Wednesday, September 26, 2018

Eddie Villanueva and The Next Pope (from 'Street Preaching in The Philippines' blog, March 8, 2013)

Just stumbled upon this very insightful article from a blog called 'Street Preaching in the Philippines' (posted March 8, 2013) which tackles mainly on Bro. Eddie Villanueva's foray into politics, and especially his uncontained excitement for a new pope thereby revealing the true state of his spirituality. This article speaks very honestly of the precarious marriage between politics and Christianity which could potentially derail a less-discerning and impressionable Christian's walk with the truth considering that Bro. Eddie is a well-respected leader in the Evangelical community. Though the article does not mince word in its rebuke of the very obvious  yet it is hopeful that Bro. Eddie would rather stay on the right track and get back to his original calling - that is to be a bold preacher of the truth and righteousness which he was once known.

My brethren, we have to always remember that our loyalty is to God only, not to any man, (not even your pastor). We are followers of Jesus Christ, the King of kings and the Lord of Lords. Jesus says in John 14:6: "I Am the Way, the Truth, and the Life: no man comes to the Father, but by me."

I realize that the purpose of this blog is to encourage and promote street preaching in the Philippines. But a few days ago, I came across the post above on Facebook (which was also a tweet on twitter) from Eddie Villanueva. The post, I thought, demanded some type of response. Street preachers in general are pretty direct and straight forward when preaching on the streets. So I decided I would post a response concerning Bro. Eddie’s words. I doubt many people will read this post since not many folks visit this blog. But, anyway, here are a few words concerning Mr. Villanueva’s post.

For the uninformed, Eddie Villanueva is the founder and leader of “Jesus Is Lord Church.” (JIL). JIL now has many branches all over the Philippines and around the world. For many years, Mr. Villanueva has been a major voice in Evangelical Christianity in this country (particularly amongst “Full Gospel” churches). I came across Eddie Villanueva when I first arrived in the Philippines in 1988. He was really a radical, bold speaker who really seemed to preach the truth. Bro. Eddie has had much positive impact in the Philippines in seeing the nation reached for Jesus Christ. Hence there is much to admire about his life and witness and much to thank God for. Praise God for the impact that Bro. Eddie has had!

But then in the late 1990′s, Bro. Eddie began to venture more and more into the political realm in the Philippines; including running for the Presidency of the Philippines in 2004 and 2010. Along with that venture, I (and a good number of other Evangelical Christians) believe that Bro. Eddie has entered, more and more, into various compromises. I don’t want to spend time “digging up the past” about this issue. But for those who are unaware of the compromises that I am talking about, you can check out the following blog/article written by one of my friends. I encourage you to read the whole article and to read the comments and interaction at the end. I also strongly encourage you to watch the video (posted in the comment section) of Bro. Eddie speaking at a large meeting of False Prophet Apollo Quiboloy’s group. This is what happened in the past with Bro. Eddie, but I am afraid that it still lives on until today.

In December of last year (2012), Bro. Eddie decided to run for senator in the May 2013 elections in the Philippines. When he decided to run, I was wondering if we were going to see the same thing as we saw in 2010 (compromises, like the meeting with Quiboloy calling him a “preacher of righteousness, etc). It only took a few weeks after the campaign period started to find out what would happen. When I saw Bro. Eddie’s post about praying that Cardinal Tagle would be elected as pope; I thought “here we go again.” Let us take a look at what Eddie said and analyze it a little bit.

“Filipinos must pray for Cardinal Luis Tagle to win d selection for d next Pope!It will surely boost d Philippine economy &World’s respect!”

