Three Sects Founded by Wm. Irvine
Posted February 7, 2019
Three Sects/Groups Originally Founded by William Irvine
(1) The Two by Two Church/Sect of followers called Friends and Workers
(2) The William Irvine Omega Message followers
(3) The Edward Cooney followers
2x2: In 1897, the 2x2 Sect was started by William Irvine with the help of John Long, Edward Cooney and some others in Ireland who joined them around the turn of the 20th century. In 1914, the chief Workers overthrew the leadership of William Irvine, and took control of the 2x2 Sect worldwide for themselves. 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 that he was divinely appointed to bring the last message of Jesus to the world. He believed that the Age of Grace had ended in August 1914. Most of the other Workers did not agree with William Irvine's new revelation. A few remained loyal to William Irvine .
Cooneyites: In 1928, Edward Cooney, considered by some to be the co-founder of the 2x2 Sect, was excommunicated. Some of his loyal followers also left with him.
NOTE: None of these three groups that sprang from the sect originally founded by William Irvine take an official name for their belief system.
1. GROUP NAMES and NICKNAMES.
2x2: Claim to take no official name, but the group is called: " The Two-by-Twos," "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 U.S.; 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 AND NICKNAMES.
2x2: Called: "the Friends," "Saints," "children of God," "brothers/sisters in Christ, "the Kingdom of God," "family of God," "Two by Twos," etc.
Omega: Called: " The Little Ones," "the Message People" and "The Witnesses," Some outsiders refer to them by the eponym: "Irvinites."
3. THEIR CLERGY.
2x2: Called: "Workers," "Servants," "preachers," "ministers," "Handmaidens" and "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 the older of the pair having authority over the younger. Ascetic lifestyle.
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 the 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 sin.
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 William 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).
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" (Irvine May 6, 1928 , to Mattes, TTT ).
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 (Irvine October 26, 1932 , to Lottie Corbett, TTT ). No group meeting for worship.
2X2: King James Version primarily used in English-speaking areas.
Omega: King James Version used exclusively, as Irvine recommended it.
8. PRINTED MATERIAL AND 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 and 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 the verse: "God dwells not in temples made with hands" (Acts 7:48, 17:24 KJV). No restrictions on sites used for their Gospel Meeting services. An often used slogan indicates the emphasis placed on 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" (Irvine Feb. 2, 1932, 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 out 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 William 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 AND HELL.
2x2: Believe all people receive either eternal life in heaven or eternal punishment in hell, depending upon their beliefs and lifestyle while on earth.
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 William Irvine's teachings.
15. JESUS' RETURN TO EARTH.
2x2: Believe Jesus will return again in the clouds.
Omega: Believe Jesus will return after the seven-year Tribulation. Believe Jesus took the throne in Heaven on August 4, 1914.
POLICIES and PROCEDURES.
2x2: Some 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, brooches 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 William Irvine), God will forgive everything, including murder. The only exception is what constitutes wickedness (gossip, judging others, participation in church activities, not believing in William Irvine). They use the rule of moderation--nothing excessive. No rules regarding smoking, alcoholic beverages, dancing, movies, TV. No outward appearance customs for women. William Irvine smoked a pipe.
2x2: Usual holidays observed, including Halloween and Thanksgiving. Easter and Christmas are not celebrated religiously. Customs vary.
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" (Irvine Nov. 24, 1927 , to Hooes, TTT ).
2x2: Careers in politics are not approved of; no political involvement is preferred. Some do not vote.
Omega: Pay very close attention to current world events, looking for fulfillment of William 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 by members.
Omega: None (see Services above)
21. MILITARY SERVICE.
2x2: Pacifists. Approved method of serving in the 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 to Caesar the things that are Caesar 's, and to God the things that are God's. (Mark 12:17 KJV)
2x2: Do not approve, except in exceptional life-threatening instances.
Omega: Personal choice. No life will be taken that is not 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 expected that the spouse be a group member. Performed by civil authorities, as their ministers are not licensed. Home weddings are common. Some Elders perform marriages.
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 as "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 do" (Irvine Oct. 27, 1944 , to Southworths, TTT ).
2x2: Discourage divorce but allowed.
Omega: Considered to be "of the flesh" and of no consequence to God.
2x2: After a 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 Feminish Movement" (Irvine Feb. 25, 1927 , to Fladungs, TTT ). "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" (Irvine May 18, 1944 , to Edwards, TTT ).
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 AND 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 FOLLOWERS.
2x2: No records of membership available. Member estimates range between 75,000 and 100,000 worldwide in 2018. In 1987-88, the U.S. and Canada listed a total of 1,071 Workers with 63 percent being women and 37 percent 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 and by 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 Telling the Truth website.
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 U.S. Overseers, to whom the state Head Workers report.
Omega: No leader after William 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 is expected.
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 is no ruling authority. 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 William 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 William Irvine.
2x2: State they believe and follow only "the teachings of the New Testament."
Omega: State they follow the teachings of God's prophet, William Irvine, whose word supersedes the Bible.
2x2: There is only one God. God is the Heavenly Father, the Creator.
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 to be 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 they 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 the 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 KJV).
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 August 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 William Irvine or the Apostles. William 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, to Baessler, TTT ).
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 , to Hooes, TTT ).
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 from God.
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 2x2 BELIEFS DIFFER FROM ORTHODOX CHRISTIANS.
In What Most 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 and righteousness
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 or way-shower
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 saved
are the supreme authorities of Biblical interpretation
have authority and rule over members
viewpoints are as authoritative as the Bible
traditions are equal in importance to God's commands
In What Most Do NOT Believe:
in the Triune God
in the deity of Jesus (that Jesus is God the Son)
in the deity of the Holy Spirit (God the Holy Spirit)
the Holy Spirit permanently indwells every believer
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 their ministers
in total reliance upon Jesus' shed blood for salvation
that salvation is an unconditionally free gift of God
in salvation solely by grace through faith in Jesus, and not of works
Compiled by Cherie Kropp-Ehrig