Monday, January 23, 2012

Breeding A Culture Of Hate

Have you ever asked yourself why there are a lot of people who are bent with anger with Soriano and his cult? The Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) continuously attacks and dissects his every word on two separate channels  and over a lot of their programs. The Seventh Day Adventists (SDA) and the Jehova's Witness (JW) do the same in radio and print. The Muslims even want Soriano beheaded. And TV reporters from the major stations have very little nice things to say about this self-proclaimed god from the MCGI. The old saying, "respect begets respect, hate begets hate" shines prominently on this.

Being a messenger of God carries with it the dignified stature of a being bathed in the Holy Spirit. Take John the Baptist for example. He lived in the wilderness, had ghastly clothes and had dire need of  hygienic attention, yet he's respected because the Spirit of God shines through and about him. Why then is Soriano receiving so much heat if he was sent of God? The answer, is because he is NOT God's messenger, nor was he sent by God.

Sent by the devil maybe, but not God.

God has given the guidelines for those called into God's service. He has made it very clear how a "man of God" is to conduct himself by the way he speaks and converses, the way he acts, the people he keeps company, and even his life as a family man. Enumerating God's qualifications for a preacher of the gospel according to 1 Timothy 3, would be like hitting Soriano continuously with his hands tied behind his back.

Let's start with "blameless". (POW!)
the husband of one wife... (WHACK)
temperate... (WHAM!)
sober-minded, of good behavior... (KRAKOW!)
hospitable (UGH!), able to teach (ENGK!)
not greedy for money (BAM!)
gentle, not quarrelsome (ZOK!),
not covetous... (OOOF!)
Not puffed up with pride... (SOCK!)
He must have a good testimony... (WHEEEEEEE....BOOOOM!)

Soriano fails miserably from start to finish. He has no defense whatsoever. Knockout blows coming from the Bible has left him sprawled on the canvass with no chance of beating the count. And there is no bell that'll save him. He's up against God's design for preachers of the Gospel. This design is exact and does not need another round to be crowned superior to the one Soriano has. If Soriano were a true man of God, and is sent by God, this would have had a different outcome. But all Soriano has going for him is his self-proclaimed designation as "sent".

Who is he kidding? No one. Who has he fooled? Apparently a lot of his members who choose to ignore fact from fiction, embracing a man known by the church as a perverter of the gospel, and a pervert by everyone else. They are blinded by their idolatrous adoration that is no different from the Israelites' worship of a golden idol while the very shadow of God is upon them. Imagine that. The truth is all around them yet they choose to hear and obey only Soriano.

If these people truly follow only the Bible like they say they do, the Bible would have slapped sense back into their heads long ago. They themselves would have seen Soriano's manipulative lies. They themselves would have discovered the deception that has caused them to sin against God. They are unconsciously sinning of wanton idolatry. Now there's an oxymoron if ever there was one to describe Soriano's followers. These people are lost along with the one who leads them, and they are all headed for destruction.

Reaching out to help them is an even bigger challenge given the fact that they are brainwashed by Satan's little helper. Though claiming to love their neighbors, their temperaments have shorter fuses than cheap firecrackers. They easily flip from being brotherly to enemy when shown how their leader's teaching differs from what the Bible says. You can sense an automatic change in their tone and disposition when they realize they need their leader to answer for them.

Having engaged quite a number of Soriano fanatics, I've charted something of a road map they all seem to follow when Soriano's false teaching is challenged. Initially they'll defend the teaching, using the verses Soriano himself supplies. But as we have witnessed time and again, the shallow nature of Soriano's context is easily exposed. This plants doubt in their minds. Sometimes you get a nod from those who do find Soriano's explanation shallow, then explore what the Bible really has to say, praise God for that. While others take to heart their defense of Soriano's opinion. They'll even unashamedly display the same hate their leader has for a television station. Sorry Matthew, Soriano won't teach them to love their enemies.

I can understand being defensive had they been defending the Bible, but no... it's Soriano they're defending, and it's the Bible they're attacking. How could they not see that? Following after their leader, those who oppose Soriano's explanations are labeled "sa demonyo" (of the demon/devil), and they are very vocal about it. There is no hesitation whatsoever in calling people who oppose Soriano as "demons" or any of the Soriano-sanctioned cuss words. He tells them it's okay to call people such because the Bible itself says so. Completely throwing Timothy's instructions out the window. And in turn painting a new picture of what a messenger of God should be... a name-calling bully. Unsurprisingly, this is justified according to Soriano.


What have we learned in all this? Cult templates are there for a reason... they're proven. Soriano can deny it all he wants, but his stranglehold on his members is undeniable. He even has them talking the same way he does... a far cry from the godly preacher Timothy describes. With Timothy's descriptions alone, the Bible becomes clear in identifying Soriano as a biblically unqualified individual, one who has no business in pastoral work.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

In The Service Of Soriano

Why is it that Soriano does not allow tithes? It's a certainty that he collects offerings, right? If Soriano follows only the Bible like he says he does, why does he keep attacking other churches for tithe giving? I'm sure he's aware of this Biblical concept of returning a portion of blessings to the Lord's house. It is clear as it is specific that God's people are to return a tenth of their earnings so that there will be "meat" in God's house.

