"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

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Eastern and Western Church Split Misunderstood by an Iglesia ni Cristo

Mr. Conrad J. Obligacion (creator and owner of resbak.com, a fiercely anti-Catholic who denied being member of the cult Iglesia ni Cristo (see HERE under the stolen pseudonym 'truthcaster') but defended it staunchly with all his might and strength-assassinating characters of anyone who dared question the position of the Iglesia ni Cristo) has misunderstood history when he said
“The Orthodox church claims to be the “one holy, catholic, apostolic” church… the same title is also being claimed by another paganism based religion, the RCC. So, which is the true “one, holy, catholic, apostolic” church? Well, neither.”
unmindful of what his cult stands for:
(PASUGO Abril 1966, p. 46: Ang Iglesia Katolika na sa pasimula ay siyang Iglesia ni Cristo.")”
also unmindful that besides the Iglesia ni Cristo, the Church of Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormons) were also claiming the same title they so claimed—to be Christ’s true church.

Contrary to his personal claims, Wikipedia and other impartial resources available in the internet and in print unanimously confirm that the (Roman) Catholic Church is historically the original Church which Christ had founded on Peter as the first Pope.”

“The History of the Catholic Church is traced by the Church back to apostolic times and thus covers a period of nearly 2,000 years, making it one of the world's oldest institutions. The history of the Church is an integral part of the History of Christianity and the history of Western civilization.”

Mr. Obligacion said further:
“many RCC say the Orthodox church “split” from the RCC. The Orthodox on the other hand say (sic) the RCC is the “confused” one which split from them. But whatever the case maybe, by splitting from each other, neither can claim to be the “one” body of Christ. For by claiming to be the “one holy, apostolic” church would be saying the other one is NOT “holy catholic apostolic”.
But what does history say about the “split” he’s referring to? Not until the 11th Century when Eastern Churches split from the See of Peter in Rome. Neither the Eastern Church nor the Western Church was confused. However, one thing is clear. Mr. Obligacion is very much baffled with his historical information he selectively taken from unknown historical sources (which he didn’t provide us with any link). Or perhaps just as any other bonafide Iglesia ni Cristo minister, he too has very limited personal biased opinionated historical knowledge taken from anti-Catholic Protestant sources that he thought may back up his Iglesia ni Cristo claims.

Going back to the history of the Catholic Church as the only Christian Church from the first century, the Church (which refers to the Catholic Church) has suffered persecution from Jerusalem to Rome (read History of the Catholic Chuch in wikipedia). Among those famous personages who persecuted Christ’s Church (the Catholic Church) was Saul of Tarsus (who later converted and became St. Paul and became one of the pillars of the early Church) and other Jewish leaders. The first century Church systematically defined, formulated Christian teachings influenced by theological apologists such as Pope Clement (the 4th Pope from St. Peter- Western Church), Ignatius of Antioch, Justin Martyr , Augustine of Hippo. Note: These Catholic apologists defended the Church of Christ (not the Iglesia ni Cristo registered and incorporated in the Philippines) from Jewish and pagan persecutors before the Bible we have now (which Mr. Obligacion and the cult of Mr. F. Manalo) was formally compiled exactly into what we have today (when it was not yet reduced during the Reformation by Martin Luther).

Emperor Nero’s fury over Christians in Rome was among the worst persecution which eventually suffered the martyrdom of the two great pillars of the Catholic faith—Sts. Peter and Paul. He desired to wipe out Christianity from the face of the earth, thus the title “anti-Christ” has been credited to him being the fiercest persecutor of Christians. Diocletian and Galerius made another attempt to wipe out Christianity (all Catholics) but they too failed like Nero. The recognition of the Church as the state religion in the entire Roman Empire happened only in 380 A. D.

Now, who split from whom? Let us expose light in the darkness of Mr. Obligacion’s confusion.

The history of the (Roman) Catholic Church has been discussed in World History books. There’s no secret about that. Students from all continents in the world regardless of race and religion discussed every account of the Church as integral part of the History of the Western civilization including ours both positive and negative. Everyone is free to look at it deeper in the light of truth and sound knowledge.

