The Life & Ministry of William Irvine
1906 - 1907
Revised March 23, 2013
God's ONLY Way
The Living Witness Doctrine
It Wasn’t Always So...
What is the Living Witness Doctrine?
Teaching the Living Witness Doctrine Becomes Mandatory
1906, Start of Rebaptism
1907, John Long is Excomunicated
How Shall They Hear Without a Preacher?
Results of the Living Witness Doctrine
Do They Still Believe it is the ONLY WAY??
Actions Speak Louder Than Words
What Caused Their Outlook to Change?
EXCLUSIVITY: At some point, the Go-Preachers STARTED TO view their method as "God's only right/true way," and themselves as "God's only true servants and saints;" and to view all other religious bodies, Christians and ministers as “false,” and therefore, not among God's chosen people. This was not always their viewpoint. Some questions that will be covered here are:
- Why did their outlook narrow to where only those who professed through Irvine or his workers could be saved?
- What caused them to change their viewpoint and begin to believe Irvine's method was superior to all other religious belief systems and methods?
- Why did they begin to believe God recognized ONLY their method and followers?
- Did they have good reason to change their beliefs?
- Does the Bible support their reasoning?
THE BIRTH OF EXCLUSIVITY: Possibly, the Go-Preacher's group FIRST began leaning toward exclusivity around 1901 or 1903 (1901 according to J. Long or 1903 according to G. Pattison). In other words, (1) they began to deny their earlier conversions to Christ before they met Wm Irvine or one of his workers; and (2) they began to "unChristianize" those who had NOT been converted to Christ through Wm. Irvine or one of his workers. Some workers began to renounce their earlier experiences when they accepted Jesus into their lives and also to reject the "born again" experiences of other Christians. Naturally, while they sorted out the status quo of their salvation and that of others, it was a very confusing and perplexing time for the group. John Long gave this Account:"We returned...to a conference that Edward Cooney had arranged for at that time...we found the workers all in confusion among themselves...The cause of the confusion and disorder arose from about twelve workers, mostly women, who were out preaching and used in getting other persons saved; yet an experience in which they denied their first conversion. It might have been bearable had they left others to themselves. They were inclined to "unChristianize" others who had not a similar experience; and put down the revival that gave them birth..." (John Long's Journal, June, 1901)
Goodhand Pattison wrote: "Emma Gill and S. Kingston [workers]...had got some word from home and Henry Culbert [a worker] wrote me something along the line of having discovered they (the writers) had never been saved. We were at sea to know the meaning of these things, but did not like the look of them and our return found things all at sixes and sevens, nobody knowing very well where they were, although some of them were confident enough of their own rightness, and every other body's wrongness, who didn't see exactly as they saw and swallow down tamely all their newly found teaching."
THE NEW DOCTRINE: JOSEPH KERR was highly spoken of by John Long: "For knowledge of the Scriptures, Kerr was the finest companion I ever had; and he was only twenty-one; however, Edward Cooney, and William Irvine sent him with me for a training; and did not leave a good man with me long." A convert of Ed Cooney, Joe Kerr went in the work in 1902. According to the The Secret Sect, page 17, "Two of Irvine's prominent preachers, George Walker and Joe Kerr, had begun training for the Methodist ministry, but gave up their studies."
UNEXPECTEDLY at the July, 1905, Convention at Crocknacrieve,
without consulting with the other workers, Joseph Kerr, who was
about 24 years old at the time, altered the course of the Go-Preachers
forever. Joe Kerr was "one of the most gifted and talented of
the workers got a
very prominent place by William Irvine; rather too much so for
He attended a conference, in the Bridge of Allan in Scotland; and he
so disgusted with the way the Clergy preached; that he came to the
that there are no clergymen saved. Without any charitable
of the conscience or opinion of others, he preached it at that
Irvine defended him, but Edward Cooney opposed him and
prove that John Wesley was a born again man.
"The unwillingness of Clergymen to conform themselves to the pattern as seen in Jesus is very manifest; and the neglect of faithfulness to their calling and office is to be greatly deplored; and a true and faithful witness who tells them the truth in love is to be admired, but to say that there are none of them born again is not true; and limits the power and grace of God to regenerate whomsoever He will. Then again, regeneration is a thing of the heart and cannot be always measured by external appearance, dress, salary or education. The Salvation of the Soul is by grace through faith to everyone that repents and believes in Christ Jesus; and the experience, testimony and fruits of many clergymen bear witness to the indwelling of the Spirit of Christ. Up to that time they all believed that; nevertheless, Kerr’s New Doctrine introduced somewhat of what seemed to be absurd, and that the honest hearted could not believe without a violation of conscience and which hindered a true witness against error and wrong; and injured their own testimony..." (From: John Long's Journal, July, 1905)
Alfred Magowan may have been at the convention where Joe Kerr voiced his opinion that all clergymen were wrong, for he wrote the following in a play titled: Outline of a Peculiar People From 1900-1931. (Author's interpretation of initials used: J.K. = Joe Kerr; E.C. = Ed Cooney; W.I. = Wm Irvine)
J.K.: They are all wrong. They are altogether
wrong. They have always been wrong.
E.C.: There are some good ones among them.
W.I.: The best of them are the worst of them....God made an Angel, and he made himself the devil. God made virgins, and they made themselves harlots. He made men, and the devil made them clergymen....All Church buildings are an abomination. All religious title and honours are an abomination. All educating of men as preachers is an abomination. And we will be another abomination if we follow the example of the Churches and the Plymouth Brethren either in the matter of money or property....
J. K.: If the Clergy are wrong and the Plym's are dishonest, what about those with us who made professions among them? If the tree is bad, its fruit cannot be good. God does not use the wrongness of men to bring forth the Righteousness of Christ.
E.C.: It is not our Line of Descent that should concerning us, but out present heart condition before God.
J.K.: But we cannot escape Genealogy. Every living thing has an Ancestry. Apostolic Succession means a succession of apostles, and the proof that they are the true succession is, that they bear the original apostolic marks. Sheep succession never runs to goats. Therefore Clergymen could not bring forth Christians, and therefore those of us who professed through them were only deceived by the devil.
W.I.: J.K. is logical. We are what we are today in spite of them, and as we owe nothing to them but blindness, there is no reason why we should give them credit for our eyesight.
J.K.: God began His human creation with Adam. There only needed to be one act of creation. Afterward every man came by natural descent. So with His work of the Gospel.
W.I.: You mean that as there was a Break in the Line of Spiritual descent, it was necessary for God to start a new Line by special act again?
J.K.: We are here and no thanks to a Worldly System.
W.I.: I see what you mean, but where do I come in?"
John Long wrote: "At that convention, William Irvine, the recognized leader of the Go Preacher mission, was unduly severe on me; partly arising from the fact of me trying to correct extremes; and partly...of me not preaching Believer's Baptism in the Warrington tent mission. (Now, although I was hindered of preaching it at that mission; yet I did not deny the fact that we believed in it). Also I felt that he had no right to take from me the liberty of being led by the Spirit of God how to act and preach under difficult circumstances. Only for that Scripture, I would have then left the fellowship: 'If the Spirit of the ruler rise up against thee, leave not thy place; for yielding pacifieth great offences' Ecc. 10:4...They blamed me for not separating my converts; but it was unreasonable to expect Evangelists to go on fresh ground among the various sects and get people saved, baptized and separated, Etc. Such might be accomplished in China, or Africa, but to accomplish all that among people with a form of church organization already was impossible. And no matter what fruit or success attended my missions, they would give no credit unless converts were separated from their respective places of worship...I left that convention in great humility; yet feeling in my soul that The Testimony, unless purged, was fast running into extremes and exclusiveness; hurtful and dangerous..." (John Long's Journal, July, 1905)
The Living Witness Doctrine
A convert of Ed Cooney, JOE KERR entered the work in 1902. He was one of the original team of workers who went to pioneer South Africa in 1905. Around 1915-16, Joe and Barbara Baxter were married. Barbara was a sister worker who went from Britain to S.A.on the same boat that Joe did. After he was excommunicated from the sect in 1916, Joe and Barbara joined the Plymouth Brethren. They had 3 children.
Joe Kerr is generally recognized as being the one who initially proposed to Wm Irvine that Drummond's theory of “Biogenesis” was applicable to Irvine's ministry. Joe’s explanation of the LWD is found in his letter dated January 28, 1956. The Secret Sect states, "Alfred Magowan, many years later, reminded Cooney that Joe applied the natural law of Biogenesis, as discussed in "Natural Law in the Spiritual World," to the spiritual relationship of those in their fellowship." (The Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker, Pg 18) Ed Cooney wrote: "William had been partially persuaded by Joe Kerr to accept the heresy that no one could be born again without meeting a Living Witness. Others held that that witness must be a sent preacher who had heard William or some preacher who had heard him.” (From Edward Cooney's Testimony, The Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker, pp. 115-116)
Fred Wood wrote: "The Living Witness Doctrine was said to have been brought in by a certain Joe Kerr and accepted by William Irvine. It would seem that our brethren still hold this, viz., 'That no one can be born again apart from hearing the gospel from one of their preachers.'" (Selected Letters of Fred Wood compiled by Patricia Roberts, Page 59) Additional details about the Living Witness Doctrine will be given later in this chapter.
John Long fretted and worried over the direction the Go Preachers appeared to be taking. In December, 1905, he wrote: "All through that year I felt in my heart that the Go Preachers’ Testimony was running fast into exclusiveness and extremes that I could never accept as right; also hurtful to themselves and the cause of God.
The exclusivity wasn't limited to the British Isles. A New Zealand publication
reported that "two lady preachers belonging to a sect of recent origin came
into the district to hold meetings...They teach that apart from a 'living
witness,' no one can be born again. The living witness is some preacher."
(July, 1907) New Zealand Treasury
Read: Biogenesis Chapter of Henry Drummond's book Natural Law in the Spiritual World,published in 1890.
