We received a letter recently asking some very
good questions about who we are and what we are doing. We wanted to share
our answers with our readers, in case someone else had the same concerns.
The writer of the letter states, "I've heard bits and pieces about a Christian group called 'The Way,' which supposedly is a 'Jesus People'-like movement of Christians who reject materialism and live communally. Would you happen to be the same group?
"I may have met a few such people. At the college I attend in Chicago, I ran into a group of plainly dressed young men who identified themselves as 'traveling pilgrims' who kept the Sabbath, Holy Days, and other Old Testament laws; lived communally; and owned no homes, automobiles, or telephones (trusting Yahweh to provide for them as the need arose). They said they lived in rural communes but went from town to town evangelizing on the streets.
"Instead of 'Christianity,' they preferred to call their faith 'The Way.' (I happen to prefer that name also, if for no other reason than that 'Christianity' has so much evil associated with it.)
"Anyway, it became clear that while we agreed in most areas, I vehemently disagreed with some of their dogmatic beliefs: that Christians must not own any possessions like homes, computers or automobiles (you can use someone else's, but you can't have your own), and that we absolutely must not work for 'worldly' companies, which is 'serving two masters.' ...
"I wondered if you are connected to the same group or movement."
NOT THE SAME GROUP
No, we are not in any way related to the group mentioned in this letter. In fact, I hadn't even heard about this movement until fairly recently, when I was in a Christian book store, and picked up one of those "know your cult" books, and was startled to see "The Way" discussed. That was the first I had heard about this group.
We selected the name, "The WAY," in a different fashion. A few of us had been ostracized and cast out from a Worldwide Church of God (WCG) look-alike church, primarily because we were making people uncomfortable by opening our Bibles and trying to discuss what the Bible says, even if it wasn't what their leader at headquarters taught. We didn't mind asking tough questions. That will get you only so far. In our case, it got us thrown out!
As more of our friends found themselves "de-churched" for much the same reason, we began a home fellowship group. It became apparent to me over time that God wanted me to begin publishing articles discussing what we had discovered in our Bibles. That realization became this newsletter. Our purpose has been to maintain a high level of professionalism and sincere truth-seeking in our writings, to help keep our readers focused on their Father and His textbook for us, the Bible.
It became evident to us that God's true religion was actually a Way of life, rather than paying someone else to "do a Work." The Bible speaks repeatedly about living this Way, while the corporate church pastors spoke almost exclusively of "doing the Work," meaning preaching on radio and TV stations and publishing booklets and magazines. While that is an important thing to do, it is not the totality of what God called us to do.
We found a scripture that seems to refute the idea that our sole purpose in being called was to "back up" one man doing all the work while all we did was pay, pray, stay, obey, etc. That scripture is this: "Then they asked him, 'What must we do to do the works God requires?' Jesus answered, 'The work of God is this: to believe in the one he has sent'" (John 6:28-29, NIV).
The Bible seemed to say that Christianity is a Way of life rather than a Work of proclaiming a United Europe. We discovered that Matthew 24:14 ("And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in the whole world as a testimony to all nations, and then the end will come") was not the Great Commission after all, but a prophecy -- a prophecy, not of Herbert Armstrong, but of the two witnesses (whoever or whatever they may be).
We felt it to be imperative to bring these things to the attention of God's people, as He led us to them and them to us.
When I was beginning to pull this newsletter together for its first issue, I wondered aloud to my wife what we should call it. Without hesitation, she replied, "The WAY." She explained, "Christianity isn't a Work, it's a Way -- a Way of life, a Way of treating other people in the church, a whole approach to people that frankly hasn't even been tried yet!"
For just the briefest moment, it seemed to me to be a rather odd name for a newsletter. But I quickly saw that she was quite correct, because our focus was going to be on articles relating to both biblical understanding and how we should relate to each other as brothers and sisters (not "brethren," but as real siblings, children of the same Father).
One of the ironic aspects of what we are doing is that, while we actively proclaim Christianity as a Way of life, yet this newsletter is the "work" God has given us to do. But this newsletter is only a tool, not the main focus. It is not designed to build a mailing list or an organization, or any kind of power base. We are one of the least powerful of any of the new little "works" that have sprung up in the last few years.
NOT THE "ONE TRUE CHURCH"
We also don't claim any exclusive rights to the Kingdom, as WCG did in years past, and as some of its daughter churches do today. Years ago, we might have said that people in other religious groups, such as "The Way," couldn't possibly be true Christians, because they weren't part of "us." Now, I am unwilling to judge (or more correctly, condemn) like that. I don't really know anything about "The Way," so I won't venture a guess as to whether they are truly Christian (followers of God's Way) or not. But I will keep Yeshua's own words before me: "He that is not against us is for us" (Luke 9:50). If the people of "The Way" are living by biblical principles, and are wholeheartedly trying to follow the Way, who can wish them anything but the best in their journey? If they are mistaken in a few areas -- well, aren't we all? It is the sincerity of their devotion to God that God looks on when He judges people. Since we can't see the heart, but can only know them by their fruits (Matthew 7:20), we may misjudge because we don't have all the facts.
You may also have noticed that we spell our newsletter a certain way. We refer to "The WAY," which is published by "The WAY" Publications. This particular spelling, with upper case letters for the word "way" and the name in quotation marks, is unique and therefore sets the newsletter apart from (1) the Way itself, which is God's Way of life, and (2) the group mentioned in the letter, called The Way.
We have no hidden set of goals or intentions to be any kind of powerful organization. Our only aim is to help those in need of comfort and encouragement after the sometimes shattering experiences they may have had when their familiar church home became a dark and threatening place. God's Way is the way of love and truth. Our aim is to provide both whenever possible, and wherever needed.