Eliseo Fernando Soriano was born on April 4, 1947 to Triunfo Soriano and Catalina Fernando in Pasay City, Metro Manila. Eli Soriano is the seventh of eight siblings.
During his childhood, Eliseo or Eli was very shy and was reluctant to be in front of a crowd. For this reason he entered elementary school a year late, and he would always escape his teachers during class at school.
His shyness notwithstanding, young Eli Soriano was very intelligent. His parents were able to persuade him later on to take his studies seriously. He was able to prove his intelligence when he became the consistent top honor student for the rest of his primary school.
In high school, Eli Soriano was elected President of the Student Council. He was often assigned as assistant to the school principal whenever some teachers were absent. He also took the role of substitute teacher to his classmates or to even those of higher year level.
A few days before his 17th birthday, Eli’s parents brought him to a worship service in the Locale of Pasay. He was moved to tears when he heard the preaching of Bro. Nicolas Perez, the assigned worker at that time, regarding the true Church of God in the Bible. He believed that Bro. Perez was preaching the truth, and that he was sent by God to preach the word of God to mankind.
After hearing the sermon of Bro. Perez, he became interested in the Bible and began investigating. Three months before his high school graduation, he decided to stop attending his classes to dedicate his full time in reading the Holy Scriptures. This is the reason why he wasn’t able to finish high school.
Soon, Eli pleaded Bro. Perez to baptize him (as the latter deemed him too young) in the Church of God where his parents and siblings are also members. On April 7, 1964, at age 17, he was baptized in Sineguelasan, Bacoor, Cavite at 5:45 p.m.
In his desire to zealously serve God, Bro. Eliseo Soriano attended the workers’ ministerial classes, which was under the instruction of Bro. Perez. With the help and mercy of God, he later became a minister of Christ and dedicated his life in serving God and the Church and in propagating the righteousness and the kingdom of God.
Bro. Eli conducted his first Bible study in Guagua, Pampanga. The nightly meetings bore 33 new brethren, thus establishing the Locale of Sto. Cristo, the first locale in Pampanga.
The province of Pampanga became the first Division in the Church, which Bro. Eli himself supervised. He was also the one teaching the workers in the division.
In debates, Bro. Eli was the one being fronted by Bro. Perez to prove the true faith and teachings of Christ against different pastors, ministers and priests. He was also Bro. Perez’ assistant in making outlines of the topics being taught during the ministerial class of the workers.
In 1972, Brother Perez gave Bro. Eliseo Soriano an ID bearing the title “Minister,” a proof of his steadfast and sincere service in the Church as a worker of God. No other worker was given this proof of being a minister.
In 1975, Bro. Perez died without laying his hands onto a successor to preside over the Church. In the coming months, it was Brother Eli who outlined the topics being taught to the brethren in order for them not to lose hope. The members thought Bro. Perez outlined those topics before he died; most of the workers knew, however, that it was Bro. Eli’s work.
According to the policy of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) in the Philippines, the General Secretary of an organization shall succeed as temporary presiding officer until such time that the presiding officer is elected.
On July 11, 1975, members of the Board of Trustees of the Church, including Bro. Eli, signed an agreement that Levita Gugulan shall, as the law states, succeed Bro. Perez as “temporary”presiding officer. Howbeit, Gugulan desired to preside over the Church permanently, which is prohibited in the Holy Scriptures. Women are not allowed to rule over the people of God according to the Bible.
In their belief that the group formerly led by Bro. Perez already went astray in the teachings of God, Bro. Eli, together with the elders in the Church, left the group led by Gugulan. Most of the elders who went with him testified that they have heard Bro. Perez preach that it is strictly prohibited in the Bible for a woman to rule over the Church of God.
On March 30, 1977, Bro. Eli registered the group “Mga Kaanib sa Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohanan sa Bansang Pilipinas” (Members of the Church of God in Christ Jesus, the Pillar and Ground of Truth in the Philippines, Inc.). Bro. Eli used the word “saligan” (ground) in reference to the Greek word hedraioma, and not “suhay” (brace), which is used in the group of Gugulan. In the Greek Bible, hedraioma means “ground” and not “brace.”
