Saturday, September 10, 2016

Refuting Marwil Llasos on Religion and Relationship

The Splendor of the Church blog posted an article reporting on a brief discussion of Catholic Apologist, Atty. Marwil Llasos on religion with a person whom he said was a Born Again Christian (BAC).  Part of the discussion goes:

BAC: Actually, di po ako Catholic. Christian po ako.

ME (Llasos): Catholics are Christians.

BAC: Yes, but what is important is relationship not religion.

ME: But religion is relationship. It’s from the word religare which means to bind. So, it’s even more than a relationship, it is a bond. It binds God and man. You may have a relationship with God, but what kind of a relationship is it? Does it have a bond? Does it bind you to God?

Based on this limited discussion it would appear that the BAC is somewhat unfamiliar with how to respond to such an argument from an experienced apologist like Atty. Llasos.  Or probably the BAC is avoiding conflict as the discussion went on that the BAC does not judge.  We don't know much at this point.
Atty. Marwil Llasos, OP

But what we shall refute is the position of Atty. Llasos which he asserts that religion is relationship because the word religion comes from the Latin word "religare" which means to bind. For Atty. Llasos, religion is more than a relationship.  He then further questions if one's relationship with God binds us with Him.

The BAC whom Atty. Llasos is discussing with has a different orientation about religion which is an organization or institution where they do various kinds of good works and worship hoping to be close God. The relationship which the BAC is referring is to is the one which we get to know and love someone.  On the other hand, Llasos mixes the two and tells religion is relationship.

Does this have any merit? Let's read 1st Corinthians 8:7-8:

But not everyone possesses this knowledge. Some people are still so accustomed to idols that when they eat sacrificial food they think of it as having been sacrificed to a god, and since their conscience is weak, it is defiled. But food does not bring us near to God; we are no worse if we do not eat, and no better if we do.

In context Paul is telling that those who are weak thought that if they avoid eating the wrong food (which is in this case food sacrificed to idols) they will be near or close to God.  This avoidance of wrong food or eating the right kind of food is obviously a practice of religion.  But Paul tells them that food doesn't bring us near to God.  So religion does not necessarily mean relationship. 

Here is another verse to consider:

For ye have heard of my conversation in time past in the Jews' religion, how that beyond measure I persecuted the church of God, and wasted it: And profited in the Jews' religion above many my equals in mine own nation, being more exceedingly zealous of the traditions of my fathers.  Galatians 1:13-14

There is a distinction between "religion" and "church of God" which obviously refers to Christians. Paul also narrates how he is dedicated to his religion but only to be in vain.  Therefore, religion does not mean relationship.  In addition, Atty. Llasos should agree that even if you have religion it does not necessarily bind you with God.

Someone may say, "Well if you have the right relationship with God, you therefore have a true religion because you have bonded with God."  The Bible teaches that Jesus Christ can bind us with God:

I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.  John 14:6

For there is one God and one mediator between God and mankind, the man Christ Jesus.  2 Timothy 2:5
So Jesus Christ is what binds us with God.  Apparently, this "religion" is a Person whom we must have a relationship with.  Why a relationship?  The Bible tells us this:

And this is life eternal, that they might know thee the only true God, and Jesus Christ, whom thou hast sent. John 17:3

We highlighted the word know in John 17:3 because it's the crucial word.  The word know here does not only mean having knowledge of someone nor acquaintance.  It includes being intimate with someone.  Eternal life is having an intimate relationship with God.

But what about in James 1:26-27 where there is a religion that is acceptable to God?  The Greek word of religion here is threskeia which means a form of service or worship.  It is never the Latin word "religare" which means to bind.  It is simply describing what action or works that are acceptable to God.

Can anyone say with all sincerity that a Christian is having a religare with God where the one that can bind them is the person of Jesus Christ who never claimed was a religion?

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Debunking Mr. Lawrence Luna on Acts 6:7

Mr. Lawrence Luna, a contributor to the Splendor of the Church blog, wrote a very interesting but bizarre article which identifies the priests in Acts 6:7 as Catholic priests.  Mr. Luna claims:

Acts 6:7 actually referred to the Catholic priests and these are the reasons:

It is impossible in Acts 6:7 that the Judaism priests were being referred because we all know that those who are loyal to the Judaism faith don’t accept Jesus even until now in their teachings ( unless they are converted to Catholicism and ordain in Catholic priesthood). We must accept and listen to Jesus since he is the fulfillment of the law and salvation (Mat 5, Jn 1, Lk 9:35).

