The Way International
* In a previous publication of this article we commented in error that "Joel MacCollam" (mentioned below) had himself been a recruit in The Way. He wrote an excellent expose of the movement but was never part of it himself. KM
Victor Paul Wierwille, the founder of "The Way International" was raised in a strict fundamentalist atmosphere, even attending the University of Chicago Divinity School and Princeton Seminary. He later decided to burn his theological library and set out on his own independent path to discover the meaning of scripture.
Wierwille also claims to have had an encounter with God in which an audible voice told him that he would teach Wierwille the word as it has not been known since the first century.
Wierwille went on to formulate the "Power for Abundant Living Course" and then the WOW (Word over the World) program and began attracting followers.
HOW DO PEOPLE GET DRAWN INTO THE WAY?
"Way" followers are usually found on college campuses. They attempt to establish a strong personal contact between themselves and potential converts. "Way" followers appear as strongly visible "Christians" really living their faith. This "witnessing and undershepherding" training allows them to give the appearance of genuine friendship. Soon, the recruit is drawn into the communal lifestyle of "The Way".
THE ORGANIZATION OF "THE WAY"
"The Way" organization is likened to a tree.
TRUNK International Headquarters, Ohio.
ROOTS The Board of Directors.
LIMB The State Organization.
BRANCHES City-wide or regional ministries.
TWIG The local fellowship in home or campus.
LEAF Each "Way" believer.
It is at this "Twig" level, that the recruit finds himself. Life in the "Twig" level is described in a book called "The Way of Victor Paul Wierwille" by Joel MacCollam describes that life in "The Way" as exercise, going to work and fellowship.
The lifestyle featured a high-starch, low-protein diet, and only four hours of sleep a night. Physical and mental exhaustion comes quickly, and at this point, the recruit is bombarded with the teachings of the group. He reports that after about a month, the recruit believes whatever he is told.
The fear of Satan is emphasized strongly during this indoctrination. "Way" followers become so deathly afraid of the devil that they are drawn more strongly into their "place of safety", the "Way" meetings.
Compare this attitude with that of true Christians found in 2 Timothy 1:7,
"God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and love and a sound mind."
DOCTRINES OF "THE WAY"
TEACHINGS ON JESUS CHRIST
In a quote from "Time" magazine of September 6th, 1971, page 54, Wierwille is reported as saying, "You show me one place in the Bible where it says He (Jesus) is God...I don't want your rapping, your doubletalk, your tripletalk; all I want is scripture."
Here then, are some scriptures teaching Jesus is God.
The Father calls Jesus God (Hebrews 1:8). Prophecy calls Jesus God (Isaiah 9:6). Disciples call Jesus God (John 20:28,29). Acts 20:28 says that God purchased the Church with His own Blood. Yes, Jesus is truly God, and scripture bears this out.
Wierwille compounds his error in "The Word's Way" page 26, where he states, "Jesus Christ's existence began when He was conceived by God's creating the soul-life of Jesus in Mary."
Did Jesus have a pre-existence according to scripture? Yes! Micah 52 prophecies of Jesus and says,
"His goings forth are from long ago, from the days of ETERNITY."
This is certainly before Mary's day. Jesus Himself states in John 17:5,
"And now, glorify thou Me together with Thyself, Father, with the glory which I had with Thee before the World was."
See also Colossians 1:13-17. Jesus Christ is eternal.
THE DISTORTION OF JOHN 1:1
John 1:1 reads, "In the beginning the Word was, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God."
Wierwille's interpretation is that Jesus was not "in the beginning" with God as part of the Godhead. Instead, the Word was pre-existent with the father only in his foreknowledge. "When Jesus was born, he came into existence...Foreknowledge became a reality." ("Jesus Christ is Not God", pages 119, 120.)
As with other cult leaders, Wierwille has taken bible translation unto himself and redone John 1:1 as follows
"In the beginning (before the creation) God was the Word, and the revealed Word was in God's foreknowledge."
Wierwille would have done better to heed the warning in Proverbs 30:5,6, before adding all his extra words to God's.
"Every word of God is tested; He is a shield EXAMINING to those who take refuge in Him. DO NOT ADD TO HIS WORDS lest He reprove you and you be proved a liar."
On page 84 of "Jesus is not God", Wierwille further reduces Jesus to a "creature". No wonder 2 Corinthians 11:4 warns us of those who would come preaching "another Jesus and another gospel, with a different spirit."
Remember, if you have the right Jesus Christ you are right for all eternity, but if you have the wrong Jesus Christ, you are wrong for all eternity!
"SPEAKING IN TONGUES" - WIERWILLE STYLE
Wierwille insists that speaking in tongues is a manisfestation of true worship. In the "New Dynamic Church", page 90, he states,
"To worship by the spirit we must operate a manifestation of the holy spirit. The manifestation of the spirit which produces true worship is speaking in tongues."
Nowhere does scripture suggest that speaking in tongues is necessary for salvation or true worship. Salvation is by grace alone (Ephesians 2:8,9), and worship must be "in spirit and truth" (John 4:23,24).
Speaking in tongues is scriptural providing the Holy Spirit does the infilling and gives the utterance (Acts 2:4). Wierwille, however, gives instructions in his "Power for Abundant Living" classes and teaches this method for "speaking in tongues". Quoting "The New Dynamic Church", pages 122, 123,
"I am ministering the holy spirit to you, teaching you exactly what to do...sit quietly and do exactly as I instruct...Open your mouth wide and breathe in...You are now going to manifest the spirit's presence...Move your lips, your throat, your tongue. Speak forth...the external manifestation is your proof in the sense world that you have Christ within."
Nowhere is this method taught in scripture, therefore do not fall victim to it. Remember that witchdoctors in Africa serving Satan can "speak in tongues". Counterfeits of the true gift of tongues abound. Tongues are not the test of a person's validity as a Christian.
A true relationship with the Jesus Christ of the Bible is not to be found in "The Way", with its counterfeit Christ, counterfeit salvation, and counterfeit tongues.
Acknowledge that Jesus is truly God, and invite Him into your life (John 1:12). Ask Him to forgive your error and help you to find the truth. Remember Jesus said,
"I am the Way, and the Truth, and the Life. No one comes to the Father, but through Me." Yes, find Jesus and you have truly found THE WAY!