It was back in 1980 when Filipinos first heard Ang Dating Daan (The Old Path) on the Philippines’ DWWA 1260.
Now, that 30-minute program on the AM band then is the country’s longest running religious program that broadcasts across six continents and in a multimedia format. And it all started with a preacher who intended and intends to share the truths in the Bible through every means possible with God’s help and mercy.
Different from the usual reverend, pastor, highly honored lot, the international televangelist and Overall Servant of the Members Church of God International (MCGI) remains to be called simply as “Bro. Eli.”
Bro. Eli conceptualized the religious program at the height of his preaching in the ’70s where he would course through the little towns of Pampanga and nearby provinces to personally conduct bible studies.
He — alongside Bro. Daniel Razon, his nephew and the Assistant Overall Servant of MCGI, and Sister Luz Cruz — comprised the humble production team of Ang Dating Daan.
Truthcasting through the Airwaves
With Bro. Eli’s in-depth discussions about faith and straightforward answers to people’s questions from the Bible, Ang Dating Daan soon gained avid listeners and followers. Shortly following its debut, the program also became available in other provincial and national radio stations such as DZME, DWAD, DZRD, DWAN, and DZXQ.
In 1983, Ang Dating Daan aired on television for the first time through IBC-13, as part of what is now a massive global evangelization works of the Members Church of God International, led by Bro. Eli Soriano.
The program, particularly Bro. Eli himself faced a number of persecutions from his religious adversaries, which spurred broadcast suspensions and frequent transfers from one station to another including RJTV-29, PTV-4, and SBN-21. But Bro. Eli did not stop preaching. Believing that everything goes according to the Almighty’s plans, he continued to propagate the Gospel to other parts of the globe even when he was forced to leave the Philippines in 2005.
He saw this as a God-given opportunity to fulfill the prophecy written in Malachi 1:11.
“For from the rising of the sun even unto the going down of the same my name shall be great among the Gentiles; and in every place incense shall be offered unto my name, and a pure offering: for my name shall be great among the heathen, saith the Lord of hosts.” (King James Version)
In the years that followed, more and more truth seekers from different races and nations found the real doctrines of the Lord Jesus Christ through Bro. Eli.
Ang Dating Daan was then translated into various languages from 2009 onwards, reaching the airwaves of India, Uruguay, Argentina, Bolivia, and Paraguay among others. The program also acquired a 30-minute slot in Fox Channel which is carried by 50 cable networks in Central and South America. In 2013, the program was aired in Mexico, while broadcasts in Dominican Republic, Spain, Equatorial Guinea, and Cuba soon followed.
At present, Ang Dating Daan and other MCGI-produced programs (O Caminho Antigo; El Camino Antiguo; Truth in Focus; Ask Soriano, the Bible Will Answer; Biblically Speaking with Bro. Eli Soriano; and Bible Guide) reach over 70 countries through TV Verdade, TV La Verdad, The Truth Channel, UNTV, and UNTV Radyo La Verdad 1350.
With these relentless global propagation efforts of MCGI through Bro. Eli’s broadcasting through the airwaves, mass indoctrination and baptism sessions are also held regularly in the Philippines and abroad. To date, MCGI has established more than 1,935 coordinating centers worldwide. A growing number of brethren in South America has also become evident since Bro. Eli’s settling in Brazil in 2008, where there are now over 400 established locales.
At 72, Bro. Eli Soriano continues to answer to his calling. Daily Bible Expositions and Bible Studies are hosted in the Philippines, South America, Europe, Israel, Africa, as well as in North America. In 2019 alone, more than 70 Bible Expositions and Studies have been held as of September.
MCGI has also been utilizing social media platforms to reach a wider range of audience who are active online. Bible Expositions and Studies have been live streamed on Facebook and Youtube since 2016. Just in 2019, live streaming have also been done on Twitter and Instagram, two popular social media platforms widely-used by people.
Over the years, the Members Church of God International has commemorated the fruitful anniversaries of Ang Dating Daan.
One memorable celebration is the program’s 35th year where the MCGI’s Ang Dating Daan Chorale succeeded in its attempt to break a Guinness world record for the “Largest Gospel Choir” category. Composed of 8,688 singers, the ADD Chorale presented a 15-minute medley of MCGI’s original praise songs on October 12, 2015 at the SMART Araneta Coliseum in Cubao, Quezon City. Official Adjudicator Fortuna Burke Melhem witnessed the event and awarded thereafter to Assistant Overall Servant of MCGI, Bro. Daniel Razon, the World Record plaque.
Meanwhile, during the 36th-anniversary celebration of Ang Dating Daan in December 2016, 8,000 copies of the bible were distributed freely to the thousands of guests who attended a Special Bible Exposition held at the 15,000-capacity Mall of Asia Arena in Pasay.
For Ang Dating Daan’s 37th anniversary themed “God’s Word Revealed in Good Works” in December 2017, MCGI administered various charitable events in the Philippines and in different countries around the world. These include volunteering for the homeless in Chicago, USA; gift-giving for the homeless in Melbourne, Australia; and feeding, medical, and livelihood programs in Batangas, Rizal, Davao, Pampanga, and Cavite.
The La Verdad Diagnostics Center was also unveiled during the 37th anniversary of Ang Dating Daan. It is a free-for-all establishment that provides medical services and treatment to anyone in need, offering laboratory services such as hematology, blood chemistry, x-ray, dental x-ray, ultrasound, 2D echo, and EKG, among others.
Last year, the 38th year of Ang Dating Daan likewise focused on charitable works. Week-Long public service events were administered in December 2018. Clean-up drives, medical missions, feeding programs, gift-giving, and wish-granting were held in different provinces in the Philippines, as well as in various countries abroad.
In the culminating event of the 38th anniversary held at the Ang Dating Daan Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga, Bro. Eli Soriano shared a few words to the brethren and guests, reminiscing the past years of the religious program and reiterating the theme of the anniversary: “Continuing to Advocate Love, Hope, and Faith”.
Bro. Eli said: “The teachings that you have learned from this program is not weird. We are not like other churches teaching weird doctrine. Our doctrine is plain and simple, and the best doctrine there is in the bible. That is the doctrine of the Lord Jesus Christ: to live in simplicity, simplicity of mind and simplicity of spirit; and to live in those three virtues of salvation – love, hope, and faith; to do always what our God wants us to do, and that is to do everything that is good, not for ourselves but for other people, even to our enemies.”
This year, celebrating its 39 years on-air in radio and television, the MCGI-produced Ang Dating Daan unveiled the theme of this year’s anniversary as “Upholding the Truth Through The Gospel & Good Works”.
God-willing, public service endeavors will again be the highlights of the event. On November 24, a 39th anniversary program will be held at the ADD Convention Center in Apalit, Pampanga. A Feast Dedicated to God (Fiesta ng Dios) event will be celebrated in the morning of the same day.
A similar Fiesta ng Dios event was first held on February 24 this year, wherein guests and Church members were treated to a free sumptuous lunch as well as other fun activities, especially for the elderly, children, and the less fortunate.
Written by: Elizabeth Borromeo