During the Old Testament times, meat is literally used by the priests in God's tabernacle for their daily offerings. Two lambs a day were offered and four lambs on Sabbaths. More are needed for other festivals and sin offerings. The tabernacle fires need to be kept burning too. So oil and lumber are also in constant need. How would Levite priests supply these out of their own pockets? They can't. And so tithing was instituted where every Israelite was to give 10 percent of everything they earned and grew for use in the Temple. The materials would be in abundant supply and the priests were also taken care of. This way, they can keep their minds on their duties to God and the people and not be under any temptation to neglect it for the making of necessary provision for their families.

Soriano's argument rests on the fact that tithing was a requirement for the Jews... and we are not Jews.

I was hoping to hear some deeper explanation from "the most sensible preacher" but failed to get one from any of his material (written/videos), nor from his staunch followers in forums and discussion boards. Instead of giving an explanation, biblical or otherwise, they all seem to go the path of the gutter. Insults and disparaging words start shooting off their mouths to derail the discussion and change the topic. If they can't make you see it Soriano's way, you will be ridiculed and heckled.

Nowhere in the New Testament is it commanded nor recommended, that Christians submit to a tithe system similar to the Jews. But in his letter to the Corinthians, Paul tells us that believers should set aside a portion of their income in order to support the church. "Upon the first [day] of the week let every one of you lay by him in store, as [God] hath prospered him..." (1 Corinthians 16:2). Not that far off from the Old Testament concept right? The tithe is still for the church's use. To keep it running, to make it grow, and to support its priests.

As Christians we are to give as the Lord has prospered us. Moreover, we are to give what is in our hearts to give. In fact, it can be less or more than the conceptual ten percent. We are to give what we have decided in our hearts, not reluctantly or under compulsion. As long as it is given to the Lord with a glad heart, it doesn't matter how much it is. "Every man according as he purposeth in his heart, [so let him give]; not grudgingly, or of necessity: for God loveth a cheerful giver." (2 Corinthians 9:7)

So what does the Bible really tell us? Tithes unto the Lord are Biblical. For Christians and Jews alike, giving tithes is intended for the house of God. However, Christians are to give freely as their hearts desired with no compulsion and no set amount. Giving depends on the ability of the Christian and the needs of the church. The Old testament law is changed for the  saved in Christ but it is not removed. Remember those key words... tithing for Christians was changed, not removed. 

Why then is this so hard for Soriano so accept?

Apart from his shallow retort against tithe-giving, Soriano does not intend for God's church to grow. Soriano wants his own interests, not God's. So he teaches his flock that God is the richest there is, that God would have no need for their money, and it would be insulting to God to give him money. Instead of giving tithes to God, Soriano would tell people to give money so that his media ministry may continue to reach more people.

And let's not  forget that the poor souls he has in his grasp that he calls a church are all deceived unbelievers. Soriano actually wants more unsaved souls. He wants more unbelievers for his Master in Hell. The offerings these people give do not go to God's work. But end up in Soriano's pockets. So instead of God's church growing, it's Soriano's bank account that's ballooning. Evident in his lavish lifestyle spent in a non-extradition country. Evident in the countless businesses, land, automobiles, and other properties he has in his name. 

A consolation would have been the 3,700 seat house of worship worth millions that he kept bragging about years ago; yet not a single nail has been seen so far by his congregation. He bad-mouths other pastors as money-grabbing and tithe-centered thieves who are only concerned about the money members will give. But how many pastors live the life that Eli Soriano lives? Those who are truly called into the Lord's work do so in poverty. They do not have the extravagant lifestyle Soriano has. They live by the grace of God alone, not by monetary cunning that Soriano utilizes. The tithes and offerings go to the Lord's work, not to their bellies, as Soriano accusingly points out. He is actually the person living out the very accusations he speaks of.

The saddest part of all, his followers remain blind to the fact that Soriano is milking them of their hard-earned money to enrich himself. Even worse is the fact that these followers believe they are giving to grow the church. Soriano does not approve of giving tithes to the Lord, rather, he pushes for the following money collection schemes he himself devised to further his own interests:

Abuluyan sa Pagsamba (contibution in worship)
Abuluyan sa Pasalamat (contribution in thanksgiving)
Hain sa Pasalamat ng Buong Kapatiran (offering of thanks by the brotherhood)
Hain sa Pasalamat Mid-year (offering of thanks, mid-year)
Hain sa Pasalamat ng Dibisyon (offering of thanks from the division)
Hain sa Pasalamat ng Distrito (offering of thanks from the district)
Hain sa Pasalamat ng Lokal (offering of thanks from the locale)
Gugol sa Pasalamat ng Kapatiran (allowance of thanks by the brotherhood)
Gugol sa Pasalamat Mid-year (allowance of thanks, mid-year)
Gugol sa Pasalamat ng Dibisyon (allowance of thanks from the division)
Gugol sa Pasalamat ng Distrito (allowance of thanks from the district)
Gugol sa Pasalamat ng Lokal (allowance of thanks from the locale)
Pasalamat ng Indibidwal (gratitude of the individual)
Hain ng Indibidwal (offering of the individual)
Gugol ng Indibidwal (allowance from the individual)
Abuluyan sa mass indoctrination (contribution for mass indoctrination)
Abuluyan sa bautismo (contribution for baptism)

Soriano also collects KAPI or Kabalikat sa Pamamahayag International. A Php1,000.00 per share endeavor for members to be part of. As well as for his "Worldwide Bible Exposition" wherein wealthy members raise at least Php500,000 for this event to come to fruition each time.

Try and wrap your mind around the amount of money Soriano gets from his members. It would have been all well and good, had the funds truly gone into the Lord's service, but no. It went into the service of Soriano.