Preserving the Truth
The Church without a Name and its Founder, William Irvine
Revised February 11, 2018
Three Groups Originally Founded by
(1) The Two by Two Church/Sect of followers called Friends and Workers
(2) The Wm. Irvine Omega Message followers
(3) The Edward Cooney followers. See books written by follower Patricia Roberts in Bibliography.
In 1897, the 2x2 Sect was started by William Irvine with the help of John Long, Edward Cooney and some others in Ireland around the turn of the 20th century. In 1914, the chief Workers overthrew the leadership of Wm. Irvine, and took control for themselves and Irvine left the original group. The majority of the 2x2 Sect's adherents continued to follow the other leading Workers.
Omega: In 1918, Irvine began to believe he was divinely appointed to bring the last message of Jesus to the world since the age of grace ended in August, 1914. Most of the other Workers did not agree with Wm. Irvine’s new revelation. A few remained loyal to Wm. Irvine.
Cooneyites: In 1928, Ed Cooney, considered by some to be the co-founder, was excommunicated from the 2x2 Sect. Some of his loyal followers also left with him.
NOTE: None of these three groups that sprang from the sect originally founded by Wm. Irvine take an official name for their belief system.
1. GROUP NAMES and NICKNAMES:
2x2: Claim to take no official name, but group is called:
The Two-by-Two's, The Truth, The No-Name Church, The Friends and Workers Fellowship, The Way, Jesus' Way,
The Cooneyites, etc. Officially registered with various governments
under names of: Christian Conventions in USA; Assemblies of Christians
in Canada; Testimony of Jesus in England; Christian Assemblies
of Australia; Christian Assemblies of New Zealand; United Christian
Conventions of Australasia and New Zealand; Alberta Society of Christian
Assemblies; Christians in Sweden; Christian Mission Vietnam; Undenominational Christian Mission in Sri Lanka; Primitive Christian Church of Peru, Christian Church of San Felipe in Chile, etc.
Omega: Takes no official name, and informally refer to their group as "The Omega Message." Followers are “in the Message."
2. MEMBERS – NAMES & NICKNAMES:
2x2: Called: "the friends, saints, children of God,
brothers/sisters in Christ, the Kingdom, family of God."
Omega: Called: "The Little Ones,” “the Message People,”
“The Witnesses,” Some outsiders
refer to them by the eponym: “Irvinites.”
3. THEIR CLERGY:
2x2: Called: "workers, servants, handmaidens, evangelists."
Shun formal religious training and education in original Bible languages.
Lay members supply ministers' needs. Workers travel with assigned
companions of the same sex, usually with older having authority over younger.
Omega: Have no clergy, leaders, preachers, workers and no classes of members. Each person is responsible for witnessing
to others. There is no hierarchy or member list.
2x2: Sin is possible after age of accountability,
usually around 12 or 13 yrs of age. Sin is “missing the mark”
and “falling short.” Transgression is a sin of presumption,
or deliberately sinning, as in remarriage. Sin is disobedience to
the Workers’ dictate and/or their interpretations of Scripture. Sinners are (1) all those not walking in the 2x2 Sect; and (2) those
in the 2x2 Sect who are being disobedient. Some believe remarriage after divorce is an unforgivable
Omega: Sin is human nature, from which there is no escape.
God does not judge the "honest hearted" people for sin. Sin includes
all thoughts, feelings, and behaviors, except those specified as wicked, a few of which are.
· Gossiping, judging, despising or accusing others of sins.
· Participating in any religious ritual, church activities,
including praying in public.
· Not accepting Wm. Irvine as the prophet of God.
Sin is between the individual and God only. One only need to confess to
God—not to the individual who was wronged (Ps . 32:1). The sin unto
death is when one hates, despises, gets angry,
accuses, scandalizes and hurts one's brother (June
14, 1930 letter to Loitz).
2x2: Contends the group is a family, not an organization, religion
or a denomination; is non-incorporated, not tax-exempt, and has no headquarters.
Omega: All churches, organizations, or any religious structure "made by hands"
is hateful to God. “there
is no God in the [church] buildings, nor in the people who go to buildings to
worship God, and the men whom we call priest, ministers etc. only do it for
an easy life and gain from deceiving others as they have been”
(May 6, 1928
letter to Mrs. Mattes).
6. DAY OF WORSHIP:
2x2: Worship on Sunday, first
day of the week, which is a day of rest when they cease working.
Omega: No special religious days are recognized. Nothing special occurs on Sunday
(October 26, 1932
letter to Lottie Corbett). No group meeting for worship.
