It’s important to clarify these allegations of our Church leaders that we are refusing to give offerings. They allege that some brethren are going against God’s commandments by refusing to offer, hence, these members are “rebellious and must be expelled.”
For those who still listen to the sermons, the repeated topic of “we are the true church” and so we must “obey” and of course the constant reminder of obeying the commands to “attend Worship Services and give offerings” are drilled into our brains week and week out. The odd thing about the sermons, this verse is hardly read:
“Each of you should give what you have decided in your heart to give, not reluctantly or under compulsion, for God loves a cheerful giver.” (2 Corinthians 9:6)
Apostle Paul clearly states that the giving of offerings is decided by OUR HEART – NOT THE PRESSURE of the resident Minister. It should NOT be done RELUCTANTLY or UNDER COMPULSION. So why are Ministers monitoring the brethren’s Thanksgiving and “interrogating” them if it is relatively lower than last year???!
Is this not between the brethren and God? It must be from our heart. If it is not from our heart, then it is no longer pleasing to God. Remember, “God loves a cheerful giver”. How can we still be cheerful when we are pressured by the Ministers?!?
This is not about refusing to offer. We know it is a command of God. But what the leaders fail to realise its that this is the REACTION OF THE BRETHREN to what is taking place inside the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
Let’s begin with this. WE KNOW the offerings all around the world have substantially gone down. Most brethren have not stopped giving offerings because we know we are supposed to. But why have the offerings dropped? Because no matter how the leaders and ministers deny it, the members can see the changes taking place. Brethren are not dumb. They may not speak up but no matter what is said, they see and hear.
Take for example of the constant campaign to OFFER MORE and MORE.
- There are the campaigns in the various Districts to give to the “special offering for the chapel construction of ____“ fill in the blank. (The trend now is the “build your own chapel”)
- There is the “voluntary” pledge of Ministers to give for the construction of “barangay“chapels
- The push for brethren to deposit in the Finance office for the year end Thanksgiving
Now wait a minute. Let’s think about this. Well go backwards: That last one first; depositing for Thanksgiving, also called P9 or F9 outside the Philippines and also called “Construction Fund” (hence, we have the TC card – C stands for Construction). We know that the offerings for Thanksgiving is specifically for the CONSTRUCTION of HOUSES OF WORSHIP.
So back to B. Why are the Ministers PLEDGING an amount from their allowance? Don’t they already do this when they offer Thanksgiving?
And back to A. Why are brethren told to put in the Special Offering for the Chapel construction of this chapel and that chapel? Isn’t that already from our Thanksgiving? Where is our Thanksgiving going then??
In other words, brethren are putting in the Thanksgiving and in the Special Offering for the same thing! WHY? That was not done before. What was previously done was that each offering was used for their own purpose.
What is more insane is that brethren who contributed money to build the chapel are also now the ones building their own chapel.
Wasn’t this done before? Yes, years ago but brother Eraño Manalo STOPPED it for 3 reasons:
- When the church finally had sufficient funds
- For the safety of the brethren, that no one gets injured in the demolition and construction process.
- For the safety of the Church. One bad injury could lead to millions of dollars in litigation by insurance companies. Even if brethren do not sue the church, insurance companies would go after the Church. Especially since brethren like to tell everyone that the church is “rich” – – Guinness rich!
That is why we had professionals building the chapel. So the thinking brethren understand, that they deposit so that professionals builders could construct our chapels. Isn’t this scriptural?
“When the amount had been determined, they gave the money to the men appointed to supervise the work on the temple. With it they paid those who worked on the temple of the Lord—the carpenters and builders, the masons and stonecutters.” 2 Kings 12:11
For the record, there is NO COMMAND that we must bring our offerings to the Finance office to deposit our Thanksgiving. I am saying this because some Ministers push and push for the weekly deposit, no matter what the lesson is. This past week the lesson is about the Trinity and yet the minister managed to put in the campaign to deposit because it is God’s command to offer. Because, as one minister put it, “to better serve God”. I beg your pardon?!?!
The truth is, we were taught that we bring our Thanksgiving sacrifices that we “prepared”. There is no mention in the Bible that we can only do this by bringing it to the Finance office. The truth of the matter is, that we can prepare this at home. What about depositing in the finance? That is a “suggestion“. It is NOT a command. Hence, ministers must never pressure brethren who are not depositing every week or every month or whenever. If brethren prefer to save in a bank and then come in December and bring a personal check, there is no sin committed. As a matter of fact that may even be better because if it was cash, who knows where it might end up.
The uses of offering
The Bible tells us two major things why we offer:
- It is to build houses of worship where we glorify God
“Go up to the mountains and bring wood and build the temple, that I may take pleasure in it and be glorified,” says the Lord.” (Haggai 1:8)
2. For the spiritual needs of brethren
For the administration of this service not only supplies the needs of the saints, but also is abounding through many thanksgivings to God,” (2 Corinthians 9:12)
I want to point out that the offerings are used to build temple or houses of worship. It does not mention Arenas where scantily clad women can prance around or rappers can stand and grab their crotches. Those do not qualify as serving our spiritual needs.
Here is the argument; “Brother Eraño also used offerings to build the school and the hospital; not just chapels.” True. But those are scriptural;
“The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, And the ear of the wise seeks knowledge.” (Proverbs 18:15)
Brother Eraño had a school built so church members could have a place to learn and acquire knowledge without persecution. And the hospital?
“On hearing this, Jesus said, “It is not the healthy who need a doctor, but the sick.” (Matthew 9:12)
What foresight Brother Eraño had. He had New Era built that sick brethren could see INC doctors, fulfilling what Jesus said, and giving a place for brethren without going to a Catholic owned hospital.
How about now? What purpose does the Arena serve? Where brethren could go to be entertained by “World(ly) class entertainers”? Watching Andrew E. or K-pop stars is not exactly what most brethren would call “edifying our souls” is it?
Why am I bringing all this up now? I’m glad you ask. Simply read what Mr. Sherlock has shared about the Philippine Arena and then tell us, where are our offerings going? Here is the link below:
It reminds of the old Peter, Paul and Mary song lyric…
“Where have all the offerings gone, long time passing?
Where have all the offerings gone, long time ago?
Where have all the offerings gone?
Gone for the council, every one
Oh when will they ever learn, oh when will they ever learn?”