Posted by BAGWIS VIZCARRA on Thursday, July 12, 2007 with 1 Comments. | Link | Bookmark This

I studied all the televangelists in town but this Brother Eli Soriano of Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) is one huge anomaly. He’s the only preacher who is not afraid of displeasing the crowd. He is the only one who is not worried about appearing the fool, uneducated and unwashed. He’s got a message to tell the world and everything, including himself, cannot get in his way.

Like prophet Elija of old, Bro. Eli appealed to me as one who can and will go it alone even should his flock desert him and veer away from the narrow path of Christ. Well I could be wrong of course so I set out to know more about this guy and possibly join his group, if need be, just so I can understand the guy firsthand, minus the negative publicity by his detractors and minus the positive testimonies of his adherents. It all sounded like a perfect plan but first I must confront one small personal problem.

You see, like the Batman, I’m not much of a joiner. I could stand before a crowd and deliver a speech with just a little prodding and an initial minor discomfort but no one could ever compel me to join a crowd of religionists and mingle. Like most everyone else I know, I was allergic mingling anyone who claim to be religious and do their damnedest best to coax you into joining them. Besides, I had always maintained a healthy distance against anything resembling a groupthink. One thing more, I had a reputation of being a loner to worry about, you know. In the name of science, however, I acted against my nature. And yeah, to my delight, I did found the juicy truth about this guy and his religion!

Unfortunately, (and this is where you say ahhhhhhhh!! what a letdown!) what I’ve seen and heard inside Ang Dating Daan is hard to explain to non-members, especially in a such a way as to fully grasp the group’s essential beliefs and practices. I tried to do this several times with close friends and in frustration I ended up saying, “you really must hear it for yourself to fully appreaciate.”

Following my personal investigation, however, I can say this much is true; Ang Dating Daan is not a religious cult (in the way that voodoo is a cult), nor is it a business scheme nor a front for any illegal stuff as Bro. Eli’s legion of enemies would have the public believe.

Simply put, the church of Ang Dating Daan is a misunderstood minority, which so happens to quell people’s thirst for biblical answers to life’s questions. Hundreds of thousands of people have found in Bro. Eli’s group their spiritual family. Including old-fashioned loners like me.

Nobody forced me to join. They welcome you when you show up for the indoctrination. They encourage you to listen attentively and then leave you alone. Nobody even tried to convince me. Indeed, they even dissuaded me a little, saying its okay not to join unless I am really convinced. Up until the very last moment before baptism, the baptizer would tell you its not too late to back out, then he asked if I wanted to proceed. I said yes. And its the best decision I have ever made in my entire life.

This all happened three years and three months ago. I wouldn't censure those who would now tell me I’m saying this only because I am now biased in favor of my religious affiliation. To them, however, I would quickly reply like my journalism professor in college, "but I have always been biased in favor of truth, beybeh."

To all doubters, disbelievers and believers out there, let me ask you…



That’s according to Isaac Newton, the father of modern physics and astronomy.

In what is turning out to be quite a revelation, an exhibit by Jerusalem's Hebrew University shows that Newton was more odd (or well-rounded depending on your orientation) than his publicist of old would have him remembered by people.

The public exhibit entitled "Newton's Secrets" puts on display previously unpublished writings of Newton including his dabbling in theology and biblical prophecy.

To quote the AFP:

Working from verses in the Book of Daniel, the elaborator of the classical laws of gravity, motion and optics argued that the world would end 1,260 years after the foundation of the Holy Roman Empire in Western Europe in 800 AD.”

Interestingly, this would suggest that Newton believed the Holy Roman Empire to be the fulfillment of the “abomination that maketh desolate”, which was supposed to mark the beginning of “one thousand two hundred and ninety days” till all these things shall be finished” spoken of in Chapter 12 of the book of Daniel.

Although I agree that the Holy Roman Empire was abominable to some extent (mainly due to its close association with Catholic Popes), I would have to disagree with Newton’s interpretation in the light of Brother Eli Soriano’s own explanation of Daniel 12:11, (which, I’m not about to divulge).

