A brief profile on "The Way International" from a Christian perspective
Founder: Victor Paul Wierwille, born in 1917. Deceased.
Headquarters: Just outside of New Knoxville in Ohio
Membership: Over one-hundred-thousand all over the world.
Doctrines: Like many cult groups, the Way claims the Bible is the word of God; yet it denies the doctrine of Trinity, the deity of Jesus, the personhood and deity of the Holy Spirit, and salvation by grace. Regarding the Holy Spirit, Wierwille draws a distinction between the Holy Spirit and the holy spirit. The first is the same thing as the God the Father. The second is an emanation or power from God. Jesus was not born of a virgin. The dead are "unconscious" after death; that is, they don't exist until they are brought back to life in at the judgment. They also deny the efficacious nature of the atonement.
The Way also teaches that Jesus was raised on Saturday and that there were four people crucified with Him - not two. Additionally, only true believers who lived after Pentecost will be saved. The dead are not conscious and will be raised for judgment. Speaking in tongues is taught as a mandatory practice and part of salvation to be cultivated by the members daily.
Also, the Way teaches that once a person is saved, he 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.
Origins: According to Wierwille, in 1942 God audibly 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. But it wasn't until 1957 that Wierwille resigned his pastorate in the United Church of Christ.
He developed a radio program and began to preach his new doctrines fervently. Many began to follow. Of course, Wierwille's aberrant theology is taught.
Publications: Jesus Christ is not God by V.P. Wierwille.
Comments: The Way International uses many of the same arguments as the Jehovah's Witnesses regarding the Trinity and the deity of Jesus. The Way teaches that God cannot die, therefore Jesus was not God in flesh. They fail to understand that the Word which was God and with God had always existed (John 1:1) and became flesh (John 1:14). This incarnation of the Word is Jesus. Jesus had Two Natures. He was both God and man. As a man, he could die; yet as God, He continued on.
The people in The Way International need to be prayed for and given the same consideration and politeness anyone lost in deception should receive.