For Catholics, referring the Church to God or Christ is not a problem because we believed Christ and God is ONE. For our separated brethren in the Iglesia ni Cristo founded by Felix Manalo in 1914, this has to be specifically clarified for God and Christ are not the same.
Do you know how many times the “churches of Christ” (mga iglesia ni Cristo) was mentioned in the Bible? In all existing Catholic and Protestant Versions in different languages translated by real Bible Scholars, there has been only one. And that’s in St. Paul’s Letter to the Romans 16:16 (Christians in ROME—not the Philippines) "churches of Christ" or "mga iglesia ni Cristo".
Until such a time, the George Lamsa's Translation (a member of the Assyrian Church stemmed from schismatic Nestorius went into circulation that the cult of Felix Manalo begin quoting Acts 20:28 which has the “church of Christ” replacing the original “church of God” instead .
How is that? Let’s read one of their readers’ confusion about their name.
Jenny Pambid's letter needs an scholarly answer but instead the Iglesia Ministers treated her confusion with equal confusion. Please give special attention to every detail they’re saying and you will see how they deliberately twisted every meaning and shifted the word “church” to “Church” without any difficulty-- an obvious disrespect to the Holy Word of God. If you pay close attention to every detail of the Editor's response, you will be dismayed with his dishonesty and their pretention to be Bible experts-- but non of their Ministers seriously have studied the Bible extensively.
Here’s the letter and their response: from "God's Messenger" Official Magazine (I will try post a reaction to each paragraph in that letter:
“Why does the rendition of the verse Acts 20:28 in the King James Version of the Bible differ from that in the Lamsa Translation—the former mentions ‘church of God” while the latter uses “church of Christ”?
And why only Lamsa Translation for this particular verse from the Bible? Why not other versions?
This is what we’re going to uncover
Editor’s reply:Let’s compare the two versions of the Bible by quoting Acts 20:28”
|King James Version||Lamsa Translation|
|“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath purchased with his own blood.”||“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which they Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood.”|
Notice the highlighted words and examine also and compare. If you think God and Christ is the same you are right, but not for the Iglesia ni Cristo which was a revival of ancient schism in the Middle East during the time of Nestorius (ca. 389-ca. 453 A.D.) who was condemned by the Church for teaching a false Christ (as a man only--see Council of Ephesus).
Can you see now why the Iglesia ni Cristo (1914) prefers the Lamsa Translation over other Versions and translations by real scholars? And why only this particular verse? Open wide your eyes and see the truth behind this.
Here's the Editor's response. (You don't need to have a Theological background to understand the Editor's response.)
Many Bible versions under Acts 20:28 in reference to the true Church as either “Church of the Lord” or “Church of God.” The Hebrew word for “Lord” may refer to God as in “Lord God” or to Christ as in “Lord Jesus Christ.” Those who believe that Christ is God are prone to be influenced by their belief, thus, they use “Church of God” or “Church of the Lord” in their versions.One doesn't need to be an Aramaic expert so as to understand the Bible. In fact, whether we call the Church as God's or Christ's but our Catholic teaching says Christ is truly man and God so our Church belongs to God and Christ.
On the othe hand, the same verse in the Lamsa Translation read: "Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which has purchased with his blood.
Mr. George Lamsa explained why he used the expression "church of Christ." In the New Testament Commentary, he said: "Jesus was not called God in those early days. The term generally used by his disciples and their followers was Maran, 'our Lord' and Eshoo, 'Jesus'. Peter, on the day of Pentecost, called him 'Jesus of Nazareth, a man approved of God among you by miracles and wonders and signs...(Acts 2:22).
"Jewish Christians could not have used the term God, because in their eyes God is spirit, and spirit has no flesh and blood." (p.149)
Mr. Lamsa is a scholar who belongs to the race of Hebrews in Palestine who, until today, has kept much of their old customs and traditions as well as the language spoken by the Palestinians in the time of Christ. Thus, his word carries significant weight.
The Church of Christ [Iglesia ni Cristo] upholds that Lamsa's translation, which uses 'church of Christ," is the accurate one. As he explained, "Lord" in this verse cannot refer to God, for God is spirit in nature (Jn. 4:24). A spirit has no flesh and bones as taught by Christ Himself.
"Now as they said these things, Jesus Himself stood in the midst of them, and said to them, 'Peace to you'. But they were terrified and frightened, and supposed they have seen a spirit. And He said to them, 'Why are you troubled? And why do doubts arise in your hearts? Behold My hands and My feet, that it is I Myself. Handle Me and see, for a spirit does not have flesh and bones as y ou wee I have." (Lk. 24:36-39, New King James Version).
Spirits have no flesh and bones. Neither do they have blood. This is being the case, the "Lord" refferred to in Acts 20:28 cannot be the Lord God but the Lord Jesus Christ who was crucified (Acts 2:36) and shed His blood to wash away the sins of the members of His Church (Rev. 1:5)
Christ is God became man, not man became God. Of course he has bones and blood because he reincarnated and took our human form from being God. That's the reason why he was seen with body and has the human characteristics.
