Members Church of God International
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|Members Church of God International|
(Portuguese: Membros da Igreja de Deus Internacional)
(Spanish: Miembros de la Iglesia de Dios Internacional)
|Overall Servant||Eli Soriano|
|Headquarters||ADD Convention Center, Sampaloc, Apalit, Pampanga, Philippines|
(as registrant to the Philippine government)
|Origin||April 20, 1980 |
|Separated from||Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus the Pillar and Support of the Truth)|
|Congregations||1,360 as monitoring/coordinating centers|
|Aid organization||ADD Foundation International|
|Tertiary institutions||La Verdad Christian College|
|Other name(s)||Ang Dating Daan (ADD), The Old Path, O Caminho Antigo, El Camino Antiguo, MCGI|
The Members Church of God International, abbreviated as MCGI, is an international Christian religious organization with headquarters in the Philippines. It started as a small group with less than a hundred believers in 1977. It is popularly known in the Philippines as Ang Dating Daan (English: The Old Path; abbreviated as ADD), the title of its flagship radio and television program and the longest-running religious program in the Philippines which is hosted by Eliseo Soriano, MCGI's "Overall Servant" (former title: "Presiding Minister").
The Members Church of God International believes that the Almighty God, the Father sent his begotten Son, Jesus Christ, instrumental in the establishment of the "Church of God", first planted in Jerusalem and preached by the apostles. They believe that Gentile nations, including the Philippines, are partakers of the promise of eternal life, through belief in Jesus Christ and the gospel and are not authorized by God to establish their own church, but mere members associated with the same "body" or the church written in the gospel by accepting it and executing the doctrines written by the apostles. Guided by this scriptural principle, the church's registered name contains descriptive words "ang mga kaanib" in Tagalog or "members" in English to emphasize the group's association today, as "members" of the "Church of God" that is already established long time ago and was written in the Bible.
On April 25, 1980, in compliance with government regulations, Eliseo Soriano registered the group with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) as Ang Mga Kaanib sa Iglesia ng Dios Kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohan, sa Bansang Pilipinas (English: Members of the Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Ground of Truth in the Philippines). In 2004, its registered name was changed to "Members Church of God International" (Tagalog: Mga Kaanib sa Iglesia ng Dios na Pandaigdig) in line with the church's overseas expansion.
For them, the church's primary objective, as commanded by Jesus Christ, is to propagate the gospel unto all nations until the consummation of the ages, convert sinners to believe and glorify God and to make them qualify for the eternal life in heaven. Currently, MCGI is present in six inhabited continents of the world with more than 1,360 established local congregations. Its flagship program Ang Dating Daan is being broadcast in more than 70 countries, in five languages over terrestrial television, radio, internet and carried by at least seven satellites across the globe.
They believe in God the Father, Jesus Christ the Son, and the Holy Spirit but they adopt a nontrinitarianism orientation, rejecting the Trinitarian concept that there is "one God in three co-equal persons", which for them is against the Bible. They believe that the Father is greater than all, greater than Jesus Christ as declared by Christ himself. They do not observe customs and traditions which they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity. MCGI members prefer themselves to be called and identified as plain "Christians".
The Members Church of God International in the Philippines rooted 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) which was first led by Nicolas Antiporda Perez in Pulilan, Bulacan, Philippines in 1928.
On December 10, 1936, the Church was registered with the Philippine government by 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.
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 congregants.
In the 1970s, missionary works started and was first done in the towns of Pampanga and then, the neighboring provinces of Bulacan, Rizal, Nueva Ecija, Bataan, and Metro Manila. In the last quarter of 1980, the church launched the radio program Ang Dating Daan. Through the local radio station DWWA 1206 kHz, the radio program was heard in many parts of the Philippines. The program became popular in the Philippines because of its live question and answer portion. In 1983, the program kicked off its national television appearance through IBC Channel 13. Ang Dating Daan as a program in radio made its stint in television through RJTV 29, PTV 4, SBN 21, and now UNTV.
