Apologetics Index

Aberrational, Heretical, Heterodox, Suborthodox or Unorthodox Two-by-twos


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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".
That Salvation:
  • 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 Jesus:
  • 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.
That Their Ministers:
  • 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.
Fact Sheetoffsite Telling the Truth

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)
Fact Sheetoffsite Telling the Truth

Cult Characteristics

"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."
Doubts about a mystery churchoffsite, Alberta Report, Sep. 15, 1997

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 sociologicaloffsite and/or theological characteristics.

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.


Christian Fact Sheetoffsite Very helpful general overview of the group's history, characteristics, beliefs, etc.


Christian Reflected Truth : Former Workers and Followers Unmask Life in a Large, Little-Known Sectoffsite by Joan F. Daniel. Accounts of former members and relatives of members.
Christian Reflectionsoffsite by Daurelle Chapman. A compilation of accounts by former members.
Christian Reinventing the Truthoffsite by Kevin Daniel. An examination of the two-by-twos historical claims.
Christian A Search for the Truth : The Workers Words Exposedoffsite Emphasizes the terminology of the two-by-twos.
Christian The Secret Sectoffsite by Doug and Helen Parker. One person's review at Amazon.com: I had looked for this book ever since it first came out and the workers at the Edgewood Convention in NM warned people not to read it. I was delighted to find it on Amazon. It is a very informative and well written account of this sect. Being in it most of my life, I had figured out many things, but there were still some shocking facts (which I don't doubt) in this book. I highy recommend this book to anyone still in this sect. It would also be very good for people who have relatives or friends in the sect.

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Secular Convention Listoffsite (Pro) Merely a list of convention locations.
Christian The Lying Truthoffsite (Contra)
Christian Telling The Truthoffsite (Contra) Lots of background information. "[T]he largest collection of 2x2 historical documents on the Internet".
Christian Research and Information Services (RIS)offsite (Contra) Research and Information Services publishes books and other information regarding three related and little-known nameless sects. The largest of these calls itself ''The Truth'' and is presided over by a homeless, itinerant ministry known as ''Workers.''
Christian Veterans of Truthoffsite (Contra) Extensive, very informative site by ex-members.
Secular Wings for Truth Organization of former members, "Working to INform Guide and Support Those Who Have Been Sexually Abused Within the Fellowship of Friends and Workers."