2X2: King James Version used in English-speaking
Omega: King James Version used exclusively, as Irvine
8. PRINTED MATERIAL & HYMNAL:
2X2: Use their own compilation: Hymns Old and New, 1987 Edition,
published by R. L. Allan & Son, England.
Omega: No published hymnal or Belief Statement. Religious hymns are considered wicked trappings
of corrupt churches.
Irvine’s letters about his Omega Message have been copied and handed down
through the years. There is no central bank of letters, and no follower
has all of his letters; everyone keeps their own collection and rereads them.
Cooneyites: Use Hymns Old & New, 1951 Edition
2x2: Two principal types: (1) Sunday and midweek Fellowship
Meetings: participation by members in prayers, testimonies and hymns. (2)
Series of Gospel Meetings conducted by their evangelists for recruiting new members.
Omega: Hold no meetings, Bible study groups or conventions.
Any structured service is considered wicked because someone would have
to put themselves in a position of power to organize and structure it.
10. MEETING/CHURCH SITES:
2x2: Congregation meets only in homes for Fellowship Meetings,
taking literally; "God dwells not in temples made with hands" (Acts
7:48, 17:24). No restrictions on sites used for their Gospel Meeting services. An often used slogan
indicates the emphasis placed their methods: "the ministers without
a home, and the church in the home."
Omega: Do not assemble together for regular meetings.
They infrequently socialize with each other in small
groups, usually at their homes or in public places like restaurants or
parks. Irvine discouraged "bunching up."
2x2: Observe ordinances of communion and baptism by complete immersion;
oppose infant baptism and sprinkling. Communion (leavened bread and grape juice or wine
in a common cup) are served in most Sunday meetings, usually reserved for baptized
members approved by ministers.
Omega: Rituals of baptism, communion, funerals, marriage, ceremonies
of any kind, and converting others, etc. is not a part of the "New Thing," and are considered
wicked. "In 1914, baptism and breaking of bread was to finish as well as the preaching of the Gospel" (Feb. 2, 1932* letter to Tom McCaskill).
2x2: Address their prayers to the Father, in Jesus’
Name, asking for His spiritual aid and forgiveness; rarely
ask for material or natural things. Prayer is made in private, morning
and evenings, and our loud in Meetings and before meals.
Omega: Do not pray; do not pray for others. They talk
to God about anything and anyone.
2x2: Public profession in a Gospel Meeting is generally required
to become a member. Previous baptisms are not recognized, and a convert
must be baptized or re-baptized into the 2x2 Sect.
Omega: Converted when a person believes in their heart
that Wm. Irvine is the prophet of God for the latter days. No other acknowledgement is required. Irvine did not say that a person must believe the Omega Message through
one of His Omega followers.
14. AFTERLIFE - HEAVEN & HELL:
2x2: Believe all people either receive eternal life in
heaven or eternal punishment in hell, depending upon their beliefs and lifestyle while
Omega: Believe in heaven and hell. All people either
receive eternal life in heaven or eternal punishment in hell, depending
upon whether they believe in and submit to Wm. Irvine's teachings.
15. JESUS’ RETURN TO EARTH:
2x2: Believe Jesus will return again in the
Believe Jesus will return after the seven-year Tribulation. Believe Jesus took the throne in Heaven on August 4, 1914.
POLICIES & PROCEDURES
rules and taboos or expectations vary according to locality. The following
unwritten taboos are generally recognized by the entire group as being
unacceptable: televisions, movies, stereos, smoking, drinking, illegal
drug use, swearing, gambling, dancing, reading Christian books/literature,
Christian symbols, current fads and fashions. No long hair for men. For women, no short hair, make-up, slacks, shorts or jewelry (except for wedding
rings, broaches and watches). Women are expected to dress very modestly
and wear their long hair uncut and pinned up on their head.
Omega: None. All dress and behavior is of no consequence to God. They believe if a person "has a honest
heart" (meaning they believe in Wm. Irvine), God will forgive everything,
including murder. The only exception is what constitutes wickedness
(gossip, judging others, participation in church activities, not believing
in Wm. Irvine). They use the rule of moderation—nothing excessive. No
rules regarding smoking, alcoholic beverages, dancing, movies, TV.
No out appearance customs for women. Wm. Irvine smoked a pipe.