1906: START OF RE-BAPTISM: The following Convention at Crocknacrieve in July, 1906 "was somewhat moderate in its tone. At times William Irvine spoke very extreme and extraordinary language; but at times humbled himself before God and man...At that time Edward Cooney emphasized RE-baptism into their fellowship; which was the beginning of refusing fellowship with Christians of all other denominations; and raising a sectarian barrier which made their fellowship exclusive and sectarian; that I could not receive without a struggle. Believers have no authority for repeating baptism; unless they are first convinced that the former was not a Scriptural one. See Acts 19:3-5. Baptism is not into the name of a man; or sect; but into the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Matt. 28:19, 21; 1 Cor. 1:12-17. 'One Lord, one faith, one baptism,' Eph. 4:5." (John Long's Journal, July, 1906)
Whether or not Wm. Irvine was baptized (other than as an infant), has not been verified. One source, George Gittins, a brother worker, recounts: “In talking to others since, I heard of workers talking to some workers from Canada here that witnessed the baptism of Wm. in truth,which was most interesting.” (George Gittins Letter to Dale Knott 5/17/92) "Robert Darling told me...I also talked to some of the friends who had witnessed William Irvine's baptism in the Truth. He had been baptized in the Faith Mission, where he had been a member and a preacher, but he disregarded this.” (G. Gittins Letter to Nathan Barker, 2002) NOTE: Faith Mission does not baptize; they are evangelist/missionaries only.
1907, JULY - CROCKNACRIEVE CONVENTION - "At that time, there would be upwards of 500 Go-Preacher Evangelists, including Brothers and Sisters, out fully in the work. They had already laboured in the British Isles, the United States, Nova Scotia, Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa. Converts and workers, including coloured people, were present at that convention. From time to time, Roman Catholics were converted and odd ones went out on the work. Truth was maintained and prayer, praise and preaching were ministered, as on former occasion with heavy debates." (From: John Long's Journal)
For John Long, the annual 1907 Crocknacrieve Convention was "the saddest event and most painful, trying and unexpected that I met with during my life’s experience; namely having to leave the Go-Preacher fellowship; which God used me so much in, FROM ITS BEGINNING, ten years ago."
"I have no doubt that God used William Irvine
to witness against clericalism; but in doing so he ran into the
opposite, in going beyond truth when he preached that every
clergyman is a false prophet and unsaved. Because I tried to
correct him, and did not
accept all he said as truth, I became unpopular among the
remained that year in the British Isles, and everywhere he went, he
that the clergy were unsaved men going to Hell. He believed that
would be iniquity to believe a thing and not preach it; or to preach it
one place and not in another; that only made him the more faithful in
error; and the less open to take correction from any well wishing
of the Lord.
"The definite article [“the”] used in such a narrow way as The truth, The way, The Testimony, Etc. unto the exclusion of all other sects and missions outside their own became at that time very common. They 'unChristianized' all Christians outside themselves; and refused fellowship with them, and I could not go that length conscientiously; and indeed the instructions of Christ, given in Matthew Ten to His Apostles appear to be so contrary to that belief and spirit that it must have been blindness on the part of Irvine and Cooney not to have seen it..." (From: John Long's Journal)
1907, JULY - JOHN LONG IS EXCOMMUNICATED - John Long was publicly excommunicated at the convention by Wm Irvine because he refused to accept that all clergymen outside the fellowship were unsaved. Obviously, Wm. Irvine was the recognized leader of the Go-Preacher movement, or he would not have had the authority to put out his first companion and co-originator.
1907, JUNE - PUBLIC EXCOMMUNICATION OF JOHN LONG: John was a very dedicated Go-Preacher up until they made it mandatory that the workers preach that all clergy and Christians outside of their group were unsaved. He fretted as he saw indications that the Go-Preacher movement was becoming exclusive and like many other sects. John Long could not accept that clergymen were not saved in whom he saw the Holy Spirit indwelling.
Eventually, the Go-Preacher Movement became too exclusive for him. John Long was adamant that he did not hold this belief, and he could not go to that length. Because of this, Wm. Irvine excommunicated him. John, who was there at the very start of the Go-Preacher movement - from 1897 until 1907, was forced out of their fellowship by Wm Irvine, who "robbed me of my privilege, namely the right of fellowship in the mission I helped to start." (Source: John Long's Journal, 1907).
John wrote in his Journal, 1907: "Now I come to the saddest events and most painful, trying and unexpected that I met with during my life’s experience; namely having to leave the Go-Preacher fellowship; which God used me so much in, FROM ITS BEGINNING, ten years ago."
Allow John Long to tell his story:
"When I went to the South of Ireland before
convention, I was surprised to find most of the Go-Preacher fellowship
me; and it was heart-rending to find oneself rejected, despised, and
by many of my own friends and countrymen; who set the report going that
was disloyal to William Irvine; that report went up like a
to the convention held at Crocknacrieve, Ballinamallard, near
in the domain of John West. Among my friends at Cloughjordan was
Goodhand Pattison, a man who meant well; he tried to expostulate
me, to be careful, as it would not be for the better if William
and I separated, we being the two instruments used of God at the
of that movement.
"William Irvine asked me to speak at one of the meetings, with the planned object of denouncing me before the audience because I believed that there were clergymen born again. The denunciations were so strong it was unbearable for a man of principle and conscience to take it, without demanding from him his authority and justice in doing so When I did, he said that they would have a meeting for me to prove to them that John Wesley was a saved man; and that there are saved clergymen. I was cut to the heart. I sought comforters but found none. I had to wander out and in alone; nevertheless, when earthly comforters failed the Comfort of the Holy Spirit was very real in my soul; and I felt that the Lord Jesus, show as my Advocate with the Father was pleading for me at the right hand of God. And had I known that separation was so near leaving the fellowship, I would have made a greater/stronger defence and protest against error; but knowing how God used William Irvine in the past; and that I had got much blessing through his testimony in my own life and work, it made me more lenial and forbearing towards him than I otherwise would; however, it may be that God preserved me to that hour to witness against an extreme scarcely equaled in the annals of the history of the Christian Church; and not be so lenient with them; but that arose from past experience and fellowship.
"My defensive address was short, but to the point. I warned against strange fire, and believing an untruth. I showed how, through faith in the Lord Jesus, John Wesley received the witness of the Spirit in his soul; also when it went to works, we all come short of the labours of that Godly man. None of them yet was as self denial as he was; I also added that I was not opposed to a true witness against wrong, but a false one. I was seconded by Goodhand Pattison from Cloughjordan, but the whole conference stood up to express their belief that there was no clergyman born again; then William Irvine said, "See the majority is against you, John." Then he denounced me again with two untrue accusations. One that I never got on well with any worker (no doubt taking advantage of the rupture between me and John Reyston). The other that I lived for years on his testimony. Unto these I said but little and let the thing pass by. But if God used him to open up my way in Scotland; God used me to open up his way in Ireland; and during the ten years since the revival began with very little exception, I was in lodgings; and hard put to it at times and received very little financial help from him. I was too quiet for William Irvine, and he was a warrior and an able conversationalist.
"Then Irvine tested the meeting and asked all those who believe that there are clergymen born again? And there were only two stood up, namely Pattison and I. Then he asked all those who believe that there never was or never could be a clergyman born again to stand up, and every one of them stood up, except two, and there were fully 200 people present. Then Irvine warned me not to visit any saints’ house, but to go on fresh ground for myself, and if I came back after twelve months believing that clergymen were saved, they would look upon me as being unsaved too; that cut the last thread of my fellowship with them, so I left in tears." (From: John Long's Journal)
The reporter for the Impartial Reporter Newspaper was present in the 1907 Crocknacrieve Convention, when Wm. Irvine forced John Long out of the fellowship: "Like every other sect the ‘tramps’ have their backsliders and recalcitrant workers. One of their workers, J.L., [John Long] was accused of loafing for the past 12 months instead of working zealously and bringing converts to the ‘Jesus way’ of living. His ideas, evidently, were not far-fetched enough for his chiefs. At one of the services the suspected ‘loafer’ was called forth to give an address, and in the course of that address J.L. [John Long] spoke of the Ark of Noah. What was in it and not in it? There was no tobacco or pipes in it, he said. The speaker was interrupted by Mr. Irwin, who said to him ‘Say there were no clergy in it.’ ‘No, there were no clergy in it,' quietly remarked the speaker. ‘Say it strong’ commanded Mr. Irwin in his gruff tone. But the speaker did not repeat it. It is understood that J.L. [John Long] was given notice to quit and left on Tuesday last." (July 25, 1907 Impartial Reporter)
Afterwards, John continued his itinerant ministry "fully in the Lord’s work and a Go-Preacher, though not in fellowship with them." It is obvious that John Long was a man who used the Bible and prayer as his primary authority for spiritual teaching and standards. He definitely knew what he believed and why. When he mentions a teaching or belief in his Journal for the first time, he also quotes the Scripture(s) used to support his belief. Since the main reason John Long left the Go-Preachers was because it became too exclusive or sectarian for him, it is not surprising that the entries in his Journal during this time frame go into much detail about what they believed and taught at the group’s inception, along with the gradual changes that troubled him considerably, which occurred when they began to "unchristianize the Christians” outside their group.
1927, JULY: "It is now twenty years since I withdrew from the Go-Preacher fellowship, because I could not accept the development of their teaching along the lines of unchristianising all other churches, and persons; yet I do not hate them, nor despise them when I come in contact; but try to treat them as I do all other Christians with the Spirit of Jesus; and give them the credit for all excellencies found in their sect, but I don't get this in return" (John Long's Journal, 1927).
Alfred Magowan was probably present at John Long's excommunication, for he wrote the following in a play titled: Outline of a Peculiar People From 1900-1931: (NOTE: J.L. = John Long; W.I. = Wm Irvine)
J.L: "There was no tobacco in the Ark."
(Voice of W.I. from behind)--"John, tell them there were no Clergy in the Ark!"
(The preacher is thrown off his line by this strange interruption and sits down as soon as he can bring his speech to a hasty conclusion.)
W.I.: "John was always the Brake on our Progress. When we set out to follow Jesus, he was selling Books and settled as a Methodist. He was convinced that we were right and cast in his lot with us. But he was not convinced that the Clergy were wrong, and there has always been a holding back in him. For years he has been dragging his feet on the ground to hinder our going on, and let him prove whether God will be with him as He has been with us. All those stand up who believe that J.....W..... is in Hell!!" [Author’s Note: J.W. was probably John Wesley, founder of Methodism)
(Nearly all stand up, those who remain seated provoke W.I. to wrath, and he makes uncomplimentary remarks about their quadruped connections!)
