The Church without a Name
By Kathleen Lewis
Methodology instead of Theology
The workers have mistaken the temporary instructions to the Jewish apostles in Matthew 10 as the main message of the Bible. They view the whole Bible through their interpretation of Matthew 10, Irvine’s prejudices and redefinition of words. They teach their methodology to the exclusion of almost everything else in the Bible. They believe that Christ’s message was an institution of a new ministry and church (their church) rather than the means of forgiveness for sin and salvation through faith in the Savior’s sacrifice.
The workers have led people to believe that they are the only ones in the world who understand and teach the true message of the Bible. They claim to follow the Bible completely, literally, honestly, conservatively and genuinely. They think they are the only people in the world who know God’s will and put Him first in all they believe and do. They claim to be the only ones who are unified in their understanding of scripture. In actuality, they don’t understand the Bible, they don’t teach the Bible, they aren’t united in beliefs, they don’t obey the Bible, and aren’t honest with the Bible. They don’t use it literally, or conservatively. They aren’t fundamentalists. They have changed the meanings of key words, using a symbolic/figurative approach to scripture, changing its meaning at will. They consider the workers’ words to be the Word of God, which leaves them open to continual error.
Their most glaring errors are their misuse and lack of intensive study of the Bible, their failure to teach the gospel of salvation through faith in Christ’s redemptive blood and in their view of who God is. They oppose the true gospel with every fiber of their being. And their animosity towards Christians is a clear signal of their error. Christ commanded Christians to love one another as brothers. They view Christian believers as “the enemy, unregenerate, of the devil, nominal Christians”(in name only). No matter how much time they spend reading their Bibles and going to meetings, they still have a limited understanding of what the Bible is about because they keep reading it with all of Irvine’s blindness, definitions and prejudices.
In the old days, every meeting was a tirade against Christianity, Christian pastors and worldliness. Now, this is usually done in private conversations. They encourage people to criticize other church practices, doctrine, histories or failures. This negative focus alienates people from other Christians so completely that people rarely ever trust a legitimate Christian church or pastor again. The workers “inoculate” people against Christianity. Ironically, many of the same faults they find in other churches are also found in their own, with a few more besides. Wherever the workers go they destroy people’s attitudes against the Christian faith. Even some people who never become Two by Twos don’t become Christians either if they have come in contact with workers. The workers instill cynicism and paranoia against Christians and Christian churches.
Workers point to Catholics, Unitarians, other cults, abusive, invasive hereti- cal churches or liberal “Christianity” and speak as though they are typical of Christians everywhere. They say Christians are after money instead of souls. Workers will sometimes take young people to charlatan “faith healer” meetings and mock them. They lead people to think that all Christians are like those charlatans. They speak as if Christians are required to pay for entrance into the church and heaven. They accuse Christians of being worldly and money hungry. They think that all churches claim to be “the only way” to God. Workers accuse them of “doctrines of demons,” “hirelings” and “synagogues of Satan.” They say that Christians are “sincere but sincerely wrong.” Most “workers and friends” do not know what Christians or other churches really believe, but they speak as if they do. When challenged regarding their doctrinal ignorance, they say they don’t have to know about a counterfeit to spot a counterfeit.
I Corinthians 3 is a letter written by Paul, scolding the Corinthian church for being divisive about which preachers they followed; whether Cephas, Apollos, Peter or Paul. He wasn’t criticizing Cephas, Apollos and Peter. He was scolding the Corinthian church for taking the focus away from Jesus Christ and placing it on the ministry. He reminded them how he worked for his own living as a tent maker while he was with them so that they couldn’t accuse him of taking material advantage of them.
He reminded them that other apostles and their wives and families were financially supported by other more faithful churches. He said that he too, could have a wife while he preached if he so desired. He pointed out the importance of financially providing for the promotion of the Gospel message and to support those who preach the gospel. He reminded them that Christians from Macedonia had to send him money and provisions because they themselves had not: I Corinthians 4:11-12. II Corinthians 9:1-15.
He pointed out that only he and Barnabas were working for a living because they wanted to have the freedom to preach without interference or accusations from anyone. He did not say that money is a bad thing that preachers are not supposed to have, receive or handle. In II Corinthians 11:8 Paul says, “I robbed other churches by receiving support from them so as to serve you. And when I was with you and needed something, I was not a burden to anyone, for the brothers who came from Macedonia supplied what I needed. I have kept myself from being a burden to you in any way, and will continue to do so.”
The workers use certain verses from Corinthians to support the idea of preachers preaching for free, while ignoring the whole point of the message. These letters from Paul are a rebuke to the Corinthians for their lack of support for him. They aren’t a proof text for the Two by Two way of life at all. In fact they refute the workers’ claims that preachers must be unmarried and unpaid.
Paul and Barnabas were not living like the workers, going from house to house as a lifetime career, or claiming to be penniless. They were supporting themselves with their own incomes, making tents and with the help of generous, obedient Christians. They were providing their own shelter and even giving to the poor. I Corinthians 16:1-4 Paul gave the Corinthian church instructions about giving money to the poor Christians in Jerusalem. Acts 11:29; 20:33-35; Acts 24:17; Romans 15:25-28 II Corinthians 8:1-4; 9:1-15 Galatians 2:10
The subject of money was a big issue in scripture and does not support the workers’ attitude against financial support of the ministry or charitable giving to the poor. This scripture flies in the face of William Irvine’s attitude. Jesus said more things about money than the topics of heaven and hell combined. I Corinthians 9 and 16 told the Corinthians to provide financial support to those who preach the gospel and to give money to the poor saints, things that professing people have never been taught.
The workers’ accusations against other churches take the focus off what is most glaringly wrong with their own church. It is a man-centered church. The workers and professing people are serious about their traditions of meeting in the home and unmarried preachers. Their strict commitment to their methods and rules is deceptive. While they lead people to believe that they are truly interested in God and His Word, their services are rarely focused on Him and His Word. Their services focus on the workers, the members, their experiences, their self-denial, their testimonies, their anecdotes, their revelations, their appearance, etc. Scripture is merely used as a springboard to their favorite topics. No time is given to worship God, or an in-depth, foundational teaching of His Word.
Although prayer is practiced, it isn’t a prayer of faith that God intervenes to help people understand scripture to deal with their daily cares or family problems. They ridicule that kind of prayer. They have redefined faith and prayer. Faith is in the workers and their methods. Prayer is thanking God for the workers and the Way and asking “to be worthy of His love and the opportunity to be an example to those around them.” Yet, Philippians 4:6 says, “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
And Ephesians 3:20 says, “Now to Him who is able to do far more abundantly beyond all that we ask or think, according to the power that works within us, to Him be the glory in the church and in Christ Jesus to all generations forever and ever. Amen.”
Jesus said, “Whatsoever ye shall ask in prayer, believing, ye shall receive.” He didn’t ever specify that prayers had to be spiritual and not natural. Matthew 21:22.
Romans 8:32 says “He who did not spare His own Son but gave Him up for us all, how will He not also with Him graciously give us all things?” The word “all” means all. God wants us to ask Him for all things so that we can see that He loves us and cares for our welfare.
This is not to say that He is some kind of dispensing machine in the sky. He created each of us for a special purpose and when we seek His Kingdom first, as He told us to do, He will give us the things necessary to fulfill His will, which is to do good works. Even when God doesn’t give us what we think we need or ask for, it is a tremendous relief to come to God with all our problems and worries knowing He will either give us the grace to get through the situation or He will give us what we need, eventually. That is more comforting than thinking that God doesn’t care about our lives here on earth. He put us here. He cares! The friends and workers pray, yet know very little about prayer because their view of the Holy Spirit is so low.
The workers emphasize over and over that “God isn’t interested in our natural lives. He only cares about our spiritual lives.” But God is the God of the natural world and the spiritual world. We prove our spirituality by the way we live our natural lives. There is no separation between our spiritual lives and our natural lives.
God has told us to pray and to cast our cares upon Him. Our sins are natural behavior rooted in spiritual evil.
The workers do not believe the scripture is to be taken literally or that it can even be rationally believed or understood. This is the biggest problem of the entire group.
William Irvine mocked public worship. He said, “All public worship is an abomination to the Lord.” He mocked theology, doctrine, seminaries, Sunday school or any other organized scriptural education. Irvine’s attitude towards worship, praise, theology and scriptural education has continued into the present day.
Other workers have said, “Hallelujah and Praise the Lord are empty words, without meaning or expression when said in churches.”
And, “The Lord is praised by the obedient lives of His faithful few,” meaning of course, that God is only glorified by the self- denial of workers and professing people.
The early workers circulated a long list of words with their supposed symbolic meanings of the “sun,” “moon” and “stars,” “darkness,” etc. The women who retyped all the workers’ letters thought these esoteric meanings were so “spiritual and meaningful!” Irvine’s old letters give a clue to his particular pet peeves. He frequently made derogatory remarks about “woman” and “women”. Sometimes he used the word figuratively, other times mockingly about someone in particular. He didn’t like people of wealth or people who were well respected by the public. He didn’t like Christian preachers, especially any who were well known, respected and well loved. He didn’t like educated people or educational institutions, accusing them of being “darkness”. He didn’t like Jews, or Blacks, either.
William Irvine didn’t have a cohesive theology. He had personal prejudices that he justified with a few Bible verses used out of context. Whenever workers mention theology, they explain it incorrectly, ridicule and refute it. The people, especially those who have been raised in the group, are too ignorant to spot the errors in scripture, definitions, logic and doctrine. The workers’ definitions of certain words are used incorrectly therefore, it is possible for a worker to say something that sounds doctrinally correct, when in fact, he means something entirely different. Their definitions of important biblical words usually don’t match the scriptures’ definition or the dictionary definition.
Workers typically try to intimidate people who question their doctrines by inferring that the reason they ask questions is because they are blind to God’s Truth. Therefore, the workers cannot explain anything to unwilling unbelievers who cannot understand Truth. The real reason is because the workers’ views cannot bear scrutiny because they are so full of flaws, lies, illogical reasoning, heresies, and confusion. Most people give up the process of asking questions because they become embarrassed by the workers’ behavior, or they feel sorry for the workers.
The workers have a “Knee Jerk Theology”. If other Christians do something, then they don’t do it. If other Christians believe something then they don’t believe it. If another church says something, they don’t say it, no matter what the scripture says. This is because of William Irvine’s animosity towards “Christendom”. He said Christendom was apostate and had to be totally rejected. Irvine mocked and rejected “dead orthodoxy”. He said, “Man doesn’t need doctrine, he needs the Spirit”, “Faith not Facts”. “We don’t believe in education, we believe in revelation!” Irvine’s rejection of Christianity was across the board, without scriptural explanation of specifics.
The friends and workers don’t like the word “doctrine.” It is too tedious for them. They read the Bible in order to give a one minute testimony. They don’t spend time studying the Word of God in depth so that they will know how to make decisions. They prefer mystical metaphors rather than words with real meanings. They reject “knowledge” and accuse those who do study of being the “wise and prudent,” “scribes and Pharisees”.
But I Timothy 5:17 says, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine.” Christ and the apostles warned us over and over not to be deceived by false teachers who would mislead with false doctrines, false teaching and false words. This implies that there are true doctrines, truth that can be understood or misunderstood.
