I thought that the Born Again churches were the ones preaching the true gospel.
By Peter Paul Matola
As a college student, I used to be a youngster in search of truth. My college friends influenced me to read the Bible. They were from the Baptist Church.
I had already found faults in the Catholic Church practices and doctrines so I used to attend and join groups and organizations who called their group as “Christians.” As a matter of fact, I became an active member of the Campus Crusade for Christ or CCC, the one that originated from California, USA. I attended their seminar and leadership training and became one of the officers at a chapter in our university which is the Technological Institute of the Philippines.
In joining the group, I disciplined myself not to deal with worldly vices such as drinking, smoking and not even drugs. I learned to read the Bible and was able to memorize passages in both the Old and New Testament. As a youngster, at the age of sixteen or seventeen, I needed to have good memory back then.
My family members were against me joining the CCC because they noticed that I was no longer practicing the catholic faith. They wanted me to quit the organization and wanted me to restore my catholic beliefs. They felt that I was being deceived and about to go astray.
When I was to attend CCC’s leadership training conference at the University of the Philippines Los Baños, I would lie to my parents. I needed money for this and I wanted permission to be out for two or three days to be in the conference.
Back then, I had joined many church groups and even got baptized in different churches such as Baptist and Born Again to learn teachings which I thought was the gospel and Bible-based. My only goal then was to avoid catholic teachings. When my family members learned about it, they were so angry with me.
My quest for truth went on even after finishing my college degree. I thought that the Born Again churches were the ones preaching the true gospel. At the back of my mind, their doctrine of “once saved always saved” is absolutely questionable.
I have a lot of questions that none of these organizations can answer like: “Why are some groups preaching in the streets and would ask for donations in the form of “love offering?” I found it absurd. Another is the differences in the doctrines, beliefs and practices that groups calling themselves “Christian” have; they contradict each another.
I remember in the year 1997 or 1998, when Bubble Gang aired its TV segment, “Ang Dating Doon.” I was so mad at Brod Pete for I felt that he is ridiculing a certain Born Again TV program or a Church. I never thought that it was a spoof of Bro. Eli’s program on TV for I had no knowledge about Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) back then.
I think the only religious groups that didn’t interest me at all were the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) and El Shaddai. All of the rest of the groups who claimed to preach the gospel have won my attention.
I suppose it was not an accident that my brother-in-law came to tune in the TV at SBN 21 where the program Ang Dating Daan was being aired. My brother-in-law listened to Bro. Eli and became interested. Then he asked my sister to listen and to watch and they both got addicted to it.
During the years 2002-2003, I had been watching religious TV programs, the one being aired in ZOE TV11 and where I used to see programs on TV with western brand of gospel format. That interested me and during those times, I still didn’t have an idea about the ADD program. My sister who is aware that I love watching television programs on TV asked me to watch ADD on SBN 21 with its host, Bro. Eliseo Soriano.
My sister said a Bro. Eli preaches the gospel. She would describe it and would tell me this guy is different and he proclaims the truth. That was the start of me constantly watching the program until I came to a point where I decided to undergo indoctrination in the nearest locale in our place – Tunasan coordinating center in Muntinlupa, South District of Metro Manila.
Did you know what triggered me to undergo indoctrination and became a member of the Church of God? It was because of my severe illness that was chicken pox – how embarrassing! I started to listen to Bro. Eli’s preaching on TV around July 2002. My mother was still alive back then though her diabetes was already in advanced stage.
I thought that the doctrines in Bro. Eli’s group were just the same as the teachings being taught in other religious organizations. My brother- in-law and my elder sister who have been watching the ADD on TV before me are still not members of the Church of God!
It is really unfortunate; they took several attempts to undergo indoctrination yet they have been hindered by their excuses. My mother died due to complications of diabetes. She has listened to Bro. Eli but she was severely afflicted by her disease so to no avail, she hadn’t had the chance to join the Church of God.
I, too, have many excuses before I decided to join the Church. But perhaps, God has beaten me for my being stubborn as I contracted chicken fox that has afflicted me which I thought was dengue fever and fatal that I can no longer recover. I promised God that I would undergo indoctrination as soon as I recovered from my sickness. My attendance to the mass indoctrination formally started on February 9, 2004 and got baptized on March 12, 2004.
Thanks be to God and to Him I render all the glory and honor and praises to the God of Israel!