NOTE: Wm. Irvine regretted his stand in The Testimony prohibiting
drinking and smoking: "When they have all finished, they will be convinced
as I am that we gravely misrepresented our God in the way we treated the use
of wines and tobacco. It had no more to do with the Gospel than the color
of a man's hair or the smell of onions… If I had all the words I have
spoken against drink and tobacco back again, I would drink them all down so
that they would never stumble another; for now I know they were of the Devil,
while I thought they were of God when I spoke them" (December
13, 1920 letter to Alfred Magowan).
2x2: Usual holidays observed, including Halloween and
Thanksgiving. Easter and Christmas are not celebrated religiously. Customs
Omega: Usual holidays observed, including Halloween and
Thanksgiving. Easter and Christmas are not celebrated religiously. Customs
vary; some consider it wicked to participate in any way in Christmas activities.
2x2: In general, they do not discourage higher education now, but did so in the past.
Any profession that restricts the ability to be
off on Sundays is less than ideal.
Omega: Higher Education is not encouraged, as “the more
people are educated and exalted, the further from the possibility of hearing
the Voice of the Lord God by The Man whom He sends“ (Nov. 24, 1927
letter to Hooes).
2x2: Careers in politics is not approved; no political
involvement preferred. Some do not vote.
Omega: Pay very close attention to current world
events and look in their fulfillment in for Wm. Irvine’s prophecies.
2x2: Held annually in most countries for four days, three
meetings per day. Size in the U.S. ranges from approximately 300 to 1,200
attendees. Members are strongly urged to attend one complete convention
per year. Convention property owned by approved members. Buildings used
especially for the convention are usually constructed with funds donated
Omega: None (see Services above)
21. MILITARY SERVICE:
2x2: Pacifists. Approved method of serving in armed services
is in Conscientious Objector capacity, refusing to bear arms, taking literally
the commandment: "Thou shalt not kill.”
Omega: Serving in the Military to defend your country
when necessary is the duty of a citizen. "Render unto Ceasar that
which is Ceasar's."
2x2: Do not approve, except in exceptional life-threatening
Omega: Personal choice. No life will be taken that
isn’t God’s will.
2x2: Marriage is the second best choice of how to
spend one's life. It is preferred that couples do not to marry and
instead become Workers. However, for those who marry, it is
exptected that the spouse be a group member. Performed by civil authorities,
as their ministers are not licensed. Home weddings are common. Some Elders
Omega: A civil contract; human issue. Considered
to be "of the flesh" and of no consequence to God. Handle as parties
involved see fit. Should only marry Omega group members. Performed by civil authorities.
Having children is strongly warned against "woe to those who give suck in
the last days." Families, eating, drinking, marrying and giving in
marriage is all vanity and dust. “Home, brothers and sisters, fathers
and mothers, wives, children and property--what men love most are the dust pile
which clings and clogs any attempt to go forth as He did and taught others to
27, 1944 letter to Southworths).
2x2: Discourage divorce but allowed.
Omega: Considered to be "of the flesh" and of no
consequence to God.
2x2: After spouse dies, remarriage to group member is
acceptable. Privileges permitted to divorcees after remarriage vary depending
on the Overseer in charge. Some believe remarriage after divorce
is an unforgivable sin.
Omega: Considered to be "of the flesh" and of no
consequence to God.
2x2: God does not hold children accountable for their actions
until after they reach the age of accountability – usually around 12 or
13 yrs of age.
Omega: Children are in the Covenant of either blessing
or cursing with their parents till they become of age to choose for or
against. Father or Mother can always claim for each other or the
family. Home ties and fellowship are of little value.
2x2: Women have an equal part in worship services. Wives are to be submissive to their husbands. It is preferred that
wives stay at home and be full-time homemakers. Women preachers are subordinate
to the male preachers.
Omega: William took a dim view of women preachers or leaders. He
wrote a long letter about “The Feminist Movement”
(February 25, 1927 letter
to J. J. Fladung). “No woman can be an Apostle in going forth
as He sent His chosen disciples to be, then, now and forever. They who
were Apostles forsook houses, father, mother, brother, sister, wife and children
and lands, which were necessary for the generation of the world”
(May 18, 1944 letter
28. DEATH & BURIAL:
2x2: Funeral services officiated by Workers are usually held in funeral
homes with interment.
Omega: Casket just lowered into the ground. No ceremonies, no preachers. Either cremation
or burial are acceptable.
GOVERNMENT & ORGANIZATION
2x2: Contends the group has no headquarters; is
not an organization, religion or a denomination; is not incorporated and
is not tax-exempt.
