In the Philippines, where my wife is from, there is an expression, “Huwag Kang Mahiya” (literally, “Don’t be ashamed”) which must be prophetic, because today, in the Philippines, there is very little shame in discussing the Lord Jesus Christ on the front pages of the nation’s newspapers. In fact, “Roman Catholic versus born-again” rages in the Philippines, on account of the vast number of Roman Catholics that have left ritualistic Roman Catholicism, with its Latin masses and the lighting of candles, and have turned towards the living God, who has revealed himself through his Son, the Lord Jesus Christ. And in case you are inclined to argue that Roman Catholicism is not ritualistic, I invite you to come to the Philippines, where I lived for a year, and find out for yourself. Not only is it ritualistic, it is synchretistic, meaning that there is an attempt to get it to “fit it” with other values which go flatly against the gospel, such as, in some parts of the Philippines, the “blending in” of Roman Catholic traditions (which in themselves may not be Christian), and animism, the belief that “the spirits live in the trees” and that you must appease these spirits in order to be free from bondage. Of course, this is not true Christianity, but a religious stronghold. I am grateful, in a way, for this “stronghold” because it has preserved some very good Christian traditions, such as the belief in the Trinity (that God has revealed himself in three persons, namely the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit), the death and the resurrection of the Lord Jesus Christ, and the imminent (meaning, “it could happen at anytime”) return of Jesus Christ, who will judge the living and the dead — to name just a few. In this, I applaud Roman Catholicism, because God has used it to “keep open the doors of faith” in countries such as the Philippines, and in Latin America (oh, how I long to be there right now, preaching the gospel).
Thus it is that today, things are happening. No offense to my dear Roman Catholic friends, of whom many are signed up to receive Instructions to Glory, but if the truth were told, I think you’d find that the Roman Catholics in the Philippines are getting just a little bit “antsy” over this “born again” thing, and here is why. For centuries — from around the time that Ferdinand Magellan, of Portuguese descent, but serving under Spain, who landed in the Philippines on March 16, 1521 — the Roman Catholic priests have enjoyed a sense of prosperity in the Philippines, on account of the very high standing that is afforded them in countries such as these. For example, if you wanted to have a priest come over to your house to say a blessing, you’d have to pay him to do it — hard cash. Only the rich can afford that, and to have a Roman Catholic priest come over to your house to say a blessing in the Philippines turns out to be more a case of a “show” to others that you are rich and can afford to pay the priest to have him do that, rather than your really being devoted to God. This type of corrupt behavior has gone on for centuries in the Philippines, and it is no wonder today why the word “corruption” shows up just as much as any other word in the Philippines, because the foundation for this corruption was always laid down at the higher levels, in demanding money for services that ought never to be charged for. But look around you, if you will, if you are taken aback by all of this stuff, because you will see that this is common behavior in many parts of the globe where Roman Catholicism is taught. You will see it mostly in the poorest of countries where Roman Catholicism still has a major stronghold.
What is God’s response to all of this? “thank-you very much for preserving the doctrine of the Trinity, and other important essentials of the faith. But the corruption has got to go.” Bring in the born again Christians. The born again Christians have made such a major “dent” in the Philippines that they are, literally, the talk of the whole country. If you ever meet a Filipino who is not yet saved, for example, and want to be able to share with them the gospel, only two words are needed and they’ll understand the point very well: “born again”. And this brings me right back to my first point about not being ashamed of the gospel. Of a truth, there is a loosening of the “shame belt” in the Philippines, such that these wonderful people are being used by God to share the gospel everywhere around the world. What person has not heard of a Filipino nanny, or Filipino nurse? You might be surprised to find out that an overwhelming percentage of these fine individuals are born again Christians, who are being wonderfully used by God to bring in the powerful, life-giving, soul-liberating, gospel, to those in need.
It is time to stand up and say thank-you to God for the incredible work that he is doing through these blessed people. And we ought to learn from their example, too. “Huwag Kang Mahiya.” Don’t be ashamed!
Jesus said, “Whosoever therefore shall be ashamed of me and of my words in this adulterous and sinful generation; of him also shall the Son of man be ashamed, when he cometh in the glory of his Father with the holy angels.” (Mark 8:38)
Are you ashamed of Jesus and his words? It is time to come out and be counted. Jesus himself said, “Unless a man is born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3). To be “born again” means to put your trust in the living God, who is able to save you from your sins. He does that by a free act of his grace and mercy, not because of anything that you could ever do. Whether you are from a Roman Catholic background or not, it’s time to stop trusting a church to save you. It’s time to start trusting Jesus!