Scripture tells us that those who would be misled would be simple, foolish or silly. Professing people want a quick “revelation” given to them by someone they think they can trust or a quick revelation from the Spirit. This is truly a foolish, lazy and dangerous approach towards God and His Holy Word. Paul scolded the Corinthians for still being babes in the Word, requiring milk messages.
He said they should have been mature, able to teach others. In I Corinthians 14:15-16, he emphasized the importance of speaking in the church with understanding. Although in this instance, he was reproving them of spending their time in an unknown tongue, the same reproof can be made of any church that does not teach the scripture so that people can understand and obey it. Yet the workers actually teach people not to take the scripture literally or to try to apply it to their everyday lives. The workers want professing people to stay as babes in the Word all their lives!
The revelation that the workers want people to “get” is “they are God’s True Servants and this church is His True Way.” This is the same kind of revelation that Mormons must receive: “that Joseph Smith is God’s true Prophet and that the Latter Day Saints are God’s People.” This is not the revelation that scripture gives. The Bible says that the revelation He gives us is that Jesus Christ is the eternal Creator, the Son of God, the Messiah, the sacrificial Lamb that takes away the sins of all those who believe in Him and trust in His Blood sacrifice. John 1:1-8. John 3:16
When Jesus spoke to people, His words had meaning. He said, “If you have ears, hear!” He meant for them to understand and obey what He said. He warned them to “Beware that no man deceives you.” Colossians 2 warns us that men will deceive people with false humility. The workers twist the meaning of nearly everything they preach by twisting the Words of God to different meanings. The simple and foolish accept their new definition without hesitation. People who do not believe in salvation through faith in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ often appear to be humble but their demand for regulations to be worthy of salvation is actually human pride that separates them from God and other Christians.
II Peter 1:5 says, “For this very reason, make every effort to add to your faith goodness; and to goodness, knowledge; and to knowledge, self-control; and to self-control, perseverance; and to perseverance, godliness; and to godliness, brotherly kindness and to brotherly kindness, love. For if you possess these qualities in increasing measure, they will keep you from being ineffective and unproductive in your knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
Knowledge of scripture is foundational to faith. Diligent study of Holy Scripture is how Christians keep their spiritual lives healthy, clean, fruitful and growing. William Irvine and his followers base their faith on prejudice, testimonies and allegories, not scripture. Irvine and his followers had an aversion towards knowledge, scriptural or otherwise.
Colossians 1:9-14 is Paul’s prayer, “For this reason we also do not cease to pray for you and to ask that you may be filled with the knowledge of His will in all wisdom and spiritual understanding; that you may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God; strengthened with all might according to His glorious power for all patience and long suffering with joy; giving thanks to the Father who has qualified us to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in the light. He has delivered us from the power of darkness and conveyed us into the kingdom of the Son of His love, in whom we have redemption through His blood, the forgiveness of sins.”
The workers say, “Knowledge is bad but wisdom is good.” “Doctrine is the cause of dissension among people all through the ages.” “The Bible is our doctrine,” “We have no set doctrine,” ”We get our sermons on our knees.” and they act as if doctrine is something that false churches believe and teach.
The word “know” is used over 700 times in the Bible usually meaning that people are to know God and His Word. The word “knowledge” is used about 180 times as something people are to seek.
God said to “contend for the faith,” He commands Christians to defend the faith against false doctrine. The Roman Catholic Church took a wrong turn when it made the words of church leaders equal to scripture and that is the same thing that Irvine and his followers have done. Jude 3 and in I Timothy 4 says, “to give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to sound doctrine.” Doctrine is mentioned 56 times in the Bible and is upheld as an important element of the Christian life and faith. But, what do the workers say about doctrine if you ask them? They skirt the issue with double talk. Although the workers don’t like the word “doctrine,” they love the word “gospel”.
However, they don’t actually mean the good news of Christ’s substitutionary blood that atones for the sin of all who believe. If anyone already believes in salvation through faith in Christ’s sacrifice, the workers preach against the true gospel with vigor. They attempt to make him renounce his former belief in salvation by faith. They call it a “cheap grace”. (Christ’s Blood, the sacrifice provided by God, was not cheap!) The workers dislike the hymn Amazing Grace.
The word “orthodox” means straight doctrine. II Timothy 4:3-4, says. “For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine: but after their own lust shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears: and they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” The workers don’t teach scripture and doctrine, they prefer to make up their own parables, thinking that they are imitating Christ’s teaching method. However, they are using fables. Scripture is to be taught, not refabricated.
When people ask the workers doctrinal questions in an effort to define their beliefs some workers and friends will lie and pretend that they do believe certain Christian doctrines. Don’t fall for this trick. Get it in writing.
Challenge the person who says, “Oh, sure, we believe in the Trinity.” Get him to write the definition of the Trinity on a piece of paper with his name and the date on it. Get him to put a worker’s name on it, who would verify the statement. He won’t do it because he can’t. If he says “Oh sure, we believe in Grace,” make him write his definition of Grace. They lie because they think it is more important to convince someone to attend Gospel meetings where he can receive the revelation that “the workers are the true New Testament ministry.” The revelation is more important than doctrine, scripture, truth and reality.
They often say, “Buy the Truth and sell it not.” They mean: buy salvation with your obedience to the workers. They focus all their attention on the workers and their method of having meeting in the home. They believe the gospel is the workers and the meetings in the home. They believe in form rather than in faith.
The workers accuse other Christians of loving money. Yet it appears that Two by Two followers are the true lovers of money because they don’t want to share their money with anyone, not the Lord, not the workers or the needy. Professing people don’t want to be financially responsible for evangelization, for missions, for charity, for a worker to have a family or for a church building and all the responsibility, record keeping and honesty that it entails. Some wealthy professing people will their estates to the workers after they die. They give God their leftovers, not their first fruits. The fact that the workers don’t require tithing for the Lord’s work or charity to people in need has a great appeal to some people.
It is more comfortable to think preachers should be the ones to make all the sacrifices and do all the work. Almost certainly, money was, and is, a big issue for many professing people in their opposition to established churches. Jesus said that it is harder for a rich man to get to heaven than for a camel to go through the eye of a needle. This works both ways: for church leaders and church members. He warned against the love of money which leads to selfishness and every other evil. He said that the “goats” won’t enter heaven because they refused to help the poor. The workers twist this scripture by saying that “the workers are the poor and needy because they are poor in spirit.”
Irvine and Cooney used to accuse the Bishop of Canterbury of receiving 6,000 pounds per year. Thirty years ago, workers would preach in meetings, claiming that the local Baptist preacher made $50,000 per year and that Billy Graham made $ 1 million per year, exaggerating the salaries of certain preachers, inferring they were rich. How they could ever know what a pastor’s income was, is anybody’s guess. They were making it up. Most Christian pastors of large congregations give away more than the workers give to anyone and they work harder than any worker ever thought of working. Good pastors tithe and give to charity even more than most congregation members.
The workers think forgiveness of sins is unreliable because salvation can be lost at any moment. They think that one receives forgiveness for the past when he “professes” but from then on, he must live according to all the workers’ rules or he is lost. If Jesus came back while someone was disobeying the workers, too bad! The reason they don’t believe in the doctrine of Grace is because they misunderstand the scriptures regarding salvation and rewards. They think that rewards are synonymous with salvation.
But rewards are for our good works, salvation is the result of believing in Jesus, believing He is the Son of God, Creator and Savior of our souls by shedding His Blood for us as the ultimate sacrifice for the sins of the world. Rewards can be lost if one becomes disobedient to God while in service to Him. Salvation cannot be lost if one has been truly saved. The question is: Have you been saved? The workers and friends cannot say yes because they don’t know. They don’t like people to ask them that question!
If one accepts the premise that “the Way is perfect,” meaning the church is perfect, then one must conclude that there is no need for improvement. This premise keeps the church static and without zeal or growth. The message in Revelation to the seven churches definitely proves that every church and Christian needs to monitor itself and himself, yet there is no way in this church for improvement to be made or errors corrected.
Even when the workers see the need for correction or clearer more accurate biblical teaching and want to do it, there is no way for it to be done. If they attempt it, they are reproved or excommunicated. They are told they have the wrong spirit. The head workers view change as heresy and a threat to their authority. Older workers mock the younger workers who object to problems they see in the fellowship. If the workers tried to clean up their past doctrinal mistakes and decisions people would realize that this isn’t the perfect Truth as has been claimed.
What does John 14:6 mean? “I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. No man cometh unto the Father but through me.” Jesus is the Way and the Truth — not the church or the ministry. To equate any church or ministry to being “the Way” or “the Truth” is idolatry.
Anyone who does some serious soul-searching, scripture reading, studies worker quotations, and church watching will see that the friends are attending meetings without any real zeal or understanding of God’s Word and will. Understanding His Word brings conviction, commitment and obedience just as a child is more willing to obey his parents when he understands the reasons for their instructions. The Spirit reveals truth always in conjunction with scripture. The Spirit and the Word are one. Any church that puts more emphasis on the Spirit than on the Word will find itself in trouble. The workers who ridicule study of scripture in favor of impromptu messages from the Spirit are wrong.
The most contented friends are the ones who enjoy the Bohemian, laid back lifestyle with no responsibility to encounter the world with the Bible’s message. They don’t want to reach out to the world, help the poor, speak out against sin, share the gospel or spend years of their lives studying the Bible. They like their little group to stay the way it is.
The workers sometimes use Mark 13:11 as a proof text that they don’t need to study scripture or try to understand it when they preach. They think the Holy Spirit will zap them with all they need to know. The statement by Jesus to His disciples, “whenever you are arrested and brought to trial, do not worry beforehand about what to say. Just say whatever is given you at the time, for it is not you speaking, but the Holy Spirit.” refers to those specific times of duress under persecution.
It was a comfort to the Christians facing imprisonment, torture or death to know that they would be kept by the Holy Spirit from denying their Savior and that their words would glorify God. It does not mean that Christians can neglect study of the scriptures or that the workers can say anything and have the assurance that the Holy Spirit is doing the talking. The entire Bible emphasizes the importance of reading, studying, obeying and memorizing scripture.
The Holy Spirit cannot bring something to your mind if you never learned it in the first place. It is the church’s elders’ and pastors’ job to teach the scripture. It is the Christians’ job to read, memorize and study to show ourselves approved. All Christians are supposed to do this, not just preachers. The word “disciples” means student. Christian elders and pastors are teachers. They have to be disciples before they become teachers. But William Irvine believed in “continuing revelation” and instant messaging, not in education by scripture. He did not teach the Bible and neither do the workers.
The security felt by the people in the Two by Two Church contradicts the statement made by an elder worker in private that “we will be lucky if 25 percent of the people make it to heaven.”
Examine Their Fruit
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thorn bushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.” Matthew 7:15-20
The workers are wolves in sheep’s clothing. There is great harm in their association and now that over 100 years have come and gone, it is easier to see the damage that they have done. The workers’ intrusion into the personal lives and homes of professing people places a great deal of stress on everyone, especially the workers. Depression is common among the friends and workers. A large amount of “friends” and workers routinely use anti-depressants and other medication for nerve related problems. There is hidden alcoholism, panic attacks, phobias, compulsive disorders and fear of people. Some people feel overwhelmed by the pressure of conforming to expectations that don’t make sense to them. The demand for the Two by Two rules leads some to feel that life isn’t worth living.
There have been cases of suicide and more who have considered suicide, including workers. There is also a high rate of stress-related illnesses. Why should a group of people who insist that they alone have the Spirit and peace in Christ be so troubled with stress and emotional disorders?