These are not Judaism priests, says Mr. Luna because those kind of priests don't accept Jesus.  Well in all fairness the "Judaism priests" really don't accept Jesus Christ as we know it today.  But are these Catholic priests?  Mr. Luna has terrible apologetic mentors in providing exegesis of the text.

We must remember that in the preceding chapter (Acts 5), the apostles were preaching the gospel and were being persecuted for it.  Nevertheless, their preaching continued and they were able to gain people for Christ.  We now read in Acts 6:7 as a result:

The word of God continued to spread, and the number of the disciples in Jerusalem increased greatly; even a large group of priests were becoming obedient to the faith. [New American Bible]

We can see here that the conversion of unbelievers in Jerusalem continue including those "Judaism priest".  If these were Catholic priests then what are they converting into? Bizarre, isn't it?

Well don't take my word for it.  Check out these Catholic sources which has the same interpretation as mine:

New American Bible Commentary: The summary (Acts 6:7) on the progress of the Jerusalem community, illustrated by the conversion of the priests, is followed by a lengthy narrative regarding Stephen. 

Catholic Answers: After some of the Temple priests converted (cf. Acts 6:7), they may have given further details on Judas’s death that were later incorporated into the Gospel accounts.  

All other comments by Mr. Luna are plain begging the question (e.g. Remember also that Catholic priesthood is there since we know that Christ is the founder of the Catholic Church).  He has to establish first that the church founded by Christ is actually the Roman Catholic Church (which he can never do) before making such claims; otherwise, it's spurious.

Wednesday, June 1, 2016

Augustine's Sermon 26

Here are excerpts from a very interesting and useful writing of a church father, Augustine, titled "Sermon 26":

Now this name of Peter was given him by the Lord, and that in a figure, that he should signify the Church. For seeing that Christ is the rock (Petra), Peter is the Christian people. For the rock (Petra) is the original name. Therefore Peter is so called from the rock; not the rock from Peter; as Christ is not called Christ from the Christian, but the Christian from Christ. Therefore, he says, You are Peter; and upon this Rock which you have confessed, upon this Rock which you have acknowledged, saying, You are the Christ, the Son of the living God, will I build My Church; that is upon Myself, the Son of the living God, will I build My Church. I will build you upon Myself, not Myself upon you.

And, as not in the name of Paul, so neither in the name of Peter; but in the name of Christ: that Peter might be built upon the Rock, not the Rock upon Peter.

What could be clearer as to who Augustine regard as the Petra of Matthew 16:18?

Monday, May 23, 2016

Death Penalty: Should it be implemented?

Missed me?  Due to my busy schedule I barely have the time to write new articles.  Anyway, let's discuss one of the recent issues the Philippines will be dealing with: reviving the death penalty.
As of this writing, the unofficial results of the 2016 presidential elections reveals that Davao City Mayor, Mr. Rodrigo Duterte (Du30), will become the new President of the Philippines and will take over the duties of outgoing President Benigno Simeon Aquino III.  Even before being sworn to office, Du30 has stated his plan to revive the death penalty for convicted criminals guilty of heinous crimes.  This is part of his plans to end crime and corruption in the Philippines.  By imposing the death penalty, people will think twice of committing a heinous crime by realizing the grave consequences of their illegal actions.
However, this is already being opposed, especially, by the Catholic Church and the Commission on Human Rights.  While many Christian groups acknowledge that the death penalty was permitted for the Jews during the Old Testament, some of them assert that it has been banned for Christians in the New Testament in view of God's mercy through the forgiveness of Jesus Christ, the Savior of sinners.  Boxer and now Senator-elect, Manny "Pacman" Pacquiao, on the other hand expressed his support for the return of the death penalty; he cites Romans 13 as basis of God allowing governments to implement death penalty as punishment for the guilty.
Is the New Testament against the death penalty?  Pacquiao is correct to cite Romans 13 (verses 1 to 7) as support for every government to implement the death penalty.  We read in verse 5:

For the one in authority is God’s servant for your good. But if you do wrong, be afraid, for rulers do not bear the sword for no reason. They are God’s servants, agents of wrath to bring punishment on the wrongdoer.

