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The Journal of John Long
About the Early Days
Newspaper Articles
Read about the Early Days
1893 - 1965
1966 to Present
REPRESENTING THE LARGEST COLLECTION OF 2X2 HISTORICAL DOCUMENTS ON THE INTERNET

Letterhead used by workers titled Christian Conventions

Perry, Oklahoma Conv, 1942

Preserving the Truth
The Church without a Name and its Founder, William Irvine

Introduction Index of Chapters
Chapter Links
1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43

Appendixes

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O


Chapter 20
Revised July 27, 2017

1905 - 1907

It Wasn’t Always "God's Only Right Way..."
1905 Crocknacrieve Convention - Birth of Exclusivity
The Living Witness Doctrine
Irvine's Method became God's Only Right Way
The LWD Became Mandatory Teaching
RE-baptism of Christians
Unchristianizing the Christians - Renouncing Previous Conversion Experiences
Irvine's Revelation
John Long Excommunicated
Resistance to the New Doctrine
Joe Kerr Repented of the LWD
Current Beliefs


IT WASN'T ALWAYS "GOD’s ONLY RIGHT WAY"

In the Early Days, the Workers were primarily evangelists and their mission was simply to save souls. They were not a church, sect or denomination. Like Faith Mission, they were unsectarian; i.e. not associated with any particular sect or church. They did not meet in homes, did not serve communion (the emblems), did not baptize, took no collections and had no official name. The press called them a "movement" and nicknamed them: Tramp Preachers, Go Preachers, Dippers, Cooneyites, Irvineites, etc. Early Worker Alfred Magowan described their goals:

"We had only one commission and that was to make disciples as we had been made....That was the simple outline in the days of our beginning. There were no regulations and no asserting of authority. The Lord had mercifully set us free in spirit to worship and serve him under the guidance of the Holy Spirit through a good conscience....There was nothing in the vision we had of 'the way in Jesus' that would have led us towards another kind of sectarianism, nor did we ever anticipate a time when we would become a strong people in an evil world" (January 21, 1931 letter by Alfred Magowan to early Worker Wilson McClung).

They preached without a fixed salary and without appealing for donations, using Matthew 10 as their guide and solely trusting God to meet their needs.  They called their method "Faith Lines" (Long's Journal, Jan. 1899). See also Chapter 7.   In Jan. 1899, John Long was the first to independently launch out preaching on Faith Lines.  In Oct. 1899, Irvine took several young men with their bicycles (see photo) on a pilot mission to Scotland, preaching without prearranged financial support. Their needs were adequately met and they made some converts. The experimental mission was considered successful. 

Up until this time, the Workers believed that "...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" (Long's Journal, July 1905). 

1905 JULY, CROCKNARIEVE CONVENTION - THE BIRTH OF EXCLUSIVITY:  There came a point in time when the Workers' viewpoint narrowed radically. Joseph Kerr was training for the Methodist ministry when he was converted by Ed Cooney, and he entered the work in 1902 when he was 21. At the 1905 Crocknacrieve Convention, Joe Kerr was: 

"...one of the most gifted and talented of the Workers got a very prominent place by Wm. Irvine; rather too much so for a novice. He attended a conference, in the Bridge of Allan in Scotland; and he was so disgusted with the way the Clergy preached; that he came to the conclusion that there are no Clergymen saved.  Without any charitable consideration of the conscience or opinion of others, he preached it at that Convention. Irvine defended him, but Edward Cooney opposed him and tried to prove that John Wesley was a born again man" (Long's Journal, July 1905.)

Meanwhile, John Long became concerned as he saw signs that the Go Preacher movement was becoming exclusive. At the 1905 Crocknacrieve Convention, Irvine was very hard on John, and criticized him for not separating his converts from their respective places of worship. John felt Irvine had no right to take from him the liberty of being led by the Spirit of God. John wrote: "All through that year [1905] 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" (Journal, Dec. 1905).

