William Irvine, Freemason and Founder of 2x2 Religion
William Irvine, a Freemason, was the founder of the 2x2 religion, "a great experiment" as he called it, of trying to follow Matthew 10.
In 1863, William Irvine was born in Scotland, watched his religion grow quickly(~1897-1914), was later forced out of leadership by a group of overseers (1914) and after some years in Israel, died in 1947.
Information about William Irvine has been obtained from newspapers, letters he has written, diaries of other people, Mason Lodge records, Faith Mission records and legal records. It is very clear William Irvine started the 2x2 religion with it's own "gospel" version based on wresting of Matthew 10 and Mark 10 for covetous practices.
Birth of William Irvine
William Irvine was born in Kilsyth, Scotland. His father was a miner. He was the 3rd of 11 children. He fathered a son out of wedlock. His son Archibald Irvine died in 1952.
William Becomes Free Mason
At age 21 on January 23rd of 1884, William Irvine became a free mason. He joined the Stewart Scotch lodge 547. After going through the ranks he became a master mason). Irvine remained a Mason for the rest of his life.
Bible Training for Mr Irvine
About 30 years old (1893), William Irvine spent two years at John Anderson's Bible Training Institute in Glasgow, Scotland.
William Irvine did not renounce Masonry when he attended the John Anderson's Bible Training Institute.
Faith in God as described in Bible and Masonry have strongly opposed teachings.
To become a Mason, you have to say "I'm in the darkness and coming into the light". This says, in essence, that free masonry is the light, and not Jesus Christ who said "I am the light of the world." And if you claimed to be a Christian, they you are claiming that even though you say you are "in Christ" that you were actually "in darkness" until you became a Mason.
Freemasons give you an apron, which is supposed to be "your righteousness" that you present at the white throne. See Revelation 20 for Bible confirmation that an apron from the Freemasons will not save you from the wrath of God.
These initial teachings and practices of Freemasons strongly contradicts the Bible which teaches that we can only be saved through faith by the righteousness of our Saviour Jesus Christ, the Good Shepherd, the great I AM, God, by the blood of the Lamb.
Romans 3:23 For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God; Being justified freely by his grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus: Whom God hath set forth to be a propitiation through faith in his blood, to declare his righteousness for the remission of sins that are past, through the forbearance of God; To declare, I say, at this time his righteousness: that he might be just, and the justifier of him which believeth in Jesus. Where is boasting then? It is excluded. By what law? of works? Nay: but by the law of faith.
William Irvine Joins the Faith Mission
William Irvine got a job as a preacher, working for the Faith Mission, which still operates to this day. The Faith Mission joined him up with a fellow worker. They would go to towns and preach. When people believed the gospel that they were preaching, then the Faith Mission workers would encourage them to fellowship with the local church.
William Irvine was a popular preacher and became superintendent for the Faith Mission in the south of Ireland.
William Irvine did not renounce Masonry when he worked for the Faith Mission. The 2x2 religion has many teachings similar to Freemasonry.
Similarities Between 2x2 Religion and Faith Mission
William Irvine's religion became a mixture of: Freemasonry, Faith Mission practices, his alpha message and other ideas he developed as the needs arose.
The Faith Mission has annual conventions. William Irvine had annual conventions in his religion.
The Faith Mission has preachers called "workers". William Irvine's religion called his preachers "workers" also.
The Faith Mission sends it's workers out in pairs. William Irvine sent out his workers in pairs.
William Irvine disagreed with the Faith Mission on several doctrines.
William Irvine claimed to get a revelation from God (called his "alpha message") that his workers were actually "apostles". So while working for the Faith Mission, he began trying to recruit people. He set the conditions that to become his worker, you had to sell all, give the money to him and go preach in pairs. This was something the Faith Mission never taught, and that the Bible does not teach as conditions for salvation.
Until the time when William Irvine got enough money, he preached his new gospel while working for the Faith Mission and received support from unsuspecting folks.
Big Money for William Irvine
William Irvine found a man named Edward Cooney. Mr Irvine was able to convince Edward Cooney to sell all his goods, business, store(s) etc and give the money to him. All told, William Irvine received about £1,300 which is what a family of four needed for 22 years of living expenses. Simple calculations, this was enough to provide income for a single man living in others homes for roughly 88 years. I think any person starting a cult would label this windfall as a "success".
Now that William Irvine had the worldly mammon he needed, he cut ties with the Faith Mission.
William Irvine's Gospel
William Irvine preached that you could not be saved unless you sold all, gave it to him, and went to preach his gospel. He misused Matthew 10 and Mark 10 to deceive unstable souls and ignorant people. All others, he believed, were going to hell. There were no "friends" at this time. There were no "meetings in the home". You were either a "worker" or you weren't. If you were a worker, you were going to heaven. And if you weren't a worker, you were going to hell.
