Original Painting Analogy

Suppose you paid dearly for a painting represented to be an original by a world famous artist. Unfortunately, you later found out that it had not been painted by that particular artist, after all—that it was a fake by an unknown artist. 

You have been defrauded. Yes, you still have a painting–but now, you don’t know it’s value. Since there is no doubt that it is not in the class of paintings by well-known artists, it is demoted to the class of unknown artists. Since the painting is not a genuine, original by a well-known artist, it is not worth what you paid for it. You must now reappraise and re-evaluate the painting, and decide what you are going to do with it. Will you keep it, or let it go?

This is the situation many of the friends find themselves in when they learn that William Irvine started this 2×2 ministry and church over 100 years ago. They feel like the props have been knocked out from under them. The chief overriding reason some bought into the 2×2 belief system was because they were told/taught and believed that it was the ONLY genuine apostolic New Testament church on earth today. 

Many have remained in this fellowship primarily because (1) they believe it is of apostolic succession, and (2) they fear a lost eternity if they don’t continue in it.

But, like the painting, the 2×2 church turned out to be a fake/fraud. The church and fellowship they bought into is not what it’s cracked up to be. It is not of apostolic succession, and did not originate in the New Testament, and furthermore, it has for a founder, not Jesus or God, but a fallible human man, like other churches do. It’s not the bill of goods they were sold at all—not the original, authentic, genuine New Testament church of Jesus. With the discovery of William Irvine, this church no longer merits an elevated status above other churches—it is demoted to the class of churches with founders.

When a person has accepted the fact that William Irvine started the 2×2 ministry and church, and that it didn’t exist in a continuous line from the New Testament apostles, certain questions naturally come to mind. This additional knowledge calls for a serious reevaluation, and a possible realignment or change in spiritual perspective and beliefs. It is only normal to wonder, to struggle with a number of complex questions. The lives of many friends are significantly altered by the way they answer these questions:

What is the value of this church?

Does this knowledge change anything?

What difference does it make that this fellowship has a founder?

Does having a founder contradict any of my other spiritual beliefs?

How can this fellowship be God’s only true way, when it has a human founder?

What reasons are there to support this church being God’s only way?

What Biblical support is there that God has ONLY one way to Heaven?

Is it the closest way to the New Testament church and ministry?

How is this church and ministry superior to other churches and ministers?

How is the 2×2 way unique?

Where do I go from here?

When someone reaches this point, it’s not unusual for them to want to visit with the workers. For what purpose? To see if there is something they are missing–something they aren’t seeing. To give the workers a chance to resell them on the 2×2 system. To give the workers their last chance before they cut short their losses and cut loose from the group. To judge for themselves whether or not there is good reason to continue in this group. To learn whether or not there are any good sound reasons and/or documented evidence to shore up claims the workers make about the 2×2 system.

Surely, they reason, the workers must have good reason that they’ve overlooked since they give their very LIVES for this belief system. They want ANSWERS—the Plain Truth! The Hard Truth. “ Many infallible proofs.” They don’t want the run-around, or pussy footing—just the facts, please. They want reasons supported and consistent with Scripture and Biblical principles and practices. They don’t want to hear a worker’s “reasons,” opinions, experiences or analogies, but that is often what they get—it is all that many workers have to offer.

Revised June 12, 2011