Apparently, we hit a nerve with our last article, Treason against God. We were sent a link to what was described as an “apoplectic” reaction by expelled minister Isaias T. Samson, Jr. (“Junsam”) in his blog defendingthetruth.info. As courtesy, please indulge us as we spend part of this article to discuss his concerns.
First of all, please forgive our oversight, if one might call it that. It was never our intent to hide or obscure the last part of your sentence where you quoted the scripture in Eph. 5:27, NKJV. Indeed, why would we? Did we not include an image of the entire paragraph that included the sentence in question? But nonetheless, thank you for pointing out how in October, 2014, when you were still enlightened and guided by the Holy Spirit, you acknowledged in very strong terms the Church Administration’s “UNCEASING EFFORT [caps is ours] to present the whole Church to our Lord Jesus Christ ‘a glorious church, not having spot or wrinkle or any such thing, but that she should be holy and without blemish, at His second coming’ (Eph. 5:27, NKJV)”.
But so as not to be accused further of deliberately leaving anything else out, and in the spirit of information transparency and completeness, we’ve included the entire article here. This way, all the readers can see how much your position has changed from then to the present, as they read your own declarations.
Yes, the present Executive Minister is “tireless” and “sincere” in the discharge of what you acknowledge as his “God-given duty as Administrator of the Church”, as he “labors night and day” to impart to the brethren the gospel of God, how he is “more than willing to sacrifice even his own life because of his pure love and concern for them”. As you mentioned, the Executive Minister is indeed “extremely busy” attending to the many pressing needs and challenges of a steadily growing global organization, placing his responsibilities “above his physical well-being”. Furthermore, you noted how the brethren are living witnesses to how he labors in “guiding and leading them all to their spiritual maturity and ultimately to their salvation on the day of Judgment”.
(You’ve actually written many more articles expressing the same sentiment. We can cite them all here but we’re afraid our readers might find it a bore so we’ll stick with this one for now and deal with the other articles later on, as time permits.)
As Editor-in-Chief of God’s Message and as a senior-level minister of the gospel, you should have been there to support Bro. Eduardo with his enormous responsibilities. Wasn’t that the “solemn vow” you made so openly to him when you greeted him on his birthday in October 2014? Not even a year later though, you broke that vow. At that time, you were being investigated for either being the blogger who was attacking the Church, or someone who was helping him. You were reported to the Administration because your actions were suspect. But instead of trusting in the outcome of the investigation and in the fairness and wisdom of the Executive Minister, you escaped, went to the media, aligned yourself with his expelled siblings, and filed a case against Church Council members, thereby causing a major scandal and creating division among the brethren.
We are not going to speculate on possible personal motives for why you turned, which we hear whispered about by people who were once close to you and know you first-hand. After all, that is not what this blog is about. We do not character assassinate. In the exercise of our right to free speech, we stick to our stated mission as can be read in our About page.
Many times, while writing this article and the others before it, we were tempted to address you as “Brother”. This is indicative of the deep respect we once had for you. O how we admired and looked up to you, followed you, even rose to your defense during the EDSA rally when you filed your illegal detention case with the DOJ. And some of us took your side when the infighting began to brew shortly after Lowell Menorca II (aka “AE”) re-entered the picture.
So understand that this is not personal. What we are interested in is not you but how to heal the souls of the once-faithful which were injured by your actions. As for damage to the Church itself, it was, at best, ephemeral. If anything, the Church is actually stronger now than it has ever been, once again proving that no power on earth can hinder God’s work. For unlike man whose promises are easily broken, God’s covenant with His nation and its leader is firm and enduring. In Isaiah 41:11, 13, NIV, here is God’s promise to his Last Messenger and those whom He has appointed to carry on His work in these last days:
11 “All who rage against you will surely be ashamed and disgraced; those who oppose you will be as nothing and perish.
13 For I am the Lord your God who takes hold of your right hand and says to you, Do not fear; I will help you.”
The Church does not need us
What is made clear by events of the past couple of years is that the Church does not need us. WE NEED THE CHURCH. The Church will go on and continue to flourish, with or without us, which is what has actually happened long after we were expelled. (See Access the Truth FB page for worldwide news and events about the Church.)
We can either continue to be bitter about Bro. Eduardo’s accomplishments and the progress that was made under his leadership, or wholeheartedly admit that we were wrong and recognize the unmistakable hand of God guiding the Executive Minister in leading His Church. Some chose to do the former. We, on the other hand, after having awakened to the truth, chose the latter. Regardless what choice we make though, the Church will continue to march forward because it is the one nation God will never, ever forsake.
