"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, April 29, 2009

The Church that Connects Bridges

Following his predecessor the servant of God John Paul II, our present Pope Benedict XVI will be visiting the Holy Land and meet both the Jewish and Palestinian leaders.

Before the advent of the new Millennium the late servant of God John Paul II was given strength by his Master to see for the last time the land he trod and commissioned his 12 disciples to “preach the Gospel to all Nations.”

This coming May, the Holy Father will be seeing the same land where Jesus walked lived with his family and friends until he was accused of blasphemy (which he never recanted), put to death and rose again from the dead. I hope this is just the beginning of his mission to build bridges to rivaling groups profaning the Holy Land.

We, Catholics should be praying for our Pope’s effort to bring peace to the Holy Land and the World. We should be praying for every human person he will be meeting for the sake of those helpless innocent residents both in Palestine and in Israel—the aged, women, children, sick, and those who have lost their loved ones after the recent exchange of rockets from both sides.

We, Catholics should be praying for the Palestinians through its leader Abu Mazen and his selfless efforts to unite the Palestinians under one flag, one leader and one nation. We should pray also for those Palestinians who neither wanted peace nor doing any effort to reconcile with Mr. Abbas. We pray for extremists who uses intimidation and terror against it’s own people just because they differ in religion. We also have to pray for those Palestinians in general who refused to recognize the State of Israel (and I am not politicizing) who are waging perpetual war against Israel. We must pray for Palestinian fighters who are outside Palestine living in democratic countries that they may make use of their God given rights to foster peace, not war and hatred. Let’s consider the beautiful message of Fatima “Pray for Peace” pray the Rosary for peace.

We, Catholics should pray for the State of Israel and its leaders. We pray for tolerance and vigilance against any threat of violence for the sake of the God our father Abraham has worshipped in the “Promised Land.”

Mostly, let’s pray for every human person the Holy Father may have touched. May the Holy Spirit be with him and protect him while he’s trying to build bridges for the sake of peace.

I urge our separated brethren in the Protestant Church to pray for us in this historical moment when we Christians should be offering our peace to those who don’t have it. And if we need to offer the other cheek, let’s offer it with respect, tolerance, charity. And above all, let’s offer it our of our Love for the Christ who disguises as our “enemy.”
(Further Reading: Bridge Builder by David MacDonald)

Picture Credit: Thanks to Rome Reports

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Church of God or Church of Christ?

Church of God or Church of Christ? or Iglesia ni Cristo (1914)?

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”?

-Jenny Pambid
Isabela, Philippines

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 VersionJustify FullLamsa 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.

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)
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.

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."

Source: Wikipedia
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."

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.
In the meantime, here are some carefully chosen verses the Iglesia ni Cristo (1914) use specifically quoted. For what motive? Discover it yourself!

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, "Far East," and NKJV for the

"west" 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

Friday, April 17, 2009

We are NOT more than the Master....

Anti-Catholics brutally called the Catholic Church as “Whore of Babylon”, the Pope as the “anti-Christ”, priests as “disciples of the devil”, its doctrines as the “doctrines of Satan”, and Catholics as “pagans”.

Are these accusations foreign to us? Definitely not at all. Out of the 21 Ecumenical Councils the Church have had so far, these issues have been dealt with with prudence, charity and love, coupled with wisdom, Church Father's writings, Holy Tradition, Sacred Scripture, Theology, intelligence and common sense.

The enemies of Jesus had accused him of having “evil spirits” (see Matthew 12:24-32) in him and he was even accused of having the power of the darkness in “casting out evil spirits.”

During his public ministry, Jesus never promised us daily fair weather. But he promised us that at the end of each storm, there’s another good sunshine ahead. A disciple must learn how to humbly carry his or her own cross, carry it wholeheartedly like what he did and rejoices that he or she’s sharing the sufferings He bore for us (see Matthew 16:24-25).

