Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches
|Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches|
|Leader||Atty. Von Lovell Bedona|
|Associations||World Council of Churches; National Council of Churches in the Philippines;|
|Origin||May 23, 1935 (year formed)
Jaro, Iloilo City
Protestantism in the Philippines 
Protestantism developed in the Philippines through the United States taking possession of the Philippines with the 1898 Treaty of Paris. United States rule allowed more opportunity for missionaries to enter the Philippines than under Spanish rule. In addition, there was a backlash against the Catholicism of the Spanish and a greater acceptance of Protestant Christianity represented by the Americans. The dominance of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and Protestant animosity towards Catholicism were prominent reasons for the start of Protestant missionary activity. In 1901 the Evangelical Union was established in the Philippines to co-ordinate activities amongst the Protestant denominations and lay the foundations for an indigenous religious movement.
First worship service 
The first Protestant service held in the Philippines was on Sunday, August 28, 1898. Chaplain George Stull, a member of The Methodist Episcopal Church 1, came with the occupying forces. Although his primary duty was to minister to the soldiers, he recorded in his diary that that first service, held in an old Spanish dungeon facing the bay, was attended not only by his own men but by some Filipinos as well. He commented on this service:
"That the power of God will use this day to make a good Catholic better, any weak American stronger, any backslider ashamed, and the gloomy old dungeon the beginning of wonderful things in these Islands, is my prayer."
^1 Currently known as The United Methodist Church since 1968
1898-1940: Comity Agreement 
Protestantism was introduced after the United States of America subjugated the Spanish Armada in the Philippines. In 1898 the Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist leaders met together in New York to discuss how to bring the Protestant message to the Filipinos. The result was a comity agreement of the missionary enterprises, dividing up places of ministry to avoid future conflicts among themselves and their converts. This meant that only one Protestant church would be started in each area. The comity agreement, which led to the territorial division of the Philippines, was one of the accomplishments of mission enterprises in the Philippines. The meeting was followed by another gathering in 1901 by the early missionaries in Manila to further discuss the comity agreement with three specific major agenda items:
- "to organize the Evangelical Union,"
- "choose a common name for Protestant churches," and
- "delineate the geographical work allotments for each church."
From 1898 to 1905 there were different Protestant missions agencies joining the comity agreement, namely:
- Methodists (1898, most of lowland Luzon and north of Manila);
- Presbyterians (1899, Bicol, Southern Tagalog area and some parts of Central and Western Visayas);
- Baptists (1900, Western Visayas);
- United Brethren (1901, Mountain Province and La Union);
- Disciples of Christ (1901, Ilocos, Abra, and Tagalog towns);
- Congregationalists (1902, Mindanao except for the western end); and
- Christian and Missionary Alliance (1902, Western Mindanao and Sulu Archipelago).
What would be the evident mission thrusts of these Protestant denominations in the country? The American Protestant Missions (APM) heavily emphasized institutional ministry, and medical missions in their evangelistic and missions endeavors.
For a short time the comity agreement worked well, until the situation grew more intricate and splits transpired. The most notable of these involved the Methodists in 1909 when Nicolas Zamora broke away from the Methodists and founded the Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en las Islas Filipinas (IEMELIF). This shattered the agreement. Thus IEMELIF became the first indigenous Evangelical Church in the Philippines, an all-Filipino-supported church at that time. Furthermore, Methodist Ilocanos from Northern Luzon moved into the areas of the United Church of Christ in the Philippines in Mindanao. Baptist Ilongos migrated from Iloilo to Central Cotabato, traditionally Christian and Missionary Alliance territory. As this kind of movement increased, the sharp boundaries between the different comity areas became obscured.
Divisions came with growth and expansion, and personality clashes, racial tensions, the dynamics of nationalism, cultural differences, power struggles and other non-theological factors contributed to the schisms. In the 1920s the fundamental-modernist controversy in the USA affected the Philippines, causing further division. By 1921, some nineteen independent denominations were registered with the Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) and important splits occurred among the Methodists, Baptists, Presbyterians and Disciples of Christ. Several small denominations, some of them entirely under national leadership, emerged.
1941-Present: Church Movements 
However, the original desire for unity remained strong. In 1929, the United Brethren, Presbyterian and Congregational Churches formed the United Evangelical Church in the Philippines. In 1932, six of the smaller indigenous denominations formed the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Cristo. Its membership extends from Nueva Ecija to Laguna and later to Bicol and the Southern Philippines. The assembly of these indegenous denominations was called by Don Toribio Teodoro, a known businessman and owner of the Ang Tibay shoes. The National Christian Council was founded in 1929 as a successor of the Evangelical Union. This was followed in 1938 by the organization of the Philippine Federation of Evangelical Churches. With the coming of World War II, the United Evangelical Church underwent severe trying circumstances when the mission agencies were completely cut off from the USA. American missionaries were incarcerated and mission funds were unexpectedly discontinued.
To better deal with the diverse Protestant groups, the Japanese pressed for the formation of the Evangelical Church in the Philippines which combined thirteen denominations in all. However, most of the larger denominations such as Methodist, Episcopal, Unida and other independent churches refused to do so. After the war, the Evangelical Church of the Philippines fell into further fragmentation, but the Disciples of Christ, the United Brethren, the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Cristo, the Evangelica Nacional, some individual congregations of the IEMELIF, the Philippine Methodist and the Presbyterian Churches remained intact. Many churches further became united and is now called the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. In 1949 the United Evangelical Church, the Philippine Federation of Evangelical Churches, the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Cristo united to form the Philippine Federation of Christian Churches. Today, Protestant and Evangelical churches and denominations are grouped into major councils of churches: The National Council of Churches in the Philippines (NCCP), and the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC) organized in 1964.