True, Jesus Christ must have spoken Aramaic as his mother tongue but we cannot deny the fact that God chooses the New Testament to be written in Greek. And in the original Greek translation, the Church was referred mostly as "Church of God" rather than "Church of Christ" (Read Apologetics Press) but theologically that's just the same, however for the Iglesia ni Cristo (1914) God is separated from Christ (for God has no blood to offer for the Church).
Unlike Mr. George Lamsa, most Bible Scholars agree to the fact that the words used was 'church of God not church of Christ. Take note, 'church' was written in small letter 'c' (here's one good reaction from a blogger).
Did you notice the Editor quickly changed "church" to "Church of Christ" as if it refers to the Iglesia ni Cristo (1914). In fact, the Bible wasn't even referring to them when they mean "church" or "Church." Again, it's a fact that the Iglesia ni Cristo (1914) was founded and registered by a man with accused of sexual misconduct with the rape of Ms. Rosita Trillanes?
So the “church” mentioned in Acts 20:28 refers to the true “Church” as either “Church of the Lord” or “Church of God”? So what are those Bible versions and translations that the Editor said were intentionally changed "church of God" to “Church of God” or “Church of the Lord”? (in big letter "C")? The Editor didn't supply us with those versions.
Or perhaps the Editor was right. (1) The Jehovah’s Witnesses have their own versions replacing the word “God” to “Jehovah” (2) We have the Mormons who fabricated their own book (3) And we have the Iglesia ni Cristo who have two verses with the words "churches of Christ". One from Romans 16:16 and the Lamsa translation of Acts 20:28. Beyond that, we have numerous citations in the bible that says "church of God."
From twisted historical data, and how they twisted Mr. Charles Caldwell Ryrie's book when the author formally charged the Iglesia ni Cristo of tampering his own work:
"Charles Caldwell Ryrie has criticized the INC for allegedly misquoting his Ryrie Study Bible regarding John 1:1 in the May/June 1984 issue of the Pasugo. Ryrie has been quoted as saying, in a letter to Robert Elliff, the author of the book, Iglesia ni Cristo: The Only True Church? "Anyone can look in my Study Bible and see how conveniently this author [the INC] omitted the last phrase in the note of John 1:1."They are not only dishonest to scholarly works but they also did deconsecrate the Holy Scritpure as you can see. So are we to believe that they really follow the Bible? Perhaps they follow it after they changed its contents.
But what's really in Acts 20:28 that the "church of Christ" in Lamsa should not be considered correct? Here's from Catholic Answers:
Iglesia points to its name as proof it is the true Church. They argue, "What is the name of Christ’s Church, as given in the Bible? It is the ‘Church of Christ.’ Our church is called the ‘Church of Christ.’ Therefore, ours is the Church Christ founded."In the meantime, here are some carefully chosen verses the Iglesia ni Cristo (1914) use specifically quoted. For what motive? Discover it yourself!
Whether or not the exact words "Church of Christ" appear in the Bible is irrelevant, but since Iglesia makes it an issue, it is important to note that the phrase "Church of Christ" never once appears in the Bible.
The verse Iglesia most often quotes on this issue is Romans 16:16: "Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ greet you " (Pasugo, November 1973, 6). But the phrase in this verse is "churches of Christ." And it’s not a technical name. Paul is referring to a collection of local churches, not giving an organizational name.
To get further "proof" of its name, Iglesia cites Acts 20:28: "Take heed therefore . . . to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood" (Lamsa translation; cited in Pasugo, April 1978). But the Lamsa translation is not based on the original Greek, the language in which the book of Acts was written. In Greek, the phrase is "the church of God" (tan ekklasian tou Theou) not "the church of Christ" (tan ekklasian tou Christou). Iglesia knows this, yet it continues to mislead its members.
Even if the phrase "church of Christ" did appear in the Bible, it would not help Iglesia’s case. Before Manalo started his church, there were already groups calling themselves "the Church of Christ." There are several Protestant denominations that call themselves Church of Christ and use exactly the same argument. Of course, they aren’t the true Church for the same reason Iglesia isn’t—because they were not founded by Christ.
1. Acts 20:28 (Manalo uses only Lamsa Translation);
2. Col. 3:15 (Manalo uses the Revised Standard V.);
3. Eph.2:15 (Manalo uses only the New King James V.);
4. Isaiah 43:5-6 (Manalo uses both Moffat and NKJV. Moffat for the word, "
5. Eph.5:23 (Manalo uses the Today's English V.);
6. John 10:9 (Manalo uses the Revised English Bible)
7. Col.1:25 (Manalo uses the Rotherham Emphasized Bible);
8. Heb.10:25-27 (Manalo uses the New King James V.)
See also Philippine Religions