"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

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Why I am not a member of the cult “Iglesia ni Cristo”

Long time in the loooong history of the Church (the original One) during the 3rd century, there was a man named Arius (256 – 336 A.D.) who denied the “Sonship” of Jesus having the same qualities of God. He was condemned during the Council of Nicea in 325 A.D. (See also Arianism).

Less than a hundred years later, another man named Nestorius (386–c. 451), the Archbishop of Constantinople came up with a problem understanding the “Theotokos”. Unable to digest the deep mystery behind this teaching he disassociated himself from the Catholic Church and taught his own understanding of the matter. Again his heretic teachings were condemned during the Council of Ephesus in 431 A.D.

Years later another man named Martin Luther had it all revived. Scandalized by the abuses of Bishops living in Rome, he went back to Germany and challenged the authority of the Pope, made himself the "little pope" and taught his own way, of course not the Catholic one.

Coined with many other dissidents, the Pandora's box of confusion and isolation from the True Church was opened and it created worldwide chaos that resulted to religious wars between Catholics and Protestants. There were many deaths which was later tainted the name of Christ as a man of peace, our shared shame in the whole history of Christianity. The Servant of God Pope John Paul II made his "Mea Culpa" before the beginning of the new millennium. Today, in Protestantism, it produced numerous branches of another branch to another-- all using the same Sacred Scripture, some were loosely translated to suit their personal teachings.

The heresy of Arius made all the way to the Germanic tribes till the 7th century according to Wikipedia which was revived later on by the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Other newly founded similar groups in our modern times having the same beliefs are found among the Unitarians within the Protestant church.

In the Philippines, on March 16, 1521 A.D. a Portuguese explorer Ferdinand Magellan with Spanish crews who served the Spanish Crown made a voyage intended to reach the “Spice Islands” but ended up conquering the natives of one of the “Group of Islands” in Homonhon Island which later he named the whole archipelago "the Philippines" in honor of King Philip II of Spain. Together with their “Trading” voyage, they brought the Catholic Faith in the Philippines and made it the first “Christian Nation” in Asia (East Timor to be second). After more than 300 years, Spain sold the Philippines to the United States and together with the new conquerors, they brought Protestantism with its wide varieties of choices to the Philippines and thus attracted a man named Felix Manalo Ysagun.

According to Wikipedia, Felix Manalo was born a Catholic, baptized in the Catholic Church and was named Felix according to the wishes of his devout Catholic parents. He kept his Catholic name even when he decided to build his own church which he registered on July 27, 1914 as his "corporation sole." During his time, the political sentiments of nationalism were high among many Filipinos due to the countless abuses of Spanish friars and civil leaders. Among the contributing factors of nationalism were the execution of Filipino priests Fathers Gomez, Burgoz and Zamora and the death sentence passed on to Dr. Jose Rizal by firing squad at Bagumbayan (now called Rizal Park found in Manila).

Perhaps as a Catholic, young Felix was seldom a Church goer although his parents were said to be deeply religious. A quick distraction from the Protestant churches made him doubted his Catholic faith he had barely knew. Perhaps (again) as a nominal Catholic that's the easiest way to wonder outside the true Church. According to his own biography which was never published to the critical public and made only fragmentally available through third hand sources. In Wikipedia, one of his turning points happened in 1900 when he allegedly found a copy of the bible in the parish house of his uncle named Mariano Borja, a Catholic priest. We can only assume these were all true accounts of Felix Manalo.

As he was reading the bible (perhaps it’s Spanish version, not the Tagalog or Lamsa Versions as among its favorite translation today due to its vague and loose translation), his faith began to waver. He began doubting Catholic doctrines and practices leaving us clueless which among of Catholic doctrines he had doubted much. So that in 1902 when he was a young adolescent he witnessed a debate between a Roman Catholic priest and an American Protestant missionary which we can never tell if it were really happened. Impressed by the Protestant’s wit in quoting the Bible (for there were numerous Protestant Versions circulating during that time) against the said Catholic priest, he declared himself a protestant without having a second thought-- nor had he researched well. He was persuaded by his emotions that he never let his intelligence (if he had) serve him well. Wanting to acquire those skills, he desired to be a "student of the Bible " which again according to his ignorance was despised of him by his Catholic priest uncle. Since his biogaphy was wrote after his death we cannot guarantee his partiality when he said those lines which he maliciously targeted his Catholic priest uncle.

