal. Now, another complete man was required to legally win back the deed to the earth. Enter Jesus Christ, who was created with supenatural sperm placed in Mary. Although He had no sin (sin is passed on through the blood), Jesus was still not a complete man for he lacked the requisite human "holy spirit'(notice small case 'h' and 's' refers to the gift). Jesus received His human "holy spirit" at His baptism from the "Holy Spirit" (notice capital case 'H' and 'S' refers to God). At this time Jesus became the only complete man (body, soul and spirit) since Adam. After he ascended he imparted the gift of the human "holy spirit"(small case 'h' and 's') to the people in the upper room. Now they became complete and eternal: they were 'body, soul and spirit.' This was evident from their exhibiting one of the nine manifestations of the "holy spirit" gift - speaking in tongues. And when we accept what Jesus did for us on the cross we too receive our human "holy spirit" (we are 'born again'), which also is exhibited by speaking in tongues. As a consequence of receiving our 'holy spirit' we are entitled to perfect health, success in everything we do and eternal life. CHRISTIAN RESPONSE REVELATION: It must be underscored that Wierwille's claim to a "woo-woo" revelation from God does not confer any special authority on him. God's word declares that scripture is not of any private interpretation (II Pet 1:20), including Mr. Wierwille's. Weierwille's pontification, "the Word says what it means and means what it says," exemplifies his overly simplistic approach to scripture. It is absolutely necessary in extracting the meaning of any text to take into consideration the language, history and cultural context in which the text was written. Dr. Edwin Yamauchi, in his paper entitled "Creek, Hebrew, Aramaic, or Syriac?" utterly refuted Lamsa's belief (which was Wierwille's authority source) that the New Testammt was originally written in Syrian Aramaic, since the Syrian form of Aramaic did not evolve until the third century. Jesus spoke "Palestinian" Aramaic, if any. But most certainly the New Testament autographs were penned in Greek! Jesus would renounce Wierwille's view that the Scripture is "God just as much as God is God." Jesus proclaimed that you "Search the scriptures: for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me" (John 5:39). There is no life in the scriptures! They are not God and do not have life in themselves! The Father has life in Himself (John 5:26), the Son is the bread of life (John 6:33) and the scriptures testify of the one who has life (John 5:39). GODHEAD: While it is quite due that the word "Trinity" does not occur in the Bible, that does not mean that the idea which the term "Trinity" represents is also absent. The word "Trin- ity" is simply a technical term used as a short-hand notation to refer to the God of the Christian scriptures. To attack the technical term of a particular Biblical concept is not to address the concept itself. This persuasion technique employed by Wierwille is common to many forms of propaganda referred to as the "straw-man" technique. Without using the technical term "Trinity," we see that in the Biblical view there is only one God (Deut.6:4). Further, there three who are identified as God: the Father (l Pet. 1:2), the Son (Hebrews 1:1-12) and Me Holy Spirit (Acts 5:3,4). However, must also remember that the Father is not the Son (John 17:5), the Son is not the Holy Spirit (John 16:7) and the Holy Spirit is not the Father (luke 3:22). Wierwille's view that the "Trinity, was instituted at Nicaea in 325 AD is a total misreresentation. In fact, Wierville's lack of scholarship is pointed the facts that he thought that the Council of Nicaea was in Nice, France (Nicaea was in Turkey) and that the majority of the bishops were from the the West (in fact "Occident" means East). Over one hundred years before the Council, Tertullian, one of the great defenders of the faith, clearly enunciated a Biblical trinitarian view of God. There is absoulutely no Biblical reason for Wierwille's division between "Holy Spirit," (denoted by capital 'H' and 'S') and the 'holy spirit" (denoted by small case 'h' and 's'). This is a fictional invention on Wierville's behalf. CHRISTOLOGY: The argument forwarded by Wiereille that Jesus cannot be God because he is called the "son of God" more than "God" is extremely simplistic (to be kind). If this reasoning were employed throughout scripture, Jesus could not be the "son of God" either because He is called the of "son of Man" even more times (88). To the shock of any historian, Wierwille claimed that the early church did not believe Jesus was God. In fact, Polycarp, a disciple of John the apostle, adamantly taught the deity of Jesus, as did Irenaeus' Wartyr, Justin Martyr, and Clement. A cursory study of the Christian scriptures reveals that the Word declares Jesus is, 'God mamifest in the flesh" (l Tim.3:16: John 1:1:John 5:38: Heb. 1:1-2; John 8:58; John 20:28: etc.). EvidenUy, in studying the virgin birth, which he rejected, Wierville must have passed over Mat 1:25 - "And [Joseph] knew her not till she had brought forth her firstborn son: and he called his name Jesus." ATONEMENT: Wierwille taught that man does not have a "spriti" until salvation after Pentecost. The Bible disagrees: Job 32:8 - "But it is the spirit in a man, the breath of the Almighty, that gives him understanding." Psalm 32:2 - "Blessed is the man whose sin the Lord does not count against him and in whose spirit is no deceit." Ecc. 12:7 -"... and the dust returns to the ground it came from, and the spirit returns to God who gave it." Luke 1:47 - ". my spirit rejoices in God my Savior..."... John 20:21,22 - "Again Jesus said, 'Peace be with you! As the father has sent me, I am sending you.' And with that He breathed on them and said, 'Receive the Holly spirit.''' Jesus gave his disciples the "Holy Spirit" (the person!, capital letters) before the day of Pentecost! In reality, Wierwille's entire "spirit" scheme, "Adam lost it-Jesus found it-Jesus gave back," is pure fantasy. It is not enunciated anywhere in scripture It is merely a speculative model constructed in Wierwille's mind to justify his preconceived conclusions. Clearly, Mr. Wierwille did not "rightly divide the Word."


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