Bro. Eliseo F. Soriano, a multi-awarded international evangelist and host of the longest-running religious program in the Philippines, “Ang Dating Daan,” (The Old Path), was a Servant of the religious organization Members Church of God International (MCGI).
Born on April 4, 1947, Bro. Eli is the second to the youngest among the eight children of Bro. Triunfo Soriano and Sis. Catalina Fernando. Basically, he was a very shy lad that whenever visitors would come to their house he would readily ran inside their bedroom and hide under a bed. It was also because of his shyness that, even when he reached school age, he was still hesitant to attend school. In fact, it was only during the time when his youngest sister (Sis. Beth) was about to pursue her first grade in school that Bro. Eli finally decided to go to school, but still without the enthusiasm and excitement normally seen among first graders. He would rather stay home than mingle with other people. There was even an instance when, on their way to school, he deliberately slid himself on a swamp, making his uniform wet and dirty. That way he now had a reason to go back home and not attend school anymore. But this was not for long. When he realized that students who performed well in class were being awarded with medals at the end of a school year, Bro. Eli started to take his studies seriously. He then excelled in all his subjects, he became president of their student council, and was a consistent top-notch in class.
A couple of months before his graduation in high school Bro. Eli felt that fervent desire to read the Bible, immediately right after his parents tagged him along in a worship service.
On April 7, 1964, Bro. Eli was baptized in the Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Suhay ng Katotohanan (Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Support of the Truth), which at that time was headed by Bro. Nicolas Perez. He was barely seventeen years old then. Eventually, he became a regular worker in the Church. Because of the zealousness and passion that he displayed in learning more about the word of God, in addition to his dedication in performing his duties as a worker, he became Bro. Perez’s protégé. He had been tasked to conduct Bible Studies and to represent the Church in debates against other religious denominations. Years after, from being an ordinary worker, Bro. Eli had been appointed as a church minister.
When Bro. Nicolas Perez died in 1975, there developed a schism in the Church that resulted to three factions. Of the three groups, only Bro. Eli’s group flourished and grew in number tremendously.
In 1977, Bro. Eli registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission the Mga Kaanib sa Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus, Haligi at Saligan ng Katotohanan sa Pilipinas (Members, Church of God in Christ Jesus, Pillar and Ground of the Truth in the Philippines). However, due to its growing membership and chapters, not only in the Philippines but in other countries as well, the Church had been renamed and re-registered as Members, Church of God International (MCGI).
Since he became a preacher, there had never been an idle day for Bro. Eli. Each day he had a schedule of Bible Study, which in the 1980’s was called Grand Pulong, whose concentration is mostly in the province of Pampanga. After several years of preaching in Pampanga, without being able to cover even half of the province, Bro. Eli saw the need to use the broadcast media to reach more and more people.
In 1980, the radio program “Ang Dating Daan” (The Old Path) was first heard over DWWA 1206 Khz. Later on, several other local radio stations, like DWAR, DZME, DZMB, DWAD, DZRD, DWAN, and DZXQ likewise aired the program. Seeing the positive results that the radio broadcasts yielded, Bro. Eli also decided to use television in propagating the word of God.
It was in 1983 that the program “Ang Dating Daan” was aired on television via IBC-13. But when other religious organizations, whose programs are also being aired on the said channel, saw how their respective doctrines are being shattered by the Biblical truths that Bro. Eli was preaching, they connived and pressured the network’s management to cancel Bro. Eli’s program. Hence, the program moved from one channel to another.
Until, finally, in 2004, “Ang Dating Daan” and the other programs of Bro. Eli like “Truth in Focus” and “Itanong mo Kay Soriano” found a new and permanent home – UNTV 37.
Due to religious persecution Bro. Eli was forced to leave the Philippines in 2005. He left the country with a very heavy heart – he didn’t want to leave his loved ones especially his brethren in the Church. But eventually, he realized that what happened to him was a God-given opportunity for him to be able to fulfill His admonition to make disciples in all nations. He started preaching the Gospel in different parts of the globe; he held Bible Expositions in foreign lands – addressing people of different races and different tongues. And with God’s help, all these efforts resulted to the conversion of many souls and the formation of more international chapters of the Church.
Bro. Eli is utilizing all avenues available to make the word of God known to all men. In the Philippines, aside from UNTV 37, “Ang Dating Daan” is also being aired in Radyo La Verdad 1350Khz. And with the advent of the digital age, he has also used different social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube to expose erroneous doctrines of other religions, to preach the good news of salvation, and to lead more and more people back to God.
Despite his fame and stature in the religious arena, Bro. Eli continues to live a simple and austere life. He works to earn a living; he does not burden the brethren in the Church for his day to day subsistence. And unlike other preachers, Bro. Eli never, and will never, make religion and the word of God a kind of commodity or business. He remains to be a humble and faithful servant of God and of our Lord Jesus Christ.
After holding two consecutive Bible Expositions in one day, God gave Bro. Eliseo Fernando Soriano his well-deserved rest on February 10, 2021 in Brazil, but in the Philippines, it was already February 11.
An outpouring of sentiments and expressions of love and respect came in from people from all walks of life and various religions — from those who constantly listened to The Old Path program, to the local and national government officials, up to the president of the nation.
Up to the last moments of his life, Bro. Eli was able to fulfill his vow to the Almighty that manifests in his love to serve the brethren. “And I will very gladly spend and be spent for you; though the more abundantly I love you, the less I be loved” (2 Cor. 12:15). And as Bro. Eli once said: “To be privileged to serve you in Christ is the greatest opportunity in life.”