A learned man brought to this century a fresh teaching-that Jesus came that believers would have a more abundant life. The teacher taught steps to victorious living, which yield happiness, sufficiency, success and health-all of which are God's will for mankind. Positive faith, he said, brings about happiness and victory, while negative faith results in nervousness, failure and sickness. These effects must result, for this is a law of life. A person can achieve any good thing if he believes strong enough in it. If he prays believing he is now receiving, results are assured. A human being must overcome his tendency to limit God by keeping God's power latent within. The teacher summed up his steps to victory-"let go and let God!"
The "Doctor" explains the source of his teachings:
"Many of the subjects I have given in my Bible class have been dictated to me by my loved ones long since passed on... (that is, dictated via "my psychic work." (1)
Although Victor Paul Wierwille would reject mediumship as his source of doctrine, he would unquestionably agree to the teachings listed above. In fact, Wierwille infers that Albert E. Cliffe, the author of these tenets, was once his mentor. Cliffe was one of those who "were guests of Dr. Wierwille's local congregation" during the 16 years as pastor when Wierwille "searched the Word of God for keys to victorious living."(2)
The back cover of Cliffe's 1951 book Let Go and Let God offers a brief biography:
"Albert E. Cliffe, a professional biochemist, turned from his work in industry to become a lay
reader of the Church of England in Canada and the Protestant Episcopal Church in the United
States, and an outstanding leader in the movement for spiritual healing within the organized
church. News of his work spread all over the world and Dr. Cliffe carried this work, in the course
of speaking tours, throughout Canada, to the United States, and to England. He received the
unusual honor, for a Canadian and a layman, of being invited to open the Congress of the United
States with prayer. The late Dr. Cliffe authored other books including lessons in Successful
Though Let Go and Let God focuses on ten steps in victorious living, it also reveals Cliffe's beliefs on the important topics of God, man and Christ. Although he claimed Episcopalian beliefs early in life, he later the New Thought classic "In Tune with the Infinite" by Ralph Waldo Trine and took courses on spiritual healing from Metaphysical Schools which brought him to a new conception of God:
"I found the Kingdom-of Heaven within me and, oh, how my ideas of God changed.(3) God to me is all life, all power, all love."(4) God is the name given to that unchangeable principle which is the source of all life, of all existence. As God He is impersonal, but as we come to know Him day by day as expressed in each one of us, He really becomes personal to us...(5)"
Man, Cliffe newly concluded, must contain the divine energy for "My mind is part of His divine-mind"(6) and "we are inseparable from God"(7), Cliffe wrote. Man's goal, then, is to grow, developing his latent "God power" since "...if there is an unpardonable sin it is the damming up of God's powers within us." (8)
According to Cliffe, attainment of this goal is aided by the impersonal Christ force indwelling every human being. Since "there is no death"(9) a person simply goes to "that plane of thought which you have prepared for yourself" which can loosely be termed "heaven" or "hell."(10) Cliffe's pantheistic viewpoint combats Scripture, promoting man from sinful creature to a microcosm of the "Creator." These a-Christian beliefs have been marketed for centuries by mystics and occultists, often under the thin disguise of Christian terminology which Cliffe favors.
If Wierwille did realize Cliffe's alarming beliefs about God, man and Christ, he was knowingly exposing his Ohio congregation to possible great spiritual harm. If Wierwille did not realize Cliffe's non-Christian beliefs, he did not probe Cliffe on doctrinal matters or was theologically naive. In either case, Wierwille did adopt at least one key Cliffe teaching- that positive faith (which Wierwille termed "believing faith" in 1957 and "believing" beginning sometime after 1962) will yield health, happiness, prosperity and success while negative faith (fear) must result in failure, sadness and sickness because this is a law under which every human on earth lives. Wierwille's teaching and terminology closely mimic Cliffe's, as a comparison of their works indicates.(11)
While Cliffe heads each chapter of Let Go and Let God with a brief Bible verse he does not attempt to prove his teachings with Scripture. Wierwille, on the other hand, attempts to illustrate from Scripture his theory of "believing" thereby "Christianizing" this spiritist's ideas.(12) One thing is sure. Wierwille's source far his teaching on believing was neither the Holy Spirit nor the Word of God, but Albert Cliffe, who spiritually stood far outside the bounds of biblical Christianity.
1. Albert E. Cliffe, Let Go-and Let God (Englewood Cliffs. N. J.: Prentice-Hall, 1951), P. 157. It was republished sometime after 1957 as a Guidepost selection with God Can Heal You Now by Emily Gardiner Neal for keys to powerful victorious living ."
2. Cliffe is mentioned in most of the biographies of Wierwille printed in or accompanying his books (although sometimes his name is misspelled "Cliff").
3. Cliffe, Let Go-and Let God, p. 162. 4. Ibid, p.163. 5. Ibid, p.163-164.
6. Ibid, p. 133. Cliffe also refers to God as "Divine Mind," "Mind," "Good" and "God Power."
7. Ibid, p. 149. 8. Ibid, p. 151. 9. Ibid, p. 155. Ibid, p. 158.
11. Wierwille teaches on the "law of believing" in The Bible Tells Me So, Parts I and II, pages 1-46 (1971) and Power for Abundant Living, pages 1-61 (1971). Cliffe's books include "Let Go and Let God" (a phrase which has become a favorite Way aphorism),and "Lessons in Successful Living" and Signposts. Especially relevant chapters of Let Go and Let God are entitled- "There is Magic In Believing" and "The Law of Cause and Effect." Relevant chapters in "Lessons in Successful Living" (Prentice-Hall, 1950, 1952, 1953; which is the revised edition of "Lessons in Living") include "Spiritual Healing," "Positive and Negative Thinking" and "Tithes and the Law of Prosperity." "Lessons in Successful Living" was republished sometimes after 1969 as a Guideposts selection.
12. See The Integrity and Accuracy of The Way's Word for a description and critique of The Way's doctrine of believing. Christian bookstores often carry books which address this teaching in the form of the "word-faith" Christian sects.
Dr. John Juedes, C. 1984.
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