(Bro. Fawkes Rizal commented – [Should you decide to publish this, Ka Smith, my sincere thanks. God Bless].
The following article was in response to Bro. Ventilacion’s subsequent comments on Facebook. Since Bro. Rizal’s post was initially published here, this author deemed it proper that his request be accommodated. – W. Smith)
In my initial post [https://increflections.wordpress.com/2015/08/07/a-view-from-one-hawkes-rizal-on-bro-jose-ventilacions-address/], which was primarily a call to draw attention to the un-Christian response from the Sanggunian and to foster more love into the Church, I did not broach the subject of the Arena, nor did I speak of offerings or mention the name Jun Santos. I also did not hijack statements and claims taken from one source and apply them to someone else entirely, particularly to those expelled ministers, who, it must be emphasized and reiterated, have not advocated that brethren leave the Church nor lose their faith, but instead have admonished them to remain strong during this most difficult time; a point that is most seemingly lost and grossly mutated into suggesting brethren join them when they start their own churches elsewhere.
Maybe soon Ka Louie Cayabyab and the others will be accused of cooking dinuguan, celebrating Christmas, and making the sign of the cross in their newfound church. A blatant and obvious smear campaign if you ask me, and quite fitting during this time, as another election year approaches. I don’t know if that is a clever debate tactic or signs of someone shooting wildly in all directions, lumping all criticisms and accusations together in an attempt to create an all inclusive “Enemy.” As recently vehemently extolled by Matt Pareja, “You’re either one with EVM, or you’re not.” Well indeed then, “Hail EVM!” And welcome to fascism at its worst. Any student of history would do well to study the Rise of the Third Reich, who also at one time had their own version of the great “cleansing.”
But since my words were liberally quoted by Bro. Jose Ventilacion, and attributed to others, I’ve felt the need to clarify my stance on those matters. And it should be noted, lest Bro. Joe thinks otherwise, that I am NOT an expelled minister, but merely a humble officer with some thoughts of his own.
In spite of his gaffes, you really have to hand it to Bro. Joe; he really excels at what he does. I feel every organization should have a defender as tenacious and voracious as he is, so dogged in fact, he is willing to endure looking ridiculous posing in front of dilapidated saloons, in the hopes of perpetuating the ruse that Scenic, South Dakota was purchased by the INC for purely evangelical and missionary purposes. Even the maneuverings and altering of location services on his FB account is a transparent attempt to give some credence to the notion that Bro. Joe has set out to transform the Midwestern U.S. landscape (he’d be better off doing missionary work near San Diego).
Feel free beloved brethren, and enter the address for the GWS of Scenic, into Google Maps:
And, using street view, scroll around and see how the Sanggunian has decided to spend our offerings on vast stretches of wasteland, a verifiable self-proclaimed “ghost town.” And if you’re truly into treasure hunts, try and locate the sad looking incmedia billboard; “Where Truth Meets You” indeed. Here’s a clue: It’s directly across the old Longhorn Saloon, with the cattle skulls and Budweiser sign. Maybe on our trip to visit Badlands National Park we can stop by and Bro. Joe can give us a tour of the place, and show us where we can expect one of our 800 Barangay chapels to be erected. Now why of all places, a keen observer may ask, would the Sanggunian send our beloved debater to a ghost town?
Anyone who has seen our debates, either in person or on youtube, knows how enthusiastic and lively they can be, yet who was he possibly expected to debate there? Tumbleweeds? Although our Harvard-educated debater could easily master the Inuit language, it would make little sense to ship him to the farthest reaches of Canada, where his talents would not be efficiently utilized; unless of course we needed to justify land purchases made there as well.
As reported in the Rapid City Journal fluff piece [http://rapidcityjournal.com/news/local/church-begins-services-in-scenic/article_14a90d01-310d-5482-a788-d28ac10b81d1.html]
Bro. Joe was not privy to information regarding its purchase and does not know the full extent of the plans for the property. So perhaps Bro. Edwil Zabala can finally be of some use and enlighten us on the subject. Why is it that after four long years(and only after a certain exposé was published online), does the Church eventually send one of our finest debaters to one of the least populated parts of the United States where virtually no members reside? Why would the INC continue to sell viable properties in the Philippines, yet continue to pay property taxes (four years worth mind you, and continuing), on a ghost town that isn’t bearing any fruit, isn’t generating any income, and continues to usurp the offerings of the brethren?