THE LIVING WITNESS DOCTRINE (abbreviated LWD in this book):  Around that time, a popular religious theory was circulating called the "Living Witness Doctrine." Joe Kerr is recognized as being the one who initially proposed to Wm. Irvine that the Living Witness Doctrine was applicable to Irvine's ministry. Cooney wrote: "Wm. 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 Wm. or some preacher who had heard him” (Edward Cooney's Testimony).

In 1905, Joe Kerr and some other Workers left Britain and went to preach in South Africa. He later wrote: "The idea that the preacher had to be Wm. Irvine or one of his disciples was added to their doctrine after I had delivered my part...I could not have preached that, for I believe I was saved before I met the 'Testimony' and I know that Wm. Irvine had professed through the Rev. John McNeil" (Joe Kerr's letter, Jan. 28, 1956).

The LWD came from a book titled “Natural Law in the Spiritual World” (Chapter "Biogenesis") by Sir Henry Drummond, published in 1890 by Hodder & Stoughton, London, GB, UK. Drummond was born 1851 in Stirling, Scotland and died in 1897. He was a Professor at the Free Church College in Glasgow and a minister of the Free Church. Irvine and Drummond were not associated. More details at: "Henry Drummond" by J. Y. Simpson and Encyclopedia of Protestantism, "Henry Drummond" by J. Gordon Melton.

Drummond theorized that the scientific study of natural laws led to the discovery of spiritual laws. His theory was that there are two opposing views regarding the origin of life in both the world of science, and in the Christian world. One is that life can only come from pre-existing life, and the other is that life can be spontaneously generated. In other words, the origin of spiritual life was either (1) generated spontaneously without the help of man, or (2) could only come from another spiritual life. Theory No. 2 is called the "Living Witness Doctrine"

The LWD theory is that "life begets life;" that what occurs in natural life also occurs in spiritual life; and that there can be no life without a previous life. Every living thing has an ancestry and "without life, there can be no life." In nature, animals and plants reproduce in like kind. Applying this to spiritual life, spiritual sheep can only be reproduced from spiritual sheep. Thus, the LWD theory is that man can only receive spiritual life from another spiritual life or witness. 

1907 - IRVINE'S METHOD BECAME "GOD'S ONLY RIGHT WAY": Many more converts of Wm. Irvine and his Workers were motivated to go preach on Faith Lines. Some preached with John Long or Wm. Irvine, others preached with Todd's Mission and others preached independently. Going on Faith Lines was the distinctive feature that set the Workers' method of preaching apart from other preachers.

The application of Drummond's theory of the Living Witness Doctrine into their belief system was a significant development. They concluded it was God's intention for the Faith Lines Matthew 10 method to be used to spread the gospel universally for all times. Because they alone had "paid the price" and were willing to preach in the sacrificial manner Jesus instructed His 12 disciples in Matthew 10, they viewed themselves as God's only true ministers on earth. 

They further concluded that ONLY those who were born again (professed) through God's only true ministers (Wm. Irvine and/or his Workers) could receive eternal life. Thus, salvation was restricted to those who entered through "the door" held open by Irvine, his Workers and their successors. The Workers were essential for salvation. Those who entered into the fold through the Workers were God's only children in "God's only right/true way."  This reasoning gave Irvine's Workers a monopoly on salvation.

It also implied they did not (and still do not) believe anyone can be saved without hearing and accepting Christ through a Worker. It meant they believe all other religious bodies, Christians and ministers are “false” (not recognized by God). It also meant they believe that spiritual life cannot be generated to an individual through the dealing of the Holy Spirit, through reading the Bible, prayer or any other method. Further, it meant individuals could not accept Christ/profess through the Friends/Saints or laity--only through the Workers. They also believe that if there are others in the world with honest hearts, God will lead them into contact with his only true ministers, the Workers.

