Christopher Geer was more directly responsible for splintering The Way International than any one person. While many TWI leaders chafed under the inept hand of TWI's new young president, L. Craig Martindale, Geer forced the splintering by accusing TWI trustees of severe error and mustering opposition to them. (See our reviews of The Passing a of a Patriarch and Overview of Events for details on Geer's background and power play.)
Until Founder V. P. Wierwille's death in 1985, Geer was not a very visible leader outside of Europe (he led The Way of Great Britain and the European Corps). Since the trustees ousted Geer in about 1989, Geer returned to the USA (he lives in Maine) and maintains a low profile. While many other ex-Way leaders have promoted themselves though speaking tours, tape and book sales, and the Internet, Geer has stayed more behind the scenes. He doesn't readily promote his tapes and doesn't have a web site. He does send Glimpses of Truth- A Journal of Christian Studies to his followers. (However, it is hard to picture an infrequent four to eight page newsletter as a "Journal.") Instead, he licenses other ex-Wayers to hold his recorded classes in their homes using his CDs, just as TWI always did with Wierwille's Power for Abundant Living (PFAL) class.
Geer has been the self-appointed "keeper of the Wierwille flame" ever since he published The Passing of a Patriarch, in which he claimed that Wierwille anointed Geer as the one person who could return TWI to its pure state. Many ex-Wayers accepted this claim and now follow Geer.
Wierwille built his following by finding people (especially his WOW Ambassadors) who would recruit others to pay a fee to attend Wierwille's PFAL class. Geer hasn't circulated Wierwille's class since TWI cut all ties with him, probably because TWI controls the PFAL tapes. Instead, Geer licenses other ex-Wayers to use his recorded Walking in God's Power (WIGP) class (it has Foundational, Intermediate and Advanced levels, as did PFAL).
The class is spread over 10 or 11 sessions of one to two hours each. The class includes the 321 page study guide, which is bound as a large format paperback book. The book is nearly a transcription of the class, although the audio includes some details not in the book. This mirrors Wierwille's method, since his book Power for Abundant Living is nearly a transcription of the first four or five sessions of his class.
The cover and copyright pages of the WIGP book prompt both amusement and anger. They identify Christopher C. Geer as author and print this detailed copyright statement:
"Copyright Word Promotions Ltd. 1995. All rights reserved. No part of this Student's Study Guide to the Walking in God's Power foundational class may be copied, reproduced, stored in any retrieval system or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise without the prior written permission of Word Promotions Ltd."
Geer shows some knowledge of referencing other authors when he refers to George Lamsa and uses footnotes to identify a few authors he disagrees with on one topic.
However, although Geer claims to have produced the book, it is obvious to anyone with any knowledge of TWI that he took all its content, lock, stock and barrel, from Wierwille's PFAL. No footnotes, bibliography or acknowledgments identify Wierwille as Geer's source. Geer never cites Wierwille in the text of the book. It is ironic that Geer includes such an emphatic copyright statement in a book that so flagrantly violates commonly accepted rules of attribution of sources.
While it doesn't appear that Geer actually copies Wierwille's PFAL book word for word, WIGP reproduces almost all of Wierwille's class, topic by topic. WIGP is PFAL piracy.
Every one of Geer's topics in WIGP comes from PFAL, including: the Word of God is the will of God, the integrity of God's Word, private interpretation (2 Peter 1:20)., keys to how Scripture interprets itself, how the Word interprets itself in it's verse (where written, figures of speech, Orientalisms, Biblical usage), in the context, used before, to whom its addressed, similar or identical, the law of believing, administrations, three days and three nights, Jesus Christ is not God, the mystery, renewed mind speaking in tongues, inhaling holy spirit, and so forth. Geer uses all the same "examples" Wierwille used of how no one in the world understands the word except for him-- such as Paul's thorn in the flesh, today in paradise, and four crucified.
Geer, like Wierwille, exhorts his hearers to breathe in holy spirit near the end of the class, and most of one session is devoted to practicing speaking in tongues.