In 325 A.D., the First Council of Nicea was convened. It was the second Church council from among the 21 Councils so far the Catholic Church had from the first Council of Jerusalem. Nicea Council I was convened to defined and uphold the long standing belief of Catholics from Arianism that there is only one God and that this God has three Divine Persons which eventually was called the Holy Trinity. Schisms are not foreign to the Church. Other minor schisms happened even before the Council of Rome (382 A.D.) which canonized the present Catholic Bible List of Books.
Major schism happened the 11th Century. The Eastern Church (Constantinople in Turkey) and Western Church (Rome in Italy) split permanently through a disputed claim over Sicily but since the beginning of the Church, all Councils and other major disputes within local churches looked up to the Roman Church, the See of Peter as the final arbiter in recognition of the Primacy of Peter whom Christ had given the keys of the Kingdom of Heaven and the authority to bind and loose. The same Peter whom Nero persecuted together with St. Paul, thus erecting huge basilicas dedicated to them. Eventually the West is called the Catholic Church (signifying its universality) and the East is called Orthodox. The word “Roman” was attached as a derogatory term assigned to the Catholic Church by Anglican Protestants so as to put emphasis on the Pope as “evil” and the Papacy being the“anti-Christ” preached by the Seventh-Day Adventists and was copied by the Iglesia ni Cristo (Felix Y. Manalo was once a minister of the Seventh-Day Adventists before he registered his own Corporation Sole at Securities Exchange Commission) which has long been abandoned by the former after they failed to prove its argument (read here). The Iglesia ni Cristo cult has retained the argument and sad to say Mr. Conrad J. Obligacion keeps on parroting.

Today, some Easter Churches reunited with the Universal Church keeping their own distinct apostolic linage according to the Eastern Churches’ traditions. They retained their own habits and used their own liturgical language in Greek, Arabic, Armenian etc. but all recognize the Pope as visible head of the Universal Church of Christ. In fact, the Catholic Church, the original Church of Christ founded by Christ in Jerusalem through St. Peter (which the cult of Felix Manalo even recognized (PASUGO Abril 1966, p. 46: Ang Iglesia Katolika na sa pasimula ay siyang Iglesia ni Cristo) has many liturgical rites apart from the usual Latin rite we know and see on TV. Concealed to Mr. Obligacion and the Iglesia ni Cristo members by their Ministers, here is the list of Catholic Rites both practiced in the Western and the Eastern Churches (thanks to HolySpiritInteractive.net).

(1) The Patriarchal Latin Catholic Church – uses the Latin Rite
(2) The Patriarchal Armenian Catholic Church – uses the Armenian Rite founded by Sts. Thaddaeus and Bartholomew
(3) The Patriarchal Coptic Catholic Church – uses the Alexandrian Rite founded by St. Mark
(4) The Ethiopian Catholic Church – uses the Ge-ez Rite
(5) The Patriarchal Antiochian Syrian Maronite Catholic Church – uses the West Syrian Maronite Rite – founded by St. James
(6) The Patriarchal Chaldean Catholic Church – uses the East Syrian Rite
(7) The Syro-Malabar Catholic Church – uses the East Syrian Rite
(8) The Patriarchal Syrian Catholic Church – uses the West Syrian Rite
(9) The Syro-Malankara Catholic Church –uses the West Syrian Rite
(10) The Patriarchal Melkite Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(11) The Italo-Albanian Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(12) The Ukrainian Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(13) The Ruthenian Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(14) The Byzantine Catholic Church USA (Rusyn — Ruthenian — Slovak) – uses the Byzantine Rite
(15) The Romanian Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(16) The Greek Catholic Church in Greece – uses the Byzantine Rite
(17) The Greek Catholic Church in former Yugoslavia – uses the Byzantine Rite
(18) The Bulgarian Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(19) The Slovak Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(20) The Hungarian Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(21) The Russian Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(22) The Belarusian Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(23) The Albanian Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(24) The Georgian Catholic Church – uses the Byzantine Rite
(25) Convert Catholics from Anglican Communion – uses Anglican-Latin Rite


Concerning the name of the Church which should be Christ’s, again Mr. Conrad J. Obligacion used the Iglesia ni Cristo argument that the Church which belongs to Christ must “bear” his name.
“…if the founder of the Church is Christ, they (sic) it is only logical and reasonable to assume that the name of his (Christ) church be named after him, Christ church or Church of Christ. It cannot be Roman Catholic church as those names don’t even appear in the bible where the life and ministry of the Lord is chronicled.”

