The Way International awards the title of "biblical scholar" to Victor Paul Wierwille, its president and founder.' He offers to the world an apparently clear cut, orderly presentation of the Word of God. Dr. Wierwille says he stands staunchly against "private interpretations" of the Word which lead people into error:
We must always go to The Scripture and its context and find out exactly what it says before we make any other statement or we shall be led into confusion by the wrong dividing of The Word.'
What of Dr. Wierwille and his teaching? Does he measure up to his own standard? Does he always justly let Scripture speak for itself? Or does he wrongly divide and expound the Word, resulting in the confusion he claims to avoid?
Unfortunately, the closer we examine Dr. Wierwille's writings, the more confusion we see. Not only do we find that Dr. Wierwille misunderstands much of Scripture, but we find that he contradicts even his own interpretations and definitions. While it is important for any Bible reader to recognize distinct senses and usages of Biblical words, Dr. Wierwille produces wholesale contradictions.
One example of Dr. Wierwille's contradictions is his definitions of the Greek word exousia in his book Receiving The Holy Spirit Today. His first definition of exousia is crucial to his teaching on the Holy Spirit. He writes:
Exousia, the Greek word from which we get our English word "exercise," is our God given authority and right as born-again sons of God to exercise dunamis, which is to put our inherent power into operation.'
To begin with, Dr. Wierwille's derivation is mistaken. Any standard dictionary will confirm that the word "exercise" is derived from the Latin excercere, meaning "to keep busy or to drive on," NOT from the Greek exousia.* But error turns to contradiction as we compare this definition to Dr. Wierwille's later one. He quotes Acts 8:19 and defines exousia as "ministry":
Then he said to Peter and John, 'Give me also this power [give to me this ministry of an apostle]."
Having previously defined exousia as a "right of born-again sons of God"-which ANY Christian possesses, he reverses himself and defines exousia (power) as a "ministry of an apostle"-which only twelve Christians possessed at that time. It is Impossible to reconcile these definitions. Exousia must apply to only twelve men or to all Christians. It Is impossible to hold both as correct, or neither definition means anything at all.
Dr. Wierwille designs definitions of Greek words to support his unique ideas. Compounding this problem, he often creates additional definitions of the same words which cause his original ideas to collapse. This is the case with his erratic definitions of akouo, a Greek word usually translated "to hear." On the one hand, Dr. Wierwille contends that: ... in Acts 22:9, "heard" (akouo) is followed by the accusative case indicating that they did not hear the subject matter spoken, only the voice." (parentheses mine)
In his mind, akouo with the accusative case clearly indicates that the hearer did not discern the subject matter. The hearer could then certainly not believe or act on the words.
However, only 66 pages earlier, Dr. Wierwille discusses Acts 10:44. Here again we meet akouo, or "hear" followed by the accusative case. On the basis of Dr. Wierwille's above definition, we would expect that "they did not hear the subject matter spoken." Unjustifiably, Dr. Wierwille creates a completely contradictory definition for akouo~
Here the word "heard" is not the Greek word meaning to hear only with the physical ears, but to hear to the end of believing by acting on it.'
Although the two passages use the same Greek word followed by the same case, Dr. Wierwille invents irreconcilably different meanings for it. If he chooses the former definition as correct, he makes Acts 10:44 ridiculous, for we know that those at Cornelius' house did understand and believe the Word. If he chooses the latter definition, he reverses the meaning of Acts 22:9. He then makes all those who were with Saul of Tarsus to have heard, believed and acted on the Lord's Word. Dr. Wierwille's varied definitions topple not only his unique ideas, but his purported scholarship as well.
We see further confusion as we examine Dr. Wierwille's definitions of the Greek word heteros, generally translated "other." He insists that in I Corinthians 12 ". . . heteros is used because two and only two are involved, namely, God and the believer."" An examination of a comprehensive concordance reveals that this definition is false. But what is even more disturbing is the conflicting definition of heteros Dr. Wierwille raises in a previous book. There he claims that heteros means "other of the same kind."O If he were consistent, he would have used this definition In I Corinthians 12 as well. He would then have written: ". . . heteros is used because two others of the same kind are involved, namely, God and the believer." You can see how absurd this is! If Dr. Wierwille were accurate and consistent, his definitions would fit any passage that used heteros. Dr. Wierwille's contradictions reveal his inaccuracy.
Chaos continues in Dr. Wierwille's attempts to define allos, a Greek word also generally translated "other." As he examines John 19:18, he insists that allos means "other of varying kinds."10 He needs a unique definition such as this in order to support his theory that four men, not two, were crucified with Christ. Later, however, he changes the meaning of allos, claiming it is used "when more than two may be involved."" Why did Dr. Wierwille give up the definition of allos he was so insistent on earlier? Again, Dr. Wierwille's inconsistencies lead to the confusion he claims to avoid.
A follower of The Way International may be angered by the above material on allos and heteros, and say, "Power for Abundant Living doesn't teach that heteros means 'other of the same kind' and that allos means 'other of varying kinds'-you're lying!" While it is true that printings of Power for Abundant Living since 1972 don't teach this, the original 1971 publication did! Without any notice of editorial changes, most printings since 1971 have been "doctored" or revised, substituting different definitions for allos and heteros.