Outsiders are sometimes impressed with the quiet, wholesome demeanors of the people. There are probably some contented professing people, but for others, this is a mask. Anyone who exercises his own viewpoints or logic will be rebuked or looked down on if he verbalizes it. The friends are not allowed to verbalize or admit their unhappiness even to themselves.
The traits most admired within the group are: Submission, self denial, biblical ignorance and silence. People who accept the restrictions placed on their activities and minds, and who never ask questions are held in the highest regard. Those who ask questions about scripture, doctrine or workers’ policies are accused of being “murmurers” or “unwilling”. Murmurers are compared to those who rebelled against Moses. This is considered the worst sin of all. If anyone, worker or friend, verbalizes or exhibits his own scriptural convictions, people report on him to the workers or elders. This person will then become a target of a whisper campaign or shunning.
Anxiety is created by the stress put on the children to become workers. Some workers emphasize that if God calls a person into the ministry, he is doomed to failure or a life of trouble or sorrow if he fails to obey God’s call to be a worker. Children are sometimes made to feel that all the people in the world will go to a lost eternity unless there are people willing to become workers. Serious minded young people are urged to consider staying single to become workers. Someone who joins this church as a married adult cannot understand the stress created by this kind of expectation.
Denial of one’s own God-given personality, logic and talents destroys confidence, honesty, and courage. Confusion of scripture destroys people’s rational logic and decision making abilities. Truthfulness and truth are paramount to mental and spiritual health and well-being. It is difficult to think rationally and make logical decisions if truth is mishandled or twisted with deceitful words and definitions.
Biblical truth is the foundation for honesty in business transactions, security in family relationships, trust of one another, security of possessions, faithfulness in marriages. Truth is the source of happiness, peace, trust in political and judicial decisions, respect and love for others. Truth makes cognitive thought processes possible. It is necessary for good financial decisions, science and medical decisions. When truth is tampered with through mishandling scripture and redefinition of words, then every part of life is affected.
In this fellowship, truth and reality are ignored; loyalty and conformity to the workers and the Way is paramount. Uniformity is demanded in lieu of unity. Doctrine is exchanged for dogma. Individuality is squelched. Personal gifting and calling from God is ignored. Members sometimes report on other members and shun, lecture or treat a nonconformist with disapproval.
If anyone expresses Christian beliefs in his or her testimonies he or she will be treated in several indirect, negative ways so that the person may not be aware of why he or she is being targeted for disapproval. Christian beliefs and statements are not acceptable within this group. They are more reprehensible than immorality in the workers’ eyes because the workers fear biblical thought. The workers will not directly acknowledge their objections because they don’t want people to notice doctrinal distinctions. People with biblical understanding are treated as if they have mental problems.
Friends and workers alike are corrected for transgressing some unwritten rule or for wrong attitudes, non-submission or supposed “worldliness.” The people are so well trained that they are very sensitive to a harsh look, strained voice or the cold shoulder. People are not allowed to verbally defend themselves, either. If a member or even a worker is corrected, it is unacceptable to tell his or her side of the story.
Members are very dependent on approval of others. If the worker cannot get the person to knuckle under, he or she will warn everyone to stay away from the person. This is very effective in keeping others from learning what the alienated person knows or has experienced.
Some workers are more prone to excommunicate people than others. Excommunication is done to protect the system and the head workers, not to correct a problem of sin. Notice III John verses 9-11, “..but Diotrephes, who loveth to have the preeminence among them, receiveth us not. Wherefore, if I come, I will remember his deeds which he doeth, prating against us with malicious words: and not content therewith, neither doth he himself receive the brethren, and forbiddeth them that would and casteth them out of the church.” This passage of scripture describes Diotrephes, who wanted a position of leadership and was speaking against the apostles, trying to cut off their influence by forbidding people to have fellowship with them, using excommunication as a threat towards those who did not comply.
William Irvine was a 19th-century Diotrephes. He was an apostate who turned against the Christian pastors and fellowship (The Faith Mission) who had ministered to him. He started his own fellowship and in turn his followers did the same thing to him and to others who followed them. This policy has continued to this day and the people who suffer from it the most are workers. However, the workers in charge keep all this quiet, so that other friends and workers never know what really happened, or why someone disappeared from the work or fellowship. The workers in charge convey the impression that the person was guilty of some sin, or that he or she chose to leave. And in some cases, there is some serious sin involved but the sin is not dealt with. It is swept under the rug and hidden. If the sins were confessed and brought into the light of day people would lose their respect for the workers and the group and realize the fellowship isn’t successful in producing Christlike lives as they have claimed.
There have been workers excommunicated for teaching that Jesus Christ was the Creator rather than just a man. A sister worker 59 years old was put out of the work for trying to help people with alcoholism and child abuse. There have been workers put out of the way because they taught salvation by faith through grace rather than salvation by workers. Workers and elders have been excommunicated for befriending excommunicated friends or workers. Irvine excommunicated someone for refusing to say that John Wesley was of the devil. But workers who have molested children, had babies out of wedlock, committed adultery, exposed themselves, or practice homosexuality are not usually excommunicated. If the sin is discovered, they are sent to another field, take a leave of absence for a year, or asked to leave the work and the immorality is hushed up completely.
Some people resent all the unwritten rules and feel that the rules have taken all the joy out of life. They suffer from depression on a regular basis. But if they thought about it, they might realize that the reason they are so unhappy is because they don’t feel saved or forgiven. Guilt hangs like a gloom cloud. The workers encourage this guilt at every meeting. Young and old alike feel, “what’s the use?” No matter how they try they can never be good enough. The aimlessness and mindlessness of the way of life contribute to a numbing boredom.
The people are lulled into an irresponsible attitude towards God, life and the rest of the world. Life seems pointless and doesn’t make sense. Some actually look forward to death to escape the pointlessness of existence. They suffer from the lack of thinking for themselves. There are some people who enjoy this way of life, but it is ironic to hear them talk. They say, “Well, I don’t go along with all the things the workers say. I think ….” The people who are the most content don’t really believe what the workers teach. They just keep quiet about what they think. Is that what God wants? That is hypocrisy.
Pedophilia, homosexuality, fornication, pornography and adultery are not uncommon problems among the “friends and workers.” There have been cases of rape and molestation of children covered with secrecy. Children have suffered terribly from the emotional stress produced by this kind of behavior from someone they believe represents God.
Parents who complained that their young son had been molested (by a brother worker over a period of years) were told by the head worker of California, “Well, since the workers aren’t married, this sort of thing happens from time to time.”
The parents were expected to shut up and accept the response without further complaint, which they did. The boy suffered emotional problems for the rest of his life as a result of the abuse, not to mention alienation from God. Sexual sins among the workers aren’t cause for excommunication or reproof. In Irvine’s view, marriage was the problem rather than sexual activity. There is a case in California in which one brother worker, a pedophile, went to the overseer to confess that he had a problem molesting children. The overseer said, “Go back to your field.” He did and he continued to molest. The workers blame the children for tempting them.
Irvine set the groundwork for hiding workers’ sexual activity by his attitude and warning about scandal. He wrote, “Sin, iniquity and guile are all various marks of what we need to get rid of to enjoy His best and our own thoughts about other’s transgressions and sins is more dangerous to us than their transgressions and sins are to them. Notice that one breath of accusation of others for their sins, either getting out of our mouth or into our ears is more dangerous than all the sin of your life; and this is where people may expect discipline.”
In other words, keep your mouth shut about immorality and scandal or you will be in trouble instead of the sinner. The senior workers feel this is absolutely necessary for the reputation of the church and the successful continuation of their lifestyle. Irvine’s attitude isn’t what the Bible teaches at all. Brother workers often blame women for the brothers’ transgressions, by referring to Samson and Delilah’s story.
The congregation assumes that the ministry is celibate since it is unmarried.
However, the workers say very little about this subject. Most statements refer to the fact that the workers have given up their occupations and chance for a family and home. In cases where their adultery becomes known, the workers are moved to another field or will leave the work for a year or sometimes completely. It seems to depend on how public the information gets or who is involved. The workers are often aware of the sexual activity of one another.
One brother worker used scripture to defend his adultery with married women. He claimed that Jesus had affairs with women. A head worker seduced young sister workers for years. He felt God forgave him. He thought nothing of the anguish it created for the sister workers. Some workers have died of AIDS. One worker who had several adulterous affairs in numerous states said, “Well, I only had affairs with eligible women,” He didn’t display any conscience about God’s Word, nor did he offer to marry or take responsibility for any of the women he had seduced. There have been children fathered by brother workers that were given up for adoption among the friends. Sister workers and young women had to give up their babies for adoption because the brother workers weren’t men enough to take responsibility for their sexual behavior.
Rarely does the congregation ever know about it. And yet, those same workers would find fault with people for ridiculous things never mentioned by God’s Word, such as sports activities, jewelry, denim clothes, the color or style of shoes, ties, watchbands, nice homes and yards, even mustaches and beards. These same workers pronounce a lost eternity to professing people who get divorced and remarried. Amazingly, there are married professing men who defend adulterous brother workers. What does that say about their morality? This obviously isn’t repentance or self-denial.
Some people think that the workers’ sexual immorality is because they aren’t married, but that isn’t true. It is the result of not being born again or of sexual addiction, or demonic bondage. There are married people with these same problems. Sexual addicts believe they have a right to this activity. These are serious sins against the Lord that the workers should warn people about. Instead, nothing is said.
People are left with the impression that such things are not possible among the Two by Twos. Two by Twos are quick to condemn the behavior of Catholic priests and nuns yet their own workers are just as prone to failure as anyone else. This kind of behavior is not surprising in a church that does not believe scripture applies to natural daily life. The Books of I and II Timothy, Titus and Jude indicate that those who fall into moral sin forfeit their position of teaching and leadership in the church. Paul said in I Corinthians 9:27 that he had to keep his body under control so that after having preached to others he would not be disqualified for the prize. He was talking about the rights of an apostle in this chapter and the prize he was referring to was the prize he would receive in heaven for being an apostle. He was not referring to his salvation but his reward in heaven for his place as a leader in the church.
Scripture + Workers = Ignorance
There is no power in the workers’ preaching, but plenty of emotion and guilt. Members are lukewarm and unable to explain their own faith to others except to speak of it in negative statements, “We have no name, no organization, no church buildings, the ministry does not marry, we take no collections, have no TVs, the women wear no makeup, no pants, we don’t dance, don’t drink, don’t play in sports, don’t mingle with the world, etc.” This inability to explain their faith may bother some of the workers but it is really the church doctrine, ignorance and lack of scriptural teaching that produces the people’s lack of conviction or understanding.
A good church and pastor allows people to think for themselves and warns against moral sin. This church warns people against thinking for themselves and says next to nothing against moral sin.
At a 1988 Glenn Valley, B.C. convention an older brother worker scolded the congregation for attending athletic events. He even said, “The workers are keeping a growing list of members who attend sports events.” It is remarkable that workers who failed to openly condemn adultery, homosexuality, fornication, abortion, alcoholism and drug use could condemn someone for attending a hockey or football game. Didn’t Jesus condemn the Pharisees for straining at a gnat and swallowing a camel?