Wm. Irvine claimed “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?” (1907 Philadelphia U.S. Convention). He also stated:"the Bible, apart from the living witness, could not save one, and even damned men and women”(1907 Sydney, Australia Convention, Life and Ministry of Edward Cooney by Roberts, p. 58).  If anyone can receive revelation direct from God when they read their Bibles, then the Workers would have no power over them.

THE LWD BECAME A MANDATORY TEACHING: By the year 1907, ten years after the 2x2 Sect started, the LWD was infused into it and became an integral, inseparable part of the sect's essential teachings, and remains so to this day, even though some followers today may not have ever heard of the term "Living Witness Doctrine." It became the basis for teaching apostolic succession that has continued to the present day.

From 1907 forward, Workers began to teach that eternal life could only be obtained through (1) hearing, believing and professing through Irvine or a Worker who professed through him, or his/her successor; and (2) following the 2x2 belief system Irvine founded and for their converts to disassociate from their current churches and meet in designated Elders' homes for fellowship. This change of doctrine and belief in their exclusivity was worldwide. "And he [Jesus] spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous and despised others" (Luke 18:9). 

When the decision to apply the LWD to the Sect was made, most Workers were in their early twenties, except for Wm. Irvine, Willie Gill, and Ed Cooney, who were in their early forties. These youths were from a variety of religious backgrounds, full of zeal and zest, although lacking in life experience, training and education. Keep in mind that none of them were born and raised in this sect as it did not exist when they grew up.

These young Workers did not realize that a comparison or analogy is never proof.  Drummond's comparison of natural life with spiritual life was not valid reasoning. To infer something when comparing two items, it is essential for the items to be in the same class. Since natural life and spiritual life are not in the same class, nothing can be reliably inferred from one life to the other. What is true in natural life cannot be said to always hold true in spiritual life. One may illustrate the other, but an illustration does not provide certainty or proof. Jesus pointed out that natural life and spiritual life are not in the same class: "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" (John 3 KJV).  

These young Workers did not realize Jesus' instructions to the disciples in Matthew 10 were for particular, short missions Jesus sent them on, nor did they consider that Jesus rescinded these instructions in Luke 22:35-36. They disregarded Jesus' discourse on sectarianism in Luke 9:49-50, and also that Jesus said: "And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold…" (John 10:16 KJV). 

Some converts had problems reconciling the LWD with scripture. When Jesus said:  "I am The Way, The Truth, and The Life" (John 14:6 KJV), the LWD made the Workers become “the Way.” Paul wrote "the Holy Scriptures which are able to make thee wise unto salvation through faith which is in Christ Jesus" (2 Tim. 3:15 KJV).  Yet, according to the LWD the Scripture by itself cannot give spiritual life. However, regarding his conversion, Paul wrote, "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 KJV). It seems clear that no Apostle, disciple or worker was involved in Paul's conversion.

According to the LWD, a Worker's involvement was essential for salvation, other than a few exceptional situations (Abraham Lincoln, Gov. Long). Paul said: "There is one God and one Mediator between God and man, the man Christ Jesus ..." (I Tim. 2:5 KJV). Yet, the LWD made the Workers essential middlemen or mediators of salvation between man and God. In the seed and sower parable in Matthew 13, the sower does not give the seed life--the seed has life in itself.  The sower (preacher) only sows the seed (Word)--he does not give it life.  It was the seed that was important--not the sower. Yet, the LWD claimed the seed could generate life ONLY when sowed by particular sowers. 

The scriptural authority used for the necessity of hearing the gospel through a Worker was Romans 10:14-18: "...and how shall they hear without a preacher? And how shall they preach, except they be sent?"  The word translated "preacher" in this verse is the Greek work "kerusso" used 61 times in the NT. It is translated as "preach," "to preach," "be preached," "preaching," "preached," "to publish," "to proclaim." It is translated as "preacher" only this one time in all the KJV New Testament. In all the other instances the word "kerusso" indicates the act of proclaiming, publishing, preaching or witnessing; making something known--not a person.

