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Two by Two Equals DANGER
Around the world they visit homes, two by two. Avoiding city centres, they prefer to operate in outer suburbs and country towns. They stay in the private homes of others, hold meetings in private homes, and own few possessions.
Their stay can last from a few days to a week, or even a few months.
At least once a year, usually around Christmas and New Year, they hold conventions in country centers and on farms. They use barns and large tents to house members and conduct their meetings.
Who are they? What do they do? What do they believe? What is their history?
”Tis mystery all! – or so it seems.
If you were to confront one of these travelling duos to ask them who they are, where they come from, who their leaders are, and what they believed, you would find them most secretive and evasive.
If you turned up, uninvited, at one of their annual conventions, and especially if you had a camera with you, you would find yourself manhandled off the property.
If you did happen to know who they were and what their history was, and tried to discuss this with them, you would find them aggressive, deceitful, contradictory, illogical, and using double-talk.
If you were to see a group of them, you would think you had stepped back in time. The men dress plainly but neatly, in collar-and-tie, usually in a suit.
The women dress more plainly with long sleeved dresses. Miniskirts are definitely out. Their uncut hair is worn in a bun, and they wear no make-up. Group photos taken in the 1950s and 1960s give the appearance of having been taken in the 1920s.
This group claims to have no name, but members refer to it as The Way, Jesus Way, The Testimony of Jesus, The Truth, The Family of God, The Christian Church of Australia, The Christian Convention. The last name is the most official, and is used by them on official documents in the government, and on letters of introduction and approval for travelling members.
While they (dishonestly) claim to have no name, they have been given many by others, including: Two BY Twos (the most common), Go preachers, Tramp-Preachers, Pilgrims, No Name Preachers, No-Secret Preachers, Nameless House Sect, Secret Sect, Irvinites, Cooney-ites, Carrollites, Reidites, Dippers, Les Anonymous (in France) and Die Namenlosen (in Germany). Some have even gone as far as to call them the DAMNATION ARMY!
The membership of the group is basically divided into two categories. There are the “Friends” who are the average, :silent majority” of the membership; and there are the ”Workers” (also referred to as the “preachers” or “ministers”.)
The “Workers” are the elite of the group. They are itinerant preachers who generally own few, if any, possessions. It is regarded as the duty and honour of the “Friends”, or “Saints”, rank-and-file members, to provide whatever the “Workers” need or want.
All “Workers” and “Friends”, are to submit in total obedience to the Overseer. In Australia each state has its own Overseer who is the total control.
Because it is taught that members (and especially the “Workers”) have all things in common, a “Worker” will walk into a member’s house and make himself at home –very literally.
One former “Worker” told The Spokesman-Review, a newspaper from Spokane, Washington, USA, in mid-1983: “Workers are supposed to be family, so they never knock at the door. They just open it and walk in. If they find you doing something you’re not supposed to, they can make their disapproval real clear.”
The host family is expected to provide fully for the “Worker”, and make whatever he needs available to him – including meals, clothes, the use of the motor car, as well as a bed to sleep in. They are expected to do this for as long as the “Worker” decides to stay – which can last from a few days to a few months.
The workers themselves are expected to give up their jobs, their property, and their possessions, hand them over to the movement, and then commit themselves to living a life of poverty and celibacy.
There are men and women (the “Sisters”) in the elite class of “Workers”.
The power, importance and authority of the “workers”, also called the “Preachers” cannot be underrated. In an unofficial but revealing, book promoting the Two by Two ’s entitled Walk to Heaven (1993), retired school teacher, Godfrey De Beaux (writing under the pseudonym of “Tony Taylor”), describes true and false preachers. He declared that the true preachersare those who have given up everything – possessions, home, prospect of marriage – while any preacher who has a home, is married or receives an income, or uses a church building is a false preacher.
He states: The false preacher has his own interests at heart. The true preacher has the interest of his flock in his heart (p. 127).
He refers to organisations led by the preachers who possess homes and all comforts, a church building as not being according to scripture. Don’t be deceived! If you belong to one of these organisations, you’re in the broad way that leads to destruction… The preachers in these organisations have not answered Jesus’ call “Follow me!”… The false preacher is not denying himself anything. He loves to live in comfort.(p. 210)
De Baux states:”now the first step or thing to do is to find someone who’ll bring you to Jesus, Yes you’ll soon find two preachers, true preachers, not paid ones, who can bring you to Christ. If you are willing and obey, them, they’ll bring you to Jesus… These preachers are under God’s control and obey His every command.” (p. 201)
The True preacher speaks the Word anointed with His Spirit, which, when taken into a person, will produce life.” (p. 223)
Listen to the preachers and obey them… Esteem the preachers highly in love for their work’ sake.” (p. 223)
This retired school teacher, a member of the “Christian Convention” or Cooneyites since he made a commitment at the age of 14 (but with an on/off involvement for many years) declares dogmatically that the Spirit of God can only be received through these “true preachers” – even the Bible is not enough.
Please remember – only through the preaching of the Word can one receive the Spirit of God… One cannot receive His Spirit through the written word even if it’s the bible itself. God’s order is – God – preacher – man.” (p. 177)
Get the correct order into your life. What’s the right order? The right order is God to preacher to man.(p. 314)
This book, Walk to Heaven, is not an official statement, and according to the author himself (p. 177) and on of the women “Workers/Preachers”, it ”lacks Spirit” and therefore cannot lead to an understanding of God’s truth – that can only from the spoken words of the preachers. But the book expresses representative thinking within the group and is fairly recent. While its reasoning and arguments are not sound, and Scripture (what little of it gets a mention) is taken out of context, it provides some insights into a secretive and controlling group ruled by an elite, all supposedly in Jesus’ Name.
