Also known as Workers, Friends and Workers, The Truth, Cooneyites, Nameless Church, Nameless House Sect, 2 x 2, 2 by 2, and many other names...
Members refer to the movement as "The Truth," or "The Way."
Within the movement 'friends' are followers, while 'workers' are ministers.
The group has about 200,000 members worldwide.
This movement makes exclusivistic claims. They reject the doctrine of the Trinity
, and teach salvation by grace plus
works, and then only if one has been baptized into - and is part of - this group. Therefore, from an orthodox, evangelical Christian perspective, the movement is considered to be a cult of Christianity.
The two-by=twos are briefly addressed in Ronald Enroth's book, "Churches That Abuse"
(Chapter 7: Abusive Churches Foster Rigidity
Officially registered with governments under names of: Christian Conventions in USA; Assemblies of Christians in Canada; The Testimony of Jesus in England; The United Christian Conventions of Australia and New Zealand.
How they differ from orthodox Christian beliefs -- in what they believe
is a direct historical continuation of the New Testament church
is "from the beginning"
is God's ONLY true way; therefore, all other church members, preachers,
churches and religions are "false".
comes by grace AND works (self-effort)
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
That Their Ministers:
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 one and the same as their fellowship.
are God's only true ministers
one must go through them (mediators) to be saved
are the supreme authorities in Biblical interpretation
have authority and rule over members
viewpoints are considered as authoritative as the written Word
traditions are equal in importance with God's commands.
How they differ from orthodox Christian beliefs -- in what they 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, not of works (i.e.
Jesus' Way is their fellowship)
"We compiled a list of 47 different cult characteristics
," says lawyer Arends. "The Two-by-twos meet all the points. They are extremely secretive, have no written doctrine or records, you can't get a straight answer from them, and yet they claim to be the only path to salvation. Their 'friends' must give unconditional obedience to the workers, or they're guilty of backsliding. And if they backslide, they're damned." Mr. Arends says his case is bolstered by California academic Ronald Enroth
's work Churches That Abuse
, Port Coquitlam author Lloyd Fortt's In Search of 'the Truth', and the testimony of a dozen former members in Alberta.
However, Gordon Melton
, the California-based editor of the Encyclopedia of American Religions, argues the Two-by-twos are simply an "old-line, 19th-century Christadelphian
sect," an isolated subculture of non-Trinitarian Christians. They are not a cult because "there's no real threats or violence," he says. "A good comparison is the Amish. They keep to themselves, with a minimal creed; they stress community, and their faith is passed from generation to generation. The big difference is that the Two-by-twos blend into the community, own houses and work normal jobs."
J. Gordon Melton is known as a cult apologist
. A group or movement is, of course, not determined to be a cult merely by the presence of threats or violence, but rather by a number of sociological
In this regard, the two-by-twos' rejection of the doctrine of the Trinity
makes the group theologically a cult of Christianity
. But Melton, who has admitted
that he does not know how to tell the difference between orthodoxy and heresy, does not see a problem in calling the group "Christian," even while they reject key doctrines of the Christian faith
Christian Evaluation of the Two by Twos
The biblical critique of the movement's theology is presented by Bible teacher David Legge, from Northern Ireland.
Very helpful general overview of the group's history, characteristics, beliefs, etc.
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