I didn’t go to my province in Quezon this year. Just like last year, the new church went to Himlayang Pilipino (one of the good looking cemeteries in Metro Manila) to give Gospel tracts and when there is an opportunity, to share the Gospel. I thanked God that I shared to two souls. By the way, they professed their faith in Christ. No, I’m not an advocate of the so-called “easy believism” or the so-called “cheap grace”. Thus, I used the word “professed”. Why? Because it’s up to them if they’ll really accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. At least I did my part.
While going back to the church truck, a security guard told us that we are not authorized to give Gospel tracts inside Himlayang Pilipino. Actually, I wanted to ask the guard if there is a policy on that. However, I don’t want to sound rude. The new church pastor contested that why are Catholic priests allowed to exercise their faith inside Himlayang Pilipino. The guard answered that it’s not also allowed, however, he again put the blame on the new church pastor. The guard said, “why didn’t you reprimand it?” We answered, “because we don’t know that it’s not allowed.” He went away after that, saying that he’ll reprimand the priest LATER. We told them to reprimand them immediately IF that is the policy. Obviously, it’s just a policy created by the owner of the place so that no Baptist can share the Gospel inside that place. I heard that those in charge of the cemetery are devout Catholics. Still though, I understand them. Since they’re exercising their religion, and they are in authority, they’re using their authority to exercise their religion.
Don’t get me wrong. I don’t hate the Catholics. I love them. That’s why together with the new church, I’m sharing the Gospel to them. Baptist is often misunderstood in this matter. We share the Gospel because Matthew 28:18-20 said it. We never force someone to be converted. After all, the purpose will be defeated if we’ll force them. Besides, a person can only experience true salvation if he will admit that he’s a sinner, confess his sins (not minding other people’s sins, but your own), accept Jesus Christ as Lord and Savior. By the way, the Gospel is in itself free. Personally, never did I ask for any donation if I’m sharing the Gospel. Yes, inside the local church a member must give an offering in order to pay for the monthly expenses and for the church members’ physical needs, but the Gospel in itself is free. I can personally attest that I never force someone to be converted, if they don’t want to, I don’t force it.
At first, I felt the urge to confront, but I controlled myself. However, here are questions:
1) Why are there business establishments like Pizza Hut, Jollibee, etc, inside Himlayang Pilipino? In fact, it is being advertised inside that place.
2) If the said establishment secured a permit (which is the usual defense), can we secure a permit to do our activity (which is impossible, because they’re usually saying that there is a chapel)?
3) If “No” is the answer to the above question, what are their guidelines on issuing permits?
4) The said establishments are money making by nature (no question about that), why are they not allowing an activity (such as ours) which is not money making in nature?
5) The usual alibi is that what we are giving are just being thrown away, causing a terrible mess (kalat) inside the place, it is a piece of paper. Those said establishments have cups, plastics, cartons, etc. If thrown, it will also be a mess.
I know a Baptist church that was not allowed to be built inside a subdivision. However, that same subdivision had a Catholic church inside just built recently (last year or two I think). When asked about this, they will not answer that it is a church, but it is a multi-purpose hall. Yes, it was designed as a multi-purpose hall, but look at it now, it looks like a church. Why? I don’t know. The structure is meant to be a multi-purpose place, but now it is a church. What if we do the same? That Baptist church followed the process, but that process says that they’re not allowed. Thus, they obeyed. Now, here they are. You be the judge. They’ll have their justification on this, but I assure you this: if this Baptist church beat them “in their own game”, they’ll cry foul.
Every time I speak in this manner, people will always say that I must let go. I must understand. I must “ride on”. I must be tolerant. They say that true Christians don’t fight, argue, or play dirty (which is not really allowed). As a Baptist, many times, I am accused being too preachy every time I share the Gospel. That is inappropriately said. Besides, what do they mean by being preachy? Do you know how many times a non-Baptist will borrow me money and never paid it? How many non-Christians treated me wrong inside the University and I didn’t fight back? How many non-Baptist classmates confronted me on things that I didn’t do in the first place? How many non-Christians boycott the meeting that I set when I was an organization president? How many non-Christians disrespected me when I became an organization president? They didn’t hear from me. I didn’t fight back. Most, if not all, of the people that did this to me are non-Baptist people. Now, tell me again. Is that being too preachy? Is that being intolerant? Point me to a genuine (not fake, not merely professing) Christian place, and I assure you that the place is peaceful. There are signs of weaknesses, yes, but where did they get it anyway? They got it outside the true Christian faith.
The reason why this world is still a better place is because the genuine Christians are still here, making a positive difference, being kind, loving, generous, etc. to people one at a time.
I understand the incident in Himlayang Pilipino. By the way, take note: we never fought back or “stretch the rules”. They don’t know what they’re really doing. I admit that I’m biased on this one.