**** update – Thankfully, Bro. Eddie’s prayer was not answered. A guy from Argentina was chosen as the new pope.

Unless I am sadly mistaken, a lot (and probably a majority) of JIL’s church membership is made up of “former Roman Catholics” who were convicted of their sins and specifically the sin of idolatry (worshipping St. Nino, Black Nazarene and assorted other idols). After they were convicted of their sins, they then got rid of their idols, repented of their sins, and trusted in Jesus Christ alone for salvation. Surely Bro. Eddie has preached about the idolatry that is so prevalent in the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines. Surely, as an Evangelical Christian, he has recognized that the Roman Catholic religious system will not lead people to God; but away from God. If there were teaching tapes still available of Bro. Eddie preaching back in the 1980′s and early 1990′s, I am convinced that you would be able to find messages of Bro. Eddie speaking out strongly against the sin of idolatry and other sins of Roman Catholicism. Yet, here we are in 2013, and Bro. Eddie is telling people to pray that Cardinal Tagle will be the next pope! For what reason? He says that if that happens then, “It will surely boost the Philippine economy and world’s respect.”

Let me ask you a question. What is more important – 1) boosting the Philippine economy and having the world’s respect or 2) Improving the spiritual condition of the Philippines? I would suggest to you that every true Christian would answer #2; It is better to improve the spiritual condition of the Philippines. Obviously Christians are also concerned about the economy of the Philippines; but that is ultimately not our priority. We want the country to prosper but not in ways that contradict the Word of God. The true Christian wants the Filipino people to surrender their lives to Jesus Christ – to be born again by the power of the Spirit, to leave sin and idolatry. It is good if people prosper materially, but first and foremost should be one’s spiritual life. “Seek ye first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and all these things shall be added unto you. (Mattew 6:33)

What would happen though, if for instance, Cardinal Tagle, were to be selected as the next pope. Sure, the economy might improve and the world might think, “Wow, look at the Philippines.” But what would happen spiritually in the country? Here are a few things that would likely happen:

1. Idolatry would increase even further. In the short time Cardinal Tagle has been in his position, he hasn’t done anything about the blatant idolatry that exists in the country. Imagine, if he became Pope! Cardinal Tagle, himself, would become an “idol’ to the people here. People would be visiting and offering candles and sacrifices at the various places Cardinal Tagle lived at. Idolatry would increase and Cardinal Tagle would be added to the “list of idols.”

2. People in the Philippines would be “revived in Roman Catholicism” and continue to live in separation from the true God of the Bible. A “Filipino Pope” would result in further entrenchment of the Filipino people in the false Roman Catholic religious system. Do you really think there would be revival of true Christianity in the Philippines – if suddenly a Filipino became Pope? That would be unlikely to happen. Instead, the Philippines would probably go further down the route of dead religion.

 Yes, if Cardinal Tagle was elected as Pope, the economy might improve and yes, people around the world might look up more to the Philippines. But the spiritual condition of the Philippines would likely worsen. Idolatry would further increase and Filipino people would become more and more “religious” yet farther and farther from God.

So why would Bro. Eddie make such a prayer request as that? Why would he make a prayer request – which if answered – would likely lead to a worsening spiritual climate in the Philippines and would bring more and more Filipinos to hell instead of heaven? Without fully knowing Bro. Eddie’s heart and realizing that God is the final judge for all of us – I believe that it is likely that Eddie made that request for the following reason:

I am not “against” Bro. Eddie. I am trying to make a point to pray more for him. I am concerned for him. I wish he would just get out of politics, stop the “compromising game” and resume preaching the Gospel. In spite of Bro. Eddie’s compromises and “pragmatic approach” to getting votes; I still believe he is one of the better candidates for senator. If I would be able to vote in the Philippines, I would likely vote for him. That doesn’t mean that I agree with his “vote getting antics and compromises.” Neither am I “against Roman Catholics.” I just believe, Biblically, most Catholics are on a road to hell. They need to repent from their sins and surrender totally to Jesus Christ.

In closing, I realize that we will all face the judgment seat of Christ. We will all have to give an account to God. I will have to do that. You will have to do that and Bro. Eddie will have to do that. My prayer is that we will all be ready to face the judgement of God.

Still there's more. Continue reading...

Bro.Eddie Villanueva compromises by speaking at Apollo Quiboloy's church.

Read our 'An Open Letter to Brother Eddie Villanueva' which we posted January 19, 2015 during Pope Francis' visit to the Philippines. This revolves around the interview he did with Jerry Esplanada of Inquirer which was published January 16, 2015. 

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