WOLFGANG SCHNEIDER’S BIBELCENTER
Wolfgang Schneider calls his Bibelcenter a nondenominational website which offers Christian teaching. However, like other splinters of The Way International (TWI), it actually promotes the teachings and method of Victor Paul Wierwille and considers evangelical Christian teaching to be full of error.
Schneider was a staff member of TWI for many years, translated TWI courses and materials into German and was Country Coordinator for TWI activities in Germany. So it is no surprise that his web site continues to promote Wierwillism.
Schneider offers his web site in both German (as Bibelcenter) and English (as Bible Center). Bibelcenter offers articles, on-line courses, studies, links, background on Bibel Center and a library of materials by four favorite authors. He states that he does not lead a group as many other ex-Way leaders do, though his articles and courses embody TWI teachings.
Schneider was in the upper echelons of TWI leadership. He graduated from the 8th Way Corps, TWI’s four year leadership training program, in 1980 and was ordained. He became country coordinator for Germany and was chosen to teach the first live presentation of the Advanced Power for Abundant Living class in German. The Advanced class had a lot of prestige in TWI and was normally taught on tape, so to teach it live was a high honor and called for teachers steeped in TWI doctrine and practice. When TWI faced a leadership crisis after the death of its founder, Schneider joined Chris Geer in confronting and opposing the three person Board of Trustees who controlled TWI. Schneider met with Geer and the Trustees in Scotland in November 1987 to discuss error and leadership in TWI (Passing of a Patriarch, Epilogue). Soon the Trustees spurned Geer and Schneider, and in time Geer and Schneider parted ways as well.
Schneider used much of the material from TWI’s Advanced class (and the Intermediate class) in his own course on manifestations of the spirit, speaking in tongues, prophecy, etc. He absorbed TWI’s leadership style and method. For example, Bibel Center’s method of developing and promoting courses is based on TWI’s model, a method many other ex-Way leaders have used. Other ex-leaders of TWI include Schneider on their lists of ex-Way leaders who offer study materials which embody TWI teaching. This is very important to ex-followers of TWI who want teaching and leadership like that they had in TWI.
Other ex-TWI leaders and followers identify Schneider as one of their own, and any objective observer would identify Schneider and Bibelcenter as Wierwillite in nature and origin.
Bibelcenter identified itself with The Way as late as 2002. The Bibelcenter website included the phrase “December 1997, with initial ideas for a website with Christian content (in German) in collaboration with and supported by The Way, Bonn…” (cited in “Das Bibelcenter und ‘The Way International,” [“The Bible Center and ‘The Way International,’”] Patrick Chui, March 2005 on the website www.bibelkreis.ch/.../Das%20Biblcnter%20Maer... ). This article also notes that the homepage of “Association La Voie (Suisse)” [The Way Association, Swiss], www.la-voie-suisse.ch , listed courses by Schneider in its “activity” section. Although The Way in Bonn and in Switzerland were not under control of The Way of New Knoxville, Ohio at that time, they saw themselves as continuing the work begun by it.
The site includes articles by other ex-Way leaders such as Vince Finnegan, who leads his own ex-Way splinter group. The article on the background of Bibelcenter mentions nothing about TWI, even though Schneider’s extensive involvement in it dominates the content of Bibelcenter and provided him with an instant following. Leaving out this critical piece of information keeps readers from understanding the genesis and nature of Bibel Center.
Bibelcenter includes many articles, studies and terms which parrot TWI teachings, such as the difference between Holy Spirit and holy spirit, three days and three nights, methods of interpretation, speaking in tongues, manifestations of the spirit, the nature of Jesus Christ, denial of water baptism, denial of the Trinity and deity of Christ, use of figures of speech, the state of the dead, the claim that the whole NT was authored in Aramaic, much terminology, and so forth. It also mimics TWI interpretation of particular Bible passages such as Matthew 27:46. Like other ex-Way leaders, Schneider may teach differently than TWI on certain minor topics or interpretations of specific passages, but he still embodies the core and bulk of TWI doctrine and preserves many of its errors.
The library section of Bibelcenter offers articles by four authors not associated with Bibelcenter, which are predictable given Schneider’s TWI background. One of them, E. W. Bullinger, was used liberally by Wierwille and was the basis for several TWI (and Bibelcenter) doctrines. Wierwille also extensively plagiarized from Bullinger.
The library also offers some articles by Anthony Buzzard, who is a favorite of anti-Trinitarians like Schneider and other ex-Way leaders. The other two, Juan Baixeras and John Bland, are also included because they are anti-Trinitarian.
Because Bibelcenter is Wierwillite in content, readers can find evaluations of, and answers to, many of Schneider’s assertions and teachings in books and web sites which evaluate The Way International, such as www.abouttheway.org .
Dr. John Juedes, 2011