Entonces27’s Weblog

Regarding Ben Douglas’ “Ang Dating Daan: An Old Path Incarnate Again”

Posted in Ang Dating Daan, Apologetics, Bible, Catholicism, Christian, Christianism, Christianity, Faith, Religion, Rome by entonces27 on December 24, 2008

Dear fellows,

The bold quoted parts are mine. Let us start reading now…

Nothing under the sun is new, neither is any man able to say: Behold this is new: for it hath already gone before in the ages that were before us (Ecclesiastes 1:10).

(Well quoted, “the former things” which seem new to others were of old already as Jeremiah 6:16 tells all folks in all walks of life.)

When a Filipino Catholic man first alerted me to the existence and activity of The Church of God International of Mr. Eliseo Soriano, which he publicizes through his popular television show Ang Dating Daan (“The Old Path”), my first instinct was that it was a bit absurd to refer to a religious group as the Old Path which has only been around for about 30 years. (Can “old” be counted as years only? And is it a first instinct to have heard that Church of God existed in the Philippines? By the way, “catholic”from the greek word which meant “universal or worldwide.” So, is that Filipino man a universal man? Come on, go back to your first course in etymology. Poor Ben!)However, upon further study of its history and of the corpus of Mr. Soriano’s teachings, I have realized that this is not the case. Rather, it is more ironic than absurd, because it really is an old path, simply not in the sense that Mr. Soriano thinks it is.(Yeah, ironic. You were correct in describing because in my sense, the members of the Church of God follows in the iron method of Christ Jesus) For it is the same path that we see incarnate in the Mormons, (wrong “Mormons” had “another testament of their Christ”, while we only follow the 66 books, haven’t you read the www.mcgi.org about us?) the Jehovah’s Witnesses, (wrong again, I think you want to mislead the ignorant of the Histories of the world. Jehovah is an invention, even Yahweh) and many other similar groups: (which groups? Herbert Armstrong? Baptists? Lutherans? What, be specific.) a charismatic leader claims direct divine revelation, (what do you mean by charismatic? Well, let us dig!From charism – \Cha”rism\, n. [Gr. ? gift.] (Eccl.)

A miraculously given power, as of healing, speaking foreign languages without instruction, etc., attributed to some of the early Christians. Dict.die.net/charism) twists Scripture, (twists what? And who twists? Be specific!) preaches vigorously, and with the help of fortuitous social, economic, and psychological circumstances, manages to attract a sizable flock to follow him down to perdition. Fortunately, Soriano’s claims are so easily falsifiable, (how? Call Jospeh Ratzinger. Let us arrange a debate in a worldwide television with Brother Eli. Could you make it?) so manifestly absurd, (Because you have a preconceived idea.) his exegetical incompetence so blatantly obvious, his self-contradiction so evident,(Cite,please) that any person of good will who reads this essay will be able to see him for the false prophet(well, you are one of the false prophets or are you, hananiah?) that he is and fly back to the bosom of Holy Mother Church (is this phrase biblical? Which verse?) to be reintroduced to the divine life of grace in the soul. A bit of background first.

II. A Brief History of The Church of God International

He that gathereth not with me, scattereth (Matthew 12:30). (Correctly cited, in 1521, the Roman Catholic Church’s members who were against or who protested to its policies officially broke and separated themselves)

Schisms are the plague of all schismatics (Anyway, the Reformation will tell and not you rookie boy!). Once a group of factious men splits off from the Mystical(let us dig deeper: [L. mysticus, Gr. ?

   belonging to secret rites,)

Body of Christ to follow winds of doctrine more to their liking, little remains to bind them to each other. Hence, whenever someone comes to an irreconcilable doctrinal disagreement with the leadership of the schismatic church, (Why not cite the church of Mr. Aglipay?) or simply wants power and authority that they have but are not willing to give him, the first schism is followed by further schisms, and factions proliferate. (Bravo, you were referring to the Roman Catholic Church) This is the principle which underlies the history of Ang Dating Daan. (Oh “Ang Dating Daan” is a Philippine T.V. Program) Since Soriano is fond of scientific analogies, I will use one myself: bacteria multiply by splitting.

