Defender ministers and workers may be at odds with each other over a lot of things but they do have common ground:
- They all believe that the Iglesia ni Cristo is the true Church and the only means to salvation.
- They all recognize the commissioning of Bro. Felix Y. Manalo as God’s Last Messenger.
- They all look up to Bro. Erano G. Manalo with reverent respect as a good leader appointed by God after the passing of the Last Messenger.
- They all rebelled against the current Church Administration.
- They all created division by taking sides in an internal family dispute that pitted the Executive Minister against the expelled family members of Bro. Erano.
- They all preach a distorted version of the gospel taught by the Last Messenger, one that assures those outside the Church of salvation.
The first three are fairly straightforward. It’s the last three that require further discussion. We shall explain why these are all very serious offenses against God and why God’s wrath shall be upon the doers of these misdeeds.
Rebellion against leaders appointed by God
Before they were expelled, these former ministers and workers all pledged their loyalty to, and undying love for, the current Executive Minister. As an example, this was extracted from the October 2014 issue of Pasugo/God’s Message, from an article entitled “Let them do so with joy” written by Isaias T. Samson Jr. (“Jun Samson”) who was Editor-in-Chief at that time:
Let’s repeat this part: “We make this greeting with our solemn vow that we will always be submissive to and united with him [Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo] in his unceasing effort to present the whole Church to our Lord Jesus Christ…”
A broken vow
They all knew and preached the doctrine on divine authority given to the leaders of God’s nation which, in these last days, pertains to Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo as leader of the Iglesia ni Cristo. They taught about the fate that befalls those who rebel against the leaders chosen by God and warned members on the dangers of disobedience (Isaiah 1:19-20 NKJV).
Not heeding their own counsel though, they not only turned their backs on the current Church Administration. They insulted him in public and in social media, attributed to him a lot of evil deeds (some actually of their own making but blamed them on the Administration anyway), even sued him in court, challenged the legitimacy of his appointment, and incited feelings of hatred toward him expressed in rallies, vigils and social media.
The severity of the breach of faith and betrayal of trust by these former ministers and workers against the Church Administration to whom they once pledged their love and loyalty, rises to the level of treason – treason against God who appointed him.
Expelled ministers/workers — you, who have betrayed the covenant you made with the Lord — in your quiet moments, ask yourselves this: WHAT MADE YOU TURN?? You all know how Bro. Eduardo was elected as successor by the greater Church Council. Some of you were even fortunate to witness how, for many years, he was groomed by the late Bro. Erano himself to prepare him for the office he now occupies. In fact, Bro. Erano himself handpicked the members of the Council so that his son will have proper guidance when the time came for him to take the reins. You saw all that… yet you chose to forget??
Rumors of “Last Wishes” and a father displeased with his son
Instead, you bought into rumors of “last wishes” and apparent displeasure by Bro. Erano with his son, which, if one were to study carefully, must have originated from the same people who stand to gain from the chaos they have created. Rumors rooted in foolish ambition and selfish desire by his own family members to usurp Bro. Eduardo’s authority as Executive Minister and regain whatever benefits they previously enjoyed and continue to feel entitled to — Is that what this rebellion is about? Is that what you are fighting for? Making all these sacrifices for?
You chose to sympathize with the expelled members of Bro. Erano’s family, questioning their expulsion and fueling division in the process. We ask you again, we, who used to listen and follow you –WHY?? Were you by Bro. Erano’s death bed? Did you personally hear these much fussed about, more likely, nonexistent, “last wishes”? Did you live in his household? Did he confide in you about his family affairs? Did he personally make known to you that he wanted another son to assume the office he will vacate? Did he have legal documents drafted to make his intent plain and clear to the Council and Church members that this was what he wanted? No, no, no, no, no and no, right? Because all you heard were rumors and the emotion in those rumors.
Legitimacy of Ascension to Office of Executive Minister
And then, when an expelled lawyer comes up with a credible-sounding argument to cast doubt on Bro. Eduardo’s ascension, some of you immediately jumped at the opportunity to challenge the legitimacy of his lawful assumption of the office of Executive Minister. The crass and unrefined ones among you even refer to him as a “fake”!
