I just want to express my reaction over the comment sent to and published at the Inquirer.Net which says:
I share his misgivings over the real intent of the so-called prayer rally held by the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) last Feb. 28 at the Luneta. If it was a prayer rally, why was Supreme Court spokesman Midas Marquez present? Is Marquez a member of the INC? Or was he ordered by Chief Justice Renato Corona himself to be highly visible in this “religious” gathering to convey to one and all that the INC supports Corona all the way? So much for the non-political character of the rally.
I know for a fact that our Constitution strictly provides for the separation of Church and State. My understanding of this is that religious sects or denominations should keep off secular and state affairs, and the state should keep off religious affairs. (Midas stripped INC rally of its religious character)
Just to let you know, I am not authorized to represent the Iglesia Ni Cristo, but I am member of the said Church. My thoughts written here are just my personal thoughts not of the Church.
INC Prayer Rally
Actually, I don’t really understand the term “Prayer Rally” used by many writers to refer the February 28, 2012 activity of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. I am already in my 13th year as member of the Church but I haven’t heard the word, “Prayer Rally,” spoken by any of the brethren. What I heard are the following terms:
- Devotional Prayer or “Panata”.
- Committee Prayer or “Komite”.
- Thanks Giving Prayer.
- Prayers before any activities.
- Prayers after any activities.
- (others except Prayer Rally)
I often hear other religious groups such the “Jesus is Lord Movement” and “El Shaddai” mentioned this term. And usually, their activities were done by converging into an open place, singing songs glorifying Christ, giving sermon in relation to a particular issue, and then offering prayers in relation to an issue.
So, if that’s the real “Prayer Rally”, then the activity of the Iglesia Ni Cristo held in various regions of the Philippines on February 28, 2012 (especially in Luneta) is not a prayer rally.
Grand Evangelical Mission
The Iglesia Ni Cristo called the said activity as Grand Evangelical Mission. It’s a Bible Exposition wherein members of the Church bring visitors to the venue. The visitors, of course, are not members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. They are brought into the place of activity for them to hear the Good News of the Lord.
If you have seen non-INCs who attended the GEM last February 28, then there’s nothing to wonder about this, because you’ll always see non-INCs during the GEM. GEM is for them not for the members of the INC. We, members of the INC, are just facilitators so that they will hear the Good News of Salvation.
We, members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, invite anyone to attend the GEM regardless your position in the government, your age, your status, or your business. You can attend the GEM even if you’re rich or poor, government officials or not, as long as you’re interested to listen the Good News of salvation, the same way how Christ invited those who want to be saved:
“I am the door. If anyone enters by Me, he will be saved, and will go in and out and find pasture. (John 10:9, New King James Version)
Whatever is your status in life, as long as you want to be saved, Christ invited you to enter by Him. Entering Christ means becoming member of the Church of Christ.
Read Fred Gonzales’ articles:
- How to become God’s Friends?
- How to become Christ’s Friends?
- How to become Christ’s Sheep?
- How to become Christ’s Disciple?
- How to become in United with Christ?
- How to become God’s Child?
- How to become close to God?
Separation of Church and State
I don’t think that the attendance of the government officials during the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s Grand Evangelical Mission (INC-GEM) held on February 28, 2012 has something to do against the separation of the Church and State.
I guess, there are many government officials of the Philippines (National, Local, Judiciary, etc) were invited to attend the said event, including the President of the Philippines and the Chief Justice of the Supreme Court. But their presence doesn’t mean anything (for the part of the INC and the members who invited them). Our purpose is to let them hear the Good News of Salvation. After all, these people are also searching for the true path towards salvation.
Wondering About the INC-GEM?
If you want to verify what I am saying here, then why not attend even once a Grand Evangelical Mission of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. I guess in every locale of the Iglesia Ni Cristo here in the Philippines are having a “Pamamahayag” (Bible Exposition) at least once a week.
“Pamamahayag” and GEM (“Malaking Pamamahayag”) are the same activity… a Bible Exposition. The only difference is the scale.
Just like what I said already, this article is just my personal journal. I don’t have the authority to represent or speak for the Church. All the thoughts contained with it are just my personal thoughts.