The Way International (TWI), a movement that gained many followers and notoriety in the 1970s, appears to be on an accelerated course of decline after sexual scandals involving leaders and law suits against the organization have recently been revealed.
The Christian Research Journal (Volume 23, Number 1), an evangelical countercult publication, reports that The Way, a group based around its study courses teaching non-Trinitarian Christianity, has been in a free fall since its founder Victor Paul Wierwille died in 1985. Rev. Craig Martindale, who succeeded Wierwille, revamped the group, substituting his own terminology and courses and establishing himself as a “the Man of God for our Day.”
But the recent revelation that Martindale was involved in a sexual affair and his abrupt resignation from TWI has hurt a group already weakened by many schisms. The admission plus a lawsuit (one of many by former members) filed last spring charging that the TWI kept members psychologically dependent on leaders has led regional coordinators to resign. Current statistics put TWI supporters (there was not an official membership) at 5,000, though at its peak, the group was said to have 50,000-100,000 course graduates and supporters.
(Christian Research Journal, P.O. Box 7000, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA 92688-7000)