More than 200 years after the last apostle died, evil men blended into the Church “in sheep’s clothing” and preached false teachings among Christ’s followers bringing with him some of his sheeps-- confused them, wondered and lost their way to perdition. But the Church which Christ founded survived as He promised “the gates of Hell will never prevail against his Church.” (see Apostolic Succession)

Then a few years later the power of darkness through many abusive pastors caused scandal among pious Christians. Martin Luther was among them. He was so much disgusted with what he witnessed in Rome. The Catholic Church never blamed him for such a dissent because through his "Reformation" the Catholic Church had to "sit in ash" and "cover its head with sackcloth" as a consequence of human weakness. Just like other dissenters, he too allowed himself to be used by the power of darkness, challenge the authority of the Church by declaring the Pope as the “anti-Christ” denied his authority as the Successor of Peter and Catholics as “enemies of the Truth.”

He and his disciples, waged war against Catholics. Human as they are, Catholics that time resorted to vengeance and fought a "tooth-for-a-tooth" which Christ had abolished with the law of Love. Some Catholics morally erred by retaliation instead by “offering the other cheek” to those who want to beat it. The power of darkness was desperate to destroy the Church through confusion, hatred, vengeance and killing but the whole Church stood strong as Jesus promised that “the gates of Hell will never prevail against his Church.”

From one, there came two. From two, there came four. From four there came twenty, fifty, hundreds, thousands and thousands of dissenting “Christians” from the Catholic Church and within the Protestant church.

In the Philippines alone, we have much, different in names and number of affiliates but they all have one thing in common- they all want to destroy the Church which Christ built upon the rock of Simon Peter. But as Jesus promised, “the gates of Hell will never prevail against his Church.”

Just as Satan used the Scripture to tempt Jesus during his 40 days fasting before his public ministry, these dissenters used the same Holy Book to destroy the Church which Christ built. “Not all who call me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven,” (Mt. 7:21) says Jesus. “Only those who do the will of the Father will be saved.”

The Church which Christ built upon the rock of Peter- the Catholic Church has been busy taking care of the poor and the needy with tireless and selfless giving activities of chaste missionaries around the world, saints and pious Christians shed their blood for the sake of Christ and offered “the other cheek” to those who beat them. We have institutions, schools, hospitals, etc to help the poor. We busy ourselves in following Christ’s command that “whatever you do to the least of my brethren, you did it to me.” (Mt. 25:40)

On the contrary, dissenters of the Church busy themselves in spreading lies against the Church. They neither defend Christ nor his Church but defended their founder and their incorporated churches. “Not all who call me ‘Lord, Lord’ will enter the Kingdom of God.”

History says that Spain brought Christianity in the Philippines in 1521. Abusive Spanish “men of God” added some dissenters to Protestant missionaries brought by the Americans who invaded the Philippines and spread their man-made churches using the same Holy Scriptures on their hands and converted many ignorant Catholics to their fold.

Today, among the noisiest anti-Catholics in the Philippines are the Seventh-Day Adventist or what we call “Sabadistas” founded by Helen G. White for they have been preaching all through their literature that the Catholic Church is the “Whore of Babylon” and the Pope as the “anti-Christ” prophesied in Revelation.

Equal guilty of such an accusation to Christ's Body--the Church is the Iglesia ni Cristo, founded by Felix Y. Manalo in July 27, 1914 whose anti-Catholic teachings were the exact copies from the Seventh-Day Adventists for once he was a staunch defender of the Sabadistas. He regarded himself as the "Last Messenger" or an "angel" while Christ as mere human being.

We have ADD (Ang Dating Daan) by Eliseo Soriano, Apollo Quiboloy who regarded himself as “Son of God.” All are using the Holy Scripture prove their personal claims and to destroy the Church which Christ built upon the rock of Peter. But the Church IS as Jesus promised that “the gates of Hell will never prevail against his Church.”

So that authoritative books such as Encyclopedias, Atlas, Historical books unanimously agree to the fact that there’s only one institution in the world that claims apostolic historicity unchallenged by any honest modern historian--it's the Catholic Church as the only institution that can trace its history back to the time of the Apostles, making it the oldest world institution in the world with more than 2,000 years of existence. For Christ promise that "the gates of Hell will never prevail against his Church."

Truly, Christ’s words will never pass away. And that “the gates of Hell will never prevail against his Church” be it from Arius, Nestorius, the Great Schism, Martin Luther, John Calvin, John Knox, John Wesley, King Henry VIII, Ellen G. White, Joseph Smith, Jack Chick, Felix Manalo, Eliseo Soriano, Apollo Quiboloy could destroy Christ true Church—for he promised it will not yield!

