October 17, 2017

The M’Lang Bible Lectures

By Romulo B. Agduma

The five-day Bible lectures here in Mlang are now over, and a very successful program it was. We had about 150 in attendance on the first day, and increased to nearly 200 on Saturday when~ the group picture (which previously in TRUTH MAGAZINE) was taken. When the group photograph was taken at noon, many had already gone home to at, tend their Lord's Day worship. But on Sunday many arrived from nearby congregations, and the attendance increased to about 250 for the morning worship service. Including those who went home earlier, there were about 300 adults who participated in the lecture program, and about 18 per cent of these were non-members.

On the second day of the lectures, 14 precious souls were baptized into Christ. Brother Willis was very happy for the opportunity of baptizing this number. Three more were baptized on Saturday and another three at 6:00 A.M. Sunday. Altogether there were 20 baptisms during this lecture program, 19 of whom were immersed by Brother Willis. Brother CastoHo Gamit baptized the other person. Three of those baptized will worship with the M'lang congregation; the others will be members of nearby congregations.

All the brethren who participated in this series of lectures (except about 10 liberal preachers) were greatly impressed by the many wonderful and inspiring messages given by different speakers (preachers), especially by those delivered by the two American brethren (Cogdill and Willis). These two brethren also were deeply inspired and encouraged by what they saw and heard and learned from us pertaining to the Lord's work done here, and for the Cause of Truth shown and presented by each one. The brethren here feel that the lecture series was too short, and they have thought of having another one in the near future.

Those who worked hard in the kitchen at my home sometimes neglected their work and assignments because they go and peep at the building, to hear God's Word preached. Many came to know more of the real issues of current problems. The brethren were enlightened and expressed their feelings and their firm stand for the Truth. They went to their respective places (mostly to the towns and provinces} by sea and a few by air, with words to express from their hearts wonderful things done and for the happy with the faithful, with the hope some day we can meet again and enjoy of God's Word. It was suggested by Brother Willis that if possible such a program be held annually in some place easily accessible.

Just before and during the lecture days, contributions were made by those present (especially by the preachers) for food and for the preparation of it. Because of the increasing attendance, on day we were short of funds and solicitation was made to those who were being supported. {dried and salted), vegetables, and clean rice also were donated. A total of about 700 pounds of clean rice was Four average size hogs {one of was roasted in clean full body with a bamboo pole through him over a charcoal), 3 goats, many chickens and fish were also purchased. About (but in Philippine pesos) were {including about $42.00 from Cogdill and Willis), and it all was [ in the purchase and preparation of the shelter 50 ft. by 18 ft. was and erected adjoining my house. And tables full of cooked food received a plate, held it and took what food he wanted, in "serve yourself" style. We served at least 200 persons (average) every meal. My wife was in charge of the kitchen work, the spending of funds for the kinds of food, the daily menu, recipes and serving, with several sisters assisting her. It was all done decently and in order. She and the brethren in the kitchen did not know just how tired they were, until everyone bad gone home and there were no more inspiring messages to be heard.

A temporary sheltered dining hall joining my house was about 40 yards from the church building where we held the lectures. Brethren Cogdill and Willis ate in the house, together with several preachers. They bad a light meal later in the day and took more fruits (especially bananas), then took their rest in the hotel about 500 yards from my house. I choose six preachers to stay with them in the hotel. About 98 percent of those who ate with us regularly attended the lectures, with some being hindered by the necessity of food preparation.

We are very thankful that we had enlarged the church building (now 42 ft. by 31 ft.) just before the lectures, as all the space was needed to accomodate the 250 attendance which was attained on the Lord's Day. Ushers were assigned to take the attendance at each meeting throughout the lecture series.

We would have had a larger attendance if the liberal preachers had not made a hard campaign against the lectures, forbidding their members to come and attend the M'lang lectures. This I was told later by those "milder" liberal brethren who forced themselves to come, and who are now enlightened. Douglas Gunselman, one of the liberal American workers in Manila, wrote in his paper like this: "The antis are having a lectureship. I will not be there. I have known their guest lecturer for many yearsHe became troublemaker before he became an an~ During their lectureship, I suggest that you stay at home and take a siesta and read your Bible. It will do you more goodl" Gunselman was talking about Brother Cogdill. Brother Cogdill read Gunselman's statement from the pulpit, saying that Gunselman is a liar because he (Cogdill) has never been a trouble-maker. Then Cogdill asked, "How can one read his Bible while taking a siesta (sleeping)?" I myself can prove by many things from his paper that Gunselman is a liar.

But about 10 "veteran" liberal preachers (most of them are USA liberal-church-supported), alter advising their members not to attend here, came two at a time in the afternoon from Thursday to Sunday, hoping to take advantage of our announced open forum session. In our effort to be fair to them, we gave them much time to ask question and to engage in discussion. But it never helped their cause and purpose. Instead, it helped more for the brethren to understand what they are, their quibbles, and they were pinned down when brethren Cogdill and Willis also answered their arguments. They talked about Orphan Homes in the states, but knew nothing about legal requirements upon which they proposed to build their case. They used the book of Tom Warren for their claims and their arguments, and not the Bible. The brethren used the Bible to show that these liberal men were false teachers and therefore "troublemakers." They were even put to shame in the assembly.

Also Robert Buchanan (who is connected with the college at Baglo City) wired Brother Willis during the lecture program, refusing to discuss with him the institutional issues. (The particulars of this incident will be published in another article---CW). Buchanan and Ken Rideout (the preacher of the sponsoring church, at Inglewood, California) were classmates of Brother Willis at Florida Christian College in Tampa, Florida. According to Brother Willis, he would like to "push" either of them into a discussion of these issues troubling the Philippine brethren.

After I had delivered one of my speeches, two liberal preachers came forward during the invitation song, and made their confession---departing from the liberal group and taking their stand upon the Truth. One of them is Heineglo Flores who has been supported by the USA liberal congregations $100.00 per month for 15 years in Zamboanga del Sur province about two days' travel by sea boat and bus from here. He came to this lecture program "clarification" on the current problems. After their confession, two of the supported liberal preachers walked out tears in their eyes, and never came again.

There were other "milder" preachers who expressed their feelings convictions, who now say that matters been cleared up for them and that they enlightened on the subjects. I suspect long from now, they also will be leaving liberal party. They said they were going to preach the whole Truth to the congregations because, as they Truth on the issues were being kept off them by their co-workers. The result of "walking out" will be another congregation here in the southern part of this large province. This is another big against the liberal brethren not only here in the South, but also in the entire island. Help us in your many prayers.

Some of the liberal preachers attended as "feelers" or "spies." But the lectures here were a sign to them that they cannot do anything to stop us from teaching the New Testament Truth. But the Truth is being misrepresented by them to their members. They have told that "the antis are small here in the country and are now dying in the States." I am absorbing all kinds of persecutions together with my co-workers, but we will go on and tell others the Truth. We felt strong and much encouraged when brethren Cogdill and Willis expressed their deep concern in helping us in the work, such as to "saturate" the country with helpful reading materials and to help more faithful workers in their work. Yes, truly, we have enjoyed profit very much with the two American brethren, and by the good done during the lectures. May God bless us all in His Son's cause. We expect some more baptisms to follow soon.

TRUTH MAGAZINE XIV; 39, pp. 10-12

August 13, 1970

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