Bringing doom unto one’s self
The so-called “defenders” of the Church are wont to make sweeping statements on a lot of things they think they have full knowledge of. (We used to be among them, actually.) They have convinced themselves that the things they see point to corrupt and oppressive Church officials, perceiving this to be a result of an “incompetent” and “ineffective” leadership. They amplify these in social media and put all the blame on the Executive Minister. This impression has caused them to reject and even question the authority of the Executive Minister to lead the Church.
They think they know everything even though they don’t. It is their excessively lofty attitude, their belligerence, impatience, their misplaced trust in their own flawed and defective judgment rather than in the Lord God’s, as well as their disobedience to and disrespect of the Administration He has placed to lead us, that has brought them to their doom. Now their own ignorance is being revealed.
Let us listen to Bro. Eraño Manalo’s chilling pronouncement regarding some expelled members (credits to Shield of Faith): https://www.facebook.com/493193814224105/videos/567191746824311/
For an English translation of the transcript of Bro. Eraño’s recording, please see Bro. Marlex Cantor’s article “IS IT SURPRISING…” in https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=426342464373347&id=100009927913814
Do not lead God’s lost sheep farther astray
What is really sad is not that there are ministers who have betrayed their calling, resulting in their JUST EXPULSION. That’s just part of weeding out the “wicked persons”, a purification and cleansing process the Church has to undergo. (1 Cor. 5:13, NIV).
What’s worrying is the infection, the gangrene these expelled preachers continue to spread to unwitting lay Defenders. While they may appear to be attending to their spiritual welfare, these expelled preachers are actually leading them farther away from God. These lay Defenders are the poor, misguided souls we are hoping to reach…because we were them once.
The dilemma confronting expelled preachers
The perplexing problem faced by these expelled preachers is this: How can they fuse together two conflicting convictions and still attain salvation?
- They all believe that the Iglesia ni Cristo, from where they have been removed, is required for salvation. That it is the only true Church and the one our Lord Jesus Christ will save on His second coming.
- They want to return to this true Church but not now because they cannot accept Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo, the current Executive Minister, as the leader God has appointed to lead His nation, even though they all did before.
The only way out of this conundrum was to be “creative”. How? By twisting a pure doctrine to accommodate their own beliefs and personal circumstance (expelled) and preaching as genuine this newly minted mock-up — that one can reject the Administration and still be saved.
Can one reject God’s appointed leader and still be saved?
To trusting Defenders who are thirsty for God’s words, this counterfeit doctrine is extremely attractive. Imagine being told that you will be saved without having to change anything in your life?
To settle this once and for all, why don’t we consult the authority on salvation? In Luke 10:16, NKJV, our Lord Jesus Christ, in talking to his apostles, proclaimed:
16 He who hears you hears Me, he who rejects you rejects Me, and he who rejects Me rejects Him who sent Me.”
When we despise the Executive Minister, it is God whom we ultimately reject. How can the Son, our Savior Jesus Christ, be expected then to save anyone who despises His Father who sent Him??
Let us review the instruction from Apostle Paul. In Hebrews 13:17, NLT, he said:
“17 Obey your spiritual leaders, and do what they say. Their work is to watch over your souls, and they are accountable to God. Give them reason to do this with joy and not with sorrow. That would certainly not be for your benefit.”
We don’t think any further explanation is required. The instruction is crystal clear. And, if we violate this command, we violate all others (James 2:10, NLT).
The Danger with Illusion
This doctrine which is being taught by these false preachers to Defenders — that salvation awaits them even though they are: expelled; or they reject the Executive Minister — is as deceptive as it is dangerous. In their confused state, Defenders may find it reassuring. But what makes it extremely dangerous is that it creates an illusion; it makes them hope for something that will never happen (salvation). Such Illusion will not lead to edification but to eternal perdition.
If Bro. Eraño can rise from the grave, he would have shunned these former ministers, most of whom, he ordained himself. STOP NOW. Do not lead the Lord’s flock farther astray. The Lord is looking for every single one of His “lost sheep” and will make you account for every one you turn away from the true faith.
Who authorized you to preach anyway?
