Monday, January 10, 2011

Chapters In Philippine Church History

Category: Books
Genre: History/Biography
Editor: Anne C. Kwantes
Publisher: OMF Literature

Chapters In Philippine Church History will help you catch glimpses of our Christian past and present. It’s not a textbook, but a compilation of essays that will acquaint you with different movements and people whose contributions make Filipino Christianity what it is today.

Chapters is a product of interfaith ecumenism, which has its pros and cons.
Pros – You get a much broader view of Christian history. For Filipino Evangelicals, this means understanding (perhaps even sympathizing) with the experiences of our friends from the Roman Catholic Church, the Iglesia Ni Christo, and other groups. I think this fosters respect and love for those with whom we may vehemently disagree with. It also checks any exaggerated ideas we may have about them.
Cons – We Filipino Evangelicals have difficulty understanding each other, and it takes even more effort to understand those of other faiths. We’re trained (rightly so) to think doctrinally, so it may be a little frustrating at first to read ecumenically-oriented works.
I think the benefits we can derive from reading Chapters In Philippine Church History far outweigh the challenges that we may have to deal with along the way. In short, I recommend the book.

Creating Tagalog Christian Discourse: Body, Soul and Loob in Oliver’s Doctrina Cristiana - Jose Mario C. Francisco, SJ
Those who scrutinize Filipino Catholicism will note that it is remarkably—sometimes radically—different from its Western father. What Francisco helps us to appreciate is how early on in our colonial history the Medieval European Catholic worldview began to be “subverted by the native.”
Devotion and Defiance: Religious Communities for Women Established In Colonial Philippines Prior to 1750 - Reginald D. Cruz
Cruz constructs a brief history of nuns and nunneries in the Philippines from a feminist perspective. While one might disagree with the author’s biases (I use the term neutrally) one can hardly ignore his conclusions about how relevant these cloisters were to colonial society.
The First Indio Doctor of Sacred Theology (1772): Dr. Don Manuel Francisco Tubil (1742-1805) - Luciano PR Santiago
Santiago creates a biographical sketch of Tubil, a man who is remarkable not for any individual achievement but for paving the way for nationalist Filipinos who would come after him. Tubil’s life gives us one more reference by which we see how abstract historical concepts such as “racism,” “secularization” and “unity of Church and State” were experienced by the Filipino elites during the 18th century.
Pastoral Writings of the Religious Orders (1700-1750): Sources for Philippine Church History - Nestor C. Impelido
By studying the friar missionaries’ writings, Impelido helps us to appreciate their courage and devotion in propagating their faith in the Philippines. At the same time, he (perhaps unintentionally) reveals key characteristics of Spanish colonial Catholicism, that it was hierarchical, cleric-controlled and ritualistic.
Colonization and the Philippine-American War: Perceptions of early Protestant Missionaries - Lorenzo Bautista
Bautista introduces readers to the Americans’ conquest of, and the introduction of Protestantism to, the Philippines at the turn of the 19th century. In particular, he shows how American nationalism and racism greatly influenced the Protestant missionary drive, and vice versa.
The First Three Apostolic Delegates to the Philippines and the Entry of Rome
Antolin V. Uy, SVD
Uy helps us to understand how the Revolution and the American conquest affected the Roman Church in the Philippines. The end of the Patronato Real (Royal Patronage) and the establishment of the Iglesia Filipina Independiente (IFI) left the cleircs (the friar in particular) and their possessions vulnerable. In response, the Vatican became much more involved in the Philippine affairs, courting the support of the new colonial regime and (at least according to Uy) convincing it to withhold support from the fledgling IFI.
Nicholas Zamora and the IEMELIF Church - Ruben Trinidad
Trinidad acquaints us with the first Filipino ordained Protestant minister and the beginnings of the controversial church he established. Readers will note that Filipino nationalism opened many doors for Protestants in the Philipines, but when confronted with American racism, also led to the first schism in the Methodist mission.
The Beginnings of the Seventh-Day Adventist Work (1905-1911) - Francisco D. Gayoba
Those with little knowledge about the Seventh Day Adventist (SDA) church will find this introduction to SDAs and their work in the Philippines enlightening. Gayoba explains the beliefs that distinguish the SDAs from other Protestants and the origins of SDAism. An understanding of these should, in turn, guide our interpretation of SDAism in the Philippines.
Perspectives on Baptist Church History - Domingo J. Diel, Jr,
Diel explains the history of the Baptist mission in Western Visayas, from its establishment in 1900 to the present. Included in this basic overview are discussions of pertinent topics like the circumstances that opened the door for Baptist missionaries to come to the Philippines, the 1901 Comity Agreement, the 1924 schism, the effects of the Second World War, and the issue of independence from American Baptists.
A Hispanicized Clergy in an Americanized Country (1910-70) - John N. Schumacher, SJ
Schumacher laments the cultural irrelevance of the Catholic clergy that led to the “failure of the Catholic Church to exercise any significant influence on Philippine civil society” for a large part of the 20th century. He argues that Hispanophilia in Catholic schools, seminaries and other institutions alienated younger generations of Filipinos whose language, culture and religiosity were increasingly American and democratic instead of Hispanic.
“Leprosy” and Christianity in the Philippines - David Keck
“Leprosy” is a horrifying disease, and afforded special attention in the Bible. For this reason, as Keck shows, Christians (by which he means Catholics and Protestants) have responded to the disease, sometimes with abhorrence, and at other times with remarkable compassion.
Protestants in the Japanese Imperial Army in the Philippines - Kazuo Wakai
Most of us are unaware that the Japanese occupation forces also had a Protestant Unit that sought to co-opt or control all churches. Wakai informs us of the fact, and helps us appreciate the struggles between faith and nationality that confronted Protestant ministers on both sides of the war.
Heart to God, Hand to Man: The Salvation Army, Beginnings and the War-Time Years - Robert F. Saunders
Saunders writes about the gospel and humanitarian ministry of the Salvation Army and its members beginning in the 1930s up to the end of the Second World War.
The United Church of Christ in the Philippines: Historical Location, Theological Roots, and Spiritual Commitment - Mariano C. Apilado
Apilado’s theological history (or historical theology) of the UCCP exemplifies the so-called “revolutionary spirituality” that has come to characterize this ecumenical denomination since its establishment in 1948. He lauds it for advocating a Christianity that seeks to fulfill the ideals of Protestantism and the Philippine Revolution.
The St. Andrew’s Theological Seminary - Rex R.B. Reyes, Jr.

