What about the Workers?
Money and Tithing
Irvine and Cooney mocked preachers for taking “collections,” saying they were only interested in money, not souls. They spoke as if collections were forcible theft from believers. Collections are purely voluntary. If someone doesn’t want to contribute to a collection he doesn’t have to contribute. Yes, it is true, that there are false teachers who are just interested in money. That was true in Jesus’ time and it is true now. But that doesn’t mean that collections are wrong. Paul scolded the Corinthians for not providing for his needs and forcing him to accept provision from other churches because they had not been helpful. II Corinthians 11:8 Paul instructed Christians to take collections for the needy in II Corinthians 8.
The men and women who sell all and give it to the poor in order to go into the work do not tell the congregation who the poor are. Most consider the “poor” to be the workers. Few really know where that money goes. Since they say that they give it to the poor, they should really give it to the poor. Instead it is given to the head workers.
Since the head workers receive the money, they aren’t practicing what they preach. They are being fraudulent in their claims to be “without purse.” Why should the younger workers be without money, yet the head workers control large bank accounts? The deceptive teaching about material support for the ministry encourages selfishness in the congregation and in the head workers. The friends don’t even think about the future for the workers. Other Christians set up insurance and retirement funds and places for older pastors and their wives to live on. Jesus encouraged financial planning in Matthew 25:14-230. The head workers have even mocked such thoughtful provision, claiming that “God provides for His own.” Yes, God does provide for His own through His body, the Church. It isn’t scriptural for the head workers to collect the incomes of other workers. That is dishonestly stealing from people who have earned the money given to them for their work among the friends. The money is not shared equitably, as one would expect, either.
Irvine didn’t renounce money and neither have the workers. They just renounced honesty regarding it. People who resent giving of their financial and material wealth for the gospel’s sake will have severe difficulties getting through “the eye of the needle.” The congregation cannot be blessed when it is holding back from the Lord what should be given for His glory and His purposes. Jesus said you cannot serve God and mammon. He said that if one has not learned to use the wealth of this world wisely who will entrust to him the true riches? The Bible says more about money and its use than nearly any other issue, aside from salvation, and yet the workers say almost nothing about it.
The workers’ blindness to scripture and their Gnostic heresy prevents them from teaching what the Bible says about money. But God said that our use of money and attitude toward it proves whether we are obedient to Him. It is impossible to divide life into two parts. We are spiritual and natural creatures and our lives are spiritual and natural. Jesus said to lay up treasure in heaven and one way we do that is to use our financial resources for His purposes and to glorify Him by helping the needy. He said, “Where your treasure is there will your heart be also.” Matthew 6:21 He wants us to spend our money spreading His Word. He wants us to generously give to those who feed His flock and to the church body. When we give our money to glorify Him then we are laying up a treasure in heaven. Jesus warned us not to lay up treasure on earth because we will lose it, but if we lay it up in heaven by giving it to God we will have treasure in eternity.
Giving the firstfruits to God is one of the oldest principles in the Bible. It is older than the Law of Moses. Genesis 14:20. Abraham gave the firstfruits of battle to Melchizedek, priest of the God Most High. God was the one who enabled Abraham to conquer the kings who had captured Lot. It is an acknowledgment that everything comes from God. It gives God the glory. Malachi 3:8, “Will a man rob God? Yet ye have robbed me. But ye say, Wherein have we robbed thee? In tithes and offerings. Ye are cursed with a curse: for ye have robbed me, even this whole nation.” God rebukes and curses those who rob Him of tithes and offerings. Tithing is a means of worship, obedience, building faith and bringing blessing. Proverbs 3:9 “Honor the Lord with your possessions,and with the firstfruits of all your increase.” Malachi 3:10, “Bring ye all the tithes into the storehouse that there may be me at in mine house and prove me now saith the Lord of Hosts, if I will not open to you the windows of heaven and pour you out a blessing that there shall not be room enough to receive it.” Proverbs 11:25, “The liberal soul shall be made fat and he that watereth shall be watered also himself.” Proverbs 3:9-10, “Honor the Lord with your wealth…then your barns will be filled to overflowing.” The first born of children and cattle were considered firstfruits and people were supposed to pay God money at the birth of the first child and cattle.
The purpose of tithing is to teach “you always to fear the Lord your God”. Deuteronomy 14:23 Tithing is a token of thanksgiving for all we have comes from God. There were three kinds of tithes during the biblical era.
1. tithe was given to Levites who in turn tithed to the priests
2. tithe was used for a feast at the Temple
3. tithe was given to the poor. Those who tithed generously were said to have a “good eye” or a “single eye.” A stingy person had a “bad eye” or “evil eye”.
Tithing provides financial support for the ministry and their families. In the Old Testament, Numbers 18:24, “But the tithes I have given …to the Levites.” In the New Testament Paul reinforces the tithe ethic in Corinthians 9:8-14, “Say I these things as a man: or saith not the law the same also? For it is written in the law of Moses, Thou shalt not muzzle the mouth of the ox that treadeth out the corn. Doth God take care for oxen? He that ploweth should plow in hope and he that thresheth in hope should be partaker of his hope. If we have sown unto you spiritual things, is it a great thing if we shall reap your carnal things? Do ye not know that they which minister about holy things live of the things of the temple? And they which wait at the altar are partakers with the altar? Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.
Some people think that tithing shouldn’t be done if one can’t trust the church leaders. The book of Malachi was written at a time when the priests and Levites were openly disobeying God, but God didn’t change His command to tithe because the tithe was to Him, not to the Levites, even though the Levites received it and used it. If one doesn’t his trust church leaders then he should find some good church leaders he can trust. God calls us to obedience to Him no matter what other people are doing. If church leaders are being dishonest, it is God’s job to rebuke them, not our job to starve them.
Some people think that tithing isn’t for the New Testament church. Old Testament people gave to God because they knew all that they had came from Him. So, what has changed? Colossians 1:16-17 “For by Him were all things created…all things were created through Him and for Him and in Him all things consist.” Christ holds all things together and provides for our every need. The word firstfruits refers to (1) the first portion of harvest that is given to God (2) as a pledge or hope of greater harvest to follow (3) specially dedicated to God. The word is used in the New Testament in a spiritual connotation James 1:18; I Cor. 15:20-23; Romans 8:23 to denote that God is giving us the firstfruits of the Kingdom now through the Holy Spirit. If God is giving us the firstfruits, then it only makes sense that we should still be giving Him our firstfruits. All that we have still comes from God. We should still honor Him by acknowledging it. If you are having problems in life this may be the reason. Pray about it, ask God to forgive you and then obey Him in this and see what happens.
Firstfruits Of Battle
Remember the battle of Jericho, the first city that the Lord conquered for the Israelites in the Promised Land. A careful study of this passage reveals the principle of tithing. In Joshua 6:17 Joshua told the people that they were to destroy everything in the whole city of Jericho. It was to be completely destroyed as an offering to God because God was the One who fought the battle. This was done to honor God for His victory for the Israelites. The only things that were to be spared were Rahab and her family. Joshua 6:19 said, “But all the silver and gold and vessels of bronze and iron are consecrated to the Lord they shall come into the treasury of the Lord.” Joshua 7 is the story of Achan who coveted the things that were supposed to be sacrificed to God. Achan was put to death for his disobedience in keeping the spoils of battle. In later battles after the firstfruits had been destroyed in sacrifice to God, the spoils of war were given to the Israelites. Achan could have waited until the next battle and kept anything that God allowed. This is an obscure and confusing point to people who aren’t familiar with tithing principles because in later battles the Israelites were allowed to keep what was in the cities they conquered. But this shows how seriously God takes the principle of tithing the firstfruits. In Malachi He said He would curse and destroy those who stole from Him.
The Israelites also gave God the firstfruits of harvest, firstfruits of the flock and the womb. It wasn’t about forgiveness. It was about honoring God, glorifying God, thanking God, obeying God and praising God, and acknowledging that He is the giver of all things.