If legal opinion expressed by bitter expelled members who are lawyers (or wannabe lawyers) is your basis, then ask yourselves this. Why don’t these smart lawyers take this up in court? Why create all the hoopla in social media instead? Because they want to further arouse the anger of the Defenders and Church members towards Bro. Eduardo? Is this what you support? Encourage sedition against the Church Administration? Our dear former ministers/workers, that is more than betrayal, that’s treason – against God! Because, directly or indirectly, it is God’s appointee you want to overthrow!
Even granting (and we’re being overly generous to do so) that the expelled lawyers have put forward a valid legal argument, all it is, is a legal opinion – emphasis on OPINION – which some of you have mistakenly and lamentably accepted as fact. If they are so certain of their OPINION, then what’s preventing them from challenging this in court? Fear of embarrassment because they know they’d fall flat on their face?
And please… don’t use as an excuse the overrated “INC controls the justice system in the Philippines” because if that were the case, why bother filing all those charges against Bro. Eduardo and the Church in the first place? And why did some court decisions favor the Church’s opponents?
Or is it a question of limited funding? Is that why they are not able to pursue this in court? Well, that’s a whole other ball of muddled mess we would rather not get into at this time.
Regardless, the avenue is open to them and it casts doubt on their motives and credibility as lawyers, as to why they don’t use it.
Allegations of Corruption
If what has you on fire is the alleged, unproven corruption of the Council members, then this is what you should have done, both as ministers of the gospel and as lay members — Let the Executive Minister deal with that. That is his duty, not yours, or ours. If you are unhappy with how he handles it or with his overall management of Church funds, then let God deal with him. Remember that he is not accountable to us but only to God, as stated in Heb. 13:17 (NLT):
“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.”
The Constancy of Church Doctrine
Take note though that every leader has his own style of leadership — Bro. Felix had his own, so did Bro. Erano and now, Bro. Eduardo has his, too. Differences in style do not translate to a change in doctrine. Styles and practices may adapt to changing times but the doctrine has remained pure and constant from the days of the Last Messenger to the present. That is not an opinion; that is fact.
(If you feel your assigned minister or worker has altered the doctrine in his preaching, the solution is not to write to Sher Lock to humiliate the preacher, or discuss your concerns in social media with others who are expelled because neither approach will solve the problem. Follow established internal Church process for this situation. Obviously, it goes down to motive. Do you want to get the problem addressed, or simply embarrass the Church??)
The important thing is to trust in what the Executive Minister does because God chose him, not you, or us, to administer the Church. Do not judge him rashly. For it is written: ”You hypocrite, first take the plank out of your own eye, and then you will see clearly to remove the speck from your brother’s eye.” (Matthew 7:5)
If you are so inclined, then offer suggestions and recommendations, always driven by love for the Church and always with respect for the Administration who has a wider and clearer perspective than we do. If your suggestion is not accepted, don’t feel bad. Don’t harbor ill feelings towards the Executive Minister. And most of all, do not rebel. Nothing good will come of that. Always trust in God. Trust that it is He who is directing the Administration.
That is the doctrine and instruction received from the Last Messenger and taught by the two successive Executive Ministers. And that is what these expelled ministers and workers would have preached, too, if they had remained in the Church — the genuine and unadulterated words of God.
Preaching a Different Gospel – Salvation for expelled members
Instead, they preach what is music to the ears of expelled Defenders, including themselves. There are some variations, both in context and in manner of delivery, reflective of the personality of the speaker or writer, where some come across as calm and educated while others are downright crude, insolent, or hyperbolic, but the bottom line is this: they all preach there is salvation outside of the Iglesia ni Cristo. To be clear, “outside” means “not in the Church registry”. Does Bro. Erano agree with this?
Bro. Erano’s preaching on the importance of being, and remaining, in the Church Registry
Since everyone claims they love and adore Bro. Erano and accepts as pure the gospel they received from him, why don’t we listen to the following recording of Bro. Erano’s preaching on the importance of being in the Church Registry:
The Importance of Being Registered in the Church:
A True Church of Christ Member is Registered: https://web.facebook.com/493193814224105/videos/544122122464607/
Remain within the Church:
(Note: These videos are from Shield of Faith.)
