Report on the Philippines
Wallace H. Little
Brother Cecil Willis asked me to write a periodic report on the work in the Philippine Islands. He feels since I spent two years there while in the United States Air Force, know some of the preachers there well and have extensive correspondence with most of the others I am in a position to make such a report. Since much of the background on the problems facing Christians there has been covered in Truth Magazine by both Roy Cogdill and Cecil Willis following their trip to that nation last summer, I will not repeat it now. Suffice to say those who are standing for God's truth there today are doing so in spite of very great opposition. This originates primarily from our institutionally-minded brethren, particularly those American so called "missionaries" who run the Philippine Bible College at Baguio City, Luzon, whose lack of concern for Scripture and truth is perhaps only equaled by their use of carnal methods against faithful brethren in their desire to preserve their positions of power and influence, "thinking they are doing God service." Regardless, God's cause prospers.
From mail I have received within the last several months. I find the following typical of the work there:
In two cooperative efforts (understood here to mean two or more preachers working together, entirely on their own, with no superstructure "sponsoring" them) in the province of Zamboanga del Sur, Mindanao, ten were baptized in the first effort and eight in the second. Another was recently converted in Tondo, Manila. In a third letter, a brother told of a church he established in the province of Zamboanga del Norte, and having twenty non-Christians in attendance for Sunday morning worship on February 14th to hear Christ preached. I suspect these outnumbered the saints. During the first part of this year three congregations were established in Davao del Sur, Mindanao and two more on Luzon as reported in letters to me. True, these are small. In one case only five met. But they do gather together in Christ's name (Mat. 18:20). One thing I believe is especially notable is some preachers who previously opposed truth on the institutional problems are now upholding it.
Preachers there must do considerable moving about. The public transportation system is both bad and expensive, and most churches are small because they are composed of members living within walking distance of the meeting place. As there are far more churches than faithful preachers, if these groups are to grow in the faith and knowledge of Christ, the preachers must travel. This they are willing to do as they are able. As a result new congregations are established, existing ones grow both numerically as well as spiritually and brethren who are opposing the institutional errors are encouraged and strengthened by the presence and teaching of preachers of like precious faith.
Unfortunately, all the news is not good. There is what seems the unavoidable jealousy of a few developing when one carnally-minded preacher sees others prospered "better" than he. But this is minimal. Also men who turn out sour are occasionally recommended, and when they do show what they really are, they cast a tarnishing effect on those faithfully standing for the truth. Finally the apostate Americans there seem bent on tearing up the good which has been done, and are not too particular as to their methods. Truth is not the most overworked weapon in their arsenal. But problems such as these are not peculiar to the Philippines; seems I can recall a few similar here in the United States.
Overall the result of the work there during the three and a half years I have been associated with it has been good. A number of churches were established, possibly five hundred converted to Christ, some preachers rescued from error, including a few right under the nose of the Philippine Bible College and thousands have had the gospel preached to them. All this was done without some American to "show them how." These brethren learned the truth by their own efforts, studying their own Bibles. The Filipino people, both Christians and others are showing their willingness to listen to the gospel. God's cause continues to prosper in truth regardless of Satan's opposition.
Later, the Lord willing, I will go into a little more detail concerning the growth of the church in the Philippines, some of the specifics of the problems facing brethren there and introduce some of these brethren.
TRUTH MAGAZINE, XV: 27, pp. 12-13