In the 1971 printing of Power for Abundant Living, Dr. Wierwille stated that "the word 'other' . . .
is another key to add to the proof that four men were crucified with Jesus."12 He proclaimed,
Which Greek word had to be used to have the true Word? The word is heteros because the two malefactors obviously are the same kind. This is the sharp accuracy of God's Word. 13
If Dr. Wierwille's original definitions represented "another key" and "the sharp accuracy of God's Word," how could they change so drastically in a year's time? Although his definitions changed radically, his conclusions and even the wording of the sentences around them did not. This raises the question even more urgently-what came first, the word meanings or the conclusions?
On this matter we must finally note that Dr. Wierwille's revised definition of heteros still doesn't
match his definition in Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, In this book he defines heteros as "when
only two are involved," while his revised definition of the same word in Power for Abundant
Living reads "when only two may be involved." (emphasis mine). His insertion of "may" makes
the distinction between allos and heteros meaningless. What really is the difference between other
"when only two may be involved," (heteros), and other "when more than two may be involved"
(allos)? Dr. Wierwille not only creates contradictory definitions, but without proper editorial
notice substitutes meaningless word distinctions in order to cover his errant tracks. How many
more textual changes will Dr. Wierwille make to cover his confusion?
Dr. Wierwille's definitions of the Greek preposition dia again reveal his manipulative scholarship. in his discussion of John 1:3, "All things were made by Him," he concludes:
The word "by" is the Greek preposition dia, which, when indicating instrument or means, is translated "by," the cause of the action. God was the cause of the creation. 14
Dia (used in John 1:3 in the genitive case) is correctly understood by Dr. Wierwille in this Instance. However, 29 pages later, Dr. Wierwille invents a new and Irreconcilable definition for dia. He discusses Hebrews 1:1, 2 which reads in part: "(God hath) spoken unto us by His Son, whom He hath appointed heir of all things, by whom also He made the worlds." Originally he claimed that dia meant the "cause of action," the cause of creation. If he had used this definition of dia here in Hebrews, he would be openly admitting that Jesus is Christ is our Creator and God! Rather than allow linguistic accuracy to expose his own doctrinal error, he contrives a new definition for dia. While this new definition is accurate for dia with the accusative case, it is NOT accurate with the genitive case:
The Greek word for "by" is dia, and, in the genitive case, is translated "on account of" or "because of" or, according to current language, "for." . . . God appointed His Son heir of all things, for whom also He made the ages.15
With this statement Dr. Wierwille has trapped himself! If he used this definition of dia in John 1:3, he has claimed that "All things were made for (but not by) God," which is ridiculous! If he used his first definition of dia in Hebrews 1:2, he has admitted that Jesus Christ is the "cause of" the ages, or creation, and therefore is Deity.
The same word, dia, is used in BOTH passages, with the SAME genitive case. Yet, his definitions irreconcilably conflict. His alternate definitions of allos, heteros, akouo and exousia also violently contradict. If Dr. Wierwille is the "biblical scholar" which The Way International claims he is, why is he so inconsistent, inaccurate and confused?
Dr. Wierwille's contradictory definitions expose his doctrinal error. He is "forced" to opposing definitions because his preconceived conclusions war against actual Biblical data. He has decided before that exousia is the "right as born-again sons of God to exercise" "the power from on high." But he has also decided before that the apostles carried out "the ministry of an apostle" toward the Samaritans. The only way to protect these theories is to define exousia radically differently. He has decided before that four were crucified with Christ, and holds a preconceived theology of the manifestations of the Spirit. In order to safeguard these stances, he produces conflicting definitions of heteros and allos. When he later sees his contradictions, he revises the text of subsequent printings to conceal his error. He has decided before that Jesus Christ is not God. Therefore, he must contrive contradictory definitions of dia so that Scripture will not rightly prove his tenet to be false. Dr. Wierwille's preconceived and preferred doctrine manipulates his "scholarly" pronouncements, and reaps the expected confusion and contradictions.
Dr. Wierwille spoke of other colleges, seminaries and commentaries when he wrote that: ... there appeared many things contradictory to the accuracy of the recorded Word of God. I knew their teachings were sincere, but sincerity is no guarantee for truth."
Dr. Wierwille proves time and again that it is not the colleges, but he himself who produces "things contradictory to the accuracy of the recorded Word of God." What is more, he cannot even agree with himself on the Word.
It is true that "sincerity is no guarantee for truth." While normally we must assume that any individual is sincere, the extent of Dr. Wierwille's contradictions draws even his sincerity into question. But more important, what is the quality of his teaching? The only possible conclusion is that his teaching is saturated with inconsistencies and inaccuracies. We ask all those who accept Dr. Wierwille and the teachings of The Way to take note of this and beware. His inept principles of "rightly dividing" the Word reveal their own confusion and result only in destructive doctrines which threaten eternal life.
1 . Jesus Christ Is Not God,-bookflap.
2. Power For Abundant Living, p. 193. 3. Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, P. 5.
4. Webster's Unabridged Dictionary, Third Edition, p. 796.
5. Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, p. 114. 6. Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, p. 211.
7. Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, p. 145. 8. Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, p. 174-175.
9. Power For Abundant Living, 1971 printing, p. 167. 10. Power For Abundant Living, 1971 printing, p. 167.
11 Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, p. 174. 12. Power For Abundant Living, 1971 printing, p. 167.
13 Power For Abundant Living, 1971 printing, p. 168. 14 Jesus Christ is Not God, p. 92.
15. Jesus Christ Is Not God, p. 121. 16. Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, p. x.
John Juedes, C. 1984 Personal Freedom Outreach, St. Louis, MO www.empirenet.com/~messiah7
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