How the Hidden History of the 2x2 Church Came to Light
How the Hidden History of the 2x2 Church Came to Light
Sequence of Events
In the first decade following the turn of the 20th century: When the sect was getting off the ground in Ireland, much was written in the Irish newspapers about the group, their activities, conventions, preachers, teachings and manner of preaching. The agency to report most extensively on the group was a newspaper named The Impartial Reporter and Farmers Journal located then and NOW in Enniskillen, Northern Ireland.
Four (4) miles from Enniskillen is Crocknacrieve, where the group's first large-scale annual conventions were held on the property of John and Sara West. Long ago, the land, home and buildings changed owners; however, they are still standing and are being used by the present owners.While the events that took place at the formation of the group were well reported in that day, over decades the historical aspects of the group’s formation have become somewhat lost, or perhaps in some areas, hidden. In the UK and Ireland especially, there were those who had grandparents present at the beginnings, so the history had been preserved orally to an extent, but in areas to which the early workers travelled, such as USA and Canada, only that version as those pioneer workers allowed was known generally. In some areas, there appears to have been a deliberate effort to hide the history of the early days, perhaps to support the notion that the “Truth” goes back to “the beginning”. Bolstered by the zeal of new converts and new workers, this new tradition managed to escape truth and become even more firmly established through the middle of the 1900’s.
Blowing the Whistle...
1954: Doug Parker published a newspaper titled: Spiritual Fraud Exposed and thousands were circulated to the friends and workers.
1958: Religion Analysis Services, of Robbinsdale, MN (RAS) a counter cult agency, became aware of the 2x2 sect and printed an article in their magazine for Jan-Mar, 1958, called The Discerner (Vol II, No. 9, Pp 12-15), titled "Who are the Cooneyites?" by Roy Divers.
1977: William E. Paul printed a booklet titled: The TWO BY TWOS, Who are They? What Do They Believe? This was later republished under the title of: They Go about TWO BY TWO, The History and Doctrine of a Little Known Cult.
1982: Through the years, many encouraged Doug Parker to enlarge upon His manuscript Spiritual Fraud Exposed, and make it into a detailed, durable book. Eventually, he and his wife, Helen, a librarian, moved to England temporarily to research and gather data from the British Library and other sources in the British Isles. Following 30 years of researching the group, the book The Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker was published.
1983: BookSellers USA, of Richland, WA was formed in order to help distribute Parkers' book. They advertised in weekly newspapers throughout the States and the Canadian provinces, using words that left no room for doubt in the friends' minds that, "This book is about US!" Words such as: "workers, Nameless House Sect or Church; 2x2s; Cooneyites." The books travelled far and wide as friends ordered these books from BookSellers USA. News about Parkers' controversial book trickled slowly to the East coast, about ten years behind the West coast. Some friends knew a book existed, but were unable to locate copies without knowing the name of it. Some spent countless hours trying to locate it.
1983: The first time many American friends and workers learned about The Secret Sect was through the press in 1983. A news reporter for the Spokesman Review (Spokane, Washington) attended the Post Falls, Idaho convention. The June 5, 1983 newspaper contained two articles covering the reporters' experiences at the Idaho convention, critics' viewpoints and interview replies compared with information contained in The Secret Sect. The newspaper also contained an advertisement for a bookstore where Parkers' book could be purchased locally. Word went like wildfire around the convention grounds and the newspapers sold like hotcakes. So did the books! "Walter Pollock, a 'worker' or minister said he was disappointed to learn the Spokane articles were published simultaneously with an advertisement for a book by ex-member Doug Parker, 'The Secret Sect,' a historical account of the group's origins and an exploration of its theological positions that members consider unflattering." (Skagit Valley Herald, Milltown, Washington, Aug 17, 1983)
1985: A second article was published in Religion Analysis Services magazine, The Discerner, Vol XI, No. 9, Jan-Mar, 1985, Pp 9-11, "The Nameless Cult" by Ewald Eisele. A new section offering books and literature about the Two-by-Twos or Cooneyites turned up in their Catalogue of Books and Tracts Exposing Cults and Unscriptural Teachings in the Light of God's Word.
