Iglesia ni Cristo: Snapping Dissent with Familiar Patterns

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (August 15, 2015) – What did experts think about the dissent within the Iglesia ni Cristo?

The INC is facing a crisis. That’s very clear from recent news. Critics claim that the leaders of the group are wasting money citing the millions of pesos being spent for their airplane. Rappler reports-

The Airbus that [Eduardo] Manalo and his ministers are using is aside from a Boeing Business Jet 737 that had been described as “the best-selling jet airliner in the history of aviation.” Depending on the model, a passenger business jet can seat from 85 to 215 passengers, while a customized executive jet can have a bedroom and seats good for 20-30 passengers, sources familiar with aircraft told Rappler.

The Boeing Business Jet 737 is said to have been purchased 4 years ago at an estimated price of about P3.6 billion ($80 million), the sources told us. Yearly maintenance costs of these types of aircraft, according to those in the know, easily amount to from P3 million to P4 million. This excludes fuel expenses. (http://www.rappler.com/newsbreak/investigative/100445-iglesia-leaders-billions-pesos-aircraft).

Added to this is abduction of ministers who were critical of the administration. Lowell Menorca’s case, for one, is intriguing. (http://www.rappler.com/nation/100501-inc-minister-lowell-menorca-released). There are allegedly no abductions happening. This is denied by the church. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/707413/what-split-what-corruption-iglesia-ni-cristo-spokesman)

But they immediately excommunicated some critics including the mother and brother of the Executive Minister, Eduardo Manalo. (http://www.philstar.com/headlines/2015/07/23/1480126/iglesia-ni-cristo-expels-leaders-mother-brother)

They even filed libel cases against the critics. (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/nation/metro-manila/07/28/15/iglesia-ni-cristo-sues-expelled-minister-libel)

The crisis is not yet over as the critics try to create a movement “to return the church to its old splendor when it first began with Felix Manalo.” (See Nehemiah Ecclesiastes, Official videos, Facebook, 8/10/2015).

What is happening with the Iglesia ni Cristo? Where is the Iglesia headed for?

Four sources have invariably discussed what is happening with the Iglesia ni Cristo through their own platform: a professor of Philippine Studies, a Sociologist of Religion, a Bible Scholar, and a minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo who left his organization with many questions on his head.

The professor of Philippine Studies was asked about what he thought about the INC controversy. The sect is usually secretive, he said. There is a need for transparency.

Written by Joe Torres (ucanews, 8/10/2015), the interviewee noted that secrecy is one of hallmarks of this religious sect. In “Public rift puts 101-year-old Philippines sect under spotlight,” he highlighted the need for transparency. Here’s part of the report –

David Michael San Juan, professor of Philippine Studies at De La Salle University in Manila, said the public rift represents a crossroads for the usually secretive sect.

“The rift may weaken it if it fails to address concerns on transparency and other issues,” he said. “The rift may strengthen it if it leads to more transparency in their highly respected institution.”

In other words, secrecy in the sect has contributed to their undoing. San Juan said some issues that church members raised are valid and that includes the allegation about certain ministers trying to extort money from politicians, and the allegation that church funds for being used for some leaders’ luxury. These are public issues, he said.(http://www.ucanews.com/news/public-rift-puts-101-year-old-philippines-sect-under-spotlight/74040)

Earlier, Rappler.com posted a Podcast titled “Saan patungo ang Iglesia ni Cristo?” (Where is the Iglesia ni Cristo bound for? (8/8/2015). Jayeel Cornelio a Sociologist of Religion is said to point to some INC growth at another level: “religious worldling.”

Worldling is inherently negative, but as the column of Cornelio proposes the concept of “religious worldling” to explain what is happening with the INC, he lauds the group in terms of sophistication in the positive sense.

The Director of Development Studies Program of Ateneo in “INC, Philippine Arena, and religious worldling” was theorizing that with the mammoth Philippine Arena, the INC has achieved some sophistication.

Worldling

WorldlingDotOrg says the term “worlding” cannot be found in any dictionary, even though the term has been in use for nearly a century. Martin Heidegger is said to have popularized the neologism in his 1927 Being and Time to mean “being-in-the-world.”

A worldling is a person who is primarily concerned with worldly matters or material things. As applied with the Iglesia ni Cristo, the focus was on expansion – material at that, with the Philippine Arena giving the high point of assessment.

Now, we come to a preacher. What did he think about this INC crisis? It is a judgment from God says Bro. Eli Soriano, Presiding Minister to the Members Church of God International (MCGI). Do not mistake that for “pagsubok” or trial. Only fanatics insist it is trial, and that corruption is being revealed only now. No, that church has been corrupt from the beginning, he says.

Soriano’s blog says it best. In “Gravity Floating Up All Secrets of Secrets,” he writes –

What is obtaining now with the Iglesia ni Cristo ni Manalo is that in spite of their indoctrinated secrecy of what they do, a force from above is making those secrets surface. Undoubtedly, it is the power of God! That group has long been practicing the act of covering up ugly matters inside their church, of bringing them down, and layering them into secrecy.

But what they did to five PUP students in secret, for example, came out. The case said their members involved mangled the victims’ bodies at the basement of their chapel. The dead bodies floated and were fished out from the muddy Pasig River!!!! (See Supreme Courts Annotated, Vol. 339, August 28, 2000 on the case People vs. Abella).

In an attempt to flush the killing off, the river was the supposed solution. But the bodies floated up to witness against the killers.

What did Soriano think about what’s happening?

Can we say this is like the Cambrian Period where it is said there is a massive explosion of revelation? (Note: I do not believe in the Cambrian Period being an explosion).

We cannot say that corruption in the Iglesia ni Cristo ni Manalo evolved! What is true in the Cambrian Period is collaterally true with the INC of Manalo. Since its inception, there are the corrupt practices of its ministers! It is proven by the very words of Eraño Manalo, second generation Executive Minister, that the corruption among the present generation of his ministers was inherited from ministers pioneering their works of corruption! It was earlier proven by a circular signed by Felix Manalo, first generation Executive or Presiding Minister, himself revealing the corrupt practices of his pioneering ministers. (http://www.controversyextraordinary.com/2015/08/gravity-floating-up-all-secrets-of.html)

Finally, we look into a minister who left the INC.

On a circular read in the whole district of Leyte, July 25, 2015, Joven O. Sepillo Sr is excommunicated for allegedly fighting the Administration and circulating false information with the objective of troubling the church. Sepillo Sr. said he had decided to come out in public to clear out his name against this charge.

Sepillo, Sr. an INC minister for 29 years but excommunicated by the Sanggunian together with his family, was bidding goodbye to his calling as minister for what he considered to be irreconcilable to his principles. He was expelled instead. The following are excerpts from his post [translated from Tagalog] centered on many questions similar to those being voiced out by other excommunicated INC ministers –

If only I left in an orderly way, it would not reach this far, they said. Is what is orderly, bidding goodbye without mentioning any shenanigans and not calling the Administration to counter these? Have they found out that there is no corruption going on now? Has the Administration done an honest-to-goodness investigation to protect the Sanggunian from false accusations? If they have but the ones told to investigate are themselves the accused, will justice be seen by the brethren who are looking for truth?

I am sad that what is often heard from the Spokesman of the Iglesia regarding critics is that they are only defaming without showing any evidence. Those opposing corruption are shown as evil and creating trouble in the church. They are the ones being persecuted, threatened, and done with, just to silence them.

Is there no one from the Sanggunian who will stand for truth? Shall we only wait for the hand of God to render judgment on the guilty? They may have forgotten that it is a Nation of God that they are managing.

The root cause of these troubles now is the change of perceptions among ministers about their supposed life in the ministry. Some are not aware that this is where corruption entered in – the supposed lifestyle of ministers. (See post by Jorge. http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/711261/doj-secures-3-expelled-iglesia-ni-cristo-members).

Interpretations

San Juan, the professor, said secrecy has not done good to the INC. He considers that some of the issues raised by the members of the INC are public and therefore valid.

Cornelio, the sociologist says the INC has come to religious worldling, a sophistication that he tends to congratulate, although it is not about being godly but worldly. Cornelio has barely scratched the surface and his basic fault is the color of his tone. He provides no proper guidance for the reader since his moral compass is also faulty. Notice his use of the term, “Moral Economies.”

At the bottom of his column is written this part:

Some parts of this column are derived from the paper Cornelio presented at the international workshop “Emerging Moral Economies in Southeast Asia” at L’ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales in Paris in June 2014.

This italics part in a way explains the deficiency in Cornelio’s analysis. The original material was written one year before this public clash between the Manalo brothers with the Sanggunian on the side of Eduardo Manalo, the incumbent executive minister. Where was Cornelio all the time?

The column of this Sociologist of Religion is pathetically dead and deaf to events that have recently unfolded and still are. There was no attempt at updating. He had disregarded the fact that the INC members question the purpose of the mammoth building and even as basic as its maintenance. This is moral economy for Cornelio?

The second review of this Jayeel Serrano Cornelio talks of “restorationist ethos” of the INC but still suggests a patronizing attitude. With all the news coming out from many quarters, one would wonder if Cornelio is a PR man for the INC. His article of August 13, 2015 says –

The church espouses a restorationist ethos as it claims to be the one true church called to take Christianity back to its original character and form of worship. It has several distinctive elements, among which is the absolute oneness doctrine that pits it against the Trinitarian mainstream in the Philippines.

Its founder, Felix Y. Manalo, is believed to be the fulfillment of a biblical prophecy that in the last days, an Angel from the East will arise. The church has therefore effectively sacralized the Philippines as a nation that plays an instrumental role in the last days.

The church’s unity is also one enduring source of pride for its members.

Unity manifests itself in different ways, such as doctrinal uniformity and submission to the leadership. Members are expected to heed their ministers, for example, on matters of faith and interpretation of Scriptures.

Members also fall in line during national elections, voting as a bloc for whatever candidates church leaders tell them to support. Members cannot take each other to court nor can they marry nonmembers. Even the predictable neo-gothic architecture of its churches is evocative of Iglesia ni Cristo’s institutional unity.  (http://www.ucanews.com/news/after-101-years-growing-pains-for-philippines-iglesia-ni-cristo/74075)

One wonders now how Cornelio was educated. Was he taught to think critically?

Here’s a quote from Albert Einstein’s Ideas and Opinions (1954). It emphasizes the importance of bracing all education with critical thinking principles and the development of character – no matter what specialization.

It is not enough to teach a man a specialty. Through it he may become a kind of useful machine but not a harmoniously developed personality. It is essential that the student acquire an understanding of and a lively feeling for values. He must acquire a vivid sense of the beautiful and of the morally good. Otherwise he – with his specialized knowledge – more closely resembles a well-trained dog than a harmoniously developed person. He must learn to understand the motives of human beings, their illusions, and their sufferings in order to acquire a proper relationship to the individual fellow-men and to the community.

It’s a waste of time when a sociologist of religion writes without first manifesting on the environment. It is even dangerous that he professes to teach the Catholic world about the INC. If he is writing for United Catholic Asia News, he is only misleading the people there. Has he come across what the critic ministers are saying? There’s a Farley de Castro that is often reported by Ces Drilon of ABS-CBN. De Castro is one of the INC ministers excommunicated. Here are excerpts (translated from Tagalog) from his talk (Part III) –

They are just running away. They just do not want to answer the many questions about the anomalies and corruption issues happening now in the church.

Why don’t they answer? They said they will answer the questions last Tuesday [August 4, 2015] during the Prayer Meeting but they dealt with another topic. Aren’t they liars? And until now they haven’t answered the questions regarding anomalies in the church.

 

In Part II, here are some of Farley de Castro’s words [translated from Tagalog] addressing his brothers –

We saw how the words of God were used as basis in persecuting and abusing others by those who have no right. The abuse and wrong use of the words of God to deceive and make the brethren believe to accept their deeds and their reasons. Our poor brethren, our brethren who cannot do anything but follow.

But my question is, why is this done in the management of ministers? They said, isn’t it true that this church won’t apostate anymore? Yes, but many individuals will apostate if they do not move – if we don’t help them, if we don’t love them. Most of them are poor but with full faith, giving their all with readiness.

But our offerings are being wasted in a lifestyle meant only for personal interest.

He addresses Eduardo Manalo, the Executive Minster, and asks many questions, even an intriguing one about the spirit that dwells at their Central. [Note: Central refers to the main headquarters of the INC).

Bro. Eduardo, I have been hearing you for a very long time and I know that you love the church. But why now, why did you allow the church to go this way?

Didn’t you know that from the beginning the church would become like this if your wife will always intervene? Because this was the order of Bro. Eraño G. Manalo before he died. Why is it that we who are standing for righteousness are the very ones being expelled? Is it really true that the spirit of the devil thrives at Central? We love you, Bro. Eduardo.

