An Overview of the No-Name Church

Last Updated on June 2, 2020 by

An Overview of The Church Without A Name

The people, known within the group as “friends”, believe that theyalone, are in God’s true and ONLY church.

In reality this no-name church was founded in Ireland in the late1890’s by a man named William Irvine. He was joined by EdwardCooney, who was later expelled. Cooney’s small group of followers(Cooneyites) still survive today.

At the start Irvine’s followers were required to renounce all andbecome “workers.” Eventually his own workers excommunicatedhim and since that time they no longer acknowledge him as theirfounder.

Irvine’s movement spread rapidly at first and continues today. It isin most countries and although no records are kept; no doctrine ispublished, and publicity is shunned; there are thousands of”professing people” worldwide.

The friends, also known as “saints”, and “God’s people”, take pridein the “true ministry.” The workers (preacher/evangelists) leavetheir paid careers, give up all possesions, remain unmarried andtake no salary. (However, money is slipped to them quietly by thesaints to assure they are well provided for. Tax receipts are notissued for these offerings.) Head workers in each area send outworkers in pairs, hence the nickname, by “outsiders”, of Two-By-Twos. The area in which each set of workers (either two males ortwo females) preach is called a “field.” These “ministers of thegospel” live with the friends, moving to a different friends’ houseevery few nights. They eat the friends’ food and drive the friends’cars.

This group publishes only a scant few items. Their hymn book,entitled HYMNS OLD AND NEW, was published in 1951 and1987. A “friends’ list” giving name, address and phone number, isprovided to a local area of friends. (Due to recent attempts toprovide the friends with facts concerning their group, many friends’lists no longer contain addresses.)

A list of workers’ names and mailing addresses is produced. Notesof workers’ sermons, taken from Conventions or Special Meetings,are typed and passed among the friends. (Taking notes of workers’talks is currently discouraged because, as one senior worker stated,”there are people out there who are trying to find out what webelieve.”)

Within society the friends usually keep a low profile. Women areexpected to conform to a strict standard of dress. The “sisterworkers” set the standards for the women’s appearance. Ladies’ longhair is usually worn in a bun. Plain dresses or skirts, rather thanpants, are the norm. No jewelry is worn, except for watches,wedding bands and pins. No visible make-up is used. Men are todress conservatively and maintain an “above the ears, off the collar”hair style. Most often beards are frowned upon.

Gospel meetings are held, usually in a rented facility, to recruitnew members. Two-By-Twos believe that “new comers” must hearthe Gospel preached by the workers in order to gain entrance intothe “kingdom.” All existing members are expected to attend theseGospel meetings purposefully held to educate “outsiders.”

The Sunday morning meetings and weekly Bible study meetingsare for members and are held in members’ homes. Only the KingJames version of the Bible is recognized. Christian literature is tobe avoided. Workers use allegories throughout their talks to provetheir “way” is right or to warn people who might be questioningtheir beliefs. (It is possible to attend meetings for years and learnvery little about God’s Word.)

Church property is not acquired, although funds which are givento the workers are used to build and maintain convention buildings.The annual conventions are usually held on farms. Theseconventions last four days with food and lodging provided. There isno charge and no registration is required, however members docontribute food and/or money. Attendance varies from 300 to over1,200 people. All members are ecxpected to attend at least one fullconvention each year.

Generally the Two-By-Twos do not have televisions nor do theyattend movies or go dancing. Drinking, smoking and gambling,including playing cards, is out. Christmas and Easter are notcelebrated in any religious way.

Contrary to true Bible teaching, the 2x2s, sometimes mistakenlycalled Cooneyites, do not understand that salvation is a free giftthat cannot be earned. Consequently they become “the best livingpeople” in hopes they will earn their salvation. Most do notconsider themselves saved, and feel they must remain in the 2x2system until they die to have even a chance of salvation.

Some who leave “The Truth”, as they call it, without learning thatthe group has a false doctrine and has hidden it’s origin, continue tolive in fear and feel they are doomed for a lost eternity.