Now in 2004, many professing people participate in athletic events on a regular basis. Have the workers changed their minds about the sinfulness of sports or is it just the friends who have changed? Will they change any of their heretical, cultic doctrines and inaccurate handling of scripture? What do the friends think about the removal of the ban against sports? Do they even remember that just a few years ago these things were taboo? The workers mocked the Catholics for changing the rules about eating fish on Friday and now the workers are changing a few false rules but they don’t announce it or admit it.
Why don’t the friends remember or admit what the workers once taught? They hear them speak at least twice a week. Members seem to create their own religious reality, living in a little dream world. They need to look at old letters and meeting notes to verify what the workers have said.
Occasionally when people hear about moral or legal problems in the church, the workers will say, “The people aren’t perfect but the “Way” is perfect.” Jesus who is the “Way” is perfect but this church is not perfect and it is wrong to pretend that any system composed of people on earth can be perfect. How can they mock imperfection in other churches when the people in this church aren’t any better and often times worse? The policy of hiding the sin of workers and friends is deceitful and harmful.
The early workers used the story of Noah’s drunkenness in which Ham told his brothers about his father’s condition and was cursed. They erroneously concluded that people are to cover the sin of their church brethren. They would quote Proverbs 10:12, “ love covers a multitude of sins.” But, that verse is not an admonition to ignore or hide sin. It is an admonition to love people in spite of their sins. When anyone in the church, especially someone with status, is caught in sin, it is diligently hidden, but woe unto those without status for they are scorned. Those who know of a worker’s or elder’s sin are cautioned or threatened not to tell others of the situation. “Say as little as possible.”
Irvine never married the mother of his child although he did contribute money for his son’s upbringing out of the funds given to him by his followers, which is more than other brother workers have done for their illegitimate children
The early workers’ favorite Bible story was about Noah. It was their picture preview of God’s will. They liked the two by two march of the animals, the fact that the whole world was destroyed and only 8 people survived. They liked to infer that the same ratio was going to be in heaven, because “ few there be that find the Truth.” Heaven will only be populated by those that manage to obey the workers until they die.
Look at the story of David’s sin with Bathsheba. God told Nathan to reprove David. God made the story well known and a lesson to the world today. The Bible says to reprove sin and then to forgive after it is repented. This does not mean to smear people with shame, talk about them behind their backs, or to be unkind to them. People are to be treated kindly and urged to repent and avoid the error.
There is so little teaching done in the areas of morality that the congregation is ripe for deception in this area. Humans are quick to rationalize immorality. It is very easy to give in to sin when one has no conviction or understanding of God’s Word on the matter. Why don’t they have a better understanding of scriptural morality? Because they use those verses metaphorically and spiritualize them to apply to “spiritual adultery.” The workers are quick to condemn divorce as adultery but they don’t use the word “adultery” in relation to themselves when they commit it. The workers do not use or teach scriptural thinking and reasoning.
There have been cases of professing people who needed counsel to deal with severe problems, such as financial trouble, gambling, incest, anger, alcoholism, drug dependency, sexual deviance, suicidal depression, child abuse, or marital sexual difficulties. It is obvious that the Spirit they claim to possess isn’t helping. The workers fall to temptation as often as the friends. Few professing couples would ever consider asking a worker about sex, physical abuse, alcoholism, grief, depression, money or any other personal subject.
Christian pastors tackle every subject, for they know they are responsible for feeding the sheep. If they don’t feel adequate to the task of difficult subjects, they invite other pastors who are gifted and trained in those areas to speak to the church. And of course, Christian churches do have moral sin and divorce problems. But, if they are honest, they don’t ignore them, they deal with them.
Responsible pastors of healthy Christian churches do not privately counsel the women of the church. They use older women who are trained in the scripture and in counseling to teach the younger. Counsel is first given to the entire congregation and then if anyone needs further help, private counseling sessions are arranged. If it is a family problem then the husband and wife are counseled together or encouraged to attend Christian marriage seminars. Large churches have regular marriage counseling sessions year round, as well as premarital counseling and Christian financial classes to teach good stewardship.
Some men have been angered at the way workers privately approach their wives without their presence or prior knowledge regarding the rules of the church or discipline of the children. The men feel that their private lives have been invaded or discussed without having been consulted. Pressure is put on the timid member to submit and then in turn, the rest of the family is coerced into compliance. The group mindset drives a wedge between husbands and wives. The Bible says that the head of the home is the husband. It doesn’t say the workers are the head of the home. If a worker doesn’t like something, he or she should talk to the husband and wife together, even if the husband isn’t professing.
Professing children and people have gone to their teachers or the police to report the sexual or financial crimes committed against them by other professing people but rarely does the congregation ever hear of these situations. Most of the time people keep quiet about these problems because their own families and friends are so closely involved that they don’t want any publicity. Pastors and teachers are required by law to report sexual abuse of children to the authorities, yet that law is usually ignored because within the Two by Twos, the workers are above the law.
The children are sent to public school. Public schools pose problems for the children that their parents never dealt with. The children face rejection, physical threats, ridicule, witchcraft, Hinduism through yoga and mantras, ideological challenges, evolution, atheism, drugs, gangs, homosexual attitudes and behavior, racist attitudes, moral choices and peer pressure that their parents don’t know about.
There is no provision made to help the children deal with the almost daily situations they face. Children are reminded, “Dare to be a Daniel, dare to stand alone.” They are sometimes exposed to childish cruelty, violence and even scorn from adults for their attempts to follow William Irvine’s rules against “worldliness”. The older workers who insist upon these rules have no idea of the stress they impose on these young people. The workers don’t provide any Christian curriculum or teaching that would give children a Biblical worldview. The workers do not approve of Christian education. They wouldn’t consider establishing their own schools as other churches have done. That would be too much work! God forbid that they would have to work or get involved with the cares of life!
Jesus involved himself in the cares of life! The cares of life aren’t sins. The cares of life are life! We just aren’t supposed to let the cares of life destroy our faith or relationship with God. Yet, if scripture isn’t taught, this is exactly what happens.
The workers believe in protecting the adults from any close affiliation with the outside world, especially Christianity, yet young children are thrown to the winds in the secular public school system without any scriptural education against immorality, satanic or atheistic beliefs. All the workers care about is if the girls wear dresses and no makeup and their hair in buns.
Irvine said that education was motivated by pride, greed for money or authority over other people. He and the other workers didn’t care about people’s responsibility to protect and nurture their families in accordance with God’s first command to be fruitful, to multiply, to replenish the earth, to subdue the earth and have dominion over nature. They ignored the hundreds of scriptural admonitions to seek wisdom and knowledge.
Irvine once wrote, “The reason I stick to my bad penmanship is that some day people will be able to read what comes from my pen, in contrast to much other men have written.”
“If religion, education and politics could save us then we have plenty and to spare but it’s only bringing on greater wrath, as they carry on their Godless show, so to keep clear of all such, is our first step as you can see from Rev. 18: ‘Come out of her my people.’ If people hear this and obey they will very soon find comfort, hope and assurance in their own heart and life, and be able to offer the same to all who hear and obey.”
Irvine had a grudge against almost everything and everyone. Similar to the Jehovah’s Witnesses Watchtower, he made comments about current events, looking for anything he could to link it to his version of scripture. During the war his letters quite often alluded to “atomic power” as if he knew all about it. He would compare God’s activity to atomic power. He compared floods, electricity, earthquakes to atomic power.
At one point he wrote, “Atomic power that is always working in the earth poured out waters as well as rain. You can see how a man can switch on current and the 1,000 or million lights in a big city and can switch it off and so we have the black-out. All we have been seeing and hearing during the war may be to point to what’s coming in the 2 witness period and 2nd woe.”
It would be helpful if the friends would read William Irvine’s ridiculous diatribes, bad penmanship and typing. Just as Charles Taze Russell repudiated education among Jehovah’s Witnesses, the early workers warned people against education. Up through the late 1950s people were discouraged against vocational or university education. Some dropped out of high school before graduation at the suggestion of the workers. Many of the early workers dropped out of school at the 6th or 8th grade. This attitude against education has changed, somewhat, in recent years. The workers viewed ignorance as the way to godliness.
In 1954, at Chelan Convention, Willie Jamieson gave a rousing sermon against education, ending it with this statement, “You rich professing people have to keep your hands out of your pockets and you educated people have to learn to keep your mouths shut!” That was typical of the early workers to pepper their sermons with shocking statements unrelated to scripture. Their tirades were very entertaining at times.
Willie’s statement was because Jack Carroll had asked some of the friends to store some gold for him. The friends were shocked to find out that Jack had so much money. There was a law in the United States against owning gold at the time and the friends could have gotten in trouble for storing his gold. However, most of the people who heard Willie’s statement had no idea what he was talking about. The ones who did know were excommunicated.
Hayden Lake Convention in Washington was closed down due to the convention owners’ objections to Jack Carroll’s hidden wealth. Jack also had a sister worker as a mistress. The senior workers feel that they are justified in whatever they do because they are God’s servants, above the law. They feel no shame in telling people they are without purse, yet they have lots of money in the bank. Lies are lies. Why not tell the truth; especially when you call yourselves “the Truth?”
It is interesting to read Jack Carroll’s letters on certain topics. He was smooth as silk in the way he said things. He is an excellent example of a wolf in sheep’s clothing. Only someone who knew what he was talking about and why he was saying what he said would ever know the reasons for the letters. The real point of his letters and sermons are buried beneath a lot of sweet sounding words and flowery phrases.
The workers said,
“Moses spent forty years in the wilderness getting the education of Egypt out of his system.”
“Solomon’s wisdom didn’t keep him out of trouble” and criticized the “wise and the prudent”.
If a person is very familiar with workers’ sermons they will often hear the same story with lots of variations. One time a worker told an interesting story in gospel meeting and when asked about it later he admitted without any embarrassment that the story wasn’t true. He laughed and said that he often told parables that weren’t true just to illustrate his point. This is a verification of II Timothy 4:4, “They will turn their ears away from truth and turn aside to fables.”
Tharold Sylvester said, “God wants faith, not facts. We aren’t saved by what we believe. We are saved by having the right Spirit.”
That isn’t what John 3:16 says.
The worker’s line of reasoning is “spirit” versus “intellect”. They are fond of saying, “You will never learn anything by Bible study. The only way you get understanding is on your knees.” This conflicts with God’s Word, “Study to show yourself approved,” “Come now and let us reason together,” and scriptural injunctions “to seek wisdom and knowledge as for hid treasure.” The workers believe we are saved by our attitude towards the workers more than by our belief and understanding of God’s Word. The workers don’t want people to do any thinking at all.
We must have a basic understanding of what God is saying before we can ever obey it. It is true that prayer must accompany Bible Study. And it is true that one must have the Holy Spirit in order to believe and obey scripture. But it isn’t true that one can just be zapped with some revelation and claim to have the Spirit in order to intimidate others into accepting whatever he or she says. That is the same attitude behind some people who claim to be speaking in tongues or to have a “word from the Lord.” There is no way to validate such a claim except to examine scripture diligently as the Bereans did.
The workers build their own credibility with each meeting and tear down the credibility of Christian pastors and doctrinal theology. They also control what information the people are allowed to know. Mind control is the basic factor ruling this church, not God.
The workers’ line of reasoning is an “either-or” mentality, in which they really mean “insiders” versus “outsiders”. It isn’t really “white” versus “black” as they would like one to believe or even “good” versus “evil,” or God versus Satan. It is the workers’ system versus anything that disagrees with the workers or the system. Members and workers suffer a lot until they finally realize the basic philosophy of the group and realize that God’s Word is the real Truth, not the workers’ system.