Obedient Christian pastors tithe just like everyone else by giving to the church, to foreign missions and to the poor out of their own pockets. A careful reading of the Corinthian letters shows that Paul gave of his own money to those in need and for his mission activities. Leaders give to God, just as much and usually more than the members of their congregations. Serious-minded Christians believe in giving far more than 10% of their income to the Lord. They think 10% is the least they can give to the local church, and beyond that they give to other missions and charities as well. Moreover, the church administration then gives money to mission organizations, to Bible translation groups, to the poor and other Christian organizations that the elders and deacons decide to support. In honest churches, the financial record is open to the church members, so that accountability can be made and big decisions are shared with the congregation. These contributions are done in the Name of the Lord so that God will be glorified. Giving to secular charities probably doesn’t lay up treasure in heaven.
The workers say that under the Old Law people gave meat, bread, trade goods, food and garden produce instead of money to the priests They think that proves that the ministry is only to receive board and room, not money. This isn’t true either. Money was used regularly throughout the Bible record and during biblical times. Jesus commended the poor widow for giving two mites to the Temple treasury. Mites were coins. David and Solomon collected gold and silver from the Israelites to be used for God’s purposes for the Temple and the Levites. Money is simply a tool for convenience. The workers wouldn’t appreciate being given half a cow or a loaf of bread to put in their suitcases. The workers’ excuses and rationalizations don’t hold water. There isn’t anything bad about money. It is the love of money that is bad. Greed, selfishness, covetousness, dishonesty, wastefulness, ostentation or miserly attitudes are sinful. Tithing, generosity, charity, sharing, banking, honesty, and thriftiness are commended in scripture. The workers have the same bad attitude about money that Irvine had.
What did Jesus say about the tithe principle? Christ confirmed the tithe in Matthew 23:23. Even though he says it in a rather backward way he confirms the tithe. “Woe unto you, scribes, Pharisees, hypocrites! For ye pay tithe of mint and anise and cumin and have omitted the weightier matters of the law, judgment, mercy and faith: these ought ye to have done and not to leave the other undone.” It is such an oddly worded verse that people often pass right over the significance of what is being said. Jesus was scolding the Pharisees for being so scrupulous about giving one tenth of their herbs to the Lord yet failing the important matters of giving their hearts to God. At the same time, he said you should not fail in giving the tithe, in his statement to “not leave the other undone.” The Jews knew that tithing herbs was a fraction of what they were to tithe. Professing people think they have given their hearts to God and that that is all that He wants because of the verse about giving “to Caesar what is Caesar’s and giving to God what belongs to God.” Christ’s statement at that moment was carefully worded in order to respond to the entrapment of the people who asked if it was lawful to pay taxes to Caesar. It wasn’t a command to not give money to God’s purposes. In fact, it confirms that we should give to God’s purposes. We give our hearts and souls to God, but we also give Him the firstfruits of what He gives to us.
Jesus also said we can’t serve God and Mammon. If we try to keep money for ourselves then we aren’t serving God in the way that honors Him. God measures whether we have truly given our hearts to Him by the way that we use our money and our resources. Matthew 25:34-46. Then shall the King say “come inherit the Kingdom prepared for you, for I was hungry and ye gave me meat. I was thirsty and you gave me drink.” James 1:27, “Pure religion and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit the fatherless and widows in their affliction and to keep himself unspotted by the world.” Proverbs 21:13 “If a man shuts his ears to the cries of the poor, he too will cry out and not be answered.” Matthew 16:27 “For the Son of Man is going to come in his Father’s glory with his angels, and then he will reward each person according to what he has done.” Luke 6:38, “Give and it will be given to you. A good measure, pressed down, shaken together and running over, will be poured into your lap. For with the measure you use, it will be measured to you.”
The tithe principle works similarly to the way nursing mothers provide milk to their babies. The more one gives to the Lord, for His glory, the more one has in order to give more. We aren’t supposed to give in order to get, we are supposed to give in order to give more.
One worker said, “The reason we don’t give to the poor is because our country has a welfare program that takes care of the needs of people. It comes out of our taxes.” The workers don’t pay taxes. Was this worker trying to say that there aren’t any more poor people or that God receives our tax money? God doesn’t rescind His commands based on the welfare program of the government. How can people lay up treasure in heaven by paying taxes to the government? Helping the poor by paying taxes doesn’t glorify our Father in heaven. Paying taxes isn’t an option. Tithing isn’t an option either. Tithing is much more important than collections for charity or other causes. God says when we don’t give our tithe and offering to Him, we are robbing Him. Malachi 3:8-14.
God said He would bring ruin to those who rob Him. The workers quote the verse that says “the cattle on a thousand hills belong to God.” They say that God doesn’t want or need our money. He just wants people to obey Him. Of course, God doesn’t need our money. Everything belongs to God. That is the reason that people are supposed to tithe. They are supposed to continually recognize that everything they have comes from God. We owe Him the honor of recognizing that fact by giving some of it back, to be used for His purposes. That is also the reason that Christians give thanks to God before every meal. That is why we are supposed to share our bounty with the needy. Just as they have led people astray on prayer, the workers lead people to disobey God’s Word about tithing and charity.
God says that the ministry is to be financially supported for their services to the church. “The laborer is worthy of his reward.” I Timothy 5:17-18, “Let the elders that rule well be counted worthy of double honor, especially they who labor in the word and doctrine. For the scripture says, Thou shalt not muzzle the ox that treadeth out the corn.” The word elder refers to the leaders and teachers of the church. Matthew 10:10, “the workman is worthy of his meat.” Peter said that he was an elder. I Peter 5:1; Luke 10:7; I Corinthians 9:4-19 “Even so hath the Lord ordained that they which preach the gospel should live of the gospel.” Anyone who says Christians shouldn’t give money to the church and pastor just isn’t reading his Bible carefully. Those who receive Christ should be more than generous to their pastors and the church. The gospel is to be preached freely to unbelievers but all believers are expected to enter into the joy of giving for the Lord’s sake and receive the promised blessings for glorifying God.
The workers mock collection plates but they accept money privately if the donor is professing. The early workers had to rely on unprofessing people for their lodging, food and travel. Irvine’s church would never have survived if it hadn’t been for kindly Christians who helped the early workers. Now the workers usually refuse money from anyone who isn’t professing, or from someone they don’t consider worthy. (The workers think it is their duty to decide who is worthy: worthy of baptism, worthy of having meeting in the home, worthy of having the workers stay, worthy of friendship, worthy to give, worthy to receive help, etc. What an unscriptural attitude! God gives to the whole world every day. If people were dependent on worthiness, the world would have been destroyed long ago!) The friends don’t contribute 10% of their incomes to the workers as they should. They have been taught that is a ridiculous, false church tradition.
The issue isn’t whether the workers have money, the issue is that they are secretive and dishonest about the money they have.
Workers are scornful of church business meetings. But business meetings are the means in which pastors stay accountable for the funds that are contributed by the congregation. Pastors deserve to receive a personal income for their work. Beyond the pastors’ income the tithe money is used for the upkeep of the church building and grounds, missionary expenses, contributions to Bible Translators, for persecuted Christians, expenses for widows and orphans and other miscellaneous items. The congregation has a right to know that their money is being used for things they approve of. It is a legitimate effort to keep theft from occurring. Honest pastors of honest churches are also careful to stay within the legal requirements of the government of the country. Honest pastors pay taxes to the government and tithe to the church. They give unto Caesar and unto God.
The workers sometimes receive inheritances from elderly people who have died and left their savings and property to the workers. According to many workers and elders, there are substantial bank accounts in every region that the head workers control but don’t report to the government or the congregation. This money isn’t shared equally among the workers or with widows and orphans. Howard Mooney, the former head worker of Oregon once confided to another worker that he donated a large sum of money to the American Cancer Foundation. The Cancer Foundation is not a Christian charity, it does not honor Jesus Christ. It wasn’t wrong of him to give to the Cancer Foundation, but it didn’t bring God glory and probably isn’t laid up in heaven.
