Crucifixion was conducted in the olden days for the punishment of all kinds of criminals, malefactors or anyone considered an enemy of the governing empire.
The New World Dictionary describes CRUCIFIXION as “an ancient method of execution practiced in the Roman Empire and neighboring Mediterranean cultures, such as the Persian Empire, where a person was nailed to a large wooden cross or stake and left to hang until dead.”
The most well-known to be crucified is of course, Jesus Christ who was condemned by Pontius Pilate. He was crucified because He was considered a threat to Rome and regarded as a kind of renegade. It was done in the most painful manner, where Jesus was arrested, beaten, flogged, humiliated and mocked before dying a slow painful death on the cross.
We should understand that the purpose of Crucifixion was not only to punish the criminal but it served as a deterrent to others. Those who were found guilty were brought before the people that others may witness the suffering and humiliation.
In the 21st century, there are no more crucifixions in the modern world (although I am not sure if it still exists in some backwards country somewhere) but now, the punishment for criminals are somewhat more “humane” in that there are no more degrading torture.
But what seems to be taking place within the Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo) is a modern day version of a cyber crucifixion. When there are those who are regarded as the “enemy” of our faith, it is not sufficient that they are expelled (which is already the heaviest punishment one can impose on a Church of Christ member) but now, there are several more steps beyond that.
Many of you are aware of what has been taking place in the Church in the last few months, several former ministers and members, including the mother and siblings of the Executive Minister, have been expelled. But what we are seeing now, is the continuous torture of individuals. I am talking about how their lives are being dragged out in the open for all the world to see, exposed, humiliated and mocked.
Keep in mind that one of the reasons for crucifixion is to serve as a deterrent. So that no one will think of doing the same acts, to never think of opposing the leaders, the punishment is exposed to instill fear in everyone. So now those who have been expelled, most prominently is “Mrs. Cristina Manalo, the 79 year old mother of the Executive Minister.” She has been “identified” as the “mastermind” of this current problem of the Church. So, as a result, the onslaught of insults, mockery and ridicule continue online. In some circles, it would be called cyber bullying or harassment, but not to the “faithful” Church members. This is considered defending the faith and now she and all her cohorts are now fair game.
I’m sure this tactic works to some degree, frightening the church members into submission. The thought of having your name posted online, your pictures edited to have horns and devilish red eyes; your reputation dragged through the mud and along with you, your family members, spouse and children are not safe either. Imagine the barrage of insults and attack on you personal life. The deepest personal information may even be dragged into it. Some former ministers who stepped down even had their most unflattering pictures shown in the Philippine newspapers. Even personal affects can be itemised to justify that you had a lavish lifestyle. Who would want that done to them?
Sad to say, it is the Church leaders themselves who are initiating or promoting such new age crucifixion. Led by one of the prominent ministers, the modern day Pontius Pilate, these people are dragged out, not into the literal streets, but worse, into the virtual world, literally for people all over the world to see.
WHAT HAVE WE BECOME?
How can it be that the Church leaders are allowing such torture to be conducted? Is this still a Christian thing to do? Is this not what was done TO (not done by) our Lord Jesus? And yet now it is the very Church OF Christ which is crucifying the people? I cannot answer for each and every individual who were expelled, I don’t know every one of them. But regardless of what offenses they have committed, even the lawmakers nowadays have limits to what may be “Cruel and Unusual” punishment.
What is even sadder, just like in ancient Rome, the killing and torture of Christians were enjoyed by the public back then, are also now being seen and enjoyed by the bloodthirsty members. What a bloodthirsty bunch we have become. When there are those whom the Administration deems “rebellious” they are expelled or excommunicated, their names are announced in worship gatherings, all are instructed not to associate with them. From then on, anything goes.
As I said, I cannot answer what each person has done, but somehow, in the eyes of the Church, once you are out, you are fair game; insults can be hurled, lies can be told about you, vile angry words can be uttered and curse words are now permitted since you are no longer a member of the Church. And then we will invite others to join us in the Church??
I cannot believe that some of these Ministers who are posting these things are doing this on their own. They obtained so called “proof”. How else would they have gotten them without the Administration?
So the question is, why is the Administration permitting this “crucifixion”? Why allow the blood-lust of so called brethren permitted to grow? They are like attack dogs waiting for fresh meat, waiting for the next prey. Just look at some of the words of these “alleged sheep”, and these are the MILD ones:
The final part of this commentary, is simple. All these things can be stopped by one simple command of the Executive Minister. “Stop the attacks and behave like Christians”. But why is there no such instruction? Why let the attack dogs continue to tear and gnaw at the carcasses of the expelled? Is it not that when people are expelled and sent back into the world they are regarded as spiritually dead? We have heard the biblical instructions regarding those who “do not bring the teachings of Christ” – to “not take them into your homes and do not welcome them” but where in the Bible does it say we crucify the enemies of our faith? How does this fit the teachings of Jesus that we must “love your enemies”? Or “Pray for those who persecute you”?
Persecutions are nothing new to the Iglesia Ni Cristo. We grew up with persecutions. In schools we were laughed at. When we didn’t stand for the school prayer, we were mocked. When we went to work and asked for Thursdays and Sundays to attend worship services, we were oppressed and even cursed at by co-workers. We had persecutions from Catholics, Protestants, ADD, Baptists, you name it, we had it. So what makes this different? Why is it that when there are “persecutors” we are now the ones who are NOT acting like Christians? The Church lashes out with boycotts, rallies, cyber bullying and hacking? Don’t we remember what we were taught? Don’t you remember this?:
“But if you suffer for doing good and you endure it, this is commendable before God. To this you were called, because Christ suffered for you, leaving you an example, that you should follow in his steps.”
“He committed no sin, and no deceit was found in his mouth.” When they hurled their insults at him, he did not retaliate; when he suffered, he made no threats. Instead, he entrusted himself to him who judges justly.”
We are not the judges. We are not the Roman empire. We do not crucify. We are the Christians expected to suffer, not to lash out in anger. We simply trust God and we follow the example of Lord Jesus.
Lastly, someday soon, the ‘hackers’ may also find me. My wife and innocent young daughter will also probably be expelled for making comments. Our names will probably be dragged out and we will be “crucified”. I hope and pray, before that time comes, everyone comes to their senses.