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When 'The Way' is not the way

Victor P. Wierwille, died in 1985 after nearly 40 plus years of teaching a different Christianity with a completely different Jesus than Scripture. The Way continues to offer his wrong and heretical teachings. Many have been influenced Wierwille’s writings, he is the main influence on many who deny the biblical identity of Christ. We also find ‘the Way’ trying to renew themselves through the web, that is why we have produced this article.

Under Wiewille they supposedly had 100,000 members at their height of popularity. Once abundantly found in all 50 states and in over 45 foreign countries. They are actively and continually recruiting even though their numbers have diminished. Today’s estimates are at most 20,000 however most see only 2,000 members left.

The year is 1942, at this time Wierwille is discouraged in his ministry, not seeing results. On page 178 of the publication ‘The Way: Living In Love’, Wierwille states, “God spoke to me audibly, just like I am talking to you now. 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 problem with this statement is not that he may have heard God audibly, but what was said to him by whom he called God. That God is going to use him to correct everyone since the first century! Which apparently means the Bible itself is wrong, and has been interpreted by everyone wrongly. The audacity of this claim is liken to William Branham who spoke of himself as the 7 th angel, the last messenger/ prophet to the church. Wierwille at nearly the same time period is said to have the most correct theology since the death of the apostles. There are others today that also say similar boastings and should be avoided.

His revelation caused division and went against the Word, which God had written and preserved for all generations. God tells us all to study to show ourselves approved, RIGHTLY, (not wrongly) dividing the Word of Truth.

Like so many before him (and after) Wierwille considered himself a modern apostle chosen by God to bring new light and have the bible learned accurately. Wierville instead learned from other men, and he had a problem in revealing the sources he ‘borrowed from and ‘used.’ (One writer states, fully half of Receiving the Holy Spirit Today is plagiarized.)

While being a member within “the Way” one is not allowed to read literature critical of The Way, they are told not to read teachings by any religious group except ‘The Way.’ They are not to distribute the Bible without The Way’s teaching, for it will mislead people. You are to have complete allegiance and obedience, which is nearly identical to the Jehovah Witnesses view.

If one appears to be in error but cannot be questioned, that is the marking of a cult. Everyone should be able to biblically explain challenges to their beliefs instead of mocking and putting one down for their questions.

‘The Way international’s (TWI) statement of beliefs at first look seems orthodox until you understand the meanings behind the words. Example: “We believe in one God, the Creator of the heavens and earth; in Jesus Christ, God’s only begotten Son, our lord and savior, whom God raised from the dead; and we believe in the workings of the Holy Spirit.”

They teach Jesus is not Gods Son, Lord or savior as defined in the biblical sense held throughout history. (quotes will be shown as we continue.

He redefined the meanings of words in Scripture which have misled many into his private interpretation’s.

Wierwille earn a Master of Theology degree from Princeton Theological Seminary which is one of the more liberal in the country. He also received a degree from a diploma mill. He pastored a United Methodist Church of Christ in Van Wert, Ohio called Evangelical and Reformed Church. He resigned from his pastorate in 1957 before he was dismissed. He then began to promote his doctrine over the radio and established a following. From this time forward he began to develop his new teachings and built an empire. He had combined and gave new life to old and ancient heresies ( what he claimed God was teaching him). It does not matter where he found these or received them, they were false interpretations of the word that departed from Biblical Christianity.

Wierwille states the deity of Christ had "sprouted" during the apostolic age, not something that the apostles understood when Jesus was among them. "The truth of Jesus Christ the Son of God was deliberately forged into the doctrine of God the Son. Seeds of Jesus Christ as God were planted and sprouted during the lifetime of Paul, continued growing during Timothy's lifetime and flourished shortly thereafter, reaching full bloom for all future creeds by 325 AD" (Victor Paul Wierwille, Forgers of the Word, 1983)