(One of John's English friends rises and begins to speak).
Englishman: "It is not for us to discover the present whereabouts of the souls of men who are dead. They may not be where we think they are, and what we say about them can neither injure them nor help us. It is for us to look to ourselves that we may not come to where we say they are."
W.I.: "John can go and take his friends with him."
…(Some hours later two visitors go for a walk, and talk together.)
First Visitor: "What do you think of it?"
Second Visitor: "You mean what do I think of HIM!
First Visitor: "I suppose so. It seems to be him, and he seems to be it, and the people seem satisfied to have it so. There is something strange about it."
Second Visitor: "Is it a weakness in them?"
First Visitor: "No, it seems to be a power in him. He has a strong personality, and they like it. "
Second Visitor: "Did you see how they looked after him when he walked across the court yard?"
First Visitor: "I would like to come back a few years from now, and see how this work grows."
Second Visitor: "They will not worship him long. He has been set on a Pinnacle on the Temple, and no man can remain there long without a fall."
First Visitor: "He seems to be a man of strong will."
Second Visitor: "Strong-willed men very often are weak in the presence of temptation. When he falls, it will be a heavy fall.
First Visitor: "But if he does not fall."
Second Visitor: "It has always been so, and God has had to turn His back on His people for their good."
First Visitor: "Did you notice how easily he disposed of the man called John? It was like sending him into Outer Darkness. Excommunication has been the Great Weapon and the Chief Weakness of Organised Religious Bodies."
Second Visitor: "If human families were as brittle as Religious Societies, a man would hardly know from one day to the next, where he was. Still there has been such a thing as Fellowship which survived Threats, Torture and Death."
First Visitor: "There is more of the family spirit here than in the Churches."
Second Visitor: "I hope it lasts, even grows, but there's much against it. The strong-willed man would dispose of others as he disposed of John and nobody would raise a voice against it."
First Visitor: "They are afraid of him and still they like him. It is a pity there is no check on him, or that they cannot control their love, and keep it from becoming worship."
Second Visitor: "I heard it said that in letters they use a capital "H" when they mention him. They do it unconsciously, not knowing that they are thereby declaring their idolatry."
First Visitor: "They speak of him as a man raised up."
Second Visitor: "They will trace their Spiritual Genealogy to him."
First Visitor: "I hear they are doing it now, and many have already given up what they call their old profession, and refer to him as the beginning of a new order, as Adam was the beginning of human descent."
Second Visitor: "What fools these mortals be!"
John Long expressed his feeling of being robbed of his right to fellowship in the movement he helped to start: "Many years have passed away; and time did much to correct extremes; yet I cannot say that the Go-Preacher mission from that time ever did the same soul saving work that characterized the original years of the work. They still exist in an exclusive manner and are more careful in preaching, and modified in their tone. Of the wrong done to me at that time, there has been no public confession or acknowledgment; it severed me from some of my near relatives; and robbed me of my privilege, namely the right of fellowship in the mission I helped to start...I never undervalued or denied the blessing and help that William Irvine’s testimony was to me; and it was a great pity for me to have to leave them; yet because of the exclusiveness and error they went into, it was a great liberation as well; also I had more access to the different sects with the gospel; and more money to abound as well. God saved me from exclusiveness ____ would debar usefulness, and ever since I claim the right of having fellowship with every member of the body of Christ; and preaching the gospel to every creature, entering every open door." (From: John Long's Journal)
It would only be seven (7) years later, in 1914, when Wm Irvine would be told by Jack and Bill Carroll that the workers would no longer submit to his leadership, and he would be ousted from the fellowship which he helped to start, and of which he was the undisputed leader from its inception. Like John Long, he would suffer the pain of rejection by his peers, and feel the pain of betrayal. Just fourteen (14) years later, Ed Cooney, who helped tremendously in the group's start, would also feel the pain of rejection, as his fellow workers cast him out. Interesting that the group would rid itself of the very ones who gave birth to it and gave their lives to its cause. A few years after Wm Irvine was cast out, he wrote to a worker on the 1905 list:
"...and nothing pleases them better than when someone can speak more evil of the man to whom they owe all they have. Only the few who refuse to measure Jesus, Paul, Peter or John, Samson or David, or any of God's Anointed by their sins, or by the evil report about them, were saved in any age. Moses made 250 men Princes in Israel, who became famous in the congregation of men of renown, such as many of those [workers] whom I made Princes in the Israel of today [The Testimony]; they set themselves against Moses, making a strong case against him, leading many people with them - what was their end?...Their righteousness today before men and their princely position and fame in the congregation and the renown they have made for themselves, will not stand up against their violation of Mercy to The Man God chose to make them [workers] and place them where they are today.” (March 2, 1921 Letter to Willie Abercrombie)
John Long wasn't the only one to be cast out by Wm Irvine from the convention platform: “In 1907, he (Percy Abbott) got his choice at a large convention of going home—not allowed to preach any more, or go out to America and prove himself. This he heard from a public platform thru Mr. Irvine’s lips. He immediately jumped to his feet to justify himself, but Mr. Irvine told him to sit down, adding, 'I know what I’m talking about.' So rather than being sent home, he came to America…” (Willie Edwards 6/15/41 Letter to Bill McCann*)
John Long wasn't the only one who did not agree with the new Only Way Concept; that no clergy outside their group were saved; and that no one was saved before they came in contact with Wm Irvine or one of his workers. John Hardie held out for awhile. And though Ed Cooney went along with it for awhile, he renounced this belief in 1914, and he was eventually put out of the fellowship for not believing and teaching it. Ed Cooney wrote Alice Flett about the group's change in beliefs: "Two Heresies arose amongst us at this time, started largely by Joseph Kerr, who said no one could be saved who had not met William Irvine, or some of those in fellowship with him. Others held that only through sister or brother workers could any be saved, and that these workers must be William Irvine's associates. In 1914, I declared that I returned to the gospel William Irvine and I with others, preached for some years before these Heresies were introduced."
THE CHIEF OFFENCE for which Ed Cooney was excommunicated in 1928 was that he did not go along with the change in beliefs; i.e. that others were NOT born again BEFORE meeting Wm Irvine. Cooney wrote in a letter to "My dear Sister" dated May, 1930: "In the beginning we were all free to express the revelation God made clear in our hearts...William Irvine, John Hardie, and some others at the beginning believed they were born again in Babylon, but I am sorry to say that I accepted the flesh and blood revelation through Joe Kerr, backed by William Irvine, that previous to meeting him we were unregenerate. John Hardie for many years refused to accept this, then I took up the same position as John. In 1914, God showed me the pre-eminence William got through this error, leading together with other things to his ceasing to be the humble brother amongst brethren he was at the beginning. I am sorry to say that John Hardie has embraced the error he stood out against for so long. Wilson McClung declared that this, which he calls Babylonish testimony, is my chief offence. I am happy to be back at the place we occupied for 4 years after God called William Irvine and others of us to rebuild Jerusalem. [NOTE: the 4 years would be 1901 the year Cooney started preaching through 1905 when Kerr started the Only Way Heresy] I have been excommunicated by my fellow workers, and hundreds of saints and eight workers have been put outside the camp with me."
CHANGED DOCTRINE: The narrowed perspective of the preachers
and changed doctrines drew the attention of the reporter for The Impartial
Reporter Newspaper who attended the annual conventions at Crocknacrieve:
"Change of doctrine has made things different for many, especially for those
who were not originally converts of Mr. Wm. Irvine or Mr. Edward Cooney because
unless you hear or believe through a Tramp Preacher, they say there can be no
possibility of spiritual divine life, past present or future. It is immaterial
what quickening towards God may have been wrought in your heart or soul previously.
So that, in other words, derivation or successive Christianity is now re-established
via William Irvine and Edward Cooney only. This is all the more remarkable and
contradictory since William Irvine has a great difficulty to determine his own
spiritual Father, and he professedly the great grandfather of all! Some
say it was the Rev. John M'Neill; some say Wm. Irvine's sister was the means
of spiritual life to him, and some are not very sure, but since Thomas was a
doubting Apostle, they are contented to be a brother of his..." (Impartial
Reporter, August 25, 1910, p.8)
Looking back over the decade between 1897 and 1907, it's obvious the outlook of the Tramp Preachers changed considerably. They went:
- FROM assembling and worshipping with other Christians in various denominations...
- TO separating themselves and forming their own church meetings in homes.
- FROM believing there were many Christians everywhere...
- TO believing that ONLY those who professed through William Irvine or one of his workers had a chance of getting through Heaven’s gates.
- FROM aspiring to restore the Apostles' ministry and methods to the world...
- TO believing that salvation could be obtained ONLY through the sacrificial ministry of Irvine and/or one of his workers.
- FROM viewing their group as God’s children in the midst of all His other children...
- TO believing they were God’s ONLY true children on earth.
- FROM believing they were saved PRIOR to meeting Wm Irvine...
- TO disregarding and renouncing their prior salvation experience.
- TO nullifying their former baptisms and being RE-Baptized by workers.
- FROM viewing others outside their group as brothers and sisters in Christ...
- TO "unchristianizing" all other Christians outside their fellowship.
- TO refusing to worship with outsiders.
- FROM viewing evangelists and preachers of other denominations as fellow labourers in Christ...
- TO viewing them as false preachers or prophets.
- FROM placing a bag at the door of workers' missions to receive donations
- TO the current methods of receiving monies (handshakes, envelopes, signing over estates, etc.)
What Caused Their Outlook to Change?
How did Their Method Come to be Viewed as "GOD’s ONLY RIGHT WAY?
They began to view themselves exclusively, as "God's only right/true way," and "God's only true servants," and to view all other religious bodies, Christians and ministers as “false,” and unsaved.
- Why did they believe God recognized ONLY their method and followers?
- Did they have good reason?
- Does the Bible support their reasoning?