Education For The Ministry
The workers quote Matthew 11:25, “I praise you, Father, Lord of heaven and earth because you have hidden these things from the wise and the prudent, and revealed them unto babes.” They think the wise and prudent are biblically educated people. The workers imply that Jesus was warning against systematic study of scripture. The workers don’t believe in biblical education. They mock seminaries that they say turn out “atheists” every year, and call them “cemeteries”. They say that seminaries just teach people to run business organizations. They say the Kingdom of Heaven is a family not a business or organization. They claim it isn’t necessary to study at school to learn God’s Word or to teach and preach. Irvine claimed that Jesus and His disciples were not formally trained or ordained Galatians 1:1, “Paul, an apostle – sent not from men nor by man, but by Jesus Christ and God the Father, who raised him from the dead—“ I Corinthians 2:1-2, “When I came to you, brothers, I did not come with eloquence or superior wisdom as I proclaimed to you the testimony about God. For I resolved to know nothing while I was with you except Jesus Christ and Him crucified.”
The Kingdom of Heaven is a Kingdom, an organization with leaders: Father, Son and Holy Spirit who direct legions of angels and human beings. The centurion in Luke 7:1-9 recognized this organization when he said, “But say the word and my servant will be healed. For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go’ and he goes; and to that one, ‘Come’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.” Our physical bodies are organized, the universe is organized. Families and households are organized. There is nothing wrong with organization. Christ taught and organized the early disciples and church. There is plenty wrong with anarchy and everyone doing whatever they want. There is also plenty wrong with secret control from men who are deceitful and ignorant.
Christ’s praise to His Father for revealing His identity and purpose to little children and hiding it from the wise and prudent is not an indictment against knowledge of scripture, education, organization or wisdom. It is an indictment against the arrogance of unbelief, found more often among adults than children. Why would God give us His Holy Word and then tell us not to study it? Children can understand the story of Jesus but they can’t understand the Two by Two belief system. Even professing adults have difficulty explaining it. The early workers avoided educated people who noticed the change of meaning in their use of words and scripture. They preferred to preach to uneducated farming people in rural areas. More recently, however, educated people are no longer a threat to the workers’ ignorance because most educated people are not interested or trained in scriptural subjects.
Christ warned us that false teachers and deceitful workers would arise. Obedience to God’s Word compels us to study His Word. Yes, seminaries have become corrupt and many of them do produce atheists because false teachers have corrupted and infiltrated every strata of society. Public schools and universities are corrupt, the public media is corrupt. Yet, workers and professing people participate in those avenues of life. Yes, Christian churches have false teachers and hypocrites in them because the tares exist among the wheat and because men are still human and prone to error.
Good churches do exist but none are perfect because people aren’t perfect. That doesn’t mean that Christianity is dead or ever was dead. It doesn’t mean that education or scriptural training is forbidden by God. Even though there are many false prophets and false teachers, it doesn’t mean that Irvine was trustworthy. False teachers and deceitful workers are the problems, not the study of scripture.
Who could have taught Jesus Christ anything about the scripture? He is the Word. He is Creator and Lord of the universe. Jesus amazed adults with his wisdom in the synagogue when he was 12 years of age. Luke 2:42-49 Jesus did not begin His ministry until he had spent many years as a carpenter, probably caring for his mother and family. He was 30 years old when He began preaching and all the men He called into the work of the gospel were probably as old as He was or even older. (Age 30 is considered by the Jews to be the age of maturity.) Workers often began preaching at age 20.
Moreover, Hebrew boys were taught from as early as age 3 to memorize the first five books of the Old Testament, the Torah. Some have been so accomplished at it that they have memorized the entire Old Testament. Therefore, one cannot claim that Jesus and the disciples were ignorant and untrained in the scripture. The disciples must have known something about God’s Word because they responded to Christ and followed Him immediately. Jesus spent three years teaching His disciples before He left the earth. It is true that they were from humble backgrounds but they may have had a great deal of scriptural knowledge although not from an upper-class perspective.
The workers say that Paul received his training from the Spirit. However, Paul, as a Pharisee and as a member of the Sanhedrin was well educated in Old Testament scripture long before he became a believer in Christ. The Holy Spirit simply revealed the identity of Jesus Christ and the true meaning of the Messianic prophecies to him. II Corinthians 12:2-10 tells of a vision that Paul had. “I …was caught up to the third heaven. Whether it was in the body or out of the body I do not know, but God knows, and I was caught up to paradise. I heard inexpressible things, things that man is not permitted to tell. I will not boast about myself, except my weaknesses.” This particular experience of Paul’s was not training for the ministry. He said he found out things he couldn’t tell people. It was more than likely preparation for what he was going to face as he preached the gospel, similar to the transfiguration on the Mount that some of the other apostles experienced
Matthew 28:19-20, Jesus said, “Go therefore and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost: teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world.” God wants people to be taught what His Word says. The workers don’t teach the Word because they haven’t been taught anything except Irvinism.
Howard Mooney said,“I can count on the fingers of both hands the number of gospel meetings I was in before I went into the work. What I am going to tell you, I am telling you in all sincerity. I don’t believe there ever was a greener person went into the work than I was. I firmly believe the reason why God has preserved me in the work is just to make me a monument of the Grace of God, and as sure anyone, if a person with as little to start with as I had can make it, then anyone can make it.”
Howard Mooney also confessed to having left the work many times in discouragement but he would always come back again because he couldn’t think of anything else to do. Howard Mooney was a friendly, gentle person but he never did have a sound understanding of scripture. His letters and sermons all reflect the ignorance of William Irvine. Notice Howard’s reference to the “Grace of God.” This is an example of how the workers use scriptural terms in a faulty manner.
Willie Jamieson also told people many times about how shy, ignorant and unprepared he was to preach. The first year he was in the work he said the same single sentence every meeting. Most workers are just as biblically ignorant as Howard Mooney and Willie Jamieson were. And that is how they want them to stay. Fortunately, some of them do begin to understand the Bible and find salvation but then they are forced out of the ministry by the head workers if they become vocal about what scripture really says.
I Timothy 3:6 says not to give responsibility to a novice lest he be lifted up with pride and fall into the condemnation of the devil. II Timothy 2 is a letter of instruction from Paul to Timothy about his responsibilities as a servant to the church. Verse 15 says, “Study to show thyself approved unto God, a workman that need not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the Word of truth.” The first word is “Study!” The workers don’t study and they don’t rightly teach the word of truth. They do divide it though. They chop it up into little pieces. They will often quote verse 14 that says not to strive about words to no profit, inferring that people shouldn’t worry about the meaning of words. They use this verse when someone confronts them with their strange definitions of biblical words. Their use of that verse is an incorrect application. Paul meant that people shouldn’t quarrel about unimportant things. He vigorously advocated teaching the scripture, defending sound doctrine and the true gospel.
Most brother workers enter the ministry at a young age, around 18 to 20 years of age, some are older. The sister workers usually enter at age 25 or so. Most of them tend to be naive and untrained both in scripture and in the reality of life. When they go into the work they are taught the practical things they must know to survive as a full-time house guest: good manners, how to pack their suitcases neatly, how to prepare for convention, how to be prepared to give a testimony on a moment’s notice, how to keep quiet and let the older worker take charge during a visit and how to keep from letting out information that is detrimental to the group. The most important thing the younger worker is sup posed to do is follow orders from the senior worker. These young people don’t have much of anything to leave behind. They haven’t had much life experience at all. But they are willing to give up their lives for the souls of others because they have been taught that is necessary for the salvation of others. They trust the head workers who take advantage of these young people in the worst way. This system is cruel!
Those who have not received any kind of vocational training have a hard time adjusting to normal living if they find later that they must leave the work for health or emotional reasons. And then they have the additional problem of bad health or emotional problems on top of no vocational training. They are at a distinct disadvantage and dependent on others to care for them. Usually, no one does. It depends on the person and his or her family.