The Two-By-Twos deny Jesus Christ. This would be a shock tothem since they feel Jesus is the head of their fellowship. They donot acknowledge that Jesus, Himself, is the Almighty God. Theyworship “another Jesus.”

Their ministers (workers) claim they have worldwide unity.However, they only have unity in the belief that the only true wayto Heaven is through THEIR homeless ministry, and the church inthe home–their “way.”

This no-name church subtly propagates control, fear, guilt andanxiety within its members. However, because of the way they areorganized, and because of their beliefs, the people are sheltered andthey do not understand that they are in a religious cult!

There are a growing number of EX-Two-By-Two members who arenow informing others of this cult. As of 1994 six books have beenpublished to document the beliefs, explain the history, and revealthe inner workings of the 2x2s.


The WORKERS suggest that SALVATION is through them, by WORKS (self denial)

The BIBLE teaches that SALVATION is through Jesus alone, bygrace, through faith.(Ephesians 2:8,9)

The WORKERS suggest that REPENTANCE is following theworkers’ rules and believing other churches are wrong.

The BIBLE teaches that REPENTANCE is turning from sin.(Matthew 9:13; 1 John 1:9)

The WORKERS suggest that SIN is “worldliness” as defined by the Workers.

The BIBLE teaches that SIN is the works of the flesh.(Galatians 5:19-21)

The WORKERS suggest that FAITH means following the Workers.

The BIBLE teaches that FAITH is believing in Jesus.(Romans 3:22,25; 1 Corinthians 2:5; 15:14,17)

The WORKERS suggest that the GOSPEL is the Two-By-Twohomeless ministry and the church in the home. (i.e. their system)

The BIBLE teaches that the GOSPEL is the message of JesusChrist’s death, burial and resurrection.(1 Corinthians 15:1-3) This is the Good News.

The WORKERS suggest that TRUTH is the ‘meeting’ in the homeand the Two-By-Two ministry. (i.e. their system)

The BIBLE teaches that the TRUTH is Jesus Christ.(John 14:6)

The WORKERS suggest that the WAY is the ‘meeting’ in the homeand the Two-By-Two ministry. (i.e. their system)

The BIBLE teaches that Jesus Christ is the only WAY to God.(1 Timothy 2:5; John 14:6)

The WORKERS suggest that JESUS CAME to show us a ministry.(i.e. the 2×2 homeless ministry–the workers)

The BIBLE teaches that JESUS CAME to be the Savior of theworld; to save all who trust in His Sacrifice for their sins.(Luke 2:11; John 4:42; Acts 5:31;)

The WORKERS preach that Jesus is our example; that He is ourelder brother.

The BIBLE says that Jesus is GOD. He is our Savior.(John 1:1 + 14; Luke 1:47; 1 Timothy 2:3; Isaiah 9:6; John 20:28;Titus 2:10)

The WORKERS suggest that the Holy Spirit is a force.

The BIBLE teaches that the Holy Spirit is the third person of theGodhead, that He is God the Holy Spirit.(Acts 5:3,4;)

The WORKERS suggest that the BODY of Christ are all thosewho follow the workers. (i.e. all those in the 2×2 system)

The BIBLE teaches that the BODY of Christ are all those whobelieve and follow Jesus.(1 Corinthians 12:27; Ephesians 1:22,23; Colossians 1:18; 24)

The WORKERS suggest that that WORD OF GOD is a dead bookunless made alive by one of their workers.

The BIBLE teaches that the WORD OF GOD is alive and powerfuland that God reveals Himself to us through the Bible, which isGod’s Word.(Hebrews 4:12)

The WORKERS suggest that the CROSS is no big deal.

But the Bible says: “For the preaching of the cross is to them thatperish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power ofGod.”- Corinthians 1:18

An explanation of why we say (as above) that the Workers *SUGGEST* –

The Two–By-Two Workers preach in such a way that their messageis always rather subtle and vague. They do not TEACH so much asthey SUGGEST by use of allegories. This leaves those they preachto drawing their own conclusions as to what is meant. (Refer to theSermon By a Worker in this web site.)

