Although The Way International is not well known in many parts of the country, it holds more
followers than some better-known groups. The group traces its organ to 1942, when the late
founder Victor Paul Wierwille claimed that God audibly told him to teach the word more
accurately than any time since the Apostle Paul. The Way promotes its teaching in homes through
taped classes. [The foundational class for most of its history was Wierwille's Power for Abundant
Living (PFAL), offered for a "donation" (fee). L. Craig Martindale, Wierwille's successor, now
offers his version of the class, called The Way of Abundance and Power .]
The Way International is similar to the Jehovah's Witnesses in denying the Trinity, the
personality of the Holy Spirit, the deity of Jesus Christ and the immortality of the soul.
They insist that the Father alone is God. Wierwille's book Jesus Christ is not God summarizes his
belief that Jesus was born as a sinless human being because the Father impregnated Mary with
specially-created sperm which had sinless soul-life in it. He asserts that Jesus was the Son of God
but did not have all the assets of God and was "in the beginning~ with God" (John 1:1) only in the
sense that he was in God's foreknowledge (as was every human being). Wierwille attributes the
rise of teaching on the Trinity and deity of Christ to pagans who imported their beliefs into
Christianity as they were converted.
Wierwille's followers distinguish between the Holy Spirit and holy Spirit. Wierwille claims that
since "God is holy and God is spirit," the Holy Spirit must be just another name for the Father. In
contrast, holy spirit is the gift which the Holy Spirit (the Father) gives to believers. It is
impersonal "power from on high, spiritual abilities, enablements." Though Wayers talk about
"Christ in me, they mean that "inherent spiritual ability" dwells in them, not God Himself.
The Way tells its followers to receive holy spirit by breathing in. Speaking in tongues is taught
and claimed to be a foolproof evidence that the person has Christ within. The Way insists that its
followers speak in tongues and operate at their own initiative (rather than God's leading) all nine
manifestations of the spirit (1 Cor. 12:8-10) repeatedly. [The Way also claims that prosperity and
bearing are guaranteed to all who believe for it and give at least a tithe to The Way International.]
Wierwille took much of his theology from E. W. Bullinger, including: soul-sleep (after death, men
are unconscious in the grave until Christ's return); the relegation of water baptism to a Gospel
Age (before the Church Age began at Pentecost); and the insistence that only Paul's epistles
are written directly to us. Although Wierwille teaches that Scripture is inspired, he also holds
that many sections [specif'cally those which contradict his teaching] have been changed over the
centuries and should be deleted from all Bibles.
Jesus Christ was indeed fully human, but also had divine nature. God did not just send something
or someone else to help us, but He came to us Himself. Wierwille admitted that Matthew 28:19
and Hebrews 1:2 teach Christ's deity. [These verses are valid portions of Scripture, since they are
attested to by scores of ancient manuscripts and early Church fathers.] Scores of Old Testament
references to God are quoted in the New Testament referring to Jesus Christ (e.g., Is. 45:23/Phil.
2:10), as are many titles (e.g. First and Last, Is. 41:4, 44:6/Rev. 2:8, 22:13, 16). The many
Trinitarian statements and events clearly distinguish between the Father and the Holy Spirit and
place Jesus on the same level of honor and power (2 Cor. 13:14). The Apostle Peter clearly called
for water to baptize and was never censured for this (Acts 10:47).
In witnessing to Wayers, it is important to reveal faults in The Way's authorities and scholarship.
First, demonstrate that Wierwille lacks integrity and divine authority. Evidence shows that
Wierwille plagiarized at least eight books by at least three authors and made false claims of
scholarly education and alleged miracles which affirmed his work. Many testimonies of exWayers
reveal that The Way practices heavy-handed authoritarianism which keeps its followers in line and
preserves and expands the organization at its followers' expense. [See Juedes ~ Valusek's Will the
Real Author Please Stand Up? (St. Louis: Personal Freedom Outreach, 1987) Juedes and D.
Morton's From ~Vesper Chimes. to The Wav International. (Milwaukee: CARIS, 1983).]
Second, show errors in key points of Way scholarship, including: 1) Inaccurate translations of
key Bible passages which include contradictory or false definitions of biblical words; 2)
misrepresentation or ignorance of the early Church's views on the Trinity, Christ's deity etc.; 3)
misuse of ancient Greek texts or use of unreliable research works, as well as the inaccurate theory
that the whole New Testament was authored in Aramaic; 4) overstatement of their leaders'
qualifications and unnoted textual changes in their books. [See Juedes & Morton's The Integritv
and Accuracy of The Way's Word (St. Louis: Personal Freedom Outreach, l980..]
Acknowledge accurate Way beliefs, such as the accuracy of the Bible, salvation by grace and
the human nature of Jesus. Share with Wayers the same passages on the Trinity, deity of
Christ and immortality of the soul which you would with Jehovah's Witnesses. If Wayers
attempt to invalidate certain passages by saying, "The Old Testament is just for our learning,"
answer, Then let's learn from it! If you speak in tongues, look for an opportunity to say you do,
thereby enhancing your witness in their eyes.
Above all, continue to show you love the Wayer regardless of his or her beliefs. Work patiently
to reestablish trust in the Christian Church and teachings which The Way repeatedly attacks, so
that when they leave the Way, they can find unity of faith and spirit with Christ's body on earth.
DR JOHN JUEDES
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