In 2004, the church changed its name to "Members Church of God International". On January 7, 2006, the first live Bible exposition in the United States was held in Los Angeles, California. In 2008, Bible Expositions were conducted in the continent of Oceania bringing forth the first congregation in Papua New Guinea. In the same year, congregations were established in Ghana, West Africa as a result of a series of Bible studies in Africa. The early months of 2009 saw the Church introduced in Latin America.
Organization and administration
The organization is managed by the MCGI Central Administration under the MCGI Workers Ministry. It is composed of the Overall Servants (Tagalog: Mga Lingkod Pangkalahatan), council of Helpers of the Ministry (Tagalog: Mga Katulong ng Pangangasiwa abbreviated as "KNP") and Church Workers (Tagalog: Mga Manggagawa).
Currently, Eliseo Soriano is the Overall Servant (Tagalog: Lingkod Pangkalahatan) to MCGI (formerly called as Presiding Minister or Tagapangasiwang Pangkalahatan in Tagalog) and his deputy, Daniel Razon is the Vice Overall Servant (Tagalog: Pangalawang Lingkod Pangkalahatan, formerly called as Vice Presiding Minister or Pangalawang Tagapangasiwang Pangkalahatan in Tagalog). They supervise the entire organization, implement policies and projects, teach the Helpers of the Ministry (formerly called as Assistants to the Administration, Ministers-in-Charge, abbreviated as "MIC" and Officers-in-Charge, abbreviated as "OIC") and Church Workers all the doctrines of Christ and oversee rightful execution of duties and responsibilities assigned to them, including other officials in various church ministries and organizations. The Overall Servant prepares the outline of Biblical topics (Tagalog: paksa) and preach sermons. A part of it will be delivered and discussed by his deputy. Preaching of Biblical topic is done by the Overall Servants, either live or recorded, which is being aired in all MCGI local congregations. They also personally take time to resolve spiritual and personal problems of members every Thanksgiving gathering, during the consultation period.
Helpers of the Ministry and Workers
Helpers of the Ministry supervise a church "Division" (Tagalog: Dibisyon) referring to a geographical region in the Philippines or group of countries in a continent such as Asia Oceania. Area Servants (Tagalog: Lingkod Pampook, formerly called as Tagapangasiwang Pampook and abbreviated as "TP") oversee a church "District" (Tagalog: Distrito) referring to one Philippine province. Assigned Church Workers administer various church services such as Prayer Meetings, Worship Services, Indoctrination Sessions, Bible Studies, Bible Expositions, and Thanksgiving in local congregations. They are allowed to communicate official memorandum signed by the Overall Servants and preside over matters and activities concerning the local church. Brethren can personally seek spiritual or personal advice from Workers, who were trained during ministerial classes, in giving Biblical advice and recommendations.
Geographic distribution and membership
Congregations are grouped into geographical divisions mainly the Philippines, South America, North America and Canada, Asia Oceania, Middle East and Europe, Israel and Africa Division. The official website of the church reported its presence in 46 countries and territories as of 2010.
Since its arrival in South America in 2009, MCGI sees a growing number of locales in the continent. As of 2015, it reported 237 established locales in Brazil, including those in Curitiba, Porto Alegre, Rio de Janeiro, São Paulo, and Florianópolis.
MCGI keeps a formal number of members but does not openly reveal it. In 2015, the church gained more than 20,000 new members through regular mass baptisms.
Propagation and evangelism
They believe that an important duty and obligation of the members of the church is to propagate the gospel on earth until the consummation of the ages. Eliseo Soriano began his nightly town-to-town preaching in the 1970s but eventually realized that his lifetime is not enough to reach the entire Philippines. In the 1980s he decided to use emerging media such as radio and television.
Radio and television
The 30-minute AM radio program of Ang Dating Daan began in 1980 followed by its television debut 1983 on IBC-13. Later, it was transferred to RJTV-29, PTV-4 and SBN-21. In 1999, the program was heard nationwide through DZRH, RMN and 100 Radyo Natin stations. In 2004, UNTV-37 became its permanent home. UNTV 37 is a free-to-air network and also carried by major cable networks and direct-to-home providers. In 2012, UNTV Radio La Verdad 1350 kHz was launched covering Mega Manila.
