Was William Irvine the Founder?

Whom do men say that I am? (Mark 8:27)

Early workers said that he was… (Workers on the 1905 List)
Early friends said that he was…
Faith Mission said that he was…
Later Workers that said he was…
Newspapers stated that he was…
Wm Irvine said that he was…
Witnesses said he was in court…

Early workers said that he was… (Workers on the 1905 List)

WILSON McCLUNG: “Our mission was started by William Irwin, a Scotchman, seven or eight years ago. Others followed him. I myself was a Civil Servant in Dublin. I resigned my post, sold all that I had and gave to the poor, and went out to preach.” (Wilson McClung, Overseer of New Zealand, Feb. 16, 1905, Impartial Reporter)

EDWARD COONEY: There was in the days gone by, a certain man called William Irvine, upon whose heart Gods spirit worked to raise him up like the judges of old, to lead back those in Christendom to the truth as it is in Jesus. (Reprinted from Edward Cooney’s Testimony reprinted in Selected Letters Hymns and Poems of Edward Cooney 1867-1960, by Patricia Roberts, Pages 43-45)

EDWARD COONEY: Undoubtedly God called us and separated us to be His people in the beginning; and most prominent and most used in this calling out a people for God’s name was William Irvine who, at the time of his being sent forth to be a prophet, saw more clearly than any of us that the revelation of the Father to each individual child of His is the Rock alone on which Jesus Christ would build his church, and that the gates of Hades should not prevail against it. (Letter by Edward Cooney to My dear Sister dated May, 1930 Reprinted from: Selected Letters, Hymns, and Poems of Edward Cooney 1867- 1960 by Patricia Roberts)

JOHN LONG: In John Long’s own words, he and Wm Irvine were “the two instruments used of God at the origin of that movement.” “That movement” was the Go-Preacher Movement. The text “As ye go, preach,” from Matthew 10:7, paved the way to the name often attached to them of “Go-Preachers.” (John Longs Journal, 1907)

John Long’s Journal for December 1900: About that time William Irvine left the Faith Mission. All who knew the man was acquainted with the fact that he did not covet or desire to start a new sect or Mission; and his leaving the Faith Mission was not without feeling the risk and responsibility of doing so; but circumstances and events rendered it necessary. Some workers who gave up their situations to go fully in the Lord’s work were not accepted by the Faith Mission; others did not feel led to join it; and others believed in being more like the pattern as seen in Jesus, and reforming according to the ideal church in the Acts of the Apostles; among the latter was Edward Cooney, who had newly started out, became a strenuous advocate. Most of these workers were either young converts or disciples of William Irvine; and it became impossible for him to be true to the rules of the Faith Mission and to them; so he resigned the one and entered enthusiastically into the other.

Footnote in Heresies Exposed: Mr. John Long has written us that he was the man who obtained for William Irvine ‘the first opening for a mission in Nenagh, August 1897.’ That ‘William Irvine is the name of the original leader of the Go-Preachers. Irvine Weir was one of the first staff of preachers who emigrated to America; these two names seem to have got mixed up.’ He declares that the movement dates from 1897. [William C. Irvine used this tract (abridged) in the book Timely Warnings, published 1917; which was renamed: Modern Heresies Exposed, published in 1919; and which was renamed: Heresies Exposed, published in 1921 (29 printings) By W.M.R., Loizeaux Brothers, Neptune, NJ. See Chapter: “The Cooneyites or Go-Preachers and Their Doctrines,” Pp 73-78]

John Long’s Journal for April, 1903: At that time, Thomas Craig joined us, and we had a visit from William Irvine; he wanted to ask my advice about the work for he was in a strait between two as to whether he should go from the work as leader; and labour for God independently in a new district; as he shrank back from forming a new mission or sect; and the work and workers at that time were very scattered and disorganized. He was very downcast, and disheartened and humbled before God: he said to me whatever they would do, he would serve the Lord. I encouraged him not to forsake the work which resulted very largely as the outcome of his own testimony: but to call a conference; and get the workers united together; and form the young converts into assemblies where they could get spiritual food, but to be open and unsectarian in attitude towards all other sects, missions and persons; at the same time setting before them an example of Godly living, obedience and conformity to the Word of God. “That ye should earnestly contend for the faith once delivered to the saints,” Jude 3

ALFRED MAGOWAN: During a visit to Wm Irvine in 1938 by Alfred Magowan, Ed Cooney and R. Irwin, Wm Irvine made his famous statement to Alfred Magowan: “It was A GREAT EXPERIMENT” to which Alfred replied, “It was A GREAT EXPERIENCE.”

