Magic with Numbers

When we joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ), one of the things we were encouraged to do during our Bible Studies was to ask questions. The Minister would end his lesson and then ask us, “do you have any questions?” Most would just shake their heads, No. Once in a while, there would be someone who would ask and this would encourage others to also ask follow up questions. Soon it would be a full-blown question and answer session with the Minister pulling out verses from the Bible like breathing oxygen from the air. It was always so smooth and brethren would have smiles on their faces, proud that those questions from Bible students and guests alike would be answered straight from the holy book. You will even often see brethren nudging their guests, whispering “go ahead, ask a question” – almost daring them – to show that any question could be answered by their resident minister. Those were proud moments weren’t they? Whether it is about the Messenger, or Jesus or eating blood or some odd topic like U.F.O.s we enjoyed those sessions.

Nowadays, in what should be the zenith of the Church, we see different pictures. In America, as well as in other countries, during Bible study sessions, we see empty sanctuaries. Brethren barely even attend, except for the officers who are “required” to show up. Many don’t have guests and if they do show up with one or two, they are unimpressed by the young men preaching to them, or, as most of them were called in school, STF; or they have some newbie straight from the islands who can’t make the verb-subject agreement work but still preach with great haughtiness and cockiness – still feeling they are the God’s gift to mankind because they were able to be “top-notchers” in the Philippines, which is why they were “rewarded” of “going abroad” – regardless of their lack of training in the foreign language. And yet, if you would look at the local records, you would be amazed at the long number of Bible students listed. But where are they? Ahh, that is one of the mysteries that continue to spread.

In the Philippines, you could say it is the opposite – there are many people who are being brought to the bible studies and Missionary venues – coming in droves. At times, hundreds come to these events – many of them looking forward to attending because they are able to obtain free rice, or get a free meal or many things that they truly need. It is understandable that people would flock to these events because of the great need in the Third World country. But how many of those who were invited, actually listened, heard and joined purely out of faith? The Church gave out so much freebies last year that the non-members dubbed us the “Church of Rice”. Yes. Real funny right?

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What we see here is the magic with numbers. Let’s start with the Americas; most of the Ministers of course, will say it doesn’t matter where they are assigned, but the truth of the matter is, they will do everything they can – NOT to be sent back to the Philippine provinces – even if they have to “fudge” the number of Bible students. How is that done you ask? Just simply ask an honest Light of Salvation Chairperson and they will tell you – any guest that walks through that door and shows any kind of interest, their Minister  will register as a “Bible Student”. So you say, they “might” be interested. Sure. That’s why there’s that long list of names of people who have never attended Worship Services or even returned for another Bible study. Another “one-timer” but hey, that’s ok, they are still counted on paper, right?

In the North Midwest District, they have tried even hygiene items(?) to draw the people.

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In North California they even tried GIFT CARDS (yes, really) for those who showed up. And then we’ll shove that verse in their face?? “BECAUSE I FED YOU!” How cruel can that be? But hey, again, it looks good on paper! 15,000 guests; 50,000 guests; 1 million guests!!!

In South California, despite the magic numbers being produced in some locales, in the number of Bible Students, the entire District managed to break over 100 baptised souls. God bless those baptised souls – but compared to the number of “listed” bible students, you would wonder if those people really even exist anymore. The results usually won’t even break 10% in most Districts. If you think I’m making all this up, check for yourself, it’s very easy – in the next Worship Service, pass by those papers that the Light of Salvation officers put out – they have the list of names of “Bible students” and count how many actually are signed by those who ATTEND. I’d show one here but they would recognise my resident Minister. He wouldn’t be too happy with that.

Let’s hop back over to the Philippines where there are guests being driven in by the truckloads. Why is that you ask? Tell me, if you are struggling to feed your family and here is a group offering to give you a sack of rice, if you attend, wouldn’t you take it?

The reason of the Church in giving out food is because “Jesus also fed people”. Well.. actually. It’s different. This is what the Bible says in Mark 8:

“During those days another large crowd gathered. Since they had nothing to eat, Jesus called his disciples to him and said, “I have compassion for these people; they have already been with me three days and have nothing to eat.  If I send them home hungry, they will collapse on the way, because some of them have come a long distance.”

Jesus did not lure them with food so that they could come and listen. They wanted to come and when they did, Jesus had compassion and was worried they would have nothing to eat on the way home. There were no McDonalds on the way home.

The problem with the lure of giveaways, like Jesus said: “you want to be with me because I fed you, not because you believe in me” John 6:26 Living Bible. There was actually a time that the former Executive Minister instructed the locales to STOP FEEDING the guests because he said that they were going for the wrong reason. Isn’t that what Jesus did not want? And now, it has become the focal point of these events – show up and get a prize! LITERALLY.