We all know that a sword is a weapon which is used for both hurting and even killing people.  Unlike a whip which is a weapon primarily known just for hurting people when implementing punishment.  Verse 2 states the authority of governments to punish those who oppose them:

Consequently, whoever rebels against the authority is rebelling against what God has instituted, and those who do so will bring judgment on themselves.

It is clear here that those who rebel will bring upon themselves the punishment due for their illegal acts and therefore, it is not really the government who independently initiates such punishments.

The Apostle Paul also stated this when he was on trial before Festus:

If, however, I am guilty of doing anything deserving death, I do not refuse to die. But if the charges brought against me by these Jews are not true, no one has the right to hand me over to them. I appeal to Caesar!” Acts 25:11

As we can see here, even Paul acknowledges the penalty of death for the guilty.  Take note that no where did he say not to subject him to the death penalty even if he is found guilty.  Rather, he said he doesn't object to die if he is found guilty.  However, this also tells us that those charged with a crime or an illegal act must be put in to trial first before being punished.

The frequent text cited by those who oppose the death penalty is John 8:1 to 11 where Jesus did not condemn the adulterous woman and eventually sparing her from being stoned to death as the Jewish law requires.  In response we say that the Jews was putting Jesus in a damn-if-you-do-and-damn-if-you-don't situation: If Jesus does not agree to stoning the adulterous woman, then He would be in contradiction of the Jewish law to punish adulterers; but if He does agree to the stoning then He will come out as unmerciful and may be in conflict with Roman government who has sole authority to impose the death penalty at that time in the Jewish land.  Do recall that in the punishment of adultery, both the man and woman who committed this must be put to death and not just one person only (Deuteronomy 22:22-24).  But in John 8:1-11 only the woman was presented here, there was no guilty man.  Therefore, the situation wasn't normal: it was all a set up to discredit Jesus.

Those who are citing John 8:1-11 as an objection to the death penalty cite it at their own risk.  Why?  Remember that those who are against the death penalty does not object to just imprisoning the guilty because to them it's more humane.  But what we see at the end of this text is the adulterer was let go by Christ; yes there was no stoning to death, but there was no other punishment either.  If they will reason out that Christ simply showed mercy and let her go, then does that mean we should also let go all the people who are guilty of other crimes such as robbery, rape, drug pushing, etc.?  No more imprisonment for them too?  So citing John 8:1-11 is not fit to invalidate the death penalty because it would also invalidate other forms of punishment.

This article is not only about justifying the death penalty as the question of this article is: Should the death penalty be implemented?  Put it in another way, are governments mandated to implement the death penalty?  The answer is no; it's optional.  There is nothing wrong with a government implementing the death penalty.  There is also nothing wrong with a government not implementing the death penalty.  The important thing is that the guilty is punished.  By the way, there is also nothing wrong in showing mercy and forgiveness to guilty people.

Saturday, February 13, 2016

A Catholic News Source defends Protestants on the 33,000 Denominations Agrument

The National Catholic Register, claiming to be "Americas most complete Catholic News Source" and a service of Eternal Word Television Network (EWTN), ironically wrote an article refuting the often repeated (and stubborn) Catholic argument against Sola Scriptura and Private Interpretation called the "33,000 Protestant Denomination."  By this argument, Sola Scriptura and Private Interpretation cause divisions among Protestants which resulted in to 33,000 separate denominations.  The 33,000 figure was taken from the World Christian Encyclopedia (WCE) written by Davit Barrett, et al.  This citation is followed up with a claim that the Catholic Church is united because it is led by an infallible magisterium which guides all Catholics in the truth and maintains the church's oneness.

Some Protestant apologists have already debunked this infamous argument by analyzing the source itself.  Many Catholics are still unaware (or deliberately ignorant) that the cited figures are inflated and grossly misrepresented.  But now, a Catholic organization has objectively analyzed the figures and provides a defense for Protestant against those citing the WCE.  Here are the excerpts (emphasis mine):