Didn’t you know from the beginning what your mother and your brother wanted, especially Bro. Angel? Didn’t you know that never did he want to grab your rights? Didn’t you know that they only wanted to let the church restored from the beginning when the messenger of the last days started it? May God have mercy and remember his nation.(https://www.facebook.com/NehemiahEcclesiastesOfficial/videos/vb.414257252092254/440362976148348/?type=2&theater)

If Cornelio had scanned the environment well before writing, he would know that there’s no honest attempt at “restoration ethos” in the way he presented it. There is logically no restoration ethos where communication lines are not open. As a consequence, there’s no restoration ethos where the leader is found decidedly weak and indecisive, cutting off links even with his very own mother and siblings.

What sorely obtains is more of a group confronting the administration and calling for a movement (kilusan) to force a return to the old set-up (physical) – because things are not normal. The resolution they basically wanted was for Eduardo Manalo not to listen to his wife, some peace, and a simple life style for the ministers. For a restoration ethos to materialize, it should start from the head having the drive, the discipline, and the desire. It should not come from the few critics at the side. But clearly, when a fish rots, it begins from the head.

As expected, there’s no response from his side. From all accounts, he and his men were not even answering questions of their brethren who wanted at least the children of Eraño Manalo to be back to their posts and their power restored. But Sociologist Cornelio appeared more of writing public relations pieces, taking extreme care lest he mention any fault. One is inclined to think he is an INC trolling in United Catholic Asia News, ready to neutralize whatever is written against the INC. That is barely a way to be helpful to society as a sociologist of religion.

Back to interpretations, when it comes to religion, the most that should be consulted are those that handle the words of God for this is the commodity in question. What is happening now? Preacher Soriano declares it is a judgment from God that the INC is being revealed as corrupt even from the beginning.

Admitting that he is the fiercest critic of the INC, Soriano would examine their beliefs and practices now and then – would answer to questions about the INC in his regular Bible Expositions. For that, he has attracted many court cases filed against him by the INC – including threats on his life. These have all become the drama that the broadsheets, the TV and the Internet would banner for several years.

The preacher talks about disturbing familiar patterns in the way the INC reacts to dissent – coming from his experience with the INC and paralleling those reported in the news. These practices and their attendant difficulties have been inflicted on him and those of others he knew, but never in his mind did he imagine they will happen to the very members of the INC.

What about the INC minister who had decided to leave his ministry? Sevillo Sr, the expelled INC minister, tends to agree with all of these three experts: (1) There is lack of transparency in the INC as pointed out by Prof. San Juan; (2) The INC has become worldly-wise as discussed by Sociologist Cornelio, but in the sense that it has become materialistic; (3) Corruption is with them according to Preacher Soriano, yes; but judgment may not have come yet. Sevillo Sr. seems hesitant to admit God’s judgment happening at this time, but he uses it as a warning stick against Eduardo Manalo’s administration. He adds a fourth one, his own interpretation of events: (4) The lifestyles of the ministers have led to this organizational upheaval

Like other INC’s who have began to doubt why these things are happening within them if they are a true church, Sevillo Sr. is still staying with the INC despite what he had observed. His belief is intact – presumably including the belief that Christ is mere human being.

Bro. Eli and the INC

As dissent within the INC develops amidst efforts to counter them – mostly suppress them – the following chips have in many forms bobbed up like familiar patterns of a template observed in the past: (a) Pressure on the Department of Justice, (b) Use of the National Bureau of Investigation as a personal bodyguard, (c) Framing up for a charge of rape, (d) Case closed case unclosed, (e) One-sided media, (f) Assignment to kill, (g) No mercy, (h) Humiliating the victim, (i) Hounding the leaving or those who criticize, (j) Gunshots fired at the home, (k) Brainwashing the members.

These were so in the case of Bro. Eli Soriano, the foremost critic of the INC. The INC has applied all of these to him and the people with him.

Aren’t these parts of the culture of the Iglesia ni Cristo? Why do they repeat themselves and this time on their very own people? It is not enough to just mention them as how they are worsening, only the victims can tell. But definitely politicians are wittingly or unwittingly part of the whole scheme. We will look into five of these practices later.

As defined in the dictionary, dissent is the expression or holding of opinions at variance with those previously, commonly, or officially held. Synonyms are disapproval, disagreement, difference of opinion.

But not all dissent is bad. Some are good when truth is king as in the case of critiquing their beliefs by Preacher Soriano and disapproving of maltreatment of the family of Eraño Manalo by Sevillo Sr.

In brief, here are how the familiar patterns have come into Bro. Eli’s life: He, as a bible man, believes he should correct whatever practices he finds are not biblical. That is part of his commission. But the INC is one that takes criticisms to the point of wanting him killed, if not imprisoned (with false charges), and humiliated before the world.

That explains how Luisito Amansec, a former INC hitman, found out the truth about the preacher and confessed that he was around to bump Bro. Eli dead. He became a member of the MCGI instead. Lying has long been with the INC ministers that Bro. Eli is not what they picture him to be. Amansec realized that his heart learned mercy for the first time when he saw Bro. Eli, long pictured as evil in the Iglesia ni Cristo.

In a case for libel where Bro. Eli won, video tapes and DVD’s had been provided to the court where INC ministers were calling him names like “dayukdok,  “mandarambong, “mongongotong,’ “matakaw sa pera,” “Seaman-loloko,” among many other names through their program, Ang Tamang Daan. In English, they mean starved, plunderer, extortioner, money-hungry, and deceiver. They were doing this but MTRCB never sanctioned them.

Bro. Eli also had provided proofs that the INC had distorted his speeches and commentaries to prove consistent patterns of mangling of tapes by the Iglesia ni Cristo on statements made by him. An example was when Soriano was asking for 3.6 million on January 10, 2004; the mangled tape was shown in Ang Tamang Daan aired over Net 25 on March 29, 2004 that Soriano was asking for 6 trillion.

A discussion of these can be found in the court records of Criminal Case No. Q-05-136679 filed for libel for an Ang Dating Daan TV program aired on January 21, 2005 with Ramil T. Parba as representative complainant of the Iglesia ni Cristo along with Marianito Cayao and Bernardo Santiago.

Accused were Eliseo Soriano, Danilo Navales, Jocel Mallari, and Luzviminda Cruz, all anchors of Ang Dating Daan program on TV. This libel case was dismissed for lack of evidence. Cayao and Santiago are former members of MCGI having been excommunicated by Bro. Eli and then later joined the INC. What the MCGI throws away for spiritual filth, the INC accepts.

INC hates dissent. It also explains why Lydia Manuyag, former INC auditor from Central Diliman was straffed at her home for speaking in SBN21 where she had corrected Bro. Eli. The preacher was quoting the magazine, SAY, that Manalo is a billionaire. Trillionaire, said Manuyag, not billionaire. Afterwards their home was straffed. Lydia’s husband, also a former INC member, was hit with four bullets.

It also explains why Daniel Veridiano, Bernardo Santiago, Marianito Cayao and their kind who have been excommunicated by Bro. Eli for several offenses, have, in turn, been used against the preacher as either complainant or witness.

If media can be used against people especially the TV, it has not been forgotten that Soriano is a victim of this trick, which is why until now the Members Church of God International (MCGI) are boycotting GMA7-11. It is to send a strong message that it is not taking things sitting down. The dramatization in the interview with Daniel Veridiano in “Paninirang Puri, Case Unclosed” presented the Church leader as a shameless old man devoid of the knowledge of the Bible and hungry for sex – and for the same gender yet. The members were pictured as fools – laggards with the brain of a shrimp. This had been so after the Interpol caper has failed. Interpol whom the INC had access to, had found out that the Bro. Eli whom enemies wanted to humiliate before the world is not in hiding – and is even a man of God – not a sex-starved fugitive as the dramatization painted him to be.

The interviewee was Daniel Veridiano, excommunicated from MCGI where Soriano is Presiding Minister to. Veridiano became a member of the INC. By twist of faith, it is GMA being boycotted by MCGI for 5 years now for what they did to Bro. Eli and the organization. Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 22.18.36

What about GMA 7-11? Earlier, it had made Daniel Razon to decide whether to remain as anchor and restrict his language when referring to the Iglesia ni Cristo, or resign. If he does not like restrictions, the INC may boycott the station. Where? On stage when he preaches to the congregation of the MCGI or Ang Dating Daan (as the church is more popularly known). Razon is Soriano’s nephew and the appointed next-in-rank to Bro. Eli. At the same time, he was working for GMA. But he chose to leave GMA rather than restrict his language – not even in anchoring but in preaching in church.

Imagine GMA representing the INC and asking one to restrict his language – and in another venue yet? Why does INC use GMA to restrict one’s language outside of the studio that is the very workplace of Razon? Can’t he preach before the congregation without an outsider’s intervention? Why did religion have to involve a TV station?

The Australian Journalists’ Code of Ethics says in #8 rule:

Do not allow advertising or other commercial considerations to undermine accuracy, fairness or independence.

There is an equivalent in the Code of Ethics of the Philippine Press Institute and the National Press Club of the Philippines in #5:

I shall not let personal motives or interests influence me in the performance of my duties nor shall I accept or offer any present, gift, or other consideration of a nature that may cast doubt on my personal integrity.

INC hates being critiqued. That explains why the NBI had been used to raid the ADD Convention Center in 2001 on a simple charge of libel filed by the INC. The director at that time was Reynaldo Wycoco, an INC member. They came in full-battle gear looking for Bro. Eli whom they could not recognize though they talked to him. Wycoco was reported preparing another raid in 2005 when he succumbed to heart attack.

The MTRCB had suspended the Ang Dating Daan TV Program including all the anchors at least three times in the past at the behest of the Iglesia ni Cristo. One time, it was because Bro. Eli was calling them Iglesia ni Manalo that they took as insult.

BELOW: Thousands upon thousands of people gathered in front of the Human Rights Commission in the Philippines to show their support to Brother Eli when the latter was indefinitely suspended by the MTRCB from appearing in any television program. The Human Rights Commission later ruled in favor of Brother Eli stating that the MTRCB committed a grave abuse of authority against the preacher.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 21.57.49

The Department of Justice also through Secretary Raul Gonzalez had been utilized to persecute Bro. Eli.

A rape charge filed against him was dismissed as the investigating prosecutor found no probable cause to prosecute Soriano. The judge believed that Veridiano’s accusations were all lies and fabricated. Filed sometime before October 5, 2005, the case was dismissed on January 26, 2006. It was penned by Alexandro Lopez, Asst. Provincial Prosecutor and approved by Jesus Magarang, Provincial prosecutor, Province of Pampanga, San Fernando City. The case highly considered the rift going on between the INC and the ADD.

But the dismissed case was ordered re-filed by the Office of the President Gloria Arroyo, one widely known as supported by the INC through bloc voting.

Media People Talking

Why do we allow these things to happen? Columnist Conrad de Quiros, in exasperation, asked this question. He mentions about the INC’s habits of “trying to keep certain prominent citizens out of jail or, in the case of public officials, keeping them in power.” He also questions why we allow the Iglesia ni Cristo meddling in the justice department, and interfering in elections, among many others.

Here are excerpts from de Quiros’ column –

The INC has grown over the years to become the second biggest church in this country. You’ve got to wonder, though, what it is asking its fold to do. Over the same years it has grown, it has been trying to keep certain prominent citizens out of jail or, in the case of public officials, keeping them in power.

Not too long ago, the INC made headlines by railing against the government for axing Magtanggol Gatdula, the director of the National Bureau of Investigation and an INC stalwart. P-Noy himself did the axing after finding out that Gatdula had a hand in the illegal detention of a Japanese fugitive. Despite De Lima’s strenuous attestations that the justice department did its homework before recommending Gatdula’s dismissal, the INC complained that he was not given a chance to explain.

All of these must make us ask: Why do we allow this?

Why do we allow the INC to begin with to interfere in elections? We know that INC members vote as a bloc for the candidates of their leaders’ choosing. We know this because that church doesn’t bother to hide it; it parades it as one of the reasons for joining it or currying its favor….This is out-and-out flouting of the separation of Church and State, a thing expressly forbidden in a democracy. And yet we see no law stopping it, and yet we see only politicians seeking to profit from it.  (http://opinion.inquirer.net/29267/why-do-we-allow-this#ixzz3ilLClbI2)

It’s not only de Quiroz questioning the behavior of the INC as an organization. Here’s an excerpt from what Blogger Jake Astudillo wrote about INC power in government offices –

The morbid interest of the INC for critical posts in the national government is quite disturbing too and even the high courts of the land are not spared. The Supreme Court has some justices and other people therein known to have been highly recommended by the INC and cannot be said to be free from public perception of being stooges for the INC.

The same is true for the National Bureau of Investigation, and for other offices under the Office of the President. One of these is the Movies, Television, Radio Censors Board (MTRCB) where the INC cries to as its favored valid court every time their beliefs are being scrutinized. At least, that was the experience of Bro. Eli Soriano. Maria Consoliza Laguardia used to hold fort as head censor of the MTRCB and decides matters upon the behest of the INC.