Most importantly, we should note that Christ NEVER commanded his apostles to name a Church after him. In the same manner, he never commanded his apostles to register a church in the Philippines as “Iglesia ni Cristo”. He NEVER commanded his apostles to designate an “Angel” Felix Manalo in 1914 and the Manalos to OWN a church as a corporation sole, managed and run by the Manalo clan. Rather he warned us of the coming of false prophets (Mt. 7:15-20. The bible warned us that there would be false gospels preached by false prophets and angels, “let them be accursed” said St. Paul (Gal. 1:9. Jesus never left his Church!

This is what Jesus left us. He left us distinct Marks which tell apart the true from the false churches. Only the real Church of Christ which Christ founded (PASUGO Abril 1966, p. 46: Ang Iglesia Katolika na sa pasimula ay siyang Iglesia ni Cristo) in Jerusalem has rightfully claim that it is ONE, HOLY, CATHOLIC and APOSTOLIC. False churches claiming to be Christ’s like the Iglesia ni Cristo (exclusively written in Filipino) in the Philippines and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints have none of these marks except that they use the argument that the original Church of Christ which was the Catholic Church apostatized. The Bible is simply silent on these assertions by these false churches founded by men proclaiming themselves as “last prophets” and “last messengers” or “angels” worthy of allegiance.
"But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach (to you) a gospel other than the one that we preached to you, let that one be accursed! Gal. 1:9.
The Bible says, Christ is the culmination of everything and that his Church would last till the ends of times. He promised that the gates of hell “will never” prevail and that he will not leave her like orphaned. Therefore we don’t need last prophets and messengers disguising as angels to restore his Church for his Church never apostatized. He warned us of the coming of such false prophets preaching other gospels apart from what was taught by his disciples.

As a matter of fact, the true Church of Christ is the Catholic Church according to historical facts found in wikipedia, encyclopedias, and the PASUGO, the official magazine of the Iglesia ni Cristo, and according to the chronicles of history.
Again, wikipedia says,
“The History of the Catholic Church is traced by the Church back to apostolic times and thus covers a period of nearly 2,000 years, making it one of the world's oldest institutions. The history of the Church is an integral part of the History of Christianity and the history of Western civilization.”

Iglesia ni Cristo members do not celebrate Christmas or the celebration of the birth of the Son of God, Jesus Christ the Savior. Here’s Mr. Obligacion’s assertions:

“… the Catholic church was defeated and conquered by paganism. All of the rituals, traditions and practices of the Roman Catholic church (sic) and it’s offspring are based on pagan practices, traditions and rituals. For example, Christmas
In the 4th century CE, Catholicism imported the Saturnalia festival hoping to take the pagan masses in with it. Catholic leaders succeeded in converting large numbers of pagans by promising them that they could continue to celebrate the Saturnalia as Catholics.[2]

The problem was that there was nothing intrinsically Christian about Saturnalia. To remedy this, these Catholics leaders named Saturnalia’s concluding day, December 25th, to be Jesus’ birthday.”

But PASUGO says otherwise:
PASUGO Disyembre 1957, p. 28:
(sinulat ni Emeliano I. Agustin)

"Ang diwa ng Pasko ay kapayapaan;
Nang mundong naglunoy sa lusak ng Buhay;
Mabuting balita sa kinalulugdan;
Pagsilang ni Jesus sa abang sabsaban."
(Patula)

Mr. Obligacion’s intellectual dishonesty proves him unreliable. Again, he failed to give us his sources. Instead of proving the Iglesia ni Cristo set of doctrines, he demonizes Catholic festivities like Christmas to prove him. His accusations are not convincing either.