" The doctrine that Jesus Christ the Son of God was God the son was decreed by worldly and ecclesiastical powers. Men were forced to accept it at the point of the sword or else, Thus, the error of the trinity was propounded to the end that ultimately people believed it to be the truth. Thus Christianity became in essence like Babylonian heathenism, with only a veneer of Christian names." (Wierwille, Forgers of the Word, 1983)

“Clearly, historians of church dogma and systematic theologians agree that the idea of a Christian trinity was not a part of the first century church. The twelve apostles never subscribed to it or received revelation about it. So how then did a trinitarian doctrine come about? It gradually evolved and gained momentum in late first, second and third centuries as pagans, who had converted to Christianity, brought to Christianity some of their pagan beliefs and practices." (Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille, Jesus Christ is Not God)

‘The Way’s’ position that the deity of Christ (i.e. also the trinity) was a late invention of apostate Christianity which was never taught during the first three centuries of church history (Jesus Christ is Not God, p. 12). Is not true! Wierwille's claim that the Trinity is from pagan origins that the doctrine of the Trinity was not fully established until 381 A.D. at the Council of Constantinople. Even saying the few verses which trinitarians refer to in support of their position were actually non-existent prior to this Council. All his statements (which came from George Lamsa) are completely untrue, as history proves otherwise.

For one to accept this they must throw out all of the New Testament written by the apostles as well as purposely ignore early church pastors writings. How can so many pastors teach on Christ deity and the Trinity hundreds of years before Niacea council. Polycarp said to be a disciple of John lived between 69-155 A.D. “Now may the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, and the eternal High Priest Himself, the God Jesus Christ, build you up in the faith” (The Epistle of Polycarp to the Church at Philippi 90 A.D).

Justin Martyr lived between 110-166 A.D. (in 140 AD). “For Christ is King, and Priest, and God and Lord” (Dialogue With Trypho, 34). “He preexisted as the Son of the Creator of things, being God” (Dialogue With Trypho, 48).

Ignatius died about 110 A.D. He was known to be a disciple of the Apostle John, wrote, “for the Word became flesh and dwelt among us without sin.” “God Himself appearing in the form of a man, for the renewal of eternal life” (The Epistle of Ignatius to the Ephesians 4:13).

Irenaeus (A.D. 115-190), was discipled under Polcarp, makes concise reference in his ‘Against Heresies’, he calls Christ Jesus 'Lord and God.' But the Son, eternally co-existing with the Father, from of old, yea, from the beginning...” (Against Heresies , Book 2, ch. 30, section 9).

Hippolytus: “For Christ is the God over all” ( Refutation of All Heresies 10.34).These and so may more all refute Wierwille’s claims of Church history. The fact is, many did not live near each other and taught the same from the Scripture. Athanasius (290-370 A.D) on God’s nature, “United without confusion, distinguished without separation. Indivisible and without degrees” (Sermon on Luke 10:22). Like or not, it was taught, except for the few who were called heretics, those who made division from the actual teachings in the New Testament.

If one examines carefully the writings of the early Church writers their language and theology reflect their understanding of the Scripture; that God’s nature is profoundly Triune and has not changed.

The Way International likes to say that Jesus is the Son of God, but not God the Son, or more accurately God who is the Son.

Acts 9:20 “Immediately he preached the Christ in the synagogues, that He is the Son of God.” Paul tells us that He alone is the son of God, not a son. The bible defines what this actually means, and it has nothing to do with a created offspring.

The Son of God who is Jesus, is also the creator, but he is not the father. The Bible itself defines what the Son of God means in the Jewish culture. In Jn.5:18, the Jews wanted to kill him because he said God was his Father, making himself equal with God (in nature.) “The Jews answered by our law He ought to die, because He made himself the Son of God.”(Jn.19:7) Jesus defined his claim of being the Son of God as being equal with God. The phrase “Son of” is used among the ancients to refer to one who has the same nature (or characteristics) as the title it is attached to. After Jesus gives many examples of the Father and son unity he concludes in v.23 ‘all should honor the Son just as they honor the Father. He who does not honor the Son does not honor the Father who sent Him.”