(1) God had a prerequisite to receiving salvation
(2) The prerequisite was that one must first hear and accept Christ through a preacher following the pattern of Matthew 10 precisely; and
(3) They believed they were the only preachers in the world who were truly following this pattern;
THEREFORE ONLY those who heard and accepted Christ through Irvine or one of his workers could possibly have a chance of getting to Heaven.
They also believed and reasoned the converse of these beliefs must be true:
(1) Since they believed other churches and pastors did not attempt
the Matthew 10 pattern precisely,
THEREFORE, all other churches and preachers were "false;" and
THEREFORE, all other churches and ministers were incapable of bringing anyone to a saving knowledge of Christ; and
THEREFORE, everyone who did not hear and accept Christ through Irvine or one of his workers would end up in a lost eternity.
It is also speculated, with good reason, that the workers in The Testimony came to view their method of 2x2 preaching as “God’s Only Right Way,” because they were influenced by a popular religious theory in circulation at that time. This theory, commonly known as “The Living Witness Doctrine,” was originated by Henry Drummond and published in 1890 in a book titled: “Natural Law in the Spiritual World.”
Sir Henry Drummond was born December 5, 1786, in Grange,
Hampshire, England, and died February 20, 1860 in Albury, Surrey,
England. He was a
Professor of Natural Science at the Glasgow College of the Free Church
Scotland. He was one of the founders of the Catholic Apostolic
Church--he was NOT one of Wm Irvine's workers, nor was he a Faith
Mission Pilgrim. For more information about Sir. Henry Drummond,
Henry Drummond by J. Y. Simpson
Henry Drummond by J. Gordon Melton
Drummond drew a comparison between a Christian’s natural life and spiritual life. He pointed out that there has existed in the world of science for hundreds of years, two opposing views regarding the Origin of Natural Life; one that matter can spontaneously generate life, and the other that life can only come from pre-existing life. According to Henry Drummond, these two viewpoints have existed for years regarding the Origin of Spiritual Life in the Christian world: “For much more than 200 years a similar discussion has dragged its length through the religious world. Two great schools here also have defended exactly opposite views – one that the Spiritual Life in man can only come from pre-existing Life, the other that it can Spontaneously Generate itself.” (from "Natural Life in the Spiritual World" by Henry Drummond, 1890).
Drummond reduced these concepts to an EITHER-OR proposition: EITHER (1) spiritual life could be generated spontaneously, without the help of man, (i.e. just by reading the Bible, through the Holy Spirit’s dealing, praying/speaking directly to God, etc.) OR (2) spiritual life could only come from another spiritual life (one must hear and profess through another born again Christian.) Viewpoint No. 2 is referred to as the "Living Witness Doctrine." The two concepts are mutually exclusive. One cannot believe in spontaneous generation AND accept “that life can only come from pre-existing spiritual life.”
It is important to realize that Drummond’s theory of the “Living Witness Doctrine” was derived from an analogy--not from a Biblical passage. Drummond believed that what occurs in natural life also occurs in spiritual life; that what was true in natural life was also true in spiritual life. Since life can only come from something or someone who is alive in natural life, so also in spiritual life, there can be no spiritual life without a previous spiritual life. Drummond concisely stated this: "without life, there can be no life." For example, in nature, animals and plants reproduce like kind; therefore, spiritual sheep could only be reproduced from spiritual sheep. In the chapter "Biogenesis," of his book Natural Law in the Spiritual World, Drummond theorized that:
"Life can only come from the touch of life."
"Life begets life."
"There is no life without antecedent life"
“That life can only come from pre-existing life.”
When Irvine and his workers, who viewed themselves as the only ones who truly had spiritual life, applied Drummond's theory to their group, they reached the conclusion that ONLY those who were touched by (or professed through) Wm. Irvine and/or his workers could possibly be saved and receive eternal life. This restricted salvation to those who entered through "the door" held open by Irvine, his workers and their successors
As Drummond pointed out, the two beliefs are MUTUALLY EXCLUSIVE; i.e. spontaneous spiritual generation and the Living Witness Doctrine. Obviously, if people could be saved without the workers, then it would not be true that God required preachers to forsake all and go preach according to Matthew 10, as they were doing. Conversely, if it were true that God required preachers to forsake all and go preach according to Matthew 10, then people could only be saved through the workers. Since the workers had elected to believe they were essential to salvation, then it follows they did not, and they still do not believe anyone can be saved unless they hear and accept Christ through one of them.
That this was indeed how the workers viewed things at that time can be seen from the following comments. It is quite clear the workers did NOT believe spiritual life could be spontaneously generated through the Holy Spirit’s dealing, reading the Bible, or any other method. Wm Irvine claimed at the 1907 Philadelphia USA convention: “One cannot be born again through reading the Bible…What is the good of a man being a preacher if God can save souls without him?” Also, “At the Sydney convention, Australia, 1907, he (Wm Irvine) said that the Bible, apart from the living witness could not save one, and even damned men and women.” (The Life and Ministry of Edward Cooney by Patricia Roberts, page 58). Similarly, the pope said to Martin Luther, “If it is so that anyone, however humble, can receive revelation direct from God through the Spirit, then we lose all our power.”
Grace and Gene Luxon explain the Living Witness Doctrine: "This unbiblical doctrine was borrowed from the secular theory of biogenesis and claims that ‘life begets life and without life there can be no life.’ The workers teach that ‘without the true ministry, there can be no true church.’ Salvation is only available through those who take the gospel in the manner of the Matthew 10 commission, to those who receive their gospel and are faithful to the ’way’ or the ‘truth’ or the ‘life’ they preach. Rather than teaching that JESUS is The Way, The Truth, and The Life, the workers teach that He lived the life of the example preacher and established the TRUE Ministry that shows us the WAY to ACHIEVE salvation." (Source: Has The Truth Set You Free by Gene & Grace Luxon available through Amazon )
The Source of the
This book can usually be obtained through inter-library loan.
Click Here to read The Chapter “Biogenesis” by Henry Drummond.
1907: THE LIVING WITNESS DOCTRINE BECOMES MANDATORY. These very YOUNG volunteer workers, used their fallible, human reasoning and decided the ministry and method they invented through experimentation, was “God’s Only Right Way.” It is irrelevant whether or not their decision was due to the influence of Drummond’s analogy which had impressed the minds of these young men. The fact is that by the year 1907, ten years after it was started, BY MEN'S CHOICE, the Living Witness Doctrine became an integral and inseparable part of their doctrine, and remains so to this day. In 1907, it became mandatory for ALL the workers to believe, preach and teach this concept. The following quotes show how some regarded these inexperienced young men and women:
"The Pilgrims imagine that each of them has the gifts of preaching and teaching. They do not concede that you serve God where you are placed; you must leave your place and family and go out with them. And so it is, that they have a number of unlettered people, full of zeal but without prudence, trying to teach and preach, but without the gift, repeating the prosy sayings they have heard from others. They think God will give them the power to speak and teach, but for so far the Almighty has not done much in this direction. It is a question if one of them know how or when the Synoptic gospels were written, whether before or after the fall of Jerusalem; whether our Lord spoke Aramaic or Greek, or was bilingual; or whether the last of the Canonical Gospels was written by John the Apostle or John the elder, or the circumstances under which it was written; or whether they know anything at all of the Book they profess to expound. Most likely some of them think it came from Heaven, bound in Morocco. But as to an exposition of the Holy Scripture it is a rare occurrence; they do not confine themselves to a text, and discover all its meaning—they ramble over the whole gamut of the Testament, without proof for their wild statements." (Impartial Reporter Newspaper, January 29, 1903)
* * * * * * *
"Let us examine this matter in a sensible way. Some young man has been selling tea or hardware, or setting potatoes, and some young lady who has been selling yards of ribbon, think it would be well to go out to ‘work for the Lord,’ and in a spirit of self-sacrifice ‘go out for Him.’ And because they like the idea, they imagine the Lord has called them to His work. How very poorly the Lord is served at times with such feeble instruments! If the Lord had a hand in it He would chose a Luke or Paul or Peter or John. He never chose a woman to preach, in any case.Let us review the ages of the workers at the time they made this momentous decision. Except for Wm Irvine, Willie Gill, and Eddie Cooney, who were in their early forties, the rest were young men and women in their early twenties. The American Family Immigration History Center at Ellis Island passenger records show that William Irvine, George Walker and Irvine Weir arrived in the United States on September 14, 1903, with Irvine being 40 years of age; Geo. Walker, 26 years of age, and Weir was 25 years of age. Arriving on May 16, 1904, were John Carroll, age 25, Mary (May) Carroll, age 24 and Charles Glenn, age 27. These youth, from a variety of religious backgrounds, were full of zeal and zest, and lacking in life experience, training and education. They were NOT born and raised in "the truth," since it was not existing when they grew up. In the first 10 years of the groups' infancy, the conclusions arrived at by these youth evolved to the point that they believed the method they preached in was “God’s Only Right Way.” Seriously, think about this. How do you view the conclusions and reasoning of young people their ages today?
"Then they imagine the Lord himself inspires them to speak, tells them to speak, tells them what to say, &c., when whatever we know of inspiration tells the direct contrary.
"This young man or young woman spends four years of apprenticeship in learning properly how to weigh tea or sugar, and measure ribbon or pack up paper. Four years! And though four years be required for that trifle they think that without any preparation, without the necessary foundation of an education, and careful preparation for at least as much time as is given to learning how to sell tea or linen, they are competent to teach the subject of all others which requires the very best information, and the most careful study.
"A Presbyterian student requires seven years to prepare him for the pulpit; a Church of Ireland student requires six years; a Methodist probationer requires four years, and he does not require a degree, but a Pilgrim can obtain all the preparation he or she wants without any years of study at all. That subject which occupies the best thoughts of men and perplexes the minds of the ablest at times, these neophytes fancy they can master in a few minutes. Some uncharitable person might suggest that it was some malign influence which leads them to this absurd position? Or is it the crass folly of their leaders, who show such an example of not understanding the very truths they profess to teach.
"No person can profess to thoroughly understand and teach the New Testament who does not understand the language in which it was written. Many do teach it, and teach it effectively, who do not understand Biblical Greek; but although good teachers or preachers they could not in truth profess to teach it ‘thoroughly,’ without a knowledge of Greek, and without a knowledge of Greek any Protestant minister or Roman Catholic priest is handicapped. Yet the Pilgrim will step in when angels fear to tread.