I regret to say that is not going to hap­pen here. There are not—repeat with me—there are not 33,000 Protes­tant denom­i­na­tions. There are not any­where close to it. It is a myth that has taken hold by force of rep­e­ti­tion, and it gets cited and recited by reflex; but it is based on a source that, even Catholics will have to con­cede, relies on too loose a def­i­n­i­tion of the word “denom­i­na­tion.”
Among the 23,600 “Inde­pen­dents” and “Mar­gin­als” (70% of the whole) are large num­bers of groups one would have a hard time calling Protes­tant.
How­ever strong the temp­ta­tion some may have to char­ac­ter­ize any­thing not Catholic or Ortho­dox as “Protes­tant,” you can’t do that. All that tells Protes­tant apol­o­gists is that you don’t know what Protes­tantism is, or what its dis­tinc­tives are—and they would be right. And why would they take any­thing you say seri­ously after that? If you don’t know what Protes­tantism is, who are you to be talk­ing about its errors? Not only are Mor­mons, Jehovah’s Wit­nesses, One­ness Pen­te­costals, Uni­tar­i­ans, Pros­per­ity Gospel believ­ers (included among 23,600 Inde­pen­dents and Mar­gin­als) not Protes­tant, they are not even Chris­t­ian; they adhere to a false Chris­tol­ogy. Protes­tants and Catholics are in agree­ment about who Christ is; these other groups have other ideas.
Many Catholics like to cite the 33,000 fig­ure because the num­ber is so out­ra­geously large they assume it is a par­tic­u­lar embar­rass­ment to Protes­tants.
Catholics need to stop cit­ing this num­ber, not only because it is out­landishly false but because it is not the point how many Protes­tant denom­i­na­tions there are.

Monday, January 11, 2016

The Irony of Firecrackers and the Feast of the Black Nazarene

Happy New Year!

Lawmakers in the Philippines are now considering putting a ban on firecrackers in celebration of every new year.  This 2016 celebration, at least 929 cases were reported relating to firecracker injuries.  You already know what these injuries look like and its not pretty.

I for one agree that firecrackers should be banned.  No one wants to have a new year with incomplete set of fingers (and other body parts for that matter) and everyone wants to be alive every new year.  If you want to make noise for the coming new year: use musical instruments instead like drums and trumpets (or improvise) or buy loudspeakers and play some music.  If you still want to hear explosions during the year, leave the fireworks to the professionals and just watch.

A good way to meet the new is with prayer.  Pray that God will give you guidance for a blessed new year.

What's that? You're asking what's this got to do with the Roman Catholic's Feast of the Black Nazarene every January 9 in the Philippines? Uh well, just this:

And since we were just talking about our lawmakers being concerned on firecracker related injuries that they want to implement "something", maybe they should... you know... do that "something"... to this too.  I suppose the Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines would like that "something" if they want each Catholic to be in one piece since it's only been nine days since the new year started.

Monday, October 12, 2015

The Deceit of Fr. Abraham Arganiosa on the Term Heos Hou (Until)

Here is a screen shot of a portion of the article written by none other than Fr. Abraham Arganiosa which we will discuss here:

His argument basically is Matthew 1:25 cannot refute the perpetual virginity of Mary since the word "until", or heos hou (εως ου) in its Greek equivalent for the verse, does not necessarily mean Joseph had sexual relations with Mary after the birth of Christ.  Fr. Abe is citing examples of verses which, according to him, has the Greek term for until, or heos hou.  He mentions 2nd Samuel 6:2 (actually it's 6:23), 1st Psalm 110:1, Matthew 5:18, and Corinthians 15:25 and to support his argument.

We will not do an exegesis of Matthew 1:25 or an in depth analysis of "heos hou" since we have already written articles about that.  What I would like to do is to take a closer look on the four verses which Fr. Abe cited which he claims are examples of biblical use of "heos hou".  But before that, let me brief you for a minute that the term "until" is not always translated from "heos hou".  There are others like heos alone (εως) and heos an (εως αν).  Let's now go to the Greek rendition (from of the verses Fr. Abe cited:

2nd Samuel 6:23:

“Therefore Michal the daughter of Saul had no child UNTIL the day of her death.” 

και τη μελχολ θυγατρι σαουλ ουκ εγενετο παιδιον εως της ημερας του αποθανειν αυτην 

Uh oh, it's just heos alone.

Psalm 110:1 (Psalm 109:1 in the Septuagint):

For he must reign UNTIL he put all enemies under his feet

τω δαυιδ ψαλμος ειπεν ο κυριος τω κυριω μου καθου εκ δεξιων μου εως αν θω τους εχθρους σου υποποδιον των ποδων σου

Hey, it's heos an.