So next time you hear statistics in the Worship Services and meetings, pay close attention; don’t be easily too dazzled by the flash of large numbers – instead, listen carefully – there will be a lot of numbers thrown at you. For example – “Millions of people have been able to listen” – yes.. MILLIONS listened (meaning attended) – but not baptised. Here’s another one – “hundreds of chapels constructed this year” – yes – as in the tiny “Barangay” chapels – which Brother Bien Manalo himself said are “TEMPORARY” and really meant to be for Bible studies. How many are dedicated by the Executive Minister? Who can forget tiny Bakersfield? And there’s tiny Florida chapel as well. Tiny – as in seating capacity of just breaking over 100. That’s considered “Barangay” chapel in the Philippines. Remember… “magic”

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(excerpt courtesy of Bro. John K. Magaling / Marlex Cantor)

This goes for the numbers for new officers as well – when they say, 1000 new officers took oath – what they really mean – most of those were already officers and they just took additional  2nd or 3rd duty.

If some of the readers might be thinking that I am just saying a bunch of garbage without evidence, then let me be more specific with numbers and with evidence. For example, some of the numbers that have been mentioned in the past are the number of buildings and chapels purchased since 2009. Those are true. But remember, don’t be too dazzled by the flash – two of those edifices are in the Chicago Illinois area. The District Office of North Midwest and the chapel of Chicago itself. Both were purchased during the current Administrator’s time. What has happened since then? Let’s just look at the picture shall we?

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The first picture is the District Building with the FOR SALE sign. And the second one is the former Chicago chapel dedicated a few years ago. Both are no longer used. Magic.

Let me add this recent one. The “new” Local congregations which is a “reflection” of the “continued growt” of the Church. There are many “new” ones – in different Districts. Here’s one: Glendale. What is interesting about these so-called “new” local congregations is that the members are from the Los Angeles locale. Their worship services are in Los Angeles chapel. The officers are from Los Angeles. And yet, they are now “Glendale”!!   MAGIC!

Here is an additional one that I’ll throw in for good measure. Brother San Pedro,  the General FB minister of the Church, the master of posting tales, posted this. Please tell me what is his basis for saying this?Screen Shot 2016-05-07 at 12.50.37 copy

So if the”Defenders” are less than 1%, why are they SO WORRIED and UPSET? If the number of Defenders is truly dwindling, why even bother? There are supposedly about 3 million brethren worldwide, what could 34 Defenders do? If the Church is, and I quote, “MORE SOLID THAN EVER”, then why keep posting about them?

During the time of Israel, the Bible calls that “WHITEWASHING” Read the 13th chapter of Ezekiel. Here is a small portion – …They will not belong to the council of my people… because they lead my people astray, saying “Peace,” when there is no peace, and because when a flimsy wall is built, they cover it with whitewash… By lying to my people, who listen to lies, you have killed those who should not have died and have spared those who should not live… I am against your magic charms…Because you disheartened the righteous with your lies.”

The point I just want to drive home is that brethren should be aware – there are those who try to dazzle us with big numbers – but that’s all it is – as they say, a lot of “smoke and mirrors”. Go ahead and show pictures of worship services. Go ahead and show us brethren smiling with EVM. But we all know that underneath the smiles and handshakes, there lies the truth – the truthful numbers that are not mentioned; the number of those who are oppressed- those who are pushed into silence for the sake of not being expelled. There are the many locales who cannot even afford their rent, the Ministers’ rent, the monthly expenses; There are the secret numbers of District which cannot afford to pay their bills. How many have Ministers and workers now have to plead with brethren to personally help because they don’t even have rides or to plead to the officers to add to the funds so they don’t have to move to another place of worship? Those are the cold hard truths. Is the Church bankrupt? No. But I am sure many of you officers, especially outside the Philippines can feel the financial burden. And you ask about one of the big questions? Are the bank loans real? Be aware again with the smoke and mirrors – the Iglesia NI Cristo does not have any loans. But ask, does the Maligaya Development Corporation have loans? Yes it does. Who is the MDC? We’ve been through this before. Let’s just say it’s m-a-g-i-c.

As Mr. Harry Potter would say: “Wingardium leviosa!”

Before you go, have a smile…

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Proverbs 25:18 – Like a club and a sword and a piercing arrow is a man who testifies falsely against his neighbor”

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13 thoughts on “Magic with Numbers

  1. I don’t understand, why do you want to go back to Iglesia if you claim its a cult?

    Who should lead the church you guys?

    I’m confused, are Defenders fighting for the church because I’m part of Grace Bible Church and I don’t understand your motives.