In Roman 10 Paul was speaking about the Jewish nation to whom Jesus delivered the gospel and sent out disciples with the message "that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth and believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved...For the scripture saith 'Whosoever believeth on him shall not be ashamed.' " Paul's point was not that one must hear the gospel and believe through a particular succession of preachers who preached in a particular manner. The chapter context shows the Jews were given ample opportunity to believe and they had refused. Jesus preached to them, and He also sent others accompanied by miracles to preach to the whole country, and still they refused to believe. "O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, which killest the prophets, and stonest them that are sent unto thee; how often would I have gathered thy children together, as a hen doth gather her brood under her wings, and ye would not!" (Luke 13:34 KJV).

RE-BAPTISM OF CHRISTIANS: Transition to the newly adopted LWD was problematic. They "groped their way," as Ed Cooney wrote. The LWD led to the practice of RE-baptism of Christians, which still takes place in the sect today. At the following Crocknacrieve Convention in July 1906:

"...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" (Long's Journal, July 1906).

The sect's narrowed perspective and changed doctrine drew the attention of a reporter for the Impartial Reporter Newspaper who attended the annual Convention at Crocknacrieve: 

"Change and development of doctrine prevails, and doubt in many cases, even in Mr. Edward Cooney’s and Mr. Wm. Irvine’s cases, which have been confessed openly...Many people professed to have been saved before meeting the Tramp Preacher....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 how definite your aspirations or what quickening towards God may have been wrought in your heart or soul previously. So that in other words, derivative or successive Christianity is now re-established via Wm. Irvine and Edward Cooney only. This is all the more remarkable and contradictory since Wm. 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 McNeill; some say Wm. Irvine’s sister was the means of spiritual life to him, and some are not very sure but that since Thomas was a doubting apostle, they are contented to be a brother of his..." (IR, Aug. 25, 1910).

UNCHRISTIANIZING THE CHRISTIANS - RENOUNCING PREVIOUS CONVERSION EXPERIENCES: The newly adopted LWD doctrine also led to the rejection of all "born again" experiences of outside Christians and relegated Christian family members and friends to the body of the “unsaved” who are doomed for hell. They stopped worshipping with and taking communion with Christians outside their group. This was not an issue for those who were converted through Wm. Irvine or his Workers, but it was difficult for some who believed they were saved before they met Wm. Irvine.  Some could not in good conscience deny or renounce their previous, wholehearted submission to the Lord. Some Workers went along with it, while others left the work because of it, and yet others were were forced out for not embracing it. John Long wrote:

"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..." (Journal, June 1907 ).

Alfred magowan wrote: "every living thing has an ancestry. Apostolic succession was a succession of apostles. The proof that they were the true succession is that they bore the original apostolic marks. Sheep succession never runs to goats. Therefore clergymen could not bring forth Christians; and therefore those who professed through them were only deceived" (Outline of the History of a Peculiar People From 1900-1931)

I
rvine received his spiritual birth in 1893 through Presbyterian minister Rev. John McNeill.  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" (letter to Mr. Billett, Jan. 8, 1934). Now according to the LWD, Presbyterian ministers were considered "false prophets." When applied to Wm. Irvine, the LWD theory "life begets life" broke down. Who was before Wm. Irvine? If the LWD was God's truth, how could Irvine truly be saved since he professed through Presbyterian minister John McNeill, who did not profess through a Worker?

IRVINE'S REVELATION:  Irvine and his Workers further reasoned that Irvine had been called, raised up and used by God to restore the methods and ministry of the New Testament church. According to the LWD, 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. There was a break in the line of spiritual descent so it was necessary for God to start a new line by special act again  (Outline of the History of a Peculiar People From 1900-1931 by Alfred Magowan). This, in turn made Wm. Irvine the Father or "Spiritual Adam," through whom all successive Workers received their spiritual life. 

If it was true that going out to preach by the Faith Lines Matthew 10 method was “God's only true way” for all time, then Irvine had received a revelation from God, which meant Irvine was a prophet. The definition of a "prophet" is one who receives a message or revelation from God.