"The Word of the Lord is plain, no doubt, but the Word of the Lord was not written in the English language; and with all ‘the plainness’ the ablest minds have not been able to arrive at the same conclusion about its words. Since that is so, how poorly are they equipped to understand the Word, who, unable to read it in the original, can scarcely read it correctly in the translated version.
"These people will pay a man specially as an expert to plough land; or a girl to make butter; they will go to a tailor for clothes; and to a dressmaker for frocks; or a shoemaker for boots. They go to these as specialists, because they know much better about these respective articles than they can possibly know. Yet the Word of God that requires an infinitely higher education and talent to grapple with, they proclaim requires no proficiency to teach, and no years of close study, and they profess to master that which demands the greatest skill and erudition. The ploughman requires training, and the shoemaker an apprenticeship, but to understand and teach the Word of God requires neither! Oh, the supreme folly of it all!!
"We must apply our common sense to this matter. If the Pilgrims were not so bumptious, so self-assertive, about professing to understand the whole of the Lord’s will, people would not heed them; but in their eyes Puncheon and Spurgeon were wrong; Rev. John McNeill; Rev. Hugh Price Hughes were wrong; George Clarke, Rev. Henry Montgomery, Rev. Crawford Johnson,—all these and other men were all wrong, and the Pilgrims only are right!
"Is it not absurd on the face of it?—That these men and women of little education, and no training, having served no apprenticeship to the study of God’s Word, while they do serve three or four years to a worldly calling—should be able to teach and expound what tasks the greatest minds of the century." (Impartial Reporter Newspaper, June 2, 1904)
John and Sara West owned the convention grounds at Crocknacrieve until they sold it to Simon Loane in 1920, located in County Fermanagh, Northern Ireland. Their daughter, Ida West, wrote: "The Doctrine of the Living Witness came about as a result of the very able preaching of William Irvine and others, of their exposition of the Scriptures in the clear light that had been revealed to them, and of the power (i.e., power from on high) they experienced in surrendering their lives unreservedly and unconditionally to Christ by going to preach in the same manner as he sent the Twelve and Seventy, first to Israel and then to the world. They thought that the effect thus produced had to be explained in this way." (The Life and Ministry of Edward Cooney by Patricia Roberts, p 57; Letter dated May 14, 1981)
Doug and Helen Parker explained: "Known to the sect's preachers as The Living Witness Doctrine, the spiritual application of biogenesis was readily supported by many preachers so that, by 1904, the idea that 'there were good men everywhere' was lost to a narrow view that only those who responded to Irvine and his workers were saved. Because those preachers considered that they had not experienced fulfillment within the churches, they came to believe that Irvine gave them freedom and assurance that they were in 'the true way' that was acceptable to God. Thus it came to be accepted that they owed their salvation to what was said to be God's revelation to Irvine: 'Their respect for him as a voice of God to them in their youth went on by easy, and imperceptible stages from respect to love; from love to unbounded admiration; and from admiration to idolatry.' They were proud of the founder, of their personal obedience to his teaching, and of their unique fellowship, and they passionately held the teaching that salvation was offered only through the preachers. People were told bluntly that they would go to hell if they did not accept Irvine's teaching and join the new fellowship…The application of Drummond's views on biogenesis in the form of The Living Witness Doctrine was a significant development for it laid the foundation of the doctrine of apostolic succession and authority that has been maintained by the preachers throughout the succeeding decades of the movement's history." (The Secret Sect, p 18-19)
This doctrine made it impossible for any of them to have been born again BEFORE Wm Irvine began his 2x2 preaching method, or in other churches, or through personal experiences. It rendered their former salvation experiences when they felt the Lord dealing with them as null and void. Jesus said: “No man cometh to the Father but by me.” Now the workers were saying: “No one can be saved but by us.” This was not a problem for those who became Christians in the meetings of Wm Irvine’s workers, but it was a problem of GIGANTIC proportions for some of those who believed they were saved BEFORE they met Wm Irvine. Some left the work for this reason; others were forced out for not embracing it. The Living Witness Doctrine also led to the “unchristianizing” of all others outside their fellowship and also to refusing to worship with them. This meant relegating family members and friends to the category of “unsaved,” and some found this difficult, if not impossible to do in good conscience. It is one thing to discern those who do not follow Jesus, and another thing to criticize those who imperfectly follow Jesus.
Further, since they reasoned that Irvine's method of ministers going out to preach by the Matthew 10 pattern was “God's only true way,” consequently, they felt they owed their salvation to Irvine's “REVELATION FROM GOD." This, in turn made Wm Irvine the Father or "Spiritual Adam," through whom all successive workers received their spiritual life. Many then, as well as in the present generation, held the viewpoint that Wm Irvine received THE GREAT REVELATION of the true essence of Christianity. (Even though it was Joe Kerr who first had the so-called “revelation,” and not Wm Irvine!) And so THE GREAT EXPERIMENT turned into "The Great Revelation."
Curiously, the Living Witness Doctrine was not “revealed” identically to all the workers. In other words, not every worker viewed the concept as a “REVELATION FROM GOD.” While the Living Witness Doctrine was accepted by most of the workers, some resisted. Some did not agree with the uneducated, untrained evaluation of their co-workers of Drummond's popular religious theory.
Ed Cooney believed the Living Witness Doctrine set Wm Irvine up for his fall: "God showed me the pre-eminence William got through this error, led together with other things, to his ceasing to be the humble brother among brethren that he was in the beginning." (May, 1930, Selected Letters Hymns and Poems of Edward Cooney 1867-1960 compiled by Patricia Roberts, p 116). Speaking of Wm Irvine, Alfred Magowan, one of the early workers wrote in a play titled Outline of a Peculiar People From 1900-1931, pages 11, 25:
First Visitor: "They speak of him as a man raised up."
Second Visitor: "They trace their spiritual genealogy to him."
First Visitor: "I hear they are doing it now, and many have already given up what they call their old profession, and refer to him as the beginning of a new order, as Adam was the beginning of human descent."
Second Visitor: "What fools these mortals be!"
First Visitor: "He founded The Testimony by himself."
Some saw a problem with this theory because the Living Witness analogy broke down when applied to the source of Wm. Irvine’spiritual regeneration. “Who was before Bill Irvine?” was the question asked by Willie Cleland, brother worker and cousin of Wm Irvine. If Drummond's theory was true, and spiritual life begets life, then how did Irvine get HIS spiritual life? How could Wm. Irvine profess through Rev. John McNeill in 1893, and truly be saved since Rev. McNeill was either Presbyterian and/or associated with D. L. Moody's revival campaigns and was also the pastor of Christ Church Westminster Bridge Road, London. Rev. McNeill was NEVER a 2x2 worker or follower of the 2x2 sect. Wm Irvine wrote:
"72 years ago I was born into a Presbyterian family; 42 years ago I was born
into the family of which Jesus is the head, as Adam is of the human family.
A Presbyterian preacher was the means. He told me the right
thing--to believe on the Lord Jesus Christ, and thou shalt be saved. But
I began to live by what God revealed through Jesus." (January 8, 1934 Letter
to Mr. Billett)
Others had trouble reconciling various scripture passages with all the ramifications of the Living Witness Doctrine. Jesus said: "I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life." Yet, the Living Witness Doctrine made the Workers out to be “the Way.” Paul wrote Timothy that "the Holy Scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus." (2 Tim. 3:15) Yet, the Living Witness Doctrine said the Scripture alone could NOT give spiritual life without the help of a worker. Remember Paul's conversion? He said, "For I certify you brethren that the gospel which was preached by me is not after man, for I neither received it of man neither was I taught it, but by the revelation of Jesus Christ." (Gal. 1:11-12) There was NO professing worker or saint involved in Paul's conversion. Yet, the Living Witness Doctrine claims there MUST be a worker involved.
In the Seed and Sower Parable, the sower doesn't give the seed life--the seed has life in itself. The sower (worker) only sows the seed (Word)--he doesn't give it life. It wasn’t the sower, but the seed that was important. Yet, the Living Witness Doctrine claims the seed could only generate life when sowed by a worker. Paul said: "There is ONE God and ONE Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus ..." (I Tim. 2:5) Yet, the Living Witness Doctrine made the workers mediators of salvation from God to man.
Those who felt they could not go along with the Living Witness Doctrine faced a dilemma, and it was sufficient cause for some to leave the work. JOHN LONG, the man who held the FIRST mission with Wm Irvine at Nenagh, wrote in his Journal: “I continued in their fellowship till 1907, when I was constrained to leave them owing to a development which I could not accept as true. A young evangelist named Joseph Kerr, preached that no clergymen were born again because they did not live and preach as Jesus did…" (From: John Long's Journal) John Long was not willing to renounce the Lord’s dealings with him and others prior to meeting Wm Irvine, and was publicly excommunicated from the platform in the 1907 Crocknacrieve convention by Wm Irvine for refusing to consign John Wesley and some individuals to hell.
Nor was Ed Cooney happy about the Living Witness Doctrine development. At first he opposed it; but then reconsidered and preached it for four years (1907 to 1914). In 1914, he renounced it and bitterly regretted ever going along with it at all. "Edward Cooney said he proselytised his conscience for 4 years by accepting this, so as to avoid offending his brethren. But afterwards he denounced it as a heresy." (Transcript of taped conversation with Fred Wood speaking of the Living Witness Doctrine) Others who did not believe it were John West, owner of Crocknacrieve convention grounds, and worker Tom Elliott.