And if they have persecuted the Master himself, we are not more than him! But surely, Christ's Church will triumph for this is what he promised us!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Peace is (Very Much) Possible in Dialogue

If not us, who will initiate dialogue?

In a world that’s dominated by fear from terrorism, bigotry, hatred, ignorance, malice, racial and religious discrimination and lies, whom shall we turn to? Who shall stand side by side with the oppressed? Who should speak for the persecuted minorities? Who should protect the marginalized race of people and religion?

The biggest threat we are facing today is terrorism by some lost souls who want nothing but make this small world we live in “unsafe.” Their grave threats to innocent people gave rise to intolerance, inequity and hate that divided us from them.

It takes tougher people to challenge these threats and the only way we can beat them is through peaceful dialogue.

Let’s talk, sip coffee and feel relaxed. Let’s talk about our similarities and our common interest. Let’s discuss head-leveled issues and try to understand each other point of view, not by confrontational argument but by learning the good things one has to offer.

Of course, we will always have differences. For what’s the beauty in life when we all are alike? The source of Wisdom himself has designed that everyone should be unique and that anyone should be interested with what others has (not coveting it) but to appreciate what others have and to cultivate what we have.

Peace is not a word. It’s an action. It involves our collective efforts to have it.
Peace is not remote. It’s within us. It only needs a loving heart to unleash it’s healing power.
We all need peace within our selves and in the societies we’re living. This is the reason why we need to dialogue and share our friendship. Thanks to God and to my Catholic heritage through the leadership of our present Pope Benedict XVI that it takes a big heart and humble spirit to accept this fact. With the whole Church, we pray that our efforts to sow peace regardless of our racial and religious differences will materialize. If not soon, maybe our children’s children would reap what we have sown.

Let’s all work for peace. No more Jews, Christians and Muslims. No more blacks and whites. Let’s celebrate our humanity and live in peaceful co-existence with the world.

Costodian of the Two Holy Mosques King Abdullah of Saudi Arabia and the leader of the 2.2 Billion Catholics Pope Benedict XVI met, first time in history that a Saudi monarch visited the Pope in Vatican City, Rome

Muslim - Christian Dialogue in Vatican City, Rome.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Saudi Convert Blogger Released

What a relief. The 28 years old Saudi national who made public his conversion to Christianity at Saudi for Christ Blog (translate his blog here) was freed according to Asianews.

Hamoud Saleh Al-Amri, who's been jailed since January for his conversion said that his release could be a result from pressures mounted by Human Rights Watchdog in the Middle East. Now he's back to writing in his blog (in Arabic) [Saudi for Christ Blog (translate his blog here)] .

We must note that in Saudi Arabia, Christianity and other religions are strictly forbidden, only Sunni Islam is recognized, and any violation would be meted with harsh punishment. It could be an indefinite jail term, a few whips or be sentenced to severe physical punishment or expulsion from the Kingdom or death to some who preached and proselytize Muslims in the Kingdom.

Shariah is the supreme law of Saudi Arabia and since Mr. Hamoud Saleh Al-Amri is a Saudi national- and a Muslim the law of the kingdom should be upheld to its fullest extent . That means he should be sentenced to death as apostate deserting Islam. But a miracle had happened. He's not only spared from death sentence but he's freed (temporarily banning him from traveling outside the Kingdom and to speak to the media).

God is great!
I join the whole Christian world and the Catholic Church in particular for this great felt joy.
Pray! It works!
Hopefully he's well taken cared by the Saudi government through the kindness of King Abdullah.

Further reading: Persecuted Church Blog

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Nothing Personal

I have been a member of a Filipino forum at www.pinoyexchange.com since 2005. I have posted thousands at Realm of Thoughts. Among those thousands, I kept my faith in the Catholic Church simple as I understood it. I am no theologian or an exegit. I am just an ordinary Catholic who answers ordinary questions that non-Catholics ask repetitively annoying that had been answered thousands of years ago.