WILLIE CLELLAND (also a cousin of Wm Irvine): When Willie was told “that the workers had given their worldwide membership the idea that they went back to Jesus,” hee was shocked and said, “For them to have given you the idea that it went right back to Christ–that’s an absolute lie. It went back to Bill Irvine…It might be a good question to ask those who say they are ‘from the beginning,’ ‘Who was ahead of William Irvine?’ William Irvine was entirely responsible for the creation of this movement. He gathered a few converts around him in Ireland, and he had the idea that he could facilitate the spreading of the gospel by having a few men and women join themselves to him. His ideas of preaching were entirely on his ideas of Matthew 10. And yet, they have the hide to tell one that it went back to time immemorial. It went back to exactly 1899 when the first workers gathered around Bill Irvine.” (The Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker, page 96, Footnote 32)

IRVINE WEIR: “William Irvine’s ideas of preaching and tramp preaching were founded entirely on his idea of the tenth Matthew (sic) where Jesus told them to go, providing themselves neither gold nor silver nor script or staff for their journey, neither two coats, neither shoes nor staves for the workman is worthy of his hire. William believed that what was good for the apostles was also good for the preachers of that day. He forgot that this message was given to the apostles to give to the Jewish nation only.” (Feb 21, 1956 Irvine Weir to Doug Parker; The Secret Sect Footnote 5)

JACK CARROLL: Our old friend W. I. [William Irvine] is on a different tack now and shows less evidence than ever of having the anointing of God. His extravagances along prophetic lines are very foolish and have no scriptural foundation. I hope none will be disturbed in spirit or mind thro’ this last development. 2 Timothy 2:15-19 have a deeper meaning for me than ever as it is very evident poor William is now following in the footsteps of Hymenaeus and Philetus. How sad it is to see a man once honoured by God AS NO OTHER now carried away by his own stubborn and unbroken spirit and under the influence of the “other spirit,” not the Spirit of God. It is a continual heart break to me to see him where he is, but I do not know a man on earth that he would be willing to take help or counsel from. (Letter by Jack Carroll to Clyde dated April 12, 1919

Early Friends said that he was…

GOODHAND PATTISON: “Just at that time a Mr. and Mrs. Todd, who had been Faith Mission pilgrims, had started a similar line of things to Mr. Govan’s with their headquarters in Enniscorthy, having (I presume) Ireland before them as their first and chiefest field of activity… to start off with, they did not seem to have any of their own converts to go forth as workers, and so getting in touch with Mr. Irvine, who was having quite a number willing and anxious to go, they took on the direction and oversight of such, and in a short time had a pretty nice number in the field, including Tom Turner, John Hardie, Emma Gill, Annie Holland and Sarah Sullivan, and I dare say several others, probably Alex Given…Anyhow, the connection didn’t last very long as I believe the workers jointly and individually felt Mr. Todd was not the man to superintend and direct such an important movement, and probably pressed Mr. Irvine himself into acceptance of responsibility… and “Todd’s Mission,” as it was then called, shortly became a thing of the past…And the workers now in fellowship with William Irvine went on and increased in numbers, and perhaps I may add increased in their attachment to and respect for their chief’s leadership, possibly more so than was good for him or them…

ROSE EDWARDS: In the Bible, Wm Irvine saw only this manner of life for a preacher, but he saw no one living it in the world. So he made up his mind he would put God to the test, even if it cost him his life, and he resigned his position, sold what he had, made himself as poor as Jesus was when He said, “Foxes have holes, birds of the air have nests, but the Son of Man hath no where to lay his head,” and in this manner he, Wm. Irvine, went forth to preach, which was the beginning of what we have called the Testimony. If there had been no Wm Irvine, there would have been no Testimony, no matter how much you may be told to the contrary. As he went on, he met the different ones who became associated with him in the Alpha Message and work. (Rose Edward’s Letter to MacMillers, Denver, Colo. November 23, 1935)

PROFESSOR OLIVER W. ROLFE: I met Robert Darling in 1958 at the Albuquerque convention; I then traveled with him to the three Mexican conventions. That is, he asked me to drive him in my car. I saw him every day for a period of weeks; he rode with me back to the Midwest where I was living at the time. We became good friends and corresponded regularly until his death in 1970. In 1967, he came to California, where I was then living, and I met him at the Gilroy conventions. He stayed with me between the two conventions, and we had great fun sightseeing in the Bay Area. On this latter occasion, I asked him about the beginnings of the church; he told me that it was started in Ireland by one man (whom he did not name, but I assumed to be William Irvine) after his sister had frozen to death because their parents had shut her out of the house. There was no mention at all of Switzerland. In fact, in all my discussions with him there was never the slightest implication that the church dated historically from an earlier time. He seemed to be somewhat distressed that so many people seemed to believe this. [by Oliver William Rolfe, Ph.D., Stanford University, 1967, Professor Emeritus (Modern and Classical Languages and Literature) University of Montana, Missoula, Montana] NOTE: Robert Darling was on the 1905 Workers List.