The Workers use allegories. What is an ALLEGORY? “An allegoryis a description of one thing under the image of another; a narativein which a teaching is conveyed symbolically.” (eg. from a worker’ssermon: “He missed the plane because he was at the wrong gate.”translated means: He did not go to heaven because he was not inthe 2×2 way.” and “We need a fence around our lives” translatedmeans: We should not associate with those outside of our groupand we need to avoid worldly activities of which the workers do notapprove.) It takes time to understand what the 2×2 workers meanwhen they speak in their “Gospel” meetings. To an “outsider” theirpreaching style is always confusing and difficult to follow.However, once a “newcomer” has caught on to their preaching andfigures out that what they are really saying is that the 2×2 WAY is”God’s ONLY way” it is said that he or she has “received therevelation.”

By contrast to the 2×2 workers’ preaching a good way to learnabout the Bible is through sound EXPOSITORY preaching. MostChristian pastors who teach about the Bible use this method. Theyexplain the Bible; they expound on it. Many a 2×2 having left thesect has been surprised and delighted by the clear understandingthey receive once they have listened to expository preaching.Expository preaching tends to be clear, specific and detailed. Mostoften the Bible is expounded upon line by line with an explanationof each verse being given. This is unlike the 2×2 preaching as theworkers usually have a theme and then they choose the verses orchapters to try to support their theme.

“The Bible is so alive to me now. Since so many verses were takenout of context, and there was so much skipping around, I felt myknowledge was so disconnected. Our pastor teaches the Bible verseby verse. It is so neat to be able to hear the whole story rather thanpieces of it. When you study this way, it’s pretty hard to getsomething out of context. So to me, Bible reading is likecompletely new.”

Characteristics of the Two-By-Twos

NAME: They claim to take no official name, but are called: “TheTruth, The Way, The No-Name Church, The Friends, The Two-By-Twos, The Cooneyites, The Nameless House Sect, The BlackStockings, The Secret Sect, The Dippers, The Go-Preachers” etc.While they claim to take no name they have officially registeredwith the governments of some countries. For example, in the UnitedStates they are registered under the name of Christian Conventions.

CLERGY: The Two-by-Two ministers are called: “workers,servants, handmaidens, evangelists.” They shun formal religioustraining and education in original Bible languages. Lay memberssupply the workers’ needs (food, shelter, clothing andtransportation). These workers travel with assigned companions ofthe same sex, usually older in authority over the younger. Theyfollow an ascetic lifestyle.

MEMBERS: The lay people are called: “the friends, saints,children of God, brothers/sisters in Christ, the Kingdom, family ofGod.” [See below for The Four Classes of Saints/Friends]

DAY OF WORSHIP: They consider Sunday as the day of rest andwork ceases.

BIBLE: The King James Version is used exclusively in Englishspeaking areas.

HYMNAL: They use their own compilation: HYMNS OLD ANDNEW published by R. L. Allan & Son, England, 1987.

SERVICES: There are two principle types: (1) Sunday andmidweek fellowship meetings are attended by the 2x2s themselves.Members participate in prayers, testimonies and hymns. (2) Aseries of gospel meetings is conducted by their evangelists(workers) for the purpose of teaching and converting non-members.

ORDINANCES: The Two-By-Twos observe Baptism by completeimmersion; they oppose infant baptism and sprinkling. Communion(bread and grape juice in a common cup) is served every Sunday.Communion is reserved for baptized members who are approved bythe workers.

CONVERSION: A public profession in a gospel meeting isrequired to become a member. Previous baptisms are notrecognized, and a convert must be baptized into this faith.

PROGRAMS: The Two-By-Twos do not offer any programswithin their group. For example they do not have Sunday school forthe children nor do the provide courses in Bible study for theadults. As well, no group activities are organized or promoted forthose in the fellowship.

OUTREACH TO THE NEEDY: As a congregation they do notparticipate in any form of aid to the poor, needy, homeless,downtrodden or underprivileged.