TV Verdade (English: Truth TV) was launched in 2009. It primarily airs O Caminho Antigo, the Portuguese version of Ang Dating Daan through local free television channels in Brazil. Currently, the program airs in Minas Gerais, the second most populous state in Brazil, Paraná, Cornélio Procópio. In 2012, the church launched TV La Verdad (English: Truth TV), its broadcast channel for Spanish-speaking countries airing the 24/7 broadcast of El Camino Antiguo in El Salvador.
Between 2010 and 2011, the church reached the airwaves of India, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia and Portugal by acquiring timeslots in local television channels. To further boost viewership, it acquired a 30-minute slot in Fox Channel which is carried by 50 cable networks in Central America and South America. Later, the church acquired timeslots in Chile, Paraguay, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Venezuela, Honduras, Costa Rica, Nicaragua and Guatemala. In 2013, the program was aired in Mexico via Gala TV. It was followed by broadcasts in Dominican Republic, Spain, Equatorial Guinea and soon in Cuba.
In December 2016, TV Verdade HD was launched in high definition (HD) format (1080p) for households in South America including Central America and some parts of North America via SES-6.
In 2004, MCGI tapped GlobeCast to air the TOP Channel in United States and Canada via a direct-to-home satellite broadcast. In 2010, it was aired in the Philippines via Dream Satellite TV. Currently, MCGI programs reach more than 70 countries in six inhabited continents via TV Verdade, TV La Verdad, The Truth Channel and UNTV using the services of at least seven satellite providers.
|MCGI Worldwide Satellite TV Broadcast|
North America USA • Canada • Mexico • Saint Pierre & Miquelon Greenland | Central America Guatemala • Belize, Costa Rica • El Salvador Honduras • Nicaragua Panama • Caribbean • Antigua & Barbuda • Cuba Bahamas • Barbados • Dominican Republic • Dominica • Grenada • Haiti • Saint Kitts & Nevis Saint Lucia • Jamaica • Saint Vincent & The Grenadines • Aruba • Trinidad • Tobago, Anguilla • Bermuda Bonaire • Martinique Monsterrat • Saba • Navassa Island • Puerto Rico
Eutelsat Hotbird 13D (Hotbird 6/8/9)
North America Morocco • Algeria • Western Sahara • Tunisia • Libya • Egypt | Western Asia Israel • Lebanon • Syria • Jordan • Turkey • Iraq • Saudi Arabia • U.A.E. • Bahrain • Qatar • Armenia • Azerbaijan • Georgia • Kuwait | Central Asia | South Asia | Europe | Western Russia | Northwestern China
Asia | Europe | Australia | Africa
Star One C2
South America Argentina • Bolivia • Brazil • Chile • Colombia • Ecuador • Guyana • Paraguay • Peru • Suriname • Uruguay • Venezuela & The Territories of Falkland Islands • French Guiana • South Georgia • South Sandwich Islands
Measat 3A Global
In 1999, the church joined the world wide web when it launched a website with video streaming feature. Its English version went online in 2004. The international website of the church went online in 2009. In 2007, Eliseo Soriano published his official blogsite and another blog in 2014. CX is an expository blog, in five languages, which tackles issues about religion. It has more than 4.5 million page views As of May 2016[update]. In 2014, the church introduced the "MCGI Broadcast App."
The church distributes print and digital materials for free. It publishes the "TOP Magazine", "Believer Newsmagazine" and a newspaper called "Magandang Balita" (English: Good News). Soriano's online blogs are also compiled and printed as "The Blog Magazine". The church has also been acknowledged by the Philippine Bible Society as a regular donor and major distribution partner of Tagalog Bibles. Copies of full-length Ang Dating Daan episodes are also distributed in DVD format.
