Dear Victory family,
We are once again called to exercise our civil rights as responsible Filipinos and followers of Christ. Voting is one of the ways we serve as salt and light, especially in this difficult time. Given the economic suffering and continuing issues on corruption in government, this exercise is once again bringing polarization and dividing families, communities, and even people of the faith. At some point, we will all have to make choices on our candidates and face our differences. But when it becomes contentious to the point of speaking against one another, it is no longer God-honoring and will hinder our ability to bring God’s kingdom to our nation.
Allow me to shed light on a recent situation that has since gone public on social media.
A Private Prayer Gathering
Two weeks ago, I received an invitation from the National Director of the Philippine Council of Evangelical Churches (PCEC), Bishop Noel Pantoja, to join a private prayer gathering at the request of Senator Manny Pacquiao before filing his certificate of candidacy. Since Victory believes in praying for all civil rulers in accordance with 1 Timothy 2:1–4, I joined the gathering with several other bishops of the body of Christ albeit via Zoom, as I was out-of-town that day.
Soon after this event, a few social media posts were made by some Christian leaders, questioning and perhaps implying that this was a statement of political endorsement from me, and by extension, Victory. As I already stated earlier, this event was meant to be private but was circulated online without my knowledge.
As a Victory pastor and a member of the body of Christ, it is important that these matters are clarified among us in an effort to keep the unity in the Spirit in the bond of peace. Our posture has always been to reach out privately to clarify these matters, rather than responding through public statements on social media.
No Endorsement Practice
Since our founding in 1984, Victory has maintained a no-endorsement policy for any political party or aspirant. We respect everyone’s right to choose who they think should be placed in positions of leadership in government.
Prayer Is for Everyone
Prayer is not a political endorsement. Scripture commands us to pray for those in authority (1 Timothy 2:1–4) and make disciples (Matthew 28:18–20), regardless of position or political affiliation. We have actively and intentionally prayed for other candidates for them to know Christ and minister the word of God to them, so they can govern in the wisdom of God and serve with the fear of the Lord. For years, we’ve been praying for government officials privately, even beyond campaign and election season. In fact, some of our Victory pastors have recently prayed for other candidates in both national and local levels, regardless of political leaning.
We will continue to do this during and after elections, knowing that prayer opens people’s hearts to God and His word. We pray against corruption and abuses in government because we know that as God’s righteous people, our prayers have great power and are working (James 5:16).
Our Christian Responsibility
As Christians, we believe that we have a role to play in nation-building, including praying for our leaders, teaching the word, participating in civic duties, and bringing change in our nation through discipleship, gospel demonstration, and gospel declaration. We encourage everyone to participate in the political and civil affairs of our nation while exercising wisdom and discernment in our speech, conduct, and purity (1 Timothy 4:12).
Finally, with all humility and gentleness, with patience, bearing with one another in love, let us be eager to maintain the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace (Ephesians 4:2–3), despite differences in political leanings. Let us continue to pray for righteous and just governance, and peaceful and credible elections. As followers of Christ, let us respond to the government and the election season in a way that acknowledges its God-given role and function. Let us remember that true transformation can only come from God.
Thank you for staying committed to our mission to continue to honor God and make disciples in such a historic moment in our nation.
Bishop Manny Carlos, Chairman, Victory