It would seem that Wm Irvine retained his belief in the Living Witness Doctrine, even after he parted ways with the Go Preacher (Alpha) fellowship. He stressed in his later correspondence that one must hear through him or one of his Omega Witnesses, in order to receive eternal salvation. Wm Irvine wrote: "A human begets after his kind, so an animal. So, God begets, by His spirit in those who hear and obey, after His kind, as revealed in Jesus, as the head of the regenerate race. As Adam was the head of the human, that He, Jesus, might be the first born amongst many brethren." (May 8, 1934 Letter to Youngs)
A Literal Analogy goes from the known to the unknown; from an actual case to a prediction or inference. The basic format of an analogy is: "this is like that;" "X is like Z." From things which resemble each other in some respect, it MAY be inferred that they will also resemble each other in some other respect. Valid inferences can be made when two items or cases are compared which are (1) in the SAME CLASS (2) SIMILAR in ESSENTIAL aspects; and (3) are EQUAL in value. However, the very BEST a Literal Analogy can do is to point to a high degree of PROBABILITY--it cannot PROVE anything. SOMETIMES--but NOT ALWAYS--it may be assumed that what is true in one case will also be true in another SIMILAR case.
What these young men did not realize was that a comparison or analogy is NEVER PROOF. Drummond's comparison of natural life with spiritual life was not proof by a long shot. To infer something from one item being compared to another item, it is ESSENTIAL that the items being compared MUST be in the SAME CLASS. Since Natural Life and Spiritual Life are not in the same class, nothing can be inferred from the one life to the other with any degree of reliability. One may ILLUSTRATE the other, but it offers no value as to CERTAINTY or proof.
In the case of Drummond’s analogy of Biogenesis, natural life and spiritual life are not in the same class. Jesus even pointed this out: "Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the Kingdom of God. That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is Spirit. Marvel not that I said unto you, ye must be born again." (John 3). Therefore, nothing can be concluded from the Biogenesis analogy. In reality, religion has nothing to do with the natural life; i.e. what is true in natural life cannot be said to always hold true in spiritual life. Scientific evidence has shown that natural life can be produced only from prior life—and tells us nothing about spiritual life. Click Here for another article regarding Analogy Evaluation.
"And how shall they hear without a preacher?"
Some who resisted the Living Witness Doctrine asked: What is the Biblical foundation for the concept? They were unable to find where the Bible indicated God had only one way on earth; or that salvation was via one certain preacher and/or his followers/disciples, other than Jesus Christ. They selected Romans 10:14-15, 17 as their scriptural authority for the Living Witness Doctrine:
"How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? And how shall they hear without a preacher? V 15: And how shall they preach, except they be sent? As it is written , "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Margin Ref: Is 52:7; Nahum 1:15). V 17: So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God."At the 1907 Crocknacrieve convention in Ireland, William Irvine said: “Men say, ‘Do you mean to say there is only a handful of people saved?’ ‘Yes only a handful, perhaps in some generations none because there was no man willing to let God work in his heart to do his will. Thus nations, generations of men have perished.’ In other words, there was no living witness about and so the people went to a lost eternity. In short, this meant that only by hearing the gospel from the lips of a Go-Preacher, i.e., Irvine and his associates, could any be saved; and over and over again, Romans 10:14 was quoted to prove this point.” (The Life and Ministry of Edward Cooney by Patricia Roberts, p 58)
The entire passage of Romans 10:11-17 is as follows:
V 11: For the scripture saith, Whosoever believeth on
not be ashamed.
V 12: For there is no difference between the Jew and the Greek: for the same Lord over all is rich unto all that call upon him.,
V 13: For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved. (Joel 2:32)
V 14: How then shall they call on him in whom they have
And how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard?
And how shall they hear without a preacher?
V 15: And how shall they preach, except they be sent?
As it is written, "How beautiful are the feet of them that preach the gospel of peace, and bring glad tidings of good things! (Is 52:7; Nahum 1:15)
V 16: But they have not all obeyed the gospel. For
saith, "Lord, who hath believed our report?”
V 17: So then faith cometh by hearing and hearing by the word of God..
V 18: But I say, Have they not heard? “Yes, verily, their sound went into all the earth and their words unto the ends of the world.” (Ps 19:4)
Today, the 2x2 ministers believe, teach or infer that THEY are the ones whose "feet" are blessed in this passage; and that it is their combined voice (sound) that one must “hear,” in order to acquire faith. However, these verses in Romans 10 are quotations from Isaiah 52:7; Nahum 1:15 and Psalms 19:4. Paul was writing to the Jewish Christians scattered in Rome, and Paul knew that they were well acquainted with the portions of the Old Testament scripture he quoted. Without reading the Old Testament scripture in context that Paul was quoting, one could ASSUME any number of things from these verses. However, reading these Old Testament passages in context will show the are not identifying the 2x2 ministry or church meetings in homes. Verse 18 refers to the heavens and earth, day and night.
Grace and Gene Luxon, authors of Has The Truth Set You Free wrote: "There is grave danger of misinterpretation when ‘proof text’ are used in isolation, ignoring the clear teaching in other parts of the Scripture. For example, the workers continually refer to Romans 10:14,'And how shall they hear without a preacher?’ as a proof text to justify their exclusive calling to preach. They claim that only through THEIR preaching can one HEAR and be saved. The word translated "preacher" in this verse is the Greek work ‘kerusso.’ This word ‘kerusso’ is used sixty-one times in the New Testament. It is translated as the verb ‘to preach’ fifty-four times, as the verb ‘to publish’ five times, and as the verb ‘to proclaim’ twice. Clearly the Greek meaning of ‘kerusso’ is a verb and not the noun "preacher" as translated here in the King James Version. This word denotes an action, not a person. It means the act of preaching or witnessing. This is precisely the same word ‘kerusso’ which is used in Matt 24:14 and in 59 other instances in the New Testament. The workers refer to Romans 10:17 to suggest that the gospel must be HEARD from them exclusively. Does this mean that the deaf can never receive salvation? One can ‘hear’ from another without hearing the spoken word. The deaf hear, learn and understand through reading. ‘These things are WRITTEN that you might believe’ (John 20:31). Hearing may be the most common way of receiving information, but the Word of God, whether heard audibly or read silently, has the power of God behind it. Jesus referred to the written word as authoritative when He said, ‘It is written’ (Matt 4:4; Mark 14:27). The Scripture is the final authority (Acts 17:11)."
Joe Kerr, the man who is generally recognized as initially suggesting that Drummond's theory of “Biogenesis” was applicable to Irvine's ministry, wrote a letter dated January 28, 1956 in which he explained the context and Paul’s meaning in these verses: "The mistake I made in my ignorance was that I failed to take into account the sovereignty of God, -- God who could speak from heaven and save one, as He saved Paul, Acts 9. He could save Timothy through reading of the Scriptures, 2 Timothy 3-15. I forgot that the greatest preacher that the Lord had was the firmament of heaven, and that there was no place in the universe where the voice of that preacher cannot be heard, Psalms 19-1 to 4. That is the preacher to whom Paul was referring in Romans 10-14 when he asked, "How could they hear without a preacher?" For he immediately quotes from that Psalm; Romans 10-18. When I saw the mistake I made, I tried to correct it, but it was too late! It was something new for people who had not been in the habit of thinking for themselves, and so off they set with it to the ends of the earth! Then it grew until they had it that the preacher had to be one testimony, and one who had either professed through William Irvine, or one of his direct descent. I could not have preached that, for I believe I was saved before I met the "Testimony," and I know that William Irvine had professed through the Rev. John McNeil. So that theory could no more hold water than the one that says the Pope was a direct descendent of Peter."
The belief became firmly established that people could ONLY come to Christ through a worker, not through the laymen, saints or friends. “At first this doctrine claimed that one could be born again only through Irvine or one in fellowship with him [the saints and laity included]. But by 1907, this had been reduced to Irvine and his fellow preachers only.” (The Life and Ministry of Edward Cooney by Patricia Roberts, p 57). Although it was not always so, the Living Witness Doctrine became an integral part of the group's essential teachings, and it remains so to this day.
(1) Most of those who “profess” (other than children of the friends) are or were members of other churches. The Living Witness Doctrine allowed the workers to believe that they alone had brought these people to Christ The fact is that had it not been for these people's Christian background, the workers would not have made it to first base. The workers have always had most success with people who are or have been in other Christian churches, and the Living Witness Doctrine gives the workers the satisfaction of "knowing” that they have brought these people salvation. If these people were already saved, of course, the workers’ achievements would have no great significance.
(2) The workers' status within the group depends upon the Living Witness Doctrine. According to this doctrine, it is impossible to be saved without the assistance of a worker, which of course, makes the workers’ position extremely important and increases their status enormously. It also rules out any embarrassing comparisons between the poor results obtained by the workers, and those achieved by more successful missionaries.
(3) As only the workers have the power to admit a new believer, it is reasonable to assume they also have the power to excommunicate those they consider unfaithful, or to impose other penalties such as not taking part in meetings, or forbidding to take the bread and wine.
(4) Where people are taught that there is no salvation apart from this group, they will go to great lengths to remain in good standing with the workers. If the workers preached (as they did in the first few years) that salvation was to be found in the other denominations, those dissatisfied with the group or the workers, would simply go elsewhere.
By instilling the fear of losing one’s salvation should one leave the group, the Living Witness Doctrine allows the workers to intimidate, control and manipulate the ordinary rank and file to the workers’ own advantage.
Observations from The Secret Sect, by Doug & Helen Parker, pages 18-19: "The application of Drummond's views on biogenesis in the form of The Living Witness Doctrine was a significant development for it laid the foundation of the doctrine of apostolic succession and authority that has been maintained by the preachers throughout the succeeding decades of the movement's history."
Observations from Has The Truth Set You Free? By Gene & Grace Luxon: "In the fellowship, many erroneous teachings stem from the Living Witness Doctrine…The Living Witness Doctrine resulted in several other fallacies:
"1. By maintaining the belief in apostolic succession, the ministry assumes the mandatory position of mediator between God and man. However, "…there is one God, and one mediator between God and men, the man Christ Jesus." 1 Tim 2:5
"2. The Bible is considered to be the Word of God only when conveyed by this exclusive ministry. It is believed that the "seed" of the gospel is quickened only through their message. This contradicts 1 Peter 1:23: "Being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the Word of God, which liveth and abideth forever." The Word of God is the seed and has power in itself to give life. No Word of God shall be void of power (Is 55:11). "…and receive with meekness the engrafted Word which is able to save your souls." James 1:21
"3. When the "gospel" message is heard through any other preacher, it is considered to be a false gospel and cannot offer any hope of salvation. Our hope of salvation rests on the TRUE GOSPEL and not the messenger. A gospel is false when the message is wrong. The result of this error is separation from other true believers [the Lord knoweth them that are His].