Beliefs and fundamental doctrines
God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit
The Almighty God is also called as "God of Israel" citing Exod 5:1, the creator of the universe (Acts 14:15), with his Son, Jesus Christ (John 1:1–14). God cannot lie. God is not omniscient (he does not know ahead of time all future human actions and choices), and God is not omnipresent (he created hell but is not there).
Jesus Christ is the Father's only Begotten Son (in Romanized Greek: Monogenēs theos) as mentioned in John 1:18. For them, Christ is the Wonderful, Counselor, a true and Mighty God, Prince of Peace referred in Isa 9:6. He is the only savior of mankind and the only way to the kingdom of God in heaven (Acts 14:15, 1 Cor 8:5–7, John 14:6; 14:1). He is recognized as the Apostle, High Priest (Heb 3:1) and Mediator (1 Tim 2:5) of the church. They 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.
The Holy Spirit is the "comforter" citing John 14:26, sent by the Father and Christ, to give spiritual happiness and to help the brethren in his or her weaknesses, and to console a believer in times of persecution and trials (Rom 8:26).
Prayer is a basic doctrine in MCGI. All church gatherings, either spiritual or socio-civic, begin and end with prayers. The church believes that it is a commandment of God to live a prayerful life based on 1 Thes 5:17. To encourage its members to pray, MCGI launched an exclusive 24/7 prayer service website on March 6, 2011, enabling access to continuous singing of praises and hourly community prayer to God. They believe that it is prohibited to pray in public just to be seen (Matt 6:5). As a discipline, they refrain from showing the act of praying on their television broadcasts, either live or recorded, in public. In November 2013, MCGI launched a community prayer service on UNTV and Radyo La Verdad 1350 AM. However, only the audio of the community prayer is being aired, to encourage non-brethren to join and participate in praying to God, without necessarily being seen publicly.
MCGI believes 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 books should be used as basis for serving God and Jesus Christ.
The Church of God in the Bible
They believe that God is "calling" those people with determination to serve him, bringing them in his fold (1 Pet 1:15–16, 1 Cor 1:9; 1:2), 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 (Phil 1:27, Eph 2:10; 4:1; 4:10; 4:14).
The church mission
The MCGI believes that Jesus Christ delegated the task of preaching the Word of God, on a global scale, to his apostles based on Matt 28:19–20 and fulfilling this commandment is their primary objective. MCGI aims to propagate the gospel on earth until the consummation of the ages. They believe that only the church can teach the wisdom of God for the salvation of mankind citing Luke 8:1–3, Eph 3:10 and 2 Tim 3:14–17. They believe that this effort is geared towards converting sinners to believe and glorify God (Acts 2:38).
Indoctrination classes are required prior to joining the organization. The classes are composed of nine lessons concerning church doctrines prepared by the Overall Servant, Eliseo Soriano. Indoctrinees must fully accept the doctrines taught during the indoctrination before they can be baptized.
The church rejects infant baptism. Members not living in accordance with the church's teachings may be excommunicated, or expelled, from the Church.
Members are required to be modest in dress and grooming. Women are prohibited from cutting their hair and wearing expensive jewelry and denim pants, and men are prohibited from having long hair. They are strictly prohibited from drinking alcohol, smoking cigarettes, using drugs, and gambling.
The congregation meets at least three sessions each week regularly. Gatherings are held in Ang Dating Daan convention centers and monitoring centers, which are typically functional in character, and do not contain religious symbols except for the church logo and reminders for non-members that are prominently displayed.
All gatherings of the church are opened with congregational singing of an opening song, followed by hymns led by the choir and then an opening prayer. After prayer, it follows a reading of chapter or two of the Bible. The subject matter (topic) for most meetings is the same worldwide. After the topic has been delivered, brethren kneel down for closing prayers followed by a doxology and basbas (blessing). When guests or visitors are invited or wish to attend these church gatherings, they are free to stay in their seats.
The members believe that christians should always attend religious gatherings regularly.
In 2011, a Bible-reading segment was added where a chapter or two of the Bible is being read. Meetings are devoted to the study of a Biblical topic, divided in portions, and will be continued in succeeding meetings.
