Members Church of God International

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For other organizations with the same name, see Church of God International (disambiguation).
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Members of the Church of God International
Members Church of God International - Logo.png
Logo used by the Church; note the use of the Tetragrammaton.
Abbreviation MCGI
Classification Christianity
Presiding Minister Eliseo Soriano
Region More than 100 countries worldwide, Concentrated in the Philippines[citation needed]
Headquarters Ang Dating Daan Central Compound
Sampaloc
Apalit, Pampanga
Philippines
Founder Nicolas Perez in 1928 and register with the Philippine government in 1936. Eliseo Soriano in 1976 and registered as Mga Kaanib sa Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus Haligi't Saligan ng Katotohanan sa Bansang Pilipinas in 1980.
Origin 1928
Separated from Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus Haligi't Suhay ng Katotohanan
Congregations 5,000+[citation needed]
Other name(s) Ang Dating Daan, ADD, Tagalog: Iglesia ng Dios, Spanish: Iglesia de Dios, Portuguese: Igreja de Deus
Official website www.mcgi.org

The Members Church of God International is a Christian organization headquartered in the Philippines. It is colloquially known as Ang Dating Daan (English translation: The Old Path), the name of its flagship television program.[1]

The MCGI originated in the Philippines as part of a similar denomination, the Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Support of the Truth) which was started in 1928 in Pulilan, Bulacan and registered with the Philippine government on December 10, 1936 by Nicolas Antiporda Perez, the first Presiding Minister.

By 1975, the church had established less than 100 congregations in provinces around Manila with a Central Office in Pasay City. In 1977, Eliseo F. Soriano, known as Bro. Eli, assumed the leadership of the organization.

MCGI holds religious gatherings called Grand Bible Expositions regularly where visitors can ask questions to Bro. Eli concerning faith and spirituality. This method attracts followers.[2]

The church now has more than 5,000 congregations divided into 100 districts, both in the Philippines and in more than 100 countries on six continents.[3]

History[edit]

The Members Church of God International that originated in the Philippines from a similar denomination, the Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Support of the Truth) was first preached by Nicolas Antiporda Perez in Pulilan, Bulacan, Philippines in 1928. On December 10, 1936, the Church was registered with the Philippine government by Nicolas Antiporda Perez as first church Presiding Minister with a Central Office in Natividad St., Pasay, Rizal (now Pasay City). Since the year the church was established, church workers were being sent to the nearby provinces around Manila.

Nicolas Antiporda Perez, lead the church from 1928 until the time of his death in May 1975, the church was then a small group with less than hundred congregations.

In 1977, Eliseo Soriano, the only ordained minister by Nicolas Antiporda Perez became the next Presiding Minister after the passing of the latter and continued the work of propagating the church.[4]

Unlike the towering chapels of its rival Iglesia Ni Cristo, MCGI chooses to rent a space in urban settlements.

In April 20, 1980, the Philippines' organization registry officially recognized the group as Mga Kaanib Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohanan sa Bansang Pilipinas (Members Church of God in Christ Jesus the Pillar and Ground of the Truth in the Philippines) with Eliseo Soriano as its Presiding Minister.

Eliseo Soriano started to preach from town to town holding a “Pulong” or gathering during his early years as church leader. Bro. Eli (how he is popularly called) would move from one town to another to conduct Bible studies (usually three towns every night). From Pampanga, the church’s main seat, he reached out to the provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, and Metro Manila to do his missionary works. However, Soriano calculated that his lifetime is not enough to reach Filipinos in distant regions even with his nightly town-to-town preaching, so he decided to go on air.[citation needed]

In the last quarter of 1980, the Church launched the radio program Ang Dating Daan, hosted by the church's Presiding Minister, Eliseo Soriano. Through the local radio station DWWA 1260 kHz, ADD was heard in many parts of the Philippine Archipelago. The program became popular more than any other religious program in the country because of its live question and answer portion. The first of its kind, the uncensored Q&A format became the trademark of Ang Dating Daan.

In 1983, the program kicked off its national television appearance through Intercontinental Broadcasting Channel 13. Over the years, it has gained loyalty from its viewers that when it later moved from station to station due to some concerns, people followed it. Ang Dating Daan as a program in radio made its stint in RJTV 29 (now 2nd Avenue), PTV 4, SBN 21 (now ETC), and now UNTV. Ang Dating Daan or The Old Path was derived from Jeremiah 6:16.

