ALBERT CLIFFE, MEDIUM AND PSYCHIC
V. P. Wierwille honored and learned from Albert Cliffe. Wierwille compliments Cliffe in the "About the Author" section in most of his books, which was printed either as a separate section before the Introduction, or on the book flap.
"About the Author" stated that Wierwille learned from and worked with Cliffe and others, who "were guests of Dr. Wierwille's local congregation." Wierwille wrote in The Twenti-fifth Anniversary Souvenir Booklet, p. 13,
"God sent wonderful men to us in Van Wert, so that they could share with me and teach me and help me to understand The Word with the enlightenment they had. These men were stepping stones in my quest and included persons such as... Albert Cliffe..."
Wierwille took many of his teachings from Cliffe and his books Let Go and Let God- Steps in Victorious Living (LGLG) and Lessons in Successful Living (LSL). Cliffe uses terms and concepts followers of Wierwille would relate to, such as "positive and negative faith," "perfect faith believing," "the ministry of healing," "tithing and the law of prosperity," "sowing and reaping," "the law of cause and effect," "your enemy- fear," "Faith- how to get it.""abundant living" and making "mental images" of things you want to produce by believing (many of these are chapter titles in Lessons in Successful Living).
But even a cursory reading of Cliffe's books reveals some shockingly unbiblical teachings and practices.
For example, Cliffe proudly claims to be a medium and psychic. The Way has always opposed mediums (sometimes called spiritualists or channelers). The "Burn the Chaff Weekend" brochure (March 16, 1985) noted that followers of The Way International "brought their books dealing with spiritualism... and burned them."
Apparently, they never burned Wierwille's copies of Cliffe's books, though they should have done so.
Cliffe freely admitted he was a medium, "Many of the subjects I have given in my Bible class have been dictated to me by my loved ones long since passed on." He calls this his "psychic work." While he admits that some mediums only tune in to people's subconscious minds, he received genuine "messages" from "the spirit world." (LGLG p. 157).
Cliffe notes that "Through the whole of my life I have had many psychic experiences which have afforded me the opportunity to look into that other world beyond the veil" (LGLG p. 157). Cliffe speaks of seeing people's "aura," a common occultic practice.
Cliffe claims that at death "You will go to that plane of thought which you have prepared for yourself, and the more you learn God's laws, the more you progress.... Our loved ones in this realm are sent to help us along the path," (LGLG pp. 158, 159). He says "there is no death," (LGLG p. 155), just passing to another plane where "divine beings are waiting on the other side to receive" them (LGLG p. 160).
When Cliffe speaks of God, he usually uses Christian terminology. However, his books make it clear that he actually has a "New Thought," or Christian Science idea of an impersonal God which is radically different from the Biblical view. Cliffe speaks of God as "Mind," or "Divine Mind" (which every person has). He says that "God is the name we give to that unchangeable principle at the source of all existence.... the Father principle" (LSL p. 25).
Cliffe also taught that people are united with the impersonal Father principle, which Cliffe called "your God power," and "the power of the Man inside you, the Christ within" and "fellowship with the principle of life" (LGLG p. 131, 127, 133).
Why would Wierwille accept and promote a medium and "New Thought" teacher such as Cliffe? What does this tell us?
First, it shows that Wierwille had very little Biblical discernment. He apparently did not recognize false teaching when he heard it, and soaked it up instead.
Second, Wierwille believed and began to promote false teachings. He taught a version of Cliffe's impersonal God ideas. When Wierwille used the term "Christ in you," he also meant an impersonal power rather than the person Jesus Christ. When the New Testament refers to Christ in you, or abiding in Christ, it pictures a relationship with Jesus Christ the Lord, not an impersonal power one can use.
Wierwille also taught "laws" like Cliffe did, such as the "law of believing" and the "law of tithing." Since Cliffe believed in an impersonal God, his "laws" had nothing to do with a relationship with a personal God. In the same way, Wierwille's ideas of "laws" were also basically a-theistic, in that they operate completely without God. As Wierwille wrote, the laws "work for saint and sinner alike." They are very man-centered as people learn to manipulate the laws"and God has nothing to do with it
Wierwille's lack of Biblical understanding and discernment opened the door to false teaching and practice in The Way Ministry, and led to damaging consequences.
Dr. John Juedes, 2007
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