Matthew 5:18:

For verily I say unto you, Till heaven and earth pass, one jot or one tittle shall in no wise pass from the law, UNTIL all be fulfilled

αμην γας λεγω υμιν εως αν παρελθη ο ουρανος και η γη ιωτα εν η μια κεραια ου μη παρελθη απο του νομου εως αν παντα γενηται

It's heos an once again.

Lastly, 1 Corinthians 15:25:

For he must reign, TILL he hath put all enemies under his feet.
δει γας αυτον βασιλευειν αχρις ου αν θη παντας τους εχθρους υπο τους ποδας αυτου

Too bad, it isn't heos hou but achri hou.

So you see, Fr. Abe misled the people by not citing verses with heos hou to refute the usage of Matthew 1:25 against the perpetual virginity of Mary.

Tuesday, September 29, 2015

Aldub Fever: the Problem is not all on them

This article may be a bit silly but I wrote it due to social concerns.  For those who do not know this popular media couple in the Philippines, please take the time to read first the background as accurately rendered in Wikipedia.

Alden Richards and Maine "Yaya Dub" Mendoza (collectively, Aldub)
Picture courtesy of GMA 7 Network
I wrote this article neither to defend nor criticize the show but rather to provide a balanced opinion about it and the reaction of the people towards the show.  So far, there have been both positive and negative comments from various Christian individuals and groups.  Some find the show funny while others find it offensive, even insulting, to the people's intelligence.  The show did indeed gain popularity while at the same time it raised concern to some since the show allegedly became a distraction resulting to unproductivity and even complacency.  My comments are divided into sections, as follows:

It's just entertainment

Admittedly, I found the show to be funny, suspenseful, and even romantic.  What makes the show funny is that the dialogue is unscripted which relies on the actors' imagination to effectively improvise based on their experience as comedians.  The show has an element of suspense since it ends daily with a cliffhanger;  even while the show is ongoing, people are wondering what happens next since it's full of twists and surprises.  The romance in the show is basic: a boy and a girl falling in love amidst adversity.  Some people watching it seemingly identify themselves with either or both of the main characters as they struggle with their romantic pursuits.  Each time the couple protagonists do something sweet to each other, our romantic side tingles.

The pseudo-villain, Lola Nidora, sometimes offer sound advice on love and courtship which makes the show educational in that limited aspect.  While some people find Lola Nidora's (and her sisters') cross dressing unacceptable, the comedians doing it are just trying to make people laugh and have no intentions of encouraging homosexuality.

Other than the cross dressing, there is barely any violence or sexual content in show.  Neither the producers nor the characters of the show have any intentions to be of bad influence to the viewers.

So let's take the show for what it really is: entertainment. 

Is it their fault? 

Whenever the show's segment is about to begin you will see some mini-stores put up a sign that they are temporarily closed since the store owner and custodians are watching.  You will even see people flocking in a place where there is a television.  After the show, many people are talking about the events that occurred in the show.  They post what they watched in social media.  Taking it further. fan clubs are organized, songs are composed, and novelty items are produced based on the couple and the other characters.

Some people find the above actions as taking it too far.  There have been reports that the show is interfering with work and studies since those who are immersed with it have almost nothing else to do or talk about other than the show and its couple protagonists.  The show has also been criticized to undermine the people's intelligence since it draws them like mice to the pied piper's music.  I'm sure you have heard many more negative effects of the show, but is it really the show's fault why some people become worse after many viewings of it?

Perhaps we need to show a similar situation with an everyday object that almost all people have: a cellphone.  When it was first invented it was a tool for audio communication.  Later on, it included texting and then it functioned as a digital camera.  As time passed by the cellphone can do so many electronic task including Internet surfing.  It's a wonderful device, isn't it?  But let me show you one of the problems as depicted in this picture:

A family dinner is ongoing but the daughter is talking with someone over her cellphone thereby disrupting the family bonding.  How many times have we heard instances where a person "replaced" the whole world with a cellphone?  I think a better question is, do you blame the cellphone for breaking relationships?  Of course not.  It's the person who is the problem.  The cellphone was designed to be a tool for good use and not to be a master.