Jake Astudillo mentioned Lawyer Panopio’s analysis, Reporter Romero’s observation, and Author Vitug’s book. Panopio had underscored INC’s influencing court litigation results; Romero and Vitug were aware of INC recommending justices where these justices decide in favor of the Iglesia ni Cristo once put into place. More from Astudillo –

Not everyone is cowered by the INC influence, however. An enterprising young lawyer found that unconstitutional powers are being interpreted as vested in the MTRCB. James Benedict Panopio, in his analysis of the MTRCB rulings on suspension of the Ang Dating Daan (ADD) programs on TV said the INC should seek redress in the courts instead of the MTRCB. It is not a secret that litigations are highly the interest of the INC where they try to influence results, one of which is the Barrameda case, he said. 

Purple S. Romero of Newsbreak took note that Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr. of the Supreme Court is publicly known to have been highly recommended by the INC. Marites Vitug, in her book, Shadow of Doubt: Probing the Supreme Court, gave the same observation. For three days after the publication of her book, Vitug was receiving death threats on her mobile phone.

And Justice Presbitero Velasco Jr? He was the ponente or decision writer or justice in charge of the case in the Supreme Court sustaining suspension of Ang Dating Daan upon the complaint of the Iglesia ni Cristo. “Political considerations may have come into play in the Supreme Court’s decision to uphold the suspension of the religious group Ang Dating Daan’s TV program according to court insiders we talked to,” said Newsbreak reporters. In earlier reports, Newsbreak through Romero surmised that the ruling of the Supreme Court was to please the Iglesia ni Cristo. It was not exactly a legal reason, the report said. The report is interesting in that the dissenting justices pointed to suppression of the freedom of speech in their decision.

And Justice Velasco? Of all people, why did he not inhibit himself from the case, considering his links with the Iglesia ni Cristo? With just their endorsement, the message is clear: they expected someone to exchange favor with. And as venial as one can be, if your ambition is lying in wait for an invitation, you can be used and finally play the willing tool. But it takes two to tango.(https://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2013/04/03/are-we-now-going-to-give-the-country-to-bloc-voting-people/)

Familiar Patterns

These familiar patterns keep repeating themselves. Are we that weak to resist? Recent events with the INC and INC influence show the following:

1) Intervening with the Justice System

A recent news report stated that Justice Secretary Leila de Lima has directed National Bureau of Investigation Director Virgilio Mendez to discipline an official who declared earlier that the bureau’s probe on the alleged abduction of 10 ministers of the influential Iglesia Ni Cristo was deemed closed. (http://manilastandardtoday.com/2015/08/04/doj-iglesia-case-still-open/#

Written by Rey E. Requejo titled “DOJ: Iglesia case still open”(Manila Standard, 8/04/2015), De Lima was said to have made the statement reiterating that the authorities are still investigating the supposed abduction of INC ministers. This was in contrast to the claim of NBI Anti-Organized Transnational Crime Division chief Manuel Eduarte that the case is now considered closed.

De Lima was reportedly surprised said Eduarte had declared the case was closed when he is not even involved in the investigation nor part of the team.

A check into records show that Eduarte is a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Not long after, The Daily Tribune came out with “Binay asks De Lima to stop ‘reckless’ statements vs INC” (Tribune Wires, 8/07/2015) (http://www.tribune.net.ph/nation/binay-asks-de-lima-to-stop-reckless-statements-vs-inc)

The report said Vice President Jejomar “Jojo” Binay had advised Justice Secretary Leila de Lima to refrain from giving “unwarranted statements” on the alleged abduction of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) ministers.

In a letter to De Lima, the Vice President said he felt compelled to “call your attention to the unwarranted statements you have been expressing in the mass media in your capacity as Secretary of the Department of Justice asserting that the alleged abduction of ministers of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) is not yet a ‘closed’ case.”

Binay reportedly noted that De Lima’s statements contradicted the findings of National Bureau of Investigation (NBI) authorities that conducted the investigation.

“It taxes credulity that you had to publicly contravene the findings of the NBI Anti-Organized Transnational Crimes Division, which itself conducted the investigation on the alleged abduction,” the Vice President said.

“According to your own people in the NBI, no such abduction took place, which finding is bolstered by the fact that there is no complainant who has come forward to attest to its commission. In short, there is apparently no crime committed or being committed,” he added.

If there was no abduction that happened, why are there many complaining from diverse places? Would it hurt to check if there are? What is the hurry in Manuel Eduarte in trying to close the lid and in Binay pressuring the DOJ Secretary if there are lives involved?

2) Riding on one-sided media for personal agenda

The Daily Tribune is also the one that reported earlier on Jose Norelito Fruto, 50, of Amparo Road, Nova Ville Subdivision, Novaliches in “Bogus gay doctor apprehended for molesting Caloocan student” by Arlie O. Calalo (The Daily Tribune, 07/14/2015).

Fruto was one of the INC ministers picked up earlier for questioning regarding the Antonio Ebanghelista blogs that blared corruption issues within the Iglesia ni Cristo.

The report said a 22 year old man (Robert Anthony, not real name) was allegedly sodomized by Fruto and that a CCTV tape showed at least the first of two incidents, the first one (July 4) inside the victim’s house, and the second one inside Fruto’s home.

This Daily Tribune report was used by the INC against Fruto as the “proof” to truth, just as they used it against Justice De Lima. It is clear that The Daily Tribune is not as popular as other broadsheets. The comments are scanty and are lorded over by INC members who spam the same comments over and over.

In the case where Binay berated Justice Secretary De Lima whose group is trying to look into reports of abduction, media was also used in impressing to the public which case is closed or unclosed.

3) Promoting lying and falsehood

Letters posted on Social Media by those expelled show that they were being forced to do things against their conscience. Here’s one written by Joven O. Sepillo Sr –

On July 18, 2015, my name was written in social media as one among those ministers who were abducted and could not be seen. We told our contacts that we are safe and not abducted. My family were wondering why my name was included there when we are just silently doing our responsibilities in the Locale of San Roque in Tolosa Extension, Leyte East District. Who could have done that and what was his aim?

On July 21, I was made to produce a video and say, “I am INC.” I cooperated and did the video according to the order of Bro. Rommel Sanvictores of INCTV and then sent it through email. My family felt safe then that when the video will be shown, it will be clear that I was not abducted and that I won’t be missing but will be found doing my work. When July 24, 2015 came, I welcomed the order from Central to make another video together with the brethren from the Locale with all of us saying,” All of us with responsibilities and all the brethren of the Locale of San Roque, Ecclesiastical District of Leyte East are proclaiming that we are fervently following doctrines and are submitting to obedience so that we will be saved.” Then we would greet Happy 101st Anniversary to the Iglesia ni Cristo. 

Upon arrival at the San Roque Locale, I found the brethren already gathered by the Head Deacon based on the order of the District and there was the Video man. It was not a day for Worship Service at San Roque, but the video would show that the service was just over. At that moment, I decided not to make the [second] video because, first I had already made one last July 21, 2015 as proof that I was not abducted. Second, the brethren already knew on July 23, 2015 about the call from Ka Tenny and Ka Angel, and because of that, they will be asking questions like what is happening with the church.

The following day, July 24, 2015, came the reading of the Circular pertaining to the family of Ka Erdy. I have read that Circular concerning the expulsion in the Worship Service at Tolosa Extension, but I felt so hurt that it has come to this. I could not anymore take it that after reading about the expulsion of the family, they would order me to proclaim fervent obedience and submission to the Administration – and with that I had to involve even the brethren!” (See post by Jorge. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/711261/doj-secures-3-expelled-iglesia-ni-cristo-members).

4) Threatening the lives of those who leave their religion or dis-agree with them.

These are lines from a report titled, “Iglesia ni Cristo expels members who joined protest in US (Coconuts Manila, 8/06/2015) –

According to another expelled INC member who was at the rally, fears of retaliation from the church against protesters were heightened a week later after gunshots were fired at his home. (http://manila.coconuts.co/2015/08/07/iglesia-ni-cristo-expels-members-who-joined-protest-us).

The members clearly know about killing being a part of the culture of the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Recently, Joy Yuson, one of the expelled ministers said in the vernacular, “We have to be careful. If they find us on the way, they will kill us. They may run over us, hold us up, kill or trace our steps to home.” (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/08/06/15/witnesses-vs-inc-placed-under-witness-protection-program).

According to ABS-CBN News, expelled INC Minister Joy Yuson had allegedly received information that the INC has a private army of 100 people that can strike any time. His companions also had other information –

“[Roel] Rosal, who used to work for the New Bilibid Prisons, told De Lima that INC can release inmates from prison, while [Lito] Fruto said an assistant state prosecutor from the justice department was involved in the arrest of one of the ‘missing’ INC ministers, Lowell Menorca, as well as in framing him up for a charge of rape.”

Yuson, Fruto, and Rosal are former members of INC who were expelled from the church after expressing support to the family of the late executive minister Eraño Manalo. (http://www.abs-cbnnews.com/focus/08/06/15/witnesses-vs-inc-placed-under-witness-protection-program).

These reports need verification, and if true, should be addressed by proper government authorities.

  1. No Mercy

A church is supposed to be the very first example in showing how character is supposed to be developed in a vibrant community. It may be none of people’s business questioning how a son can tolerate not talking to a mother for five years. But it has become public that the mother of Eduardo Manalo, Executive Minister of the INC, had wanted to talk to her son. Wasn’t she claiming her life was in danger together with the others? She was expelled from the organization in a show of force with the INC leadership claiming Ka Tenny and the rest of the family were creating division in the church. Farley de Castro, one of those expelled ministers claimed the widow of Eraño Manalo is more than 80 years old and is ill.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 22.08.03

The Public is Watching: One-Sided Media

The Daily Tribune was decidedly one-sided. It did not mention earlier reports that De Lima had wanted the erring NBI Anti-Organized Transnational Crime Division chief Manuel Eduarte who said that the case is now considered closed to be sanctioned.

The Daily Tribune is obviously one of creating news instead of being a news courier. A good story would present both sides.

There is a tendency now for journalists to create news. And that is completely wrong. Journalists have a responsibility to report the news and comment upon the news. But they don’t have the right to create news. (Oscar R. Landicho, “Ethics in Journalism,” Booklore Publishing Corporation, Mla: 2002).

Indeed, what our country needs are good and honest journalists who can tell us what our people need or what is wrong with some government officials including judges and justices.

A look into a description of this paper says –

The Daily Tribune is a daily English-language broadsheet publication in the Philippines. Its office is in the 1st Floor of the Bel-Air Apartments along Roxas Boulevard, Manila. Its editor-in-chief is Ninez Cacho-Olivares. The Tribune is known for being critical of former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo and her successor, Benigno S. Aquino III; conversely, it is often cited as supporting former President Joseph Estrada (now Mayor of Manila) and Vice President Jejomar Binay. (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Daily_Tribune).

As a politician who has declared running for President as early as 2010, Binay, in his act of throwing down the gauntlet for the Iglesia ni Cristo is suspect. First, the INC’s practice of coercive bloc voting is a magnet for many politicians to woe the INC’s favor, ignoring the negative effect on the voters.

Second, the INC has been embroiled in controversy and has occupied the news spots in the recent months. But The Daily Tribune shows no indication of knowing anything before hand, as their reports reflected nothing of the other side.

What’s with a news outfit that cannot be objective? A journalist can do his job if his hands are free of bribes. Lest we be seen as imputing anything, there are many things aside from money that can corrupt a journalist: gadgets, electrical appliances, cars, free gasoline, gift vouchers in some department stores, free trips, free meals and drinks. Take that from a seasoned journalist like Oscar Landicho.

Here’s an excerpt from Landicho’s (2002) chapter on Envelopmental Journalism –

Only in the Philippines is ‘envelopmental journalism’ practiced with notoriety and frequency. Envelopmental journalism is not only illegal but also unethical. People who promote envelopmental journalism are peddlers of corruption, dishonesty, and immorality. Some journalists are … in the payroll of some politicians and businessmen.

The report on extensive lecture of Vice President Binay on DOJ Secretary De Lima is not balanced sans just one-liner saying Manuel Eduarte was not involved in the project of ascertaining abduction of INC ministers, or that De Lima was surprised on Eduarte’s “Case Closed” pronouncement. Instead, Binay was marking that Eduarte is a lawyer – as if being lawyer is equivalent to being honest and correct.

What citizens can do for now are the following: 1) Watch for wayward media and expose them; and 2) Watch the moves of politicians and expose them.

The Public is Watching: Politician’s Pressure

An evaluation of Binay’s motherland statements manifests an over-representation of this politician in the absence of a report on De Lima’s stance. He was clearly standing for Manuel Eduarte – someone not involved with the case – or even for the INC. This group is widely known to be influential with a reputation of actively lobbying to be able to place their own people in sensitive positions of the government.