Faith Mission said that he was…

Faith Mission Official List of Workers shows Wm Irvine left Faith Mission in 1901. The reason given was: “founded Cooneyites in S. Ireland.”

JOHN G. GOVAN, Founder and Director of FAITH MISSION wrote in the August 1901 issue of their monthly publication Bright Words: “When in Ireland I came into closer contact with a movement that has been going on for the past year or two.  A number of young people are going out on quite independent lines, holding missions in various parts both of Ireland and Scotland.  While there may be much that is good in the devotion and earnestness of those who thus leave all, believing that the Lord has called them thus to follow Him, a number of features of this movement do not commend themselves to us.  There is no one to judge of the fitness of these workers except themselves; being independent, they are not able to profit from the experience of others older in the work, as they would if there was some organisation; and then some of them have not been long enough converted themselves before going out, and, wanting in Christian experience, are very apt to be unbalanced and one-sided.  While we can quite believe that a few of those who have gone out have been truly called of God, we fear that a number of others have been more called of man, or moved by their own impulses, and are really not fitted for the work.  As some have been mistaken for pilgrims, we think it necessary to say that the Faith Mission is not responsible for this movement.” (Bright Words August 1901, pp. 175-6)

JOHN G. GOVAN, Founder and Director of FAITH MISSION, wrote in the December 1903 issue of Bright Words: “We regret that it seems necessary to again point out that missions are being held in various parts by persons who represent themselves to be “Faith Mission” workers, but who are not in any way under our control or direction.  This movement which has almost no organisation and little method, was started by Mr. Wm. Irvine, at one time much used as a pilgrim in our Mission, and some of whose converts we are glad to have as efficient workers among us today.  Though somewhat on our lines there are various points, both in method and teaching, that we do not approve of, and in which they widely differ from us.  Then we hear of instances in which some of these irresponsible workers have misrepresented and spoken against the Faith Mission, while taking personal advantage of it by holding missions in places we have already worked, and seeking the support of our Prayer Unions.” (Bright Words December 1903, p. 275)

REV. C. N. PECKHAM, Principal, FAITH MISSION: From these references, you can see that William Irvine definitely did not leave the Faith Mission to take over or become a part of an existing ministry. There certainly was no movement of that kind existing over here before Irvine’s break-away movement. As William Irvine spent some time in the Faith Mission before leaving it, there is no possibility that he founded the Cooneyite sect before 1886 as it was in October 1886, that John George Govan began the Faith Mission. [May 29, 1991 Letter to Cherie Kropp]

Later Workers said that he was…

DONALD FISHER: “…my remembrance of how for several years at Special meeting time, I remember a favorite subject of Wm. Jamieson (when the Workers would be gathered in the home) was to tell us that as far back as we could trace this fellowship was unto Wm. Irvine. He spoke openly and freely of all which he knew of Wm. Irvine, etc. What he told us was unto enough people that it would be common knowledge statewide.” (Donald Fisher Letter to Fred Miller, circa 1982 -D.F. was a worker)

WILLIAM LEWIS: “Since early workers followed a Scottish preacher in Ireland before the turn of the 20th century, they have spent their lives traveling from home to home with little more than their clothes.” (William Lewis, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Minnesota 11/2/86 – The Deceased Overseer of Texas)

DENNIS JACOBSEN: “While I was in the work, I visited with a number of workers who have not only agreed and/or admitted that William Irvine started the 2&2 fellowship, but also some who have volunteered this information. Who? George Walker, Andrew Abernethy, Robert Darling, Tom Lyness and his sister Annie, Willie Jamieson and his sister Elizabeth, Jack Carroll, Dave and Emily Christie, Sam Charlton, and the Jardine brothers, just to name some of them. Many of these talked about “The Early Days.” One of my companions, Charlie Krubb, was not there in the beginning of the Early Days in the “Old Country,” (as they sometimes refer to Ireland and abbreviate it as O.C.) but he related in great detail to me what he had learned over the years. These things were not something that I believed anyone would repudiate, much less workers or ex-workers. Everett Swanson was another worker, who was not there in the O.C. as a first-hand witness, yet he also confirmed that he had been told what those first-hand old-timers had told me. He was the first person I ever heard who used the expression in meeting ‘we do not have, nor can we prove apostolic succession.’ Charles Wells was the first to relate to me that Wm. Irvine believed he was one of the two prophets of Revelation.”