The people accept the workers’ statements without questioning the reasoning behind them. Think! God is the Word. God created the use of language for the distinct purpose of conveying information about Himself, His creation, His purpose, His future plans, His plan of salvation, His Son. Language must be used in a logical, rational fashion or it makes no sense. God is not a God of confusion.
One of the roles Christ-filled on earth was as a teacher, and his followers were called disciples, which means students. This relationship establishes the importance of teaching and education in the Christian faith. The metaphor of “Light” that Jesus used to refer to Himself and His followers is clearly that of wisdom and scriptural knowledge. Ralph Sines said, “We shouldn’t be as concerned about the interpretation of God’s Word as we should be about the application of it.”
It is wrong to ridicule education, especially education in scripture. If one opposes education, in general, he will soon be swallowed up in darkness. The early workers and professing people were proud of their lack of education, scriptural or otherwise. Definitions of words and good grammar are basics to communication and understanding. Incorrect grammar and inadequate vocabularies keep people from thinking clearly. It is easier to confuse people who can’t think logically. Most problems stem from faulty definitions of important words. Words can be used to teach or to deceive so it is imperative to have a good vocabulary and to beware of bad logic and inaccurate use of scripture. Workers and friends alike have a fear of unfamiliar words and have an emotional response to words that they think are complicated. They also have little interest in history. These attitudes have created enormous problems in their view of truth and reality.
Knowledge of history is a key element in the educational process. Why did God put the early history of the world and the salvation process in writing for us? So we would know He is our Creator and deserves our respect and obedience. That is the only way we could know that we are sinners and how we can have our sins forgiven and receive eternal life with Him. The workers have said the Bible is “a dead history book if one is without the Spirit” meaning it is dead unless a worker interprets it. This is a lie and an affront to the power of God and His Word. The Word of God is living, all-powerful, and perfect. Jesus said in Matthew 22:29 and Mark 12:24, “Ye do err, not knowing the scriptures, or the power of God.”History is a continuing process that God has used to draw people to Him.
The old adage, “Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it” is very true. And those who ignore scripture will be deceived by false teachers and deceitful workers. While it takes faith and God’s Spirit to believe the scripture, it doesn’t mean that the scripture is incomprehensible. Understanding it leads us to believe it and obey it. People can understand the Bible without the workers. They just have to take the time to read it all, over and over again. Even atheists can understand much of the Bible. That’s why they hate God’s Word.
The early workers’ bad attitude towards education had a definite purpose behind it. They couldn’t subjugate people who thought and read for themselves. It is true that secular education is opposed to scripture and scriptural logic. However, it is better to confront secular reasoning with scripture and sound logic than to belittle education altogether.
Rational people check the facts and then say, “It is true, therefore, I believe it.” Irrational people say, “I believe it, therefore it is true.” This is the kind of reasoning promoted by the workers. If the workers say something, it is true, no matter what the historical facts are, no matter what the Bible says!
Irvine’s attitude against education was because he was against everything that normal Christianity has been for. Christianity has been the driving force for education since the time of Christ. The workers have consistently formed their opinions more by what they are against than by what the scripture says.
Historic Christianity has always respected sound scholarship, study of language and history. Serious study of the scriptures fell into disrepute when too much emphasis was put on faith and the leading of the Spirit. It is a misuse of the word “ faith” when it is connected to ignorant, blind obedience. Faith does not require ignorance or dumb, unquestioning attitudes. The Holy Spirit does not zap people with understanding, nor does He zap us with lightning if someone misinterprets scripture.
The Holy Spirit transforms and uses the mind of the believer but does not discard or bypass it. Faith is built on knowledge of the scripture. Like children who learn from mistakes, human beings sometimes misunderstand scripture and make mistakes. If they are honest, and listen to the Holy Spirit, they will eventually see their mistake and correct it. Scripture can be confusing if it isn’t carefully studied because some passages seem to conflict with other passages until they are carefully analyzed. God encourages us to dig into His Word as for hid treasure and He rewards those who obey Him. God’s Word is the Truth. Truth can withstand examination. God is big enough to give us answers. Man glorifies God when he uses his mind to full capacity, not when he exists in ignorance.
The Holy Spirit sheds light on Scripture; it doesn’t reveal new information. The way of the Spirit is the way of the Word. The Spirit says nothing apart from the Word. The Word and the Spirit are one. I John 5:7
Many people are drawn to the workers’ message and method because it appears simple and uncomplicated. Small group meetings in homes are a real attraction. There is nothing wrong with simplicity and a loose organizational structure. There are other Christian groups who function simply. But it is wrong to say that a certain method of meeting or a certain meeting place affects salvation.
It is wrong to deny the fact that secret decisions by workers have been made. These secrets adversely affect everyone in the church. It is wrong to lie about the history of the church. It is wrong to excommunicate people or refuse to baptize them for unscriptural reasons. It is wrong to change the meaning of scripture through misuse of words.
It is wrong to ignore most of what the Bible says in order to promote a false premise. It is wrong to abuse people in the Name of God by deceitfully using the scripture as a whip. It is wrong to ignore scriptural education. It is wrong to say there are no rules when there obviously are many rules by which people are judged, shamed and shunned. It is wrong to pick and choose whom to allow into the meetings.
It is wrong to let workers have adulterous and perverse affairs and shuttle them around the world without dealing with their offenses or taking responsibility for their mistakes. It is wrong to say that other Christians are going to hell when they actually are more scriptural and obedient than the workers and professing people are. It is wrong for the workers to pretend to be more obedient to the Bible than other Christian pastors when they aren’t. It is wrong to praise the workers instead of God.
It is wrong to ignore orphans, widows and the poor and needy. It is wrong to claim to be the only ones who love God and man and yet harbor secret racism. It is wrong to say a method of preaching and meeting is salvation instead of preaching faith in Christ’s Blood as our salvation. It is wrong to ignore doctrinal issues or lie about them. It is wrong to call something The Truth when it is a Lie. It is wrong not to teach the facts about Creation and that the Creator is the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It is wrong to deny that the workers control a great deal of money and have no checks and balances about how it is used.
II Corinthians 4:2, Paul says, “But we have renounced the hidden things of shame, not walking in craftiness nor handling the word of God deceitfully, but by manifestation of the truth commending ourselves to every man’s conscience in the sight of God.” Paul did not handle the scripture using deceitful definitions of words. Paul and the other apostles renounced sin, the hidden things of shame. They did not walk in craftiness. Paul and his companions were not homosexuals and adulterers going around telling people how to run their marriages and families.
There are some workers who are trying as hard as they can to obey scripture, yet the leaders, the head workers circumvent and prevent them from teaching the Bible, helping the people to obey it. There are friends who are true Christian who are earnest in their faith in God. They are trying to live the Bible and raise their children to obey it, yet they are not getting the information they need to do it. The system is just plain wrong. It has been wrong since William Irvine led his converts away from Christian teaching. Any Christians among the workers and friends are Christians in spite of the Way, not because of it.
Teaching Children About Christ
Parents are told that it is their responsibility to teach their children by example. A few workers will ask the children questions before speaking in gospel meeting. However, the questions are usually irrelevant and do little to educate anyone. Parents are told to be a good example, get to every meeting and the Spirit will do the rest. They are told to teach their children at every moment, while sitting, walking, etc. (Deuteronomy 6:7). They think that the example of the parents is the teaching. Do children learn to read and write simply by watching their parents read and write? No! There is a conscious process of teaching certain skills and logic. “Example” is only the first step of the process of learning anything. The same holds true for scriptural education. Aside from teaching the children to memorize the books of the Bible, very few professing parents actually teach their children anything about the Bible because they know so little about it themselves.
When parents fail in raising children who respect God, the parents are made to feel that some secret sin of theirs botched up the job. The workers even confide to others, “Oh, they just didn’t …. .” Or, “they were …..,” etc. The workers don’t have to live with the misery of the parent watching their children living in rebellion against them and against God. One worker made a teenage boy so mad that he got in his car and drove it into a tree, killing himself. Another worker told a woman she couldn’t marry again, so the woman jumped off a reservoir and drowned. The parents are unable to tell the children what scripture says about making decisions because they haven’t learned what it says themselves. The workers tell people to teach their children but very few parents do. How can they?
The tradition of the church is not adequate to the task of raising children. The majority of the children raised in this church do not trust God or His scripture although they believe that “The Truth” is “the Only Way and the true church of God.” Some children raised in this group develop emotional problems, moral problems, social problems, or marital problems. Some children raised in the group never get married. They just live with someone in sin because they have never been taught respect for matrimony and they fear the discipline of divorce, which many workers view as the unforgivable sin.
There are a few workers who have conducted young people’s studies and meetings especially for children and teenagers. But they are in the minority and even then, most of the focus is on the appearance rules rather than on scripture.
At the end of fifty years, the older people know little more than they knew when they first professed. A whole book could be written on the weird things that people and workers have said in their testimonies. If any outsider were to ask them what their hope of salvation was, they would immediately begin to describe their church and the ministry, rather than to tell how Jesus changed their lives. Few of them would be able to give an explanation of the Bible’s message.
Real Christians view childhood as the best time to reach people for Christ. They know it is better to teach Christian doctrine, principles, and family life to young people than to wait until they are hardened in sin and idolatry. They believe it is important to teach young people to find their entertainment in healthy pastimes with other Christians than to get involved in destructive pleasures. Christians train their young people to go on short-term missions to foreign countries and to present the gospel in another language, in concerts or in skits and plays. They take young people to foreign countries and teach them to build homes, orphanages, colleges and medical facilities for poor Christians there.
Christians approach youth ministry in a variety of ways. They urge parents to teach their own children and they provide materials that can be understood by parents and children. And they also provide Bible studies, classes, retreats and youth programs within the church or community. People can participate in any number of avenues for scriptural education. It is better to have a variety of opportunities than none at all. In this way the Church body is able to use all its members for the glory of God.
Two by Twos mock other Christian churches for their outreach to children. They think organized activities for children and teens are a foolish waste of time.
Growing Up In The Way
People who come into this church from other Christian churches are more apt to believe this is “the Perfect Way” than those who are raised in it. Someone who goes through childhood in this church sees many discrepancies between what is said and what is done. Their conformity comes from the workers not from God. They have seen that those who are the most obedient to the workers are frequently emotionally unstable. This discredits God in their eyes.
Someone joining the church as an adult has not been subjected to the conditioning, mind control and guilt for a whole lifetime so they aren’t as adversely affected by it as someone who is raised in this church. Moreover, an adult convert is treated differently than children raised in the group. New professing people are usually wrapped in a cocoon of flattery and attention that insulates them from the undercurrents of tension and hidden problems. Children are sometimes mistreated by workers. Two by Twos are ingrained with the idea of being “good examples.” They are conditioned to never talk about something that would discourage others, especially prospective or new members. But children don’t matter so much.
People raised in this church have been taught that this is the only “Way,” that they are the only ones on earth with an understanding of God’s Word. One worker said,“We are the only people in the world who believe in the resurrection. ”They get a real shock when they meet Christians who really know the scripture better than they do. This is embarrassing and causes them to shy away from Christians in order to keep from humiliating themselves. In turn, this prevents them from finding out what Christians know and believe.
