MANILA, Philippines – In another sign of unrest within the Iglesia ni Cristo (INC), a YouTube video showed a minister quitting his post in the middle of a church service as he defied the orders of the church's central office.
The INC minister, identified on Youtube as Louie Cayabyab, refused to read circulars on the expulsion of the mother and brother of INC head Brother Eduardo Manalo.
He also rejected the circular expelling Isaias Samson Jr, a former minister and editor in chief of the INC's official publication, Pasugo.
"I decided, brethren, that I won’t read those circulars. You might be asking, 'Why?' Because in my heart, in my heart of hearts, I can’t take it. It is just so so difficult to betray one’s heart," the minister said.
"I know the repercussion of this, and I know what will be the consequence. I know that I will be stripped out of my duty. From now on, I will no longer be a minister. Probably I will be expelled from the church, but I will take it, brothers and sisters," he added, as people in the background cried.
Still, he added, "We admonish you to remain in the church no matter what happens."
The website www.churchunion.us described Louie Cayabyab as the leader of an INC temple in Maryland. Sher Lock, an anonymous Facebook user who claims insider information on the INC, posted this video on Facebook on Sunday, July 25.
Rappler is still trying to reach INC spokesman Brother Edwil Zabala for comment as of posting time.
This comes as the INC faces its worst crisis. In an unprecedented series of events, former ministers of the INC began to speak up against their church leaders.
'Don't cover up wrongdoing'
Samson, for one, dared INC's spokesmen, Zabala and General Evangelist Bienvenido Santiago, to speak the truth about the alleged corruption in the INC. (READ: Expelled INC minister: Don't cover up wrongdoing)
Earlier, Manalo's mother Tenny and brother Angel released a Youtube video exposing a supposed threat to their lives.
Angel eventually slammed corruption in the INC.
The INC leader's brother said: "Nasira na ang doktrina ng Iglesia ni Cristo. Kung papaano ninyo hinangaan noon, nakita ninyo, napakarami nang anomalya. Napakarami nang tiwali na ginagawa sa Iglesia. Iyon po ang ayaw namin."
(The doctrine of the Iglesia ni Cristo is now damaged. In the same way that you looked up to us before, now you can see there are many anomalies. There are many acts of corruption in the Church. That's what we want to avoid.)
Samson also blasted corruption within the INC.
Despite these, Zabala denied that the crisis is dividing the INC, a church known for its culture of unquestioning obedience.
Paterno R. Esmaquel II is a senior reporter leading Rappler’s coverage of religion and foreign affairs. He finished MA Journalism in Ateneo and MSc Asian Studies (Religions in Plural Societies) at RSIS, Singapore. For story ideas or feedback, email him at firstname.lastname@example.org.