Felix M. Ysagun was a Catholic and then a Methodist, a Presbyterian, a Disciple, a member of Christian and Missionary Alliance and before he built his own cult, he was once a staunch member of the Seventh Day Adventists—a die hard anti-Catholic sect, which fabricated the the famous bogus title of the Pope “Vicarius Filii Dei”. In each of the churches he belonged, he was baptized but he maintained his Catholic name unchanged. Today, SDA stopped using that "Vicarius Filii Dei" after they were proven lying but INC kept the lie, a practice they have been experts of. He only gave up these sects when he had misunderstood their doctrines and finally paved way to consider building his own but retained most of the SDA’s anti-Catholic attitude.

He wondered for sometime like a lost tormented soul and associated himself with Atheists and Agnostics, perhaps even Pagans too.

Armed with religious literature books (plural—it means many many books perhaps written by Protestants he accumulated from his past association with Protestant churches), with “notebooks and pencils” (again it’s plural—many many notebooks and pencils) and a copy of the bible we have no clue what’s its version, perhaps the KJV), he locked himself in a dimly lit room inside his friend Eusebio Sunga’s house somewhere in Pasay giving strict orders not to disturb him “three days and three nights.”

Given that much time carefully assimilating his upcoming Corporation Sole, meticulously copying much from Protestant churches, he came up one day with certainty (no actual and literal message and voice from God in the form of thunder or something like that) that God had commissioned him for a new mission “to preached the true religion” which he believed . According to Wikipedia, he was “convinced he now knows which is the true church, "and that he will preach it to all. Of course, he would be marketing his new business under the guise of a church like the Protestants. This is his personal corporation sole, his own, registered it on July 27, 1914, -- 1,881 years after the official birth of the Church during Pentecost, 1,914 years after the Birth of Christ. This church IS the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Felix Manalo soon gained approval from his immediate close friends and neighbors but he was completely disowned by his own parents and family members and townspeople perhaps due to Felix’s new cult which was brutally anti-Catholic. Self-assured of his “new” mission as God’s “Last Messenger” he welcomed his town’s rejection perhaps thinking that their rejection was a confirmation of his “Prophetic” role just as prophets and sages experienced rejection among its own closest kin. Unlike true Prophets and disciples, God called them by their given names and their accounts were clearly written in the Holy Scripture. In the case of Felix Manalo he was not. There wasn’t even a single recorded supernatural thing that had happened during his lifetime. Not even a roach whispered him any. He was just like any one of us and did just like anyone is doing—eating, drinking, sleeping, dreaming of becoming rich. Worse, he was charged with rape by no other than his own members like the case of Rosita Trillanes and his own wife's accusations (see here).

The development of his “angelic” status came only after his shameful moral misconduct according to some sources (see INC Felix Manalo Blog). Keeping his flock intact he has to assert his superiority and to do that he has to proclaim himself more than anything else—an angel. He continued believing his own created belief and was personally convinced on what he felt. (—it was his personal feelings that led him believed he was a chosen one.) However, the Bible is equally certain that there was no need of a “Last Messenger” because the Church had never apostatized nor history has any recorded eventualities that Christ’s Church had “Completely Apostatized” not even partial. The Bible’s answer to his claims was a deafening SILENCE!

In fact, unanimously, historians agree that the Catholic Church traces itself from the time of the Apostles making it one of the oldest existing institutions in the world. This is the reason why the Catholic Church’s history is well integrated to the History of Christianity as a whole. This is the reason why during Western Schism, Political controversies, Dark Ages and other scandals in the world of politics, the Catholic Church was there.

But this same Church that existed more than 2,000 years ago had produced known and unknown Christian martyrs and saints who shed their precious blood for the sake of their Christian Catholic belief which planted the seed of the faith in most of our present civilization today. Protestant never seem to appreciate those Christian heroes for the fear that they'd violate the First Commandment of God. Undeniably, the same fact has it that it was through the Catholic Church that the whole of Christianity has a one single compilation of books called "Bible" with Archbishop Stepeh Langton who divided it into chapters and Italian Dominican biblical scholar Santi Pagnini (1470–1541) who supplied the verses. All without any credit coming from Protestants and the cult of Felix Manalo.