I reserve my final say on the matter until after I have read Newton’s full explanation. It should be juicy reading! Imagine, no less than the father of modern physics and astronomy falling flat on his face when it comes to biblical understanding.

Posted by BAGWIS VIZCARRA on Tuesday, November 07, 2006 with 0 Comments. | Link | Bookmark This

I am dead. And it's bothersome. It's been plaguing me the past two weekends. They sometimes infect the weekdays too. Yes, whenever there's time to kill, there's also that nagging thought that there is simply nothing left for me here except that which was willed by the Almighty to be done...


Posted by BAGWIS VIZCARRA on Wednesday, September 14, 2005 with 0 Comments. | Link | Bookmark This

I believe in religious freedom and religious tolerance. They're among the highest civic achievements of modern society. Personally, I subscribe to them in their full political meaning, no more, no less. Some bible-believing people, however, tend to allow such socio-political ideals to unnecessarily influence their religious beliefs making them susceptible to the idea that every religion is valid in the eyes of God.
It's really fine by me if such notion is part of your personal religious convictions but it pays to disabuse oneself of the presuming that such notion is biblical. It simply is not. It is more akin to New Age thinking, with centuries-old theosophic roots in Hinduism.

Indeed, Hinduism is seen as the most tolerant of all religions. Hiduists, it is argued, could listen to your religious doctrines for hours on end and even agree with you but they won't convert (unless they are convinced that your religious practices are worth a try in the yogic sense). For them, every religion is just as good as the next and borne only of the same god, though it may be clothed in different fables. They could even possibly believe that your religion is superior but they would still rather live out their karma in this lifetime with their own religion and all for the wisdom it would teach them. . .

Now, if for any reason you happen to consider Hinduism is pagan, it should definitely worth your while to consider the question from a biblical standpoint. Is every religion valid before God?

In the bible, God proposes only one path, just one master plan of salvation. He established just one Church although called it by varying names depending on the dispensation. He spoke with a consistent tone and message although by various means and through different spokesmen. He sent only one messiah, who died as a sacrificial lamb for the remission of sins of those who would believe, but he died only once and for all and was resurrected just once, not every Easter Sunday! And, last I heard, there was just one group of Christians that the apostles acknowledged to be of God during their time although they cited other preachers who also teach in Christ's name but are not of God. . .

Philippians 1:15 Some indeed preach Christ even of envy
and strife; and some also of good will:

Could it be that the same doctrines taught by those false preachers are the very same things now being peddled by self-styled preachers who call themselves prophets, apostles, evangelists, bishops, messengers, angels, messiahs, and what have you?

If we can be very meticulous in what we eat or what we wear, or what political opinion to subscribe to, is it not only logical to even be more thoroughly meticulous when it comes to what religious doctrines to believe in or to disbelieve in? What does it profit a man, anyway, to unquestioningly swallow every hook, line and sinker of dogma his Sunday school teacher or priest or pastor or guru or whatever lodged in his mind as a child? We should think it more forgivable for politicians fool the people than for religious leaders to flatter our sensibilities with unbiblical and anti-biblical teachings.

The worst that politicians can do is to make a living hell out of our mundane existence but religious authorities can do far worse. They can tell us to go to hell in such a way that we actually look forward to the trip.

In the end, however, the choice is ours alone. Would we rather go for the negotiable words of man or the unchanging words of God in the bible? Even Jesus Christ himself noted that it is not proper to simply believe his words just because he said them so… what is important is that they came from God. . . it is the message itself, the doctrine, and not the teacher, that should matter, for indeed the indellible mark of a false messiah is that he is dishing out a false teaching or false doctrine...

John 7:17 If any man will do his will, he shall know of the doctrine,
whether it be of God, or whether I speak of myself. (18) He that speaketh of
himself seeketh his own glory: but he that seeketh his glory that sent him, the
same is true, and no unrighteousness is in him. God’s underlying promise here is
that those, and only those, who sincerely want to follow God will, inevitably,
unavoidably, discern the true will of God.

