An appeal not to subvert the will of God

There can be no other period in the history of  Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches (CPBC) when the Search for the General Secretary has gained this kind of interest  among CPBC stakeholders and constituents nationwide.   

The decision of the Board of Trustees (BOT) during the October 16 meeting was unexpected.

CPBCBOT2009-077 VOTED:         That the election of the General Secretary shall be postponed to next year and the incumbent General Secretary shall serve on a hold-over capacity until a new General Secretary shall have been elected after the biennial assembly .

It was beyond human scheme plan, design, political strategy/tactic. Hence, undeniably, it was  widely welcomed as an answer to the intercession of many for God’s intervention related to the Search. Pastors, lay leaders, youth and congregations who have been concerned with the CPBC believed it to be the will of God. As such, it resulted to the easing out of tension and a relative peace in our CPBC.

Indeed, the reasons  for the decision are valid: so as  not  to hamper the preparation for the biennial assembly and due to its divisiveness if pushed through at that time. The need to open the nomination is also a wise move because, obviously,  there are other qualified and deserving pastors who are interested to serve God through the position if given the opportunity and fair chance. However, while the decision was well accepted, the reaction of some to its implication  came out later which caused another stir, especially with some attempts to interpret the decision according to respective  interests.

Obviously, its major  implication, which was not probably  anticipated,  is to  leave the selection of the General Secretary  to the New Board, some of whom will be elected during the Biennial Assembly. However, whichever side one has to take the message is clear: God has revealed His will for the CPBC.  Any attempt therefore to  subvert the will of God is detrimental to the CPBC, as the condition is still volatile to divisiveness.

My appeal therefore is for us to respect the will of God for the good of CPBC. At this stage, any action of the Board will be colored with politics due to the dominant perception among pastors and lay on the politics of numbers. As a matter of fact, one major reason why some qualified pastors  did not open themselves for nomination was because of the perception that they don’t have fair chance with the current composition of the Board.

This may not be conclusive, but this perception has been widely shared by pastors. I am speaking on my experience as national president of  Convention Baptist Ministers Association (CBMA)  for 6 years. Honestly, I did not have any inking to join the nomination. It was an expression of protest against the process which was perceived to be railroaded.  I accepted the challenge to send a strong message from our Association. I believe, though, that given the opportunity , I can make a change and difference in the CPBC with the outpouring of support and endorsement from pastors,  as well as the youth and other auxiliary  organizations.

However, considering my current health condition, I  find myself in dilemma too.  Is it not God’s signal for me to rest? On the other hand, it can be viewed as part of the preparation process of  God for greater service.

Unless validated, this will remain a mere perception not an accusation, but if this will help us in our decision making, let me share with you this insight as perceived by many:  The nomination coming from an institution in Bacolod City has sealed off the nomination process.    In fact, If  I did not open myself for nomination, as expression of the Pastors’ protest, the Board could have been presented with lone nominee during the October 16. Why? Majority of the CPBC BOT were either members of the BOT and institutional board of the aforementioned institution or  in the line up of the group during the last CPBC Elections. This confirmed the early pervasive talks  that the next General Secretary  was already programmed.

With due respect to some members of Search Committee, other members were closely identified with group supporting one nominee. Reliable sources identified a  Committee member  who was  facilitating the endorsement for  one nominee  identified with their group. The other one boastfully  informing pastors that the election was already programmed with calculated  result, no matter what.

I appeal therefore to the Board to  respect the previous Action: To elect the next General  Secretary  after the Biennial Assembly in May to give fresh hope and chances for other pastors who are qualified and willing to be nominated if there is only a fair election. It may also help if the Board could create a new Search Committee composed of persons not associated with any political groupings in CPBC with  representations from  auxiliary organizations.

I am very certain that there are others  who are qualified and interested, if only there is a fair process. I have talked to some. In fact, if ever I cannot regain my health until the Biennial Assembly in May, I would withdraw from the nomination and instead nominate any of those  persons I have talked to.

Hope and pray for God’s blessings of peace, justice, righteousness and love to all of us.


Position paper submitted to the Board members on March 4, 2010, the day before the meeting of the  Board of Trustees of the Convention of Philippine Baptist Churches to rescind the previous board action related to the election of  the  General Secretary.


About edwin lariza

University Professor. Registered Social Worker. Ordained Minister. Advocate of volunteerism, spirituality and networking for holistic development.
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