Does this sound fiscally responsible to you, or rather, financially incompetent? The Sanggunian would be better off admitting that it did purchase Scenic for investment purposes, that it has potential for generating abundant wealth, and is a sound business venture. If that’s the truth, then by all means, simply admit it. But that will never happen, because then that would be an admission that the Sanggunian is guided not by a love for Christ, but instead a love for profit and money. And so this is why we have Bro. Joe, ever obedient and submissive, playing cowboy and preying on the gullibility of the brethren into believing Scenic, South Dakota is the next boon for abundant fruit bearing. Never mind that there are locales who have been looking to have extensions of their own, locales still renting since they are without a chapel, and older chapels still in need of renovations and repairs. I don’t expect Bro. Joe will directly address this issue, except to say the Sanggunian’s purchasing habits are divinely inspired, although a lengthy discussion on the words “fascism” or “gaffes” can be anticipated.
Giving thanks and giving offerings are commandments that every true Christian follows for we know there are expenses that must be accounted for, and no expelled minister has advocated that brethren not give their offerings. If there is any decline in the amount of offerings, it is only because the Sanggunian have not considered the many sacrifices brethren already make in order to fulfill their duties. The fuel one uses to travel back and forth to attend almost perpetual week-long devotional prayers, special 3 a.m. gatherings, special meetings, the potluck items during weekly evangelical missions, area evangelical missions, the coffee table books, memorabilia, T-shirts and other forced upon items and activities that brethren are asked to contribute to are all reasons for the decline.
Could it be that brethren, of their own accord, are weary of financial incompetence, and are instead focusing their offerings and contributions to their locale’s various expenses, from buying needed supplies (office, cleaning, etc.) to making repairs feasible, and other similarly necessary (and accountable) expenses? Where’s your proof of financial incompetence they may ask. Scenic, SD for one, but also consider that brethren in the District of Southern California, U.S.A, were once asked some time ago to contribute, with attendant devotional prayers, to help complete “Project Henderson,” since the chapel in Nevada, near Las Vegas, was due for demolition and rebuilding, but has since languished in an empty lot. The reason they’ve been given is that proper permits were not acquired. It’s a good thing the INC isn’t a corporation, for certainly a blunder like that would get someone fired. Hopefully dear brethren of Henderson, should the Sanggunian read this, they’ll jump right on it.
Or could the decline in offerings have a Biblical basis, for it is stated in Matthew 5:23-30 (NIV):
23 “Therefore, if you are offering your gift at the altar and there remember that your brother or sister has something against you,24 leave your gift there in front of the altar. First go and be reconciled to them; then come and offer your gift.”
Could the ongoing disputes and division caused by the Sanggunian, and their lack of reconciliation, accountability, and financial transparency be the cause for brethren perhaps being reserved in their offerings? Are the board members of the FYM Foundation not praying hard enough?
For 95 years, the Church operated very discreetly, growing and prospering, without a blemish in its near Teflon-like reputation, but only recently have we sought out the vainglory found in worldly accolades, most notably in our pursuit of Guinness World Records. Consider this verse the next time Jun Santos accepts a plaque that he brandishes high over his head after writing checks and giving goody bags in various parts of the world, through the FYM Foundation, and ask yourself if God would be pleased:
Matthew 6:1-5New English Translation
6 “Be careful not to display your righteousness merely to be seen by people. Otherwise you have no reward with your Father in heaven. 2 Thus whenever you do charitable giving, do not blow a trumpet before you, as the hypocrites do in synagogues and on streets so that people will praise them. I tell you the truth, they have their reward. 3 But when you do your giving, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 so that your gift may be in secret. And your Father, who sees in secret, will reward you.”
Consider as well, this verse, as Matt Pareja and Co. tour parts of the U.S. in their Damage Control U.S. Tour 2015, to vilify and extort members NOT to help those who have been recently expelled, and ask yourselves whether or not the Sanggunian are true Christians.
