Iglesia ni Cristo officially announces expulsion of ‘divisive’ members
THE announcement of the expulsion of Cristina “Ka Tenny” Villanueva Manalo, Felix “Ka Angel” Nathaniel Villanueva Manalo, Marco Eraño Villanueva Manalo and Lolita Manalo Jimenez from the church was made through a circular read to Iglesia ni Cristo members during worship service on Thursday night.
The circular said the four were expelled because of their “acts that aim to create divisions inside the church.”
The circular, signed by the executive minister, quoted I Corinthians 1:10 from the Bible that emphasizes that there should be oneness in what children of God say, think and aim to do.
Earlier Thursday, Tenny Manalo, wife of the late INC minister Eraño Manalo, and son Angel released a video pleading for help.
“Nananawagan po kami sa inyo dahil nanganganib po ang aming buhay. Sana’y matulungan niyo po kami,” Angel Manalo said.
(We are asking for your help because our lives are in danger. We hope that you can help us.)
Ka Tenny asked church members to help her children Angel and Lottie.
“Ako’y nananawagan sa aming mga kapatid sa Iglesia na tulungan ninyo kami dahil may panganib sa aming buhay. Saklolohan niyo ang aking mga anak, si Angel at Lottie at ang kanilang mga kasama. Tulungan niyo rin ang mga ministro na dinukot at hanggang ngayon ay hindi pa nakikita. Kaawaan natin sila at ang kanilang pamilya,” she said.
Tenny also conveyed her wish to speak to Angel’s brother and INC’s current leader Eduardo Manalo.
Later in the day, it became clear that there was a rift between INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo and some fundamentalist church members led by Ka Tenny.
Church insiders said concerns over the construction of the Philippine Arena and the use of the church funds were among the reasons behind the INC infighting.
According to the source, fissures within the leadership of the biggest Philippine-based religious group started to become imminent immediately after the death of Eraño “Ka Erdy” Manalo on August 31, 2009.
Eraño is the second-generation leader of the bible-based church, who took leadership of the church in April 1963, after the death of his father, INC founder and “sugo” (messenger) Felix “Ka Felix” Manalo.
“The authority of (Eduardo) is not questioned. What’s being questioned is the direction… of where the church is being taken,” the source said.
“Many members felt that the temporal power of the church is being emphasized too much in contravention of Jesus Christ’s teaching that ‘My kingdom is not of this world.’ This would not have happened if Ka Erdy were alive,” he said.
The source, a lay member privy to the leadership matters, said a number of senior ministers had also noticed how Eduardo and the INC’s current 12-member “Sanggunian,” the church’s highest advisory group, was disbursing the donations of its members to activities not related to any religious activities.
He said members of the elders’ council, including the INC treasurer, Ka Jun Santos, suspected that the church’s “old guards” led by Cristina and Eduardo’s younger brother, Angelo “Ka Angel” Manalo, were mounting a “power play.”
Among the INC’s recent projects, the source said members raised questions over the construction of the Philippine Arena, the country’s biggest indoor coliseum owned and operated by the Maligaya Development Corp. (MDC).
Citing one of the INC’s basic teachings, he said money donated to the church must only be used to finance church-related infrastructures like “imposing churches” and housing projects for retired ministers.
“There was strong opposition against the (construction) of the Philippine Arena. They were questioning why the church had to build an edifice, which is not devoted to worship,” he said.
“While MDC is composed of church members, it’s still a private corporation whose intention is to earn profits,” he added. With a report from Marlon Ramos
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