During the martial law under then President Ferdinand Marcos, despite the threats for communism, several independent church organizations were planted from the 1970s to the mid-1980s like the Jesus Is Lord Church, Greenhills Christian Fellowship founded in 1978, Bread of Life Ministries International founded in 1982, and both Christ's Commission Fellowship and Victory Christian Fellowship established in 1984. These independent churches had a mass media role in church growth that spread the Evangelical faith in the Philippines to reform its churches to Non-denominational and Pentecostal-Charismatic form. These churches met in secret places and rooms in the beginning of the their church work.
Colporters translated and distributed Bibles in the Philippines beginning in the 1890s. Eric Lund (1852-1933), a missionary of the American Baptist Foreign Mission Society (now International Ministries), and Braulio Manikan established a mission on the island of Panay in 1900. A church was organized there, at Jaro, in February 1901. Lund translated the entire Bible into Hiligaynon, and the New Testament into two other dialects. In 1905, the Jaro Industrial School (now known as Central Philippine University) was established. The Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches was formed May 23, 1935.
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The American missionaries then created the Philippine Baptist Missionary Group, which maintained offices in Iloilo City until they were closed in 1991. Unlike many Baptist groups, the Convention has allowed ordination of women to the ministry since 1981.
In 1999, the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches had 104,000 members in 763 churches, according to BWA statistics. Headquarters are located on Fajardo St., Jaro, Iloilo City. Within the convention operates ten provincial associations, two hospitals, two community centers, one college, and two universities. Central Philippine University is affiliated with the Convention and maintains partnership ties with the International Ministries of the American Baptist Churches in the USA. The Convention is a member of the Asia Pacific Baptist Federation and the Baptist World Alliance.
There about 20 different Baptist groups in the Philippines, including the Association of Fundamental Baptist Churches in the Philippines, which represents a schism from the American Baptist missions and "Convention" churches before the national organization was created. Over 25% of all Baptists in the Philippines are members of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches.
The Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC), reposing faith in the Almighty God, envisions churches empowered to do holistic mission and responsive to the needs of the community in attaining justice, peace, economic stability, and ecological sustainability as expressions of the abundant life in Christ Jesus.
The CPBC, believing in the power of the Gospel of our Lord Jesus, shall be an organization committed to empower its members to fulfill Christ's holistic mission to the whole world.
The Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches is committed to obey the call of Christ to faithfully proclaim the gospel of love and reconciliation to all people.
Core Mission Principles 
- Being grounded in the Biblical tradition
- Engagement in prophetic and priestly functions
- Building a community that heals and restores broken ties
- Developing of strong and responsible leaders
- Achieving stability through full support of member churches and organizations
- Building of a deeper and stronger relationship with other mission partners
- Deep and genuine concern for the lost, the poor, the weak and the needy
- Faithfulness to the Baptist legacy of missionary service
- A dynamic, relevant and responsive servant organization
- Deep commitment to the implementation of a holistic and comprehensive ministry
- Full use of appropriate technology to enhance programs and ministries
Theology and practice 
Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches believe that the Bible is the inspired word of God and the final authority in matters of faith. The CBPC affirms the Trinity, that the one God exists as three persons in complete unity: God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit. They confess Jesus Christ as Savior and Lord through whom those who believe can have fellowship with God. He died, taking on the sins of the world, and was resurrected, triumphing over sin and death.
CPBC churches recognize two ordinances: Believer's baptism and the Lord's Supper. Baptism is by immersion, and those being baptized must be of an age to understand its significance. Believing in the priesthood of all believers, the CPBC avoids using creeds, affirming the freedom of individual Christians and local churches to interpret scripture as the Holy Spirit leads them. The CPBC affirms the ordination of women.
Baptist missionaries founded many schools and universities in the Philippines. Most notable of these is Central Philippine University, the first Baptist university in the Philippines and in Asia, while Filamer Christian University is the first Baptist school in Asia and the Philippines.
The CPU College of Nursing. Founded in 1906 as Iloilo Mission Hospital School of Nursing is the first Nursing School in the Philippines. The Central Philippine University College of Nursing is also one of the leading nursing schools in the Philippines
Central Philippine University's official Student Governing Body, the CPU Republic (Central Philippine University Republic), holds the distinction of being the oldest student government in the Philippines. It was organized in 1906, one year after the founding of the school. The University's official publication, the Central Echo (CE) is the official student publication of CPU. It was founded in 1910, five years after Jaro Industrial School opened. It is one of the oldest student publications in the Philippines.
See also 
- Official website
- Philippine Baptist Centennial History
- Bacolod Christian Center - official Web Site
- Deats, 1967, p. 91
- Deats, 1967, p. 92
- Anderson, 1969, p. 298
- Deats, 1967, p. 95
- Protestantism in the Philippines
- The Story of Methodism in the Philippines - EARLY BEGINNINGS
- Homer Stuntz, 1940, pp. 415-416
- Guillermo & Verora, pp. 1-3
- Guillermo & Verora, p. 3.
- Tuggy & Toliver, p. 19
- James H. Montgomery and Donald A. McGavran, pp. 41-51
- Tuggy & Oliver, pp. 136-40.
- Frank Laubach, p. 23
- Baptists Around the World, by Albert W. Wardin, Jr.
- The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness, by H. Leon McBeth