In the history of religious television, no one had a greater impact than the rivalry between two of the most famous religious organizations in the Philippines: the Iglesia ni Cristo and Members Church of God International. The rivalry became a hot topic among church members, other religious groups, and even a small portion of the media for much of the 2000s.
Beginning with the entry of MCGI’s flagship program ‘Ang Dating Daan‘ in 1980, the group led by executive minister Eliseo Soriano became critical of INC’s beliefs, so much so that in June 2001, INC responded with ‘Ang Tamang Daan‘. From then on, the two churches waged a war of words, with topics related to the Bible and church rituals. The war became so intense that even converts from the two churches joined in the discussion.
Ironically, ‘Ang Tamang Daan’ started its broadcasts on SBN 21, which was also the home network of ‘Ang Dating Daan’ at the time. After the debut of ATD, ADD began to air live on a nightly basis, before both programs left SBN 21 for Net 25 and UNTV 37 respectively. The move of both programs changed the makeup of the two networks, with Net 25 now owned by members of the INC while UNTV was purchased by Soriano’s cousin Daniel Razon.
The rivalry between the two churches took its toll on Soriano, who encountered a variety of legal problems filed by the INC. After receiving numerous death threats from INC members, Soriano eventually left overseas, where he continues to preach his own beliefs today. At the same time, INC ministers ceased its on-air criticism of MCGI, and today ‘Ang Tamang Daan’ (and sister program ‘Ang Pagbubunyag’) is aired similarly to other INC programs.
The INC was not the only organization that criticized Soriano’s beliefs. Pastor Apollo C. Quiboloy’s The Kingdom of Jesus Christ: The Name Above Every Name, and Pastor Arsenio Ferriol’s Pentecostal Ministry Church of Christ 4th Watch were also staunch critics of Soriano. Even the MTRCB took notice of ‘Ang Dating Daan’, particularly during Soriano’s profanity-laced tirades that earned the program numerous suspensions.
Today, ‘Ang Dating Daan’ and its counterpart ‘Itanong Mo Kay Soriano‘, are being aired under close scrutiny by UNTV management. Even as they focused on preaching their own beliefs, to this day MCGI’s reputation as a true church remains a question mark, thanks in part to the role that the Iglesia ni Cristo took in attempting to take down the Members Church of God International.
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