What is it like to grow up in this church? Of course, it all depends on what one’s family is like, so it is impossible to generalize. Growing up without a lot of worldly entertainment is a real advantage although sometimes a child doesn’t always see it that way. The children have been protected from the influence of television, although many of them watch it at friends’ homes and are as damaged from it as their worldly friends are. Some are even more damaged by it because they haven’t been taught to pick and choose between good and evil. A better approach to entertainment is to teach children discernment within it, than to forbid it altogether.
Due to the fact that there are a few Christians who blindly stumble into the group there are some families that are healthier than others. Some parents communicate with their children more kindly than others. There are benefits to living in a professing home if it is healthy. The protection from worldliness and the experience of denying self is good, up to a point.
Generally speaking, some children learn to live two lives. This is more common if the parents are particularly strict. The children behave one way at school and differently with parents and church. This duality is destructive. It isn’t a hypocritical mechanism as much as a survival instinct. The pressure the children receive in both places is overwhelming and this is the only way they can handle it. Some professing people think this duality is normal because they view their spiritual life as separate from their natural life.
The isolation of the Way captivates the minds of the children rather than protecting them from evil. Children are expected to look like adults and adults are expected to think like children.
The workers live in even more of a bubble than the friends do. They aren’t required to interact with the world at all and can’t relate to real life in a practical way. The workers live a monastic sort of life even though they are surrounded by others who must participate in life.
The restrictions against Christian traditions creates a sterility of family life because life’s good memories should be moments surrounding one’s love, worship and commitment to God. The only real tradition that the people are allowed is the annual Convention. This is the high point of one’s year and many look forward to it with anticipation. People are expected to attend all four days, staying on the grounds. Proper indoctrination isn’t possible unless people are there for every meeting. Women and children seem to enjoy the conventions more than men who often try to find excuses not to attend. Conventions are dull. Workers promote attendance in every way they can. Conventions are viewed as the cure for every doubt, every sin, every question. Teens view them as opportunities to meet other professing young people.
The prohibition against celebrating Christmas in remembrance of Christ’s birth is confusing to children. They attend public school where every other child is buzzing with excitement over putting up the tree and looking forward to gifts, participating in church programs, talking about Jesus, caroling and collecting food for the poor.
Two by Two children have to hide their disappointment or the fact that they don’t celebrate Christmas. Some families allow their children to believe in Santa Claus but they don’t celebrate Christmas in remembrance of Christ’s birth. They simply tell their children that no one knows when He was born and that Christmas is for people who don’t know Christ. Hearty professing people do not put up Christmas trees. However, this probably varies depending on the locality and the head workers.
Professing children understand that no one knows when Jesus was born and that God did not command a celebration to commemorate His birth, but the children’s favorite hymn is usually Hymn number 1, Tell Me the Story of Jesus. Children love the story of the birth of Jesus but they rarely hear the workers talk about it. They hear more about the birth of Christ from people outside the church. The workers who always talk about Jesus don’t honor His birth. If the workers do mention it, all they do is criticize the people who celebrate it.
This is confusing because people celebrate everyone else’s birthday: famous people and family members. Why not honor Jesus with some kind of acknowledgment of His arrival on earth? The day isn’t as important as the event. The silence in the Two by Two Church on the subject is deafening. Listen to Christian Christmas songs. Many of them proclaim the true gospel, the true identity of Jesus Christ. No wonder the workers don’t want anyone singing those songs. No wonder the workers don’t want to talk about His birth. It inspires awe and worship of God, something that William Irvine did not believe in doing.
While it is true that Christmas is a Roman Catholic tradition, Christians usually celebrate it in remembrance of Christ’s birth anyway, even though they know it isn’t the accurate date and that the decorations aren’t relevant. They do it because it is fun and it is an excellent witnessing opportunity. The birth of Jesus is The Event of the Ages and celebrating it is an opportunity to tell unbelievers why and how Jesus came to earth. His Resurrection at Easter is even more important to Christians! Two by Twos ridicule Easter even more than they do Christmas. Some Christians celebrate Christmas with enthusiasm, a few Christians don’t celebrate it at all, rejecting everything that Catholicism has endorsed. Either way, this subject comes under the topic of Romans 14, Christians should not judge one another regarding which days are sacred or regarding food to be eaten.
Due to William Irvine’s selfish attitude towards giving to others or having fun, the early workers discouraged birthday parties as well. It was the same attitude towards wedding and baby showers. Nowadays, some people disregard this, while others still retain this attitude. It is very similar to the Jehovah’s Witness attitude towards celebrations.
Any occasion that conflicts with meeting is to be disregarded. Therefore, graduations or music recitals are not participated in, if they happen to coincide with a meeting day, such as Wednesday night Bible study or gospel meetings which are sometimes three times a week.
Young people in the church lead boring lives. Girls who wear anything other than a dress and bun are not respected. And those who do wear the dress and bun don’t feel respected either. People used to say something to girls if they disapproved of their apparel, but now they generally avert their eyes and become distant in their manner, shunning the unacceptable. Adults avoid talking to young people who don’t conform.
Cosmetics and attractive hairstyles are always related to Jezebel and worldliness. Professing teens are not encouraged to participate in sports, music or any other activities available to young people. Boys in “the Way” generally are more attracted to girls who are not professing so there is a big dropout rate during adolescence. Quite a few boys do what they want without regard for the workers’ approval. Girls generally don’t have as much freedom as boys.
At school, professing children sometimes choose friends from the “wild side” because they scorn “Christian kids” believing they are “of Satan”. They feel more comfortable with the atheists or Mormons than they do with the children who openly talk about Christ. A professing child can become socially crippled in many ways. Most professing people don’t understand what life is about. When one man from a professing family finally became a real Christian after finding out that “The Truth” was a lie, he said, “Having these facts opened up to me has given me a feeling much like waking up from a thirty-five year drug induced coma.” Another person said, “Living in the Truth was like being under a spell.”
Raising A Family
If one is fortunate and finds an emotionally stable mate within the church, life is somewhat satisfying. However, there are many unhappy marriages in this church and because the workers don’t know how to counsel marriages the situation generally goes on for a lifetime or until divorce.
Unhappy marriages are so common that the workers sometimes express gratitude that they can’t marry. Depression is common among men and women alike.
Unhappy people usually blame their spouses for their unhappiness. They don’t realize that their belief system may be the cause of their misery.
Some parents tend to isolate their children from outsiders or extracurricular activities after school. Some won’t allow school or neighbor children to come into their homes. This policy usually has very negative results for the sheltered children. Not all parents take this approach, but it does still happen.
Professing parents from a Christian background are better able to teach their children about the Bible than parents raised in the Two by Twos. There is a real lack of Biblical understanding among professing people, even though they read their Bibles every week in order to have a testimony.
Professing parents seem oblivious to what their children are doing or feeling. The stress of the mind control dulls their ability to notice or deal with what is happening around them. Even if they notice what is going on with their children they don’t know what to do about it. Counter-cult ministries have heard several reports from ex-professing men and women with severe emotional problems because they were sexually molested or raped by workers, family or church members when they were children. Some had confided their experience to their parents or school counselors at the time. Their reports failed to protect them from further molestation because no one would believe them because the offenders seemed so pious. These are not just new reports from this present generation. They are reports from many previous generations as well as more recent years.
Care of Children
It would be a mistake to generalize the kind of parenting done in this group. Although, it could be said that “conditional approval” is the norm. Two by Twos perceive God’s love as being conditional. In other words, He doesn’t love anyone unless he is faithful to the workers’ rule. Therefore, the parents show their love and approval as long as the children conform to the workers’ rules. Some parents are able to give their love unconditionally but they usually feel pressure from the church to manipulate their children’s decisions, appearance and attitudes. The friends and workers are as protective of their rules as they are about their beliefs. They refuse to acknowledge them or they say they have no rules.
Some people raised within the group tell very sad stories because their parents were rejected for some reason that the family could not understand. Poor families and “divided homes” are often ignored but families whose parents retain Christian viewpoints are often snubbed as well.
Fortunately, professing parents are not distracted by worldly pursuits, and are, as a rule, extremely serious about their families. Any coercion that is exerted on children is usually done for “their own good”. And, not all the parents force their children into isolation and submission.
If a family member leaves the church it is not unusual for the professing members to ostracize him, ignore him, refuse to speak to him, worry and fret about him, return gifts from him and most especially, to talk about him. They believe this will encourage him to return to “the Fold.” Some parents pray that something bad would happen to their children so that they would feel their need of “The Truth.” The rules are more important than people in family relationships because they perceive the rules as the means to salvation.
The workers used to emphasize the importance that all professing women stay at home whether they had children or not. They believed women should stay at home in order to care for the needs of the workers in the area. They frowned upon women involved in community affairs, clubs or craftwork. This is cultic behavior to demand separation of people from society.
In the old days, the workers often treated children as nuisances that should be seen and not heard. This caused tension for families when the workers came to stay. Children are still expected to exhibit adult behavior and appearance. They aren’t given choices in anything pertaining to the “standards of the Kingdom.” Parents use guilt, fear, comparisons, “what will the workers say?” coercion and threats to make children conform. I have heard of fathers who locked their children in closets, beat them with belts and paddles or sexually abused their children as punishment. Deviant punishment is not a characteristic of the group but it does happen and it is hidden by the system and by the pious appearance of the people. When the deviant person is finally exposed everyone is shocked that he could have done such a thing.
During meetings, children must sit quietly. If babies or toddlers cry or fuss, they will be taken outside and sometimes punished. Punishments vary according to the parent and age of the child: frowns, slapping, swatting, spanking, harsh voice, pinching, flicking of the child’s head with the parent’s finger.
People In The Way
Professing people view themselves as unworldly, nice, pleasant, loving, wholesome and hospitable. They believe they are “the light of the world” and that people will want to become just like them. Strangers see them as aloof, negative, grouchy, odd, pitiful, materialistic, proud, stingy, shy, strict, unfriendly, weird, ignorant, critical of others and oblivious to reality. Most professing people are suspicious of everything and everyone in the world except the workers. And they believe their example will draw people to the Lord!
The book, Combating Cult Mind Control by Steven Hassan is an exceptional resource for those trying to understand the anxiety caused by affiliation in an abusive church. The following is a comparison of his studies to the characteristics found among the workers and friends.
Four Characteristics of Mind Control
- Information Control – Members and potential members are not allowed important information available to the general public. Deception is the key feature of recruitment and keeps people inside the cult as well.
- Thought Control – “Truth” and reality is changed for those inside the group by giving new meanings to important words by subtly using vague statements, platitudes, cliches and allegorical meanings. Different words make members feel special. The difference in meanings keeps outsiders ignorant. As long as an outsider knows nothing, the leaders are safe from confrontation. The subtle difference in the definition of words also keeps the members from understanding their own beliefs. The members are conditioned to employ “thought-stopping” statements, prayers, hymns, cliches, Bible verses, or repetitious statements to drown out doubt, questions, anxiety or uncertainty. “I can’t think about that.” “How can you say that (or think that) after all that ___ has done?” The thought-stoppers aren’t employed to deter immoral thoughts, but rather to discourage questions regarding the church system, doctrines or leaders. The word “faith” is used in a negative sense rather than a positive one. Members are conditioned to view faith as “blind submission” to the leaders, rather than a positive certainty in God’s love and Word. Members are made to feel guilty for any curiosity about what is going on in the group. Therefore, even those who may leave the group may be afraid to examine information that explains their old belief system in anything other than a positive light.