In 1993, the Church introduced what is now the popular Bible Exposition. Daniel Razon, an Officer-in-Charge then, now the Vice-Presiding Minister of the Church, proposed and organized a social event where guests could dine together and ask Soriano matters concerning faith and spirituality. The event, done off-camera, was a success that paved the way for Bible Expositions in larger venues. The first local Bible exposition was held in Roosevelt, Quezon City also in 1993. It was televised in the Philippine provinces through the Ang Dating Daan program. Bible expositions then became a regular segment of the program that attracted more viewers.

Since the church launched its radio and television program in 1980, the Church had already expanded to as far as Ilocos Norte in Luzon to the provinces in the Visayas.[citation needed] The propagation reached the far south in Mindanao in early 1990’s. Local radio stations 100 Radyo Natin and DZRH acted a major role in the Church’s missionary works in the Visayas and Mindanao regions. Through these relay stations, the Ang Dating Daan reached the residents of the Southern Philippines which resulted in the establishment of congregations in the area.

With the abounding works of evangelization at hand, the members saw the need of someone who will help Soriano to administer the Church. In 1998, the congregation elected Daniel Razon as Vice-Presiding Minister. Ministers-in-Charge and Officers-in-Charge, now known as Katulong ng Pangangasiwa (Assistants to the Administration) and Tagapangasiwang Pampook (Area Administrators), were also chosen to oversee the members and congregations in various districts of the country.

Members Church of God International Central Office (Sampaloc, Apalit, Pampanga.
Facade, gate and the ADD Convention Center.

In the late years of 1980’s, members fleeing to seek job abroad started church worship services in small groups. The Church administration, through sending VHS tapes and telephone patch, enabled the members abroad to hear the church worship services topics. In the 1990s, the first congregation outside the Philippines was established in Hong Kong. Since then church workers were sent to oversee the brethren in different countries.

In 1999, the Church crossed the Philippine boundaries and took advantage of the power of modern technology in media and mass communication. Through AngDatingDaan.org, the first webcast and live video streaming of Ang Dating Daan program was seen in the World Wide Web.

On July 13, 2002, a live video-streamed Bible Exposition held in Singapore took its first foreign appearance. With the help of members living abroad, locales were established in many countries in Asia, Australia, and Europe.[citation needed]

On October 7, 2004, the Church explored the possibilities of using satellites and introduced the English version of Ang Dating Daan, The Old Path (TOP). It was broadcast in the United States and Canada through Globecast, a direct-to-home provider of free-to-air television via satellite. Subsequently, locales were established in North America,[citation needed]

As the Church became more popular, envy and efforts to disband the group heightened.[citation needed] Death threats especially for Eliseo Soriano came left and right, eventually pushing him to leave the Philippines in the last quarter of 2005.[citation needed] The members of MCGI, though, believed that Soriano's departure from the country was God’s will as it paved the way for more nationalities to hear the teachings of the church. Evangelization activities abroad grew intensely since then.[citation needed] As Eliseo Soriano continued his missionary works in other countries, Daniel Razon, the church Vice-Presiding Minister supported in establishing the locales in the United States and to oversee the members in the Philippines.

On January 7, 2006, the first live Bible Exposition in the United States was held in Los Angeles, California. Later, in 2008, Bible Expositions were conducted in the continent of Oceania bringing forth the first locale in Papua New Guinea in Madang. In the same year, locale congregations were established in Ghana, West Africa as a result of a series of Bible studies in Africa. In the early months of 2009, the Church was established in Latin America. For its first baptism, 263 Brazilians in Porto Alegre, Brazil were converted making it the first locale congregation in the continent.[5]

Since the time Soriano left the country, rapid growth of non-Filipino members continues. The change of the group’s name to Members Church of God International in January 13, 2004 shows its utmost relevance to what is now a global religious entity.[6]

Church Organization & Administration[edit]

Members Church of God International Presiding Ministers
Name Tenure of office

Nicolas A. Perez December 10, 1936 – May 1975
Eliseo F. Soriano March 30, 1977 – Present

Formally, the Members Church of God International is led by a Presiding Minister (Tagalog: Tagapangasiwang Pangkalahatan). According to MCGI teachings, God the Father (through Jesus Christ) is the original founder of the church, hence the term Church of God. According to their doctrine, the Members are simply adhering to the teachings of original Christianity.