PAUL ABENROTH: “I suspect that George Gittins had his encounter and visit with Robert Darling during the same year (1967) as Dennis Jacobsen and I did. I do not know what Robert Darling told George, but I do know that Dennis Jacobsen, Will Rolfe (a Montana University professor) and I, all three of us, visited with Robert enough to get it clear from him that he did not believe or claim that the friends and workers existed before William Irvine. I questioned him about his 1967 Silverdale, B.C. Canada Convention message where he alluded to the origins and mentioned William Irvine by name. I asked him the following approximate question, ‘Did you intend to leave the impression that before William Irvine there were no workers or professing friends?’ He replied, ‘What other impression could I leave?’ He then continued by claiming that Abel was ‘the firstfruits of faith’ in his day; Abraham was the ‘firstfruits of faith’ in his day; and Simeon and Anna were the ‘firstfruits of faith’ in their day.”

PAUL ABENROTH: “A number of years later, in about 1985, Tharold Sylvester amazed me with a frank and unexpected candid moment at the Special Meeting in Pasco, Washington. Only a minute or two into his message, in his customary abrupt manner, he set the stage by declaring, ‘Some of you folks are wondering: When did this thing start?’ Much to my surprise, he even mentioned a book called The Secret Sect. Obviously, his intent was to respond to this book. He immediately offered an explanation substantially identical to that given me by Robert Darling about a decade earlier. The arguments he used actually corroborated the basic evidence supplied in that book. He did not call William Irvine by name, but he did specifically refer to him in an unmistakable context by which I knew who he was talking about. He did not try to refute the evidence in the book which shows that the friends/workers fellowship had its beginning with Wm Irvine. Instead, Tharold’s discourse was directed toward claiming a scriptural precedent for William Irvine being what Tharold called ‘the first fruits of faith’ in our day. He cited the Bible characters, Noah, Abraham and Sarah, Zacharias and Elizabeth, Joseph and Mary, claiming they were ‘the firstfruits of faith’ in their day.” Therefore, it was reasonable to expect God could raise up someone to be the ‘firstfruits of faith’ in our day.”

PAUL ABENROTH: “As recently as June 2002, Paul Sharp spoke of the origins at Walla Walla Convention, calling it a ‘regeneration.’ “

PAUL ABENROTH: “Before Jack Carroll died, Charles Wells and Everett Swanson had a visit with Jack about the origins of the fellowship. Jack shocked them with the statement, ‘Boys, there is no such thing as apostolic succession.’ In all fairness, let me say that I do not expect anyone to consider my recounting herein of Jack Carroll’s statement to be firsthand evidence of Jack’s statement. I only offer it as corroboration because it is consistent with all the other primary evidence I have seen.”

FRED WOOD: “The Living Witness Doctrine (states) no one could be saved apart from hearing William Irvine or a preacher sent out by William Irvine…. there was sister workers sent out two-by-two which, of course, was started by William Irvine, seeing he belonged to these whatchamacall people (Faith Mission), and he brought in the sister workers. (Early Memories Recalled By Fred Wood, from a transcribed tape of a 1985 conversation with FRED WOOD, age circa 93, which a Cooneyite elder made in the home of a professing American 2×2)

FRED HANOWELL: This I did &, together with what I got to know from “workers” (old or young) I was told, that William Irvine, one of the first (or perhaps THE first) who went out into the Gospel Work in the manner of the first disciples, (two by two, after having sold all their possessions) had been a member of or at least attended the “Conventions” of “The Scotch Faith Mission” from whence he “copied” it & introduced it, respectively that Convention-System”, to those believing in the end of the past century & the beginning of the present century. (Letter by Fred Hanowell to Fred & Ruth Miller, written around 1964)

NOTE: Wm Irvine wrote Fred Hanowell on August 17, 1921: “God made me the first head of the family. He did the calling by me, and now these past seven years he is doing the choosing, for many are called, few chosen. It was so wonderful, both in numbers who heard, the numbers who professed, the numbers of workers, the ground covered with the clearness of the truth as it is in Jesus.”