The revelation concept that salvation was restricted to those who enter through "the door" held open by Irvine, his Workers and/or their successors was problematic for some. Before Wm. Irvine received his alleged revelation, how did God work with people in countries where Workers had never been? What was the eternal disposition of the generations who died before Irvine started his Faith Lines ministry method? 

There are two kinds of prophets, true and false. The Israelites asked in Deut. 18:21-22: "How may we know the word which the Lord has NOT spoken? When a prophet speaketh in the name of the Lord, if the thing follow not, nor come to pass, that is the thing which the Lord hath not spoken, but the prophet hath spoken it presumptuously." A prophet was proved by the Test of Time; i.e. whether or not his prophecies become to pass.

Later in life, Irvine made prophecies that did not come true. He predicted that the Apostle John would return and that he and John would be the Two Witnesses (prophets) in Revelation 11:1-11 who would witness for 1,260 days in preparation for Jesus' return.  According to Revelation, they would then be killed and their bodies displayed in Jerusalem for 3-1/2 days, after which they would rise again and ascend up into Heaven. This prediction and others may be verified in the numerous letters he wrote for 26 years to his followers which are posted on TTT. Irvine died in 1947 of throat cancer without this coming to pass. Was Irvine a true prophet?

Although at one time the 2x2 method and Sect was considered a great revelation from God, Irvine would later say to Alfred Magowan: "It was a great experiment." To which Alfred replied, "It was a great experience" (Testimony of a Witness for the Defence by Alfred Magowan, Jan. 13, 1956, p. 5). The great revelation had become the "great experiment."

The LWD concept was a man's theory without scriptural foundation. Nowhere does the Bible indicate God has only one way (church) on earth; or that salvation is via one certain preacher and/or his followers/disciples EXCEPT for Jesus Christ:  "I am the way, the truth, and the Life (John 14:6 KJV). 

1907, JULY - CROCKNACRIEVE CONVENTION - JOHN LONG EXCOMMUNICATED: At this time, there were more than 500 Workers laboring in the British Isles, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa (Long's Journal, July 1907).  Arriving at the 1907 Crocknacrieve Convention, John Long found most of the Go Preacher fellowship had turned against him and thought he had been disloyal to Irvine.  When it was made mandatory for the Workers to preach that all clergy and Christians outside of their group were unsaved, John Long did not go agree:

"I have no doubt that God used Wm. 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 Workers. He remained that year in the British Isles, and everywhere he went, he preached that the clergy were unsaved men going to Hell." (Journal, June 1907).

At the Convention, Irvine used his authority to excommunicate John Long, his longtime fellow helper who had been with him from the very beginning–from 1897 to 1907. Irvine made a public example of John Long, leaving no doubt in the minds of his audience as to what would happen to any Worker who did not accept and teach that Irvine's method was God's Only True Way and all other churches and ministers were false. John Long wrote it 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" (Journal, June 1907). 

While John Long was on the platform speaking at the 1907 Crocknacrieve Convention, Irvine interrupted him and instructed John to say there were no clergy in the Ark. John said it, but he refused to say that John Wesley, the founder of Methodism, was not saved and that there were no saved clergymen. Irvine took a vote of the 200 people present and asked all those to stand who believed there never was or never could be a clergyman born again. All stood except John Long, Goodhand Pattison and two Englishmen.

Irvine then announced that John Long was not willing to forsake his old ways, and had been "a drag/brake on the wheel," and used the verse about "not turning back after putting the hand to the plough" (David Magowan* and Robert Keep, 2002*). Irvine gave John Long 12 months' probation, instructing him not to visit any Saints’ homes and to preach only in areas where no Workers had been, and after a year, if he still believed there were saved clergymen, they would look upon him as being unsaved too.

John was cut to the heart and left the group he helped to start in tears. With that announcement, the two preachers most used at the origin of the movement separated.  He wrote: " 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... (Journal, July 1907).

