Mike Garde the Director of DI met with Craig Fulton from Strabane in Co. Tyrone and a very new Worker called Richard Hughes from Armagh who are currently working in the Dublin region.
This meeting resulted from the book by Irvine Grey which described the “Two by Two’s,” as a very dangerous cult. Through my contacts on Skype I was introduced to Craig who agreed immediately to meet. We had a three hour session over a nice lunch at the Botanical Gardens in Glasnevin.
I got a bit of a shock when I first saw Craig on his own, thinking he would bring his wife. Then I remembered that workers remain unmarried, but then when Richard came round the corner I remembered they go out two by two.
In meeting them I had to put the theological categories I was used to aside as they try to attempt to remain uncategorised. Craig struggled to define his role but agreed he was an overseer of a type but was clearly not wanting to be thrust into the limelight.
From the start we agreed that we would not enter into debating the beliefs of the movement, but would work from a different angle to understand each other. My work is about understanding cultism and though I am a theologian I did not see that debating their theology was part of my brief at the present.
I mentioned that there used to be a Church in Abbey Street called 12C. Why? Because the Christians there just wanted to be known as Christians. However, people did not find that adequate so they called them 12C! They seemed to have no sense of their origins other than what had been passed down to them by oral means by former workers. Irvine in a sub title called them a shapeless movement. I think they clearly have a shape of home meeting with from say 12- 20 people which are made up of the workers and the local members. Then there are public meetings like the ones advertised below. So rather than calling it shapeless I would say it has very clear sense of identity.
In Ireland they have 24 female Workers and 12 male Workers.
Their equivalent of what other Churches call General Assemblies or Conferences is called a Convention and takes on more of an residential character in a set location usually a farm.
Craig had been working in Romania and had very much matured out of a very confined Northern Ireland context affected by the violence of the ’70’s into avery well rounded European.
We had a very wide ranging set of discussions which for the moment will remain confidential as we explore how to develop the relationships.
Dealing with this group over the past few years I have been struck by their failure to record and reflect on their history, theology and mission. My sense is that their mission is pre crucifixion, pre resurrection and pre Pentecost. These are issues we will need to explore to see if that is the case. They are rooted in the mission of the 70 but the question is it rooted in the death, resurrection and ascension of Christ? As I said, all I have to go on is what I have learnt from the blog and from books that regard them as a cult. I have been struck by the many ex members who are very well trained in the theological, historical and social sciences and wonder along with a member from the the movement who has done history at third level that they could not form a theological college to both teach their non theological theology and their non historical history? A question that we will get onto is do they regard themselves as the only movement which can lead people to the truth, or do they recognise other Christians as fellow believers?
I am still trying to reflect on Irvine Grey’s conclusion that they are a dangerous cult. We are not afraid to answer that in the negative, but whether their theology is Christian or whatever you call it without demoninating it, is not an issue for this blog to address.
Filed under: Two by Twos |