Members Church of God International
|Members of the Church of God International|
(formerly "Presiding Minister")
|Headquarters||ADD Convention Center, Sampaloc, Apalit, Pampanga, Philippines|
|Origin||April 20, 1980 registered as Mga Kaanib Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohanan sa Bansang Pilipinas (MKIDKHHSKBP)
|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, MCGI|
Members Church of God International is a Philippine-based Christian religious organization that started in 1977 with Eliseo Soriano as its Overall Servant (Former title: Presiding Minister). It is colloquially known in the Philippines as Ang Dating Daan (English: "The Old Path"; abbreviated as ADD) which is the name of its flagship television program.
The church has a Nontrinitarianism orientation, meaning that they reject the doctrine of the Trinity, which is considered is the central dogma of mainline Christianity, They do not observe Christmas, Easter, or other holidays and customs they consider to have pagan origins incompatible with Christianity. It is not related to the many Church of God groups that descended from the Barney Creek Meeting House revival of the late 19th century in the United States.
The church exercises Congregational disciplinary actions which include membership suspension and, for grave offenses, excommunication. Excommunication is their term for formal expulsion. Excommunicated members are barred from taking part in major liturgical services and from giving offerings. Some excommunicated members who committed grave offenses (i.e. murder) are also barred from entering church premises, depending on the decision of the Church. Suspended members may eventually be reinstated if deemed repentant after a thorough observation by Church minsters.
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 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.
After Perez's death in 1975, Levita Gugulan, the secretary-general of the church, succeeded as presiding minister; Soriano countered the authority of Gugulan. In February 21, 1976, Eliseo Soriano, the only ordained minister by Perez, together with 16 other members created a schism and began a new church organization called "Mga Kaanib Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohanan sa Bansang Pilipinas" (translated as "Members Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Ground of Truth in the Philippine Nation") which was officially registered in 1977.
In 1980, 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 (ADD). Through the local radio station DWWA 1206 kHz, ADD was heard in many parts of the Philippine Archipelago. 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 Intercontinental Broadcasting Channel 13. Ang Dating Daan as a program in radio made its stint in RJTV 29, PTV 4, SBN 21, and now UNTV.
In 2005, 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.
A schism in MCGI happened in 2009 when Willy Santiago, one of Eliseo Soriano's top evangelists had a dispute over church "erratic" leadership and "erroneous" changes in doctrines (such as prostrating towards the east in prayer and Sabbath). This resulted twelve MCGI members including Willy Santiago to split from the group on October 2009 and established a new religion, the Members Church of God in Jesus Christ Worldwide or MCGJCW, with membership now consists of mostly former MCGI followers.
Organization & Administration
The MCGI Central Administration is composed of the Overall Servants, the Council of Assistants to the Administration and Church Workers. In locale congregations, Workers administer spiritual services, such as: Thanksgiving, Prayer Meetings, Worship Services, Indoctrination Sessions, and Bible studies. The Over-all Servant (formerly termed as "Presiding Minister") supervises the entire activity of the church and implements all policies and projects. Currently, Soriano is the Over-all Servant while his nephew, Daniel Razon, is his deputy. The Assistants to the Administration was assigned to supervise church Divisions ( Church Divisions is equivalent to one region in the Philippines). Area Servants assigned to supervise church ecclesiastical Districts (Districts are equivalent to one Philippine province). Workers, on the other hand, are assigned to preside in various activities and services done in church locales under the supervision of the Over-all Servants and the assigned Assistant to the Administration.
Doctrines and Beliefs
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, 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.
The church believes that the Holy Spirit came from the Father and part of the Godhead.
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.
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. 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.
Since 1980, there have been conflicts between religious organizations Iglesia ni Cristo ("Church of Christ", INC) and the Members Church of God International (MCGI) when MCGI Presiding Minister Eliseo Soriano started his radio program Ang Dating Daan (ADD). Through his program he discussed biblical issues and "exposed" what he believes are wrong doctrines of other religious groups, including those of INC. In 2001, after twenty-one years of reticence, the INC launched its own program, Ang Tamang Daan (English: The Right Path), as a direct response for the first time to Ang Dating Daan, and to debate and rebuke the claims of Eliseo Soriano, featuring video footages and recordings of ADD hosts as issues were tackled.
The Ang Dating Daan Chorale officially broke the record of the Iglesia ni Cristo as the World's Largest Gospel Choir in the Guinness Book of World Records. During the 35th anniversary of the longest-running religious TV and radio program Ang Dating Daan at the Smart Araneta Coliseum, the ADD Chorale, with 8,688 members, sang religious hymns in solemnity of the occasion. The original record holder was the Iglesia ni Cristo's Centennial Choir (4,745 members) during the church's centennial celebration in the Philippine Arena on July 27, 2014.
- Soriano, Eliseo. "Twitter: @BroEliSoriano". twitter.com/BroEliSoriano. Twitter. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "From the Philippines to Brazil: MCGI’s Last Quarter of 2014’s Big Events and Recognitions". MCGI. Retrieved 16 February 2015.
- "Ang Dating Daan’s 34th Anniversary: An example to a peaceful and beneficial celebration". Buenos Aficionado. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
- "Ang Dating Daan". angdatingdaan.org. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- The Oxford Dictionary of the Christian Church (Oxford University Press, 2005 ISBN 978-0-19-280290-3), article Trinity, doctrine of the
- "Story of Eliseo Soriano and his churches". http://thetruthaboutreligions.blogspot.com/. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "History of the church". mcgi.org. Retrieved 5 February 2015.
- "About MCGJCW The History". Retrieved 8 February 2015.
- "Ministry". mcgi.org.
- Ang Dating Daan - Biblical Topics
- Ang Dating Daan - About Us
- "Ang Dating Daan Chorale breaks largest gospel choir-world record". GMA News Online. Retrieved October 13, 2015.
- Official website of Eli Soriano
- Official website of Ang Dating Daan TV program
- Official website of Daniel Razon