For emphasis, we’ve captured these images from the videos above. They speak for themselves. Please review each one carefully.
From The Importance of Being Registered in the Church:
From A True Church of Christ Member is Registered:
Preached by Expelled Ministers
Now compare this to what is preached by expelled ministers.
“If you will be delisted or expelled by them [Church Administration] for defending and standing by the truth, so be it. Believe that God allowed it to happen, however, it wasn’t Him who expelled or delisted you because it is against His law to expel those who expose the wicked and the wickedness, but only those who are evil I Cor. 5:13 Thus, believe that He will never forsake you.”
In his FB post in https://web.facebook.com/dimitri.tudor.1/posts/266740950412047 , Rudy Lao aka “Dimitri Tudor” agrees with Junsam when he states:
“If we get expelled from the Church because we stood up for what is righteous, then that will be the time to be delisted from the registry of the Church. But that is an unjust expulsion. [Emphasis is ours.]”
The essence of both teachings is the same – if one is delisted under what they perceive to be “unjust” circumstances, he is not considered delisted even if his name has been stricken from the Church Registry. As such, the expelled member will be saved.
On this alone, one can see the big difference between the original doctrine and the embellished one.
God’s Teachings – Pure vs. Altered
Bro. Erano’s pronouncement is as clear as it is ABSOLUTE. In these last days, only those in the Church Registry will be saved. There is no gray area. The Bible did not allow for it. That is why, in his preaching, Bro. Erano did not include in those who will be saved those who claim to be “unjustly expelled” or where “due process was not followed”. Note that even during his time, similar claims were hurled by those who felt his Administration was overly harsh in deciding on their case, so one can’t say the omission in his preaching is because this is only relevant in the current Administration.
Despite claims by some expelled ministers that they continue to preach the same doctrine as that taught by Bro. Erano, it is Bro. Erano himself, whose voice has risen from the grave, who proved them wrong. These preachers (referred to as “false” in the Bible), have altered the doctrine on salvation in a major way – by counting themselves and others like them who think they should not have been expelled, to those who will be saved. See God’s command they violated in Deut 12:32 NLT:
“So be careful to obey all the commands I give you. You must not add anything to them or subtract anything from them.”
Bro. Erano also blasts claims made by another camp that the Defenders are the “True Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo”. This is just too ludicrous in its absurdity for us to even waste time on, we won’t get into it at all. If interested, see Lowell Menorca’s FB post in https://m.facebook.com/story.php?story_fbid=314295798935047&id=100010638880308 and compare it to Bro. Erano’s preaching (recording and images above).
Knowingly and deliberately altering the Scripture this way is a grave subversion of truth and a treason against the author of our fundamental doctrine on salvation, who is God Himself.
Focus not on others
As for those currently listed in the Registry who, by your standards, are not worthy, God will be the final judge whether they will remain in the Registry or not. If they are found there on Judgment Day, then God must have cleansed their sins away and deemed them worthy. That is not for us to question. We all have our own one-on-one conversations with God. Let’s leave those conversations between them and the Lord. Instead, let us focus our attention on doing everything we can do to be worthy of God’s promises ourselves.
God’s continuing invitation: Return to Him
We urge those who cry out “unjust expulsion” to think back and reflect on their actions before they were expelled. Especially those who, afterward, openly rose against the Administration, ironically exposing the reason behind their supposedly “unjust” expulsion. Remember that God knows our hearts. From Him, we cannot hide anything. The response God was waiting for from us after we were expelled, was true repentance, not rebellion. For some like us, the realization came later rather than sooner. But it is not too late. For those of us who were deceived, God’s arms are still extended. Join us as we return to Him. Listen again and again to Bro. Erano’s voice. Hear the truth in his words. We did.
To expelled Defender ministers/workers, you are committing multiple counts of treason against God. Please… let this be a wakeup call. Stop now and turn back. Your sins against God are grave. Pray very, very hard for mercy. And a miracle.