CONTROVERSIAL ISSUES: No guidelines or advice is given bythe 2×2 workers on such issues as: abortion, adultery, Aids,homosexuality, drugs, alcoholism, Satanism, new age philosophy,etc. As well the specific topic of SIN is not discussed.

The Four Classes of Saints/Friends

Within the structure of the 2×2 system there is a type of classdistinction. This is understood but not talked about within thegroup. (This distinction does not include the workers who havetheir own class distinction.) One could say that the “friends” fallinto one of these four categories:

1. The Snubbed Saints

The ones who have re-professed several times. Those in dividedhomes, the very poor, the widows, those with handicaps, disease,obesity, single mothers, the families with special problems. Theseare the forgotten ones, the ones no one invites to dinner, to sings,etc.

Former “Snubbed Saint” writes:

“It is clear to me now that I started out as a “Celebrity Saint” havingprofessed as an adult “outsider.” I gained notoriety in that first yearand was paid lots of attention-it seemed like I gained instantfriends! But as time went by I soon became a “Snubbed Saint.”After all, I didn’t have an “in” with the big professing families andworst of all I was from a divided home! The fact that my kids wentto meeting for years, yet never professed, was another reason for mylow status! But there is still another reason, as I now so clearly seeit, for my low standing in the “Way.” I never did quite catch on tothe deportment of the group-that necessary quiet demeanor, softspeaking voice, lack of “worldly” talk and use of slang, andseemingly gentle spirit which seemed to count for so much!”

2. The So-So Saints

These are just the run of the mill, ordinary ones. They aren’tostracized, but neither do they enjoy any privileges or attention.They notice they are left out but aren’t sure just what the reasonmay be. They are the main body of neglected “friends.” They oftenhave problems with their families leaving the church. They try hardbut fail often, having little comprehension of what they believe.

3. The Celebrity Saints

These are the ones who by virtue of professing in only threemeetings gain reputation. Or, they may be some personable,wealthy or religious person. These usually have money or statuswhich lend credibility to the church. They also include the olderfourth or fifth generation members who have workers for relatives.Newly professing people are in this category for about one year.Then, they too, join the So-So Saints. A change in status oftenoccurs when people move from one location to another.

4. The Superior Saints

These have meeting or convention on their property. Or, they haveinfluence with the head workers. Some of these families even havemore influence than some of the workers. Their homes are approvedfor all gatherings. They are aware of many of the situations in thechurch that the others never know about. They bear the brunt ofmost responsibility and privileges. These people are usually betterable to verbalize the church beliefs than others.

Former “Superior Saint” writes:

“I have read with interest the discussion on the beliefs among 2×2’sre: salvation. The understanding of what is taught hangsprecariously on one’s history in the group. Those of us who wereraised in it, and had generations (in my case four) of hearty service,were ‘privileged’ to participate in discussions that ‘babes’ wouldNEVER experience.

I have heard workers and friends alike discussing in our home, andin my presence, issues regarding the ‘understanding’ of babes…whatthey were ‘getting’ and what they weren’t, where they were ‘growing’and where they weren’t. These issues were never discussed inmeetings.

Because I grew up in that ‘confidential’ atmosphere, I believe thethings I understood were the intended meaning behind the ‘doublespeak’. I would hear contrary things in the presence of the ‘babes’ inthe guise of protecting them because they ‘weren’t ready for it.’

I think one’s beliefs and understanding about the 2×2’s depends alot on how long a person (or their family) has been professing andhow exposed they were to the ‘inside scoop’.”

Policies and Procedures of The Two-By-Twos

TABOOS: The Two-By-Twos claim they have no rules orregulations. Some taboos or expectations vary according to locality.The following unwritten taboos are generally recognized by theentire group as being unacceptable: television, movies, stereos,smoking, drinking, illegal drug use, swearing, gambling, dancing,reading Christian books or literature, Christian symbols, currentfads and fashions, jewelry (except for wedding rings, pins andwatches). No short hair, make-up, slacks or shorts for women isacceptable. Long hair on men is unacceptable. Women are expectedto dress very modestly and wear their long hair uncut and pinned upon their head.