We’re familiar with the Episcopalian-owned St. Luke’s hospital and Trinity College, but Reyes opts to write of the Episcopalians’ lesser known seminary. He looks at the beginnings of Episcopalianism in the Philippines and the precedents its leaders set for the ecumenical and liveral theology that the seminary would cultivate beginning in 1947.
The Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches - Averell U. Aragon
Founded in 1971 as a Christian union distinct on the one hand from the more liberal and politically-oriented National Council of Churches in the Philippines, and on the other hand from the separatist fundamentalists. Since then, Evangelicals have been taking steps to evangelize the nation, as well as participate in the socio-political life of the nation.
The First Ordained Baptist Pastora: Angelina Belluga Buensuceso of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches, Inc. - Carla Gay Agus Romarate
Romarate seeks to edify us with the story of a humble and passionate woman of God. Taking a personalistic approach, the writer focuses on Buensuceso’s experiences without discussing trends within the CPBC or the society at large that would shed greater light on the acceptance of women Protestant ministers.
Land Reform in the Philippines: Time to Listen to Ghandi - Niall O’Brien
This essay is not so much a history as it is a reflection on the deplorable state of Filipino fermers and agrarian reform as viewed through the lens of Ghandian “revolutionary reform.”
A Channel of Blessing in God’s Hands: Chinese Protestant Churches in the Philippines - Joseph T. Shao
Shao gives us an overview of the Filipino-Chinese Protestant churches, including their Reformed heritage, evangelistic and missionary endeavors, as well as some issues they are facing today.
A Filipino Church at Eighty Years: The Iglesia Ni Cristo at the Turn of the Century - Anne C. Harper
This well-written and informative essay helps us to understand the historical and theological origins of today’s INC, as well as current trends of interest to those who desire more meaningful dialogue with the church and its members.
Music in the Philippine Protestant Church: 1960-2000 - Joel Navarro
Musicla genres used by Philippine Protestant churches today are so diverse that one might well wonder how this multiplicity developed. Navarro’s article shows that it musical variety was a outgrowth of several historical events and phenomena of the 20th century.
The Bible Society in the Philippines: The Story of Bible Society Work - Anne C. Kwantes
Protestant missions to the Philippines began in the concluding years of the 19th century, but Bibles began to find their way to the country as early as 1828. Kwantes helps readers appreciate how these infiltrations (illegal under Spanish law) opened doors that Protestant missionaries would later step through, as well as how Bible societies have labored up to the present to make God’s word available to Filipinos.

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