GORDON McNABB: Irvine’s founding role is of little consequence, for we alone follow the true pattern of the original apostles and the early church.” (The Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker)

LES VANDENBERG: This all was taking place in the last three years of a 14-year stint in the work. I had known for several years that William Irvine was the undisputed founder of the 2×2 church. Harry Brownlee had told me first off and then I had confronted both George Walker and Andrew Abernethy about it. Their description (to my way of thinking) was convoluted, leaving me wondering why they could not give me a clear description of the church history.

Newspapers reported that he was…

Wm. Irvine, the founder and supreme authority of what is known as Cooneyism, is a Scotchman. His native place is Kilsyth, a small town near Glasgow. Before he became a Tramp he had attached himself to the sect known as the Faith Mission or Pilgrims, and was the manager of a coal mine under Baird & Co., Glasgow, and enjoyed a salary of £300 a year. William Irvine left this employment and joined the Faith Mission, under the control then of J. G. Govan, of Rothsay, who still holds conventions after the manner followed at Crocknacrieve, but on a much smaller scale. It is often addressed by evangelical Clergy. Wm. Irvine gave up his connection with that sect for two reasons, according to my information—1st, because the leader was alleged to have been a ‘hypocrite,’ in that while teaching Pilgrims to live by faith he himself had over hundreds of pounds. 2nd, because Mr. Irvine’s converts always lapsed and were lost among the clergy by going back to their own congregation or what is known as the churches.

Consequently a small number of preachers and some from the Faith Mission, along with one named John Long (who was rejected three years ago, because he would not maintain that John Wesley had gone to hell) and about a dozen stood by Wm. Irvine…However, the chief motive power was latent until Edward Cooney heard Wm. Irvine, and offered him money and even a salary yearly, which was refused by Irvine. At all events, £1,300 from Mr. Cooney alone was applied to the cause, and has been preached as having been ‘given to the poor,’ on the authority of, ‘Sell all that ye have, &c.’ Yet as a matter of fact, this sum was mostly paid to transport preachers to places abroad, and not to the poor, as is sometimes understood, the fruit of which even yet in some measure returns annually to Crocknacrieve Convention. Edward Cooney soon made converts, and spoke of his relatives in a manner not after the style of the Gospel. But because of his sincerity and earnestness, many were influenced… (Impartial Reporter August 25, 1910, p8)

The annual Convention for the ‘Pilgrim’ community was opened on Sunday at Crocknacrieve, the residence of Mr. John West, near Ballinamallard. In the absence of Mr. Wm. Irvine, founder of the Pilgrims, the Convention was opened by Mr. Edward Cooney, formerly of Enniskillen. (Impartial Reporter July 3, 1913)

The closing scene at the meeting in the gloaming was impressive. All the arrangements had been made for the departure of the ‘preachers’ to different parts of the world, and it only remained for the Go-Preachers’ founder to give to all the last words of counsel and farewell. Mr. Irvine dealt mainly with the duty of those in fellowship towards one another and towards the outside world. (Impartial Reporter July 31, 1913, p. 8)

Court Testimony:

WILLIAM IRVINE UNDER OATH: A libel suit at the Bristol Assizes brought by members of the Burfitt family (plaintiffs) against Rev. D. L. Hayward (defendant) who had issued a leaflet against the Go-Preachers, implying they were engaging in white slave traffic, and procuring women for prostitution under the cloak of religion. The workers were successful in obtaining damage awards. (Bristol is due West of London; “assize” is a court session) Wm Irvine was a witness. The article states: “William Irvine, one of the founders of the Go-Preachers Society, said it was Protestant evangelical” and states that Wm Irvine also said, “I have never known of a new sect being founded without opposition”. Impartial Reporter July 17, 1913:

EDWARD COONEY UNDER OATH: Mr. Justice Darling—Were you the founder of this sect?—No, William Irvine was the first, about sixteen years ago. I cast in my lot with him as a fellow-preacher, and preached a good deal in the north of Ireland. I recognise the name, but others have nicknamed us ‘The Cooneyites.’ I do not like it myself. (Impartial Reporter December 18, 1913, p. 3)

“Their founder was really a Mr. William Irvine…and his doctrines, of course, do not differ essentially from those of the various heretical millenarian sects which have arisen in the history of Christianity.” (Impartial Reporter July 19, 1917, p. 6)

Wm Irvine said that he was…

“In Nov. 1896, I was sent to the West of Ireland to the hottest Roman Catholic spot in the world, and where this Irish trouble began–at the beginning of this year. After 6 or 7 months there, I got to where the Carrolls were in Nenagh; and there BEGAN the work that has spread so far.” (Oct. 13, 1920 Letter to Dunbars)

