The history and ministry of Calvary Baptist Church and its two schools (academy and Bible school) are inseparable, molded and preserved by God's faithful love and power.

Calvary Baptist Church (Oton, Iloilo, Philippines) *

How Calvary Baptist Church Was Started

A History of Calvary Baptist Church


Part 1


I. By a Fellow Missionary and Friend


The following account is found in the introduction of the book Starting a Church in the Mission Field (pp. 11, 12) by Dr. Rick Martin, an American missionary and founder of Iloilo Baptist Church, Jaro, Iloilo City, Philippines.


In September of 1980, a new missionary, Brother Jim Joines, arrived in Iloilo City with his wife Judy and three children.  Before they arrived, another missionary had distributed some of the aforementioned Bibles in the little town of Oton on the outskirts of Iloilo City.  Several priests in this town went up and down the streets, stopping in front of the houses of those who had received Bibles.  They rang bells until the people surrendered their Bibles.  The Bibles were taken down to the Catholic church and burned.  One day, Brother Joines was riding through this town with another missionary who told him the story.  This missionary said, “This is the town where they burned God’s Word.”  Brother Joines became angry because he felt they had insulted God.  Proverbs 13:13a says, Whoso despiseth the word shall be destroyed.”  That same missionary told Brother Joines that at least five fundamental Baptist churches had been started in that town, and every one of them had failed.


Not long after, a man from Oton visited a church in Iloilo and accepted Christ as his Saviour.  Soon, this new convert approached Brother Joines (with the approval of the pastor) and asked him if he would start a Bible study in Oton with some of the converts’ friends and relatives.  This story is an example of how many churches in the Philippines are started.  Brother Joines agreed; and before long, about 75 youth and adults were attending regularly  A few months later, the Mother Superior of Oton returned from Rome.  She told her tenants that if they attended the Bible study, they would have to get off her land.  The Bible study attendance dropped to 12.  The old man who was responsible for the starting of the Bible study, lovingly called “Lolo” (meaning grandfather), was one of those who stayed.  He is now buried in the “heretic” graveyard in Oton.  The Mother Superior then went to the high school principal.  The principal warned the young people to stop attending the Bible study.  Soon, all but two of the teenagers topped coming.


The Bible says that God’s Word will not return void. This persecution only made the Christians stronger.  Many people tried to tell Brother Joines that “it couldn’t be done” in Oton, that it was just too difficult.  I also suggested he find a place where people were more receptive, but I soon discovered that his faith was much greater than mine.  Many times they were stoned during services, but they stayed.


…Sometimes fighting took place between the New People’s Army and the military near Calvary Baptist Church, and the Joines famly would have to lie down on the floor.  A grenade was once thrown at their church jeepney.  Thankfully, the grenade did not explode.


God blessed Brother Joines’ determination to start a church in that difficult place.  He started a Bible college, and many churches have been started from that church and college.[1]


In the next articles will be the accounts by Calvary Baptist Church’s pioneer Filipino pastors and by the missionaries themselves.



[1] Martin, Rick, Starting a Church In the Mission Field (Hammond: Hyles Publications, 2004), pp. 11-12.


Calvary Baptist Academy (Oton, Iloilo) *



Originally founded in 1986 and offered only for church members, with free tuition for pastor's children * later opened to non-members as well to extend to them salvation in Christ and a quality Christian education * Has also been the object of persecution for its Biblical convictions * The school continues to grow by the grace of God! [more info to be added]

Open Bible College International (Oton, Iloilo) *

The Bible school was founded in Oton in 1980, and was known as "International Baptist Theological College". * The name was later changed to "Baptist International Theological College". * Adopted Right Division (2 Tim. 2:15) and changed its name to Open Bible College International (OBCI - originally founded in 1977 by Dr. Dave Reese) * OBCI has now three resident schools in the Philippines and they are known as "Open Bible College Panay" (Oton), Open Bible College Mindanao (Surallah, South Cot.), and Open Bible College Palawan (Puerto Princessa City). It has also some "satellite" schools, one of which is OBCI Iloilo City Extension School. Night and correspondence classes were also made available to those who desire Biblical training for God's unique calling in their lives.

* The Bible school ministry is operating under the local church ministry and Ends of the Earth Mission. For the most part, it was able to survive through the years and even grew fruitful by the GRACE OF GOD!