(Eagle News) – The “Grand Baptism” of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) today, Saturday, Sept. 7, 2019, where thousands of new members, coming from different religions and various races, have started at the Ciudad de Victoria in Bocaue, Bulacan.
The INC’s Grand Baptism today also coincides with the 10th year of Brother Eduardo V. Manalo as Executive Minister of the INC. The Church has now reached 152 countries and territories, with its members belonging to 147 nationalities, races and ethnicities.
INC Spokesperson and minister Edwil Zabala said that the baptism in the Church Of Christ is a solemn occasion where a candidate for baptism who has undergone Bible studies and doctrinal lessons have completed the requirements for entering the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
It’s a rigorous procedure which also includes regularly attending worship services to God.
“Baptism is a very sacred occasion, because it is one solid proof that a person is returning to the Lord God through the Church Of Christ,” Zabala said.
“I’d like to point out that the Church Of Christ baptizes thousands worldwide every month, but since this is the 10th anniversary of Brother Eduardo Manalo as the Executive Minister of the Church Of Christ,”…we’ve decided to invite representatives from outside the Church to witness the event, to witness the baptism that we will be holding here.”
“Hopefully, once others see this, they will also decide to seek the Lord God, to return to the Lord God, to receive the genuine baptism inside the true Church Of Christ. Not just those who are physically here to witness the event, but also those who will hear about this via media,” he explained.”
There will also be baptisms in different countries across different time zones today.
-INC baptisms worldwide on Sept. 7-
Minister Serge Santos of the Felix Y. Manalo Foundation said that just like what happened with the INC Worldwide Walk in 2014 and 2018, there will be simultaneous events for baptism worldwide.
“Totoong totoo talaga ang sinasabi sa Biblia na bagamat maraming sangkap, kahit nasan ka pa, across 24 time zones, iisang katawan talaga. Kaya kapag sumikat ang araw, sa araw na yun, o malamang hindi pa sumisikat ang araw, nagbabautismo rin sila (What is written in the Bible is really true, that although there are many parts – wherever they are across 24 time zones – there is really just one body. So when the sun rises on that day [Saturday] or maybe even before the sun rises, there are also baptisms being held),” INC minister, Dr. Serge Santos explained.
There will be more than 100 sites around the world for the INC baptism this Saturday, Sept. 7.
Zabala said that this occasion is a historical moment for the Church.
This will be the first time that thousands of candidates for baptism from various parts of the world will be baptized simultaneously on Sept. 7 which coincides with the 10th year since Brother Eduardo V. Manalo became the INC Executive Minister of the Church Of Christ.
“Since there are different time zones in different countries, I believe that up to Sunday here in the Philippines, we will be hearing about baptisms being done in other parts of the world because that will be Saturday for them,” INC spokesperson Zabala said.
With this occasion, the Church gives back all glory to God, said INC General Auditor minister Glicerio B. Santos Jr.
“Totoo na yung September 7, itiniyempo natin yung malaking bautismo, hindi para parangalan si Ka Eduardo — ang pinararangalan natin dito ay ang ating Panginoong Diyos,” he said.
Santos said that the INC Grand Baptism coinciding with the 10th year of the leadership of Brother Eduardo Manalo as INC Executive Minister is also an occasion to acknowledge these fruitful years.
“Kung nasabay man ang Grand Baptism sa kaniyang ika-10 taon ng Pamamahala, yun ay talagang itinitiyempo namin para mabigyan naman ng kaunting pagkilala ang sampung taon. Pero ang lahat, ang kaluwalhatian ng ating Panginoong Diyos ang ating sinasabi,” he explained.
Among those to be baptized are former pastors of different religions, even those of various nationalities.
Enock Juma, a former pastor of the Full Gospel Churches of Kenya, said that his introduction to the INC was a life-changing experience for him.
A pastor since 2000 in this Pentecostal church in Kenya, he said that when he was introduced to an INC minister by a fellow Kenyan, this stirred his curiosity and he started to study the lessons from the Bible taught in the INC.
He even argued with the INC minister, but the INC minister did not give up on him.
In the end, he said he became fully convinced of the teachings of the Church. He, his wife and son are among those to receive the holy baptism on Saturday.
The baptismal candidates for the Sept. 7 Grand Baptism came from various parts of Metro Manila and surrounding areas, as well as those coming from other countries.
Observers coming from different religions were also present. Adjudicators from the Guinness Records were also there to observe and monitor the event.
There are 36 pools set up at the grounds of the Ciudad de Victoria for the Grand Baptism. Each pool has a dimension of 35 by 35 feet filled with water that undergoes filtration.
At least 1,000 dressing rooms have been set up within the Ciudad de Victoria grounds, where candidates for baptism can change into dry clothes after the event.
Before the event, those to be baptized attended a special worship service officiated by INC Executive Minister Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
The INC conducts baptisms in the Philippines and around the world regularly, but this is the first time that this will be held in a grand scale enough to attract Guinness adjudicators.