I have discussed religious issues with non-Catholics and atheists alike. During those heated discussions, I tried to maintain friendship and infuse prudence so as to keep the discussions "head-leveled." I have established my name at that forum to some negatively to those who vehemently oppose to any Catholic position I can answer with all honesty. Those Catholics PEXers (as we use to call ourselves) knew that "losav" is a Catholic and he will always be. And they have been attacking me personally and my life--not the issues I raised.

Through the years of posting some of personal thoughts which reflects the Catholic Church's teachings, there were those hitting below the belt using nasty words such as foul languages that it's demeaning one's dignity. Others resort to naming names for intimidation. Worst there are those who resort to "personality attack" just to keep their head banging on mine.

I am referring to members of the cult of Felix Manalo established in the Philippines in July 27, 1914, the Iglesia ni Cristo. Unable to refute squarely at this article (Why a Multi-Million Dollar Cult Doesn't Have a Website) some disgraced members accused (not officially) me of quoting from a libelous site (here) which truth seekers have visited from time to time without any hint of having a libelous statement, considering that what the author was saying were from his personal account of the cult Iglesia ni Cristo. Instead of attacking me, ave their cult pressed chargeds against the author of that article? If yes, how convenient it would be if they all let us all know by providing as a link or a copy of the verdict so as not to quote from libelous sites as they claim? So far they were just there talking. Because of that however to this date, I will give the author of that site (who's not even a Catholic) the benefit of the doubt and treated their accusations like nothing--or useless complaints from someone who's nothing but an empty can who cannot even explain rationally what IS Iglesia ni Cristo and what's NOT.

Rather, as someone who loves searching everything via the Internet, pardon my insistence but I am questioning seriously why such a huge "corporation sole" with splendid uniform richly built temples all over the country and the countryside and elsewhere where Filipinos are migrating, doesn't even have an official website? (Try seeing the official Church Documents found at the Vatican City's official website or here or here or here) What's keeping them from exposing officially what they believed? If I were a member, , (thanks God I am not!) I will use my God-given ability to reason out why under the heavens the Iglesia ni Cristo management headed by their Chief Executive Minister, the son of the founder, Erano Manalo keeping his teachings to himself? Failure to do so would create deeper doubts why there's such a secrecy? Is it a "Pandora's Box"?

If they want the whole world to be "saved" and be members of their cult, and if their "church" is the "true" church as they love to claim again and again in their TV shows, then publish it official and then we can discuss from there. So far, the only "official" thing they're circulating in public is their Pasugo and the Message" magazine which their Ministers pay and distributed "for free" if the author of "INC in a Nutshell's account is true.

Trying to discredit me, it would be more intelligible to do that by using their reasoning ability instead of resorting to personality attack. No matter how little their intelligence it may be, in a world of free-speech and respect and tolerance, this is very much possible.

I wish the next time you come here and lecture me of history, try applying that to yourself, pressure Iglesia ni Cristo management to have their teachings available for the public to see and then let's discuss.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Remembering the Lord who Died for Us

"Yet it was our infirmities that he bore, our sufferings that he endured, While we thought of him as stricken, as one smitten by God and afflicted. But he was pierced for our offenses, crushed for our sins, Upon him was the chastisement that makes us whole, by his stripes we were healed." (Isaiah 53:5)

This is a powerful biblical text prophesying about the "Suffering Servant" in The Passion of the Christ filmed by Mel Gibson taken from the Book of the Prophet Isaiah who lived in the 8th Century B.C. There are who denied that Christ had ever been crucified, instead it was somebody who looks like him replaced him to be hanged on the cross.

We Christians particularly the whole Catholic Church commemorates this day when our Salvation has made possible through Christ's passion and death.

St. Paul's letter to the Philippians says "[T]hough he was in the form of God, [Jesus] did not regard equality with God something to be grasped. Rather, he emptied himself, taking the form of a slave, coming in human likeness; 5 and found human in appearance, he humbled himself, becoming obedient to death, even death on a cross (Phil. 2:6-9)."

Because of this day's theme, it makes it different from the rest of the days in a year. There is no Mass. There's no candles lit in the tabernacle. There's no fancy altar sheets. All is bare. You can feel the gloom inside the Church and the sadness we remember more than 2000 years ago.