- Emotion Control – Guilt, shame, and fear are projected onto the members, who suffer from depression, failure, lack of understanding, loss of interest in scripture, or inability to cope, rather than to examine the leaders, the leaders’ decisions, doctrines, and scandals. Fear of excommunication, family rejection and shunning (which is like a pronouncement to hell) keeps everyone quiet.
- Behavior Control – Behavior control gives the group its identity, thus assuring the leaders a position of importance and security. The behavior control leads people to believe that the group has more spiritual power than other churches. The behavior control actually isn’t behavior control as much as it is hiding the behavior from others.
Sermons Of Subjugation
The workers’ ascetic attitude towards natural life is contrary to God’s first commandment to Adam and Eve as well as to Noah, in Genesis 9:1, “Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.” The workers feel that an interest in any of those endeavors is a waste of time for professing people and second best to being an unmarried worker.
The workers claim that the tower of Babel was a false church with a “name” and a “building,” two things that workers hate! However, Genesis 11, says that the people did not want to be scattered over the face of the whole earth. “Come let us build ourselves a city, with a tower that reaches to the heavens, so that we may make a name for ourselves and not be scattered over the face of the whole earth.” God didn’t say they were religious or idolatrous. They may have been but He didn’t say that. He said, “Behold, the people is one, and they have all one language; and this they begin to do: and now nothing will be restrained from them, which they have imagined to do.” And who was God referring to when He said, “Come let us go down and confuse their language?” He was talking to the other members of the Trinity, His Son and the Holy Spirit, because it then says, “The Lord scattered them from there over all the earth.”
God could see that man’s potential for evil was as strong as it was before the flood. God did not say that cities, names or buildings are bad things! It was God’s plan for mankind to be scattered and divided until they were ready to obey Him by believing in His Son. When the Holy Spirit first came upon the Christians He restored their understanding of one another’s speech symbolizing that He had made them one again. Christ told His people that they would do greater (more) things than He had done if they would ask God to help them in Christ’s Name. He said He would never leave them or forsake them. These are things that the workers do not trust. They think that the church died out and they revived it. They think they are doing the Holy Spirit’s work by purifying the church and eliminating the unworthy. They are trying to usurp the work of the Holy Spirit.
The friends have to constantly protect their minds from any input that would shake their view of reality. For instance, when the US astronauts landed on the moon, one professing woman declared that it couldn’t be true and that it was just a trick done with cameras. She didn’t believe God would allow it because Tharold Sylvester, the head worker, had stated that man would never land on the moon.
Remarkably, professing people have been heard to say, (after the head worker is dead) “he wasn’t quite right in his head.” That would be blasphemy while he is alive, but they don’t have many qualms about criticizing him after he is dead or out of the work or even in another field. There isn’t much loyalty after the worker’s power is gone. The workers don’t see anything wrong with this. They even have pointed to the scripture that sounds critical of Peter and feel that gives them the right to be critical of dead head workers. But, woe unto you if you are critical of him while he is still around!
The friends often seem more concerned with what the workers and friends think than with what the scripture says or with what reality indicates. They refuse to consider any news that disturbs them lest it require any activity other than attending meetings. They have learned that outside information sets up distress within their minds so it is easier to ignore conflicting ideas. The world is full of conflicting ideas!
One ex-worker said that the thing that finally forced him to face the facts was because he “couldn’t juggle anymore.” He said nearly every worker he knew believed something doctrinally different from other workers he had talked to. And each one of them was convinced of his own “truth” and that the other workers were “off-base” or “wrong”. At first, he said that he just tried to accept all of the ideas as being possible, but they were so contradictory that it became impossible. He said, “You can’t hold too many contradictory beliefs, or after a while you will just go nuts!”
The problem of encountering contradictory information and beliefs is common in the world and sadly enough, also in the Christian world. However, only those in a mind control group or situation must stop their thoughts and accept whatever they are told with threat of death or hell. People ought to be able to read scripture and understand what it means by what it says without being discouraged or forbidden by the church. Thought stopping is harmful to one’s mind over a long period of time. It is an abuse of one’s mind and a misuse of the real truth of God. Christians can have differing opinions and still love and respect one another. Most contradictory beliefs among Christians are because people have been lazy in studying the Word and because of the activity of Satan and false teachers.
The friends and workers believe that “suffering for Christ,” means a voluntary suffering rather than suffering inflicted on them by non-Christians. Their voluntary suffering is in giving up pleasures, certain possessions, personal attractiveness, or a family. It is similar to Catholics’ penance, inflicting pain on themselves to prove their penitence or to gain salvation.
They believe that people should keep their religious beliefs private and not speak about them to strangers. That is what Satan and atheists want Christians to do, not what God has commanded us to do. The workers’ attitude towards natural life leads them to ignore the needy, the poor, the orphans, widows and the infirm. Those are problems of the natural world. This life is a place of suffering, so suffer and shut up! They don’t believe in taking a public stand against immorality, lawlessness or unrighteousness. They don’t practice active public evangelism in the same way other Christians do because they feel the world is unworthy of salvation and that it is safer to be secretive. Therefore, they are not interested in protecting the Christian faith or Christian rights to a public forum. They agree with the atheists in wanting visible Christian displays in schools and public places to be banished.
They seem oblivious that their privilege to raise their children or grandchildren to believe in God may be diminished or taken away. They are out of touch with Christian reality. Two by Twos are spiritual snobs who look down on everyone outside of their group so there is no way they would cooperate with other Christians to protect themselves from witchcraft, atheistic, Islamic, communistic, pagan or humanistic ideology.
The policy of failing to teach scripture, doctrine and Christian principles plus the great stress to conform outwardly often results in a dichotomy. The girls will wear dresses and buns, the boys will be clean-cut. No matter what their character, as long as they look right, the parents and workers are fairly satisfied. But woe to the child who doesn’t have the “professing look”!! No matter how thoughtful, talented, loving or unselfish he might be, he is treated as an outcast. The parents feel that their efforts at parenting have been wasted. They find it difficult to relate to the inner spirit of the child.
Aside from baptism, the only ceremony given any respect in this church is the funeral. Funerals are nearly always well attended. Attendees at funerals number from 200 to 1200. People will attend funerals of people they don’t know. People are expected to attend the funerals as if they were gospel meetings. And that is what they usually are. Very few of the sermons mention the deceased except at the very beginning of the service. They are usually centered on the importance of getting right with God, which means, of course, “professing”.
Many are offended at their callous way of handling a funeral. Workers will sometimes make insensitive comments about the deceased; whether he or she “made it” or not. Remarks like that are not easily forgotten by family members or friends.
The workers often say that God uses death for the purpose of causing people to get serious and “profess”. This sometimes creates resentment toward God. Others try to figure out whom it was that God was trying to teach a lesson to.
Previously, the workers frowned on cremation because Christ was not cremated but lately the same workers have changed their minds and have said that cremation is okay. Burial sites are expensive and the body is seen as an enemy, so why not burn it?
Genesis 2 begins with Adam and Eve’s union and Revelations ends with the marriage of the Son and the (Bride) Church. Despite the example of Jesus providing wine at the wedding feast and of the glorious celebration in Revelation, weddings among Two by Twos were treated as a nuisance by the workers. Because getting married has traditionally been second best to becoming a worker, the workers sometimes refuse or complain about having to attend any. There are exceptions. Some workers are more willing to take an interest in the personal lives of the congregation.
The workers don’t approve of announcements or invitation cards. They don’t approve of celebratory dresses or special clothing. Engagement rings and wedding- ding rings were also forbidden originally, but now wedding rings are acceptable. They prefer street clothes. It used to be against the rules for the bride to wear white, but now, however, at least in the United States, most brides do wear white. The subject is rarely mentioned. In the past, disapproval was displayed if anyone deviated from the workers’ unwritten rules. The couple was expected to go to a courthouse or have a secular judge come to the house and give a secular, non-Christian ceremony. Now, an open house is usually held and cake and juice is served and gifts are given.
Professing families are more interested in weddings and sentimental traditions than the workers, of course. Rarely are families given any advice on “Professing Wedding Etiquette” so some people find that they have been criticized when the wedding is over. The workers disapprove of wedding or baby showers because they feel it is a tradition that will “take advantage of ” people. Two by Twos aren’t encouraged to participate in God-centered traditions that other Christians participate in. Christian ladies take the opportunity at wedding and baby showers to read scripture pertaining to the occasion and to pray for God’s blessing on the family.
The workers’ attitude toward weddings is that Christ never married, never performed one and there is no record of the apostles performing a wedding ceremony; therefore, God has no interest in it and it is simply a civil ceremony. Yet Jesus’ first miracle was at a wedding in Cana where he changed water into wine. A few workers have said that the civil ceremony isn’t important, that just the act of consummation is all that is necessary. If an unmarried couple engages in premarital sex, the workers say they are considered married in the eyes of God. Yet, how do they reconcile that view with the fact that workers have had innumerable sexual affairs with one another as well as with “available” men and women?
The workers have a real aversion to any kind of tradition and since there has always been wedding tradition in every culture, the first thing they do is try to eliminate it. Although some workers have a bad attitude towards wedding ceremonies, they will usually allow the people to hold open wedding receptions. They want the wedding vows done privately, in a courthouse or in the home, with only the families present. But then, they allow the friends to rent a hall and verbally invite as many professing people as they want, to come and have cake and fruit juice. This is silly. Why should the cake and punch be more important to the church than witnessing the wedding vows?
If weddings are only civil ceremonies, why are wedding vows so important to the Lord that He will punish people for adultery? God cares because He established the marriage relationship. He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Christ said, “What God hath joined together, let no man put asunder.” Marriage was planned by God, not by the civil authorities, nor the “lust of the flesh.” God planned for families and protected families and children with marriage for life.
Marriage ceremonies acknowledge the serious commitment, the responsibility towards one another and the joy of love. It is a picture of the church’s relationship with Christ. It is more than society’s permission for a sexual relationship. Even the most primitive cultures surround marriage with great ceremony and honor. The purpose is to bring attention to the dignity of the occasion, the importance of the family. For Christians, it is picture of the Wedding Feast in eternity. Christians believe that God must be the biggest factor in the ceremony in order for the marriage to be blessed and survive. To denigrate the happy occasion or to insist that the church should not be actively involved in a wedding celebration is a grave error. Traditional Christianity refers to marriage as “holy matrimony”. This is very different than the workers’ attitude. More recently some of the workers have been more supportive of weddings, but in the old days, it was almost treated as a shame.
The negative attitude towards weddings and marriage is another example of William Irvine’s attitudes overshadowing what scripture says about the Lord’s interest in the marriage and personal lives of every human and every family.
An even more serious error is the workers’ failure to prepare young people for the wedding vows with good sound counsel from scripture. It isn’t right to condemn divorced couples if they haven’t been given Godly counsel prior to marriage or to correct their ailing marriage. There are many Christian pastors who refuse to perform wedding ceremonies unless the couples agree to premarital counseling. They also refuse to marry a couple if either one of them is a non-Christian. This is an example of a pastor caring for his congregations’ spiritual maturity and marital success.
The workers have a hard time with the challenge of giving marital advice. They try very hard to convince troubled married couples to stay together. There aren’t any clear guidelines. Sometimes they will suggest divorce and then expect the divorced people to stay single for the rest of their lives. Usually, someone living in an abusive situation is counseled to stay in the marriage and “submit”. But someone married to a partner who opposes the Two by Two Church is counseled to divorce. The friends often seek outside counsel because the workers aren’t equipped for such a job.