The story starts with a man named Felix Manalo, (Hello, his name is Felix M. Ysagun) who left the Catholic Church(the Roman C. C. be specific!) as a teenager. He toyed briefly with a cult (What is cult?) called Colorum which claimed direct communication with God, and then joined the Methodist Episcopal Church and became a minister. As his Catholic(Roman, be specific!) mother lay dying he “rejected the last sacrament for her.”1 He then spent a brief stint as a Presbyterian minister, then left them as well for the Christian Missionary Alliance, who impressed him because they baptized by immersion(Do you accept this as correct Ben?) only. He then switched teams again after he lost a debate to a Seventh Day Adventist (Which group? Of Ellen Gould White?) minister and decided that since he couldn’t beat them he would join them. He left them as well after deciding (Was Felix’s decision correct Ben?) they were wrong about observing a Saturday Sabbath, and briefly played the harlot with atheism and agnosticism. Finally, according to the account which he convinced his credulous followers to believe, in November 1913 he spent three days and nights in total seclusion studying the Bible and came out convinced that he was God’s last messenger, the messenger from the Far East prophesied by Rev 7:2-3; Isaiah 43:5-6; 46:11; 41:9-11. In any case, in 1914 started a church for himself, which would later claim Protestants to be apostates, and itself to be the one true Church of Christ outside of which there is no salvation.2 But his own biographers give lie to these claims, relating “on December 25, 1918, ministers of the Christian Mission honored Felix Manalo as an outstanding evangelist. The certificate was signed by Ministers Leslie Wolfe and Higinio Mayor, attested by attorney V. Dimagiba. The affair, held at the Gloria Theater in Tondo, Manila was attended by Church members and several Protestant pastors… In August 1919 Manalo visited all local congregations before departing for the United States to advance his Bible studies. He advised the brethren to keep united and protect one another in his absence. One day in September that year he sailed for the U.S. and stayed at Berkeley, California, burying himself in Bible research and studies, and attending classes in a school of religion.”3 So, either he was accepting awards and taking classes from apostates, or these claims came later, and from 1914-1919 Felix Manalo believed himself to be the head of just another Protestant church.

While he was away his church begat the grandfather of And Dating Daan, when two of his students whom he had passed over for ordination, Teofilo Ora and Januario Ponce, started their own church called the Iglesia Verdadero de Cristo (“The True Church of Christ” in Spanish) and drew away much of his fold with charges of immorality. True to the nature which this schismatic church inherited in its genesis, it soon begat the father of Ang Dating Daan with another schism. Nicolas Antiporda Perez founded the Iglesia ng Dios Kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (“The Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Ground of the Truth” in Tagalog), and attracted a following. The day before Eliseo Soriano turned seventeen, his parents took him to hear one of his sermons; the topic was, not surprisingly, the true Church of God according to the Bible, and Soriano was convinced. Perez baptized him, and made him a minister, the only other minister in the whole church. Hence, Soriano expected that when Perez died he would accede to the leadership of the InDKKHHaSnK (hmm, that’s large and unwieldy even as an acronym; I shall not use it again).4 However, when Perez died, a woman name Levita Gugulan in fact came to power,5 and Soriano, true to form, left and started yet another splinter church. He claims that he was forced out by former colleagues who “driven by extreme greed for power embarked on dark schemes against him and launched an underground plot to malign and discredit” him.6 I will prescind from the veracity of this statement, as foul play would not surprise me amongst the denizens of either side of this divide.

Soriano further claims that this occurred in fulfillment of Zechariah 13:8-9, a claim with about as much credibility as Manalo’s claim to be the angel ascending from the east of Revelations 7. Zechariah 13:7 is about the execution of Christ (cf. Matt 26:31) and the following two verses are about the persecution of the early Christian Church. For Soriano to apply it to his little group 2000 years later is absolutely inane (based on your opinion and the dictates of Joseph Ratzinger, am I right Ben?). Consider how mild the persecutions Soriano has endured really are compared to what the early Church went through. (Mild? Why? Have you followed Bro. Eli Soriano everywhere?) The early Christians were torn to pieces by lions while crowds of heathens laughed at them; Soriano got sued, and lost. They were crucified; Soriano got briefly kicked off television.(Briefly? How about those years when you were not yet born? Why didn’t you cite, rookie Ben?) They had the option of sacrificing to demons or losing their heads; Soriano’s character is sometimes verbally attacked by the ministers he so frequently attacks himself. Soriano in fact has not endured any more persecution than Mohammed endured, whose persecution consisted of verbal abuse, a boycott, family pressure, and juvenile pranks like people dumping trash on his porch. This, compared to what Christians have endured, is child’s play.