"4. Emphasizing the ministry focuses on the works of men and replaces the teaching of salvation by grace through faith in the finished work of Christ. Because of this emphasis, the glory is given to men and not to God.
"5. Salvation is dependent on personal faithfulness to the ministry without a home and to the church in the home. Rather than promoting faith, freedom and assurance of salvation, this error results in fear, bondage and an uncertain hope.
"6. An exclusive ministry assumes an unbiblical authority and power over the saints resulting in a hierarchy. All believers are called to serve God and witness to others (1 Peter 2:9; 1 Peter 4:9-11; Rev. 1:6).
"7. The Living Witness Doctrine also promotes the doctrine of apostolic succession. Scripture does not support the belief that any present day ministry has come from a continuous succession of the original apostles. This teaching is a serious departure from biblical truth and its devastating influence continues to shape the course of the present day fellowship."
Do They Still Believe Their Way is "GOD’S ONLY WAY??
YES!! Today the 2x2 ministers imply and/or teach that the only way a person can possibly obtain eternal salvation is by hearing "the gospel" from a Worker, professing through a Worker, following the tenets of the 2x2 group and assembling with their group members who meet in members’ homes. In order to obtain eternal life, they believe that:
- You must be one of their group; every outsider will go to a lost eternity at death.
- Their belief system/way is God's only true way on earth; all others are false.
- You must believe their group/way is God’s only way; and that all others are false.
- You must profess through one of them..
While Insiders may not say so outright, but they believe their method is God’s only true way. This means they believe the eternal destination of all Outsiders is hell. When pressed, Insiders will usually try to evade saying so, so they won’t offend the Questioner. But bottom line is, they believe you only have a chance at salvation if you choose to become one of them. For example:
"In a discussion with the workers in our area, I asked for a straight Yes or No to this question: "Do you believe that the Fellowship is the only true way, and that we must hear the Gospel through the workers to be saved?" The older sister worker very defensively said, "You're just trying to trap me. You're just trying to trap me!!" When I pressed for a Yes or a No, she just tightened her lips and stared me down." (12/1999, Australia)
In 1999, the head worker here said: "We have been ordained on the shores of Galilee to carry the word of God. People can come to Christ ONLY through us".
“In my region it has been and is an article of faith among the 2X2s that persons can be saved only through the workers. It is clearly understood throughout the New York and Pennsylvania fields, preached at conventions there. Other persons who have a similar lifestyle, avoid worldly pursuits and dress (as do the Mennonites and Amish), even if they meet in homes, are not saved because they are not in fellowship with God's True People. They have not received the Gospel or professed through God's True Servants, who have the exclusive authority to deliver it because of an unbroken chain of witnesses from Jesus to them, coupled with their having heard and responded to the ‘call’ to become Workers.” (Statement by Martha Nelson Knight January 8, 2000)
"In 1997, BILL MCCOURT, head worker of Western Australia told us
would have to agree to the following four essential items belonging to
way" in order for us to be accepted back into the fold.
1) "You must believe that the workers are the ONLY ones that can carry the word of God and ONLY through them can people be bought to Jesus".
2) "The authority of the workers is absolute. Jesus established this very ministry on the shores of Galilee and that is the authority they have been given".
3) "You will have to attend more gospel meetings".
4) "Your belief of ** 'once saved always saved' is wrong and will not be tolerated". This was not our belief but nobody had ever asked us what in fact did we believe. It seems that this had been construed from our belief of being saved by Grace. **This was said in the context of believing that you can do anything and no matter what you will be saved. We did not agree to any of the four items because it would have meant dishonoring our belief of salvation through Christ ONLY. NOT ONE thing was said about the Father, Son or Holy Spirit. It seemed that this was totally irrelevant to belonging to 'the way'."
In 1931, Willie Hughes, Overseer of South Australia at the time answered these questions:
"Q. Do you believe that it is possible for a man to come to the knowledge of the true faith, simply by reading the Bible without having heard a preacher?
A: We would not dare to say it is impossible, but prefer to tell people that it pleased God through the foolishness of preaching to save them that believe.
Q: Do you believe there are true Christians in other churches where some Word of God especially sin and grace is still being preached?
A:: We never pass judgement in such a manner. We feel that we can safely judge systems and doctrines and practices by those which Christ laid down, but the judgement of individuals must be left to Him whose right it is to judge all men." [37 Questions & Answers by Overseer of South Australia & New Zealand, Willie Hughes, April 23, 1931]
HOWARD MOONEY: "Jesus looked
into the faces of His apostles, who were with Him in the upper room
that night, and said, 'Ye are the branches.' Ye
are the only avenue through which this life can be extended into lives
others. There were only eleven apostles with Him then...these
men seemed so pitifully few to carry on that great work, but then the
servants have always been few...These branches are a wonderful picture
the true servants of God...This is the greatest privilege that men and
can enjoy in this life. Then the grapes are the product of the
These clusters represent the little groups of God's people to
the branches are extended the life of the vine. This is the only
grapes can be produced. Science has never found any other way to
grapes, other than through the vine, the source that God planned in the
Religious science with all its ingenuity has never developed any
way in which Christians an be produced either, only through the the
Vine" that God planned in the beginning. Sometimes people
find it hard to realize that God has ONE definite way.
It is hard for them to realize that any religious vine is not
enough, but when we read of those grapes from those other vines being
into the wine press, it helps us to realize that with God it makes all
difference in the world, which Vine we are hanging on." [Eureka,
SYDNEY HOLT: We do NOT accept those of different denominations as one in spirit or belief with our fellowship. [Sydney Holt Letter to Paul Abenroth dated Oct 4, 2001]
CLARENCE ANDERSON: "Behind that message from those messengers there was that voice, 'this is the Way, walk ye in it.' And through the years there has never been a doubt but that THIS is God's true Way." [Post Falls ID 1970] REF #191
HARRY HOLLAND: "If you are going to come to God by Him, you will have to come by THIS ministry, His baptism, and His Fellowship. It is The Fellowship of God the Father and His Son Jesus Christ. 1 John 1: 3. If you come to God through Christ, you can't come through something that He hasn't established. God didn't fill the world with confusion." [Silverdale BC Canada Conv 1959] REF #237
SYDNEY HOLT: "God has planned a person MUST hear through one sent by God, who is living Truth as well as speaking Truth."
HOWARD MOONEY: "When God planned His Way in the beginning, He planned the kind of Fellowship that He would have upon the earth and the love that would hold that Fellowship together, and the kind of ministry that would bring people into that Fellowship. This was all planned before the world began. God measures our faithfulness by the way in which we keep true to that original plan." [Funeral of Joe Brown Medford OR 3/6/78] REF #333
EVERETT SWANSON: "Christianity is the continuance of the life and teachings of Christ. Anything else is a departure from taking ALL the words of Christ."  REF #371
ELDON TENNISWOOD: "I hope you have made an inward surrender to the Lord so that you can accept the teachings as they are given through the Holy Spirit from His servants. There is a necessity for us to lay aside all our thoughts and our reasonings and accept what God teaches us through His Spirit." [Letter 1971] REF #295
GAYLEN VAN LOON: "Now what makes this way RIGHT? Is it the 2x2 homeless ministry: Partly, but not entirely. Is it the church meeting in homes? Partly but not entirely. Is it the baptism by immersion? Partly, but not entirely." [Osceola IA Spec Mtg 1997] REF #273
JACK CARROLL: "You can tell whether a church is a false church or not if it was started by a man or woman. We are the only church on earth that was started by Christ. We are God's chosen people. Our main objectives are to serve the workers, attend gospel meetings and conventions and honor The Truth."
"Thousands of years before the world was ever made, this was God's plan. What you and I enjoy is what has been in the mind and will of God for countless ages of eternity before this world was ever made and will be the plan of God through the countless ages of eternity." [Funeral of Jack Carroll Miltown WA 3/30/57] REF #334
"Those who leave the way and say this isn't THE ONLY WAY can't be renewed again." [Glen Valley BC Canada Conv 1988] REF #142
"God's way is for people who want to be right more than anything. We can't separate knowing God from THIS way." [Manhattan MT Conv 1992] REF #163"In the winter of 1911/12 as a late teenager, Archie (Turner) listened to two sisters workers, Sarah Skerritt and Ada Thomson, preaching the Gospel, and he soon came to the conclusion that this is the true way of God. He also settled it in his mind, that if this is the true way of God, which it is, then all the others ways must be false.” (Horrace Todhunter at Archie Turner’s Funeral Svc 3/29/77 at Cambusbarron, Scotland)
The beliefs in the statements above are all included in the concept called the "Living Witness Doctrine." Although the term is not often heard or used by the Friends or Workers today, the concept of the Living Witness Doctrine is taught and is very much in evidence. Buzz words are still used today, which are found in Henry Drummond's book! If there was no connection between Drummond's theory and the group's belief that one must hear their message through one of their worker messengers, then it seems peculiar that the Workers often use the same descriptive phrases found in Drummond's book. When asked to explain the doctrine of "the only way," a Canadian brother worker stated:
"Look at it like this. I have no idea who my
great-great-grandfather was, but I know that he had to exist,
because here I am today. We know how life begets life,
and it is the same spiritually. I do not believe in some form of
apostolic succession--that would be like the Catholic church.
People might build their faith on that, but I
would like to believe that the friends and ministry did come down
through history that way." (Eldon Kendrew in personal visit
w/John & Shawna Mitchell June 4, 1995)
While on a world wide convention tour, Willis Propp wrote in a letter dated April 15, 1987: "You have believed that the seed of the Gospel produces after its kind in any land, in people of any color, race, or former creed, but you believe it more as you journey through England, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Malaysia, Singapore, Indonesia, Hong Kong, Lorea, Japan, USA and back to Canada."
There may be a few exceptional 2x2s, but a very high percentage of the people and even a higher percentage of workers will say that this is how God has ordained it. Jesus tried to get through to some who were mistaken about their importance: "And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others," Luke 18:9. This type reasoning was also observed in some by the prophet Zephaniah: "This is the rejoicing city that dwelt carelessly, that said in her heart, I am, and there is none beside me: how is she become a desolation..." Zeph. 2:15.