From The Daily Tribune

“By your actuations, you are promoting the image of disunity, discord and even corruption in the INC to its clear prejudice and detriment,” Binay said.

“As public officials, it is our duty to respect the internal affairs and concerns of the INC and allow them, without the unwarranted interference from government, to conduct their own business in accordance with their religious beliefs. No less than our Constitution guarantees this inviolable separation of church and state,” he added.

“For the sake of upholding our Constitution, as well as protecting the integrity and good name of the INC as a religious community, I urge you to refrain from uttering baseless, if not reckless and irresponsible, statements that would tend to harm the religious institution of the INC,” Binay said. (http://www.tribune.net.ph/nation/binay-asks-de-lima-to-stop-reckless-statements-vs-inc)

Binay might not know it but it is the very ministers of the INC running for their lives who had requested for government intervention. Isaias Samson Jr. at a press conference held in July 23, said that government intervention in the crisis would help resolve the issue. Samson is one of those expelled INC ministers. (Tetch Torres-Tupas, “INC crisis: Suspended minister urges gov’t intervention”Inquirer.net. 7/23/2015).

Samson claimed that the INC was after him because of he had opposed INC general auditor Glicerio Santos Jr. According to reports, he was also accused of being the man behind the blog of Antonio Ebangelista, who has released critical articles against the group. (http://newsinfo.inquirer.net/707346/minister-detained-by-armed-guards-escapes-corrupt-inc-practices-bared).

The 1987 Constitution of The Republic of the Philippines in Article III Bill of Rights is enough cover for those running for their lives from the powerful.

Screen Shot 2015-08-15 at 22.10.51Consider this: Binay, a candidate for President in 2016, pitches for a religion that is publicly known as influential, but he does not feel for those individuals in it being abducted and reporting fear for their very lives.

The fact is that the INC does not need protection because it is very powerful – unlike individuals in them being threatened after exposing anomalies in their organization.

The right to life, liberty and the protection of the laws is guaranteed by the constitution. It is the right of citizens to be protected and secure in their persons.

The least that Vice President Binay could have done is not to contribute to the INC cover-up – unless he is a willing tool and has become part of these familiar patterns. Politicians are well-entrenched in these practices of the INC having become stooges or willing to become one.

A bird of the same feather knows its kind. It is time for everyone to choose whom to side with: the good or the evil.

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Atheists Fighting Religion as “Virus” of the Mind?

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (12/11/2014)  – Religion is a virus of the mind that should be eradicated according to an American philosophy instructor and atheism advocate, and proposes how it should be done. However, there is much that this man has not accounted for, from the view of some Christians.

Peter Boghossian wrote in his book, “A Manual for Creating Atheists” (Amazon, November 2013) some protocols towards “containing such virus.”  Boghossian wrote –

A key containment protocol is to financially cripple any institution that propagates a faulty epistemology, starting with the most egregious perpetrators: religious institutions.

Containment as defined in the dictionary has to do with preventing the expansion of a hostile power or ideology or something hazardous.

Boghossian whom Christians believe is a cultist seeking fame and followers and Atheist_1recognition among the atheistic intellectuals (of which he is not one) began his book with his version of a definition for faith. Faith accordingly is a faulty reasoning process because it is “belief without evidence,” and it is “pretending to know things you don’t know.” (pp 23-24).

Whenever you hear the word faith, replace it with ‘pretending to know what you cannot know.’ It is definitive of faith that it is pretending.

Boghossian’s whole approach, based on his definition of faith, contains what are viewed by some Christians as urging extremisms. On the other hand, these are being welcomed by atheists who in fact parrot him.

 

The Bad and the Good

The following are some of Boghossian’s containment protocols excerpted –

  1. Use the word “faith” only in a religious context.

When the faithful are pressed on the definition of faith… they usually retreat to the words ‘hope,’ ‘trust,’ and ‘confidence,’ abandoning knowledge and certainty.

  1. Stigmatize faith-based claims like racist claims.

Don’t let people of faith sit at the Adult Table. Those at the Kid’s Table can talk about anything they’d like, but they have no adult responsibilities and no voice in public policy.

The faithful are to be told, “You are pretending to know things you don’t know. Go to the Kid’s Table, this is a conversation for adults.”

  1. Treat faith as a public health crisis.

We must reconceptualize faith as a virus of the mind … and treat faith like other epidemiological crises: contain and eradicate… it is a public health

  1. Remove religious exemption for delusion from the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM).

Once religious or delusions are integrated into the DSM, entirely new categories of research and treatment into the problem of faith can be created. These will include removal of existing ethical barriers, changing treatments covered by insurance, including faith-based to special education programs in the schools, helping children who have been indoctrinated into a faith tradition, and legitimizing interventions designed to rid subjects of the faith affliction.…

In the long term, once these treatments and this body of research are refined, results could then be used to inform public health policies designed to contain and ultimately eradicate faith.

According to Thomas A. Gilson, editor of True Reason (Kregel Publications, Feb 1, 2014), Boghossian, with the language of hatred, is using a communist psychological approach to dissent.

Another reviewer noticed that Boghossian’s “containment protocols” are informed by sources from the political left.  The methodology begins with redefining words to one’s advantage, then to stigmatize, and segregate –

It’s the politics of personal destruction and it comes directly from Saul Alinsky’s “Rules for Radicals.” We’ve seen many of the New Atheists use these same tactics. No one more so than Richard Dawkins who really popularized the idea that religious believers shouldn’t be reasoned with, they should be laughed at.

Reviewer Gilson said although roughly the book is urging extremism, there are three good things it does: 1) The author takes a serious swipe at whether there is such a thing as truth, 2) He makes a strong plea for rational thinking, and 3) He recommends a Socratic approach to learning about religious beliefs.

Bro. Eli of MCGI

Smiling side

If Boghossian had heard of a Bro. Eli Soriano, he might have never written this Manual or had written it differently. Called TruthCaster, this Filipino – Brazilian preacher deeply espouses rational thinking when it comes to faith such that he has incurred the ire of all religions other than the one he is Presiding Minister to.

The set-up in the Members Church of God International (MCGI), whether it be a weekly thanksgiving or worship service where Soriano preachers is interactive, allowing him to utilize Socratic questioning to preach the word of God. Although he uses the Bible as main reference, in addition to other resources like Strong’s Greek and Hebrew Dictionary, and evidences for what he is saying, the communication is two-way, and never the hypodermic model utilized by some.

At the front is a presidential table where two or more facilitators are asked questions by Soriano allowing the topic to unfold. In all parts of the world, since the Church is international, there are translators for the church service – from Tagalog to English, Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, Japanese, or German. This extends from the introduction of the topic by his assistant, to the consultation period, and finally to the main part where Soriano finishes off the topic for the service. The audience have their Bibles and they each take notes for review purposes. It is also to enhance their understanding.

A thanksgiving service begins at 3:00 PM (Saturdays, Philippine time) and ends usually at 11:30 – an average of 8 hours with consultation in between. Aside from questions about husband-wife relationships, family management, health, and related concerns, the Consultation as in the Church service proper, involves faith questions such as the following: What is man? What is his purpose? Why are we here? Is life merely physical? After a man dies, where does he go? Is death merely physical? Why did God place the tree of the knowledge of good and evil in the Garden of Eden? How did sin enter into the world? What is sin? What are angels? You said that angles are spiritual stars, what purpose do they serve? If Satan has children: who are they? What is the purpose of Jesus? Why is transgression of the heart of man described in the Bible as the worst kind of sin? What is the role of Satan? If Satan has deceived the whole world, in what forms has he deceived them?

This preacher is the most queried man on earth, in fact. He carries a Q&A segment in his Bible expositions. He is asked these questions because of his unequalled understanding and he mainly uses the word of God. In discussing this kind of questions, he necessarily exposes false doctrines and practices. – to the mortification of false prophets. More so when he gives Bible Expositions to the public that can be heard worldwide via satellite systems.

In a fight therefore between the religions and the atheists, one can find Preacher Soriano with both because he draws the line. He fights the religions, just as he fights the atheists – all for truth. Either side to him has flaws.

When the evangelist says he is the most maligned preacher, it is on account of having to stand for truth that people try very hard to discredit him for making them run for their money. No one and no one had been humiliated through an Interpol Wanted scheme but Soriano. One politically influential church group had made a game out of filing Soriano case after case, making use of church members the latter had excommunicated – either as complainants or witnesses. The local courts had declared that he is not a fugitive from justice as his enemies would want to put out. (https://kotawinters.wordpress.com/2014/10/22/eli-soriano-not-fugitive-from-justice-two-courts-deny-motions/). Anyone wanted for a crime would not be advertising himself and his activities, and facing the world to answer questions about God’s mysteries – a routine for the preacher.

If there is someone whose biopage in Wikipedia reads more like a charge sheet, it is Soriano’s. This is the work of his enemies as Wikipedia is open to public editing. But aside from the so-called religions running after Soriano’s neck, there are the atheists who engage him in fiery discussions. Soriano happened to chide an actress atheist, Kathy Griffins, for her irresponsible words. During an awarding in 2007, Kathy remarked –

A lot of people come up here and thank Jesus for this award. I want you to know that no one had less to do with this award than Jesus. Suck it, Jesus, this award is my god now!

When it became known to the public that the preacher rebuked Kathy, another atheist named Kate twitted to him in anger, “I Wikipedia’d you!”

Sweeping and Misplaced Definition of Faith

What follows are contentions of the Christian side on Boghossian’s book. First, it is noted that he quoted John W. Loftus, a leading crusader against Christianity for his definition of faith as evidence-free. Loftus had converted from Christianity to atheism. Such understanding of faith cannot stand for all times, all people, and all places according to Gilson. Definitions are conventional, are developing through usage and have historic meanings. As such, the definition of faith involves evidence. Moreover –

When Boghossian says faith is evidence-free, everyone who has any awareness of the truth of the term knows that he (and other New Atheists in the past decade or so) made that up; it’s not the historic meaning of the term, it’s not the conventional meaning, and it’s not the meaning that applies to…. persons of faith who present evidences for [their] beliefs.

Many Kinds of Religions

Second, there are many kinds of religions. Hinduism, Buddhism, and tribal religions are called religions by some but are not typically theist.  There are important variations in religious beliefs just as there are important differences in non-belief. In fact, not all who claim Christianity can be called Christian, for example. One cannot conclude that100 religions calling themselves Christians accept each other as true and therefore do not disagree. This is on account of false religions existing. Moreover, if these 100 religions differ from one another, one cannot conclude that Jesus Christ is false and did not exist due to these differences.

Third, and as a corollary, a true church would agree with some of Boghossian’s proposals as in the need for rational thinking. It is these false religions that TruthCaster Soriano is waging war on. Partly because of them, people have turned away from believing – what with their idol worship and many other false practices. By inference, these false religions have contributed to the hatred of people on the notion of a creator because of how they unfaithfully have stood for God. In short, they had breed atheism some way, such that atheists relish laughing at God and calling him an underachiever – one whose existence they try to disprove at all costs. But this does not make Boghossian right in his placement of “the virus.” Lumping all religions into one is likened to an attempt at throwing the water with the baby.

Naturalism Not the Standard

Fourth, Boghossian’s book implies that naturalism is the standard of truth. Is it? Naturalism is a theory denying that an event or object has supernatural significance, or is the doctrine that scientific laws are adequate to account for all phenomena. This ism is what infidels adhere to, as declared in Infidelsdotorg that owns The Secular Web (htto://infidels.org/)

Atheist_2

Organization of Infidels

Infidelsdotorg is an international organization of atheists who would rather call themselves “infidels,” defined in the dictionary as unbeliever, disbeliever, un-Christian. A most familiar name – Richard Dawkins – is a member of the Honorary Board, as one from his country, the United Kingdom (http://infidels.org/infidels/honorary.

This organization covets the time spent by the faithful in praying which it says should be better used for gainful pursuits. To some extent, this is true. Catholics, for example, pray with their rosary, 5 Our Father’s and 50 Hail Mary’s.  However, to God who knows the hearts of men, payers need not be long. A true-faith believer would know God will not appreciate treating him like deaf and dumb with repetitious prayers.  But more importantly, the wrong manner of praying does not void the presence of a creator, and praying to a believer is invoking his rights for help and protection from his maker.

Infidelsdotorg claims religious believers waste their money on church buildings. That is admittedly true for one that taxes its members the whole year through for lagak (literally means “drop”) and more lagak to build chapels and chapels but their doctrines are questionable, according to their most severe critic, Soriano.

Infidelsdotorg also mentioned “miracle healing” as practiced by some, with the uncured patient dying as a result. It also mentioned the Catholic Church’s opposition to birth control measures, the religious wars, justified murders on grounds of blasphemy, and many others as making religion “harmful.”

