A few days back, Punjab convention rally video went viral in TPM groups. Video went hopping from one WhatsApp group to other. It happened to find my address too. And as I clicked it open, an old desire to investigate it in light of scriptures resurfaced within me. I had seen this kind of drama earlier during Chennai convention, and since then I had an urge to ruminate over it. So, herein we present this article expressing our views on TPM drama of convention rallies. You may glance through the international convention rally before we proceed.
Comprehensive Public Processions
A public procession is the organized the movement of the public, in an orderly manner, with some sort of vehicle or mode of transport carrying the “centre of attraction” in the middle of the procession, accompanied by music or some sort of announcement made for people watching it. Notice the picture below.
In ancient times, when a warrior used to return from war, [having defeated an army], he was made to sit on horse or chariot, and his soldiers walked along with him as he rode through the city (check honouring of Mordecai in Esther 6:9 for example). Religious processions characterize with devotees lifting up their gods or heroes on a vehicle or on elephants or on their shoulders.
This practice is rampant in modern Christianity too. You might have seen newspapers reporting Christian communities organizing Good Friday rallies. It seems that the main driving factor behind communities organizing rallies is to honour any particular hero or some god or any particular event. When something becomes as a matter of pride for a community then the community decides to display it through means of the procession (Note this). For example when people take out rally in the name of their god, then their god is the focus of their glorying. Hence they take the idol of their god on their shoulders or on vehicles and through streets of cities uplifting their god.
Likewise when a warrior returned from the war, then his victory becomes a matter of pride for people, so he is honoured by making him sit on horse or chariot and he rides through the city with pedestals following him. Similarly if an event of the festival like say, Olympics is to be organized, then rallies move in cities calling people’s attention to the very important event of Olympics. Thus the main idea behind rallies and public procession is to exalt glorify certain god/hero or event.
Origin of Christian Religious Rallies
We have no instruction in the New Testament to carry any public procession for preaching the gospel or whatsoever. If so, then what is the origin of this practice among Christians? As we dig in history, we find Catholic Church following public procession since the 4th century. It is instructed in their rule book “Code of Canon laws” that it is the duty of Catholic priest to carry out a public procession for special events, like festivals and so on…
6/…. LEADING OF PROCESSION OUTSIDE THE CHURCH (see Canon 530.6)
Further section 1679 of the catechism of Catholic church informs that religious processions are popular piety that accompanies the sacramental life of the church.
Searching Scriptures for Public Procession
Protestants have been criticizing Catholics for incorporating this pagan practice in Christianity. Catholics have taken support from the Old Testament as their defence to this criticism. Since TPM is a daughter emanating from the womb of her mother Catholic Church (check here), she might well take the Old Testament passages to her defence, for her convention rallies. It is, therefore, our duty to check such defences with due discernment. As we have seen above, the purpose & intention of any community in organizing any rally is to exalt and glorifying its hero or some event. Let us, therefore, see what was the purpose of biblical processions so that we can compare it with convention rallies of TPM, to verify whether TPM’s intention of public rallies align in line with biblical intentions or not!
In the days of Joshua, people carried ark around Jericho for seven days (Joshua 6). In the days of David, the ark was carried from Gibeah to Jerusalem (2 Sam 6:4). In both these processions, the ark of God [which was a symbol of God himself], was the matter of pride and glory for Israelites. It was their power and strength. So they lifted the ark and people surrounded it and moved along with the procession. Therefore we can safely say that in Old Testament passages, the ark was a matter of honour i.e. God himself was honoured through these processions. In the New Testament, Jesus rode on a donkey, and people followed him crying “Hosanna.” So here too we find that Jesus was the centre of attraction and praises of people. In the final conflict, Jesus again will lead a procession with him being the centre of attraction and glory (Rev 19:11-14). So whether it is the ark, or Jesus riding on the donkey, or Jesus revealing himself in heavens, one thing is very clear that the biblical processions characterize honouring God in its rallies.
Now it’s time to look at who is the centre of attraction in TPM convention rallies? Firstly I say it is TPM saints, who are glorified in the TPM convention. See the video in which the TPM Dhariwal Pastor is proudly announcing. He is glorifying ministers of his organization. He says our saints will come from various places to conduct our convention.
So he is calling people’s attention to saints of his organization who will be orators in their convention. Do you know that the practice of convention itself originated from the unintentional partial act of glorifying a person? In earlier days people like Smith Wigglesworth or George Muller used to preach the gospel from one city to another. So people in the village he was supposed to visit invited people from surrounding villages to listen to men like Smith Wigglesworth. Gradually institutional churches began calling their founders and famous names in their organizations to their conventions. TPM as an institution followed this and began calling its chief pastors to its conventions. If you are a TPM believer of any local, you might have heard how TPM in-charge of local faith home advertizes TPM convention. He will say “all believers must come to the convention. Chief Pastor is coming!” So the point is that their saints coming from different parts of the world are highlighted in their convention as if they are very special persons who must be given ears.
Secondly and most importantly it is an amazement to me that why TPM preaches the gospel on only 4 days in a year and through the mouth of their echelons only! If TPM convention procession is intended to attract people to gospel then why can’t they preach the gospel in these processions itself [as the procession moves around the city]. Instead of asking people to come to particular place at a particular time to hear the gospel, why can’t they preach and exalt the name of Jesus and call people to repentance as they move through the entire city? Not a single apostle of Jesus carried out any kind of procession, before preaching the gospel. They directly preached the gospel and kept moving. No advertisement and no drama. They were rudely honest in calling people to repent of their sins. Jesus himself while preaching from city to city did never send his disciples and followers to conduct procession and rallies. He went himself preaching gospel healing people and doing good instead of calling people to a particular place at a particular time to listen to his message. Therefore TPM’s convention rallies are pagan in its origin being instructed by her mother Catholic church, to honor TPM’s saints and TPM’s own gospel of Zion and three-tiered heaven ( check this shocking confirmation straight from TPM echelons mouth, that TPM preaches another gospel which you cannot listen to other churches see the first paragraph here )
It is our observation that TPM’s convention rallies are events to exalt TPM workers coming from various parts of the country and the deeper mysteries which they will reveal to you in their convention. It is an invitation to listen to TPM’s exclusive gospel, which you cannot listen in any other church. It is an invitation to listen to the doctrine of Zion, as a place for unmarried TPM workers, who have left their homes. It is an event of honouring their doctrine of three-tiered heaven and seven steps of salvation. If you hearken to their call, then you might well get a lovely chance to listen to messages revealing what a great church TPM is. They will tell you what all benefits you may reap in (2nd position NEW JERUSALEM in heaven) if you become a TPM believer by forsaking your membership in other church. If you agree to their elitist gospel, you must be re-baptized in TPM waters and promise to eat TPM manufactured Lord’s table alone and also stay determined to not to marry your sons and daughter with Christians from other churches.