Likewise, it's not the Aldub show that is the problem but rather the people patronizing it.  As of this writing there has been no complaints that the show is of bad influence. Then again, while the producers are not telling you to ignore everything for the show neither they are stopping you from doing it.  Therefore, the decision as to what degree of involvement (or attachment) to the show (and the cellphone) still rest on the person.

Some of you may be irritated with how the producers of the show are encouraging their fans to make comments and share the viewing experience at social media.  But the producers are just doing what any other businessmen are doing: draw more customers and satisfy them.  

Proverbs 25:28

Like a city whose walls are broken through is a person who lacks self-control.

If you just want to have a good laugh, remove stress, or be entertained, then watch the show. If you prefer, you can even invite other people to watch with you. However, you must be responsible enough as to far you would allow the show to affect you. If you find yourself distracted, unproductive, or even useless because your constant viewing of the show, then you must learn to stop. If you are pulling away from people (and even away from God), then you need discipline. Check your priorities and find out what is important to you and do what really matters.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

If you think Catholics are increasing, think again...

Read here.
"Since 1965, the number of Northeast parishes has dropped almost 19 percent, and the Midwest has lost more than 10 percent of its parishes — all while numbers in the South and West are growing. That's according to NPR's analysis of data from Georgetown University's Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, also known as CARA."
"The bishops and the dioceses were accused of abandoning the inner city and abandoning their mission,"
 *** End Excerpts***
 For those who wish to clarify me on this issue, please feel free to do so.

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My Open Letter to the Members of the Iglesia ni Cristo

I'm really sorry to hear with the internal problems that your church is facing. The allegations of corruption and the expulsion of the closest relatives and the once trusted lieutenants of your current executive minister sure came in a bad time in celebration of you 101st founding anniversary last July (congratulations by the way).  Don't worry, I will reserve my judgement on the case until the results from a proper investigation has been reported in the media.
Three generations of INC leaders, all Manalo clan

I tried to get my INC friends to talk but they declined giving a comment. I guess it's pretty understandable that the incumbent administration had to impose a gag order on all of your ministers and members. After all, some people can misinterpret, misrepresent, and even malign what Felix Ysagun Manalo had started. Then again, some people can be objective and exercise sound judgement with all the relevant facts made available; that is if you want all the facts to be made available.  We don't want to see all that 101 year hard work go down the drain, do we?  But in fairness to the people, we do hope that you would be willing someday to share this one thing that I'm pretty sure they have the right to know: the truth. Yes, we have the right know the truth as long as your church is doing its religious activities in public. Just this recently your administration tried to get the Department of Justice to refrain from investigating the cases filed against you by staging rallies in the streets. The issues must really be that confidential and controversial for the government and the public to know.

Then again, it is not my concern who is right or wrong in your conflict.  It doesn't matter to me at the moment whether the allegations of corruption are true or not.  You see this conflict of yours confirms what every critic says about your church: It isn't really the church of Christ, it is rather a human-controlled entity.

When Felix Manalo first organized this church of yours he posed himself as a so-called "Messenger" or "Sent One" of God. Bible verses from Isaiah, Romans, and Revelations were claimed to be fulfilled in the person of "Ka Felix" and through these verses God endorsed him to be such titles. The titles sure come with loads of executive privileges including an unconditional submission from its members. After all, who wants to mess with God's anointed?  When some of the Israelites rebelled against Moses, God dealt with them harshly.  Oh we don't want that to happen to us, do we?

Character sure is everything. When Ka Felix, as God's Sent One, "introduced" the Iglesia ni Cristo first in the Philippines, the church was posed to be the only "Noah's ark" for salvation.  Anyone who defies the Messenger forfeits his/her membership to the church and is thrown overboard.  The INC administration has the power to admit and to deny passage to Heaven.

A century passed and Ka Felix left you with his children, and grandchildren to "oversee" the church.  It is really like a Jewish kingdom that the heir to the throne has to be a descendant of the passing king (except that the successor doesn't have to be the eldest son). And you know the amazing part is, the relatives must be treated with royalty.  Sure, you don't have a policy that your members should treat them like bosses but hey, a Manalo is a Manalo. So don't mess with them too, right?

When this allegation of corruption erupted it is ironic that it took a brother of your current presiding minister to get nationwide attention on the matter. There have been breakaways in the INC before but those who left are not considered significant since they are not descendants of Ka Felix. Whatever they say will eventually fall on deaf ears.  But when the alleged rebellion was initiated by a descendant of Ka Felix, whoa... red alert!

