Pacquiao: New-Found Faith or Gullible Victim?

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Or How Pacquiao is Now Controlled by the Mafia—the “Born-Again” Kind

After his loss, what might Pacquiao have heard from these shameless hucksters? I’m almost sure that not a few of them told him he lacks faith, and he needs to “give more to the Lord,” so the windows of heaven will pour down more blessings on him.

An article appeared today in The Philippine Inquirer about all kinds of “evangelical” pastors who are stalking boxing icon Manny Pacquiao.

In “Pacquiao’s Achilles’ heel? Pastors swarming around boxing icon for money, perks—sources,” the writer quotes sources saying that as many as ten “pastors” are stalking him for the money and perks. Shameless hucksters!

Here’s an excerpt from the article:

The source said that one pastor was given an iPad but seemingly not contented with what he got, he still asked for a new service vehicle. “Now, he is sporting a brand-new pickup, courtesy of Manny Pacquiao,” the source added.

Another pastor asked for cash, while still another abandoned his flock somewhere in northern Luzon just to be with the boxer-lawmaker.

Another pastor joined the Pacquiao team during the training camp in Los Angeles. “He asked for 36 tickets in the Pacquiao-Bradley fight. The guy got what he wanted,” the source said.

“I was the one so ashamed when he asked Manny Pacquiao to get eight hotel rooms for his family in the US,” the source added.

I’m feeling for this poor guy. Maybe it was better for him to stay Roman Catholic. He has no idea about the “born-again” greed culture: televangelists, prosperity gospellers, megachurch pastors, heretics, etc., and all kinds of sycophants and leeches in these churches.

Has he truly been converted? If all the lifestyle and worldview changes that he talks about are real, then I believe that he has been regenerated (“born again” in the trivial Filipino parlance) with a new spirit and a new heart. Only the Spirit can bring about such radical changes in a person. God has promised to all who believe in Christ,

And I will give you a new heart, and a new spirit I will put within you. And I will remove the heart of stone from your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. And I will put my Spirit within you, and cause you to walk in my statutes and be careful to obey my rules (Eze 36:26-27).

In the new covenant mediated by our Lord Jesus Christ, God himself will equip the believer with a new heart. All his sins will be forgiven him through Christ’s atoning work on the cross for his sins, and he will “know” the Lord with all his heart, soul, mind and strength.

For this is the covenant that I will make with the house of Israel after those days, declares the Lord: I will put my law within them, and I will write it on their hearts. And I will be their God, and they shall be my people. And no longer shall each one teach his neighbor and each his brother, saying, ‘Know the Lord,’ for they shall all know me, from the least of them to the greatest, declares the Lord. For I will forgive their iniquity, and I will remember their sin no more (Jer 31:33-34).

If Pacquiao is such a person, then he is a true Christian.

But even then, this is another blow to the evangelical cause. Inquirer is such a high-profile, high-readership newspaper. What will our Roman Catholic friends say? Throughout all these years of success, I have not heard of Catholic priests or bishops fleecing him. Maybe there were, but not publicized. But once he was “born again,” these wolves foaming at the mouth started gathering around him.

Once I had a conversation with a taxi driver, and after I mentioned to him that I’m a Protestant pastor, he commented, “You must be rich,” or something to that effect. This is a most common perception among Filipinos. To add to this embarrassing notion of the affluent church, most churches invite the poor among the community to their feeding programs and handouts.

All throughout church history, there will always be false teachers. Jesus warned us about them. All the New Testament writers warned us about them. What is their purpose? Although Paul’s warning in Titus 1:10-11 is primarily against Judaizers in his time, it is all the more applicable today,

For there are many who are insubordinate, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision party. They must be silenced, since they are upsetting whole families by teaching for shameful gain what they ought not to teach.

Prosperity gospellers, false prophets, preachers who try to be popular, relevant and hip. All for fame and fortune.

After his loss, what might Pacquiao have heard from these shameless hucksters? I’m almost sure that not a few of them told him he lacks faith, and he needs to “give more to the Lord,” so the windows of heaven will pour down more blessings on him.

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