Worldwide Assembly of YHWH
The Worldwide Assembly of YHWH (WAY) is/was a Houston, Texas based 'sacred name' group. Other than its emphasis on the specific name of the Father and the Son, their other basic beliefs appear to be consistent with most of the Churches of God. This article will quote some of WAY's statements (all taken from its website on 2/22/01) and then provide my comments, in italics, after them.
To help all who truly want to: A. Seek YHWHs Kingdom (Matthew 6:33 - But seek you first the kingdom of YHWH, and his righteousness)" (WAY's first purpose statement).
This is fairly typical of 'sacred names' groups. They quote the New Testament as if it were written in Hebrew, instead of Greek. Actually, if you accept that the New Testament was written in Greek, then all the arguments of these types of groups are meaningless as God did not use much Hebrew in the New Testament. For what its worth, about 24 years ago I read a booklet from another 'sacred name' group which attempted to prove that the New Testament was written in Hebrew--suffice it to say that I did not believe the group was able to prove its point--as far as I (and 99+% of all scholars) can determine, the New Testament was written in Greek (see also Was the New Testament Written in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic?).
"Our beliefs are that there is only one Creator and his name is YHWH...Why use the name "YHWH" as oppose to the more commonly used name "GOD"? Would you believe that the name "GOD" is of pagan origin? As shocking as that statement is it is true and I challenge you to go down to your local library and do some research. Ask to see the Dictionary of Etymology the origins of American English words. Look up the word "GOD". You will see that the word "GOD" is not of English origin but comes from the Germanic tribe. Before the Germanic tribe converted to christianity they used this name for their pagan deity. How many times have we seen compromises made to bring non-believers into christianity?" (WAY's home page).
The term 'Lord' is used extensively in the New Testament (that term is found 751 times in the Greek New Testament, known as the Textus Receptus and 717 times in the Nestle-Aland manuscripts). Its origins may or may not be Babylonian. God apparently felt it was fine to inspire the writers of the New Testament to use that and other non-Hebrew names for deity (see also The Bible, Church History, and Sacred Names).
It should also be noted that the term 'christianity' has Greek as its origin (Acts 11:26).
WAY also teaches:
"The appropriate name of the supreme Creator and sustainer of the entire universe is YHWH (Pronounced "YAH-WAY"). The appropriate name of our Savior the Messiah is Yahshua. The scriptures reveal to us the importance of our Creator's name." (WAY home page).
Sacred name groups always claim to know exactly how to pronounce the four Hebrew letters (which in English are approximated as YHWH) which have no vowels. These groups often do not agree with each other. The other group I looked into years ago said the proper pronounciation was Yah-vay. WAY is different from most in that it does not agree within itself on either name. The next statement is one found on WAY's website the same day I copied the previous statement:
"STATEMENT OF BELIEFS
1. APPROPRIATE NAMES The appropriate name of the supreme creator and sustainer of the entire universe is YHWH (Pronounced "YAHWEH"). The appropriate name of our Savior the Messiah is Yahùshua. The scriptures reveal to us the importance of our creator's name." (WAY's statement of beliefs).
It is amazing that WAY, which places so much emphasis on sacred names, cannot agree with itself about how YHWH or the Son's name is to be pronounced. If the exact pronounciation was so important to God, one would conclude that God would have made it clear, or at a minimum, WAY would decided which of the two pronouciations it has for each is correct. It is also amazing that they list this as the first thing they believe--this appears to be a problem with priorities.
It also should be understood that when Jesus taught His disciples to pray, He did NOT use 'sacred names.' Notice what Jesus taught:
9 In this manner, therefore, pray: Our Father in heaven, Hallowed be Your name. 10 Your kingdom come. Your will be done On earth as it is in heaven. 11 Give us this day our daily bread. 12 And forgive us our debts, As we forgive our debtors. 13 And do not lead us into temptation, But deliver us from the evil one. For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever. Amen.