The negative demands put on members include the rejection and prohibition of books, newspapers and magazines, radio, television, dancing, smoking, swearing, drinking and alcoholic beverages, participating in sport, going to the movies, or other entertainment. Members are also warned against working for the police, the military, local, state or federal politics, law, sport, or entertainment. Most members don’t vote.
Members are pressured to conform unquestionably to the teachings and instructiosn of the “Workers” and particularly the “Overseers”. This is not easy, as the group deliberately has no printed statement of faith, doctrine, or conduct.
Information is passed on by the “workers” at Sunday fellowship meetings, held in the home of a local small group or cell leader, known as an “elder”, and at the annual conventions.
The group has no printed literature at all, other carefully guarded lists of members. Apart from word-of-mouth instructions, information is otherwise passed on in personal letters from “Workers” and Overseers” which are often copied and handed on to other members.
DECEPTIVE AND DESTRUCTIVE
The Two by Twos, or Conneyites, have an unsavoury history. Their members are kept in ignorance of the truth, and find themselves in bondage to men. It is a group that has proved itself deceptive and destructive.
Leading “Workers” and “Overseers”, or who begin to delve into the background and history of the movement, are pressured to conform or be excommunicated. Even “Workers” of the 25 years – standing can be “put out if they dare to disagree with the “Overseer”.
Members who don’t conform, or who ask too many awkward questions, are told that they have deep spiritual problems and that they are in rebellion against God, and therefore on the way to damnation.
The Spokane newspaper, The Spokesman-Review, quoted a convention leader, Walter Pollock, denying rules, conformity, or pressure – but stating that those who don’t conform have something deeper wrong with them (a common cult ploy):
Pollock denies there is anything sinister or cult-like in the group’s apparent conformity and lifestyle. “There’s never rules about things like wearing hair up. The women just do it to identify with the group, to be apart of the family,” he said. Pollock said ex-members who left the group because they rebelled against the lifestyle had deeper problems. “That’s a symptom not a cause,” Pollock said. “Usually, if people object to hair or other clothes or television, there’s something deeper that’s wrong. Of course if a worker senses a problem, he’ll want to visit about it. But these people exclude themselves; there is no pressure”.”
These public propaganda claims don’t hold up in the light of testimonies from ex-members, and some of the documented history of the group.
They have been publicly accused of fraud in money matters; deceit over history of the group; breaking up marriages and families; of causing mental breakdowns through emotional and spiritual harassment, intimidation and pressure.
The strict teaching on poverty and total dependence on other members by the “Workers”, plus the excommunication of those, including “Workers”, who dared to question or disagree with older “Workers”, “Overseers”, led to starvation, serious ill-health, and the deaths of a number of the “Workers” in the early history of the movement in Australia.
Many Workers had no money for food or necessary medical treatment. One early Australian Worker developed serious problems that almost cost him a leg, and left him a cripple. And it was all caused through starvation and the lack of money to have tooth pulled out.
The terrible tragedy, and gross hypocrisy, was that leading “Overseers” had several bank accounts of accumulated funds, and were living quite comfortably.
One of the deceptions of this group is its claim to have “existed from the beginning”.
Instead of its beginnings being from the time of Jesus Christ, it was begun in much more recent times by Scotsman, William Irvine.
Irvine was born in Kilsyth, Scotland in 1863. He was converted to Christianity under the preaching of a Presbyterian evangelist. In 1895 he joined the Faith Mission as a lay evangelist. Then, in 1899, Irvine with a team of young men, launched his own work with a mission to Scotland (he had until then been on mission work in Ireland). With him at that time were two men who became overseers in Australia some years later; William Carrol and John Hardie.
Matthew chapter 10 was the foundation of Irvine’s movement. This passage deals with the special mission of the twelve apostles. Irvine interpreted this passage as applicable for today, and installed himself as one in life of true apostolic authority.
By 1910 some of Irvine’s extreme views and criticisms of other leading men in the movement began to cause dissension in the ranks. In 1914 Irvine was ousted and a split occurred. Some remained loyal to Irvine, who eventually died a lonely hermit of a man in Jerusalem, while the majority remained in the movement. Edward Cooney became the next leader (hence the name Cooneyites).
Conney tried to get the movement back to some of the earlier teachings of Irvine, but eventually, he too, found opposition in the movement. This resulted in another split, with a small group remaining loyal to Cooney, and others staying within the movement.
In a movement that was to have no organisation, some rigid structures were put into place, particularly under the influence of men like William Carrol and John Hardies, the Australian overseers. Those who did not conform to their views and interpretations soon found themselves ex-communicated.
Far from having existed from the time of Christ in the Middle East, the Two by Twos, or Nameless house Sect, had their repressive origins in Ireland and Scotland at the turn of the last century.
The extreme secrecy, legalism, authoritarian control, manipulative pressure, intolerance of other viewpoints and other groups, double standards, fear and conformity, are all hallmarks of cults and extreme Christian fringe groups. They put people into bondage, and ultimately destroy them emotionally, psychologically, spiritually, and, sometimes even physically.
Published by CCG Ministries