2 Peter 2:12 But these, as natural brute beasts, made to be taken and destroyed, speak evil of the things that they understand not; and shall utterly perish in their own corruption; And shall receive the reward of unrighteousness, as they that count it pleasure to riot in the day time. Spots they are and blemishes, sporting themselves with their own deceivings while they feast with you; Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness;
Even when William Irvine began his religion, he did not renounce Masonry. William Irvine did not renounce Masonry when he was companions with John Long, his first "companion". I mention this several times because Masonry is a religion which contradicts the teachings of Jesus Christ.
Irvine's Collection System
Due to the social unrest in the country, William Irvine gained a lot of workers for his religion. As required by him, the new converts sold all and gave the proceeds to him. It was a big money collection system that didn't require passing the plate in church.
There were still no "friends" at that time. William Irvine got a lot of money through his new "gospel" (which was not of God).
Meetings in the Home
Later William Irvine and Edward Cooney started the position of "friends of the workers" or "friends" for short. They were allowed "meetings in the home" or "meetings" for short.
Seeing rapid membership growth, William Irvine created the position of "overseers". He set up several men over different geographical areas. This was just like the position he had of superintendent for the Faith Mission.
Here is a picture of William Irvine in the center with a couple workers who became overseers.
William Gill became overseer of Britain and George Walker became overseer of Eastern USA.
William Irvine claimed he got his "omega message". However, it was unpopular with the new overseers because this 2nd new "revelation" removed their role with their new found power.
In about 1914, about 17 years into his religion, when the overseers gained enough power, enough grumbling for others, and money for themselves, they sidelined William Irvine and convinced him to move to Israel. The overseers took over control of the religious movement in large, attempting to silence and squash the fact that William Irvine started the religion. In Ireland though, many workers still know William Irvine started the 2x2 religion.
Irvinites or "The Message People"
Later, When William Irvine was sidelined by the early overseers, his loyal band of followers became known as the "Irvinites". There are few Irvinites left in Europe.
About 1928, Edward Cooney, another prominent 2x2 preacher in Australia, was excommunicated. They called Cooney's followers the Cooneyites". The main large body which remains is commonly known as the "2x2s", although they have registered many other names as part of their corporations, charities and government registrations.
On March 9th, 1947, at the age of 84, William Irvine died in Israel, having throat cancer. He had quite a bit of money at this time. He left some money to his son.
His idea that he was one of the two witnesses in Revelation was false. After three and a half days, he didn't arise from the grave. William Irvine died a false prophet, a deceiver of men.
It was "Started on the Shores of Galilee"
As a child, I was told that our religion was "founded on the shores of Galilee". You can imagine my surprise when I learned as an adult about William Irvine. I was really let down. Here I had been told that I was raised in a church that could trace its roots to the early apostles who were eyewitnesses of Jesus Christ. I had professed, got baptized, scorned school kids, scorned the "worldy" folks and all other religions because I was told (and believed) that I was in "the Way"....yes, the one and only Way, the one Fold that was started by Jesus Christ on the shores of Galilee. And proof was our homeless ministers in pairs and meetings in the home. Yet here, after a few INTERNET searches, I found out that our religion had a founder named William Irvine who was a false prophet! I realized, I had been lied to about a very important critical fact that affected my eternal salvation. The news got worse from there, until I got to know God for the first time.
Gone was my feeling of being special because of being part of this group. Gone was my special place in God's eyes because I was part of "His one Fold". Years later this experience of disappointment with the 2x2 cult has helped me understand the surprise of other people raised in other religions who were taught that they were "the Way" also.
How to Cope with Knowing of Founder William Irvine
After I left meetings, I took the issue of William Irvine as a founder of the religion seriously. Sure, I had chosen to not attend meetings because the meetings and the workers were forbidding me to read and pray with my friends, and this was conflicting with this inner quest to know God. So I know that this knowledge didn't shock me as much as it might many meeting-goers. I already knew something was wrong with the workers because of how they treated me. I was judging them by their fruits, something commanded in the Bible by Jesus Christ:
Mat 7:15 Beware of false prophets, which come to you in sheep's clothing, but inwardly they are ravening wolves. Ye shall know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes of thorns, or figs of thistles? Even so every good tree bringeth forth good fruit; but a corrupt tree bringeth forth evil fruit. A good tree cannot bring forth evil fruit, neither can a corrupt tree bring forth good fruit. Every tree that bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire. Wherefore by their fruits ye shall know them.
So regardless of whether the 2x2s were the only way or not, I knew they were not "in the Truth" or abiding in Jesus Christ.
Making Use of Knowledge about William Irvine
While it was a let down to learn about William Irvine, it did explain a lot. News about William Irvine explained how the things that the workers believe and teach has changed since the "old days". Many are probably familiar with how the older generation of overseers, workers and friends have different views on current practices. In fact some of the newer workers are just waiting for the older workers to die off so that more changes can take place. But anyway, after having believed that William Irvine was the founder of the religion, I learned about and read the book The Secret Sect by Doug and Helen Parker.
Many who have left the 2x2 religion want an explanation of what happened to them and why. They want to know everything right now. They don't want euphemisms or minced words, just the truth. I know that's how I felt.