Other than what they claim for Felix Manalo and his cult, they’ve got no other intelligent account that could enlighten those who want to consider their disagreements with the Catholic Church. Just like any other “Sola Scriptura” (Bible Only) quasi-Christians, Iglesia ni Cristo considers the Bible as their supreme authority but in reality, they distort the Bible twisting the very obvious meaning in it various passages. Acts 20:28 (only Lamsa Translation) and Romans 16:16 are among their favorites.

Why I am not, in my wildest dream, join any cult such as the brainwashing style of Iglesi ni Cristo ministers?

1. I cannot find any single verse in the Bible, in any vernacular translations or the varieties of English translations that says the “Church” would apostatize in the past and in the coming future. In fact Christ promised “hell WILL never” overcome his Church. He promised that he WILL be with them until the ends of times. He promised that he WILL send the Spirit of Truth and Knowledge to guide the Church from error. So far, the Catholic Church possesses those qualities with certainty. (Read Matthew 16).

2. I can’t find any logical reason why do we need a “Last Messenger” when Christ’s Church NEVER apostatized. Every pages of history is open to anyone who wishes to know it. Twisting its fact would only confirms with certainty. So far, the Catholic Church was, is and will be part of the History of Christianity, from 33 A.D. until the consummation of the physical world.

3. I cannot agree more that what’s written on their registration. Although I don’t have a scanned copy to prove that but everybody knows that on July 27, 1914, Felix Manalo registered a Corporation Sole, named it “Iglesia ni Kristo” later changed “K” to “C” with him signing as the founder and owner. Should any member of this cult object, let him/her produce a counter proof that says it’s otherwise.

4. In fact, when the Bible was on its final deliberation for approval which books should be part and which should not be, the Iglesia ni Cristo wasn’t there. Not even a single INC minister had contributed to its Chapters and Verses. Not even one of them can claim apostolic succession. Common sense would dictate that that fact alone would confirm with certainty that the Iglesia ni Cristo existed for business purposes under the guise of deceiving many.

5. Felix Manalo doesn’t have any single quality of a “Prophet” Nor Felix had any qualities that he’d be considered an “angel” according to the Judeo-Christian concept of the word. In fact searching Google for “Online Dictionary” and typing the word “angel” unanimously all have the same meaning. Angel means a messenger with divine message. Did Felix Manalo have a divine message? No! His was a message of deception a quality not from heaven but from some other places.

6. The Iglesia ni Cristo is a Corporation Sole existing solely under the generosity of its members. To ensure this, each member is warned that retracting from his iglesia would tantamount to “eternal damnation” which the Bible can’t even agree more. On the contrary Jesus came full of love wanting nothing but to save. Iglesia preached that only through their cult one is saved—not by the saving merits of Christ’s Passion, Death and Resurrection. Whatever they say, the truth remains: IT IS A CORPORATION SOLE managed by the founder Felix Manalo, passed on to his son Erano, then to Eduardo. As a Corporation Sole, it will be managed and owned exclusively by the Manalos. It is the only business the Manalo’s have and will not yield to any inner pressure. They will keep their anchor well hooked under the teachings that only their Ministers can interpret the Bible and only through obedience to their Executive Minister one can be truly a bonafide member of the cult.

7. One thing I agree more is their assertion that Felix Manalo was the fulfillment of biblical prophesies. Without objection, yes he was. In fact he fits exactly all the qualities of a false prophet that would come before the parousia to deceive many away from the fold. Truly, those prophesies were fulfilled in Felix Manalo and his cult.

8. The Official Position of the Catholic Church is very much available in print and in the net that everyone can investigate and can challenge. On the contrary so far the cult of Felix Manalo, the Iglesia ni Cristo , with its fierce claims to be the "revival of the original church, don't have anything to offer except their TV shows and printed PASUGO exclusively for Ministers. Is there something else they don't like us to know?

Why I am not a member of the cult “Iglesia ni Cristo”? It's because I love Christ and his Church and I am bound to defend his Church even in my own little way. Just a little use of my common sense I can know what's real from fake.

To Jesus be the Glory and his Church.

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