14 "For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. 15 But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses. (Matthew 6:9-15)
Notice what Jesus said in a prayer after His final Passover on earth:
5 And now, O Father, glorify Me together with Yourself, with the glory which I had with You before the world was.
6 "I have manifested Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. They were Yours, You gave them to Me, and they have kept Your word. 7 Now they have known that all things which You have given Me are from You. 8 For I have given to them the words which You have given Me; and they have received them, and have known surely that I came forth from You; and they have believed that You sent Me. 9 "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours. 10 And all Mine are Yours, and Yours are Mine, and I am glorified in them. 11 Now I am no longer in the world, but these are in the world, and I come to You. Holy Father, keep through Your name those whom You have given Me, that they may be one as We are. 12 While I was with them in the world, I kept them in Your name. Those whom You gave Me I have kept; and none of them is lost except the son of perdition, that the Scripture might be fulfilled. (John 17:5-12, NKJV)
I revealed Your name to the men whom You have given Me out of the world. (John 17:6a, Berean Literal Bible)
What name to Jesus manifest/reveal to men? FATHER!
Jesus did not come to manifest a name like YHVH/YHWH as that had been known since at least the time of Moses (cf. Exodus 3:14-15).
Furthermore, when Jesus was dying an He prayed, He did NOT refer to His Father as Yahveh or Yahweh:
46 And about the ninth hour Jesus cried out with a loud voice, saying, "Eli, Eli, lama sabachthani?" that is, "My God, My God, why have You forsaken Me?" (Matthew 27:46)
Notice that the biblical translation was that Jesus was calling out to God. And Jesus DID NOT use the "sacred names" that many, like the Worldwide Assembly of YHWH claim (see also Was the New Testament Written in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic?).
Those who wish more information on some of the fallacies of the sacred names groups, can also read the following:
Was the New Testament Written in Greek, Hebrew, or Aramaic? What language was the New Testament written in? Does it make any difference?
The Bible, Church History, and Sacred Names What are 'sacred names'? What is Jesus' Old Testament name? Is the use of sacred names a subject of salvation or a false gospel? Must we refer to our Saviour as Yahweh or Yashua?
Why the Names Jesus and Christ in English? Was the New Testament Written in Hebrew or Greek? Various groups believe that the name Jesus should not be used, but instead other pronunciations and spellings. This is an article by the late evangelist John Ogwyn, addresses this "sacred name" issue, as well as if the New Testament was written in Hebrew or Greek.
God’s Names and the Jewish Reading Tradition This article by John Wheeler, addresses this, as well as a few other Hebrew and Greek points.
Let me add that I have NEVER seen a 'sacred name' group that has been successful in meaningfully fulfilling Matthew 24:14.
Furthermore, almost the entire 'sacredname' movement is based on the improper belief that the entire New Testament was written in Hebrew, and the rest is that it was all written in Aramaic. The reality is that there is no proof that any of the New Testament was written in anything, originally but Greek. Now, there are a couple of claims about Matthew being written in Hebrew. However, the Greek version of Matthew is what is quoted in early post-New Testament church literature. The Bible is clear that Paul spoke Greek (Acts 21:37) and he wrote more books of the NT than anyone else. Even if one or more books of the NT were initially written in Hebrew, as long as one or more were written in Greek, this dispels the myth that God expected certain Hebrew words to be used to address Him. Also, there is not evidence that early faithful Christians felt that they had to use Hebrew names for deity. Therefore, those who stick to the 'sacred name' doctrines are not contending earnestly for the faith once for all delivered to the saints (Jude 3).
Although it has been reported that "The doctrinal differences among the Churches of God are miniscule. You can't get a knifes edge between us on doctrines" (Dart, Ron. CEM Founder Talks About Bickering, Bridges, the Future. The Journal. July 31, 1999. p.6), this author does not believe that one can examine the teachings of groups, such as WAY, and come to that conclusion (nor apparently would Herbert Armstrong, for proof please check out some quotes from HWA on holding fast to doctrine). Here is a related article of possible interest: What is a True Philadelphian? Another unusual aspect of WAY is that basically it teaches many doctrines that HWA restored to the Church of God, yet states the use of the term God (which HWA often used) is a false, compromising way to bring people to Christianity.
Laodicean Warning for God's People If you have read this far you are probably a current or former member of one of the Churches of God and may be interested in reading this warning article.
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