In Jn.10:30 Jesus’ explained “I and my Father are one.” In V.33 the Jews pick up stones because they understood this as blasphemy in v.36 Jesus interprets what He meant by saying, “because I said, I am the Son of God ” They say he blasphemed.

What exactly did Wierwille teach that is contrary to Scripture? Nearly everything that is core to knowing Jesus and salvation

We begin by Evaluating Victor P. Wierwille teachings by the Bible

Let me propose to those who learn from him this question. Is the Jesus that V.P. Wierwille preached the Jesus of bible? If it is not, then how can one receive salvation?

"We, as well as Jesus Christ, were with God in His foreknowledge, but not in existence, before the world began. Neither did Jesus Christ" (Jesus is not God pp. 31-32).

Wierwille writes “that Jesus did not exist except in the mind of God before conception in Mary's womb, (which biblically means his foreknowledge) "Jesus Christ the Son of God, was made by God" (Ibid, pp. 103-104). If one were to qualify the statement being made as being human, I would agree, but not in his Spirit which is pre-existent and everlasting.

The bible speaks of his preexistence in numerous places. Micah 5:2 which says he who comes from Bethlehem was from everlasting who became man. “ But thou, Bethlehem Ephratah, though thou be little among the thousands of Judah, yet out of thee shall he come forth unto me that is to be ruler (shepherd) in Israel; whose goings forth have been from of old, from everlasting.”

George Lamsa’s Aramaic interpretation which influenced Wierwille says, " whose goings forth have been predicted from of old, from everlasting." This makes no sense. Jesus wasn't predicted from eternity; Scripture says he existed from eternity and was predicted in the scripture! In Jn.17 Jesus states in prayer “Father, glorify thou me with thine own self with the glory which I had with thee before the world was."

According to the Bible, Gen.1 tells us the first thing created in the universe was the heavens and the earth, not the son (as the JW’s believe). So if he had glory with the father before the world was, (a glory which we are told the Father will not give to another) he preexisted - as God- and with God exactly as Jn.1:1 states. For only God existed at that time.

Therefore The son was NOT a creature. He became a creature through the virgin birth by taking on human flesh to house his Spirit that is God which already pre-existed. This what has been known as the incarnation for nearly 2,000 years.

Isa. 7:14 "Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel.” "and they shall call His name Immanuel," which is translated, "God with us." This happened when he was born as spoken in Matthew 1:23.

The Bible tells us to have faith in God alone, not in man. Jesus said in Mark 11:22: "Have faith in God. As it is said that “He is the author and finisher of our faith.” (Heb.12:2). He also said, “you believe in God, believe also in Me.”(Jn. 14:1) All who honor the Father are to honor (equally) the Son (Jn.5:23). In fact One cannot have the father without the Son.

Like the Jehovah Witnesses he said, “Trinitarianism then was confirmed at Nicaea in 325 by Church bishops out of political expediency" (Dr. Victor Paul Wierwille, Leader of The Way International, Jesus Christ is Not God, p. 25-26)

This is a bold face lie as history, manuscripts of church pastors and writers refute this.

The gospel is changed

If one thinks they get saved from his teaching then they can be saved by any cult teaching, like JW’s that vehemently deny whom Jesus is as well. But what Wierwille says is not inconsequential, his denials are crucial to one receiving eternal life.

Who is the savior according to the Bible and God?

1 John 4:14 states, “The Father sent the Son as Savior of the world.” Two persons are described acting in unity and purpose having different functions. The Bible says the Son was sent from heaven, not from earth. Jesus specifically said I have come down from heaven (Jn.6:38,42)

What is also clear is that the Old Testament states that God alone is Savoir (Isa.41:3,11; 49:26, Hos.13:4. Isa.43:3). “For I am the LORD your God, the Holy One of Israel, your Savior” (Isa.43:11). “I, even I, am the LORD, and besides Me there is no Savior ” (Isa.45:17). “ But Israel shall be saved by the LORD with an everlasting salvation” (Isa. 45:22). Look to Me, and be saved, all you ends of the earth! For I am God, and there is no other ” (Isa.19:20). “And he shall send them a Savior.” We find in Isa.63:8-9 God speaking, “So he (God) became their Savior. In all their affliction He was afflicted; and the messenger of his presence saved them.” When was God afflicted? Isa.53:7 says “He was oppressed and He was afflicted, yet He opened not His mouth; he was led as a lamb to the slaughter” This explains to us that God became a man and suffered for our sins.