“In October 1896, I was working a mission quite near where the Sinn Fenn’s are now getting more than they bargained for, in the burning of their town on October 3, 1920…on the day I STARTED the mission there that stirred the whole of that country for years to come, as I did in Southwest Ireland and finally all over Ireland.” (Oct. 13, 1920 Letter to Dunbars)

“Looking back over 20 years, it was a big job to gather, mother, teach, guide, lead and scatter over the world, a seed in Alpha Days. But I managed it. It was hard to get people to see, feel and do what I had done IN STARTING ALONE, and finding room and people in the world for my Message; and once people tested it out, they found it possible, just as if the world was virgin soil. But it was the way to reveal the strong from the weak. And my job was to lead the way so that others could follow and find, that what was possible to me was, for them, comparatively easy, if they faced it. And once a year I visited them to cheer, strengthen, and supply what was lacking in their witness.” (June 2, 1933 Letter to Hulls) (Followers of Wm Irvine’s Omega Message)

“I am the one God used altogether–not “most.” NO WILLIAM—NO TESTIMONY. The mountains echo and re-echo the human voice, and so The Testimony was the echo and re-echo of the Voice of God through my lips, though I knew it not then, as I do today. For the Prophets and Apostles only got to know who they were, when they found themselves the victims of the iniquity and Scandal of those who were called the Church, or seal of their Anointing…I planted the Vineyard and it has fallen into the hands of wicked husbandmen. And I am the Servant sent to find the fruit; and those who mistreat the Servant are the same as the killers of the Son and Heir…whose end is destruction.” (March 2, 1923 Letter to Eddie Cooney)(Worker- entered work in 1901)

“These 26-1/2 years is but half of my nearly 54 years of being the Son of Man, and hid from men’s eyes and now about to be revealed. 26 years giving Alpha Message and seeing it finished up as in Matt. 24; leaving the Tares which the devil sowed to the Testimony cut asunder and appointed their portion with the hypocrites LIVING BY WHAT I HAD MADE FOR THEM.” (May 6, 1946 Letter to Dunbars) (Some loyal followers of Wm Irvine–letters in TTT files to them from 1919 to 1946.)

“Think of all I did for you, and others, in spite of my sins!…Fancy the labor in building a house for God, and the pain of seeing it become a den of thieves!! (August 28, 1920 Letter to John Hardie).(Worker and childhood friend of Wm Irvine from Kilsyth Scotland; entered work in 1900)

“God made ME the FIRST head of the family. He did the calling by ME, and now these past seven years, he is doing the choosing, for many are called, few chosen. It was so wonderful, both in numbers who heard, the numbers who professed, the numbers of workers, the ground covered with the clearness of the truth as it is in Jesus. But the end of the Jesus Way is to choose his Bride from among those who have had all these privileges…The dragon with seven heads is those who sat themselves up as Leaders of The Testimony and use their Horns of Authority to hurt others and are claimed by men as Leaders…deliver you from the power of the greatest set of robbers in the world history, who thought they could rob ME and those of what God had given them.” (August 17, 1921 Letter to Fred Hanowell. (Worker)

Six years ago, in April, I was rejected and despised and cast out to die, according to prophecy, my birthright divided amongst my children and enemies (and I was willing), but the anointing that God gave me remained with me, and nobody seems to get my mantle, though many have tried my shoes, sat in my seat, slept in my bed, ate my meals and have enjoyed the rise to power and pre-eminence…When the world and Testimony set out to bury me, and forget my name, person, presence and etc. they failed. The Jesus Way was stolen, confiscated, misappropriated. I remember seeing and hearing you take it over in my presence.” (June 29, 1920 Letter to Wm Carroll) (Worker – entered work in 1903 along with his wife; Overseer of Victoria, Aust.)

“You and Co. [the other workers] stole all God and His Anointed produced, but you did not steal the root nor the power which made my mustard seed.” (March 2, 1921 Letter to Willie Abercrombie)(Worker – entered work in 1901)

“I was pleased to see your letter and to hear of some evidence of returning humanity in three of you, for that will precede any hope of deliverance from the snare of the Devil, into which you have all fallen, and which accounts for the deadness and corruption, which characterized the whole Testimony these 9 years. And if nobody else knows it, I do; and always knew more of these conditions than anyone else. And rightly so, for The Testimony was the Seal of God and proof of MY Anointing. And if I was not the Father, certainly I was not the Brother of any. God never gathered brethren but by a father, and all your attempts to change these facts only reveals the secrets of your hearts and leaves you where you began, and as you began—without God, and knowing it not, though full of zeal, knowledge, profession and fruit, which you long ago recognized was only adding to the wickedness of the world… “ (March 2, 1923 Letter to Eddie Cooney)(Worker – entered work in 1901)