The people who “go into the work” are under a lot of inner turmoil until they surrender to “the spirit’s” claim on their lives. Some say that they heard a voice or the call of God to their hearts to become a worker in the “harvest field”. Others have gone into it because no other career or marriage option was available, or because their family pressured them into it. Some have gone into it after some terrible experience which they feel was “of God”. Some go into the work with joy, others feel real sorrow and pain from the choice. Most who go into the work are introverted, sensitive, mild-mannered people for whom a public life is a real strain.
Bob Ingram said, “Keep His words. Not only the Bible’s words but also what is spoken when He feeds us through His ministry.”
Tharold Sylvester said, “When the messenger is right, the message is right and the method is right, God can bless it.
”Walter Nelson said, “Every true minister is an apostle and prophet sent from God with a message from God.”
Leo Stancliff said, “There are two things upon which the Truth of God rests, Jesus gave us the ministry and a way of fellowship. Now the ministry is the foundation of Christianity.”
Eldon Tenniswood said, “If the ministry does not keep the pattern Jesus laid down, it does not love Him and cannot have the Father dwelling in it.”
Willie Jamieson said, “The ministry has been the most important part of God’s plan in every age.”
Dan Hilton said, “God’s true ministry can meet all the needs of all the people all the time.”
Clarence Anderson said, “He has given to us a more excellent ministry. Therefore, seeing we have this ministry, as we have received mercy, we faint not. There are no other people on the face of the earth that have the same ministry we have…..And we are thankful for those who have been like angels. At Buenos Aires, one of the friends there was saying,“I have two angels in my house.”
Everett Swanson said, “We can know the state of someone’s salvation by his attitude towards the workers.”
All those statements are unscriptural.
The early workers would preach Numbers 16 about Korah, Dathan and Abiram, priests from the tribe of Levi, who demanded a place of leadership that God hadn’t given them. The workers said that people who disagreed with the workers’ views or decisions were like Korah, Dathan and Abiram rebelling against Moses. Korah, Dathan and Abiram were swallowed up by the earth and 250 of their friends were burned alive by fire from heaven.
A careful reading of this story, however, shows that the workers are more like Korah, Dathan and Abiram than anyone else because the workers claim to have special authority and revelation from God that makes their words equal to scripture. Since the time of Christ’s resurrection, there is no need for someone with the authority of Moses, Levi or Aaron. Remember the admonition in I Timothy 3:6 not to give authority to a novice lest he be lifted up and ensnared by the devil. Some workers admit that William Irvine was lifted up with pride, yet they don’t seem to notice other head workers with the same problem.
There are workers who, as they become older, become tyrannical and about as insensitive as steamrollers. The older workers see it as their duty to impress submission onto the younger workers. As they age, their tendencies become more pronounced. Some workers become quiet and gentle and others become overbearing. Some of the older sister workers are very critical of everything and everyone. Some of the workers are so difficult to be around that the other workers dread being matched with them as companions. Each year at convention time they are given new companions by the head worker. Tharold Sylvester would pair up people he knew didn’t get along just to amuse himself. Then he would laugh with friends about it.
How do such lovable people become so insensitive after a few years? It may have something to do with emotional survival. The workers have no privacy, few real friends, little intellectual stimulation, and few whom they can confide in with any trust. They are under tremendous stress and constant public attention and temptation. Boredom is a very real problem for many of them. Some workers have tried to cultivate some innocent interests (cooking, drawing, hiking, fishing, playing an instrument) while in the work and the older workers discourage them immediately. The older ones have no tolerance for relaxation or play.
Jack Carroll taught the workers that they must not let the friends view them on a human level or allow them to become too friendly. Jack Carroll had a sister worker for his mistress and his brother Bill Carroll, head worker of Australia had a wife. This is typical of cult leaders. Rules for others don’t apply to themselves.
Workers have sometimes fallen in love while they are in the work but they are not allowed to marry unless they leave the work. And if they leave the work, how can they support a family? The friends would refuse to support a worker’s family. They have no training, no savings, no support mechanism, nothing but a suitcase, a computer and some clothes. Besides, they have been told that they must remain unmarried in order for people to have salvation.
Due to the lack of doctrinal understanding, lack of scriptural training and unity, no matter what they preach they are apt to receive criticism from someone, especially their own companions. Workers will tell on one another, reporting to the head worker if their companion is reading anything other than the Bible that isn’t acceptable. The only acceptable literature is the newspaper or Readers Digest or anything of comparable depth. Workers have gotten in trouble for using supplementary information. They change companions every year and change locality about every other year. They are in different homes about every two or three days so must constantly adjust to different sleeping conditions. They are rarely in an area long enough to develop any lasting friendships.
Their time is so broken up by constant visiting, phone calls, letter writing and moving from place to place that they have very little time for serious Bible study. While preachers from other churches may spend from 12 to 40 hours preparing for one sermon, the workers may have only a half-hour of uninterrupted time to prepare for meeting. Often their sermons sound more like impromptu talks. Actually, sermons aren’t supposed to be “prepared” or eloquent. They are supposed to be spoken by the Spirit on the spot. At least that is what the older workers used to claim.
They become so accustomed to continual travel that if they ever leave “the work” it becomes very hard for them to live a normal stay-at-home life. The older workers generally stay in one field for three to five years while the younger workers change locations each year. Travel is the head workers’ means of leaving problems behind.
Some workers are very subtle in their politely coercive manipulation of people and conversations. They are masters at controlling situations and avoid any environment in which they will not have the advantage. They make statements in such an elusive manner that the statement can be understood in two or three different ways. It is sometimes difficult to know whether they are purposefully vague or simply so confused that they are unable to be clear. They prefer visiting in pairs so that they can maintain the upper hand in a discussion. They are especially careful to maintain a meek, gentle mannerism that is very disarming and makes people embarrassed to challenge their doctrinal position. They are also careful to avoid anyone who is brave enough to confront them.
If they know someone has questions regarding the rules or doctrines, they may deal with it in several different ways. Depending on the workers and the situation, they may attempt to sweet talk the family or avoid them. They will suddenly remember they must be somewhere in a hurry if questioned about topics they don’t want to answer. If they have a hunch that someone has received information from the outside they will warn against the “poison that the enemy of God’s People is spreading.” Or, they may preach at him in meeting, or talk to family or friends and alienate others away from him so that he does not “infect” anyone else with information. Another common method is to imply that the person has mental problems. Or, they isolate him from others by changing the meeting places. Sometimes they will ask the person or couple to “help out” in some way. They will appeal to the desire for status or need for approval by asking to have a Bible study in their home, or to take someone elderly to meeting every week.
The workers monitor the friends’ submission or “spirit” by listening to their weekly testimonies. If they disapprove of what a person says, sometimes the workers will shuffle their feet or make some kind of distraction during the person’s testimony. Sometimes the workers will raise an eyebrow or glare at the person in an attempt to undermine his credibility. Sometimes the workers will simply stop visiting a family altogether and initiate a whisper campaign among the friends, warning them that the person or family doesn’t have much understanding. If the workers are not successful in heading off the “problem,” they will simply excommunicate the trouble-makers. They usually claim that the person or family “chose to separate themselves.”
They use Romans 10:17, “Faith cometh by hearing,” meaning one must hear a worker before one can have faith. They know no one could ever figure out their belief system by reading the Bible because it isn’t in there. So they claim that the workers impart the Spirit that enables people to believe. It is incorrect to believe that there is anything mystical or spiritual about hearing a worker, or anyone read or speak about Christ. That verse is referring to learning about and receiving God’s Word that inspires faith. If hearing was the only way to receive faith then deaf people would have no hope of salvation. I Corinthians 1:21 Yes, God does use “the foolishness of preaching” to lead people to the Kingdom but it is His Holy Spirit and Word that has the power, not the people who preach it. God’s Word says that every Christian is supposed to share the gospel, not just Christian pastors and evangelists.
The workers quote Galatians 1:9-10, “If any man preach any other gospel unto you than that ye have received, let him be accursed.” to criticize Christian pastors who don’t follow Irvine’s rules. Actually, that statement is an indictment against their own message because the “gospel” they preach is not the gospel that Paul and the other apostles preached. Paul’s gospel is that salvation is found only by trusting in the sacrifice of Jesus Christ. The book of Galatians is condemnation against those who created rules as a means to salvation instead of faith in Jesus’ Blood. It doesn’t matter what the rules are. Rules are rules. We are saved by faith, not by rules. We are rewarded for good works, not for obedience to rules.