Omega: None. Not affiliated with any group, church or
organized religion. Against organized religion. Members keep in contact
with other followers through letters and visits. Followers are scattered
across the world, with most located in West Coast U.S.
30. NUMBERS OF ADHERENTS:
2x2: No records of membership available. Member
estimates range between 75,000 and 100,000 worldwide in 2018. In 1987-88, the
USA and Canada listed a total of 1,071 workers with 63% being women and
37% being men.
Omega: No member list. Estimate for the year 2018
is less than 150 worldwide.
Cooneyites: Estimated to be less than 100 worldwide.
31. OUTREACH or EVANGELISM:
2x2: Found in majority of countries worldwide.
Omega: No organized collective outreach. People
witness to others as the opportunity arises in their daily lives.
Irvine’s writings are purposely not published. He believed the Omega
Message should be given as Jesus and the Disciples gave the Message of
their day, one-on-one, through individual contact sharing Irvine’s reading
of Revelation with anyone who would listen. They do not go door-to-door.
Some are happy, while others are displeased that Irvine's letters are posted on posted on TTT.
2x2: States, provinces or regions are controlled by a
male Head Worker who assigns fields to workers under his authority. Each
field contains various home churches, where up to 35 meet, over which an
Elder presides. Overseers and Elders are all males. There are less than
ten senior USA Overseers, to whom the state Head Workers report.
Omega: No leader after Wm. Irvine died. Willie Edwards was irvine's right hand man in U.S. for a time. Any attempts to
become a leader are considered wicked.
2x2: Group is characterized by rigid authoritarianism.
Workers have absolute authority in all matters. Members have no representation
and no means of recourse. Members exist for the 2x2 Sect,
rather than the Sect existing for the members. Unquestioning loyalty
Omega: None. Everyone does what their conscience dictates.
There are no leaders, preachers, workers or saints.
2x2: Implemented with talks, threats and shunning. Not
unusual for communion or baptism to be withheld; or for the offender's
part in prayer and testimony to be taken away. Meeting may be removed from
an offender's home. Excommunication occurs infrequently.
Omega: No formal process as there if no authority person. Shunning occurs.
2x2: No collections taken. No accounting of donations
made to the congregation. Claim ministers do not use bank accounts.
Monetary contributions are made by members individually to various ministers,
rather than collectively. Do not accept donations from non-members.
Omega: None. Sell nothing, collect nothing, do not
expect anything in exchange for speaking to people about Irvine’s reading
of the Revelation Message. Follow Wm. Irvine for free, “without
money and without price.” While he lived, Irvine's followers sent him money.
WHAT THEY BELIEVE
2x2: No doctrinal statement published. Profess their doctrine
is the Bible only.
Omega: No doctrinal statement published. Profess their
doctrine is the Bible and letters from Wm. Irvine.
2x2: State they believe and follow only "the
teachings of the New Testament."
Omega: State they follow the teachings of God’s prophet,
Wm. Irvine, whose word supercedes the Bible.
2x2: There is only one God. God is the Heavenly Father,
Omega: There is only one God. God is God, the Father,
the Creator. The Trinity are the Three sides of God's Personality.
The Jesus of Revelation 1 is the God they worship today.
2x2: View Jesus as God's only son, who is under
the authority and position of His Father God; but He is not considered God
the Son. They believe Jesus was the promised Messiah, conceived by the
Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; lived a perfect life; came to establish
a ministry pattern (Matt. 10) to be followed universally until the end of the world;
was crucified, died and rose again bodily before ascending to Heaven; and look
for His second coming.
Omega: God’s only son. Believe Jesus was conceived by
the Holy Spirit, born of the virgin Mary; lived a perfect life, was crucified,
died and rose again bodily before ascending to Heaven and look forward to His second
coming after the Tribulation. Jesus is Lord of Hosts; Jehovah in Old Testament; the God-child.
Jesus came as Alpha to finish off the Old Testament work, and to offer
himself as the supreme sacrifice for sin. After August 5, 1914 when Jesus took the throne, salvation
is only obtained through the Jesus of Revelation 1 via Irvine's teachings. Irvine is the gate to salvation.
40. HOLY SPIRIT:
2x2: God’s Spirit. A force or power emanating from
God or Jesus to a child of God. The Spirit comes and goes.
Omega: The Holy Spirit is the Mother side of the trinity;
the one that leads, guides, teaches, nurtures and protects.
2x2: A fallen angel engaged in an age-long struggle to
deceive and seduce men to follow him rather than obey God. He is evil,
a deceiver, a murderer, a liar, and has power only insofar as God allows.
