"The Christianity of history is not Protestantism. If ever there were a safe truth it is this, and Protestantism has ever felt it so; to be deep in history is to cease to be a Protestant." (-John Henry Newman, An Essay on the Development of Christian Doctrine).

"Where the bishop is, there let the people gather; just as where ever Jesus Christ is, there is the Catholic Church". -St. Ignatius of Antioch (ca 110 AD)a martyr later thrown to the lions, wrote to a church in Asia Minor. Antioch was also where the term "Christian" was first used.

“But if I should be delayed, you should know how to behave in the household of God, which is the church of the living God, the pillar and foundation of truth.” 1 Timothy 3:15

"This is the sole Church of Christ, which in the Creed we profess to be one, holy, catholic and apostolic." -CCC 811

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

IGLESIA NI CRISTO: Felix Manalo, God's Messenger?

[From Catholic-Answers, permission was granted me to post this article in series. Thanks to the whole staff of Catholic Answers. Thanks to Mr. Karl Keating and his Production Manager Mr. Jon Sorensen. You can contact them at (619) 387-7200 (USA)].

Felix Manalo, God's "Messenger"?

Are they serious? They must be kidding!

However in the mind of every Iglesia ni Cristo member, this is unquestionably true. Felix Manalo was the "angel"--prophesied in the Bible?

Come on, be real!

Well, others believe Joseph Smith was the "Last Prophet" to establish Christ's "church" after it apostatized. So now there are two claimnants: one a prophet and another an angel. TWO churches of Christ? One is called "The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints" and the other "Iglesia ni Cristo".

Wait! Still some believe that our National Hero Dr. Jose Rizal was Christ himself?

Ok, before you chuckle, Catholic Answers has an answer to Felix Manalo, God’s Messenger?

"A litmus test for any religious group is the credibility of its founder in making his claims. Felix Manalo’s credibility and, consequently, his claims, are impossible to take seriously. He claimed to be "God’s messenger," divinely chosen to re-establish the true Church which, according to Manalo, disappeared in the first century due to apostasy. It was his role to restore numerous doctrines that the Church had abandoned. A quick look at Manalo’s background shows where these doctrines came from: Manalo stole them from other quasi-Christian religious sects.

Manalo was baptized a Catholic, but he left the Church as a teen. He became a Protestant, going through five different denominations, including the Seventh-Day Adventists. Finally, Manalo started his own church in 1914. In 1919, he left the Philippines because he wanted to learn more about religion. He came to America, to study with Protestants, whom Iglesia would later declare to be apostates, just like Catholics. Why, five years after being called by God to be his "last messenger," did Manalo go to the U.S. to learn from apostates? What could God’s messenger learn from a group that, according to Iglesia, had departed from the true faith?

The explanation is that, contrary to his later claims, Manalo did not believe himself to be God’s final messenger in 1914. He didn’t use the last messenger doctrine until 1922. He appears to have adopted the messenger doctrine in response to a schism in the Iglesia movement. The schism was led by Teogilo Ora, one of its early ministers. Manalo appears to have developed the messenger doctrine to accumulate power and re-assert his leadership in the church.

This poses a problem for Iglesia, because if Manalo had been the new messenger called by God in 1914, why didn’t he tell anybody prior to 1922? Because he didn’t think of it until 1922. His situation in this respect parallels that of Mormonism’s founder Joseph Smith, who claimed that when he was a boy, God appeared to him in a vision and told him all existing churches were corrupt and he was not to join them, that he would lead a movement to restore God’s true Church. But historical records show that Smith did join an inquirer’s class at an established Protestant church after his supposed vision from God. It was only in later years that Smith came up with his version of the "true messenger" doctrine, proving as much of an embarrassment for the Mormon church as Manalo’s similar doctrine does for Iglesia."

Read the whole article Iglesia ni Cristo.
Or visit http://www.catholic.com/ or join Catholic Answers Forums
Read article from This Rock Magazine.

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Mr. Karl Keating is the founder of Catholic Answers, a lay apostolate of Catholic apologetics in spreading the "Splendor of Truth" of the Catholic Church and evangelizing non-Catholics and Catholics at the same level.

Other Links: Iglesia ni Cristo from Answers.com.

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