HOLIDAYS: Customs regarding celebrations of holidays differfrom area to area. Some 2×2 families get together on holidaysalthough holidays like Christmas and Easter are not celebrated in areligious way.

CONVENTIONS: These gatherings are held annually in moststates and provinces for four days. There are usually three two-hourmeetings on each day of the convention. These conventions rangein size from 300 to over 1,200 in attendance. Members are stronglyurged to attend one complete convention per year. The conventionproperty is owned by approved members. The buildings areconstructed and maintained with member donated funds.

ARMED FORCES: An approved method of serving in the armedservices is in a Conscientious Objector capacity, refusing to beararms, taking literally the commandment: “Thou shalt not kill.”

MARRIAGES: It is strongly recommended that a mate be a groupmember. Weddings are performed by civil authorities as the 2x2ministers are not licensed. Home weddings are common.

REMARRIAGE: After a spouse dies remarriage to another groupmember is acceptable. Should a 2×2 remarry after a divorce his orher privileges (eg. giving a testimony, partaking of the bread andwine) vary depending on the overseer in charge.

Government of this Secretive Group

ORGANIZATION: It is stressed by the leaders of this group that itis not an organization, religion or a denomination; that it is non-incorporated, not tax-exempt and that it has no headquarters.

CENSUS: No census records of membership are available andattempts to estimate the numbers have varied from 35,000 to 600,00worldwide. [Recent attempts to determine the numbers haveindicated 50,000 to 150,000 worldwide.] In 1987-88, the USA andCanada listed a total of 1,071 workers of which 63% were womenand 37% were men. {12/97}

OUTREACH: Outreach for the purpose of recruiting new membersis worldwide.

OUTREACH TO THE NEEDY: Two-By-Twos do not participatein any form of aid to the poor, needy, homeless, downtrodden orunderprivileged.

PROGRAMS: The Two-By-Twos do not offer any programswithin the group. For example they do not have Sunday school forthe children. No group activities are offered or promoted for theadults. No courses in Bible study are offered.

MINISTRIES: Two-By-Two members do not get involved in ministries.

HIERARCHY: States, provinces or regions are controlled by amale head worker who assigns fields to workers under hisauthority. Each field contains various home churches, where up to35 members meet, over which an “elder” presides. All overseers andelders are men. There are less than ten senior USA overseers, towhom the state leaders report.

CONTROLS: Characterized by rigid authoritarianism. Workershave absolute authority in all matters. Members have norepresentation and no means of recourse. Members exist for thebelief system, rather than the belief system existing for themembers. Unquestioning loyality is expected.

DISCIPLINE: Implemented with talks, threats and shunning. Notunusual for communion or baptism to be withheld; or to take awaythe offender’s part in prayer and testimony. Meeting may beremoved from an offender’s home. Excommunication rarely occurs.

FINANCES: No collections are taken and no accounting is madeto the congregation. They claim the ministers do not use bankaccounts. Monetary contributions are made individually toindividual ministers rather than collectively. They claim not toaccept donations from non-members.

The 2×2’s History and Founder

In Ireland, just before the turn of the century, a man namedWilliam Irvine, a “Pilgrim” preacher for the Faith Mission, decidedafter reading Matthew 10, that all preachers should go forth ashomeless, unpaid ministers. A few other of his contemporariesagreed with him. Irvine then challenged them to join him in goingforth without salary and without a home. (Years later he referred tothis as an “experiment”!) Early on, Irvine also enlisted EdwardCooney, a lay preacher, who had been preaching among variousdenominations.

The Faith Mission disassociated itself with Irvine in 1900 but hisexperiment continued. Irvine’s group insisted that they take noname. Seventy attended the first convention, which lasted threeweeks, at Rathmolyn, Ireland. Irvine was a dynamic speaker andeasily captivated his audiences. At first he preached that all shouldgive up their possessiions and go forth as “workers”; men andwomen alike. Many took the challenge taking vows of poverty,celibacy, submission and self denial. They were taught that only byhearing the “gospel” through Irvine, or through one of his workerswho had heard and seen the gospel being lived through Irvine orthrough one of his workers, could one be granted salvation.