They fear him.
Omega: A fallen angel engaged in an age-long struggle
to deceive and seduce men to follow him rather than obey God. He
is evil, a deceiver, a murderer, a liar. He will also play a big part in
the last days.
2x2: Men and women follows Jesus' instructions to His
disciples in Matt. 10:5-14, Mark 6 and Luke 9. They leave their homes, give
their possessions away and go from place to place preaching in pairs (two
and two), unmarried, living with and taking meals from those willing to
receive them. They do not ask for contributions, accept no salary, taking
literally Jesus' command: "freely give as you have freely received" (Matt. 10:8).
Omega: All followers are lay people.
2x2: Salvation can only be obtained by accepting
Jesus (professing) through one of their Workers, following their particular
belief system which meets in homes for worship
and continuing faithfully in it until death. They believe they may earn
salvation by their good works. They do not know if they are saved until after
death. Faith in Christ is proven by adherence to the teachings
of the Workers.
Omega: Accepting and following Irvine’s prophecies is
the only way to get to Heaven. They are worshipers of God the Father
and the OMEGA Jesus, but disciples of William Irvine, as Jesus’ Messenger-prophet.
It is vital to accept Jesus as Omega and recognize that the Last Days
began Aug. 4, 1914, when Jesus took the Throne. Only the people who hear and accept
His Omega Message are God’s people. Only God knows who they all are,
because man has until the eleventh hour to choose. Salvation is between
the individual and God, and will occur after Rev. 12 is fulfilled, which
is after the Rev. 22 conditions have been met (Rev 12:10)“…saying
in heaven, Now is come salvation…” No one is saved now, not even
Wm. Irvine or the Apostles.
Wm. Irvine's litmus test for salvation: "And men, good, bad or indifferent or perfect are to be Judged by their attitude to my reading of Revelation" (April 18, 1928 letter to Ted Baessler).
2x2: Good works earn rewards and salvation. Rewards and salvation are not differentiated.
Omega: Irvine wrote: “it don't matter whether people
are unjust, filthy, righteous or holy. Their reward depends on their attitude
to His Man and Message of Revelation. They will either be for or against
him and their reward according to” (Sept.
27, 1935 letter to Hooes).
2x2: There is no cohesive teaching or interpretation
of the Book of Revelation. It is rarely addressed.
Omega: They are waiting for the next
worldwide war to occur. Much of irvine's letters are his explanations of the Book of Revelation.
46. HEALING, MIRACLES, SPEAKING IN TONGUES, CASTING OUT DEMONS:
2x2: Viewed as divine signs occurring only in the first
century to confirm and convince. They interpret the term “speaking
in tongues” to mean speaking in foreign languages.
Omega: Viewed as works of Satan to lead people astray
47. OTHER CHURCHES:
2x2: All other churches and religious groups, including
Omega followers and Cooneyites have been deceived, and consequently, all
their adherents will suffer a lost eternity.
Omega: Feel the 2x2s are no different than the Catholics,
Protestants or even Satanists. They have all been lied to by people
who wanted place and power.
HOW THE 2x2s DIFFER FROM ORTHODOX CHRISTIAN BELIEFS
In What They Believe:
That Their Fellowship:
is a direct historical continuation of the
New Testament church
is "from the beginning"
is God's ONLY true way; therefore, all other
Christian churches, preachers and denominations are "false."
comes through faith in Jesus and works
is earned or merited through faithfulness
is determined at death
is not possible without being in their fellowship
is conditional upon works and not secure
sanctification comes before justification
came to be a perfect example, pattern minister
life is equal or more important than His death
created a way to Heaven through His death;
and a way on earth by his life; which is their method the 2x2 Sect.
That Their Ministers:
are God's only true ministers
one must go through them (mediators) to be
are the supreme authorities of Biblical interpretation
have authority and rule over members
viewpoints are considered as authoritative
as the Bible
traditions are equal in importance to God's
In What They Do NOT Believe:
in the Triune God
in the deity of Jesus (that Jesus is God the
in the deity of the Holy Spirit (God the Holy
the Holy Spirit permanently indwells every
in the finished work of Christ
that Jesus came to be our substitute in His
life and death
that man is born in sin
in eternal security
in the priesthood of all believers
conversion can take place through the written
Word without human agency
one can know they are saved in this lifetime
salvation can be attained without going through
in total reliance upon Jesus' shed blood for
that salvation is an unconditionally free
gift of God
in salvation solely by grace through faith
in Jesus, and not of works