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.

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