As more and more became workers, selling all and giving Irvinethe proceeds, the organization grew quickly. Workers were sent toother countries including the United States, Canada, Australia andNew Zealand. By 1908 Irvine changed the rule that all followersmust become homeless ministers. Home meetings of the “friends”were instituted about this time.

Next Irvine appointed his trusted associates such as James Jardine,George Walker, and William Carroll as “overseers” of vast regions.So began the set-up of what the people who are in this namelessgroup today refer to as “The Truth.”

As time went on various disagreements surfaced among the topleaders and in particular with Irvine. In 1914 Irvine wasexcommunicated by his own fellow workers! By 1928 EdwardCooney was also put out.

Next the cover-up began. The remaining workers agreed to neveragain admit Irvine was their founder. Today there are manydifferent explanations for how “The Truth” began. Some say that itwas founded by Jesus Christ and has existed “from the beginning.”Then the story line was that it lay dormant for a time until it was”restored” or “sprouted anew” through a revelation of God to someman or men. Another new explanation is that the history “doesn’tmatter!” Some say that William Irvine learned of “it” from another”just before his time.” Also it has been said that “God’s Way” beganin eternity; that it began when two and two became four! And, on afew occasions, the sect’s true origins have actually been mentionedpublicly.



The Impartial Reporter and Farmers’ Journal in Ireland had reportedextensively on the “Tramp Preachers” during their early beginningyears. What follows are a few quotes from that newspaper aswritten in Doug Parker’s essay:

Huge Following in its Infancy: “Impartial Reporter” Enniskillen, 1908

“The great convention of the Tramp Preachers is still in progress atCrocnacrieve, and as anticipated has surpassed in extent allprevious gatherings. There were some thousands of persons inattendance. The speakers at the meeting were the two leaders of themovement, Mr. William Irvine and Mr. Edward Cooney. Bothspeakers denounced the various churches and the clergy in nounmeasured terms. As usual, the call for volunteers for work indistant lands met with a response, a large number offering theirservices for America, South Africa, and Australia.”

Money Pours in Through Conventions

“The Tramps say they have no collections. In strict parlance thismay be correct, but it is not the whole truth. They may not “collect,”but they receive donations. So that while Messrs. Irvine and Co. donot collect, they receive, and the receipts are sufficient to send thepreachers to America, Scotland, anywhere else, and to take Mr.Irvine to South Africa and other places abroad. The regular clergycould not afford those trips. The tramps can afford it, but they goanother way about it. THEY OBTAIN THE MONEY.”

The Journal regarding Hymns–Old and New:

“And while the Tramps denounce John and Charles Wesley ashaving gone to hell, they sing the very “Devilry,” written by CharlesWesley in some of his immortal hymns. On Sunday last a newhymn book entitled HYMNS–OLD AND NEW, made itsappearance. This book, compiled by Edward Cooney and WilliamCarrol, consists entirely of hymns taken from such collections as”Songs of Victory,” Redemption Songs,” and “Songs and Solos.”The Go Preacher’s Hymn book is no longer used.”

“Their one constant worry was their past.”

“These men were overcome by their authority, position and place,but their one constant worry was their past. The fear that someonewould ask their foundation, their beginning, their Spiritual Father,their genealogy, and oh, what a past.

He [Irvine] made them what they were, and except for him they maybe what and where they were when he discovered them. How wouldthey explain to the young converts?

And so started a great sifting. Those that knew too much weregradually done away with, frozen out, persecuted until they wentout.

People were forbidden to visit friends, and some had been ex-communicated on that miserable ground. Letters were beingintercepted and destroyed, and the persons to whom they wereaddressed, never saw them. Pressure had been brought to bear onstruggling souls to compel them to deny the truth that was in them,even bodily violence had been done, that through pressure or painthey may be brought under their will.”