People are so impressed that the workers are unmarried. They assume that they are celibate. The scripture says nothing about unmarried priests, rabbis, celibate preachers, workers, apostles, evangelists, or pastors. Is a ministry that is forbid den to marry scripturally valid, historically credible, safe, chaste, financially necessary, effective, lasting? No, no, no!!
I Timothy 4:1-3, “Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron, forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.”
I Corinthians 9:5, Paul says, “Have we not the power to lead about a sister, a wife, as well as other apostles and as the brethren of the Lord, and Cephas?” Paul was making the point that the apostles did have wives and families. Peter was married. Philip was married and had four daughters. Acts 21:8-9 Paul had left the subject as a free choice, recommending being unmarried for those who had the gift of singleness. I Corinthians 7:1-40.
God ordained marriage, blessed it and commanded man to be fruitful and multiply. He said, “It is not good for man to be alone.” Genesis 1:27-28 “Marriage is honorable in all, and the bed undefiled: but whoremongers and adulterers God will judge.” Hebrews 13:4 Many workers have committed adultery during their lifetimes yet the friends hold them on pedestals, believing them to be like Christ. Sister workers have had babies fathered by brother workers. Those babies were given up for adoption. The sin was unrepented and hidden.
The book “The Church With A Human Face” by Edward Schillebeeckx records the history surrounding married clergymen in the early Church and then the changes made centuries later by the Roman Popes.
In the years that followed Christ’s resurrection, the early Christian leaders were married or unmarried, without any rules on the subject. Christian leaders were given instructions in I Timothy 3 to be the husband of one wife. Christian pastors have always been married, except for a few people who had the same gift for singleness that Paul had.
It was only the Roman Catholic Church that demanded that their priests be unmarried because they didn’t want priests’ children inheriting property that the Pope considered his own. The Catholic Church didn’t compel priests to be unmarried until the year 1139 AD. For more historical information read “Shattered Vows” by David Rice.
The Faith Mission did not require singleness for their workers. Why did William Irvine demand that his followers be unmarried? Irvine had chosen to be unmarried but he wasn’t celibate. He had a son out of wedlock before he started preaching. Celibacy is not necessarily chastity. One can be unmarried, unchaste and uncelibate. Jesus made it clear in Matthew 5:28, “I tell you that anyone who looks at a woman lustfully has already committed adultery with her in his heart.”
Therefore, the claim to be celibate is not that admirable. Very few of them manage to keep the problem at the lustful stage. There have been numerable cases of workers who have had affairs with other workers and/or with married and unmarried professing people. Sister workers have had babies out of wedlock. Workers have been known to have visited prostitutes and have had homosexual relationships. There have been workers who exposed themselves to women and children. And there have been workers who have sexually molested and raped children. These stories have been reported to those who have been collecting data on the Two by Twos for decades.
Exodus 22:16 says, “If a man entice a maid that is not betrothed and lie with her, he shall surely endow her to be his wife.” There are many brother workers who should have married the women they seduced. But Irvine taught people to disobey scripture when he claimed workers must remain unmarried. Those who hold the workers on a pedestal simply because they are unmarried are very naive and foolish to believe that singleness is any measure of a person’s character or a good reason to trust them. In fact, in some cases, it is a good reason not to trust them.
Enforced singleness for the ministry displays:
- Disobedience to God’s Word is unwillingness to provide for the people who lead the church and spread the gospel.
- Disobedience to God and lack of compassion for those who give their lives for the gospel and for humanity.
- Disobedience to God’s Word which allows men and women to follow the leading and gifting of God.
- Selfishness and a love of money among the congregation.
Enforced singleness for the ministry may contribute to:
- Avoidance of God’s calling to the ministry
- Wrong attitudes towards marriage and sexuality
- Irresponsible attitude towards the needs of women and children
- Unscriptural counsel
- Conditional love rather than unconditional love
- Lust, fornication and adultery
- Selfishness, self-centeredness in clergy
- Depression and loneliness
- Secretive behavior
- Clergy becomes withdrawn from the congregation
- Sin and resentment creates a gulf in relationship with God
- Spiritual and emotional burnout
- Drop-outs among the ministry
- Lack of courage among ministry
- Nervous breakdowns, suicide, self-destructive behavior
- Jealousy and pettiness towards those who are married
Christ never told the twelve disciples to leave their families or that they could not marry. The workers disobey God’s Word in order to obey William Irvine. They move offending workers all over the place. They put women and children at risk of seduction. Workers disappear with no explanation to anyone. If an explanation is given, it is rarely the true explanation. The head workers are unfair to sincere and virtuous workers. They are unkind to elderly and ailing workers unless those workers are special friends of the head workers.
The workers who sell all they have and give the proceeds to the head workers expect that they will spend their entire lives preaching. Some do, but only a very small percentage is able to do so because the stress takes its toll very quickly. A sad thing to notice is that the workers, who are revered as “Christ in the flesh” are so quickly forgotten if they are unable to continue preaching. Some workers disappear from sight without one word of explanation.
Ex-nuns and ex-priests from the Catholic Church have been willing and able to form a support group and network among themselves, yet ex-workers are usually unable to help each other and are burned out by their belief system. Many of them feel alienated from God. Some “friends” and most workers are unkind to burned-out workers. The “friends” resent workers who leave the work. After all, they believe their own salvation and possession of “the spirit” relies upon the workers. Ex-members of the Two by Two Church have formed a support system and information network, yet ex-workers are often unwilling to reach out because of fear!
More than a few workers have been dismissed because they were uneasy about the dishonesty regarding the historical origin of the church and the hidden financial resources. Some are uneasy when they find out how much money the older workers control.
A young brother worker was dismissed after he requested to be allowed to really preach without money.
An older sister worker, Fern Strouse, in Oregon was dismissed at the age of 59 for trying to counsel families with alcohol, emotional, child abuse and personal problems. She then had to support herself by cleaning houses and taking care of elderly people. She died at an early age of cancer, probably from the stress of how she was treated.
All of those workers were especially respected by the friends, yet when they were dismissed few helped them or dared to help them for fear of repercussions. Many workers who are forced out of the work had fine reputations. One mustn’t automatically suspect a worker who leaves the work of being immoral.
The head workers do not want problems of alcohol or drug abuse, child abuse, child molestation being discussed. To discuss them, one must admit that these problems exist. Most people never ask what happened to the missing workers. Even if they do ask, they will not be told the truth. When the new workers’ list come out their names simply aren’t on it. Some are sent way out in the country or to another state if they are a threat to the power structure. Some are sent to another field because of a scandal that has to be hushed up. Some have nervous breakdowns and no one shows the slightest indication of being interested in supporting them financially, even though they gave up all they had in order to preach. This type of administration is true mind control at work. It is spiritual abuse of the worst kind and God cannot bless the people who are responsible.
Some workers are dismissed because of repeated child molestation, or adulterous affairs that were discovered. Some who had good reputations weren’t even told they were being cut from the ministry. They were just let go without any explanation. The workers’ system isn’t fair to anyone: the burned-out, the sick, the guilty, the victims or the innocent. One could find more love and fairness in the secular court system.
The head workers have sometimes sent letters to other workers and elders telling them to keep quiet about a particular worker who is being let go. The head workers simply instruct others to “say as little as possible in case someone asks.”
The remarkable thing is that very few ever ask. Members are conditioned not to make inquiries over any issue. They are intimidated by workers who act as if a question about something is an invitation to gossip or sin. Most friends don’t ask because they are so accustomed to disappearing workers, they expect it. Others don’t ask because they don’t really care. Workers have no one to defend them. The friends and workers realize that their own place in the church will be hurt if they make any waves. People in the church should look at the state worker’s list from ten years back and check out how many of them are still on the list. Then they should ask definite questions and demand definite answers. Always ask the younger workers first before asking an older worker. Young workers need to be informed of the casualty problems.