1989: Threshing Floor Ministries, Spokane, WA, (TFM) began researching the group in the early 1970's, and in 1989, TFM began providing the public with information about the group. They travelled to the British Isles for independent research in 1981, verifying much of what was later published in The Secret Sect. TFM laboriously obtained copies of the Impartial Reporter & Farmers Journal newspaper while travelling in N. Ireland, and combined them into a booklet. These news articles are frequently quoted in The Secret Sect and other books about the sect as well, but the articles are not cited in their entirety, nor is there a visual record of the actual news clipping. So TFM did a great service to the friends and workers by making readily available the Impartial Reporter & Farmers Journal newspaper articles; and TFM began to advertise them through mailings. Gradually, Threshing Floor Ministries became THE major source of information on the group in America, and today TFM is one of the largest archives of documents and evidence about the group.
Christian Research Institute of San Juan Capistrano, CA (aka CRI) provides information about religious cults, sects, new religious movements, alternative religions, aberrant Christian churches, etc. CRI offers information to enable individuals to understand, evaluate and compare various religious claims. CRI became aware of the 2x2 Sect, studied their doctrine and published an article on their website titled "Two by Twos." They stated the 2x2 Sect has many cultic elements and is unorthodox in its views of essential Christian doctrine, and concluded their summation with: "Therefore, from an orthodox, evangelical Christian perspective, the movement is considered to be a cult of Christianity." CRI was started by Walter Martin who retired in 1979; and since then has been led by Hank H. Hanegraaff.
MacGregor Ministries of Nelson, B.C., Canada received so many inquiries about the group that they put together a tract titled: The Cooneyites--The TWO BY TWOS--The Nameless Sect. Various Christian book stores around the country began stocking books about the group. Books turned up on the shelves of public libraries.
1990: After 8 years, another book was published: The Church Without a Name, under the pseudonym of David Stone. The following year, 1991, Grace & Gene Luxon published Has the Truth Set you Free. In Northern Ireland, Patricia Roberts published her book in 1990: The Life and Ministry of Edward Cooney 1867-1960. And in 1991 she published: Selected Letters Hymns and Poems of Edward Cooney 1867-1960. Miss Roberts is one of a group of friends who separated from the Two-by-Twos, or "Testimony" as it is sometimes called in United Kingdom, and remained loyal to Edward Cooney after he was excommunicated. They use the 1951 edition of Hymns Old & New and are loosely referred to as "Cooneyites."
More and more friends began to leave the group, protesting the hidden and covered up history and betrayal by the workers. Many wrote exit letters to friends and/or family explaining why they left. Some friends preferred to disregard the actual historical evidence that the group was less than 100 years old, preferring to believe what they had been taught concerning the beginning of the group; that it was from "the beginning" or started with Jesus sending out the disciples 2 by 2.
1990: The first quarterly newsletter was published, titled Forward Press, standing for Friends, Outsiders, & Rational Workers Against Religious Deceit. The newsletter was intended to be a support system and sounding board for those emotionally and spiritually drained by the Two-by-Two experience. Its purpose was to spotlight doctrine and deception and put pressure on the workers to be more responsible and honest. After 7 years, the Forward Press ceased to be printed, as of Dec. 1996.
1992: Research & Information Services, Sisters, OR (RIS) was formed with the goal of enabling people to investigate the historical evidence of the founding of this church and examine its doctrine in the light of the Scripture. To accomplish this goal, RIS began compiling an on-going list of the addresses of all the friends and workers and launched a mass mailing campaign. About this time, sporadic mailings also began appearing in various Canadian friends' mailboxes, from an unidentified source.
