“CAN YOU SEE THE TUG-OF-WAR THAT IS TAKING PLACE?” —BROTHER ERAÑO G. MANALO
By Brother Joel V. San Pedro
“CAN you see the tug-of-war that is taking place? We are like that as we struggle with Satan for the sake of our brethren. The moment you let go even for a little the rope you are holding, the result will be a great retrogression of the Church. That means many would backslide.”
[“Take Care Of His Flock” (“Pangalagaan Ninyo Ang Kaniyang Kawan,” as translated into English), 3rd Edition (2001), p. 56]
Whom did Brother Eraño G. Manalo refer to as “we” when he spoke of those who struggle against satan for the sake of the brethren's salvation? He said this on page 11:
“… the true Church of Christ where there are teachers—since the time of the Messenger of God to the present Church Administration—who strive with all might and devotion to teach everything for man’s sanctification…”
To continue on the way to sanctification and salvation, true members of the Church Of Christ unite with the Executive Minister and all who have been chosen to assist him. When Brother Felix Manalo made the decision for the election of his successor, he also told the meeting of senior ministers to choose his successor’s assistants. Indelibly etched in the Church’s history are the names of Brother Eraño’s “right hand,” Brother Teofilo C. Ramos, Sr., and his “left hand,” Brother Cipriano P. Sandoval.
BROTHER ERAÑO G. MANALO'S ASSISTANTS
Throughout Brother Eraño’s administration, he made it clear who the ministers were whom he placed in key positions to assist him in caring for the entire Church. He introduced them publicly, whether through the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine, special worship services, Church-wide celebrations, large evangelical missions, video conferences, circular letters or announcements, or simply administrative forms.
Members all over the world became familiar with terms like General Evangelist, General Secretary, General Auditor, General Treasurer, and other key positions. The most trusted among his assistants was his own Deputy Executive Minister during the last fifteen years of his life, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, who was entrusted with far more than just caring for audio and video equipment.
The Executive Minister’s assistants are one with him and are his extensions in caring for all the flock, in the same way that the assistants Moses selected were one with Moses in caring for the entire nation of Israel (Exodus 18:21-22). In the Bible, Apostle Paul taught that God is the one who places each and every one in whatever function they perform in Christ’s body:
“But in fact God has arranged the parts in the body, every one of them, just as he wanted them to be.” (1 Cor 12:18, NIV)
As noted in my last two previous posts—OLD TESTAMENT BIBLE FACTS and NEW TESTAMENT BIBLE FACTS, anyone who opposes the leader and his assistants opposes God Himself who placed them.
Many years before Brother Eraño G. Manalo passed away, he was the one who began using the term “Sanggunian” to refer to the Church Council of seasoned and tested ministers that assisted him. Many of the elder ministers who are part of the Church Council or Sanggunian of Brother Eduardo V. Manalo today were part of the Sanggunian of Brother Eraño G. Manalo.
The Filipino word “Sanggunian” is not an evil word. The English equivalent in the Church’s by-laws is “Church Council.” The word “Sanggunian” is related to the Filipino word “sumangguni” which can be found in Malachi 2:7 (MB), which in English is rendered “… seek instruction” (NIV) or “seek the law” (NKJV). Only those who belong to the evil one, as you will see later, have tried to make the word “Sanggunian” sound evil.
THE ONES ATTACKING THE SANGGUNIAN
There is a former minister today who was once part of the Sanggunian. When the Executive Minister sensed that that individual was no longer worthy of such trust, he had him removed from the Church Council. We can see today how inspired that decision of the Executive Minister was.
Others who were also unsatisfied with their positions in the Church were already using texting and the internet, primarily social media, to hurl false and unproven accusations against the Church Administration. Once this former Sanggunian member began to be investigated for joining them in such surreptitious activities, he faced his own dilemma.
That former Sanggunian member's response, even before the investigation could be completed: he turned his back on the ministry and the Church; with the help of a TV station heavily biased against the Church, he called for press conferences and slandered the Sanggunian; he went to government agencies seeking their help to remove every member of the Church Council; since then, the scope of his public war of words has expanded to include more members and activities of the Church Of Christ.
Whom do you think that former Sanggunian member blames for his perceived demotion? You can guess the answer every time he quotes the “A.E.” blogs and demands the removal of the entire Sanggunian in every TV or newspaper interview he has pursued.