For 14 years I worked outside all religious connection and gathered many out and around Him, and my attempt to do as the Acts and Apostles taught, only to find, as did Paul, that false Apostles and prophets would try to get power to lead the so-called churches I had formed spiritually under their power….I had many converts in G. Britain, Ireland, USA, Canada, NZ, Australia and S. Africa…I listened to all sorts of people and went to all sorts of places from 1914 to 1918 and found nothing but the old hypocrisy of saying and doing not, every man full of his own thoughts and ways, seeking a crowd and a crust. (October 16, 1934 Letter to Mr. Thorp) (New Convert to Wm Irvine’s Omega Message)

The above is some of the evidence for:


Judge for Yourself: Was William Irvine the Founder?
What Do YOU Say?

Click Here to read:  Who Said William Irvine Was the Founder?
Click Here to read statements calling Wm Irvine: “Founder,” “Leader,” “The Standard,” “Pioneer,” etc.

It was made mandatory that all workers believe and teach that eternal life could only be obtained through (1) hearing, believing and professing through Irvine or a worker who professed through him and (2) following the way Irvine started [even though Wm. Irvine professed through a Presbyterian minister, Rev. John McNeill]. At first, most converts became workers. The “saints” position and church meetings in the homes were established later. Later William Irvine would call these early religious methods he conceived and originated his “Alpha Gospel.”

It was little more than 100 years ago that these Go-Preachers or “The Testimony,” as some called Irvine’s workers, created no small stir around the Ireland countryside. Their activities were particularly well reported upon by the newspaper, The Impartial Reporter and Farmers Journal, located in the Northern Ireland town of Enniskillen, situated near Crocknacrieve, the location of the first large annual conventions. (See also the book, The Secret Sect by Doug & Helen Parker, out of print.)

For roughly 15 to 17 years, (1897 to 1914), from the time William Irvine was 34 to 51 years old, he ruled over The Testimony, which started from an idea he experimented with. Then, the Great Scandal was uncovered. Wm. Irvine was accused of immorality. From comments made, one gathers that Irvine had been discovered in a very compromising situation; possibly some sinful act of “the flesh,” the precise nature of which is not specified. The chief workers were not willing to overlook a sin that Wm. Irvine had been or was involved in, and the Founder found himself dethroned in September 1914, at the outset of World War I, which began in August 1914 and ended November 11, 1918. In 1914,

Irvine was forced out of his position as leader; his “kingdom” was divided among his closest friends. They took control of various areas. George Walker claimed Eastern USA; Jack Carroll took Western USA; John Hardie and Bill Carroll took Australia; Wilson McClung-New Zealand, etc. From 1914 to 1918, Irvine remained connected to church he started, the workers and meetings, but the exact nature of his association is unknown; i.e. as a worker or saint. He was in California in April 1919.

In a letter to William Carroll, Wm. Irvine wrote, “I was rejected and despised and cast out to die; my birthright being divided amongst my children and enemies. The Jesus Way was stolen, confiscated and misappropriated…taken over in my presence…I am the victim of heel-bruisers.”

The reasons given now as to what happened to Wm Irvine are numerous. The most common are: (1) Irvine became arrogant, proud, got too big within himself; (2) Irvine succumbed to temptation with women; was a womanizer (3) Irvine became mentally unstable; lost his mind; got off track.

FURTHER REVELATION: In late 1918, Irvine believed that “The Lord opened up Revelation to me.” He said that “The Testimony” or “Alpha Days” ended when the “Omega Days” began. The cut-off date for the Alpha Days was August 4, 1914, simultaneous with the beginning of World War I. Irvine coined the term “Alpha Gospel” for the Good News Message that Irvine, Jesus and Paul preached from 33 A.D. until August 4, 1914. Those who accepted his Alpha Gospel became part of a group he refers to in his letters as “The Testimony,” or “Saints.” He called his later teachings regarding the Book of Revelation, the “Omega Message,” which is sometimes shortened to “The Message.” Those who accepted and followed the “The Message,” were referred to as “Little Ones” and “Those who have Ears to Hear,” and today some call them the “Message People.”

Wm Irvine believed he had been divinely appointed to bring Jesus’ last message to the world before the end of the Age of Grace. Thus, on August 4, 1914, the Testimony Days (Alpha Gospel Days) came to an end. And at the same time, August 4, 1914, was THE BEGINNING of the New Thing, the Judgment Days or Program, the Omega Message and the Last Message of Jesus Christ to the World. One era ended, and another began.