“The time came, I regret to say so, when the Go Preachers’ mission became too exclusive and narrow, so as that I was constrained to leave it in July, 1907. I never undervalued or denied the blessing and help that Wm. 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....God saved me from exclusiveness...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" (Why I am an Unsectarian Evangelist by John Long).

The Impartial Reporter Newspaper had this to say about the ultimatum Irvine gave John Long:

"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. 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, [Irvine] 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. was given notice to quit and left on Tuesday last" (IR, July 25, 1907).

For the rest of his life, John Long continued with his independent itinerant ministry "fully in the Lord’s work and a Go Preacher, though not in fellowship with them." In 1920, when he was 48 years old, he married Margaret Keegan and they had four children. Their home was Oldstone, Muckamore, Co. Antrim, Ireland. John died in 1962, aged 90, and is buried in Co. Antrim, Ireland. Click here for more about his personal life. He used the Bible and prayer as his primary authority for spiritual teaching and standards. He knew what he believed and why. When he mentioned a teaching or belief in his Journal for the first time, he also supplied supporting Scriptures. The entries in his Journal during this early period go into much detail about what the Go Preachers believed and taught at their beginning, along with the changes that troubled him considerably. He wrote:

"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" (Journal, July 1927).

RESISTANCE TO THE NEW DOCTRINE: John Long was not the only one who did not agree with the new Only Way LWD concept that no clergy outside their group were saved; that no one was saved before they came in contact with Wm. Irvine or one of his Workers; and that one must renounce the Lord’s dealings with them prior to meeting Wm. Irvine through re-baptism.

At first Ed Cooney opposed the LWD, but eventually went along with it. However, in 1914, he and Tom Elliott and Tom's wife Ellen renounced the LWD. Bitterly regretting that he ever preached it, Cooney wrote: 

"Two Heresies arose amongst us at this time, started largely by Joseph Kerr, who said no one could be saved who had not met Wm. 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 Wm. Irvine's associates.  In 1914, I declared that I returned to the gospel Wm. Irvine and I with others, preached for some years before these Heresies were introduced" (letter to Alice Flett)

After Cooney was put out of the fellowship in 1928, he wrote: "I have been excommunicated by my fellow Workers, and hundreds of Saints and eight Workers have been put outside the camp with me."  His chief offence was that he renounced the LWD. He wrote:

"In the beginning we were all free to express the revelation God made clear in our hearts...Wm. 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 Wm. Irvine, that previous to meeting him we were unregenerate. John Hardie for many years refused to accept this....In 1914, God showed me the pre-eminence William got through this error....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 four years after God called Wm. Irvine and others of us to rebuild Jerusalem" (letter to My dear Sister, dated May, 1930).   

JOE KERR REPENTED OF THE LWD: Alfred Magowan wrote: "We had a visit from E. Cooney...and he was telling us that J. Kerr has repented of his 'living witness doctrine' which made us the most exclusive body of people making the Christian profession. He has repented, but the teaching...will still go marching on...We were told lately that you [George Walker] and others of the older leaders still regarded him [Wm. Irvine] as the spiritual Adam of our time–from whom all were descended (letter to George Walker, Feb. 21, 1954). Read more about Joe Kerr.

From the above, it can be seen that the methods and doctrine of the Workers evolved. In the beginning they did not consider their " Faith Lines" Matthew 10 method to be "God's Only True Way."  As they grew, they groped their way. Currently, they are far from being, as they often claim, "the same yesterday, today and forever." Looking back over the decade between 1897 and 1907, it is obvious that the outlook of the Tramp Preachers changed considerably. They went:
  • 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 assembling and worshipping with other Christians in various denominations...
  • FROM viewing others outside their group as brothers and sisters in Christ...
  • FROM believing there were many Christians everywhere... 
  • TO "unchristianizing" all Christians outside their fellowship.
  • TO separating themselves and forming their own church meetings in homes.
  • TO refusing to worship with outsiders.
  • FROM viewing ministers of other denominations as fellow laborers in Christ...
  • TO considering them false preachers.
  • 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.
  • TO believing they were God’s ONLY true children on earth.