Here’s the truth. According to Encarta Encyclopedia, Christmas is:
1. Festival celebrating birth of Jesus Christ: a Christian festival marking the birth of Jesus Christ. December 25
2. Christmas period: the period around December 25, or the Christian church season extending from December 24 to January 6
Christmas was taken from the Old English Cristes maesse “mass of Christ’
I don’t understand why Encarta Encyclopedia and other encyclopedias don’t agree with the Iglesia ni Cristo. These sources also believed that Christmas is all about the Birth of the Son of God and not about paganism as Mr. Obligacion is accusing Catholics of. I am certain that Encyclopedias are not all Catholics. The problem lies when anti-Catholics like him failed to see Catholics celebrating the event while the Iglesia ni Cristo and other anti-Catholics celebrate the date. Can you see the huge difference?

Again, here’s the truth. December 25th as a date wasn’t originally a Christian celebration. That’s a fact. December 25th was a pagan celebration of the winter’s solstice. Before the date was replaced by Christian celebration for Christmas, each year beginning in December 17, pagan Romans honor Saturn (god of Agriculture). The celebration was called “Saturnalia” which lasted for 7 days ending on the 25th of December. With this celebration, pagan Romans postponed all business, warfare and exchange gifts with friends and family.

Aside from the Saturnalia festivals, pagan Romans also celebrate Persian god of light called “Mithra” glorifying her for the lengthened daylight. Although the Gospels didn’t specifically mention the date of Christ’s birth, the Catholic Church chose December 25 as the birth of Jesus Christ whom the Bible says “the Light of the World.” Today, Christmas which falls on the 25th of December is a world major Christian celebration of the Birth of Chirst, the Light of the World.
Sol Invictus (Unconquered Sun) was also celebrated on this day before it was Christianized (Unconquered Son).

Early Christians risked their lives preaching Christ to pagans. Iglesia ni Cristo Ministers and its members don’t have that zeal of risking their lives to preach Christ to those who haven’t heard the Good News. What a shame!
Now, where is paganism? Those who are against Christ and his Church are trying to demonize Catholic Festivities like Christmas to prove that the Catholic Church is pagan.

Sorry to the members of the Iglesia ni Cristo but Christmas is a celebration of the birth of the Unconquered Son, the Light of the World, Son of the Living God.
Which is more important, celebrating the birth of the Lord Jesus Christ? Or celebrating the founding anniversary of the Iglesia ni Cristo which Christ has nothing to do with it?

Instead of questioning December 25 as Christmas Day, why not espouse reason in your faith and explain apologetically why you also celebrate July 27 with fanfare and festivities? Did God in the Bible command you to celebrate the founding anniversary of your church in a particular date every 27th day of July?
“…another paganism based religion, the RCC.” –Conrad J. Obligacion (INC member)
“Ang Iglesia Katolika na sa pasimula ay siyang Iglesia ni Cristo" - PASUGO Abril 1966, p. 46
Here's what the Iglesia ni Cristo's position about Christmas:

ANG PALAGAY NG IGLESIA NI CRISTO SA PASKO

1. PASUGO Disyembre 1956, p. 34: (sinulat ni Benjamin T. Villalba)
"It strikes people as odd that members of the Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo) do not celebrate Christmas. (ang Iglesia ni Cristo ay tuwirang hindi nagdiriwang ng Pasko ng kapanganakan ni Cristo).

2. PASUGO Disyembre 1957, p. 28: (sinulat ni Emeliano I. Agustin)
"Ang diwa ng Pasko ay kapayapaan;
Nang mundong naglunoy sa lusak ng Buhay;
Mabuting balita sa kinalulugdan;
Pagsilang ni Jesus sa abang sabsaban."
(Patula)
Between Mr. Obligacion vs. Pasugo, I’d choose the official one.
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Further Reading: Read Explore Church History

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