Decision to Bury the Past

In the year 1929, the Central Bible Truth organization published apamphlet headed THE COONEYITES OR GO PREACHERSAND THEIR DOCTRINE. This really exposed this movement, andwas circulated in every country where the belief had been active.An endeavour was made by both John Hardie, in Australia, andJack Carrol, in the U.S.A., to have it put out of circulation. Hardiein the company of another since ex-communicated preacher,approached the Sydney publishers at 302 Pitt Street, in an effort tohave it stopped, but without success.

……… Because of this difficulty and another involving a divisionbetween both George Walker and Jack Carrol, the two overseers inthe U.S.A. as to who would be “Next Greatest Amongst Them,” itwas decided that a world conference would be held at W. Haneys(England) on July 19, 20, 21, 1930. Amongst those that attendedthis meeting were J. Hardie, J. Jardine, W. Gill, Wm. Jamison,George Walker, John T. Carrol and several others. The mostrevealing resolution that was adopted at this meeting was: —

“It was unanimously agreed by all present that THE PAST SHOULD BE BURIED.”

Other matters dealt with, were: —

“Travelling expenses that had to come from the ‘Saints,’ how thesehuge expenses and disagreements had been hidden from the’Saints’.”

An extract from the report states: —

(During the days we, the undersigned, were together, fullopportunity was given to all to express their minds and to offer anysuggestions that would be helpful.)

Guildford Meeting 20-24 February, 1954

After the recent death of William Carrol, it was decided that ameeting would be held where the many differences amongst thepreachers could be ironed out. In all, eleven attened the meetingwhich lasted 4 days.

This covered mainly the perplexities with troublesome borders andthe questions of “saints” being put out of the fellowship.

It was decided: “We are agreed that anything which would causecontention should be avoided.”

The Impartial Reporter and Farmers’ Journal newspaper articlesfrom Enniskillen, Northern Ireland (1903-1917) can be orderedfrom Research & Information Services (RIS) P.O. Box 2141Sisters, OR 97759 Email: [email protected]

Comments from a few of the “friends” who have left the sect:

I was over thirty before I heard the truth regarding the actual historyof the fellowship. I had always firmly believed that we were acontinuation of the first century church, established by Jesus andsomehow preserved throughout the ages as had been reinforcedoften by the worker’s preaching. I relied on this “fact” often when Iwas telling “outsiders” about “The Way”. In my mind, it wasprobably the single most important fact of all – that Jesusestablished His Church while on earth, complete with instructionsof how the church was to gather and how the ministers were topreach. That I was a part of that continuing church was amazing! Inever challenged this concept anymore than I challenged the factthat the world is round vs. square. The workers either actuallypreached or subtly alluded to their belief of the church’s origin andI simply accepted them at their word. One wasn’t to question theauthority of the workers! When I discovered that the church is onlyapproximately 100 years old and has an earthly founder by thename of William Irvine I was at first shocked. But that soon led toanger and a feeling of betrayal. After careful scrutiny I could notfind anywhere in the gospels where Jesus actually said, “this is theway in which you are to worship” or “this is the way I wantministers to go forth and preach from now until eternity.” Hissending forth the 12 in Matt.10 was for a SPECIFIC reason, toSPECIFIC people for a SPECIFIC period of time. I found moreinstances of the apostles going forth singly, or in three-somes andfour-somes than two-by-two. One also can read 1 Cor. 9:5 andascertain that many apostles were married and likely had familiesand homes of their own. I find it interesting to read about thebeginnings of the “fellowship” and see how it has been patternedafter a church in Scotland, the Faith Mission, which is still inexistence today.”

“We were having doubts for several years about all that goes on inthe “Truth” and reading about the background and beginning of itmade me furious after being lied to about the history all those yearsthat we professed.”

The Beliefs of this No-Name Church

DOCTRINE: This no-name church does not publish a doctrinalstatement; rather they profess their doctrine is the Bible.

AUTHORITY: They state they believe and follow only “theteachings of the New Testament.”