“Actions speak louder than words.”
It is well known that the workers teach some (not all) who are "professing" will be saved. “Professing but yet not possessing,” is a phrase they use to refer to this belief. Yet they still accept that person in full fellowship and communion. As to the salvation of any specific person, they often say, "We do not judge whether that person, even though he is professing Christ, is actually saved. Only God knows." It follows that if "it is not for us to judge," then a worker would have no reluctance in proving their statement by doing BOTH of the following:
1. Visit another denomination and take communion with one or more of the people in that church as brothers and sisters in Christ.
2. Invite one or more persons from that church to the Sunday morning meeting and share communion with them as brothers and sisters in Christ.
Workers will not usually indicate what the eternal destiny is/will be for those who never had a chance to hear the workers message (but had honest hearts!) due to workers not being able to go into their country; or workers not having reached them before they died. They will usually say God is the Judge or God is fair and merciful, etc. So if they say "yes there are some saved who were not a part of their group," they may have in mind the individuals who never had a chance to hear workers.
Former Overseer of Texas-Haiti, HUBERT CHILDERS, (deceased and buried in Austin, Texas, December, 1992) was heard to say on more than one occasion that he believed his mother was in Heaven, although the workers did not come to their area until after she had died.
Some workers SEEM to teach that some (not all) who are members of other denominations
can or will be saved; HOWEVER, they stop short of accepting any such person(s)
in full fellowship and communion. Bear in mind, they are referring
only to a precious handful or few!! Prove this by asking them for the
names of some people they know/know of who are/will be saved who are/were not
a part of their 2x2 group. Most likely, the names, if they come up with
any, will be a favorite relative of theirs that they cannot bear to think of
being in hell; or someone close to them who did not get a chance to hear the
workers, and was a very good person, or Abraham Lincoln or Governor Long. Click Here to read Jack Carroll's comment about
Gov. Long. One worker said it was extremely unlikely, but it was just possible that one or two in the African outback just might be saved if there was never any possibility of the workers going there.
WILLIAM LEWIS, deceased head worker of Illinois and Texas, said of America's 16th President, Abraham Lincoln, who died 34 years before the 2x2 fellowship was founded, "Don't be surprised if you see Abraham Lincoln in Heaven someday." (in personal conversation with Tom V. Schroeder).
Carl Sandburg, in his book titled Abraham Lincoln [Harcourt, Brace & World, Inc., NY, 1954] page 573 wrote: "Continuously Lincoln gave no definite impression that he belonged to any particular church or endorsed any special faith or doctrine." As of this date, the actual words that Abraham Lincoln spoke are not known, which have prompted some workers to speculate that Abe may have been saved. Of course, it was not possible for Lincoln to have officially "professed" as he died in 1865, and Wm Irvine's workers did not start preaching until about 1900. Perhaps this notion came from Lincoln's statement to Iowa Congressman, James F. Wilson, [Abraham Lincoln by Carl Sandburg, Pages 577-8, June, 1862]:
"But I also believe He (God) will compel us to do right in order that He may do these things, not so much because we desire them as that they accord with His plans of dealing with this nation, in the midst of which He means to establish justice. I think He means that we shall do more than we have yet done in furtherance of His plans, and He will open the way for our doing it I have felt His hand upon me in great trials and submitted to His guidance, and I trust that as He shall further open the way, I will be ready to walk therein, replying on His help and trusting in His goodness and wisdom."
Proof that this exclusive belief still exists (whether or not it is openly acknowledged), can be found in the actions of the group members. Take baptism, for example. It is REQUIRED that an already professing AND BAPTIZED non-2x2 Christian be RE-baptized by the workers before they can partake of the emblems in their meetings. After taking that step, they are allowed to take 2x2 communion. If the group believed a person could be saved outside the 2x2 group setting, then the former baptisms of Christians would have “taken” and be recognized—but they are not by a long shot. They MUST be rebaptized by a worker. This is quite easy to prove—just ask one of them whether or not one who had been previously baptized in another church would have to be rebaptized before they could participate fully in the 2x2 meetings.
Consider the way the 2x2s relate to other Christians. They do not and will not fellowship with other Christians outside their group. If those in the group do not believe that they exclusively hold the key to salvation and fellowship, then they should be able to fellowship with other Christians. Yet, there exists a wide gulf between them as the Insiders and the rest of the Christian world, the Outsiders. Other Christians are able to enjoy rich fellowship with other Christians without knowing anything about their religious background. Their joint love for Jesus, their love for God’s word, the Holy Spirit dwelling in them, and their desire to glorify God and enjoy Him forever draw them together. What if a 2x2 professing friend found one of their work associates or a fellow mom at their local school was a professing Christian? Would they be able to fellowship together? Would they be able to study the Bible together or to pray for their fellow employees/employers or the school, students and teachers together? Are the friends and workers able to enter fully into the prayer and Bible discussion with a non-2x2 professing Christian--or is there a barrier there? Are non-2x2 professing Christians considered to be fellow Christians, or are they considered to be "confused" or "blind" and "lost"?
Observe the way the 2x2 friends and workers relate to a non-2x2
Do they relate to other Christians in the same way they do those in their own group?
Is a non-2x2 professing Christian welcome to come to their fellowship meeting and to fully partake in ALL parts of the meeting... singing, prayer, testimonies and the emblems...
How do 2x2s react to an invitation to attend a non-2x2 Christian home fellowship group for some Bible study and fellowship?
If a more public Christian speaker/teacher came to town for a conference (or to speak in a local church) how would the 2x2 friends and workers react to an invitation to come and hear and participate in such an event? (They're happy to run to hear out-of-town, out-of-country 2x2 workers and friends when THEY are in the area.)
What if the visiting speaker was Billy Graham or R.C. Sproul, Chuck Swindol, Charles Stanley or Elizabeth Elliot?
Are all other churches considered "false churches"?
Are all other pastor/teachers considered to be "false prophets/preachers"?
What happens when a professing Christian begins to attend 2x2
Are they welcomed in to full fellowship as a fellow Christian or is it understood that they are "lacking in understanding" and must attend lots of meetings before they "really" see things in the proper perspective?
Is it necessary for them to “profess” in a tested gospel meeting before they can enter into full fellowship?
If they desire to begin attending and taking part in the fellowship meetings right away, how do the friends and workers react? Are they allowed to do so, or are they encouraged to "attend more gospel meetings" first?
If a non-2x2 professing Christian DOES come into the fellowship meetings and begin fully partaking as though he was already a part of the group, is there talk "behind his back" about needing more meetings and not having "full understanding" yet?
Do they ask a non-2x2 professing Christian to "give thanks" before eating together?
How do the 2x2 friends and workers react when they hear of someone giving their heart to the Lord in some other church service? Do they rejoice in the same way they would rejoice if that person had professed in their gospel meetings or at convention?
How do 2x2 friends and workers relate to those who have left
but still profess to be believing Christians?
Can 2x2 friends enjoy fellowship with them?
Do they truly consider them to be fellow Christians?
Would they welcome them into full participation again anytime they may choose to attend a fellowship meeting? Are those who have left grieved over, and is it considered that they have "lost out"?
Observe how they handle their children:
If one of the 2x2 professing kids wanted to attend the Bible study at their local school (or a prayer event like "Meet you at the Pole") would their parents be delighted?
If this 2x2 kid even decided he'd like to attend another church with his friends instead of going to the meetings, would this be OK with everyone in the 2x2 group?
What if this kid wanted to attend a summer church camp with his Christian friends?
When 2x2 professing kids head off to college, are they encouraged to get involved with the Christian groups on campus?
What is the parents and workers reaction if they start dating a non-2x2 professing Christian?
What if they decide to marry a non-2x2 professing Christian?
What if a 2x2 young person chooses to attend another church with their new spouse instead of the meetings? How would the friends and workers react?
Consider what happens when the friends and workers travel over a
Is it possible for them to attend church services with their non-2x2 professing Christian relatives or friends or is it necessary for them to search out the "local meeting" to fellowship with other 2x2's they've never met before?
If there was no "local meeting" for the 2x2 visitors to attend, would it be considered even "better" to stay at the relatives' home alone while the relatives attended their church service?
To Discover if They Believe Their Church is God's ONLY RIGHT WAY.
IF the 2x2s are NOT exclusive, name me one other church that is acceptable to God.
Do you believe there are people who will get to Heaven who are members of other churches, such as the _______ church?
Is it possible for a person to go to heaven who faithfully attended a _______ (Baptist/Methodist, etc.) church right up to and through their death??
What are the names of some people you know/know of who you believe have been/will be saved who are/were not a part of the 2x2 meetings? (besides Abraham Lincoln and Gov. Long--examples sometimes used as possible exceptions)
IF IT IS TRUE, it should be easy to prove that the 2x2 ministry and church meetings in the home have threaded their way through the centuries as bearers of God’s Only True Way on Earth from New Testament times.
Just locate one of the following, bearing a date earlier than 1896:
1. hymn written by a friend or worker
2. printed hymnbook
3. photograph of a worker or friend
4. workers' list
5. letter written by a worker or friend
6. convention date list or speakers list
7. notes of any convention, funeral or meeting
Or find just one person who:
1. had a family member to profess prior to 1896
2. had heard of anyone professing prior to 1896
3. has known of any workers preaching prior to 1896
Sometimes the friends refer to themselves as the fourth or fifth professing generation in their family. Why are there no 20 th or 25 th professing generations? If the 2x2 ministry and church meetings in the home have continued in an unbroken line from the New Testament Days, there should be some 2x2 families who are able to trace their professing relatives back to the 50th, 75th, 100th, etc. generations.
There are old convention, funeral and meeting notes that confirm that 2x2 workers came sometime after 1896 to the families of: Howard Mooney, Eldon Tenniswood, Willie Jamieson, Jack Carroll, George Walker, Andrew Abernathy, Garrett Hughes, Charlie Hughes, Therald Sylvester and Sydney Holt. To date, however, not a single legitimate piece of primary evidence has surfaced to indicate there were any friends or workers existing prior to 1896.
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