What is Telling The Truth?
The purpose of the TTT website is to inform and educate. To publish the plain, unvarnished truth and to oppose deception. TTT believes everyone who has ever been associated with this church has a right to know the historical facts concerning its founder and origin. TTT is dedicated to making the historical information easily accessible and available. TTT strives to state information in such a manner that an adolescent will be able to understand it. It is TTT's goal that the history of the group will become common knowledge. TTT encourages individual examination and evaluation. TTT is not a church, denomination or religion, and is operated by a former member.
This website is about a nameless church. Since the group claims no name for their beliefs, it has been given many nicknames, the most common being "The Truth. Some of the more common designations are: The Way, The Friends and Workers Fellowship, Two-by-Twos, 2x2s, Cooneyites, The Fold, No-Name Church, Christian Conventions, Assemblies of Christians, The Testimony, Testimony of Jesus, Nameless House Church, Tramp Preachers, Go-Preachers, White Mice, Dippers, The Black Stockings, The Jesus-Way, The New Testament Church, Reidites, Irvinites/ Irvineites, Alberta Society of Christian Assemblies.
Many people have never heard of this group nor met anyone associated with it. The Sect does not publish any membership statistics. Wikipedia lists outside researchers who give a wide range of estimates from 300,000 to 4 million worldwide and the U.S. as 100,000-500,000. They mostly use the King James Version of the Bible and publish a hymnal titled "Hymns Old & New" pictured above. The little known religious group is divided into two classes: lay people or members (called "Friends" or "Saints") and ministers (called "Workers" or "Servants"), some of whom are shown in the photo above.
The Church Founder
The group is a little over 100 years old, and was started by a Scotsman named William Irvine around 1897-99, in Ireland. Many, if not most members of this group are unaware of the group’s short history and believe the group is the direct historical continuation of the New Testament ministry (i.e. of apostolic succession). However, their physical history has been well-documented in the newspaper: The Impartial Reporter and Farmers Journal of Enniskillen, N. Ireland; The Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker; Preserving the Truth: The Church Without a Name and Its Founder, William Irvine by Cherie Kropp, as well as numerous other books; personal letters, credible eye witness' accounts; and court cases.
Called "workers, servants, handmaidens, evangelists," they shun formal religious training and education in original Bible languages or any sort. They travel with assigned companions of the same sex, usually with an older one being in authority over the younger. They live an ascetic lifestyle and their ministers are not permitted to marry. Some of the early well known workers were Eddie Cooney, George Walker, Willie Gill, Jack Carroll, Bill Carroll, Willie Jamieson, John Hardy, Wilson McClung, Wilson Reid, James Jardine, Eldon Tenniswood.
The preachers, both men and women, attempt to follow Jesus' instructions to His disciples found in Matt. 10:5-14, Mark 6, Luke 9. They leave their homes, give away their possessions and go from place to place preaching in pairs (two and two), unmarried, living with and taking meals from those who offer their hospitality to them. They take literally Jesus' command to: "freely give as you have freely received" Matt. 10:8, accepting no salary, taking no collections and making no request for contributions. Ministers are supported by voluntary donations and make no accounting to the congregation.
Church Buildings & Assemblies/Meetings
There are two principal types of services: (1) Sunday and midweek fellowship meetings. In their services, members participate in prayers, testimonies and hymns. (2) Gospel meetings are conducted by their evangelists for the purpose of teaching and converting non-members.
The congregation meets in homes for fellowship meetings, taking literally; "God dwells not in temples made with hands" Acts 7:48, 17:24, and trying to replicate the New Testament meetings in homes. However, no restrictions are placed on sites used for their gospel meeting services. They are strongly opposed to church buildings. A frequently used slogan indicates the emphasis they place on their methods: "the ministers without a home, and the church in the home."
Annual conventions are held in most states or countries, usually for four days, three meetings per day. Size ranges roughly from 300 to 1200 attendees. Members are strongly urged to attend one complete convention per year. Convention property is owned by members. Buildings are constructed with member donated funds.
They observe Baptism by complete immersion; oppose infant baptism and sprinkling. Communion (leavened bread and grape juice or wine in a common cup) is served every Sunday, reserved for baptized members approved by ministers. Converts enter the group most often by responding to an invitation given by a worker in a gospel meeting. Previous baptisms are not recognized, and a new convert must be rebaptized by a worker.
Organization & Government
The group contends it is not an organization, religion or denomination, and that it has no headquarters. Except for rare instances, they are not incorporated. They are not tax-exempt. They are present in most countries worldwide. States, provinces or regions are controlled by a male head worker who assigns fields (geographical locations) to the workers under his authority. Each field contains various home churches, where approx. up to 35 meet, over which an "elder" presides. All overseers and elders are male. There are fewer than ten senior USA overseers, to whom the state leaders report. It is estimated the sect has between 150,000 and 175,000 members worldwide. A 1991 list of workers listed close to 2,500 ministers worldwide. Not all were able for the work, however.
How to Identify a 2x2
Ask the name of their church (don't have one)
Ask where they worship (in a home)
Ask the location of their headquarters (have none)
Ask about their ministers (go 2 and 2, don't marry, itinerant)
Ask when and where was their church started? (might claim that its was "from the beginning")
Ask who started their church (might claim that it was "started by God")
Ask the name of the hymnbook they use (Hymns Old & New)