Filipino Evangelicals are Overwhelmingly Prosperity Believers (UPDATED)


UPDATE November 6, 2013: In his Strange Fire Conference, John MacArthur claimed that 90 percent of all Pentecostals-Charismatics are followers of the health and wealth goof-el. P-C’s immediately exclaimed, “Foul!” Only a very small minority are so. But this time, JM is spot on. A Pew Forum Survey of 10 nations in October 2006 found out that roughly 80-90 percent of P-Cs believe in prosperity goof-el. In the Philippines, the figure is 87-95 percent!

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The state of evangelicalism in the Philippines is in a sad state, just as it is in most of the world, especially in America, which exports most of its evangelical culture to the country.

According to our informal survey of Filipino evangelicals, only 49 percent correctly say that the gospel is the life, death and resurrection of Christ, and an overwhelming majority have been greatly influenced by prosperity gospel teaching.

Almost half, 44 percent, believe that the gospel is God changing a person or living for God. Eighty-five (85) percent believe that if one faithfully live for God, he will be rewarded with many blessings in this life.

These are two of the findings of a small group of members of Pasig Covenant Reformed Church who went to the Manila Inter-national Book Fair at the SMX Convention Center on September 14, 2013. We spoke only to those who were browsing at the Christian bookstores’ booths, and gave them a page of 12 multiple-choice questions. (This questionnaire was adapted from White Horse Inn’s survey questionnaire. Their results have some similarity with ours.) There were 47 respondents, 4 of them Roman Catholics, mostly from the Metro Manila area, but a few came from nearby provinces. Ninety-five (95) percent of those who responded say they attend church every week.

Almost all respondents—95 percent—agree that sermons should be practical and entertaining, and 76 percent also agree that churches should move in this direction of being “relevant.” This is ample evidence of the effect of entertaining moralistic, therapeutic deism preached in many megachurches.

At the same time, all agree that Christian doctrine is a vital part of Christian growth. This seems to contradict the “relevancy” desire, but this result may be an indication of a desire for more Scriptural teaching. Evangelicals want to have their proverbial cake and eat it too. The dearth in Biblical knowledge is evidenced in that only 44 percent can name all of the Ten Commandments, and this can very well be an overestimation of their own knowledge. When asked whether a person is born morally neutral, 59 percent agreed. As well, only 51 percent know that “God helps those who help themselves” is not in the Bible.

On the important doctrine of justification, 86 percent say that they frequently or sometimes hear of it in their church, and 76 percent correctly defined it as “God justifies the ungodly by declaring them holy and righteous by faith alone.” This high number is suspect, because the other two choices are justification by good works and justification as a process of being made good. The correct answer is a gimme, because evangelicals know that the other two choices are wrong—answering correctly by elimination.

Finally, 89 percent believe that the Philippines is a Christian country and that a Christian president would be the best president.

Below are the complete results of the survey. The four Catholic respondents are excluded from the results. Although this is a minuscule, unscientific survey, I highly suspect that this is a microcosm of the state of evangelicalism in the Philippines.

1. On the average, how often do you attend a church service?

 Weekly: 95%  Once a month: 2%  Once a year: 0%  Rarely: 2%

2. If you faithfully live for God, he will reward you with many blessings in this life.

 Strongly agree: 71%  Agree: 7%  Somewhat agree: 7%  Disagree: 10%  Strongly disagree: 5%

3. Sermons should be inspiring, practical, fun and enjoyable to listen to.

 Strongly agree: 55%  Agree: 21%  Somewhat agree: 19%  Disagree: 5%  Strongly disagree: 0%

4. If being “relevant” means making things more fun, entertaining, and exciting, do you think it would be okay for a church to move in that direction?

 Strongly agree: 24%  Agree: 19%  Somewhat agree: 33%  Disagree: 21%  Strongly disagree: 2%

5. Which of the following do you think is the best summary of the Christian Gospel:

 God changing me: 13%  Making a decision
for Jesus: 0%
 Living for God: 31%  Christ’s life, death &
resurrection: 49%
 Unsure: 6%

6. Studying Christian doctrine is a vital component of Christian growth.

 Strongly agree: 72%  Agree: 26%  Somewhat agree: 2%  Disagree: 0%  Strongly disagree: 0%

7. We are born morally neutral, but our environment makes us sinful.

 Strongly agree: 19%  Agree: 26%  Somewhat agree: 14%  Disagree: 19%  Strongly disagree: 23%

8. If we were to ask you to name the Ten Commandments, how many can you name?

 All 10: 44%  5-9: 42%  3-4: 14%  1-2: 0%

9. Have you ever heard of the doctrine of justification?

 Yes, itʼs mentioned frequently at my church: 42%  Yes, I sometimes hear about it: 44%
 I rarely hear about it: 7%  I have never heard of it: 7%

10. What do you think the doctrine of justification means:

 We need to do good works to justify ourselves before God in order to go to heaven: 5%
 God justifies the ungodly by declaring them holy and righteous by faith alone: 74%
 Justification is a process in which we are made holy over time: 14%
 Unsure: 7%

11. “God helps those who help themselves” is a verse in the Bible.

 True: 28%  False: 51%  Not sure: 21%

12. The Philippines is a Christian nation, therefore a Christian president will be the best president.

 Strongly agree: 19%  Agree: 37%  Somewhat agree: 33%  Disagree: 9%  Strongly disagree: 2%


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