1993: Two more books were printed by Research &
Information Services: Reinventing
the Truth by Kevin Daniel; and Reflections,
edited by Daurelle Chapman, consisting of 57 accounts written by
individuals who left the group.
1995: Telling The Truth was formed as a resource center for information, documents and publications not available elsewhere. TTT started their Book Lending Library. A website would follow later in 1997.
1994: Research & Information
Services (RIS) created a website that includes photographs of the
early workers. See: http://workersect.org/
1996: In January, a Canadian woman launched the original Veterans of the Truth (VOT) on the internet. Before it went offline, it was transferred to the TLT website, where it remains.
1996: Reflected Truth edited by Joan F. Daniel was published in 1996.
1996: Lynn Cooper also published her book this year: *The Church With No Name - Known as The Cooneyites, Two by Twos.
1996: In July, the 2x2-Church List Serve was created using E-Mail. Within a year, there were over 100 participants in this discussion/support network. Within 2 years, there were (usually) upwards of 225 subscribers.
1996: An ex-2x2 discovered that the 2x2 church was incorporated in Alberta Canada under the name of: Alberta Society of Christian Assemblies on May 5, 1995. The Certificate of Incorporation document was signed by five Alberta brother workers: Jim Knipe, Dennis Einboden, F. Willis Propp, Richard Knight, Eldon Kendrew, and was witnessed by Rowland Jackson. The discovery of this document shocked both 2x2s and ex-2x2s and generated considerable discontent and questions, especially in Alberta. Willis Propp made a written statement dated November 18, 1996 in which he assumed full responsibility for the incorporation, apologized for his actions and stated that he had signed a legal document on Nov. 8, to revoke the incorporation.
1997: Some of today's followers of William Irvine's Omega Gospel, nicknamed the Witnesses or Message People, contacted Telling the Truth. When the split in 1914 occurred, and Irvine and the other workers went their separate ways, there were some friends and workers loyal to William Irvine who also left. Wm. Irvine kept in contact with his followers from Jerusalem from 1919 til his death in 1947, through letters, which are estimated to possibly total 5,000 letters. He wrote his followers more of the details of his Omega Gospel, as they unfolded to him. Copies of these letters have been circulated and passed down through generations, and most every adherent has their own collection.
1997: Telling The Truth (TTT) placed a website on the internet, LINK: http://tellingthetruth.info
A virtual archive of 2x2 information and documents, including hard copies.
1997: Patricia Roberts published her book: Selected Letters of Fred Wood 1890-1986. And in 2000 she published: The Go Preacher Movement-An Anthology.
2000: Ex-worker Willis G. D. Young, a Canadian, published his
book In Vain They do Worship.
2000: The Lying Truth (TLT) placed a website on the internet. " This site tells the truth about "the truth" since those in charge of' '"the truth' do not." It includes a large body of quotations by Workers and the original VOT.
2001, March 27: The Professing Message Board (PMB) was founded when the hosting service stopped operation for a number of 2x2 related message boards. The PMB was created and managed by Apples and his assistant Ms. Peaches. Very soon, the PMB became the most popular 2x2 related board on the internet, enabling hundreds of 2x2s and ex-2x2s worldwide to interact on a single discussion board. News, events, experiences and opinions traveled around the
world in a matter of minutes or hours. Posters used any user name they wanted and were not required to register. However, it was not possible to control inappropriate and potentially libelous posts without registration. After taking a board vote, the PMB began requiring registration in 2003. Many objected strenuously and left PMB. Almost overnight, several new boards were created, all hoping to take the place of the popular PMB. The board that survived all the others where the most posters congregated was the already existing TMB. While the PMB has changed hosts, it is still on line and thousands of posts are archived there.
2002: The long lost Journal of John Long was finally located in Ireland. John Long’s Journal is the most significant primary source to be discovered to date to support the fact that the 2x2s were started in Ireland around 1897. It was typed and published on the TTT website.
