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The Alpha Course

Alpha Roots Chart Data Table
Biography for Victor Paul Wierwille

by Dusty Peterson & Elizabeth McDonald

PLEASE NOTE
The following is merely a limited collection of useful but essentially random facts on the subject in question.
This document is not intended to be taken as an in-depth, or exhaustive, or definitive treatment.

 

 

Wierwille's 'The Way International'

"The Way International (also known as the Way Bible Research Institute), with headquarters in New Knoxville, Ohio, was officially founded in 1957 by Victor Paul Wierwille (1916-1985). ... Though exposed to the Bible, Wierwille was a man who had rejected God's truth in utter rebellion. Putting the Bible aside, Wierwille exercised very little discernment in learning from others, readily accepting teachings from itinerant mystics, Christian Scientists, and spiritists.

"Wierwille founded what would become The Way after receiving (in 1942) what he claimed was a message from God: "He spoke to me audibly, just like I am talking to you now," Wierwille explained in a Way biography -- "He said he would teach me the Word as it had not been known since the first century, if I would teach it to others" (The Way: Living in Love, p. 178). In some ways, Wierwille's beliefs were not that unique. Nor did they come directly from God's lips. Much evidence exists that Wierwille borrowed theories from George Lamsa
(The Quarterly Journal, Personal Freedom Outreach, Vol. 9, No. 1, 1989, p. 1), and plagiarized portions of his foundational books from the writings of others such as E.W. Bullinger and E.W. Kenyon (see: The Integrity and Accuracy of The Way's Word, and Will the Real Author Please Stand Up?). ...

"One of the most damaging aspects of The Way is the ability of its leadership to control many of the thoughts and actions of its followers, using tactics of mind control. This is not strictly speaking "brainwashing" (which uses physical abuse), but is the use of emotionally manipulative tactics to direct a person's attitudes and behavior. The Way also routinely condemns everyone outside the organization of being "possessed by devil spirits". ... 

"Anyone who closely views the lives of Way members is amazed and shocked by how every aspect of a follower's life is controlled. Way members are also taught that the President of The Way is "The Man of God" and that they must give allegiance to and obey him in all things, no matter how insignificant, and even if it appears that he is in error. Way members are also told to obey local leadership, especially the "clergy" and "Way Corps" who have graduated from The Way's leadership program. Leadership tells followers whom to date, whom to marry (and not marry), when to separate or divorce, how to spend their time and money, when to sell their house, where to live, when to change jobs, how to discipline their children -- the list goes on and on. ...

"Many of the core beliefs (anti-Semitic) that Wierwille taught should disturb true Christians -- such as Jesus Christ is not God; today's Jews are actually an impostor tribe from Siberia; the Jewish Holocaust is a myth; and that much of the Gospel doesn't have any real meaning today. ... Below are the highlights of what The Way International believes concerning their source of authority, the Trinity, Jesus Christ, the Holy Spirit, salvation, giving, spiritual gifts, heaven and hell, laws, and God's dispensations:

Source of Authority

The Way claims the Bible as their final authority, but in practice, Wierwille's interpretations of the Bible are seen as the true, final authority -- Wierwille stated that he produced the only "pure and correct" interpretation of the Bible since the first century. Wierwille claimed to have received special revelation from God, but that the "Bible as a whole is not relevant to all people of all times." He rejected the Old Testament and the Gospels as unnecessary [HJB].  The Way also teaches that the Bible is not the Word of God, but only contains the word of God. ...

Trinity

The Way denies the Trinity doctrine and teaches a doctrine of God similar to the Arianism of the Jehovah's Witnesses. ... According the The Way, the Father, ONLY, is the one true God. He created all things including Jesus and "holy spirit".

Jesus Christ

Wierwille believed that Jesus Christ had no preincarnate existence except in the mind of God the Father. The Way teaches that Jesus is not God, but a perfect human who came into existence when the Father created sinless sperm and implanted it in Mary. Thus, The Way denies the deity of Christ, making the distinction that "Jesus Christ is not God [that is, God Himself], but [merely] the Son of God. They are not 'co-eternal, without beginning or end, and co-equal.' Jesus Christ was not literally with God in the beginning; neither does he have all the assets of God" (Jesus Christ is Not God, p. 5). To support this, they change the meaning of common Greek words in John 1:1 -- it is claimed that the phrase "the Word was with God" actually means "Jesus Christ was with God in His foreknowledge," but that Jesus was not co-eternal with God the Father. The Way claims that "if Jesus Christ is God ... we have not yet been redeemed" [HJB].

Holy Spirit

Wierwille denied the deity and personality of the Holy Spirit. To circumvent obvious Biblical references supporting the deity of the Holy Spirit, The Way arbitrarily provides two different meanings to the term Holy Spirit (pneuma hagion) in the New Testament. Wierwille argued that in some texts the term should be translated capitalized and in other verses with all small letters. According to Wierwille, the term Holy Spirit (capitalized) is another name for God the Father (just like Bob is another name for Robert). The term "holy spirit" (small letters) refers to an impersonal force that is given by the Father (Holy Spirit) to empower His believers. Thus, holy spirit is the gift (inanimate force) and Holy Spirit (God the Father) is the giver (Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, pp. 1-5). To support his position, Wierwille contends that the deity of Christ was a late invention of apostate Christianity and was never taught during the first three centuries of church history (Jesus Christ is Not God, p. 12). ...

Salvation

Rather than emphasizing salvation through faith in Christ, Wierwille artificially separated "faith" from "believing." He taught a very mechanical view of faith in Christ -- a mere intellectual or mental assent to Biblical, historical facts. He also redefined repentance as just confession and belief. Thus, salvation does not involve repentance of sins, but only doing "the will of God" (The Bible Tells Me So, p. 18; Jesus Christ Is God, pp. 238-257).

Laws (Word-Faith beliefs)

The Way teaches that God established "immutable laws" which govern human situations, such as the law of believing (whatever one believes will happen to one, whether bad or good - i.e., positive/negative confession), the law of prosperity, ... what one does, believes, or confesses (affirms) causes either good or bad to come to him or her, ...

Administrations

Wierwille adapted E.W. Bullinger's ultra-dispensationalism. Dispensationalism divides history into seven administrations (dispensations). Ultra-dispensationalism teaches that water baptism should no longer be practiced and that only the seven "church epistles" by the Apostle Paul are meant for Christians today, thereby placing little stock in the other 59 books of the Bible" [http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/way.htm].

 

 

 

 

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Dusty Peterson & Elizabeth McDonald     https://www.bayith.org     bayith@blueyonder.co.uk