    Is your plan to take over the church or destroy it completely because from this webpage, I’ll never join any Church of Christ regardless if its yours, all cults!

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    1. I have never said it is a cult. We believe this is the Church built by Christ. But just like in the ancient days of Israel, there were good leaders, there were bad leaders. There are times when we have to speak up when we see wrong being done against the church. You say you belong to the Grace Bible Church? What if someone just came along and started changing things? Wouldn’t you speak up? I hope you understand my point .Thank you for reading

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  2. The truth is…those are the truth. I still remember that day when the pamerienda at the pamamahayag was stop. Its a relief, said my mom. Last week, in our MT pulong, our minister instructed the finance officer to check and list down the names of brethrens with dwindling contributions so they can give advise saying those people could have been influenced by those group of liars.

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  3. Brother/Sister, you don’t have to show proofs of evidence, I’ve seen a lot of them:

    – Indoctrinees who do not show up regularly in worship services. In actuality, Most of them only showed by because of the freebies being given to them.
    – False reports on the number of guests/indoctrinees/invites in the locales just to make the image of the resident minister/district minister clean.
    – Brethren being questioned because of their dwindling offerings.
    – Brethren being forced to write a “salaysay” stating their loyalty to EVM instead of God Himself if they are being suspected of being “weakened in the faith” (which in truth losing trust to the current administration).

    May God help this church.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I’m not sure where you are getting all of your information but I can confirm that some of it is wrong. The chapel in Chicago is not the one you have showing above. That is their old chapel that was being used well over 20 years ago. This from personal experience as I have attended there back when Northern Midwest and Southern Midwest were one district.

    Their new chapel (which has larger space even if parking isn’t much larger) was dedicated a few years ago. To my knowledge it is their old chapel shown above that is for sale as they have moved to a larger one, and not their current chapel that is for sale.

    I can not speak for the district office building.

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    1. Thank you brother. i stand corrected. When I am wrong I am not ashamed to admit it. That Chicago chapel was old.
      However, according to my sources both chapel and District office have now been sold and they have not been combined into one. The District is holding office in the new Chicago chapel because the District could not afford to maintain that separate building. Contrary to what Brother Marlex Cantor, the INC does sell its chapels.

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  5. Chapels were sold to other religions even during EGM’s time in the US. You get a new building or get evicted by the City you have to sell.

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    1. Oh yes I am aware, thank you. Chicago even had a chapel before that one as well. But the difference is chapels were sold back then when we outgrew them. The reason that it’s rare is because the natural process we followed is that the locale would grow; an extension would emerge which in turn would become another locale with their own chapel. Just like the old Chicago chapel more than 30 years ago. From there grew other locales like Great Lakes, Park Ridge and many others. We don’t buy another chapel a few miles down to move everyone, which has a small parking lot and older. And that District office? Why sell it? Did we outgrow that too?
      The reason we rarely sell chapels is because Brother Felix Manalo taught that brethren should move near the chapels. If brethren purchase their homes to be near the chapel, then the chapel is moved, what do all those brethren do? Move again? That is not how it is done

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      1. I really like all your points especially the “The reason we rarely sell chapels is because Brother Felix Manalo taught that brethren should move near the chapels.” This very principle from the Last Messenger has born a corollary being practice our current TP – build barangay chapels so brethren does not need to travel long and (if i may add) since now a days we have a lot of ministers and workers who can man a chapel…its just not logical to me hear that they sold the Chicago chapel to get another one. Here in the Philippines, it is very common to see chapels (NOT including brgy chapels) separated by no more than 5 kilometers. Even in the province going to northern Philippines, I clocked 2 minutes travel distance between 2 big chapels…but again its their decision and it is them who will answer to God.

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  6. I left inc years ago because of several erronios teaching and practice. To give samples, the last supper, being practice by JW and adventist, and may be most protestant do also, when Christ sade do this, that command is directed only to those he gave wine and bread. This not a doctrine . The other things about prayer, INC is so critical with repeated prayer but its doing the same thing and they call devotional prayer or panata. The worse practice of inc is what they call pagtitiwalag or removal from the Cult (INC),also practiced by many religions. This is not a christian teaching, you can only hear two verses they read to intimedate members, first is about removing amongs you the wicked, and thats what they supposed to do to Mary Magdalene, to kill by stoning and nothing about pagtitiwalag or delisting and the other verse, any one delisted here on earth will be delisted inheaven, again an erroniiuos teaching, is God fallows man? Man on earth and God in heaven. For me all religion are the same and the differeces are not significant at all and I am not preaching for i do not have a religion, I believed in the creator and consider my self Godly and Spiritual.

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