2003: The Truth Meetings Board (TMB) was created in protest of PMB's mandatory registration program on April 2, 2003. Many PMB posters began frequenting the TMB, which didn't require registration (yet). Then abruptly in 2008, the board host, Proboards.com, closed down TMB for libelous posts. The first Admin stepped aside at that time. After 2-3 weeks elapsed, Proboards restored TMB with a new Admin who assured Proboards that such would not be tolerated under his supervision. Registration for all posters became necessary on TMB, and Moderators were installed. Most board participants registered and continued to post on TMB following the new guidelines. TMB is still going strong to this day.
2007, March: Bradly Lewis started the 2x2ministry.org website as a place to give witness to things he observed while in the 2x2 work and from his travels through the 50 States. He provides scripture which has been an inspiration to him as he learned the basics of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. He also reports details of extraordinary 2x2 current events around the world.
2008, January, under a different Administration, VOT was revised and updated as Veterans of Truth, Past and Present and remained online until it was removed in a hostile takeover on October 30, 2010. Subsequently, VOT returned to the internet under the new moniker of: VOT is Alive (VIA) and remained online until December 2015.
2008, March 7: The WINGS website went on line: Working to INform, Guide and Support those who have been sexually abused within the Truth Fellowship.
The site is devoted to children and personal stories of Child Sexual Abuse (CSA) are on the website, as well as letters by those concerned. WINGS maintains a private database of CSA offenders and offers a method to privately submit names of offenders to be added to the database.
2008, July: The Truth Archive went on the internet. It is an archive of photographs, notes and letters by friends and workers, without commentary.
2008, July 13: The new and improved Telling The Truth (TTT) website went online.
2009, August 6: The Liberty Connection (TLC), a private forum for Ex-2x2s was launched. The TLC site changed to maintenance mode on April 28, 2013, and became unavailable to all but staff. On September 10, 2013, The (Temporary )TLC Forum was launched. Original TLC reopened on March 9, 2014.
2012, April 1: The Liberty Connection Website (TLC-WEB) was launched. A Document Repository for writings by Ex-2x2s. Includes Exit Letters, Why We Left Stories, Books by Ex-2x2s, Letters, Bible Topics, Child Sexual Abuse Information, Candid Observations, Historical 2x2 Documents, How to Ask Questions until you get the Answers.
2012, August: Has the Truth Set You Free? (2nd Edition Revised) by Gene & Grace Luxon was published and distributed by Amazon.com. The 1st Edition was published in 1990 and has been out of print for several years. This book compares 2x2 doctrine to the Bible and to doctrine of other denominations. ISBN 13:978-1475081329
2012, June: "Two by Two" The Shape of a Shapeless Movement: A Study of a Religious Movement Started in Ireland in 1897 by William Irvine and Edward Cooney by Irvine Grey was published in Northern Ireland. ISBN 978-0-9575390-0-6
2013, July: Facebook Group "Secret World of Truth" was formed for ex-2x2s and questioning friends. The name was changed in 2014 to "Truth Old and New." Atheists are welcome.
2016, August: Facebook Group "Truth Old & New-Christian" was formed for Christian only ex-2x2s and seriously questioning Friends.
2014, February: The 2x2vietnam.info went online in response to the unfolding story of 2x2 Workers’ misconduct in Vietnam. The site’s objective is to document and share the convictions, feelings and inner emotions of VN folks directly involved. It contains personal accounts describing very significant and touching aspects of the lives and situation of some very wonderful and God fearing folks. Also contains an Account detailing how the Division in Vietnam occurred.
2015, April: the book From Cult to Christ - The Church With No Name and the Legacy of the Living Witness Doctrine By Elizabeth Joy Coleman was published ( ISBN-10: 0994295308; ISBN-13: 978-0994295309)
Coming in 2019: The book titled Preserving the Truth: The Church without a Name and its Founder, William Irvine by Cherie Kropp-Ehrig is expected to be published.
Compiled by Cherie Kropp-Ehrig
More Websites About the 2x2 Fellowship