As some of you may be assuming, based on the title, that this article is written to attack the present Executive Minister. IT IS NOT. I believe he is the one appointed by God. But this is simply a commentary of how every Minister, from the Council to all the “loyal followers” are treating Brother EVM.
So to go directly to the topic, is Brother Eduardo V. Manalo infallible? Ask every Minister you know and they should answer NO, he is not. Meaning that he is a human being. He is fallible. He is susceptible to mistakes. So why put him up on a pedestal worthy to be praised and prayed for over and over again. From the Head Deacon who does the opening prayer, and again, in the closing prayer, usually by the Minister, and once again, in the same prayer. This has become the pattern for many Worship Services. Just carefully examine the pictures below of the “honor” being rendered to the Executive Minister.
So much praise is rendered to him, of how he is taking care of the flock, how he is valiantly defending the Church and how dynamic he is in his leadership that brethren are on the verge of Idolatry.
And then, our Lord Jesus Christ, the head of the Church, is relegated to a footnote, “oh yeah, by the way, Lord Jesus, please bring our prayers to our Father”.
Three things we must take note on this; one, we are COMMANDED to PRAISE our Lord Jesus Christ:
“that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth,
and every tongue acknowledge that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father.”
Two, when Jesus was called good teacher, He corrected His disciples: “Why do you call me good? No one is good, except the Father in heaven”
And three, whatever amazing and dynamic things the Executive Minister has done, Jesus Christ commanded His disciples to simply say this:
“So you also, when you have done everything you were told to do, should say, ‘We are unworthy servants; we have only done our duty.'”
But listening to the Worship Services these days is more like a “praise EVM” gathering. Just simply take note of the sermons. Especially in the recent services – From the very start, the officiating Minister mentions the “Church Administration” this and “Church Administration” that. You want to compare? Here is a challenge, COUNT how many times the officiating Ministers will say “Administration” / “Bro. Eduardo” / “Executive Minister” and compare it to how many times they will say the “Lord Jesus Christ”. I mean, it is HIS CHURCH right? He should be mentioned more than any other human being right?
Is this simply a figment of my imagination? Or is this another article to ‘bash’ Ka Eduardo? No. It is a comparison to how it was before and what it is being done at the present time.
Have you noticed that even the signs are now more and more about ka EVM? Where is the Iglesia Ni Cristo? Where is Praise God? But there sure are “We are One…”
If we really want to compare to the early days, listen carefully to the voice of the late Brother Felix Manalo himself – he says: “Ang gusto kong makaakit sa inyo ay itong salita ng Diyos. Hindi ako. Porque ako tao. Hindi ninyo dapat ako paniwalaan… ”
In English, Brother Felix said, “Therefore, I want you to be persuaded in are God’s words – not me. Because I am a man. You should not believe in me. What we should believe in are the words of God given to Christ and the Apostles.”. Brother Felix himself downplayed his importance. He EXALTED the gospel, not himself. He never campaigned to be One With Him. He just insisted for people to listen to God’s words. Is it like that now? Was Brother Felix upset if people did not want to believe him? On the contrary, listen to his statement:
Brother Felix said: “If I said to you, it’s John, it’s this… FALSE. Why? Because you are saying it. You, Manalo. We don’t believe you. That’s what I want. Don’t believe me.” No Ego at all. He made it clear that it would be WRONG to be persuaded by and to follow man. He said “That’s what I want. Don’t believe me.” Can you imagine if we said these very words right now to the present Administration? “We don’t believe you.” EXPEL!
What was the goal of Brother Felix Manalo why he kept insisting not to believe in him? Here is another clip for a few years later:
He said: “It’s clear. That is not my teaching. That is not my gospel. That is why I don’t want to speak from myself but I just read it. So you will see you are following not man, because it is forbidden for an Iglesia Ni Cristo to follow man when it comes to God. What he should only follow are the words of God.”
Brother Felix wanted to make it crystal clear to us that we must follow God and not man. He was always insistent on not following man, INCLUDING HIMSELF! Why? Because Brother Felix Manalo knew and understood that he was fallible. He did not want people to follow him or believe in him. He made mistakes just like everyone else. We will tackle this in Part 2.
Aside from Jesus himself, see if there were any leaders of God’s nation who was sinless. Yes, God is the one who put men to lead His nation, but think about them one by one:
We are often told in the Worship Services (especially when comparing the issues of Bro. EVM and his siblings) – – about how Moses led Israel even when his siblings spoke against him. Just keep in mind that Moses did not even get to enter the land of Promise because he relied on what he thought he knew and directly disobeyed God by striking the rock when he was told to “speak to the rock”.
Then there is Saul; the very first king of God’s nation. Chosen and anointed. He consulted mediums. He ended up losing God’s favour and committing suicide.
David? A great king. He sent the soldier to the frontline to be killed because he desired his wife. Afterwards Prophet Nathan told him as punishment for his sin, that his son would die.
Solomon? In spite of his legendary wisdom the Bible even said, “Solomon’s wives turned his heart after other gods”. He built graven images.
(Quick quiz – who was the successor of the wise King Solomon, who was considered one of the greatest kings? Most of us don’t know. Why? Because his son was a lousy king. It was Rehoboam. He listened to the people he grew up with. He put a great burden on the people by heavily taxing them. And when the people of God cried out, the greater the tax he put on them. Hmmm… (What a parallel!!). I just thought about that….
I can carry on for pages listing the leaders who were did not remain obedient to God. There were plenty of leaders of God’s nation who were simply terrible. Please note – I AM NOT SAYING that Brother EVM is an evil leader. The point here is that even leaders whom God appointed are human beings. They are not infallible. Even Brother Felix Manalo realized that!
So if there are those who are flipping their lids when someone “questions” Brother EVM”, calm down! Think first. To have divisions, someone draws a line. It is those who are over excited when they feel ka EVM is insulted who are the ones drawing that line of division. THINK CAREFULLY! Weren’t there brethren who questioned ka Erdy’s decisions back then? Of course there were! He was aware of them. When there were decisions that had to be made in cases between brethren, there were those who did not like his decisions when it went against them. But they were not harassed to Submit nor pledge allegiance to EGM. Some just stayed quiet but later on, they saw the wisdom of his decisions. Why can’t that be done now? Now, every FB comment is monitored, every brother whose decreased Thanksgiving deposit is questioned, officers required to make statements and every question results in being reported. What is that term? Police State? To quote George Orwell’s book 1984, “Big Brother is watching”. If you haven’t read it, it will sound very familiar. Make a comment and they will come knocking.
We understand that the Administration has the duty to teach but it does not mean that we are subservient to every whim of man.
So to our dear Leader, please take down those giant posters of ka EVM’s face. And those irritating thumbprints. Do you think your grandfather would approve of all that? The Messenger declared, “we are not following man”. Please live up to that.
END OF PART I