Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches

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Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches
Baptism logo.jpg
Classification Protestant
Orientation Mainline/Baptist
Polity Congregationalist
Leader Atty. Von Lovell Bedona
Associations World Council of Churches; National Council of Churches in the Philippines;
Region Philippines
Origin May 23, 1935 (year formed)
Jaro, Iloilo City
Official website

The Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, Inc. (Hiligaynon: Kasapulanan sang Bautista nga Pilipinhon) is the oldest Baptist organisational body in the Philippines.


Protestantism in the Philippines[edit]

Protestantism developed in the Philippines after the Spanish–American War, when the Spanish Empire ceded the islands to the United States in accordance with the 1898 Treaty of Paris.[1] During the American Occupation, the Catholic Church in the Philippines was disestablished, affording Protestant missionaries from various denominations free entry into the colony. A greater acceptance of alternative forms of Christian expression also flourished due to some Filipinos' resentment of Catholicism, which the Spanish used as a tool of colonisation and oppression.[2] The dominance of the Catholic Church in the Philippines and Protestant anti-Catholic animosity were prominent reasons for the start of Protestant missionary activity.[3] 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.[4]

Comity Agreement[edit]

In 1898, Presbyterian, Baptist and Methodist leaders met together in New York City to discuss how to evangelise 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.[5] 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."[6]
The logo of the oldest and first mission and Protestant Hospital in the Philippines and Asia, Iloilo Mission Hospital, which was founded by Presbyterian missionaries.

From 1898 to 1905 there were different Protestant missions agencies joining the comity agreement, namely:

Manila was opened to all denominations and mission agencies.[7] The Seventh-day Adventist Church and Protestant Episcopals did not join because they wanted to go to all parts of the archipelago.[8]

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 American Methodists and founded the Iglesia Evangelica Metodista en las Islas Filipinas (IEMELIF). This secession shattered the agreement, and the all-Filipino-supported IEMELIF became the first indigenous evangelical church in the country. Furthermore, Methodist Ilocanos from Northern Luzon resettled in parts of Mindanao under the United Church of Christ in the Philippines. Baptist Ilonggos migrated from Iloilo to Central Cotabato, traditionally Christian and Missionary Alliance territory. As the number of Mindanao-bound migrations and ethnic admixture increased, the sharp boundaries between the different comity areas were eventually obscured.[9]

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.[10]

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 indigenous 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 during the Japanese occupation of the Philippines during World War II pressed for the formation of the Evangelical Church in the Philippines which combined thirteen denominations. 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.

In 1949 the United Evangelical Church, the Philippine Federation of Evangelical Churches, the Iglesia Evangelica Unida de Cristo formed the Philippine Federation of Christian Churches, now called the National Council of Churches in the Philippines. 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.

Baptist missions[edit]

Beginning in the 1890s Colporters translated and distributed Bibles in the Philippines. 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.

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 225,000 members in 763 churches, according to BWA[clarification needed] statistics.[citation needed] Headquarters are located at 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.

Core Mission Principles[edit]

  • 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[edit]

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.


The logo of Central Philippine University College of Nursing, founded 1906 as the Iloilo Mission Hospital School of Nursing, is the oldest Nursing school in the country.

Baptist missionaries founded many schools and universities in the Philippines. Most notable of these is Central Philippine University,[11] 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.[12] 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[edit]

External links[edit]


  1. ^ Deats, 1967, p. 91
  2. ^ Deats, 1967, p. 92
  3. ^ Anderson, 1969, p. 298
  4. ^ Deats, 1967, p. 95
  5. ^ Guillermo & Verora, pp. 1–3
  6. ^ Guillermo & Verora, p. 3.
  7. ^ Tuggy & Toliver, p. 19
  8. ^ James H. Montgomery and Donald A. McGavran, pp. 41–51
  9. ^ Tuggy & Oliver, pp. 136–40.
  10. ^ Frank Laubach, p. 23
  11. ^ Iloilo City#Education
  12. ^
  • Baptists Around the World, by Albert W. Wardin, Jr.
  • The Baptist Heritage: Four Centuries of Baptist Witness, by H. Leon McBeth