William Irvine History Explains Feelings and Doctrine Changes
Reading about William Irvine explained why some of the older workers feel only some of the workers are really saved and why the "friends" are looked down on. The beginnings of the religion and it's early years explained the hierarchy the group (of workers instead of apostles, the office of "overseer" etc) and why the history of William Irvine was kept quiet. It explained the confusion of why some of the Irish workers weren't ashamed of William Irvine and workers in the states didn't want it talked about. Reading about William Irvine gave me answers and explained so much.
I learned about the Faith Mission and the words used to describe the Faith Mission. I learned that the Faith Mission still has workers who travel in pairs today. I learned the Faith Mission still exists and has records of William Irvine from his time there. The Faith Mission had "conventions" and still does. Now I know why as a child my parents took me to conventions when there is no scriptural support that workers could give for conventions. What were the workers going to say "We copied that from the Faith Mission"?? So much was explained by reading about William Irvine and the early 2x2 days. I finally had answers to questions that I was too afraid to think much less ask.
It is my hope that as you read about the 2x2 religion, William Irvine and the Faith Mission, that you will be able to piece things together also. I hope that you can understand the rules and regulations of men that you may have been taught if you were raised in a professing home and why these rules have changed over the years. I hope you can learn the truth about the early days of the 2x2 religion, it's founder William Irvine and where all the traditions come from. I hope you can realize you were duped and that it is time to get to know the God of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob by reading the Bible.
After years of believing in the God of Abraham, Issac and Jacob, and now reflecting back into my time in the 2x2 religion, I've been able to recall when I first heard about William Irvine.
My First Memories of William Irvine
The first time I heard about William Irvine was my first year in the work. I was about 18 years old and with my first companion Randy Russell. Randy and I were in the Albany, Corvallis field in Oregon USA. We met with Lloyd Njos, who has some papers stamped in red, at the top of the papers, "TOP SECRET". You have to be kidding! These papers supposedly told about William Irvine. This was really dubious to me. I mean how can you take these papers stamped "TOP SECRET" seriously? I had been warned about "outsiders" trying to "attack" "the Faith". What government organization that classified things would mark something like this "TOP SECRET". Randy asked me something to the effect of whether it made a difference knowing about William Irvine. I know that question doesn't make much sense, but I don't remember the exact question. I had told him (actually repeated to him what I had been told), that "What I had was from God." I didn't know how wrong I was. Had I read and understood this following verse, I would have understood how big a liar I was:
1Jn_2:4 He that saith, I know him, and keepeth not his commandments, is a liar, and the truth is not in him.
As a worker, I didn't know the commandments of God and neither did I keep them. How could I keep commandments I didn't even know? And how could I say I knew God and had something of God if I didn't even keep his commandments?
Does It Matter?
I was asking myself today, "Does it matter that William Irvine started the religion?". I mean really, pretending what I had was from God, does it matter?
I've come to the conclusion that it is not a harmless lie to say that the group had no founder. Yes, it's a lie. And it's wrong to lie. And to say it doesn't matter that there was a founder does matter. Here are some reasons I've decide on:
He then began preaching his new religion after supposedly having a revelation from God that his workers were apostles and were to follow Matthew 10. He deceitfully used the Faith Mission contacts and relationships to perpetuate his new religion.
William Irvine began his work as an experiment. A good book to understand William Irvine and his influence on the current 2x2 work is The Secret Sect by Doug and Helen Parker. Reading about William Irvine may help you understand where he was coming from, his rules and why people joined the cult in early days.
William Irvine, Another False Prophet
It's important to note that William Irvine was a false prophet. His several prophecies did not come true, yet he believed and taught that he was the greatest prophet ever. The false prophet William Irvine taught doctrines of the devil, causing people to suffer needlessly and keeping them from entering into the kingdom of heaven.
1Ti 4:1 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.
Satan - The Great Copy Cat of God
We can see from the religion that William Irvine started that it is just a distorted copy of the true gospel, a secretive, subtle variation of the true gospel
There is certainly a spirit in the 2x2s and it is not of God. Also, the 2x2s (as can be seen all over this site, completely ignore the teachings of Jesus Christ in order to keep their traditions
If you are a follower of the 2x2 religion with the overseers, workers and their friends, then I encourage you to instead read the commandments of God, repent of your sins and worship Jesus Christ who is the only one that is truly able to save your soul from hell.
Who are 2x2s|
Recent 2x2 News
False Prophets - 2x2s
The Con Man
The Perfect Church
Meetings in Homes
2x2 and Outsider Letter
William Irvine 2x2 Founder
Roman Catholic Church
Kept From You
Are 2x2s Christians?
Why This Website
Who Is Going to Hell
From 2x2 to Jesus Christ
Blessings after Faith
2x2s in News
Don't Go to Meetings
Please Talk to me
The Narrow Way
Ever wonder about
|To open their eyes, and to turn them from darkness to light, and from the power of Satan unto God, that they may receive forgiveness of sins, and inheritance among them which are sanctified by faith that is in me. - Jesus Christ speaking to Saul, see Act 26:18, see Salvation through Jesus Christ.|