However, it wasn’t until four years afterwards, in 1918, that Wm Irvine received began to see in hindsight what (he believed) had taken actually place in 1914. In 1918, in hindsight, Wm Irvine declared that four (4) years earlier, on August 4, 1914, that Jesus had taken the Throne, the Heavens were closed, and God’s Judgment Program began. The Age of Grace and the days of the Alpha Days were over. The days for spreading the good news (gospel) were ended. Love, mercy and forgiveness by faith were no longer offered to the world. There was no further need for workers to go out preaching any longer since the Alpha Days were finished, over, ended. The Holy Spirit no longer spoke to men individually. From that point on, God’s Message to mankind became Judgment and Wrath; there is no Good News, unless a person is allied with the Omega Jesus.

Initially, Irvine’s principal workers felt certain that his Alpha Gospel to originate the “The Testimony” was a “restoration” of God’s Scriptural pattern for ministers, and believed that his ministry and fellowship was God’s only true New Testament church. Originally, most of the workers believed Irvine was “highly favored” and “used” by God,” and they were certain his “Alpha Gospel” was a revelation to introduce religious methods which were ordained by God. However, most of his friends and the workers did not view his “Omega Gospel” in this same light…far from it!

So in 1918, Irvine went to Jerusalem to be on hand when Jesus returned. He lived there for over 30 years, supporting himself by working temporary jobs and his loyal Omega followers sent him money in their letters. After Revelation began to open up to him, Irvine wrote innumerable letters to his friends and inquirers. He wrote about his progressive revelations to his followers who were spread all over the world; to the United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, USA and South Africa.

Today, some there are a few Omega followers who still follow Irvine’s Omega teachings. Most of his followers have a private collection of his letters. Most of Irvine’s original letters were handwritten, using a fountain pen, and were carefully preserved, copied, typed and distributed to other followers. They have been handed down through generations. His followers formed a loose-knit group who didn’t meet together regularly and held no worship services. His followers believe Wm. Irvine was the greatest prophet this world has ever known. He predicted a great worldwide famine, and encouraged people to bury food and supplies, and many of his followers did.

His death in 1947 at the age of 84 from throat cancer shocked his loyal followers, who were now aware he had cancer. Irvine wasn’t supposed to die—he had predicted over and over again that in his lifetime, he would be one of the two Witnesses in Rev 11:1-11 who were to be killed in Jerusalem and lie dead in the streets for 3 days and rise again (Rev 11:1-11). It didn’t happen. He also predicted other events that would happen after he rose to life again. Some of his followers revised their expectations and began to look for Wm Irvine to return later WITH the Apostle John. Others cut short their losses, threw in the towel and followed his teachings no more.  


IF Irvine was truly a prophet sent by God who was forced out by the workers, then God must be very, very angry. The audacity of mere men to “uncall” a prophet of God! How could they have DARED to question Irvine’s calling, to debar, disfellowship, excommunicate him? Remember what happened to Korah and his men who attempted this very same thing with Moses! (Numbers 16)

IF Irvine was a true prophet of God, how could the workers even THINK of touching the Lord’s anointed? How did they have the nerve to excommunicate him from the very fellowship he supposedly founded at God’s direction? To reject and expel him from what God supposedly called him to start?? And to substitute themselves in his place??

IF Irvine was truly a prophet called by God, have you been following the right or wrong ministers? Are you a part of the right or wrong group? IF God’s true church cannot be exterminated, how could it possibly need Restoring? Regenerating? Restarting? Reviving? IF God’s way needed restoring, the founder of Faith Mission beat Irvine to it.

IS THERE A BIBLICAL PRECEDENT WHERE A TRUE PROPHET: •    Lost his mind? •    Failed God’s test for a prophet? •    First gave true prophecies and later gave false prophesies? •    Was right part of the time and wrong part of the time? •    Of dubious qualifications delivered God’s message?

ARE THERE ANY BIBLICAL PROPHECIES THAT PREDICT: •    God’s truth or church will die out? •    God’s true church will resurface, re-emerge, regenerate, restart, be revived or restored again? •    A man, men or prophet(s) will be raised up to restore God’s true way which died out?

CONCERNING WILLIAM IRVINE: •    What credentials of a true prophet did he have? •    What miracles confirmed he was a prophet? •    What fruit did he have to recommend him? •    What predictions of his were not fulfilled?