In some family businesses, once the patriarch departs from the world the descendants are bound the clash with each other. Although the degree of conflict varies, there there will be conflicts nonetheless.  During the life of Ka Felix he had sole control over the INC since he posed himself as God's Last Messenger whom no one should defy absolutely. Now that the "last" is gone, each of the descendants has his or her way of thinking on how to run things. There is no more one person with a grand title that runs the show now.  "Sure, we have a sole presiding minister who is supposed to call the shots but hey, he's my brother who apparently has no godly title like grampa so informally we're equal in this kingdom." Making the family feud worse: money.

Those who rebelled were expelled from the church, presumably disqualified from the attainment of eternal life.  Your members worry more on how will they remain as members to the point that they treat the administration as if they are gods.  Sure, you keep telling people that they are human but you treat them the same way Roman Catholics treat their pope (just look at their devotion to Pope Francis when he visited Manila and Tacloban last January).  In case you haven't noticed the power to grant and deny passage in Heaven is in the hands of your administration, not Jesus Christ.  This is the reason why I believe your church is just another human institution.

To those INC members who were recently expelled, I am wondering what you are going to do now.  You once boasted with the loyal members that the INC is the only true church.  Now that this turmoil occurred, what can you say about this one church which you believe all along was true?

For me you have at least four alternatives.  First, you can reconcile with the current administration (which is favorable to them too since the issue will be forgotten). Second, you can try to start a similar church with the same INC doctrines (but think of all the copyright or infringement lawsuits you'll have). Third, you can appeal for government intervention with hopes that the current administration will be deposed (but the loyal ones will rally in the streets). Lastly, you come up with the resolution that the INC isn't the true church and you go on a quest to find the truth (yes, I prefer you do this).

To those who are still loyal to the current INC administration, I really feel sorry for you. You are so submissive knowing your administration has the power to take away your hopes for salvation by expelling you from church.  Yes I know that the apostles expel immoral members.  But the question for you is: how do you know that your administration is righteous as it claims to be?  This question isn't to accuse them of unrighteousness but rather to test your basis of saying they are righteous.

If you're saying they are righteous because they cited verses from the Bible that says so, then you're not being objective. Anybody can cite from Scripture. You're no different from Roman Catholics who claims that the pope is infallible when it interprets Scripture.  This is contrary to what the apostle Paul has proclaimed:

But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse! Galatians 1:8

How are you going to know the true and false if the interpretation of the Bible rests at your ministers?  The apostle John even recommends:

Dear friends, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits to see whether they are from God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. 1 John 4:1

How can you test every spirit when you fear your own ministers who can expel you from church.  At the end of the day, all you believe is that the sent one is the sent one because the sent one says he is the sent one.  Why don't you try what the Bereans did when the apostle Paul preached to them:

Now the Berean Jews were of more noble character than those in Thessalonica, for they received the message with great eagerness and examined the Scriptures every day to see if what Paul said was true. Acts 17:11

The Bereans examined Scriptures to find out if Paul was telling the truth.  What you're probably doing is searching the Scriptures based on how your ministers tell you to search.  You never independently study to the Bible to verify what your ministers are teaching.  Do your ministers even allow you to read the Bible or do they just tell to you to read the magazine they issue each month?

If you cannot determine that your administration is true and righteous, then your loyalty is out of fear of what they can do to your hope of salvation. 

Your ministers tell you that salvation is attained by being a member of the church as they cite John 10:9.  But they are misleading you because it mentions the person of Jesus Christ, not the church.  Salvation is through Jesus Christ alone (Acts 4:12). Before you can be a part of the church you must go through the door which is Christ.  It is faith in Jesus Christ that attains salvation, not church membership.  Once you are saved, you're secured (John 10:29) and you're also transformed to a new person  (2nd Corinthians 5:17).

You weren't meant to follow people blindly. Jesus Christ wants to impart wisdom to you through Scripture in order for you to discern what is right and wrong. We have pastors who have fallen but their members remain strong because their faith in anchored in Scripture and not on the pastors.  Pastors or ministers should function as a guide of God's children, not as a boss of their souls.

However, you have a choice.  You either put your trust in Jesus Christ or your ministers whom you cannot tell on your own if they are for Christ.