The Presiding Minister supervises the entire activity of the Church and implements all policies and projects aimed for the improvement of the congregation’s spiritual well-being. He ensures the proper and rightful execution of the duties and responsibilities of the Ministers and officials of Church ministries and organizations. He also teaches the Ministers and Workers all Church doctrines and stance on theological matters.

Along with the Presiding Minister is the Vice-Presiding Minister which caters to help the Presiding Minister. Aside from this, there are other ministers assigned to oversee various locale congregations. These ministers are called Katulong ng Pangangasiwa (Helpers of the Administration, abbreviated as KNP) and other ministers are called Tagapangasiwang Pampook (Area Administrator) or TP, the Presiding Minister, Vice Presiding Minister and all ministers, forms the Central Administration of Members Church of God International in administering church members.

The MCGI Central Headquarters is located in Sampaloc, Apalit, Pampanga. It houses the ADD Convention Center which was opened in 1997, can accommodate up to 100,000 persons.[citation needed] The Convention Center serves as the main venue of church services and major gatherings. The Central Administration Office, La Verdad Christian College, dormitories for church workers and officers, a small hospital and orphanages are also located here. From the MCGI Headquarters, administration and ministerial work are delegated into Church Divisions which are led by KNP's and TP's (formerly, division's Ministers-in-Charge and Officers-in-Charge). Church divisions comprise 30 to 200 congregations (referred to as locales) on average. The church Division range is generally a single region of the Philippines; however, Divisions are divided in Districts which are headed by District Coordinators. Districts (a district is generally a single province in the Philippines.) are also divided into Zones which is administered by a Zone Coordinator. There are about 5,000 MCGI locales in more than a hundred countries.[7]

Members Church of God International is headed by the Presiding Minister, Eliseo Soriano, and Vice Presiding Minister, Daniel Soriano Razon.

Geographic Distribution and Membership[edit]

Ang Dating Daan (MCGI) Coordinating Center in Quirino.

Today, the MCGI membership comprises many nationalities. It maintains more than 5,000 congregations and missions grouped into more than 100 church districts in the Philippines and 20 church districts in around 100 countries and territories in six continents. Although keeping formal number of membership but not openly revealing it, the church is estimated to have more than a million members with a monthly convert of 5,000 during its regular and mass baptisms.[8]

Practices[edit]

Gatherings[edit]

The church conducts gatherings of diverse forms, from worship to worthwhile socio-spiritual assemblies. Non-members are free to join.

The church conducts regular gatherings, Prayer Meetings during Wednesdays and Thursdays, and Thanksgiving and Worship Service during the weekends. It is translated in different local and foreign languages (example: English, Spanish, Portuguese, German, Chinese, Japanese, Hindu and African). It involves singing of hymns, prayers, Bible reading, studies of topic in the Bible, collection of voluntary offerings (during Worship Service and Thanksgiving only), and benediction. Both God the Father and Jesus are worshiped. The Presiding Minister and Vice Presiding Minister conduct the sermon of biblical topic during gatherings. Ministers and assigned church workers of every local congregation were sent to overseer the welfare of members. Deacons and Deaconesses together with other church officers also assist in member’s welfare in every local congregation. The Singing of hymns is led by the locale's choir. The first hymnbook, termed as Himnario, which consists about 200 songs, was published in 1930’s. Children's services (also called Kawan ng Cordero) are held coincide with separate topic intended for the children. The church teaches that willfully forsaking the worship service is a grievous sin, thus members are expected to attend the congregational gatherings trice a week without fail. This assembly is also patterned after the commandment in Hebrews 10:25-26. [9]

The regular prayer service involves singing hymns, reading the Bible, hearing sermons, offering prayers, and giving to the church. Bending the knees, facing the ground ("panikluhod") is the posture of prayer observed throughout the service.

We believe that all Christian believers should always attend the divine service executed by the administrator of the members of the church or of the congregation every first day of the week, wherein they should sing hymns, hear sermons, offer prayers and alms which is always voluntary according to one’s faith (Hebrew 10:25; Acts 20:7; 1 Corinthians 14:28: Acts 1:14; 1 Corinthians 16:3; 2 Corinthians 9:7-8, 12-13).

