Apollo Quiboloy

[OPINION] Quiboloy’s beliefs and why they’re dangerous

Jayeel Cornelio

This is AI generated summarization, which may have errors. For context, always refer to the full article.

[OPINION] Quiboloy’s beliefs and why they’re dangerous
Unfortunately, I don’t think that he will be the last of his kind

They say that there are two things you can’t talk about without making enemies: politics and religion. Both can be divisive. 

I think, however, that religion is more so if only because it tends to be deeply personal.

But that doesn’t make religious beliefs above criticism. We may call for respect for each other’s convictions, and rightly so. But respect should not mean evading difficult questions about faith.

So, while there may be a case that religion brings a lot of good in the world today, we must also admit that so much harm accompanies it. Even the philosopher Keith Ward, who defends the ‘goodness’ of religion, acknowledges this too.

It’s in this spirit that we need to talk about the man of the hour, Apollo Quiboloy, and the theology that he preaches. If a tree is to be known by its fruit, and we know that the fruit has been poisonous, then it must be our collective responsibility to identify the tree and decide what to do about it.

His theology

Quiboloy’s own website refers to the man as a giant of the faith: “A Revolutionary Preacher,” “The Modern Moses,” and of course “The Appointed Son of God.” 

It enumerates his many accomplishments. A recipient of three honorary doctoral degrees, Quiboloy is apparently “a known philanthropist, a humanitarian, an environmentalist, a patriot, a mega-church leader, and an internationally known TV evangelist.” These are all extraordinary achievements, making him a truly admirable man for his followers.

But none of it beats his own elaborate biography, full of mystical encounters.

His first spiritual vision came, so the story goes, when he was 14 years old. It was an image of the world in chaos which he came to realize later on as the Second Coming of Christ. Over time he had a series of more visions until they ended one day, and he directly heard God’s voice: “Make a decision to follow me.” 

When he made the decision to do so, no less than Satan came to tempt him – like he did Jesus – with fame and power. This happened in Tamayong in Davao City, where he has now built the scenic Covenant Mountain and Paradise Garden of Eden Restored.

Finally, Quiboloy, likening himself to St. Paul, claims to have been “brought up to the heavens many times.” These heavenly visits gave him access to the “Manna of Revelations” which his followers are very familiar with. Outsiders may make fun of his title, but he is called the Appointed Son of God for a reason. When he gave his life to the Father, that decision finally uprooted the “serpent seed” of disobedience from a human being. 

He is the firstborn, so to speak. 

He is not the Begotten Son, because that title belongs to Jesus Christ. Instead, he is the Appointed Son “because he came from the fallen Adamic race whose parents are both human beings.” As a result, he now “bears the exact DNA of the Almighty Father and the New Jerusalem whose spirit says, ‘Not my will but Yours be done,’ which is the seed of righteousness.”

Through his life, many others have discovered the same renewal. They are now the Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the religion he leads and a community of sons and daughters from whom that serpent seed has been rooted out.

Why he is what he is

Quiboloy then has had many divine encounters. And they were of the sort that mirrored biblical figures: Moses on the mountain, Paul in heaven, Jesus in the presence of Satan.

I leave it up to Bible scholars and theologians to provide their critical assessments of Quiboloy’s theology. They have the tools to evaluate the soundness of the man’s biblical interpretations.

What concerns me as a sociologist is why he is what he is to his followers.

For sociologists of religion, divine encounters attest to the credibility of charismatic figures. In other words, it’s not their personality or behavior per se that makes them appealing, although that could be part of it. Instead, it’s the narrative that bestows upon them the power that commands respect and admiration.

To this could be added the religious belief about Quiboloy himself. The man “is not leading just any church organization,” as his biography puts it. “He is the residence of the Father Almighty, the bodily manifestation of the unseen God, as Adam should have been.” 

And yet Quiboloy is not just the Appointed Son. He is also the world’s perfect ruler.