The He in Isa. 63 according to 1 Jn.4:14 is the Son, therefore the Son is God the Savior since God says ‘He alone is the Savior.’ In Titus 2:13 Jesus is called our great God and Savior.”

On these scriptures alone Wierwille’s Jesus collapses, for he denied all these verses. But there is more, 1 Pt.1:1 “to those who have obtained like precious faith with us by the righteousness ofour Godand savior Jesus Christ.” Jude “To God our Savior.”(Jude 1:25) “The Lord Jesus Christ our Savior” (Titus 1:4, 2:10, 3:6; 2 Tim.1:10)

According to Time magazine, Wierwille challenged Christians, “You show me one place in the Bible where it says he Jesus is God…. I don’t want your rapping, your double-talk, your triple-talk; all I want is Scripture.” (September 6, 1971, p. 54).

But to this biblical atheist scripture was never enough. How many scriptures does one need to prove to someone who is adamant set in stoner in denying the literal Word of God?

Col. 2:9 tells us exactly what Jesus is, “For in him dwelleth allthe fulness of the Godhead bodily.”  The word for Godhead in Greek is Theotes, meaning deity. It is saying that within Jesus is all the completeness of Deity. As it stated earlier in this epistle “It pleased the Father that in Him should dwell all the fullness(Col.1:19) (Greek- pleroma). Meaning, the totality of the Divine powers and attributes of God are filled up in Jesus. “God was in Christ” (2 Cor.5:19). All that makes God who He is, is found in Jesus. Yet we also read he set aside using his deity independently and only did what the Father showed him to do. Why? Because he came as a servant.

The New Testament texts

New Testament being written in Aramaic was George Lamsa’s argument which Wierwille adhered to, another virulent anti-trinitarian William Branham the same. Branham endorsed and also promoted Dr. George Lamsa and his flawed concept of Aramaic primacy of the Bible. Lamsa said in his book, "New Testament Origin," states, “Not a word of the Scriptures was originally written in Greek ... the Scriptures were written in Aramaic.”

If one knows even a modicum of Judaism and its culture they would know that’s wrong, as the Jews read from the Scripture exclusively in Hebrew in both the synagogue’s and the temple. The Old Testament was ALL written in Hebrew with the exception of parts of the Book of Daniel. Which was not written in the Land of Israel, but in Babylon. Aramaic became another language of the Jews when they were in captivity in Babylon.

Wierwille also held the view that the Peshitta was the oldest manuscript of the New Testament. (Power for Abundant Living, 127-128). In 1957, he began his association with Aramaic Bible scholar George M. Lamsa.

Lamsa finished his translation of the Lamsa Bible in Wierwille's home (The Aramaic-English New Testament. American Christian Press. 1988. P.7). Lamsa and Wierwille produced the first American Aramaic grammar in 1960.

The Godhead they held was a Unitarian view, this had an influence on william Branham  Both men, Wierwille and Branham  promoted Lamsa’s translation of the Bible. (This is the teaching of nearly all the cults).

Branham mentions he had “a luncheon with Dr. Wer--Weirwill (I just can't get that right.), and his brothers, and some more, a-a doctor, dentist, and some group that we had lunch together just a few moments ago. (The impersonation of Christianity 57-0127A)

In April, 1960 Branham stated “I had the privilege of meeting Dr. Lamsa, today, the translator of the Lamsa translation of the Bible.”.. I certainly can prescribe to his translation , that he is “ a real true Christian believer….I don't know as I've ever met any more spiritual man than Dr. Lamsa. “ (60-0401E Queen of Sheba. TULSA, OK). Branham called Lamsa “The great Doctor Lamsa, who translated the Bible from the Aramaic unto English.” (60-0417M Go Tell Jefferson IN).