Threshing Floor Ministries once heard from a Christian counselor who was consulted by a professing couple needing marriage counseling. He could not understand why the couple’s progress was constantly being sabotaged by the workers. Each week the couple would come back with reasons why the workers disagreed with his advice. He had no success at all with the case because their problems grew out of their religious beliefs. There are many, many professing people who have had professional counseling for a variety of reasons. Very few of them are helped. They usually quit going if the counselor discovers the workers and the Way are the source of trouble.
Divorce is more prevalent in this church than it used to be. In the past, most people who got a divorce were excommunicated. Now, however, more people are trying to stay in the church after remarrying. Some head workers allow it, some don’t. The head workers from various regions differ over the interpretation of certain scriptures related to divorce. Each situation seems to be regarded differently depending on the status of the family within the church and who the worker in charge is.
During a divorce or separation, the friends and workers will take sides with any person who continues attending meetings no matter what the situation. Loyalty isn’t about right or wrong. Loyalty is to the system and workers, not to the person, couple or family. Status sometimes will allow for divorce and remarriage.
Sometimes a devout Christian will marry a professing person without knowing anything about the workers’ teaching and influence. These marriages usually result in divorce or great difficulties.
Depression, inferiority complexes, obsessive-compulsive behavior, control issues, sexual perversion, emotional abuse, anger, intellectual dishonesty, poor grooming habits, blind ignorance and self-righteousness contribute many problems within professing families. It is almost as difficult being married to an ex-professing person as it is being married to a professing person. The emotional hang-ups, fears, guilt, mood swings, hostility, and sometimes anger at God make it very difficult to live a normal life.
Even professing people who have come to the realization that their religious training was incorrect find that strong emotional roots tie them to their background. Irvine’s clichés hang on for years. Trying to understand normal Christianity is like learning to live in another culture or learning to speak a foreign language. It is almost impossible for the average person to understand the impact the workers’ mind control has on people. There are numerous divorces, suicides, and nervous breakdowns of ex-professing people who haven’t recovered from the workers’ mind control. Most people don’t know how to recover.
The workers point to these emotional problems as proof that the Spirit is troubling those who left the Way. However, they ignore the depression and emotional problems suffered by professing people who are attending meetings faithfully.
The usual way of dealing with the divorced and remarried couples is to allow them to come to meetings but not to participate in prayers, testimonies or choosing of hymns. They are not given hope of salvation but are told that in order to get right with God they must separate and live celibate lives. There are some who do this. There are some who come to this conclusion without the workers’ advice. Professing people who are divorced and remarried are allowed to take part in meeting if they had not been baptized before the divorce or if they happen to be wealthy or among the high status families.
The Tramp Look
Irvine often made critical statements against women and their “tomfoolery” which he labeled “vanity.” Stories about his affairs with women aren’t surprising given his lack of respect for them. In the old days “Vanity” was the major theme of workers’ sermons. William Irvine viewed vanity as “concern for appearance and pride” but the biblical definition for the word “vanity” means “emptiness, transitory, unsatisfactory, useless, destructive, deceptive, false, lie or lying.”
Irvine demanded plain, shabby clothing when the group was first known as the Tramps. But does plainness, shabbiness or frumpiness glorify God? What does scripture say about God’s appearance? Psalms 93:1, Psalms 104:1 says that God is clothed with honor and majesty. Psalms 45:9-14 describes the beautiful wedding garments of a couple being married. Proverbs 31 describes the garments of a godly woman: fine linen and purple, clothed with strength and dignity, even her servants were well dressed. Christ’s clothing was so well made that the soldiers cast lots to see who could keep his robe. Christ is clothed in a vesture dipped in blood in Revelation 19:13.
Because of the garment Christ wore, how will the bride of Christ be dressed at the marriage supper of the Lamb? Revelations 19:6-8. She will be wearing fine linen, clean and white. Jesus told his people not to worry about what they wear because God will provide their clothing, if they seek His Kingdom first. Matthew 6:25-30 He said that God clothes the lilies of the field in greater splendor than Solomon and He will clothe us even more so. Clothing is a non-issue. God didn’t tell his people to dress in drab, dowdy attire. He said to be modest and not to worry about it. William Irvine’s directives have taken precedence over God’s word in every avenue of life.
The ugly requirement has advantages to predatory men. Women who feel uncertain about their attractiveness are lonely and vulnerable to any man who comes along and give them a little attention and flattery.
After Irvine was repudiated, the workers claimed to be the original first-century church, and people were led to believe that the bun on the head has been the required hairstyle for women. God never dictated a hairstyle or a clothing style. Clothing has changed continually since the first clothing God gave Adam and Eve. Old pictures of the earliest workers show the women all wearing hats. When did they change the rules regarding hats as head coverings in the meetings? The black stocking rule was changed during the 1930s.
Isaiah 61:10 “I will greatly rejoice in the Lord, my soul shall be joyful in my God; for he hath clothed me with the garments of salvation, he hath covered me with the robe of righteousness, as a bridegroom decketh himself with ornaments and as a bride adorneth herself with jewels.” Our clothing is the righteousness of Christ himself. We don’t need to be ashamed of how we dress if we are clothed with salvation, honor and majesty. We are to be modest in what we wear, not ugly in what we wear. God generously provides for our needs because He loves us. Drab, dowdy clothing and bad hair is a bad representation of God and His provision and His love for us.
At first the children of professing families were allowed to look like children. But eventually the workers got around to monitoring the appearance of the children as well as adults. It is interesting to see the pictures of the professing families from the 1920s in which all the little girls had closely bobbed hair. Even the women who are now workers had their hair cut short. Those same women now are the very ones who complain if any little toddler has bangs no matter how wispy and pitiful her hair may look.
The decision for little girls to have long hair began in the mid-1920s, approximately. The workers decided that girls would have a hard time letting their hair grow long after they were married if they had been accustomed to having it short as children.
The amount of wasted time, washing, drying and pinning it up is incredible. Some women suffer terrible headaches from the weight of it. Some get bald spots on the crown of their head where the clips and pins damage the scalp. Why would God require a hairstyle that creates this nuisance?
Professing women feel uncomfortable in public because their appearance brings strange reactions from strangers. People treat them as oddballs and sometimes make derogatory remarks about their clothing or hairstyles. But the workers are certain that the women’s appearance will draw people to God and cause them to profess!
The workers refer to I Corinthians 11 to enforce buns on women’s heads. However, that chapter doesn’t prescribe the length of hair or the style of hair. Hairstyles weren’t part of the salvation process in the Bible as the workers try to infer. Scripture doesn’t even describe the covering while praying and prophesying. The young boys have often mockingly referred to the women as “bunheads” or “bun-ups”. Does wearing a bun honor God? Does wearing a bun honor a husband? The husbands don’t think so. They don’t like the buns any more than the women do. Someone once said, “When humility becomes a show, it’s an ugly show.” An outsider attending a convention many years ago, exclaimed loudly, “This church looks like it’s just for the old and the ugly!”
One senior brother worker was once confronted by some sister workers about the frumpy requirement for women and he retorted, “Well, how do you think the men feel? They have to be seen with the women!” And he was right! The men don’t like the rules anymore than the women do but the rules are necessary to keep everyone mentally submissive and offensive to society.
Economic And Social Impact
The social isolation required by this fellowship, the frumpiness for women, the ignorance of what is going on in society takes a great toll on the welfare of people raised in this group. The women who never marry must find employment. Some of them, no matter how intelligent or efficient, have difficulty finding jobs that can sustain them because their appearance is so unprofessional that employers are reluctant to hire them or promote them. Their pitiful appearance keeps them from attracting husbands or jobs. This causes loneliness and depression. And of course, the church wouldn’t consider helping anyone economically deprived because the workers don’t believe in charity. Even some of the more attractive women have difficulty finding work simply because they don’t fit into society well.
The Kind Of People Who Join
Conversion of a real atheist is very rare. Most people who profess into the church are usually from Christian backgrounds or people with a minimal understanding of the Bible. The workers believe the only thing they have to repent of is previous religious beliefs. New members are usually serious people who are impressed with the workers’ lifestyle and commitment. They appreciate the church for what they consider to be its positive characteristics; no mention of money or business matters and fellowship with families who are serious about what they believe. They appreciate its simplicity and built-in friendships. The newcomers are impressed with the lack of responsibility in the way of charitable work, studying, teaching, tasks for deacons, evangelism, medical missions, or tithing. So they are usually astonished at the differences between it and mainstream Christianity.
The new converts claim to be happy to have found such a “loving” church. However, that love and attention is orchestrated. There is actually tension between many workers and friends. Those who have been in the “way” for a lifetime are not treated in the same manner that the new converts are. The focus of activity always centers on the newest converts or outsiders attending meetings. The friends are urged to be a good example to them and anyone who is closely acquainted with the newcomers is admonished to do or not do certain things in order to influence them in a positive way. Eventually, the “love” wears thin and the newcomer often drops out in less than a year.
The members are made to feel that the newcomer’s salvation is linked to their example. One reason so much activity and attention is given to newcomers is that their “profession” is the only reward that the workers have. They guard their new converts with jealousy and check on them often. The reason the workers fear that any of their converts would “lose out” is they believe that they lose their reward in heaven for that soul that is lost. (I Corinthians 3:15)
Newcomers are also inflated with the idea, that they have been picked by God to be a part of this exclusive group of people who are “God’s chosen ones”. A great deal is made of the fact that they are “a peculiar people, a chosen priesthood,a royal family”. They believe that they are “the elect,” that the Blood of Jesus was shed for them, alone, not for the rest of the world.
They don’t believe that God loves anyone but those in their fellowship. All the verses like John 3:16, about God loving the world are ignored. They believe “the world” is evil and God hates it. They quote I John 2:15, “Do not love the world or anything in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” They follow Irvine’s directives to reject everyone and everything in the world that is not a part of their fellowship. The word “world” is used with different meanings in the scripture. 1. The created universe 2. All men and women on earth 3. People opposed to God 4. Natural life 5. Satan’s power on earth through demonic activity and false prophets.
It is important to understand what is meant in each verse that uses the word, “world.” God said that He loved the world and sent Jesus to save it. He holds the world accountable for its unbelief and sin and will judge it. Christ has overcome the world. We are in the world but not of it. We are strangers in it. We must not love it, but we are to love people, our enemies included. We must be crucified to the world and overcome it by the power of His Word. We must proclaim the gospel to the world. We must reach out with God’s love to a perishing world. The world hates us and will persecute us. Christians have a balancing act in this world: How to reach out in love to those who hate us; how to understand the world’s point of view in order to share God’s point of view in a way they will listen and learn about God’s love and provision for sin.
Irvine’s point of view is that the “world” is bad! The world is anyone and anything not associated with the workers. This keeps the friends from having any contact with anyone who could help them find out the Truth about scripture and God.
Many who have joined this church relate that they had gone through some kind of trouble, worry or problem prior to their introduction to the workers. They had prayed for God to show them His true Way, and soon after, the workers crossed their path. They assumed that was the answer to their prayer. The serious Christians who join this church assume that the church is more scriptural than it really is. If they happen to notice that the sermons center more around form than faith they may think it is only temporary. Later, they become so accustomed to the repetitive message that they forget that traditional churches cover the whole Bible instead of just a few subjects.