In addition to lifting all or virtually all of his topics from PFAL, Geer also copies directly from Wierwille's book Receiving the Holy Spirit Today. Note this
quote from Geer's WIGP, Intermediate Class p 105:
"Matthew 28:19... there is no record in the New Testament in of this command ever being carried out by the apostles or anyone else in the early church. Many scholars believe that this portion was not in the original manuscripts when '...holy men of God spake as they were moved by the Holy Ghost.'... the apostles always baptized in the name of Jesus Christ or in the name of the Lord Jesus. Acts 2:38... Acts 8:16... Acts 10:48... Acts 19:5.... the manuscripts from which Eusebius quoted (Eusebius died c. AD 340) could not have contain the words... for he quotes Matthew 28:19 eighteen times without once using them."
(Compare the almost exact wording in Receiving the Holy Spirit p. 293-294)
Geer never puts this section in quotes, nor cites where he took it from, which is normal academic practice even if it's not copied word for word. Even middle school students know you can't copy others virtually word for word without citing the source.
Actually, Wierwille plagiarized this section from Bullinger, and Geer plagiarized it from Wierwille. Furthermore, the comment about Eusebius is false. Eusebius did use the whole phrase "baptizing them in then name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit" four times, in Contra Marcellum (twice), De ecclesiastica theologia and in a letter to the church at Caesarea. Plus, two important ancient NT Greek Manuscripts, B and X (Hebrew aleph) have them, and Eusebius is assumed to have be the man who commissioned them. Apparently Bullinger did not know of these occurrences because the works were not in English.
This tendency to practice a form of plagiarism is something that Geer likely picked up from Wierwille. In PFAL, Wierwille always presented himself as though he was teaching things he discovered in the Bible. Actually, he took much of it wholesale from other authors. In places, he virtually read portions of E.W. Bullinger's Companion Bible during the class, yet he never once identified sources in the class. In fact, Wierwille also copied sections of other authors word for word, printing them in his own books as though they were his own.
Did TWI Give Geer Permission to Revise PFAL?
Some have tried to defend Geer by asserting that Wierwille gave verbal permission to Geer to rework his class, or that TWI's Board of Trustees (BOT) signed over rights of publication of PFAL and Wierwille to The Way of Great Britain. No evidence of this has ever been produced, other than Geer's verbal statements which are not corroborated. Geer is the only person who allegedly heard VP say this and since Geer is the one who would gain from this (TWI didn't gain from it-- they lost from it), then this is a self-promoting conflict of interest. But if Wierwille had done so, Geer should have identified himself as an editor of a previous work (PFAL), not as an original author, which is a common practice in the academic world.
Former TWI president Craig Martindale reworked and replaced PFAL himself in The Way of Abundance and Power in 1996. So apparently he did not think the
BOT gave this task to Geer.
European Christian Press and The Way of Great Britain published Wierwille's Take God at His Word. But it did not publish Geer's WIGP. So even if The Way of Great Britain had permission to publish such things, it did not publish Geer's class and Geer was no longer a part of it when he published his class in 1995.
In some ways, Geer is a more effective teacher than Wierwille. Geer uses Wierwille's definitions and explanations, but cleans up Wierwille's confusing and obscure verbiage. (One of Wierwille's closest aides, Walter Cummins, once admitted in The Living Word Speaks that many of Wierwille's definitions "make no sense when read!") Geer throws around fewer Greek terms, probably because, like most of Wierwille's hand-picked leadership, he lacked the seminary training in Biblical languages and interpretation that Wierwille had.
But in simplifying PFAL, Geer leaves out important details. For instance, he doesn't write about Wierwille's fallacious distinctions between the Greek words allos and heteros, even though it's important to the idea of four crucified (see our evaluation of this titled "Were Four Crucified with Christ," which shows the many inaccurate assertions Wierwille made in his misled claim that four were crucified with Christ.). This makes Geer's bizarre teachings even less substantiated than Wierwille's were.
Perhaps this reflects Geer's terse attitudes toward those who question his teachings or methods. Geer typically refuses to answer legitimate questions (often in the form of a form letter, or a vague refusal that sounds like a form letter). Geer seems to be one to pronounce things rather than to give evidence for what he asserts.