Infidelsdotorg is not exactly right, however, primarily for the reason that all religions cannot be lumped into one and then generalized as “harmful,” just as atheism comes in many forms.

As explained by Infidelsdotorg, an atheist is not looking for meaning or purpose in his life, does not believe in eternal life, is not afraid of death, and if he dies, that is the end of it. Atheists would not therefore readily turn to the teachings preached by Soriano because the Members Church of God International (MCGI) believes that man has to be saved from his sins, there is an eternal life, and that life has meaning and a purpose set by the Creator. Most of all, man has to live by God’s laws and not according to his own wishes. The end for man is to be glorious as his creator has set it – ruling over spirits and man that do not conform to the good and order.

In the history of the MCGI where Soriano is Presiding Minister to, there were only two converts to atheism, but this was not surprising since the two were found leading licentious lives.  As expected, they were excommunicated by the preacher. But notable is the fact that there have not been any liabilities to society among the MCGI members because the church looks after them. A lot of testimonies claim their lives have changed for the better after knowing the Christ being preached by Soriano.

Bro. Eli’s Longer List of the Harmful

The preacher has a longer list to what Infidelsdotorg calls religions’ “harmful” and he has a stronger term for these things: Udyok ni Satanas or Satan-inspired. They are invariably what false religions do and they are what he often calls attention to. To name a few, they include: (1) Baptizing children who have no knowledge of what is going on and who cannot give their consent to the ritual; (2) The forever-baby representations of Jesus Christ, and through images yet; (3) Virgin Mary believed not as a person but as direct mediator to Christ; (4) Santa Claus and celebration of Christ’s “birthday;” (5) Tithing; (6)Forever praying for the dead and forever paying services “for the repose of their soul;” (7) Calling the priest Father, Reverend, Most Reverend, Most Worshipful and many other addresses; (8) Use of Latin for Church services that people do not understand; (9) Prohibiting Church members from reading the Bible; and (10) Bad role modeling among church leadership who do not apply Bible injunctions: from improper way of dressing, to licentious living among the members. They only select what they teach for fear of losing members if they strictly teach all.

By calling these things Satan-inspired, Soriano recognizes something that naturalism denies. People sound being “in” when people mouth atheist ideas. But Soriano teaches that aside from matter that is admittedly living, there is something besides matter in man. This aspect is important in considering those whose ideas become truth for most of the public, the scientists for example.

Soriano goes beyond atheist scientists who do not recognize the existence of ethos as drivers of science and proponents of hypotheses.  Ethos, as defined, is the distinguishing characteristic, moral nature, or guiding belief of a person, group, or institution. A cat playing with a mouse as it dies slowly is hurting to them. There is the ethos of sympathy – for the dying mouse. What about a pupa that kicks and kicks itself to tiredness? If that is senseless, one’s sympathy for these beings may just be self-righteousness but one does not see that internal structures may need these interventions. Before a pupa becomes a beautiful butterfly, it has to kick and kick inside its cocoon to generate oil in its body. This is needed for its growth to the next phase. Grant it sympathy and tear the cocoon and see whether it can become a butterfly that it is meant to be.

It’s all About Ethos

Communicating anything – especially what one believes in like the origin of the universe or one’s religion is actually all about ethos. So when a person loses one’s faith, it is more like having one’s ethos changed. It is said that Charles Darwin “lost his faith” while writing On the Origin of species. Darwin wrote:

There seems to me too much misery in the world. I cannot persuade myself that a beneficent and omnipotent God would have designed the Ichneumonidae with the express intention of their feeding within the living bodies of caterpillars, or that a cat should play with mice. Not believing this, I see no necessity in the belief that they eye was expressly designed. On the other hand I cannot anyhow be contented to view this wonderful universe and especially the nature of man, and to conclude that everything is the result of brute force. I am inclined to look at everything as resulting from designed laws, with the details, whether good or bad, left to the working out of what we may call chance. Not that this notion at all satisfies me. I feel most deeply that the whole subject is too profound for the human intellect. A dog might as well speculate on the mind of Newton. (http://www.darwinproject.ac.uk/entry-2814)

Darwin mentioned CHANCE, not seeing order into the existence of things. To a believer however, there is no chance with God. He had created all things – with a purpose, from the beginning to its end. Whatever happens, God has allowed it and it is not by chance (Bro. Eli Soriano, MCGI, SPM, 12/1/2014).

Richard Dawkins, who is looked upon by many as the successor of Darwin, made a pitch against a supposed beneficent creator, referring to the same incident that Darwin spoke of –

Atheist_3

He wrote this in his book, The Greatest Show on Earth: The Evidence for Evolution (2010). Notice that he wrote “victim” for caterpillar. He wrote “paralyze but not kill” for feeding within the living bodies. Where reasoning is involved, there is ethos. Communicating reason carries mood or emotion, but it speaks more of the person’s norms, principles, standards. There is no reasoning without speech. So with two people talking about one incident, the ethos can vary. Aren’t these not carried into the labs? Scientific information is supposedly relayed with care, preserving the original as best as one can, cleaving to truth.

Ichneumonidae refers to parasitoid wasps seen as most beautiful and most amazing by some biologists. As implied, there is a creator who made these insects with a purpose in mind – no matter how we do not like what these insects do.

Atheist_4

It was Richard Dawkins who popularized the idea that religious believers shouldn’t be reasoned with, they should be laughed at. Another Atheist Scientist Lawrence Krauss is on record saying God is not needed for a universe to exist. These are the new heroes of emerging atheists today. Understandably, since communicating about existence or anything carries ethos, there is the need to be careful least one pick up the ethos of another.

In Charles Darwin’s account, the ethos is of an absence of readiness to consider a creator. In Richard Dawkin’s account, the ethos is of obvious negative or hostile state of mind against a supposed beneficent creator.

Ethos acts to level the playing field this way: Since the supposed reasoning comes from the person involved (the supposed thinker), justice plays its part for everyone. The religions may do their practices, harmful or not, but as they do them, it is up to the individual to submit to them or not, to question them or not, to consider them well as of life or as of death and then to decide what to do. If the individual fails to evaluate properly what his religion (harmful or not) offers, given his capacity to understand, then ethos has not worked for him. Ethos has been displayed or is being displayed by the subject religion as opportunities for him to assess, but he has not used his mind properly for an appropriate decision. So whether his religion is virus or not, is actually not an issue.

On the other hand, scientists come out from the labs with their hypothesis – but not everyone is able to watch them or read them as they communicate their findings. As Dr. Lawrence Krauss, for example, talks about his “Universe from Nothing,” he keeps on laughing at the religious as “those guys” and mocking at God as useless and not needed for a universe to exist. But Krauss gave conferences and wrote a book on this hypothesis. Although yet a hypothesis, it will most probably find its way into children’s books as the theory of evolution did. In this case, ethos from Krauss which should have provided the supposed thinker some window of him is almost nil – except those who have viewed him on YouTube most probably – or read his book.

Between false religions and atheistic science, the latter can do more harm then. Nevertheless, ethos from the communicant (religion or science) can logically be met with the principle,”from death to death and from life to life.” Life only comes from life. What we put in the mind and what we accept comes from this principle (II Cor 2: 15-16).

Local Atheists Parrot Atheist Scientists

As described by Infidelsdotorg, an atheist may be neutral or harmless, and that is probably when he is quiet. The moment he actively campaigns for their belief of a “There is no creator” and parrot their new-found heroes in Richard Dawkins and Lawrence Krauss among others, Christians may not look at this kind of atheists as harmless. That is the view of creationists or of at least true Christians like Soriano. Krauss wrote “A Universe from Nothing” (Atria Books (January 1, 2013).

Jeremy Lucban, a locale atheist, exemplifies these new atheists now pontificating to people to be unbelievers.  He laughed derisively at Bro. Eli Soriano’s post on the Mitochondrial Eve without understanding the preacher’s position. In return, the preacher called his mouth “stinking.”

Atheists do not recognize a creator and do not feel bound by God’s laws; therefore they do not look to the Bible as a reference for morality. They laugh at it as a book of fairy tales and Lucban just did it with the title of his newly-opened blog.  A true atheist would believe in evolution for it is sacrilege not to, and so he does. Not believing the Bible as true, Lucban cherry-picked verses “to prove” his point.

A creationist, particularly a true Christian, recognizes a creator and looks upon God’s laws as his guide to morality and truth. “Stinking” to a Christian therefore takes the word of God as to what it is. What are fragrant to God are those that are of Christ, and there are two types of aroma in the eyes of God: the aroma from life to life, and the aroma from death to death (II Corinthians 2:15-16).  Those who are not of Christ then have no life above the material and therefore they “stink” – not just in the mouth for they are spiritually dead, having taken their death from the non-life. In contrast, life can only be taken from life.

In his blog, Soriano posted ISAIAH 40:22 as in from the Bible –

ISAIAH 40:22

 It is he that sitteth upon the circle of the earth, and the inhabitants thereof are as grasshoppers; that stretcheth out the heavens as a curtain, and spreadeth them out as a tent to dwell in:

As a response, Lucban insolently posted “Isaiah 40:22 is FLAT EARTH with a DOME.” This was according to Lucban’s source, but what he meant to do was to load the ignorance of some believers on Soriano. Obviously, Lucban did this to jibe with his agenda of presenting the Bible as a book of fairy tales. And so everyone must believe the earth is flat with a dome – according to foolish believers. He even added an image of that “flat earth with a dome.” That’s pure Strawman fallacy, Lucban! You are boxing against the wind!

As to doing good without the Bible to follow, this is not impossible to some. The God of the Bible claims he has placed that desire on man. However, to unbelievers, they can never be moral (as with spiritual life) since their knowledge comes from non-life or death and is separated from the life of the maker.

The rest of Lucban’s arguments do not deserve attention. With Reductio ad absurdum he cuts up pieces, perhaps in his lack of understanding, or in his bid to find flaws before he could understand what is being said.

The Real Virus of the Mind

The mind, after all, necessarily needs to be free from whatever virus that impinges on it. The question then is not so much as where to locate the virus but why it is virus.That virus needs to be qualified from being just referred to as “virus because X does not reason.” There is a need to go deeper and say the virus is “virus because X does not reason properly. And why so? Because X, in man’s thinking carries ethos and it is seen in the way he communicates. Man, the actor in religion or science, is matter but he has a sentient part – exemplified simply in the way he thinks, in the way his words come. If reason is all that important to us, then virus must be located (for its presence or its absence) – but more than that: the reason of the reason.

Applied to the laboratories where scientists work, ethos is evident. Until now, the theories or hypotheses of scientists remain only theories or hypotheses after several centuries of studying. These include Darwin’s theory of evolution by natural selection, the Big Bang, and now Lawrence Krauss’ Quantum Mechanics’ universe from nothing.  If these are just theories or hypotheses, why act as if they were true? Why teach them? Why write books on them and make money out of them? It is obviously hard to believe in a scientist who, in his attempt to rationalize God fails, and curses him all along.

Applied to religions, ethos is also evident, and so a believer should be able to reason. Why, for example, should one kiss a wooden crucifix passed from one mouth to another? Why one should preach at chapels when he is a womanizer or a pedophile or a murderer? Why one should vote for a politician against one’s will for so-called church unity? There is much that religions have done to breed atheism – false that they are. It is worse than not knowing God at all.

The real virus of the mind is not religions per se, or scientism/naturalism. The real virus specifically comes in many names like greed and self-righteousness. It is very evident in ethos – in the way one communicates as a result of his thinking. It is the spirit of falsehood – the spirit that can rule in the mind of anyone (in science or in the religions) if he does nor watch out.

And the source of it? The same source of chaos, a spirit being that is seemingly doing its best to suppress exposure of the spiritual dimension (of existence, of man, of truth) because then he would be exposed – Satan. However, not in all cases is Satan responsible for the failings of man; it can be man himself.

For Bro. Eli Soriano who stands against these religions and stands against atheism, it is time the world asks him the question, why so? #

Trembling Catholic Defender Warns Members, “Keep Away from Bro. Eli Soriano”

By Jane Abao

Manila, Philippines (8/22/2014) – Beset by fear and anxiety, a Roman Catholic apologist called on the RCC members to maintain distance from Bro. Eli Soriano whom he calls a liar and all sorts of names.  The preacher recently had critiqued Jorge Mario Bergoglio or Pope Francis.

Aloysius Kayiwa, a Roman Catholic apologist, recently pleaded to Catholic members to guard their families and not fall for Bro. Eli. He posted his plea in Splendor of the Church, a blog that stands as Catholic Apologetics where he also attacked Soriano and his followers.Kayiwa2

Bro. Eli Soriano is the Presiding Minister of the Members Church of God (MCGI) or Ang Dating Daan as locally known. He has long since become a byword in the country and abroad for his kind of preaching through Bible Expositions that he does worldwide through satellite. The group reaps an average of 1,500 converts in weekly baptisms in Central Luzon alone and most of the converts come from the Roman Catholic Church. This has serious implications for great subtraction from many religious groups especially from the RCC membership.

