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.
"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. Its origins may 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. It should also be noted that the term 'christianity' has Greek as its origin.
"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.
Those who wish more information on some of the fallacies of the sacred names groups, should read the following:
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, which appeared in the The Living Church News 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 which appeared in the The Living Church News by John Wheeler, addresses this, as well as a few other Hebrew and Greek points.
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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B. Thiel 2001/2007/2010/2012 0915