Prayer meetings are held every Wednesday and Thursday arranged by batches to accommodate all members including visitors. Earliest batch is 4:30 a.m. (Philippine time).
Once a month, the members gather for a special prayer meeting, where a Biblical topic is discussed in full. It is held live at 5:30 p.m. (Philippine time) every first Tuesday of the month.
Worship services are held during weekend also arranged by batches (every Saturdays and Sunday). The earliest batch is 4:30 a.m. (Philippine time) Unlike prayer meeting, the worship service includes voluntary contributions which is open for members only while suspended members including guests and visitors are strictly prohibited to participate in monetary contributions.
Once in every quarter, the church combines Prayer Meeting and Worship Service in preparation for a three-day International Thanksgiving of the members.
The church offers a weekly "Thanksgiving to God" (Tagalog: "Pasalamat sa Dios"). Brethren who have prepared themselves to offer the sacrifice of thanksgiving will be singing songs of praises live on stage at the ADD Convention Center or at the nearest local church (a monitoring center). Like the worship service, a monetary contribution is conducted voluntarily for members only in the form of hain and gugol. A Biblical topic is delivered in full by the overall servants. During break time for an hour or two, a consultation with Bro. Eli Soriano for any members (including guests and visitors) who wish to consult on any topic. Also, member may also attend for viewing purposes (replay) the recently concluded Thanksgiving Day on Sundays (two batches, 6:00 a.m and 5:30 p.m. in Philippine time), Mondays, Tuesdays and Fridays (all at 8:30 a.m. in Philippine time).
Every quarter of each year, the congregation gather for a three-day international "Thanksgiving of God's People" or "Pasalamat ng Buong Bayan ng Dios (PBB)" in Tagalog, formerly called as "International Thanksgiving to God (ITG)" and "Pasalamat ng Katawan (PNK)" (English: "Thanksgiving of the Body"). It has a similar format with the weekly thanksgiving except it allows more time for the Biblical topic and the consultation.
In 2014, South America served as the host country of the church's quarterly event.
Christian New Year
Feast Dedicated to God
The fiesta ng Dios (feast dedicated to God) or simply Ang Dating Daan People's Day is recently launched by the church on February 24, 2019. Both members and guests are treated with sumptuous meal and fun activities aimed to share an enjoyable celebration and the love of God to all.
Places of worship
The 10-hectare Ang Dating Daan (ADD) compound in Apalit, Pampanga is MCGI's headquarters in the Philippines. It houses the ADD Convention Center where major church gatherings are held and the chapel, a multipurpose venue for the community prayer, indoctrination sessions, prayer meetings and worship services. Other structures inside the compound include the baptistry, administration office, museum, transient home, orphanages, mini-hospital, dormitories for church officers and volunteers, houses for church ministers and workers and school buildings of La Verdad Christian College.
MCGI has established more than a 1,360 local congregations. These venues are also called the Ang Dating Daan Coordinating Centers or MCGI Satellite Monitoring Centers. It is where the brethren meet to attend church gatherings and host indoctrination sessions. Most of the sites are rented spaces in urban and rural communities in the Philippines and abroad. These centers are equipped with C-band satellite dish antenna and high-speed broadband connection, these sites are able to receive real-time broadcast feeds emanating from the headquarters. Assigned church workers and officers oversee activities at locale chapters and receive queries regarding membership in the church. In 2012, a mobile coordinating center was launched including livelihood academy. A bus transformed into a cozy venue with roof, chairs, television screen and satellite receiver, can accommodate guests in remote areas during Bible Expositions.
On October 12, 2015, the Ang Dating Daan Chorale of MCGI officially broke the record of the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) as the World's Largest Gospel Choir in the Guinness Book of World Records. The ADD Chorale consisting of 8,688 choristers render religious hymns during the 35th anniversary of the religious program Ang Dating Daan at the Smart Araneta Coliseum. However, on May 22, 2016, INC regained the record with 21,262 choristers during their Grand Evangelical Mission at the Philippine Arena.
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