In any case, Bro. Eli, as he now likes to be called, (Which now? Now in your dispensation? Be specific, poor writer!)registered his group as Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohanan (“The Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Ground of the Truth”), (hello Ben, have you had a photocopy of our S.E.C. Registration?) a name almost identical to the name of Gugulan’s group, Soriano having only replaced one word for “ground” (suhay, brace) with another (saligan, basis). Not surprisingly, Gugulan sued him, and the Philippine Supreme Court ruled in her favor. Soriano then changed the name of his group to Iglesia Ni YHWH at ni YHWSA HMSYH, and, most recently, to Members Church of God International.7 This is ironic because in one of his sermons which is posted at the Ang Dating Daan website Soriano chastises the Jehovah’s Witnesses for having multiple names throughout their history, and he insists that the real name of the true church is The Church of God in Christ Jesus, and that if an organization does not bear this exact name it cannot be of God.8 I eagerly await Mr. Soriano’s admission that his church no longer meets his own criteria for being of God. (And until now, you are waiting of “contradictions” which will never come out of Bro. Eli’s mouth. Hilarious Ben!)

And somehow, in spite of his ignominious origins, legal troubles, and self contradiction, Soriano has managed to draw a rather large following to himself, including many former Catholics. (And those “catholics” you mentioned were not Roman but Filipino lolz) He apparently has an extraordinary memory, and amazes his listeners with his ability to regurgitate Scripture passages of the top of his head. One of his shows, in fact, is called “Ask Soriano, and the Bible Will Answer.” However, he clearly does not understand much of what he has memorized, as will become evident throughout this essay. (Ben, it will only be evident if your Joseph Ratzinger will host a show of “Ask Ratzinger, and Ben Douglas answers.”)Soriano must be very charismatic as well, given the way his followers fawn over him.9 He also exploits the chaotic religious landscape of the Philippines with his constant harangues against false preachers, wolves in sheep clothing, who are only after money and don’t really care about their flocks. He is thus a magnet for all those who are disillusioned and disaffected with their current churches, and who are willing to listen to a man claiming that he really loves them, (And that’s the truth, for I am a member of the Church of almost 7 years) and that he’s “the only sensible and sincere evangelist.”10 who cares for them and wants to lead them to salvation. (And I believe so, that’s why I speak.) Soriano also uses dishonest debate tactics, such as heckling, setting up debates on his home turf where the audience can shout his opponents down, and recording his opponents’ words (Why? Are debates effective without “recording”?) so he can replay them to the audience and pronounce allegations of contradiction.11 Finally, he is adept at character assassination, (Evidence, Vice-President Ben Douglas of the Catholic Apologetics International) and smears all apostates from his group.12 He uses, in sum, the tactics characteristic of a cult.

III. The Bible Predicted Me, and God Himself Teaches Me

The Lord hath not sent thee, and thou hast made this people to trust in a lie (Jeremiah 28:15). (Perfect quotation, hanahiah, a yahoo screenname of Ben Douglas)

As noted above, Soriano claims to be the only sincere evangelist. (not only sincere but sensible) Everyone else is a charlatan, according to him. Naturally, he also claims that he has been predicted by Scripture, specifically Ecclesiastes 9:15. He is, as he styles himself, the poor wise man who saved his city from destruction.(What do you understand of that? I think Ratzinger also don’t divulge it to you.) Again, this is inane; it is simply another manifestation of Soriano’s utter incompetence to interpret Scripture, for in Ecclesiastes 9:15, Solomon is not predicting anything, but simply illustrating a principle (i.e. that wisdom is better than strength, even though it is accounted as less in the eyes of the world), by relating an event from the past. A poor and wise man saved his city from being destroyed by the army of a great King, but afterwards no one remembered his name. This may be a parable, or it may refer to a real event (Scripture records similar occurrences in Judg 9:52-55; 2 Sam 20:14-22). But in either case, it is narrated as an event which was completed in the past. Moreover, Soriano has yet to turn aside any armies or save any cities, and given the way he dresses, he clearly is not poor, and given the way he preaches, neither is he wise. Finally, the poor wise man’s name was forgotten (by whom?)in obscurity, but Soriano’s fame is only growing. Indeed, his great ambition is that “before I die… all people from the different parts of the world would be able to hear me as I preach the Gospel of Christ.”13 He should have realized, if he wanted to claim Ecclesiastes 9:15 for himself, that he would have to avoid professing ambitions to everlasting world renown. Clearly, if he were to preach his gospel to the entire world, his name would not be universally forgotten. In sum, no passage of Scripture refers directly to Mr. Soriano. He is simply one of the many false prophets contributing to the great apostasy predicted thereby.
—————-AND SO ON AND SO FORTH of Ben Douglas’ writings———————

If you want to mesmerize of his composition, this is the present link:

http://www.pugiofidei.com/ang.htm

and the former link is located here:

http://www.catholicintl.com/

If you want to know more about Ben Douglas, you may reach him here:

http://www.ratzingerfanclub.com/blog/2006/10/robert-sungenis-jews-update.html

Very truly yours,

Enton Ces