The vague explanations of why a worker has left the work causes many to suspect there was something wicked in the worker’s behavior, and as a result they are sometimes treated with a contempt that they don’t deserve. This protects the leadership from any challenge to their authority and unfair decisions.
Women In The Work
Is it scriptural to have women as teachers in the church? The brother workers are considered apostles. Do they consider the sister workers as apostles? Is it scriptural to have a majority of teachers as women? There were no female apostles in Matthew 10. In some areas there are nearly three times as many sister workers than brother workers. The prophetesses mentioned in the scripture were not apostles, elders, or church leaders. They were women who foretold the future through the prompting of the Holy Spirit just as Mary did at the time that Jesus was in her womb. The scripture the workers use to support the concept of women in the ministry are: Luke 2:36, Acts 2:17, Acts 21:8-9, Judges 4:4, II Kings 22:14, Ex. 15:20, Nehemiah 6:14, I Corinthians 1:5, 13, Philippians 4:3, Romans 16:1. Huldah, the prophetess, was married and lived “in the college”. Yes, women do have an important role to play in Christian churches, teaching and counseling other women and children. Women make very effective witnesses of the gospel, prayer warriors, instrumentalists and singers but not as leaders and teachers of the congregation. Paul said that women should be silent in the church. There might be good reason for women to have significant roles. But to have a majority of sister workers seems highly imbalanced. Churches with women in leadership positions soon lose masculine members. Men do not identify with an effeminate church. There are more professing women than there are men among the Two by Twos. A head count at convention shows a pathetic lack of men everywhere.
Leaving The Work
A common scenario seen in this church is that a dedicated young person will forsake all to go into the “work”. She will spend several years “in the work” being conditioned into submission rather than educated in scripture, doctrine, soul-winning, discipling, feeding, or counseling the sheep.
She will see many discrepancies between what she thought was right and what is actually going on. At first she may try to correct things but that will cause more trouble than she expected. She may see the friends make foolish decisions, and see slothfulness, meanness or serious sin in other workers. She will see marital discord and emotional problems that she wants to help but she has no freedom or training to help them. She will see pride and unscriptural behavior and will either learn to ignore it or will become more and more disillusioned. She may be approached by lesbian sister workers. Some have had affairs with married men. The idea that all workers are celibate is false. Sometimes, the disillusioned workers offer to go to a foreign land in order to fulfill the desire for total selflessness or to get away from distasteful situations.
Any thought of leaving “the work” makes her realize that she isn’t prepared to support herself in a vocation. This makes leaving “the work” even scarier but the real clincher is the feeling of guilt that she is forsaking God’s call on her life. She has been taught that if she disobeys God’s call to the work, she will suffer a life of trouble and woe. These forces tend to keep many workers going through the motions when they have really lost their enthusiasm and heart for the job.
The conditioning against marriage prevents many workers from considering marriage, even if they leave the work. Those who do get married often find it difficult to adjust to the married state. Others are unable to adjust to the reality and responsibility of life. Some workers have suffered nervous breakdowns from this stress.
Support For Workers In Foreign Fields
The workers to foreign fields must build up an extensive correspondence with the friends so that they have enough financial support in the foreign country. The workers are usually expected to look out for themselves financially. They are discouraged from asking for funds from the older workers who have money in accounts. They are entirely at the whim of the congregation who sporadically give them money. Usually, the people give the money to the older companion thinking that it will be shared with the younger worker, which is usually not the case. In some places, there is some kind of support for foreign missions from the head workers. This probably varies from one head worker to another. Some workers are more generous than others.
The workers in foreign countries usually rent a small apartment or house. Sometimes they will spend a few nights with the professing natives in an effort to get to know them better.
Here in the United States, the workers live as house guests, most needs are provided. There isn’t any real need for “faith” in God’s provision regarding natural needs. There is speculation that some of the head workers maintain separate living quarters, although this is not widely known by the friends. The senior workers live somewhat like ghosts, coming and going like shadows. The more status a worker has, the more affluent a home he or she tends to stay in on a regular basis.
The early workers went through terrible privation and hunger when they first came to the United States. Some of them wouldn’t have lived if it hadn’t been for the kindness of strangers and Christians. Those early workers suffered from malnutrition. Some lost their teeth, went blind or ill. They suffered because the people that should have been supporting them were negligent. Irvine should have been monitoring their needs but he didn’t. Their suffering was not caused by persecution or martyrdom. It was caused by ignorant disobedience to God’s Word. Workers and ex-workers have suffered more criticism and anguish from other workers than they have from outsiders. In some cases, the only people who would care for them were unprofessing people because professing people were excommunicated for helping a worker on the black list. The persecution that the apostles and early Christians received was because they preached Jesus, not because they went around telling people that the ministry must be poor, homeless and go two by two.
The scripture makes it very clear that believers are responsible for the natural needs of those who preach the gospel. See I Corinthians 9, Philippians 4:10-18, I Timothy 5:18. The Old Testament also contains the strict instructions to care for the needs of the priests.
I Corinthians 4:9-13 says that the apostles “suffered hunger, thirst, were naked and buffeted and had no certain dwelling place. They labored working with their hands, (they took jobs) being reviled they blessed and being persecuted they suffered.” These verses are often quoted in an effort to claim that the workers live as the apostles lived. But do they really? Workers aren’t suffering hunger, thirst, nakedness, beatings or uncertain dwelling places. The present workers in America live as constant house guests. They have to work hard at not becoming too well fed. The workers aren’t supporting themselves with their own hands like Paul and Barnabas did as tentmakers.
Hudson Taylor, David Livingstone, George Mueller, Jim Elliott, Amy Carmichael and other great Christian missionaries lived far more selflessly than the workers. Wycliffe Bible translators and missionaries from other Christian churches still go to greater extremes than overseas workers do. Many Christian missionaries and Bible translators have died as martyrs while working with primitive people or at the hands of Catholics, cannibals, communists, Islamic or pagan murderers. The workers suffer more from emotional stress, depression, anxiety, high blood pressure, obesity, nervousness and loneliness than anything else.
II Corinthians 6:4-10 mentions the suffering of Paul and his companions, ending with the fact that they were poor making many rich, as having nothing and yet possessing all things. The workers say this proves that preachers are not allowed to possess anything. However, those verses don’t say that preachers aren’t allowed to possess things. Paul is just making the point that true riches are eternal riches and that no matter how much suffering we may have to endure, we are laying up a treasure in heaven that cannot be taken away. Christians of every calling, private or ministerial are to lay up treasure in heaven rather than on earth. We can own things here, but they aren’t our real wealth. This world isn’t our home and our possessions aren’t ours. They are God’s.
The workers have intimidated everyone into being afraid of examining their statements and policies. Yet the scripture encourages people to do just that. Philippians 3:2 says to, “Beware of evil workers.” Paul was warning them against anyone who came preaching rules about circumcision as a means to salvation. Paul emphasized that the true gospel was the gospel of salvation by grace through faith; not rules about circumcision or any other rules. The book of Jude warns against false teachers who sneak into houses and use their position and opportunities for immoral purposes. He warned against false teachers who reject spiritual authority. (Remember how Irvine and Cooney rejected the authority of Christian leaders in their day, and how many reports there are of pedophiles and adulterous and homosexual workers.) Jude also warns against people who will eat your food, feeding only themselves, not caring for the needs of others. The workers eat all their meals with the friends yet give no provision to hungry professing people in South Korea, Africa, Haiti, India or Viet Nam. They don’t share with hungry people anywhere, professing or unprofessing.
Beware of deceitful head workers who refuse to give an accounting of their financial system. If they will not tell you anything about their finances, then you should assume that they are not being honest with you on any other level either.