— Section 7, Article 2 of the MCGI by-laws

Prayer[edit]

Prayer is a basic doctrine in the Members Church of God International. All Church gatherings, either spiritual or socio-civic, begin and end with prayers. MCGI observes 'tithemi' praying in horizontal position facing the east. The doctrine on prayer may be heard and learned in the two-week indoctrination process.

Evangelism[edit]

In the Philippines, broadcasts programs that discuss Bible teachings over the radio through its program Ang Dating Daan was first heard in October 1980. In 1983, the church launched its first television broadcast through Intercontinental Broadcasting Network (IBC 13). This program was aired by more than 100 radio stations all over the Philippines (i.e. UNTV Radio La Verdad 1350 kHz) and in around 100 countries. Now through UNTV-37, as well as major cable stations in the Philippines and in many television networks abroad, telecast the MCGI’s religious programs. These programs can also be seen in the Internet via the website www.angdatingdaan.org

During late 1990’s, the church has been publishing Ang Dating Daan Magazine in both Filipino and English. In 2007, the church launch a new magazine titled ‘The Blog’ which also discusses different biblical topics.

MCGI holds religious gatherings called bible expositions regularly which aim to attract more followers through its question and answer format that many parts of the Philippines. On 2003, MCGI launched Worldwide Bible Exposition where visitors in different parts of the globe simultaneously can ask biblical queries.

Doctrines and Beliefs[edit]

Christology[edit]

We believe in the Almighty God, the Father, the Creator of the universe, in Christ Jesus, the Father’s Begotten Son, a true and Mighty God, the only Savior of mankind and the only way to the Kingdom of God in heaven (cf Acts 14:15; 1 Corinthians 8:5-7; John 14:6; 14:1). We believe that Christ descended on earth from the bosom of the Father, suffered for the redemption of sin, died on the cross, resurrected after three days, ascended to heaven and sat on the right side of God.

— Section 1 & 6, Article 2 of MCGI By-Laws

God of Israel or God the Father who is the Creator of the universe with Christ, the Son of God, the Lord Jesus Christ. God cannot lie,[10] God is not omniscient (he doesn't foreknow all future human actions and choices), and God is not omnipresent (he created hell but he is not there).

Jesus Christ is God the Father's only begotten son (in Romanized Greek: monogenestheos). He is the Wonderful, Counselor, Mighty God, Prince of Peace referred in Isaiah 9:6. He is recognized as the Apostle, High Priest and Mediator of the church. He is the sent savior of mankind and the way, the truth and the life.[11]

The Holy Spirit came from the Father and part of the Godhead.

The Bible[edit]

We believe that only the Bible or the Holy Scriptures, composed of 66 inspired books, teaches the full wisdom of God for the salvation of man and that no other book should be used as basis for serving God and Christ Jesus (Romans 1:16-17; 2:16; Galatians 1:8-9; 2 Thessalonians 1:1-9; John 20:31; Isaiah. 34:16; John 5:39).

— Section 2, Article 2 of MCGI By-Laws

The church[edit]

The church affiliates to the only true church of God first preached in Jerusalem during the 1st century AD and brings the message of salvation to the world. The church of God is the Kingdom of God on earth and is necessary for one's salvation. Those who have heard of the gospel and of the church must join this church in order to be saved.

We believe that God the Father sent His son Jesus Christ, instrumental in the establishment of the CHURCH OF GOD , the congregation of the Apostles, Prophets, Teachers, and others; first planted in the city of Jerusalem, and later on scattered, and preached in by the Apostles in different places of Asia Minor (Matthew 16:18; Acts 8:1; Galatians 1:22; 1 Thessalonians 2:14). We believe that the Gentile nations, including the Philippines, are partakers of the promise, of ETERNAL LIFE through belief in Christ Jesus and the Gospel, and are not authorized by God TO ESTABLISH THEIR OWN CHURCH, but are members associated with the same body or Church written in the Gospel by accepting and executing the doctrines written by the Apostles (Ephesians 3:6; Colossians 1:18; 1 John 2:25; 1:3-4; I Corinthians 12:27; Psalm 127:1; 1 Timothy 3:15). We believe that God is calling His people with determination to serve Him, bringing them in His fold, teaching them righteousness after baptism for their sins to be covered by the priceless blood of Christ poured in Mount Calvary, for the redemption of sin, to make them qualify for life eternal in heaven (1 Corinthians 1: 9, 2; Ephesians 4:1,10,14; Acts 2:38; Philippians 1:27; 1 Pet. 1:15-16; Ephesians 2:10; 1 Thessalonians 1:1).