Kayiwa, a Ugandan who is former Pentecostal and had converted to the Roman Catholic Church, is a correspondent of Splendor and is based in Africa. He is one of the three whom MCGI members referred to as “squids” covering up for Pope Francis. The other two are Abraham Arganiosa, the priest that initially handled the Splendor blog decorated with many images, and a Duane Yan aka Lay Person Scripturist.

Earlier, Duane Yan challenged Bro. Eli to a debate – not on doctrines but on which is a better Bible, emphasizing knowledge of Hebrew and Greek alphabet. Duane claimed Bro. Eli kept attacking the RCC. Meanwhile, Arganiosa merely called Bro. Eli names and shamed him in a blog, on top of photo-shopping the preacher’s image, placing his head on the body of another, and making him appear like a clown and childish. The third one is Kayiwa who is more knowledgeable than the two, but based his apologetics on saint worship and traditions of Catholic fathers that are not honored by other Christians.

As one of those involved in doing squid tactics that tried to derail discussions on what Pope Francis said, Kayiwa took over when not one of the Filipino apologists could speak up for the Pope’s words. He had also asked his brothers that his blogs be translated into Filipino but Jane Abao of Ang Dating Daan wrote, “Before you spread your heresies from Uganda to the Philippines, stand up and be measured!” This properly calls for Kayiwa to be tested in a debate before he spreads his false teachings, she retorted in her response on this blog .

The beginning of all these is that Bro. Eli found issues with the pronouncements of the Pope: about using conscience as guide to believing in God or not, and about Jesus being man, not spirit. In his letter to Eugenio Scalfari, founder of La Repubblica in Italy dated September 3, 2013, Pope Francis said, follow your conscience. Scalfari asked if God would forgive those who do not believe in him. At another instance, Pope Francis said, Jesus is not spirit; he is man. This was registered in RomeReports.com.  Bro. Eli posted his blogs titled, “Pope Told to be More Biblical in Pronouncements” and  “The Greatest Fallacy of the Roman Catholic Church Ever,” contesting these pronouncements on his official blog. Three Catholic apologists arose to respond, but managed to do squid tactics to obliterate the issue.

As responses to Bro. Eli, Duane produced two blogs, “A Response to the Attack of Eli Soriano against Pope Francis” and “Response to the Response of the Coward Leader of Ang Dating Daan.” Arganiosa wrote a shouting blog with every word capitalized,  titled, “MAMA ELI SORIANO TOO COWARDLY IN HIS ALIBIS; REFUSES DEBATE CHALLENGES;” and Kayiwa, three: REFUTING ELI SORIANO & HIS FELLOW FALSE PROPHETS ON THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST, Response to Eli Soriano’s Puppet, and Exposing the Fallacies, Lies, Hypocrisy and Insinuations of Soriano.”

Of the three “squids,” Aloysius Kayiwa had the penchant for going thick on everything to impress a bubble stock knowledge especially for his first blog. He is also the one that warns and in warning his brothers-in-faith, his insecurity is patent. Here are his last words in his blog3 titled, “Exposing the Fallacies, lies, hypocrisy, and Insinuations of Soriano by Aloysius Kayiwa” –

Please readers, do not fall for the deceptive reasoning of this thug false teacher Soriano. Guard your families and children; guard your brothers and sisters not to fall for this wayward agent of the Devil. This claim to “truth” or “true preacher” is a red flag characteristic utilized by this cult to instill an exclusiveness within their followers. Soriano is masterful at instilling elitism, tricking loyal followers into false reasoning that it is a privilege to be one of the Members of the Church of God International when he is actually leading them (sic) the garden path of hell.

This Blog3 deceptively sports a newspaper-looking top wherein Soriano’s photo is largely inserted in the middle, and to appear like a news clipping, the following is bannered: “Eliseo Soriano: False prophet, fugitive preacher and rapist.” However, there is no story body that follows the title – about his being “false prophet, fugitive preacher or rapist.”

The fallacies employed by Kayiwa will be the meat of discussions here.  These are either to defend himself or calculated to mislead the Catholic members whom he fears will believe in Bro. Eli. But first, here’s the background.

BACKGROUND: Bro. Eli Soriano found issues with two of Pope Francis’ pronouncements: 1) Follow your conscience whether to believe in God or not (Answer to an atheist, Eugenio Scalfari); and 2) Jesus is not spirit, but man (Registered in RomeReports.com). In the first, Bro. Eli said conscience is not a real guide because some men have seared conscience.  Bro. Eli also said, one who does not believe is condemned already, according to the Bible.

In the second issue, he said that some truths are time-bound and when the Pope gave his pronouncement that “Jesus is man,” it is not true anymore. From here, three apologists came up supposedly to defend the Pope but merely did squid tactics to obliterate the issue.

In an earlier response, Duane was shown to have simply boasted of his knowledge in Hebrew and Greek alphabet. Meanwhile, Arganiosa was shown to have merely photo-shopped the image of Bro. Eli on top of bad-mouthing him but never hit the issues. Aloysius Kayiwa was also answered in this blog for his first post.

The focus now is on Kayiwa’s Blog2, “Response to Eli Soriano’s Puppet,” that is addressed to Jane Abao. Excerpts of his statements (n) are posted first, followed by the fallacy committed. The author takes the opportunity to respond to these fallacies and then make a conclusion. Towards the end, being the addressee, the author will provide two questions asked by guests during random Bible Expositions to acquaint readers with Bro. Eli, even in a superficial way. Sic means “as is,” indicating wrong grammar or typography as Kayiwa placed them.

KAYIWA’S FALLACIES IN REASONING

(1)When someone is hurt, the option is either to keep quiet (if one is humbled) or react. Now one of the member (sic) of the Dating Daan (sic) Cult did the latter after her thug cowardly leader Eli Soriano was exposed and refuted. The lady who made the attack is named Jane Abao in a blog article – I do not know her personally – but for defense’s, (sic) I will respond to her asservation in a more articulate manner. I must say delusion is her tone but I also observed that truth is too painful for her and if she accuses me of not refuting what Soriano really said, I will accuse her missing the whole point in my article or still for committing the sin of omission. (Fallacy: Poisoning the Well, Distraction, Begging the Question)

It was your Pope whom Bro. Eli exposed, and his two exposes were the issues or points. You are changing the truth. Your article is not the one we are contending with. It was the Pope’s errors. Your article stood as your defense to the Pope. Therefore, they will be weighed as responses – but not the one presenting the issues. You also assume things that have not even started. I see you desperately painting a picture that you are on top of the situation. But you are trembling!

(2) The Splendor BLOG is a public blog and it is frequently NO. ONE (sic) in the Top Blog list ranking. Many people have found that blog useful and many people, whose souls were at a danger of being misled by your cult, were saved by this blog. Once again, many people have been converted by this blog including some from your sect. I myself have improved my Apologetics with the aid of this blog and that is why I chose to be its correspondent for Africa. There is nothing you can say about that. (Fallacy: Ad Populum or Appeal to People)

Splendor may be Number 1 in blog ranking, but it has failed to answer for Pope Francis. Now that you are boasting about it, has it won an award? None! Bro. Eli’s blog at www.esoriano.wordpress.com has won a Shorty Award for Most Educational To Follow in 2009, besting even Paulo Coehlo, a popular Brazilian author of the multi-translated The Alchemist fame.

Do not boast about ranking because it is mostly factored by using SEO algorithms of the following kind: controversies, scandals, nerve-wracking posts. No wonder, you try to destroy the reputation of people beginning with questionable photo-shopped images and fool your members as if those were true. You don’t care for truth if being Number 1 is your preference and so you thrive on scandals and controversies.

About our members being converted by Splendor, that is impossible because our culture does not include images and idol worship. Before I came to know Bro. Eli and his teachings, I have already learned that images are not to be prayed to. How? At the young age of 10, I had an extra-ordinary experience. I was leading a group of children praying before the image of Virgin Mary one summer night. (We were boarding a dormitory of an Episcopal Church that owned the school we attended). While I was approaching the image to kneel before it, my mind was telling me that we were simply before an idol. I led the prayers addressing “the Virgin Mary” but suddenly I broke into laughter. I laughed and laughed. No one was tickling me, but my funny bone was at its most active state. The prayers were then disrupted. In my embarrassment, we began again. But here went my uncontrolled laughter. We stopped again. Since that event had to be done with, we finally finished with my suppressed giggling. From there, I confirmed we were praying to an idol. I grew up really wondering why people prayed to stones and concrete images. I am glad I was never a Catholic and never had to do what they do. It is not impossible to know what is what.

(3) Your false teacher Soriano writes poisonous articles with a corrupt gospel but what have they helped his followers other than misleading them? In them is (sic) contained fretting, deception, cynicism and hypnotism. What have you done to prevent that? Soriano’s writings are like slow doses of poison, it is funny how you discredit my article in order to pass your attacks on me and shelve the false teachings of your leader. But let me tell you, there is no amount of deodorant and cosmetics you use that can cover the shame and rot in your thug leader. (Fallacy: Poisoning the Well, Begging the Question, Strawperson Argument)

Wrong assumptions, wrong conclusions. God’s words that Bro. Eli propagates have helped many understand the truth in the Bible, including having nothing to do with images that the Catholics worship. Fretting, deception, cynicism and hypnotism? You should rather write on a charge sheet and file a case if you believe Bro. Eli is doing this instead of merely blogging to mislead your people. You are feeding them with lies.

What have we done to prevent that? Nothing, because “that” is merely your bunch of lies. You got to shape up and be true to yourselves. What do you get out of fooling people just so they stay with the Roman Catholic Church? Beginning with the name, it is not even in the Bible. This is what Bro. Eli taught us –

DANIEL 9:19

O Lord, hear; O Lord, forgive; O Lord, hearken and do; defer not, for thine own sake, O my God: for thy city and thy people are called by thy name.

He said, if you are of God, it is the name of God that should be attached to you.

It is Church of God that you find mentioned 12 times in the Bible, but there is not a single mention of the Roman Catholic Church. You also say something that is not there, and then you try to destroy it. It looks easy to you, but there is nothing to destroy with the straw you put up.

“Shame and rot in your thug leader.” What are these? We do not know what you are talking about. The lot of cases fabricated against Bro. Eli, we know about them. Those were filed by the Iglesia ni Cristo where Bro. Eli is considered their most fierce critic. Those who filed them were former members that Bro. Eli excommunicated for offenses. They were thrown away and were accepted by the Iglesia ni Cristo. Some of the cases were won over; the others are being worked out. As it is, anyone with money can file a case against another. If someone files a case against you, it does not necessarily mean their allegations are true.

A lot of these cases were filed with evil intentions. You were taken in by those lies and it would not do good to your members if you teach them also to believe in lies.

Was there ever a case wherein members applied deodorant and cosmetics to cover for Bro. Eli? We would leave him, if there is a reason. It does not appear to you that what you are accusing me of is what you are doing for the Pope – squirting ink for the public not to see what is happening. Your Pope has been critiqued!

(4) It is so self-deceiving for you to think I wrote about “many topics” which you even do not mention. In my article I explained the Nature of God and the Divinity of Christ with the intention of crushing the inaccurate and misleading methods your false teacher uses to explain about God. If you will interpreted (sic) those interconnected topics as being “many topics,” fine for you but don’t impose your narrow mindedness on me. I am not responsible for your delusion. When I wrote, I wrote in the general sense so that people can learn the larger issue but you are so dumb to realize that. Shame on you! The aim of writing is not for eloquence (although that is necessary) but conveying the truth, that is the aim of my writing and I will write thick articles so long as they convey truth – and as long as you label them like that but there is nothing you will do about that. (Fallacy: Non Sequitur or It doesn’t follow)

I can understand by now that you do not know how to engage in arguments. That is why you enlarge an issue more than it is. The issue(s) were the Pope Pronouncements.  Period. So that is where we should stay put. Do not say you wrote something for general use and then complain when you are measured as being “thick” with extraneous material. Supposedly, was that to impress people that you were doing something for the Pope? Your members may be impressed but thinking minds can see through your padding tricks.

And before you shame anyone and lecture about writing, find out whom you are talking to!

(5) Actually it goes deeper than that. You see, I have read the arguments of the very early church – the very early church that gave you your Bible and I have compared the mumblings of your kind with those of the Early Church Fathers on the same issues – my analysis is your heretical beliefs were refuted long ago by Church Fathers. Who are you that your 21st Century knowledge and understanding can compare with excessively heavenly intelligent Justin Matyr and Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp and Jerome and Aquinas and Augustine? (Fallacy: Non Sequitur)

Sorry, but I do not read nor listen to “excessively heavenly intelligent Justin Matyr and Ignatius of Antioch and Polycarp and Jerome and Aquinas and Augustine.” What truths have they taught? I listen to the appointed preacher of God who was given understanding and a mouth that cannot be assailed.