Matthew 5:43-47 (GNT)
Love for Enemies
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your friends, hate your enemies.’ 44 But now I tell you: love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 so that you may become the children of your Father in heaven. For he makes his sun to shine on bad and good people alike, and gives rain to those who do good and to those who do evil. 46 Why should God reward you if you love only the people who love you? Even the tax collectors do that! 47 And if you speak only to your friends, have you done anything out of the ordinary? Even the pagans do that!”
The greater division the Sanggunian causes, the more the brethren, true Christians, will continue to seek out those “enemies” and provide help, for that is what Christ would have wanted.
The Philippine Arena, I feel, has not been INC’s proudest moment. From plumbing and sanitation issues during its inauguration, reports of compulsory tickets being forced upon brethren, the tragic deaths of two BEM students who had left the Arena, and now the current imbroglio with Chris Brown, who it must be said, does not represent the Christian values we uphold, and yet the Sanggunian have felt the need to conduct business with, along with other worldly acts. I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if Bro. Joe starts to extol upon the virtues of Chris Brown’s music, saying he’s a big fan and that’s who he likes to listen to while he’s traipsing through Scenic. Perhaps, had Bro Joe stayed in his role in the finance department, we wouldn’t be embroiled in the current mess we are in now. Of course, this is only my opinion, and last I checked, having an opinion isn’t against the will of God, even if it is against the will of the Sanggunian.
What IS against the will of God? Dishonoring one’s father and mother. One of the most basic and fundamental of doctrines, and one the Sanggunian have not encouraged nor upheld. I will simply repost what I have previously written since it has fallen on deaf ears:
How very sad that a verse used to illustrate Christ’s love for the brotherhood, would instead be used as justification for the mistreatment of our own mothers. Do you not think Christ loved is own mother? Do you think he would have allowed her to fall away? “HONOR YOUR FATHER AND YOUR MOTHER” is repeatedly admonished throughout the Bible [Exodus 20:12; Deuteronomy 5:16; Matthew 15:4; Matthew 19:19; Mark 7:10; Mark 10:19; Luke 18:20; Ephesians 6:2] that all may go well with you, the first commandment with a promise attached, and therefore a corresponding punishment. It is one of the original commandments brought down by Moses and adhered to not only amongst Christians, but virtually every human who ever had a mother.
How sad that this most basic and universal of tenets could not be adhered to in the case of Ka Tenny. Whatever counsel had advised that decision certainly did not have the welfare of the Church in mind, but guided by an agenda not wholly Christian. I have not heard any Christian scholar, know of any Christian faith, nor read any Christian commentary that claims Jesus did not love his own mother. In fact quite the opposite, which is why when he was dying on the cross he entrusted her care unto one of his most beloved disciples:
John 19:25-28 (AMP)
Behold Your Mother
25“But by the cross of Jesus stood His mother, His mother’s sister, Mary the [wife] of Clopas, and Mary Magdalene. 26So Jesus, seeing His mother there, and the disciple whom He loved standing near, said to His mother, [Dear] woman, See, [here is] your son!27Then He said to the disciple, See, [here is] your mother! And from that hour, the disciple took her into his own [keeping, own home]. 28After this, Jesus, knowing that all was now finished (ended), said in fulfillment of the Scripture, I thirst.”
Nor have I known of any true Christian who would use verses in justifying forsaking the love of their mothers, and only a snake oil salesman of a preacher (here’s looking at you Matt Pareja) would tour the world trying to convince true Christians otherwise. If the Sanggunian truly loved Ka Eduardo, they would have advised reconciliation, peace and harmony between him and his mother (who is in her 80’s, I believe), for that is a commandment. They would have encouraged him to follow God’s commandment, but like Judas Iscariot and those high officials who apostatized the first century church (and who we must remember were not expelled or outside members, but those high in power who were able to twist the original teachings, much like the Sanggunian of today), they have betrayed our beloved Executive Minister into forsaking one of the most fundamental and basic of commandments.
But that is ultimately something between him and God, and part of his accountability to Him, along with the church overall and both the souls within and of those unjustly expelled from His church. And so I will continue to pray that God has mercy upon him, through granting His guidance and strength so that he may see and do the right thing in accordance to the will of God, and God alone.
[Should you decide to publish this, Ka Smith, my sincere thanks. God Bless]