— According to the Section 3, 4 & 5, Article 2 of MCGI by-laws

The official name of the true church in the Bible is just Church of God.[12]

Some of the laws of Moses, the 10 Commandments including Shabbat and tithing have been abolished and replaced with the laws of Christ in the New Testament.

Salvation may only be promised by following all the laws in the New Testament. However, a person can be saved even though he has not heard of the Gospel. He shall be judged by God according to his conscience.

The establishment of the Members Church of God International in the Philippines is the fulfillment of Zachariah 8:3, Isaias 24:15 and among other prophecies in the Bible because geographically, the Philippines is an archipelago located in the Southeast.

Zechariah 13:7-9 was fulfilled in the Members Church of God International when the Iglesia ng Diyos kay Kristo Hesus Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan, founded by Nicholas Perez, split into three sects: Levita Gugulan's group, Filomeno Hizon's group and Eliseo Soriano's group.

Women are forbidden to lead the church.[13]

Membership[edit]

Ang Dating Daan (MCGI) Coordinating Center in Phase 1, Caloocan City.

Baptism is a key part in their doctrines. Membership is conferred through immersion baptism of adults.

Indoctrination classes are required prior to joining the organization. The classes are composed of 9 lessons concerning church doctrines prepared by the Presiding Minister Eliseo Soriano. Indoctrinees must fully accept the doctrines taught during the indoctrination before they can be baptized.[14]

The church rejects infant baptism. Members who are not living in accordance with the church's teachings may be excommunicated or expelled from the Church.[15] Members are required to be modest in dress and grooming. Women are prohibited from cutting their hair and wearing expensive jewelry, and denim pants, while men are prohibited to have long hair. They are strictly prohibited from drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, using drugs, and gambling.

The MCGI keeps its formal number of members but does not openly reveal it. Thousands of local chapters are scattered throughout the Philippines and abroad because of increasing number of membership through mass baptisms which gained an average of 5,000 monthly.[16]

Miscellaneous Beliefs[edit]

The Last Supper should not be commemorated literally. The bread symbolizes the teachings of Jesus and the cup of wine symbolizes the sufferings that Christians must accept.

The Bible does not condemn the hormonally imbalanced persons or the gays and the lesbians. However, homosexuals are prohibited from having intercourse. The Sodomites are heterosexuals who practice homosexual sex due to their perversion.

The soul is a combination of spirit (breath of life) and body including the emotions, memory, faculties. When a person dies, his soul is in the hands of God and will be restored in the resurrection to face judgement.

Jesus had younger brothers and sisters.

Propagation, Missionary and Charity Works[edit]

Different logos of the Members Church of God International's programs and services.
La Verdad College, Apalit, Pampanga.

The church uses radio, television and the internet in its missionary work. The flagship program Ang Dating Daan is primarily hosted by Eliseo Soriano, the church's Presiding Minister. The flagship program currently airs in 73 countries worldwide.[6] Soriano also hosts his own Livestream channel, where he broadcasts his Bible preaching shows.

Aside from free channels in the Philippines, MCGI airs English-format programs such as Biblically Speaking, Truth in Focus and Bible Guide through the TOP (The Old Path) Channel, carried by satellite provider Globecast available in the United States and Canada.

Through the Ang Dating Daan Foundation International or ADD Foundation, MCGI does various social work. MCGI maintains several residential institutions including orphanages, senior citizen homes, and a transient home.

MCGI established the La Verdad Christian College in Caloocan City and La Verdad Christian College in Apalit, Pampanga to offer scholarship to poor, yet deserving students. Free education, free meals, free uniforms, and free books, among other benefits, are given to students. Other assistance given include livelihood programs and financial aid.[17][18][19] [20]

In its effort to save lives, MCGI is now the number one blood donor in the Philippines acknowledged by the Philippine National Red Cross.[21]

Criticism[edit]


References[edit]

External links[edit]

Official links[edit]