The live debate between two religious leaders, Bro. Eliseo Soriano and Mr. Eusebio Catarinen, on Christ’s ownership of the Church received massive support from netizens as its hashtag, #DebateBroEli, became the 5th most trending Twitter topic in the Philippines last February 7 this year
Bro. Eli, Presiding Minister to the Members Church of God International (MCGI), opposed the proposition of Mr. Eusebio of the Church of Christ. According to Mr. Eusebio, it was Christ who established and owned the Church.
Eusebio’s Church of Christ is not to be confused with the Iglesia ni Cristo sect founded by Felix Manalo. Eusebio’s is a religious organization based in Negros Oriental, a province in Central Visayas.
Since the live religious debate’s heyday in the country circa 90s, the public and MCGI brethren have not seen a Filipino spiritual figure challenge Bro. Eli until the February 7 event.
Hence, anticipation was fever-pitch high, opening an outpouring of status messages in various social networking sites like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram a week ahead of the schedule.
The enthusiasm for the occasion shown on the social web peaked as the official Twitter account @AngDatingDaanTV announced the event’s official hashtag Friday morning, eight hours before the debate proper.
From Excitement Shout-outs to Live Updates
From voicing out anticipation and opinions to minute-by-minute update, #DebateBroEli was well-used by netizens making the official hashtag one of the top topics in the Twitter world at around 11 p.m. (Philippine time).
Grace Cortez tweeted, shortly after the announcement of the official hashtag, that she was “Excited for tonight’s event #DebateBroEli”.
Another user, Julia Dolor, stated through Twitter her enthusiasm prior to the start of the friendly debate, “I will not miss #DebateBroEli later this evening.”
The hashtag also enabled users to invite people to witness the formal debate that has not been seen for the past few years. “The debate will be happening later. You are all invited to come at 6:30 [in the evening] in any Ang Dating Daan Coordinating Center. #DebateBroEli,” posted Leonardo Calma.
Furthermore, the innovative way of categorizing tweets accordingly allowed the online community to share their sentiments as the occasion happened. In a tweet, Sarah Aguilar shared how she felt as Bro. Eli cited verses to support his stand, “It’s amazing how even in one verse of the Bible that Bro. Eli Soriano reads, one will find this inexplicable outburst of wisdom”.
With the Twitter accounts of @AngDatingDaanTV, @TheOldPathTV and @MCGIdotorg on the lead, the #DebateBroEli was ultimately utilized to post Bro. Eli’s and Mr. Eusebio’s arguments as the debate took place.
From Live Updates to Lauding of True Winner
More than being a platform to post real-time updates about the debate, Twitter and Facebook were avenues helpful in propagating Bible-based wisdom and principles.
On the online community, the most shared posts were the faithfully exclaimed words of Bro. Eli Soriano along with the hashtag.
One of the statements uttered by the International Evangelist during the live debate was his declaration who the ultimate winner is – “God’s words have already succeeded even if we have not started the debate yet.”
He also emphasized the very reason why he accepted Mr. Eusebio’s dispute. He said, “If we are wrong, we are ready to make amends. If we are right, we will continue to stand for what is right.”
“The intent of this debate is not to show that one had lost or one was defeated and the other triumphed. Because triumph belongs to God, glory belongs to God,” the undisputed debater further remarked.
Both parties were thankful for the opportune time to defend each other’s stand. According to Mr. Eusebio, he will continue studying what Bro. Eli is preaching.
Meanwhile, the MCGI’s Presiding Minister reminded everyone to continuously embark on a “quest for the truth as long as we live.”
Apart from the attendees accommodated by the 1,281 monitoring stations worldwide and the Ang Dating Daan mobile-based coordinating center, the virtual world were able to witness the phenomenal debate involving Bro. Eli and to learn biblical truths through the hashtag, #DebateBroEli.
(Written by Emmy Borromeo)