CURRENT BELIEFS.  Most of the 2x2 Sect still believe their belief system is God's only true way on earth; that without the true ministry (the Workers), there would be no true church and all other churches and ministers are "false;" and that everyone who is not following their method of worship and ministry will go to hell. This includes all Christians in other churches. Following are a few quotes out of many from Workers that substantiate this belief:

"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." (Early Worker Harry Holland, Silverdale, BC Canada Convention, 1959).

"We do NOT accept those of different denominations as one in spirit or belief with our fellowship (Overseer Sydney Holt letter to Paul Abenroth, Oct. 4, 2001).

"We believe this is the way of God. It’s a revelation to our own hearts. And we further believe there is salvation in no other way…many others all over the world have received that revelation from the God of Heaven that this is the true way of God and there is nothing else we could ever trust our salvation to. And that revelation came thru the foolishness of preaching" (Lowell Stidolph letter to Bob & Joan Daniel, June 29, 1990).

It was easier to believe and accept the LWD before the internet. Documentation is now easily accessible showing that the 2x2 Sect actually started around the turn of the 20th century; that it did not actually start when Jesus sent out His 12 Apostles on the Shores of Galilee; and that it has not been handed down in a succession from Apostle to Workers to the present. When tracing Workers back from the present, the line goes back to Wm. Irvine at the turn of the 20th century and abruptly stops.

Few 2x2s will admit to an outsider that they believe they are the only ones going to Heaven. They usually attempt to evade the question. However, it is mentioned in testimony meetings and taught to succeeding generations by professing parents, grandparents and Workers.

Some Workers make exceptions for those who never had a chance to hear the Workers' message due to Workers not being able to go into a country; or Workers not having ever preached to a person before their death. They will usually say God is the Judge or God is fair and merciful, etc. So, if a Worker says, "yes there are some saved who are not a part of our group," they are likely referring to a similar situation.

A few Workers may say that some who are members of other denominations will be saved. However, they are referring only to the few exceptions above or to those who will eventually hear a Worker and leave their church and become a 2x2.  When asked for the names of some people who are or will be saved who are or were not a part of their 2x2 sect, they may give the name of someone close to them or a very good person who did not get a chance to hear the Workers. The Author heard the late former Overseer of Texas-Haiti, Hubert Childers, say more than once that he believed his mother was in Heaven, although the Workers did not come to their area until after she had died. 

On occasion, some workers have given the names of President Abraham Lincoln or N.Y. Governor LongClick Here to read Jack Carroll's comment about Gov. Long. Wm. Lewis, deceased overseer of Texas, said of Lincoln, who died 34 years before the 2x2 fellowship was founded, "Don't be surprised if you see Abraham Lincoln in Heaven someday" (personal conversation with Tom V. Schroeder).

Oklahoma Overseer Harry Brownlee told the author that at a large regional Workers Meeting in the early 1990s, the Workers were encouraged not to preach "things you cannot prove," (which would include that the 2x2 Sect started on the shores of Galilee).

Some Workers now emphasize that their Church is the closest restoration on earth to the original primitive New Testament church. This is their opinion, according to their definition of the word "closest." If they had used this explanation from their beginning for why they believe their Sect is superior to others, many problems and exoduses through the years might have been avoided. "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).

Telling the Truth has a hard copy of the documents, books, newspaper articles, references, etc. used in this book. Any exceptions are noted with an asterisk (*).


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Am I therefore become your enemy, because I tell you the Truth?
Galatians 4:16

"Condemnation without Investigation is Ignorance."

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Preserving the Truth
The Church without a Name
and its Founder, William Irvine



William Irvine
1863-1947


Founder of the
Church with No Name
aka 2x2 Church,
Friends & Workers Fellowship,
Cooneyites and "the truth"