It doesn’t follow that since the Roman Catholic Church came ahead, they have godly ascendancy over others. In fact, there was a blackout of knowledge for over many centuries, so how can they be that knowledgeable than now? Understanding what was prophesied to come in the end times plays a role here – and that means the True Church, affiliated with the Church of the First born that started in Heaven, will arise in the end times with understanding as its main tool and a mouth that cannot be assailed. You will see this one in Bro. Eli Soriano, and that has been tested by time.

Do you think I would spend many years studying and then fall for a fool? Over my dead body! When I chose my religion, I was led to it like the way I was able to understand that the Virgin Mary image was an idol. So, coming to know that was spirit-inspired. One Sunday, I simply took a bus to go to the next city and find the House of God because I wanted to worship. The pressure was so much that I rode without a destination in mind. The bus had arrived and yet I didn’t know where to go. When I finally went down, I went from one church to another and found myself rejecting them one by one. The sun was already up; it was way past high noon and yet I had not chosen a church. Still, I wanted to worship. Finally, I found one Church Locale of the MCGI (Ang Dating Daan). I fitted quite properly as if I belonged to them and as if I came to know them for many years. That was because I was already like them: wearing long skirt, no make-up, maintaining long hair and staying simple, as being taught by Bro. Eli. I sang songs with them easily and listened to the texto. That is the House of God – with simple people having simple hearts, ready to be led to truth with no baggage of the questionable traditions of men.

(6) The stupidity in you is seen when you claim Church Father’s (sic) teaching (sic) have no credibility for others but I was not writing only to refute your false teachers but also to enable others learn (sic) – I mean our Catholic brothers and sisters and all those who may be concerned about the strange and unusual teachings of Dating Daan (sic). (Fallacy: Ad Misericordiam. Appeal to sympathy ahead of reasons).

You were really on the wrong tract. What you were supposed to do is answer the issues presented. Answer what Bro. Eli said about the pronouncements of the Pope. Your article was not responding to the issue.  If you were to advance the learning of your brothers and sisters in faith, your materials were pegged then of saying “Do not listen to Soriano.” Sure enough, you ended this blog with warnings. But where was the answer to Bro. Eli’s allegations about the Pope’s words? They would ask you, was the Pope correct or not? What would you tell them since you have no answers for the Pope?

Here was your conclusion, in attempting to save Pope Francis from his critiqued statements  (from thick blog1, titled , REFUTING ELI SORIANO & HIS FELLOW FALSE PROPHETS ON THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST) –

(7) A human mind cannot hope to understand the reality of God; spiritual beings are beyond the comprehension of physical beings. The closest a fleshly being can come to understanding the spiritual realm, a realm unknown to daily reality or scientific understanding, is through the approximations of anthrop morphological (sic) statements. For this reason, any description of God is merely a vague humanized likeness.  As the reality of God is an unsolvable mystery, incomprehensible until we see him “face to face,” it is foolish to judge others with marginally different points of view.” (Fallacy: Appeal to Ignorance)

In other words, you are saying, it is foolish to judge the Pope’s pronouncements as either right or wrong because we cannot describe God anyway. That is your prescriptive view – in answer to the critique of Bro. Eli on the Pope’s words.

I wouldn’t buy this reasoning. Man cannot know God then? Is that why your Pope and the Roman Catholic Church are so full of errors? The Catholic Church sells indulgencies and people pay to get themselves and their relatives out of hell.  Just what are indulgencies? Research says the RCC claim they have a reservoir of grace built up by the saints and could tap these resources to save people on earth and purgatory. What a pagan teaching! Heaven’s reservoir of grace you sell? If you cannot describe God – as either spirit or man – it is because of these money-making schemes. Every church service (baptism, weddings, funeral, and the like) is being paid for in the RCC.

God is not that cruel not to allow man to come to know him, but it is possible. There are things God reserves for those he appoints to propagate his words. He gives them understanding. And it is these people we have to follow – so that we can know God and describe him. Some people cannot know God because they refuse knowledge. Here is what the Bible says –

PROVERBS 1:24-31 (KJV)

Because I have called, and ye refused; I have stretched out my hand, and no man regarded; But ye have set at naught all my counsel, and would none of my reproof: I also will laugh at your calamity; I will mock when your fear cometh; When your fear cometh as desolation, and your destruction cometh as a whirlwind; when distress and anguish cometh upon you. Then shall they call upon me, but I will not answer; they shall seek me early, but they shall not find me: For that they hated knowledge, and did not choose the fear of the LORD: They would none of my counsel: they despised all my reproof. Therefore shall they eat of the fruit of their own way, and be filled with their own devices.

Back to your attack on Jane Abao.

(8)Actually, this St. Athanasius is the one who produced the Canon of the Bible you hold in your hands. Let me tell you, you are a parasite of Arius the Heretic, you are trying to divert us from telling the truth of what transpired in ancient times in a bid to cover up for your sects (sic)  corrupt gospel. (Fallacy: Red Herring, Appeal to Emotion) 

Let me warn you Madame, that will not work for you. The truth is that your beliefs from your thug organization are demonic and what I mention are fundamental Christian beliefs believed for 15 centuries before your thug organization came after as a result of Luther’s reformation. Your Dating Daan (sic) has borrowed much from the devious teachings of Luther and his former heretic Arius, who even your fellow Protestants disowned as heretics. Don’t you feel ashamed that your beliefs stem from the falsity of Arius and Luther. There’s nothing Christian about your Christ-deity rejecting cult. (Fallacy: Red Herring, Appeal to threat)

I was not born just yesterday. Judging from your own words, you are writing more to be believed by your members than by me as the addressee. It is on account of your great need to impress them that by throwing insults, you are deemed by them as correct. That is not how truth comes about.

The Bible is “God-breathed,  the source of truth, the standard for meaningful life” as accepted by many – but not the Catholic version that has questionable portions added.  Isn’t it obvious I wouldn’t be using a Catholic Bible?

The MCGI has no corrupt gospel.  We do not baptize infants who do not understand and cannot give their consent to baptism. We do not espouse image veneration or worship. We do not sell Church services like the RCC does. When one dies, we do not sell masses to be celebrated in many churches. If that is the case, then only the moneyed can find “repose” for their souls. We believe that when one is dead, he is in the hands of God. He is only resting, waiting for the resurrection, so that there is no need to buy salvation for them. We do not make sign of the cross – a sure sign of the devil. There are many things we do not do because God did not say they are godly to do.

The “fundamental Christian beliefs believed for 15 centuries” that you boast of may have been outdated, corrected and dropped after new truths were revealed. Remember that some truths are time-bound. That is what you do not understand in the RCC and so you find fault in Bro. Eli. He taught us that at the time of the end, there is a possibility that the closed book will be opened. What will happen? “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.” And what he taught us are found in the Bible.

Daniel 12:4

But thou, o Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

So what was not known in those many centuries are being revealed now. You have a wrong sense of time if you think “time” to man is also time to God. In the MCGI, Bro. Eli reveals the mysteries of God as understanding comes to him. There are truths that have been reserved for the future, especially for the end-times. See the texts in Daniel.

You are not correct about the way you seek information.  The MCGI is not protestant; it has never been a part of Luther and what he stands for, nor Arius that you link to us. If that is the way you seek truth, with even as basic as researching, you do not have the proper skills to advance. No wonder you build on shaky ground.

THE FEAR OF KAYIWA SHOWS

For all your laughter, Kayiwa, in jeering Bro. Eli, the real character of fear in you manifested when you came upon the word, DEBATE and quickly misunderstood me with whom you were discussing. You were analyzing my work –

“Like the others, you mention many things that are only true to you. I will just show you some of what you said:

In his first line, Soriano says that: “Now, if the son is equal to the Father and the Father is a spirit, it follows that the Son must also be a spirit!” This is a bogus statement confusing the nature of God and cancelling out Soriano. Notice how he confuses the Spirit to be the Father and the Son and not Himself. Soriano does not know what “equal” means and he confuses the nature of the one God and through misapplying and torturing Scriptures to support his erroneous views.

If Jesus is also a Spirit like His Father as Soriano says, why does the Spirit come on him during Baptism by John the Baptist?

Resolution for this is a televised debate.”

It means, for these things to be settled, a televised debate is being proposed by me. That is the simple grammar of it. The one who said “bogus statement” and that “Soriano does not know what equal means” was you, Kayiwa; and for that to be examined, a debate was proposed.

Now, notice your answer, Kayiwa –

(9) “Madame, you do not know what you are talking about surely. Who told you this is a televised debate or was a televised debate? Who told you? Stop being self-deceiving. This was a blog post. Let me tell you, even if this was a televised debate, there is nothing from the kinds of you. We have refuted all the Iglesia ni Manalo Debaters in televised debates. These Iglesia debaters themselves defeated Ang Dating Daan debaters. Rest assured, Madame, there is nothing we fear – even on Televised Debate. The problem is that your debaters are afraid to engage us, including your thug coward false teacher Soriano. Just come out of your dens and debate us (sic) if you are confident. Tell your thug leader to come out from his den and prove the fallacies he accuses us in real debate. We (CFD Debaters) fear nothing! That is the writing on the wall for you and him.” (Fallacy: Ad Populum, Appeal to Emotion)

As a practiced debater – local and international – Bro. Eli has his batting average recorded. In the space of four years from 1995-1998, Bro. Eli had a record of 17 total debates or 4 debates each year. Now, it is becoming less and less especially in foreign lands because these debates on video are posted all over the Internet. Challengers are withdrawing although there are times the tickets for Bro. Eli and his staffs have been bought already and the venue paid for.  Once these challengers are able to view these videos, they retract. I leave the readers to judge these allegations of Kayiwa.

(10) Besides, has your cult produced any Saint? Do you have Saints in your cult? No one. Yet you are accusing us for having Saints, the righteous of God. These Saints mean a lot to us Catholics as Role Models together with Jesus… (Fallacy: Distraction)

Maybe the idea of praying to the Saints is a bit strong for the likes of Jane Abao so I like the idea of praying with the Saints who intercede on our behalf in their praises to God. In our human nature, we are always looking for heroes. Football’s hall of fame is located everywhere. The Catholic Hall of Fame is located in Heaven. Just as we honor some of the great sports legends and war heroes, we especially honor those who lived for God and are in Heaven. (Fallacy: Strawperson Argument)

What is a saint? A saint is a Christian, dead or alive, who does God’s will. He or she does not need to be “canonized” by the RCC for holiness. Therefore, saints are found in the House of God. This is where the saint is to be perfected – in the house of God. It is God who judges who is saint – not human beings.

There is no need for intercession in praying.  Intercession is the cause of money flowing from people to the Roman Catholic Church unnecessarily as if access to God is through money – only. If you are a child of God and he is your Father, why do you have to pray to other people – especially dead people – to pray for you? What can dead people do when they are resting (no consciousness) and waiting for the resurrection?

And, the Catholic Hall of Fame is located in Heaven? In Heaven where God is, there is no competition. No one there is famous or non-famous. Here on earth, each of us is expected to toe the line as Christians and so everyone can be a saint. The field is leveled for everyone moneyed or not – and there’s the Bible to guide us – plus our proper thinking tools to process information through logic, plus rightful research, but never the traditions of man that have become questionable.

Fear is very patent in the response of Kayiwa. What is he afraid of? Of sheep being stolen from the RCC. He said that. Then he ends with a threat. This is his threat –

(11) Besides, do not be a hypocrite Madame. Empirically Protestants have more leprosy than Catholics. I can prove that if you want me to do (sic). This is not an argument boast but a fact. Make no mistake about that. And as long as you want to attack us, we shall respond with equal measure. I mean we shall respond even with greater force. We are qualified for that. There is no doubt about that. (Fallacy: Red Herring, Ad Populum, Appeal to Force).

We are not Protestants – in the sense that we do not or do deny the authority of the Pope. We are Christians and have nothing to do with authorities of other people. Go prove yourself to the Protestants – for all we care. We are not Protestants. AND your threat is hollow!

“Attack” is your word, but that is not the way we look at searching for truth. If there is something we find that we must not hold on to, no matter how many centuries it was counted on as “truth,” if understanding is given by God through our Church Leader to let go, then we let go that “truth” and follow God.