Branham fully endorsed Lamsa, a man who denied Christ’s deity.

The Way’s founder, Victor Paul Wierwille mentor was George Lamsa, who asserted that the Peshitta contained the original text of the entire New Testament and was produced in the first century before any other Syriac or Greek version. (New Testament Origin, 84-85)

History proves the earliest versions of the New Testament (Peshitta) in Aramaic date to the 5th century. They exclude the Second Letter of Peter, the Second and Third Letters of John, the Letter of Jude, and the Revelation of Christ to John. Which makes it problematic in both dating and content.

No one is able to produce any Aramaic manuscripts older than the Greek texts of the New Testament. Lamsa never produced the earlier Aramaic manuscripts that he claimed to use to translate from. Why? Because there are no Aramaic documents only early Greek documents. In fact how did he translate the Aramaic to English for 2 Peter, 2nd and 3rd John, Jude, and the Revelation of Christ to John if it was not in Aramaic. Hmmm? Lamsa never produced these ancient Aramaic texts he copied from, he couldn’t; they were not in existence!

Besides, it is illogical to think that Greeks would have to learn a whole new language to read the New Testament as only the Jews spoke Aramaic and Hebrew. Would Paul who had the most writings in the New Testament write in Aramaic to the Gentiles in Galatia, to the Romans, to those in Corinth? They didn’t know how to speak or read Aramaic. It was Greek that was the universal language of the day (specifically Koine Greek of the common people). The Jews spoke Greek as well.

Wierwille exclusively and selectively used the King James Version contrary to his view of the primacy of the Peshitta version which did not contain a number of books, 2 Peter, 2 John, 3 John, Jude and Revelation.

It is known that Lamsa was a favorite ‘go to’ of the anti-trinitarian cults, including Iglesia ni Cristo, the largest. Since this Bible does not contain the deity of Christ it has been a favorite staple of the cults, along with Mofatt’s translation.

Jesus movement that began in the late 60's

Wierwille's influence was seen in the early days of the Jesus movement, as he visited San Francisco. A large ranch house in Novato (the Big House) had four hippie couples living together with their children in the later Sixties. Among them were Lonnie and Connie Frisbee who crashed on their living room floor before ending up at Calvary Chapel. Wierwille went to their 'House of Acts' in San Francisco in 1968.

Ted Wise, known as one of the first converts of the Jesus People Movement, questioned him about his belief in Christ. "You know, it says in I John you test the spirits. We usually ask everybody here to confess the Lord Jesus Christ, or they freak out and they can’t. So where do you stand on this?"

Heefner says, "And that pleased Wierwille," "he liked that up-frontness. And he gave his witness. So by the time he was through with two or three minutes of talking, we said, ‘Okay, fella, we believe you.’” Wierwille passed the test!

We are told Wierwille gave Ted Wise, the Heefners, Doops along with Lonnie and Connie Frisbee, and several others their understanding of the Holy Spirit. Wierwille “worked miracles, cast out demons--which he did while teaching them about the Holy Spirit, as well as teaching them how to speak tongues, all in one night. The Heefners and Doops joined Wierwille and helped set up his national organization.” (The Cult That Snapped: A Journey Into the Way International, Karl Kahler, 1999, p. 60-61)

That’s how convinced they were of Wierwille’s teachings. Lonnie and Connie Frisbee began taking Wierwille's PFAL classes with the others, they discontinued them when he left to join Calvary Chapel the next year. This may explain the lack of Frisbee's mention of Christ being deity in his sermons, which definitely affects the gospel message. The Way continued its inreach to those of the Jesus movement.

p.2 When the way is not the way -Interpretations of the Way


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