John 12:49 For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak.

I can almost hear those reading saying "And whose interpretation of the bible do you propose we subscribe to?"

Consider this verse. . .

Revelations 1:3 Blessed is he that readeth, and they that hear the words of this prophecy, and keep those things which are written therein: for the time is at hand.

It is more blessed to read, than interpret, the bible. But of course we need a preacher.

Romans 10:14 How then shall they call on him in whom they have not believed? and how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? and how shall they hear without a preacher?

Yet, is there a preacher who preaches not by interpreting the bible but instead by just reading the bible? This should be the challenge to contesting preachers. Show me a preacher who is categorically biblical in his teachings and I will show you a preacher worth listening to.

Some preachers are better left disregarded and some given the benefit of the doubt. Do your own elimination process. Are they teaching mere traditions? Superstitions? Or are they strictly biblical? Definitely listen to all those who claim to be biblical and scrutinize them for their claim.

I am not about to advertise my own preacher of choice but allow me to say this much. The bible is NOT an open book. There are difficult, confusing, seemingly contradictory and even apparently convoluted passages in it. They were put there for a reason. They are, I believe, the Waterloo of false preachers. The demarcating line that separates mere opportunists from true messengers of God. Like Arthur's Excalibur buried in a rock, not every preacher can wield God's two-edged sword from out of the bible with prophetic ease. And there the excitement begins to unfold, this thing called the Word of God.

Beware of false preachers then. Ask them hard, probing, biblical questions. Test their mastery of the very bible they are boasting about. Check whether they are merely speaking out of their own philosophical or theological or psychological or ideological insight or whether they are really speaking from exact biblical sources. Ask for the specific verses they are using as basis and check them independently in your own bible at home. Study their teachings, not their personality, and compare them with many others'.

Read your bible independently. It could take months or years of searching for biblical truth but it is a journey worth taking. Indeed it is the only journey worth taking. Pray hard that God sends His holy spirit to guide you in discerning or else all our probing may be useless.

Posted by BAGWIS VIZCARRA on Sunday, May 15, 2005 with 2 Comments. | Link | Bookmark This

Funny how modern science comes up with seemingly startling "discoveries" of things that were long exposed in the Bible if only we had enough respect for God's Word to read it and believe what it says instead of clinging to the dogmatic doctrines of some religious leaders no matter how erratic the implications.

There's this "breakthrough" of a supposed reconstruction of Jesus's face using the advances of forensic science. Interestingly, the resulting image is the remotest representation of Christ in comparison with every conceivable iconic artistry ever done in the name of the Lord, yet, personally, I find it the most convincing of all. This I mean only in the context of representational purposes and not icon worship nor veneration, for which the bible clearly refrains us from doing.

The scientists behind the project cites several anthropological reasons for coming up with the final product. But the reason I ascribe with the gravest importance is I Corinthians11:14.
"If a man has long hair, it is a disgrace to him"

In one chapter of the book Paul mentions having seen Jesus. He then later describes long hair on a man as disgraceful. Would Paul called long hair on a man as "disgraceful" if Jesus Christ had had long hair?

Beyond the bible, we really have no major basis that Christ ever existed. Yet scandalously, many people would rather cling to their cherished mental image of Christ courtesy of Leonardo Da Vinci rather than stick to the biblical depiction of Christ courtesy of saint Paul and other biblical writers who are obviously more credible spokespersons of the Truth and are undeniably were guided by the Holy Spirit in their ministering to the flock of Christ.

To quote Albert Einstein, "Science without faith is lame; faith without science is blind."

We can see clearly now that the earth is round when before it was flat; and anyone who will say it is otherwise must have to endure excommunication by the Pope. What blind faith to believe the guy is infalliable when indeed he is blind... In fairness to my Catholic friends, not all subscribe to the idea of papal infalliability....

Now to quote the rhetorical question posted by the real Jesus Christ himself, "...Can the blind lead the blind? Shall they not both fall into the ditch?" (Luke 6:39)

(...for more details on this forensic study, click here.)

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