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The Way International

This cult is unlike many others in that its theology closely resembles that of Apostolic/Oneness Pentecostalism. I personally know of a member from this cult named Robert Sowle who posts in one of the Newsgroups that I used to frequent. His theology is so close to that of Oneness Pentecostalism, I at first mistook him as being Oneness. Although Sowle denies being a part of the Way, it is obvious from his teachings that Sowle's theology is from the Way. Before we dive into the theological errors of this cult, let's get an introduction and a little background.

National Website: http://www.theway.org/

Founder: Victor Paul Wierwille, born 1917, and Deceased 1985. It is also notable that Wierwille had purchased a doctorate from a diploma mill called Pikes Peak Bible Seminary. Wierwille was also a conspiracy theorist with a militia mentality. Wierwille warned his followers about the Illuminati, a supposed world cartel of powerful individuals secretly planning to overthrow the US government. It has been reported that in response Wierwille constructed survival training camps and military strongholds. It has also been reported that students attending advanced Way International classes were required to learn how to shoot a gun.

Headquarters: Just outside of Knoxville in Ohio

Membership: Over one hundred thousand all over the world

Origins: According to Wierwille, in 1942 God spoke to him and told him that he would interpret the bible in a new way and that he would teach it according to the principles of the early church. However it was not until 1957 that Wierwille resigned his pastorate in the United Church of Christ. Wirwille went on to develop a radio program and began to preach his new doctrines. No significant growth occurred within this cult until the Jesus movement of the 1960ís. I was not alive at the time, so cannot speak from experience. Sadly many began to follow, and many will sadly join him in hell, unless they are reached by the gospel of Jesus Christ, and that will not happen, until they realize the devils stronghold on the lies taught in this cult.

Publications: Jesus Christ is not God, by Wierwille.

Comments: Before we dive into the core doctrines the reader must learn a few facts about the Way. It has been reported that this cult practices mind control to control its members. For example leadership within the Way International tells followers whom to date, whom to marry, when to separate or to divorce, how to spend their time and money, how to discipline their children, when to quit a job, etc..The Way International condemns everyone outside their organization as being demon possessed. In my experience Robert Sowle has on many occasions claimed that Satan controls me, and has stated that He is my father. He has said as much about nearly every Fundamentalist Christian that has confronted this man's hellfire teachings. But its also shocking that this man has said as much about other Christian cults who have confronted this mans doctrines. Profanity and name-calling are typical in the language of The Way followers and leaders. This personally is not surprising as Robert Sowle (whom I mentioned earlier) has on many occasions called me very defaming names. For example he has (without any factual evidence) at times claimed that I do some very sick things. This man has a very sick head, which he probably learned from his leaders. It has been reported that on May 4th, 1997 the then Way President Martindale set an example in a brief 15-minute talk to his followers where he cussed out a storm. Looking at this example its no wonder that Robert Sowle behaves the way he does.

Doctrinal issues


Below are some of the essential Christian doctrines that the Way denies.

The Trinity

The Way denies the Trinity and teaches a doctrine similar to the Arianism of the Jehovah's Witnesses. Way theology is called Dynamic Monarchianism (See Evangelical Dictionary of Theology, "Arianism," "Monarchianism"). They believe that there is only one God, but conclude that God is limited to one Person. They believe that only the Father is God, denying the deity of Christ and the third Person, the Holy Spirit. According to The Way, the Father, ONLY, is the one true God. He created all things including Jesus and "holy spirit."

Verses defending the Trinity

Matthew 28:18-20 New King James Version
And Jesus came and spoke to them, saying, "All authority has been given to Me in heaven and on earth.
Go therefore and make disciples of all the nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit, teaching them to observe all things that I have commanded you; and lo, I am with you always, even to the end of the age." Amen.

Genesis 1:26 New King James Version
Then God said, "Let Us make man in Our image, according to Our likeness; let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, over the birds of the air, and over the cattle, over all the earth and over every creeping thing that creeps on the earth."

