I am beyond intrigued that an official web page of the Church Without a Name has appeared in 2022, under the moniker theFellowshipoftruth.com
M from Florida has come up with the bright idea to have an official online presence, the purpose of which is …”to provide information about a non-denominational network of home-based churches that can be found in nearly every country of the world”. Good on you, M.
I feel for this guy – he means well and is zealous for his faith. But he seems to have misread the room. I feel compelled to warn him in the words of B grade movie dialogue – “you’re messing with forces you don’t understand – and they have the power to destroy your life as you know it”. M appears to believe the official line – that “the fellowship of truth” group is just a non-denominational worldwide network of home-based churches.
Belying the fact it is a specific worldwide denomination, established at the turn of the 20th Century by firebrand Scottish Evangelist William Irvine and since solidified into a recognisable denomination now more commonly known as “Two-by-Twos”, a reference to their ministry which travels in pairs. M may or may not know all the history; either way, its existence is carefully avoided on the impossibly hygienic surface of this website.
But make no mistake, this “home-based network” is actually a specific denomination with its own clergy (workers), specific theology (follow the workers in the one true way and you may be saved if you are good enough), creed (meetings in the home and ministers without a home) and organisational hierarchy (elders, workers, head workers, overseers, state/country overseers). All of which culminates in a secretive illuminati-esque round table at the top of the pyramid – the top overseers representing each country or continent – who continue to hold the reigns tightly over their worldwide religious empire.
I’ll give him credit – he’s done a few things right. The site is freakishly devoid of any identifying markers, right down to avoiding commonly used terminology such as “workers and friends”, the inside language for clergy and laity. No names, no locations, no contact details of any kind, only a promise to put you in touch with your nearest home-based church. It’s like a sect laundering service. While he has tried very hard to keep the site completely anonymous, it nevertheless has a few security wormholes, which enables him to be easily identified (sorry, M).
How do I know this website identifies the same group I grew up in? A few indicators give the game away for the initiated. Firstly, the mention of “no collection taken”, which is always their pinnacle of pride, the slogan branded on every advertisement and calling card; and secondly, mention of the format of the Two-by-Two Ministry. There is also a Blog titled “Church With no Name?” which, ironically, is one of the many names now given to this denomination which tries ridiculously hard to remain nameless.
So where has M gone wrong, and what harm can this website possibly do? He may not yet fully comprehend it, but he’s tried to introduce an official presence and a broad statement of beliefs for all the world to see. The cardinal rule of the Two-by-Two ministry is to have no evidence of official organisation anywhere. This means no written beliefs, no central building, no official website, no stated theological positions on any subject, except the vocal tradition of their trinity of belief – meetings in the home, ministers without a home, and no collections taken. M, you’ve broken this rule, and there could be hell to pay.
In developing his website, I can see that poor M has been quite stumped in trying to come up with an official statement of beliefs, though he’s taken a hardy swing at it. Falling short of anything worthwhile provided by his own clergy, he’s used some stocking stuffers in the form of huge swathes of text copied and pasted from other Christian websites for his blogs. M has hidden his copying and pasting tendencies by failing to acknowledge the source of his texts, but be sure your sins will find you out where Google is involved.
Apart from the blatant plagiarism, there’s the inconvenient truth that Two-by-Twos are completely exclusive, separate themselves from all other Christians and churches, and deny many of the commonly held beliefs of mainstream, orthodox Christianity. Founder William Irvine railed heartily against other religious clergy and churches, declaring them to be “of the devil”, and this separation from general Christendom has unfortunately continued to the present day. To therefore use huge swathes of text from otherwise eschewed outside Christian sources is a bit of a worry. The content is great – no argument there – but adopting external Christian theology in the name of the Two-by-Twos is akin to heresy and M may be hung out to dry for treason on these grounds alone.
Of course, M has toed the line admirably by failing to mention the less savoury of the practices and beliefs of the Two-by-Twos, such as their strict dress and hair codes for women, the eschewing of many “worldly” activities and their often harsh treatment of divorced and remarried people. And the most glaringly obvious to those in the know – that all outsiders are “lost”, for there cannot be salvation “outside of the Way”.
I nevertheless salute M for attempting this grand endeavour and inadvertently sticking his head above the parapet. But if you want to check out his website, do so soon – I suspect its days are numbered.
By Elizabeth Coleman
November 30, 2022