Some of you may have made it your personal mission to edify and look after the souls of expelled members. Some may even be sincere but answer this please: Who authorized you to preach? You’ve lost your divine authority to teach when you were expelled. Bro. Eraño said so himself, in no uncertain terms, that those who are not in the Church Registry will not be saved. https://web.facebook.com/493193814224105/videos/549167518626734/ (credits to Shield of Faith)
How can one then who is expelled, who himself will not be saved, lead people to salvation? How can one provide spiritual nourishment to others when one is spiritually starved himself? And how can anyone preach unless he is sent? (Romans 10:15, NIV)
Rebellion among the early servants of God
Some of you continue to bring up allegations of corruption and oppression which, in your eyes, are major shortcomings and offenses of the current Administration. In that, you remind us of Miriam and Aaron. They are, respectively, Moses’ sister and brother in the flesh and prophets in their own right, who resented their brother’s role as leader. They spoke disparagingly against Moses for marrying a Cushite or Ethiopian woman. (Numbers 12:1-2 NLT)
In this case, Moses had no defense; he did marry a non-Israelite, a violation of the prohibition against intermarriages (Genesis 1:1-6, AMP). But did God side with Miriam and Aaron? No. Did God condemn Moses for his action? No. Did God even bring it up? No. Why? Because God was so enraged at the grave offense committed by the siblings against Moises (Numbers 12:8-9, NASB) that despite Moses’ intercession (Numbers 1:13-14, NASB), God still punished them severely (Numbers 12:10, NASB).
In the verses we cited, Moses’ sin was clear. And yet God only addressed the sin of rebellion by Moses’ siblings. In the cases cited by Defenders, there was even no sin but allegations of wrongdoings yet to be proven. Even in a court of law, those so-called “evidence” they brandish about in social media will not stand.
Nevertheless, if from one’s point of view, instead of being investigated, a case brought through proper channels was swept under the rug, that is a matter God will correct and address with the erring individuals, assuming a mistake was made. But to air this in social media and, in the process, subject the Church to scandal, achieves nothing other than grieve the Holy Spirit and rouse God’s wrath on the rebellious. See Numbers 16:32, NLT on the punishment God dealt those who rebelled against Moses. Korah, Dathan and Abiram, including their households and followers, were swallowed up by the earth! (**Emphasis is for those asking why, in some cases, entire households are expelled. This is not new. This example is from the time of Moses, carried forward to the Christian era, and practiced even during the time of Bro. Eraño Manalo.)
Now is the time for repentance
Defenders, please open your eyes and ask yourself if God is pleased with what you have done and what you continue to do. We have gone through this exercise ourselves and came away deeply ashamed that we were ever part of such abomination.
We were a major part of the Defender movement before. Most of us were pioneers. We did more than post on FB or attend prayer meetings. Indeed, we made grievous errors against God. If we are where we are now (that is, either reinstated or in various stages of reinstatement), it is only because God has made us realize that if we had continued on the path that we were on, nothing but misery and punishment awaited us. Though we fell, we reached out to God for strength to rise and try again.
One thing is clear: God is NOT with the Defenders. There are numerous signs which God has made plain for anyone to see, if we’d only open our eyes. Please read Is the Defender group of God?
Do not harden your heart. God will deal with matters that are for Him to deal with. Be thankful for the intellect He has given you but do not use it to question His judgment.
Our dear Defenders, save yourselves. Nothing is more important than the salvation which begins and ends with the Iglesia ni Cristo. If you are expelled, get yourself reinstated back in the Church. Make sure your name remains in the Registry until the end, as admonished by Bro. Eraño G. Manalo. Hear his voice in https://web.facebook.com/493193814224105/videos/545758208967665/ (credits to Shield of Faith).
Listen to Bro. Eraño, not to what the expelled ministers are preaching. No one appointed any of them to look after your spiritual well-being. That task was given only to the Church Administration.
Attend worship services. We feel God’s divine presence there every time. If we didn’t before, it was because our own sins have separated us from the Lord.
Return God’s embrace. He is waiting to welcome you back. The Church Administration is extending its invitation for you to return with sincerity. Grab the chance.
To Defenders who have been reinstated, or are in the process of being reinstated, may God continue to bless you and your loved ones. Help us pray for the others that they may also be enlightened and be snatched out of the fire.
***Note: We were halfway through with responding to Jun Samson’s article when we realized that all his claims and accusations have been answered before by Bro. Joe Ventilacion, in Tagalog. Please read this exhaustive article; it is well worth your time: “Sagot sa paratang ni Jun Samson na nasira na raw ang Iglesia ngayon” by Bro. Joe Ventilacion – https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10210859513100559&set=pcb.10210859520260738&type=3&theater
We shall work with him to offer the article in English.