On January 13, 2004, Bro. Eliseo Soriano registered the name Members Church of God International, the name the Church currently uses, in response to the growing number of members in other countries, both Filipinos and non-Filipinos. Despite the persecution presented by other religious groups, the congregation he leads remains steadfast.
The year 1980 marked Bro. Eli Soriano’s launching of his own radio program Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path). Ang Dating Daan was first aired on DWWA 1206 kHz, and then in DWAR, DZME, DZMB, DWAD, DZRD, DWAN, DZXQ, and in local stations in the country.
Bro. Eli Soriano was also invited as guest panelist in the DZBB program, “Dis is Manolo and his GENIUS Family” (GENIUS stands for God Eternal News In Universal Salvation). Some of the other panelists were Bert Valinton and Domingo Filomeno of Seventh Day Adventist Church, Manuel Manzanilla of Jehovah’s Witnesses, Agustin Tabuñar of Iglesia Spiritista, Onnie Santiago of Iglesia ng Dios Espiritu Santo, Jess Patricio of Roman Catholic Church, Tydee Toloui of Bahai Faith, Miguel Inciong of Iglesia ng Espiritu Santo, Severino Taril, a Dr. Jose Rizal follower, Romulo Aldana, Mr. Khempis, Resty Policarpio, Aldon Tagumpay, and Rudy Natividad. For three consecutive years, Bro. Eli Soriano received the “Most Outstanding Minister” award in the GENIUS Family. No other minister was awarded the same after him.
Ang Dating Daan television-counterpart program was launched in 1983 through the efforts of Bro. Eli Soriano and Bro. Daniel Razon (present Vice-Presiding Minister). It was aired on IBC 13.
In 1997, RJTV 29 accommodated the TV program when it moved out from its former station. It once again moved to another station, this time on SBN 21, in the year 2000. During this period, the TV program can also be heard nationwide simultaneously on RMN, DZRH, and 100 Radyo Natin radio stations.
It was in 2004 when Ang Dating Daan moved to UNTV 37 along with the other programs of Bro. Eli, including Itanong mo kay Soriano (Ask Bro. Eli), Bible Guide, Truth in Focus and Biblically Speaking.
Aside from being a radio and TV host, Bro. Eli authored the book “Leaving behind the Fundamental Doctrines of Christ.” This is his first published book in English released in the late 1990’s. He had also published articles in magazines such as The Blog magazine, The Old Path Magazine, Believer Newsmagazine, and Ang Dating Daan Magazine.
In 2007, Bro. Eli Soriano began writing his own blog in Esoriano.wordpress.com, which won the Most Popular Website award in the 2009 Philippine Web Awards. Another award was bestowed to Bro. Eli during the Open Web Awards from Pete Cashmore-founded Mashable.com, hailing the phenomenal preacher as the year’s “Most Educational to Follow.”
Bro. Eli Soriano also built orphanages in some parts of the country and funded their operations to accommodate orphans and helpless citizens of the country. The orphanages welcome both members and non-members of the congregation.
In 2005, Bro. Eli was forced to leave the country due to the grave persecution of his opponents in other religious organizations and from several government officials who favor the latter. Beyond his and his enemies’ expectations, leaving the Philippines gave him the opportunity to extend the mission of salvation in other countries, thus making his endeavor worldwide.
For over three years of hosting worldwide Bible expositions in different parts of the globe, natives of different countries were able to listen to Bro. Eli’s preaching and were converted to the Members Church of God International. In such a short span of time, major international coordinating centers were established in Ghana, Africa, Papua New Guinea, and South America. Members here are natives of these countries.
Most recent developments have seen the Ang Dating Daan or The Old Path program viewed and heard in several parts of Asia, Africa, Europe, South America, North America and Australia through television and Cable channels, radio stations and the Internet. Literatures containing Bible-based articles and collections of preachings of Bro. Eliseo Soriano are also being distributed for free.