Bible scholars insist that the office of apostleship died out with the original apostles because an apostle is a ‘sent one,’ a person who has been directly appointed by a particular authority. The first apostles who had seen Jesus face to face were taught and sent directly by Him. Paul saw Jesus face to face on the road to Damascus and was caught up into heaven in a vision and given instructions by Christ after his conversion. It might be argued that apostles could be sent by the church in this day and age, and in that respect they would be ‘apostles of the church’ but it isn’t possible to be ‘apostles of Jesus Christ’ anymore, unless He comes back to earth and directly appoints and instructs some more men to the job.
The original apostles’ letters became scripture. The miracles they did proved they had God’s anointing. The apostles were Jewish only. Are the workers Jewish? Have the workers performed actual miracles? Are the workers’ sermons or letters equal to scripture? Could they add to the scripture? Irvine and the early workers claimed that they received “continuing revelation.” This is how they could justify calling themselves the mouthpiece of God and redefine biblical words and doctrine. Irvine and Cooney’s letters were considered as important as scripture and some of the friends even have considered other notes and work ers’ letters as important as scripture. This view has fallen off in more recent years, but we older ones remember such an attitude. The present-day workers are somewhat quiet on this topic anymore. Why? Someone should ask them if they believe in continuing revelation.
Revelation 2:2 “I know your works, your labor, your patience and that you can not bear those that are evil. And you have tested those who say they are apostles and are not, and have found them liars, and you have persevered and have patience and have labored for My name’s sake and have not become weary.” These are Christ’s opening words to the church at Ephesus. So think about people claiming to be apostles who are liars. Pretty scary, isn’t it? Scary for them, scary for the people following them.
Revelation 22:18-19 says, “If anyone adds anything to what is written here, God shall add to him the plagues described in this book. And if anyone subtracts any part of these prophecies, God shall take away his part out of the Book of Life and out of the Holy City, and from the things which are written in this book.” Some workers say this only applies to book of Revelation. That means that the workers believe that the scripture (canon) is not ‘closed’ but ‘open’. But Christians believe that the canon is closed, which means that no more can be added to it. This is an important topic that the friends and workers ought to discuss openly.
Scripture says there is no mediator between man and God, except the man, Christ Jesus (I Timothy 2:5). The workers are not “Jesus Christ come again in the flesh,” contrary to what they claim. The workers make a great deal out of Jesus Christ’s humanity and in that way they feel free to compare themselves to him. Yet, they ignore His deity.
Bob Ingram said, “Jesus was not a priest or a servant but just a man doing God’s will.”
Paul Boyd said, “Jesus prayed harder for His own soul than He did for anyone else for He knew that if He sinned it would spoil His example. Do you think Jesus had faith? He prayed so desperately that it brought great drops of blood.”
Irvine claimed that Jesus inherited man’s sin nature and that he did not finish his earthly mission. He and his followers claim to be finishing what Jesus began. But at the moment of death Jesus said, “It is finished.”
The friends assume that God is taking care of the workers, so why should they worry about them? This leaves the workers high and dry if they become elderly, ill or fall from the head worker’s favor. The whole system is disinterested in the workers’ welfare because of Irvine’s precedent. Jack Carroll also taught the workers to keep the friends at arm’s length. The friends rarely know the personal details of any worker’s life. If anything goes wrong for them they are forgotten immediately. The workers themselves are more critical of other workers or ex-workers than any of the friends are. They, of all people, should be more interested in the welfare, fate, spiritual and emotional well-being of their companions.
Eventually, many of them do slip up. There are very few who fit in for a lifetime. The friends usually are unaware of doctrinal, sexual, financial or political problems among the workers. The friends believe that the workers are perfect people, inspired by God, the mouthpiece of God. Even when the workers say they are unworthy, no one believes them.
In some fields, the sick and elderly ex-workers are not allowed to receive financial support from professing people. In Canada, Frank Stelfox made an elderly sister worker give back money that professing people had given her after she came back from China in ill health and unable to continue in the work. Professing people ought to be able to give charity to anyone they want to. While some ex-workers manage to receive social security, (don’t ask how) many of them are left to their relatives or their own resources to support themselves. Most of them are unable to find employment except in the most menial positions. This policy is irresponsible and wicked. The head workers control large sums of money, but they do not share it equally with those under them. The other workers must toe the line, never ask questions, never challenge authority if they want the head workers to continue giving them a companion and a field or contribute to their health care when their minds or bodies collapse.
Workers in need of surgery or medical care will go to Christian doctors and claim to be “missionaries” in order to receive reduced rates or free medical help. Christian doctors assume they are helping Christian missionaries. If the doctors knew that the workers are leaders of a “pseudo-Christian cult” who teach that the Christian doctors are “of the devil,” how much free surgery would they be willing to give? This is a dishonest policy but the workers are quite proud of being able to get free medical care when they call themselves “missionaries.” They never use the word “missionary” except when talking to unprofessing people. They aren’t really missionaries in the correct sense of the word. A “missionary” is one who is sent to do Christian religious, medical or charitable work in a foreign country. Remember the workers rejected fellowship with Christians, they cut all ties with Christianity, rejected Christian doctrines, and refuse to contribute to Christian charities and medical care. Two by Twos workers have no right to call themselves Christians or Christian missionaries unless they teach Christian doctrines, participate in Christian missions and have fellowship with Christian people. How many professing doctors volunteer to go overseas and do free surgeries for third-world countries? How many professing doctors give free medical care to Christian pastors or missionaries? How many professing doctors do free medical care for street people? How many professing people or workers volunteer at Crisis Pregnancy Centers or feed street people at downtown mission centers? How many professing people support orphanages or nursing homes? None. At least none that I know. There are some professing people who have taken in foster children. The foster children are taken from one extreme dysfunction to another extreme dysfunction.
Irvinism takes advantage of other people and the government without contributing money or anything positive to society. All Irvine did was put people on guilt trips while he took trips around the world.
The workers quote Hebrews 13:8, “Jesus Christ the same, yesterday, today and forever.” Somehow they think that the church must be the same yesterday, today and forever. They equate the ministry and the church with Jesus Christ. Irvinism is unscriptural and confused. That verse is speaking about the holy nature and eternal character of Christ. It is not speaking about the church. The church isn’t the alpha and omega. Even though God exists eternally the same, His people have changed many times since Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden. Some of His people were rulers, sometimes they were slaves. Sometimes they had homes, sometimes they were fugitives. Sometimes they fought, sometimes they went willingly to their deaths. Most of them were Jewish, later they were Gentile as well. They have been led by chieftains, elders, judges, prophets, priests, kings, generals, apostles, presbytery, teachers, elders, bishops and all directed by the Holy Spirit. Sometimes they have congregated under the sky in the desert, on the mountains, in caves, in homes, in the courtyard of the Temple, in tabernacles, by the sea, on boats, in large buildings and small. There is no scriptural statement that the church, the meeting place, the worship or the ministry is the same, yesterday, today and forever. Society is constantly changing. The only thing that stays the same is God.
Even Christ’s roles and body have changed through the ages. He was the Creator, a baby, a peaceful carpenter, a teacher, a willing sacrifice, crucified, dead, buried and resurrected. Now He exists at the right hand of God the Father interceding for those who believe on His name. He is waiting for His new role as the Lion, wrathful King and Judge against unholy man. He will also have a more future role as Ruler of the Thousand Years on the new earth. And, ultimately, the ruler of the eternal Kingdom.
Another favorite verse of the workers is Ephesians 2:20-22, which speaks of the foundation of the apostles and prophets and the chief cornerstone, Jesus Christ. They say that workers are laying the foundation of the church and the Holy City. Arnold Blonke said, “We (the workers) are continuing the work on the foundation.” The foundation of the apostles and prophets is already laid. There is no need for more apostles.
Location Of The Workers
According to the 1992-93 Workers List of Canada, United States, Mexico, Caribbean Islands, Central America and South America it is obvious that the purpose of the workers is not to reach the large populated areas. Most of the workers are in the less densely populated areas. There were 67 workers listed in the Caribbean Islands. That is more workers than in many of the other states. Who supports the workers in the Caribbean Islands?
