ReligionNewsBlog.com — In Australia a former leader of a sect known as — among other things — the Two by Twos will stand trial next month on twelve charges of unlawful indecent assaults and gross indecency on three young female victims.
The charges date back to the 1970s, three years before Chris Chandler joined the sect.
An investigation by Fairfax Media, one Australia’s largest media companies, shows that he was promoted to the senior position of “worker” — the sect’s terms for “minister” — even though senior members were aware of allegations against him.
‘Workers’ travel from place to place, staying in people’s private homes as ‘missionaries.’ A former sect member says this means he was around lots of children. The Age says that Chandler eventually was placed by the sect in a position as “a counsellor and contact for victims of child sexual abuse.”
Two by Twos is a controversial religious movement that is active throughout the world.
As the Newcastle Herald points out, the group is “highly secretive and paranoid about scrutiny.”
The movement is known under many different names, including Workers, The Truth, Cooneyites, Friends and Workers, Assemblies of Christians, Christian Conventions, Nameless Church, Nameless House Sect, 2 x 2, 2 by 2, and so on. Members usually refer to it as “The Truth,” or “The Way,” but their house churches do not have a name.
The group models its ministry approach on Jesus’ words to his disciples in Matthew 10:8-16 and similar passages, such as Mark 6:7-11.
In the latter passage Jesus sends his disciples out two by two, which is why ‘friends’ and ‘workers’ travel in pairs.
Typically, their meetings are advertised on fliers and message boards as being ‘non-denominational.’
Theologically a cult of Christianity
Theologically this movement is a cult of Christianity because, among other doctrinal errors, it rejects the doctrine of the Trinity — one of the essential doctrines of the Christian faith.
The Two by Twos claim exclusivity by insisting that salvation is only available to those who are baptized into — and become part of — their movement. All other churches, believers, preachers and religions are considered ‘false.’
The movement is also considered to be, at the very least, cult-like sociologically. Followers (‘friends’) must unconditionally obey the ministers (‘workers’). Those who do not obey are said to be ‘backsliding’ and if they do not repent are considered to be ‘damned.’
The Two by Twos are briefly addressed in the book “Churches That Abuse,” by sociologist Ronald Enroth. (Chapter 7: Abusive Churches Foster Rigidity — available online).
Research resources on the Two by Twos