Bro. Eddie:THE CONSISTENT PATRIOT

Bro. Eddie is the personification of what a servant-leader is.

His life, spanning over six decades, has been fully devoted to seeking and pursuing the good of others. As a youth, he led the student sector in fighting the abuses of a regime gearing itself for a martial rule. As a patriot, he was among those who fought martial law and consequently, was jailed twice for championing the cause of the victims of land-grabbing. As a professor, he mentored economics students in the country’s pioneering school of commerce. As a pastor, he took care of hurting and wounded people and led them into the loving goodness of the Lord Jesus Christ.

As President of Bangon Pilipinas Party he relentlessly pursues national transformation.

Ups and downs

Bro. Eddie’s growing up years were also the Philippines’ most dramatic ups and downs. He was born on October 6, 1946, a year after the Second World War ended and the country was beginning its reconstruction. The time called for national unity. And the country asked for a sense of greatness among all Filipinos to be able to regain the hope and dignity which the war took away. Filipinos responded to the call of the time with conviction. The reconstruction years therefore became a time of unity and collective greatness for the Filipinos.

National unity, greatness, hope and dignity – these were values that naturally embed themselves into the character of the young Bro. Eddie.

Those years led to the advancement of the Philippines in political, social and economic spheres. The Philippines was even a leading nation-state in Southeast Asia.

Towards the end of the 60s, the gains of the reconstruction years began to crumble as social unrest led to economic woes for the country. Corruption, abuses and injustices brought people to the streets for demonstrations. The student sector quickly organized itself and was constantly present in massive demonstrations. Bro. Eddie was the Philippine College of Commerce’s leading student activist. That early, he made a mark as a student patriot.

Even before Bro. Eddie graduated from college, he was asked to join the College’s Faculty of Economics and Finance. From 1969 to 1972, he taught political economy and made a mark as a progressive professor, teaching the students not only what the books say but also what could be learned from actual Philippine experiences.

On September 21, 1972, President Ferdinand Marcos declared Martial Law. It was a down moment in Philippine history.

During the martial law years, Bro. Eddie left the academe and joined the labor movement to help in consolidating its force against oppression. At times, he would also extend assistance to farmers who came to ask for help. By then, he was already taking up law at the University of the Philippines. His law background effectively enabled him to help in these causes. However, law studies had to give way for life in prison. Bro. Eddie was jailed twice for helping the victims of land-grabbing in his native land, Bulacan.

His close interaction with the marginalized and the oppressed in these depressing years gave him a ringside view of injustice and poverty. To him, only the word “abject” could best describe the situation of such victims.

To his mind, the dignity of these oppressed people could only be given back to them through a bloody revolution. But at the height of his agitation against human rights abuses and violations, he himself would experience a revolution – spiritual, that is. In 1977, as he was agonizing to search for the best way to emancipate the Filipino people from abject poverty, he came to know Jesus Christ as his Lord and personal Savior. As he began to know Jesus deeper, Bro. Eddie trusted His love and His power to bring about changes in the plight of the Filipino.

In 1978, he founded the Jesus Is Lord Fellowship, a non-sectarian Bible-based Christian ministry. He led a pioneering massive evangelism in the Philippines and preached about the good news of the salvation of Jesus Christ. His message of hope resounded across the country. 34 years hence, the JIL Fellowship has successfully evolved into the JIL Church Worldwide that has over 4 million membership all over the Philippines and 55 other countries.

Righteousness and governance

Bro. Eddie would always say that one cannot love God without loving the nation. Because God loves people.

His long experience as a political activist harmonizes well with one of his favorite passages in the Bible, “Righteousness exalts a nation, but sin is a disgrace to any people.” (Proverbs 13:4)

His influence in the political sphere, specifically in governance, was proven by his eminent role as spiritual adviser not only to former Presidents, but also to former and current politicians and bureaucrats. His advice always centered on good governance. When leaders divert from this principle and become incorrigible, Bro. Eddie would then boldly speak on the wrong-doing, call for change and then pray for the nation.

To him, righteousness and good governance are inseparable.

THE MAN, HIS MESSAGE AND THE MINISTRY

From a communist-atheist to one of the most powerful preachers of God’s Word in the world today…  From a radical activist to the founder-pastor of one of the largest Christ-centered, Bible-based, full-gospel churches in the world…  From a battle-scarred street parliamentarian to one of the most respected Christian leaders in the Philippines whose spiritual counsel is sought after by high-ranking officials and distinguished leaders of the nation…  From a persecuted “small, country preacher’ to a world-renown radio-TV evangelist, prophet and apostle whose vision and mission is to see the nations of the world evangelized and transformed by the same Gospel that changed his life.

This in a capsule captures the exciting life story of Eddie Villanueva, fondly called Bro. Eddie or Bishop Eddie.

LIFE-CHANGING ENCOUNTER

Bro. Eddie had a life-changing encounter with the Lord in 1973 while at the forefront of a leftist movement fighting against the evils of a vicious system that has perpetuated social injustice and massive deprivation in the country.  At that time, he was also leading his family and other families in his home province of Bulacan (an hour away north of Manila) in an uphill, protracted legal battle against a notorious land-grabbing syndicate. Five days after that dramatic encounter with God, Bro. Eddie was brought face to face with a miracle he could never forget: the land-grabbers were arrested and detained.  But a greater miracle took place in Bro. Eddie’s heart: The Holy Spirit “arrested” him.  He became a true believer in the reality of a loving and powerful God! He surrendered his life to the Lord Jesus Christ and soon after, his wife Dory also gave her life to the Lord.

HUMBLE BEGINNINGS OF JIL

Bro. Eddie’s raging passion, fire and zeal for activism soon became a consuming passion for God, fire for the Gospel and zeal for evangelism.  Out of the overflow of his spiritual turning point, he began to share Jesus with family members and friends, then in Bible studies and church gatherings.  It was evident from the start that God’s special touch was upon this man, who, for years, was deeply immersed in Marxist dialectics, Leninist revolutionary tactics and thoughts of Mao Tse Tung.

As professor of Economics and Finance at the Polytechnic University of the Philippines (PUP), his Alma Mater (where he now sits as a member of the Board of Regents), he seized every opportunity to proclaim the Gospel to his students, who in turn, responded with much fervor.  Their lives were so touched that they urged their professor to teach them more about the Bible.

Thus, the Jesus is Lord Church, popularly called JIL, was born.  It was 1978.  From a Bible study of 15 PUP students, it has exploded to a phenomenal constituency of over a million.  It is considered the biggest in the Philippines today and one of the largest in the world.  Today, Bro. Eddie’s ministry is also touching many millions more through his TV, radio, literature, audio-tape and video ministries, the JIL Christian Schools/JIL Colleges Foundation, Inc. and through the JIL worldwide ministries.

Bro. Eddie’s vision is to reach out to all Filipinos with the Gospel wherever they are – in the Philippines or in other countries- and to all nationalities in the four-corners of the earth.  To pursue this vision, JIL has established chapters in Europe, US, Canada, Middle East, Northern Africa and neighboring Asian countries, reaching out mostly to expatriate Filipinos.  Recently, God instructed Bro. Eddie to launch a massive evangelization campaign aimed at touching the major cities of the world with the transforming power of Jesus.

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