Beliefs and doctrines
Students are encouraged to follow a list of biblical research principles, instructing that the Bible should be taken literally wherever possible, and where this is not possible, it should be assumed that the language is figurative. The Way encourages its followers to study their publications before beginning any personal research on a subject. In his book Order My Steps in Thy Word, Wierwille asserts that God designed the universe to support the Earth and the Earth to support his children who could love God in return.
The Way rejects the Trinity, and teaches that, unlike God, Jesus is not omniscient, omnipotent, or omnipresent. According to their ministry, Jesus did not exist before his birth except in the foreknowledge of God. The Way teaches that at his birth, God created the sperm to fertilize Mary's ovum, and is the literal father of Jesus. Wierwille writes in his book, "Receiving the Holy Spirit Today", that the Holy Spirit is a reference to God, rather than a separate entity or person. He contrasts this term with the "holy spirit" (lower case), which he believes is a reference to a divine gift from God. Wierwille claims that English translators of the Bible missed this distinction, and that Greek manuscripts were written in uncial script, which further confused the subject. The Way teaches that there are nine manifestations of the holy spirit and every born again Christian can inherently operate all nine. The list is derived from I Corinthians 12:7–10 (King James Version). Speaking in tongues, he claims, energizes the "effectual operation" of the other eight manifestations. According to Wierwille, speaking in tongues has numerous benefits for a believer.
The Way claims that there were four people crucified with Jesus, rejecting the standard interpretation which holds that there were two. Wierwille writes that different Greek words were used for those crucified with Jesus in the different Gospel accounts, as well as discrepancies in timing, statements, and actions of the characters in the narrative. Two malefactors (kakourgoi) were initially led and crucified with Jesus in Luke 23:32, then two robbers (lestai) were later crucified after his accusation was fastened in Matthew 27:38. Accordingly, two others were crucified on both sides of Jesus for a total of four. Additionally, they hold that the cross upon which Jesus was crucified was not the traditional t-shaped cross, but rather a stake or the trunk of a tree. The Way maintains that Jesus did not carry his cross for any distance. Rather, after leaving the judgment hall, the soldiers immediately compelled Simon of Cyrene to bear the cross all the way to Calvary per the three Gospel accounts in Matthew 27:32, Mark 15:21 and Luke 23:26. The one account in John 19:17 which states "And he bearing his cross...", Wierwille believes refers to Jesus's spiritual bearing of sin. Wierwille also preaches that the "thorn in the flesh" in 2 Corinthians 12:7 is individuals sent by Satan to disrupt the apostle Paul's ministry, not an illness as it is commonly interpreted.
The Way teaches that the dead do not immediately go to heaven or hell, rather death is a continuing state which will end at the tribulation. Wierwille also writes that the unsaved simply "die a second and final death." Way followers reject baptism, holding that it wasn't intended as a continuing practice after Pentecost, and that it applied only to Israel. Wierwille further teaches that once a person is born again, they receive holy spirit and cannot lose it through any sinful acts.
The Way teaches that tithing 10% of one's net income to the church is a minimum requirement, taking the example from Abraham's donation to Melchizedek, as well as the instruction in Malachi 3:7-12. Additional voluntary giving is called "abundant sharing", and "plurality giving" refers to the donation of any excess items the owner feels he no longer needs or has too many of, generally within fellowships to help the other members. Wierwille included his booklet on abundant sharing, Christians Should Be Prosperous, in his Foundational Class materials. Martindale frequently promoted increasing one's proportion of giving in Sunday teachings.