A woman in Rhodesia, named Amelia A. Attimore, whose daughter professed in the 1920s wrote an account of her experience with the Two by Twos. She titled her book, “Secret Mormonism and Christian Science.” In those days not much information was available about cults. She had correctly recognized Mormon and Christian Science doctrines, statements, clichés and attitudes in the Two by Twos. She accused the workers of sexual immorality with her daughter. She believed the workers’ method was to send sister workers into an area to sweetly and gently woo people into a commitment to the church. Then, they would bring in the strict, strong brother workers to finish the job of mind control. Interesting observation!
Ephesians 2:8-9 says, “For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God: not of works, lest any man should boast. And Titus 3:5-7 says, “Not by works of righteousness which we have done, but according to his mercy he saved us, by the washing of regeneration, and renewing of the Holy Ghost; which he shed on us abundantly through Jesus Christ our Savior; that being justified by His grace, we should be made heirs according to the hope of eternal life.”
The workers believe they are purifying the Bride of Christ with their lives and their rules. They are screening out all those who are unworthy. Christ has made the church a chaste and holy bride with His blood. The workers can’t accomplish something that has already been done. The workers aren’t worthy to do what Jesus did.
Even if most workers’ motives are the best, one can see that it is possible for people with freeloading, slothful natures to be attracted to a lifestyle of high status with low requirements of responsibility, education, physical labor or activity except travel and power over other people. It isn’t unusual for people to be attracted to such a position. There are some with unnatural sexual preferences who have also been attracted to the work. People need to be aware that simply because someone gives up a job, a home, marriage and children that he or she should not be trusted or elevated to super-spiritual status, no matter how pleasant, sincere or humble. Irvinism is dangerous to everyone because of its secretive nature.
Diversity Of Calling
When Peter was personally given an appointment of duty the first thing he did was look at John and ask what John was going to do. Jesus asked, “What is that to thee?” The characteristic of assuming because God has told one person to do a certain thing in a certain way at a certain time He will expect the whole world to do that, is wrong. Paul spoke about the diversity of gifts and diversity of roles in Romans 12:6. This is not to say that anything goes in the Christian community, but that one must allow others the freedom to follow God’s leading. The Truth (Jesus) has set us free. One cannot make assumptions for others based on personal revelation for one’s own calling.
William Irvine drew too many false conclusions out of what he called “examples”. He presumed that the examples were commandments. He definitely is a false prophet that has twisted the scripture to new meaning, denying the Savior by denying the Gospel of salvation by Grace
There have been instances of young people pressured into going into “the work” by relatives and workers. The need of the harvest field is often mentioned and if a young person is compliant and “hearty” many people assume that he or she should go into the work. A great deal of status is given to families who have relatives in the work. God has given every Christian the responsibility to serve His Church and be soul winners for Christ. Yet professing people are taught that only the workers can do those things. This leaves every professing person with nothing to do except have children and hope that they will become workers. There is no way for regular professing people to make their lives count in an eternal perspective.
Workers who leave the work usually leave with shame, guilt, no support system and no training for employment. Many go into self-imposed exile, shunning people, feeling suicidal, confused and displaced. Very few ever figure out how or why they were deceived, abused and shunned.
Sadly, most workers and ex-workers are more biblically confused than professing people. One ex-worker summed it up when he said, “The work is a cult within a cult.” It takes workers quite a while to get over the shock of realizing they have been deceived and betrayed by the Two by Two system. Workers and elders who notice the hidden agenda need to start talking openly with others who can lend them the support and information they need. They need to start a savings fund for the future and collect proof of the head workers’ dishonesty.
The workers claim that God speaks to the heart and not to the mind so they rarely present a logical defense of the scripture. But scripture speaks of the heart and mind together. Some workers have made a distinction between wisdom and knowledge, as if wisdom is good and knowledge is bad, implying that knowledge of the scriptures is bad. Yet hundreds of verses in the Bible mention that the mind must be totally committed, illuminated and controlled by Christ. God’s Word is Truth. Truth is the logical reality that can be transmitted through words we understand. Even though our minds cannot comprehend everything about God, He has given us scripture, His word of truth about things we can comprehend. God’s words are not deceptively constructed to hide truth from the world. He didn’t speak to the prophets and apostles in some kind of code that had to be privately interpreted. God cannot lie and He did not hide His will from men. He has told the world all it needs to know to obtain eternal life. But most men hear and see it yet they don’t comprehend it because they are unwilling to admit they are sinners in need of a Savior and because their hearts and minds are darkened.
If we cannot reason with our minds to understand the scripture we cannot tell others why we believe in God. People can’t believe in God when presented with an illogical, misleading message. This presupposes that God is not a logical, intelligent being. We are created in His image; He created us with the ability to reason. His word cannot be understood unless we use reason to search the scriptures. Children and adults are confused by illogical, unreasonable ideas. People who are prone to making emotional, irrational decisions are more often attracted to the workers’ messages than those who logically comprehend the scripture.
God’s message is the only reasonable message ever given to man. It speaks to the mind and the heart. It is insulting to God to speak as if faith is illogical and blind. Faith is reasonable and logical if you begin at the beginning, which is at creation. In Two by Two circles, one usually hears a defense of the ministry or church, not a defense of the scripture or a defense of Jesus.
The concept of light and darkness in scripture is in reference to truth, understanding and goodness as opposed to deceitfulness, ignorance, and evil. The concept of sin is linked to uncleanness. Remember Irvine’s “Tramp” look. How did that fit in with the purity of Christ? People who are ignorant of scripture are blind. People who understand it have had their eyes opened. Christian pastors explain the scripture and why we need to live it. Workers explain the Two by Two system and why and how to obey them.
Workers are not allowed to speak on any important doctrinal subjects. The head worker will kick them out of the work if they do. Only the workers with seniority dare make any statements about scripture outside the traditional safe subjects. The safest subject is why this is the only way and these are the only true preachers. Since the present workers are not as entertaining in their speaking style as Irvine and Cooney, one would think that they wouldn’t be as effective in persuasion, but that isn’t so. The boring meetings are very effective in subliminal persuasion. The meetings provide a perfect state for hypnotic persuasion. Afterwards the people don’t remember much that was said but they still tend to act upon the message in a very predictable manner. Parents and peer pressure of the group intimidate children to profess rather than an understanding of scripture.
The other safe subjects are fruits of the Spirit, the Sower and the Seed, the parables, acrostic sermons, prayer, allegorical stories, submission, obedience and “keep on going” messages. They will often relate stories of spiritual failures, without names, of course. The subjects of sermons are usually topical instead of word by word, chapter by chapter. The sermons do not examine subjects in any depth at all.
If any young worker tried to speak on anything unusual he would get into trouble. His companion would say, “You are taking on too much responsibility to speak on that subject.” The primary thing a young worker is expected to learn when he or she enters the work is “submission” to the older companion. The worst thing a young worker can do is be “presumptuous.”
Good Christian pastors will spend several weeks or months of expository teaching on one whole book of the Bible. During shorter times of teaching they will preach on topics such as: What does the Bible say about: Creation, sin, God’s Holiness, His wrath, salvation, hell, abortion, Christ’s birth, Christ’s death and resurrection, Christian ethics, the Law, the Christian Worldview, Prayer, Second coming, the Triune God, Church discipline, Israel, glorifying God, Christian family principles, handling money, God, Satan and angels, how to study the Bible, Christian history, defense of the scripture, how to evangelize, charity, divorce, marital issues, death, and dozens more. The most respected pastors are careful to always speak the gospel of salvation in each sermon. These subjects are rarely mentioned, if ever, by the workers, or if they were they would only merit a one minute spot in a sermon of platitudes.
One pastor visiting a “Gospel meeting” said afterwards that he had never heard such a jumble of disconnected ideas in his life. He was amazed at the string of clichés with very little scripture or logical thought between them. Workers mock preachers from other churches saying that they are simply entertainers, tickling the ears of their congregation. This is an untruth. Irvine, Cooney and the early workers were the entertainers and the creators of fables. Listen to responsible Christian ministers on the radio and go to Christian bookstores for books on doctrine.