GOD: This no-name 2×2 church believes there is only one God.God is God, the Father, the Creator. (Christians believe that there isOne God: eternally existing in three persons, God the Father, Godthe Son and God the Holy Spirit, co-eternal in being, identical innature, co-equal in glory and power…not three Gods, but one God,neither confounding the Persons nor dividing the substance.Christians believe that Jesus Christ is fully human and fully God.Christians believe that the Holy Spirit is God. Gen. 1:1-2; Ex.3:13-14; Isa. 9:6; John 1:1-3&14; John 20:28; Heb. 1:8; Rev. 1:7-8etc.)

JESUS: They view Jesus as God’s only son, who is today under theauthority and position of His Father; but He is not God the Son.They believe Jesus was conceived by the Holy Spirit, born of thevirgin Mary; lived a perfect life; came to establish a ministrypattern (Matt.10) to be followed universally ever after. They believeJesus was crucified, died and rose again bodily before ascending toHeaven; they look for His sceond coming. (Unlike Christians thisno-name church does not believe in the deity of Jesus; that Jesus isGod come in human flesh.)

HOLY SPIRIT: They believe the Holy Spirit is a force or poweremanating from God or Jesus to a child of God. (Unlike Christiansthey do not view Him as God the Spirit.)

SATAN: They see Satan as a fallen angel engaged in an age-longstruggle to deceive and seduce men to follow him rather than obeyGod. He is evil, a deceiver, a murderer, a liar, and has power onlyinsofar as God allows.

MAN: They believe that man was created by God per Genesisaccount. They believe adolescents reach “the age of accountability,”when they are responsible to God for their actions. (Christiansbelieve that man is born in sin.)

MINISTRY: They believe the only God-ordained ministry is madeup of men and women who follow Jesus’ instructions to Hisdisciples in Matt. 10:5-14, Mark 6, Luke 9 (namely, them). The2x2 ministers/workers leave their homes, give their possessionsaway and go from place to place preaching in pairs (two and two),unmarried, living with and taking meals from those willing toreceive them. The don’t ask for contributions, accept no salary,taking literally Jesus’ command: “freely give as you have freelyreceived.” Matt. 10:8

AFTER LIFE: All people either receive eternal life in heaven oreternal punishment in hell, depending upon their lifestyle while onearth. Further, they believe they must remain in the 2×2 church tohave a hope of salvation.

HEALING, MIRACLES, SPEAKING IN TONGUES, CASTINGOUT DEMONS: These are viewed by the 2x2s as divine signs usedonly in the first century. Speaking in tongues is deemed to bespeaking in foreign languages.

CHURCH SITES: The Two-By-Two congregation meets ONLY inhomes for fellowship meetings, taking literally: “God dwells not intemples made with hands” Acts 7:48, 17:24. No restriction isplaced on sites they use for their gospel meeting services (forrecruitment purposes). They are strongly opposed to churchbuildings. An often used slogan indicates the emphasis placed ontheir methods: “the ministers without a home, and the church in thehome.”

Some who have left this no-name church have said:

I decided that I wanted to understand the Bible and I wasn’t gettingenough information from the workers. All they talked about was theministry and I wanted to know more about the Bible. When I finllydid learn more, I realized that the “way” wasn’t right.

The bottom line is this…the 2×2’s teach doctrine that is contrary toscripture and they do not agree among themselves (at all levels,from older workers to younger workers from elders to saints) onwhat they believe.

When I left the 2×2’s, and got into a good church, the Bible becamea new experience for me. I remember reading it like I had nevereven set eyes on it before in my life!! It, for me, at least, was NOTthe same Bible I had in the “truth.” The words were the same, but Ihad finally grasped the MEANING, which was so much different.

Oh how confident we were that we had the answers! Suchmisplaced confidence while in reality we knew so little!

The ‘truth’ believes and teaches doctrine contrary to the inspiredinerrant Word of God.

The one distinctive characteristic of a cult is that they do not recognize or acknowledge who Jesus Christ is.