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A warning to the church

A warning to the churches in the Philippines

TAKEAWAYS:

  • The pride and arrogance of the church leaders.
  • The Catholic church is losing its power and influence.
  • The pride of the council of churches in the Philippines mixing faith with politics.
  • The church is not invincible. Christianity is dead in Europe and dying in the USA.

1. The pride of the church leaders

In 2024, a Catholic wedding in Negros Occidental was set at 8:00 A.M. However, the couple was misinformed and came an hour late. Msgr. Albert Erasmo Bohol disregarded the wedding protocols and started mass ahead of the bridal march.

He then berated the couple, Janine Suelto and Jove Deo Sagario, for disrespecting church time. The story went viral, and unfortunately, such a display of arrogance may further push Filipinos out of the church. [See FB Post]

The wedding incident is not isolated; there have been countless “horror stories” of the snooty and arrogant behavior of certain Catholic priests, but perhaps Cardinal Sin exemplifies the pride and power of the church.

The hero of EDSA, Cardinal Jaime Sin

Cardinal Jaime Sin, Archbishop of Manila, was the hero of the EDSA uprising. Without him, there is no People Power. However, the aftermath wasn’t rosy for the majority of Filipinos.

  • Political instability led to several coups and the rise of the oligarchs.
  • The GDP growth rate fell from 3.4% in 1983 to -7.3% in 1984, along with inflation. [PSA]
  • More protests, crime, drug problems, and communist insurgency spiked.
  • A decade after Marcos, graft, abuse of power, and corruption corroded the Philippine institutions. [Washington Post]
  • Poverty persisted, and government infrastructure plans were neglected or discontinued for decades. Ironically, corruption never left the government and has only worsened.

As a man of cloth, Sin set a precedent for future church interventions, potentially undermined democratic processes, and confused the faithful about the church’s role.

2. The Catholic church is losing its power

For hundreds of years, the Roman Catholic church had the final say. It can install or depose government leaders, but that is no longer the case.

In the 1970s, like royalty, Cardinal Jaime Sin‘s hubris exemplified the absolute authority of the church. Until the late 2000s, priests who used the pulpit to criticize the government faced little resistance.

However, widespread sexual misconduct, abuse, and hypocrisy tarnished its glitter—a bitter thanks to the likes of Fr. Bohol, who thinks the church is still above reproach and powerful.

Losing its influence

Although the Christian population in the Philippines remains strong, it is losing influence. In 1986, the church helped depose President Marcos through EDSA People Power. In 2001, CBCP called for President Estrada to resign, successfully inspiring an EDSA II.

However, in 2005, their calls for President Arroyo to step down were unsuccessful, and in 2017, calls for President Duterte to resign met harsh retaliation. Duterte exposed the “sins of the church” and called God “stupid.” Ironically, he supported the National Bible Month.

RISE OF ROMAN CATHOLICISM.

3. The pride of the council of churches in the Philippines

In 2005, the Vatican chastised the CBCP (Catholic Bishop Conference of the Philippines) for involving itself in political matters—evangelicals are no different.

In 2019, the Department of National Defense tagged the Protestant group National Council of Churches (NCCP) as a communist front. Instead of solely focusing on its mandate from heaven, they constantly criticized government policies, earning its ire.

Evangelicals for the opposition

The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) appears to have promoted certain opposition candidates during President Duterte’s reelection bid. In 2019, Bishop Noel Pantoja attended an “Interfaith rally” for election integrity and posed with an opposition Muslim candidate. He then publicly posted it on his social media.

In 2022, PCEC and Christ Commission Fellowship launched the Christian Values Movement under the leadership of Pastor JP Makasayan. CVM aims to “educate” its projected 2 million followers about the (Biblical) qualities of a political leader they should vote for.

The evangelical tandem did not openly support opposition candidate Leni Robredo, who ran to prevent Bong Bong Marcos Jr. from becoming president—you have to read between the lines about who they support.

The problem is that not all Christians agree with their brand of proud politics. This created wide tension among Christians on social media, adding to the list of what would make an apolitical person avoid religion.

PCEC Bishop Pantoja poses with opposition candidate Samira Gutoc, a Muslim, during a political campaign in 2019. Evangelicals siding with the opposition held vigils, but none of the candidates won.

BIBLE VERSES ABOUT POLITICS.

4. The church is not invincible

In the 1990s, Catholic Cardinal Sin responded to the rising popularity of Born Again Christians by establishing charismatic movements like the ELIM Community and supported the unorthodox Couples for Christ.

These movements, devoid of Catholic images and certain rituals, aimed to counter the appeal of Protestant groups and prevent the “Catholic exodus.”

Both are independent of the traditional diocesan structure, and if it were up to Pope Leo X, they would have been called heretics or, worse, burned at the stake if it was up to Queen Mary.

A wake-up call for Catholic and Evangelical leaders

As left-liberal ideology and immorality become acceptable among the vast majority of young Filipinos, the rivalry between the two faiths fades even though doctrinal unity is impossible. The true enemy is way past the doorstep of the church.

Quickly replacing religiosity

The United States was critical in spreading the gospel around the world. However, it only took a few decades to accomplish the following:

Europe and South Korea

In the early 1980s, South Korea experienced an unprecedented spiritual revival, and missionaries were sent to the Philippines. Inspired by its revival, CCF senior Pastor Peter Tanchi installed prayer booths and replicated their prayer mountain in the late 1990s.

  • The once-strong Christian population in South Korea is declining. Korean missionary Grace Im said it is not as it used to be.
  • In 2023, more than 50% of South Koreans said they had no religious affiliation, and that number is growing. [Pew]
  • Protestantism began and flourished in Europe, but most churches have been converted into museums, restaurants, and play activity venues. Christianity is dead in Europe and dying in America. The Philippines is not invincible! [Gallup]

The bottom line is simple: The apostles have consistently warned us about the pitfalls of pride and the enemy’s tools to distract us from the mission of Christ. The church must repent!

Christianity is dead in Europe, dying in America. The Philippines is not invincible!

SEPARATION OF CHURCH AND STATE IN THE BIBLE.

An abandoned 100-year-old church in Spain turned into a skate park.

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