The Bible says “Satan entered Judas” (Luke 22:3) before he betrayed and sold out Christ to the governing authorities. In the same way today, Judases have now been revealed with similar clandestine agendas, and they too have sought help against the Church from certain government agencies. That is why such Judases are no longer in the Church Of Christ.
Judas betrayed Jesus with a kiss. Do not be surprised if those who bring harm to the Church claim from their heart of hearts that they love the Church Of Christ—while at the same time they beg members to donate to them the financial resources they need to use for attacks against the Church.
WHAT DOES ALL THIS HAVE TO DO WITH
THE TUG OF WAR AGAINST SATAN?
What does the Bible say about the devil? He is likened to a lion seeking to prey upon the true Christians (1 Peter 5:8). He is the father of all lies and uses every kind of deception (John 8:44). Because he knows the end is near, he is working all the more furiously to snatch away God’s chosen ones from Him by means of lies (Revelation 12:12). Those who let themselves get snatched away by satan end up no longer inside the true Church (John 15:6; 1 Corinthians 5:13).
THE BIG QUESTION: how will the devil try to snatch God’s people and take them out of the Church Of Christ in this tug-of-war that the second Executive Minister spoke of?
THE ANSWER: by trying to convince the Church members to let go of the Church Administration and God’s teachings that they bring us. Hence, the Fallen Angels have aimed their lies at the Executive Minister and the Church Council or “Sanggunian” that assists him.
QUESTIONS CONCERNING THE FALLEN ANGELS
What is the end-game of the Fallen Angels, the ex-members rebelling against the Church Administration? Are they happy every time someone stops worshiping or leaves the Church? Do they consider it a victory when mass media outlets like ABS-CBN try to humiliate the Church that bears Christ’s name by broadcasting the lies they feed them? Every time they put down the brethren who follow the biblical command in Hebrews 13:17 to obey and submit to spiritual leaders, what Bible value do they claim to uphold in their mean-spirited insults?
When did God’s commandments taught in the worship services become like food in a buffet, where the Fallen Angels try to convince the members to “open their eyes” and pick and choose for themselves to follow or not follow? When did the offerings that the Bible commands to be done only during the worship services become unholy? When did monetary donations sent personally to individuals, with no auditing or paperwork, become clean and not corrupt? Would they have dared to teach those things when Brother Eraño Manalo was still alive? Didn't both Brother Felix and Brother Eraño teach Church members to obey all the Church's Bible-based teachings?
Didn’t we join the Church Of Christ because we wanted to obey all that God commands? Doesn’t the Bible tell us in James 2:10 that if you’re offended with one commandment, you’re guilty of breaking them all? Wasn’t satan, whom Apostle Paul said has blinded the world, the one who convinced Eve to choose not to follow what God commanded? Who are the ones who need to "open their eyes"--the obedient or the disobedient?
Do non-ministers now have the right to teach God’s words by blogging whatever they want on the internet, giving their own personal interpretations to the Bible with the purpose of contradicting the Bible-based decisions of the Executive Minister? How can they preach unless they are sent? And how can they be sent when they are not in the Church Of Christ?
These Fallen Angels sound very Protestant. No wonder God has no place for them in the Church Of Christ. Those who listen to people outside the Church will also end up outside the Church. If you listen to satan’s instruments leading you to no longer follow God's will, can you expect them to bring you into God’s heavenly Kingdom?
We members of the Church Of Christ cannot let the devil win over us. We should know which side God wants us to be on in this tug of war.
As for me and my household, we are one with the only true God, our Maker. We are one with the Lord Jesus Christ, the Head of the Church Of Christ through whom we know God. And we are one with EVM, the Church’s Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo, and all whom he decides to assist him. He oversees the entire Church Of Christ today, continuing the work begun in these last days by God's messenger.
There is an amusing simplified version of the Fallen Angels’ strategy to spread lies and attack the Sanggunian in the INC 101 site, URL below:
Pangalagaan Ninyo Ang Kaniyang Kawan, p. 56
“Nakakita na ba kayo ng tug-of-war? Ganiyan tayo sa pakikipag-agawan kay Satanas para sa mga kapatid natin. Oras na bitawan ninyo nang kaunti ang hawak na lubid, ang ibubunga noon ay malakas na malakas na retrogression ng Iglesia. Ibig sabihin ay malakas na pag-urong.”