2Cor. 13:14 New International Version
May the grace of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the love of God, and the fellowship of the Holy Spirit be with you all.

1 Peter 1:2 New King James Version
Elect according to the foreknowledge of God the Father, in sanctification of the Spirit, for obedience and sprinkling of the blood of Jesus Christ:
Grace to you and peace be multiplied.

The trinity doctrine is a difficult concept to understand, and although in this lifetime we many not fully comprehend the concept, God only expects us to apprehend it meaning to believe in it, does not necessarily mean that we will understand it fully.  Often do opponents of the Trinity claim that the doctrine is false because the word is never “explicitly” mentioned in the scriptures. Well there are dozens and dozens of theological words that are never explicitly mentioned in the scriptures, but whose concepts are taught. For example, the word “Bible” is never mentioned in the Bible, but few Way International followers would deny the meaning of the word.

The Deity of Jesus Christ

This cult believes that Jesus Christ has no preincarnata existence except in the mind of God the father. They believe that Jesus is the son of God but is not God himself. Wierville says then following in his book "Jesus Christ 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 assessts of God" (Jesus Christ is not God, p.5).

However an examination of scripture will show that Jesus is God and was with God the father. Wierville has not read the bible.

John 1:1-2 New King James Version
In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.He was in the beginning with God.

John 1:14 New King James Version
And the Word became flesh and dwelt among us, and we beheld His glory, the glory as of the only begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth.

John 8:58 King James Version
Jesus said unto them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Before Abraham was, I am.

John 14:9 New King James Version
Jesus said to him, "Have I been with you so long, and yet you have not known Me, Philip? He who has seen Me has seen the Father; so how can you say, “Show us the Father”?

Jesus in the above verses is proven to be With God in the beginning of time, and equal in essence with God himself. Go ahead and check it out in the Greek and you will see that the New King James Version is completely accurate in the above verses.

The Personhood of the Holy Spirit

The founder of this cult Paul Wierville denied the deity and personhood of the Holy Spirit. He argued that in some texts the term should be translated capitalized and in other verses with all small letters. He believed that Holy Spirit is another name for God the father. Like God the father has multiple names. The way International denies that the Holy Spirit comes into a man when he is saved, because they deny that the Holy Spirit is a person. They believe He is a power or a force. Kinda like the force in the Star Wars films.

Salvation by Grace through Faith

Wierwille separated faith from believing. In his view salvation does not involve repentance of sins. But only doing "the will of God" (the Bible Tells Me So, p. 18; Jesus Christ is not God, pp. 238-257). The Way also teaches that those that are saved cannot sin in his spirit. His body and soul can sin, but not his spirit-this can lead to sinful practices that are said to not affect the spirit of a person.

Some bible verses that indicate salvation by grace

Ephesians 2:8-9 New King James Version
For by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, lest anyone should boast.

Romans 3:21-25 New King James Version
But now the righteousness of God apart from the law is revealed, being witnessed by the Law and the Prophets, even the righteousness of God, through faith in Jesus Christ, to all and on all who believe. For there is no difference; for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God,being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, whom God set forth as a propitiation by His blood, through faith, to demonstrate His righteousness, because in His forbearance God had passed over the sins that were previously committed,

The way has many other false teachings like Soul Sleep, and they also believe that everyone born again will be able to speak in tongues. This seems contrary to what the bible teaches on the subject in 1 Cor 12-13.

The Way Claims that every true believer should speak in tongues. [Wierwille taught "tongues" by having his followers relax and inhale "holy Spirit" through "heavy breathing" which he claimed was a more accurate translation of "mighty rushing wind" in Acts 2:2 (Receiving the Holy Spirit Today, pp. 61-62).]

Perhaps you know of a friend that is in this cult. If this is you, then please send his or her name to me, and I will add him or her to my prayer list, so he or she can receive prayer.

There is obviously much more that can be said of this cult, and I hope that this brief bible message on the way will entice you to do some research.

Some websites on the Way International

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Way_International
http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Cults/way.htm
http://www.carm.org/list/way.htm

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