(12)The Bible calls Soriano a liar. (Fallacy: Red Herring)

However, the cult’s teachings are like a flawed product disguised by impressive packaging. Although their teachings appear truthful, they are embodied in a fallacy with a deliberate attempt to mislead. The Dating Daan (sic) literature is saturated with these fallacious statements in which the error is not obvious. Eli Soriano uses this to masterfully deceive, trick, control and manipulate his followers.  (Fallacy: Circular Argument)

Do not let clear thinking be swamped by these semantics and devious teachings falsely presented as the “established truth” and “of God” – they are not true in the real sense. They are the fanciful falsehoods of human imaginations of Eli Soriano and are specific statements that manipulate the actions of members like this Jane Abao. (Fallacy: Post Hoc, Ergo Propter Hoc or After this, therefore because of this)

Kayiwa goes round and round in his fear and trembling, where there is no danger. You cannot impound people when they look for truth by your many words that tend to paint someone falsely. Somehow, a person will have to search, as most of former RCC members that have been enlightened by Bro. Eli’s preaching do.

“It is true that as told in the Bible, there is a time the book is closed and no one can understand.

Daniel 12:4

But thou, o Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

“But in the later times, that understanding needed will be given. Understanding is very important. It shows us whom God appointed to handle his word. But to whom will it be given? There is a prophecy for understanding –

Daniel 12:9-10

And he said, go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

“The wise shall understand. They will understand the content of the prophecy. They are called wise. This will also happen in the end times.

Daniel 12:3

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.”

I am actually quoting from a book of Bro. Eli in Q and A.  He ended his answer to the question like this –

So the wise will be used by God as instruments in turning people to righteousness. Many will come to know the Lord. Those who will be God’s instruments in bringing people to righteousness are wise.

I did not say I am that, but I can be one of them. There is no necessity for Daniel to describe my person. You just have to fall under what is prophesied.

The un-equaled understanding of Bro. Eli is his claim to being one of those chosen to preach God’s word, although Kayiwa condemns him as liar. If Bro. Eli is a liar, why does he have understanding that the Pope does not have?

Back to the plea of this trembling apologist –

(13) Please readers, do not fall for the deceptive reasoning of this thug false teacher Soriano. Guard your families and children; guard your brothers and sisters not to fall for this wayward agent of the Devil. This claim to “truth” or “true preacher” is a red flag characteristic utilized by this cult to instill an exclusiveness within their followers. Soriano is masterful at instilling elitism, tricking loyal followers into false reasoning that it is a privilege to be one of the Members of the Church of God International when he is actually leading them the garden path of hell. (Fallacy: Slippery Slope)

Wrong assumptions. It is best that you ask those who have left the RCC why they followed Bro. Eli. They are laughing now at what they had been taught to do for many years. Their eyes were opened; the veil that covered their understanding has been lifted.

Now we come to the physical lay-out of the page.

 (14) [The blog response of Kayiwa deceptively sports a newspaper-like top wherein Soriano’s photo is largely inserted in the middle, and to appear like a news clipping, the following is bannered: “Eliseo Soriano: False prophet, fugitive preacher and rapist.” However, there is no news story that follows as a body of this title]. (Fallacy: Desperate attempt to mislead readers. Red Herring)

Anyone not familiar with photo-shopping tricks like this one will think there was a newspaper that really came out like that. It is public knowledge that the Splendor of the Church blog tagged as Catholic Apologetics is notorious for doing such photo-shopping tricks to malign their subjects. Obviously calculated to mislead their readers, they unknowingly show the true character of their religion. That is how some sectors view this blog which apologists like Kayiwa boast of as protecting their people from the likes of Bro. Eli.

It is wrong to do this. It is un-Christian. We should be ashamed of other religions that do not call themselves “Christians” and yet do not do what we do. Splendor has a Website man that does foolish things online to make the blogs more biting and respond to SEO algorithm for more article exposure. But the blogger still has the responsibility on whatever is posted to accompany the article.

CONCLUSION: The author now takes the opportunity to conclude about Aloysius Kayiwa’s prescriptive view that “A human mind cannot hope to understand the reality of God; spiritual beings are beyond the comprehension of physical beings…. therefore, it is foolish to judge others with marginally different points of view.” [See (7)].

The supports and evidences that Kayiwa gave are not supports at all to his conclusion that we cannot describe God, so it is foolish to weigh the pronouncements of Pope Francis.

What Kayiwa could have done is to write on Pope Francis and what the Pope could have meant in light of situations surrounding him. Kayiwa could have given more effort for supports to back up the Pope in order to debunk the claims of Bro. Eli – if he could do it.

Instead, all Kayiwa did was write “Shame on you!” to me several times, call me a hypocrite, and condemn me as a puppet of “a leader of shame and rot.”

What is a puppet? The dictionary says, a puppet is “a movable model of a person or animal that is used in entertainment and is typically moved either by strings controlled from above or by a hand inside it.” So a puppet has no mind of his own. And yet, between me and Kayiwa, who prays to an idol and doesn’t even know it?

Most of all, Kayiwa flung blind accusations on Bro. Eli, calling him “wayward agent of the devil” with “writings of slow doses of poison,” of “poisonous articles with corrupt gospel that contained fretting, deception, cynicism and hypnotism.”

Surely, this is not the way of a people looking for truth. If we use critical thinking to discuss and advance with truth, it is not a chance for us to shame people.

YOU BE THE JUDGE

This is the first of two questions  presented here. The first was asked in one of the Bible Expositions of Bro. Eli in a Q&A portion by a guest from United Kingdom. This was excerpted from an EFerSon Context Book -a book devoted to Bro. Eli’s ministry. When it comes to questions, Bro. Eli can tell what religion you belong to, so he takes every opportunity to speak. You be the judge as to who Bro. Eli is – as against the contentions of Kayiwa.

Q88_From UK_Guest (7/8/2012): Greetings in the name of Jesus Christ. Sir, what is your authority in preaching?

Bro. Eli Soriano: Thank you for this opportunity to correct you with your impression. I pray that you will be enlightened with the answer I will give you.

First of all, please do not address me as Sir. While others like to be called sir, I prefer to be called Brother. The word “sir” or “sire,” implies somewhat of lordship. I am not a lord over the members of the Church.

I Peter 5:2-3

Feed the flock of God which is among you, taking the oversight thereof, not by constraint, but willingly; not for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as being lords over God’s heritage, but being examples to the flock.

To be acknowledged like a lord or of higher rank over the brethren in faith is prohibited. The implication is not biblically good. It is as if I were acting like a lord of the flock.

Matthew 23:8 -9

But be not ye called rabbi: for one is your Master, even Christ; and all ye are brethren. and call no man your Father upon the earth: for one is your father, which is in heaven.

The recommended way of calling one another is Brother, Sister. The apostles themselves were addressed as brothers. They were not called “Reverend,” “Most Reverend,”  “The Very Reverend,” “Honorable,” “Most Honorable.” As far as I am concerned, Brother, Sister is the most respectful way of addressing a co-servant. I am requesting you not to call me Sir. In baptism, you should receive the Lord Jesus Christ, not Brother Eli Soriano. We are not preaching ourselves.

II Corinthians 4:5

For we preach not ourselves, but Christ Jesus the lord; and ourselves your servants for Jesus’ sake.

There are instances that I have to prove that I have the right to preach the Gospel. That is not preaching myself. I am preaching the Lord. I am preaching because I want to obey the commandment of the Lord – not because I just want to preach.

One of the commandments is in –

James 4:17

Therefore to him that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, to him it is sin.

I do not want to commit sin. Committing sin is not just transgressing the law. Knowing good but not doing it is also sin. That gives me desire to preach the gospel. I have known the scriptures.  It has been my pleasure to study spirituality since my childhood. I have read books of different doctrines. I have investigated all areas of faith in the world. After knowing that others are not preaching the truth, there’s urgency in me to do what is proper to do.

What I share is what I know is true that others do not preach. Some can’t even ask questions or investigate. I am the only preacher mingling with people and giving people chance to voice out their doubts. Then a question arises: What is my authority in preaching?

John and the Lord Jesus Christ answered such query. There are times the same question is posed to me. Then I read prophecies. But I cannot remember any instance when I uttered, “I was prophesied.”  I just read prophecies such as this –

Daniel 12:4

But thou, o Daniel, shut up the words, and seal the book, even to the time of the end: many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.

At the time of the end, there is a possibility that the closed book will be opened. What will happen? “Many shall run to and fro, and knowledge shall be increased.”

Historically, there is no time like our time when there are as many running to and fro and knowledge is increased. I have seen the fulfillment of this prophecy. There may have been televisions in progressive countries but not in the Philippines during the 1950’s.

I saw the advent of the transistor radio. I was young then when the television was introduced.  I have seen how knowledge has increased. Today, just having a laptop gets you connected to the whole world. That is in the prophecy. Coincidentally, with that prophecy –

Daniel 12:9-10

 And he said, go thy way, Daniel: for the words are closed up and sealed till the time of the end. Many shall be purified, and made white, and tried; but the wicked shall do wickedly: and none of the wicked shall understand; but the wise shall understand.

So there is a prophecy of understanding. The wise shall understand. This will also happen in the end times. They will understand the content of the prophecy. They are called wise.

Daniel 12:3

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.

So the wise will be used by God as instruments in turning people to righteousness. Many will come to know the Lord. Those who will be God’s instruments in bringing people to righteousness are wise.

I did not say I am that, but I can be one of them. There is no necessity for Daniel to describe my person. You just have to fall under what is prophesied.

Daniel 12:3

And they that be wise shall shine as the brightness of the firmament; and they that turn many to righteousness, as the stars forever and ever.

I can be one of those wise who will turn people to righteousness. And it is happening. Broken families are being mended. Vicious people are turned to Christ. The prophecy is happening in my person. I can be considered one of those who will turn people to righteousness.

Every word of God has its fulfillment. But I am not elevating myself to a degree of exultation. I may be one instrument of God to turn people to him.

There are many ways for me to presume that God uses me to turn people to God. I used the word presume. It implies not putting too much trust in one’s self but trusting in God.

Proverbs 3:13

Happy is the man that findeth wisdom, and the man that getteth understanding.

Is it evil for me to presume that I am a man who found wisdom and has understanding? I can feel within me that God is giving me understanding to his words. You judge the fruit of what God has done to me. Whatever anyone thinks of me, I can speak for my authority in preaching. Is there anyone – in the whole world – who can preach what I am preaching now?

AND THIS IS THE second question. It is about SAINTS from a former Roman Catholic member who underwent indoctrination and was getting ready for baptism in MCGI. The question was asked in 2011. It is placed here because Kayiwa had boasted about their “saints.” Let us learn what SAINT means.

Q14_Guest (9/17/2011): What does saint mean? Why are graven images of the Catholics called saints?

Bro. Eli Soriano: We don’t give meaning to the word “saints.”  But the bible gives meaning to it.

PSALMS 51:11

Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me.

Saint or Santo means holy. The final authority in the meaning of terms is the Bible. Saints in the Bible can mean holy people or holy angels – because there are angels that are not holy.

EPHESIANS 3:5

 Which in other ages was not made known unto the sons of men, as it is now revealed unto his holy apostles and prophets by the Spirit;

There are holy apostles. There are holy angels also.

MARK 8:38

Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.

There are holy angels; they obey god. There are holy people; they also obey god.

JAMES 5:12

But above all things, my brethren, swear not, neither by heaven, neither by the earth, neither by any other oath: but let your yea be yea; and your nay, nay; lest ye fall into condemnation.

This teaches us not to be liars. It teaches us to be true to our words.

JOHN 8:44

Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it.

WHAT ABOUT BRO. ELI’S TEACHINGS?

The truth in Bro. Eli’s teachings is what made me stay for the last 13 years. I came from the Worldwide Church of God where I stayed for almost 3 decades until it broke up – into many groups. From that experience, I was ever alert for possible errors from preaching. BUT the more I listened to Bro. Eli and the longer I stayed with MCGI, the more I am convinced it is The True Church.

The teachings as taught by Bro. Eli are biblical. There is not a time that he does not quote from the Bible as he teaches. All topics are backed up with Bible verses and everyone can check what he is saying. Then they can be followed up with more discussions during weekly consultations that are an integral part of the Church Service. He encourages asking questions – unlike many pastors who do not even know the scriptures.

Bro. Eli’s topics are GOOD NEWS and spirit-inspired, and they have never been heard of before and elsewhere. They are a fruit of understanding given him from time to time. This explains why in other so-called churches, they have one-hour service – at most 1.5 hours – but in the Members Church of God International, they can stay awake up to the wee hours of the morning, listening to Bro. Eli, yet never getting tired of it. You can see this happening mostly in the ADD Convention Center at Apalit, Pampanga, north of Manila – the base of activities in weekly thanksgivings that are telecast through satellite in all the 6 continents of the world where the church members are. More so during 3-day quarterly thanksgivings where at the end of it, you can still hear some of the members wanting for more – time to be together and listen to God’s words.

LIKE RATS TO THE BEAM

Contrary to Kayiwa’s allegations, evidences of what are stated here are there for easy checking. The truth is, when a man trembles with fear from lying, he fears more for one nightmare: that of the RCC ship being abandoned by members – like rats racing out quick to the beam.