Many of us would recall that at one point Quiboloy claimed to be the “Owner of the Universe.” This may not make sense to us but to his followers it does: “Because the Almighty Father is now ruling His Kingdom through His Son, unrighteousness has no more place. The days of man in doing His own will is no longer tolerated and man will be judged.”


Religious beliefs are also consequential on public life.

First, obedience is central to Quiboloy’s theology. To follow the will of the Father is in effect to follow the man’s will. By the same token, disobeying the man is in effect disobeying God himself. 

This worldview is one of the defining characteristics of a “high demand, high control” religion. It underpins much of the social control within the organization and the pervasive fear among followers. Out of fear that they might no longer please God, many of Quiboloy’s followers donate money to the church. Even if they don’t have the means they still need to do so.

And this fear – of God and for their lives – is also the reason it’s unimaginable for victims of religious abuses to come out in the open.

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Second, what many of us outsiders may take as Quiboloy’s accountability is persecution for his followers. From a sociological perspective, this is because the attack on the leader is effectively an attack on the entire Kingdom. They are after all sons and daughters too.

No wonder then that his followers have come to his defense. They even led a Jericho March at Liwasang Bonifacio, in reference to the destruction of Jericho’s walls before Joshua and his people took over the city.

Third, Quiboloy, for his followers, is a divine figure. He is therefore above reproach.

Thus, for many of them, all the allegations about human trafficking, sexual abuse, money laundering, and his lavish lifestyle could not be possibly true. And if they were, there must be a godly reason for engaging in these acts. 

This is why they’re calling for “Justice for Pastor Apollo Quiboloy.”

Finally, the recent turn of events shows how Quiboloy has lost his countercultural potential. 

His work began as a countercultural religious movement, presenting a different vision of what it meant to be a “true” Christian – obedient to the Father, free from sin, but also a showcase of God’s restored order. That’s why they built that Prayer Mountain, their own college, and their spectacular church. 

They made a mistake though by seizing power beyond the church. They did so through their media empire, political alliances, and electoral endorsements. They fell into temptation and got blindsided that these alliances are prone to shifting loyalties. They may have been in power and protected in the time of Duterte, but this is clearly no longer the case. 

Hard lesson for any religious group aspiring to seize political power.


Clearly the man has to be held accountable for his abuses. His excesses are exposed by the day, the latest of which concerns his mansions in North America. He may not realize it but hiding just makes him far more suspicious. 

The last time I checked, the original Son of God faced Pilate, Herod, and ultimately the ones who executed him. If the Appointed Son of God would only heed his own words, then he knows that “when God decides to help you, He is going to be your strong refuge.”

Unless God was never on his side in the first place.

But I also wish to reiterate the need for the government to establish protective mechanisms for victims of religious abuse. (For those who are interested, I have written about these in my recent piece on religious abuses.)

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These mechanisms are much needed because religious abuses are different from the ones that take place in secular settings. Power, patriarchy, and fear of God and his anointed one are some of the reasons why holding religious leaders accountable is an impossible feat, especially for followers.

These protections must cover a wide array of institutional measures to support victims, including whistleblowing, therapy, and legal action. For these to be successful, different entities in the government including social workers and law enforcers need to undergo proper training in handling religious abuse and trauma. 

Quiboloy for the longest time has been a powerful religious leader. And he continues to wield his power, whatever is left of it. His political allies have come to his defense and his followers are literally marching for him.

Unfortunately, I don’t think that he will be the last of his kind. In the Bible, nothing angered Christ more than did the abusive religious leaders of his time. – Rappler.com

Jayeel Cornelio, PhD is a sociologist of religion at the Ateneo de Manila University. He is currently a visiting scholar at the University of Louisville’s Center for Asian Democracy. His latest book (co-authored with Jose Mario Francisco, SJ) is People’s Christianity: Theological Sense and Sociological Significance. Follow him on X @jayeel_cornelio.

1 comment

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  1. ET

    I agree with Jayeel Cornelio about Quiboloy: “I don’t think that he will be the last of his kind.” But he must be held accountable for his abuses so that the Government will be ready for the next one.

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