It's obvious that Geer took all Wierwille's teachings at face value and didn't assess them thoroughly. For instance, he just repeats Wierwille's erroneous definitions of lambano and dechomai, even though they are shallow, false and contradict Biblical usage (see our article on this, Only Two Words for Receive?)
Geer also follows Wierwille in making Jesus Christ a minor topic in his class. Most of the references to Jesus are coincidental rather than part of a developed teaching on Jesus Christ.
On the surface, the classes were designed to give people simple (and very common) tools to interpreting the Bible, such as directing readers to read verses in context. But the overall thrust of both classes was to promote the Teacher (be it Wierwille or Geer) as the one person who could fully understand the Bible without all the misunderstandings of "tradition." To do this, they turned to certain passages in order to show their unique interpretations. Jesus is mentioned in these passages incidentally, and Geer and Wierwille never meant to use those verses in orderly teaching about Jesus Christ.
For instance, Geer mentions the birth of Jesus only to assert that Mary and Joseph had intercourse before Jesus was born. He describes part of the crucifixion only to claim that Jesus was crucified with four, not two criminals; was in the grave for a full three days and three nights; and didn't actually tell one criminal that he would be in paradise the same day. Geer mentions that Jesus is head of the church only in passing when he rebuts the Roman Catholic thought that Peter was head of the visible church.
Geer devotes a small amount of time to teach that Jesus is the second Adam, that he died for sinners, and that this prepares the way for the new birth. But even here, the ultimate point is that believers can then get their own missing spirits which can enable them to speak in tongues. The emphasis quickly returns to self and the things believers can do for themselves once they inhale their spirits.
Geer alludes to Romans 10:9-10, regarding confessing Jesus as Lord. The Lordship of Jesus Christ is one of the most important themes in the whole New Testament, and is the foundation for the entire Christian life of obedience and service to Him. Yet Geer never talks even in passing about what it means to confess Jesus Christ as Lord-- much less develops a relationship with Jesus Christ as the center of a Christian's life. (Contrast passages such as John 15 which emphasizes how critical a close relationship with Jesus Christ is.) Overall, Geer devalues Christ's teaching, ministry and miracles, and places the Gospels in the Old Testament, not the New Testament.
Dr. John Juedes, 1999, revised 2007
Appendix: Here is a list of several of the chapter heads of Geer's class. Any graduate of Wierwille's class will recognize them as being drawn from PFAL (numbers are chapter numbers, words in parentheses are my notes that outline things in some of the chapters): 1. the Word of God is the will of God, 1.5 the integrity of God's Word, 1.6 the workman and the word of God (rightly dividing), 2.1 the interpretation of God's Word (private interpretation 2 Peter 1:20), 2.4 biblical truths we must adhere to (to whom addressed), 2.6 Man's contributions to our modern Bibles (chapters & verse numbers), 3.1 in the verse- where it is written, 3.2 in the verse-figures of speech, 3.3 in the verse- orientalisms, 3.4 in the verse- biblical usage, 3.5 in the verse- scripture buildup, 3.6 in the context, 3.7 where it has been used before, 4.1 the others crucified with Jesus Christ, 4.2 Paul's thorn in the flesh (like Wierwille, Geer tries to establish that it was not an illness but was "buffeting" such as beatings, which was essential to their teaching on the "law of believing"), 5.1 ... taking into account to whom it is speaking, of whom it is true, and to whom it is addressed, 5.2a My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me? 5.3 consider whether things are similar or whether they are identical, , 6.1 how to receive the things of God, 6.2 the law of believing, 6.3 enemies of believing, 7.1 in the beginning (spirit- soul- body), 7.2 the ruin of a relationship (Gen 3- Eve leaves out, then adds to God's word) 7.4 administrations, 7.4a administrations and the Passover (3 days and 3 nights), 9.1 why it is called the administration of the mystery 9.2 why it is called the administration of the grace of God, 10.1 rights, privileges and abilities of the sons of God, 10.2 the renewed mind, 10.3 the new birth, 11.3 ... about spirit being made available, 11.4 speaking in tongues, 11.5 Jesus Christ gives instruction about receiving holy spirit (breathe in), 11.6 Acts 7:54-8:24 (2 words for "receive")
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