I have been a Catholic for years since birth and I vow to remain in Christ's Church until he takes my soul back in due time. Just like any of the "un-informed" Catholics who jumped off the Church due to ignorance and joining churches built by men, I too came to a point that almost made me do the same. Some scandals within the hierarchy of the Church and the unusual individual and collective "Catholic" practices some were displaying as an expression of their devotion to the the Divine, due to my ignorance, I was almost persuaded by those anti-Catholic rhetoricians. Among the charges which were long been refuted many many centuries ago was the accusation that Catholics worship Mary and the Saints.

I thought being a good and true Catholic, one must attend the Mass on Sundays and holidays of obligation appointed by the Church, or say the Rosary or the Novena. i didn't know they're just devotions aiding our faith and not as a commandment. Again this is one of the accusations our separated brethren are accusing us. Thanks, my parents are devout Catholics. Although they'd be considered less catechized but their faith was strong enough to keep in-tact.

I was exposed to different religious views from other non-Catholics when I was in college. Some would deny the perpetual Virginity of the Blessed Virgin Mary, others view Jesus as their Personal Lord and Savior and having faith alone can save them in an instant. Others have opposing views such as Jesus was a man only, some says Jesus was the Archangel Gabriel and many more.

What they have in common is that all are against the Catholic Church.

So instead of joining any of their groups, I start reading Catholic books written by different apologetic whose wisdom and knowledge has been tested. I was surprised to know that all of the accusations from our separated brethren have been thoroughly answered thousands of years ago. What we are hearing now from them are just 'recycled' ones. The latest in the Philippines with un-biblical teachings was the Iglesia ni Cristo also founded by a self-proclaimed "Last Messenger", a man named Felix Manalo.

Today, the true Church of Christ which dates back to the time of the Apostles, no other churches can claim is remembering how our founder suffered crucifixion on the cross to save all those who wish to be saved. It was through his salvific action one is saved and not by merely joining a church founded by a mere man with questionable morality during his lifetime.

As I reflect today through the unusual long list of "prayers of the faithful" we remember all those who deny Christ that God in his mercy would send the spirit to illumine their hearts and to appreciate what is true and what is good. We also remember all those non-Catholics who in one way or the other thought of considering the Church as their own too.

One of the most energetic and holy Catholic Indian Priests serving at Our Lady of the Holy Rosary Catholic Parish first in Doha

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

No Need for a Last Messenger!

Recently, a die-hard member of the cult Iglesia ni Cristo came across my blog. I don’t know his name nor he or she introduced himself or herself in his blog. What I know was that he was forced to make his blog so as to counter some entries I have in my blog. He was a bit nasty and sarcastic with his approach which warned me not to give in to his provocation to exchange words with him by visiting his blog at resbak.com (resbak (v)is a Filipino word for vengeance). As I was expecting, he’s never friendly enough to consider my points.

Whereas I have been honest in my blog with my personal photo included in my header, the author of resbak.com doesn’t have anything about him. Without my permission, he took my photo and used it as his avatar at this forum with the intention of attacking my personality and not the issues I have with the cult of Felix Manalo. Though his actuations were insulting but it helped me advertise my blog; it’s blessings in disguise (lol).

Again, let me start with a premise that I am sure all Iglesia ni Cristo cult members including the author of resbak.com and I would agree: that the Lord Christ Jesus is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE (John 14:6). He, the Christ never uttered LIES for he is the author of all that is TRUE. Only the Father of all lies (the Evil One) can do that.

Again this same Christ Jesus said “Heaven and earth shall pass away: but my words shall not pass away.” (Luke 21:33 KJV). In other words, what Christ has uttered are ALL truth. We only have to subscribe to this absolute truth of the Bible that not a single of his words will pass away without happening.

This answer may be repetitive and is now becomes annoying but this is the truth I want to address each and every member of the cult of Felix Manalo that if Jesus never lied, why they believe to Felix Manalo’s “Total Apostacy” doctrine? If Christ says all that is TRUTH there’s no need to re-establish the original Church because it never was gone.

In Matthew 16:16, after Simon bar Jonah (Peter-rock) confessed that Jesus is the Messiah, the Son of God, this same Christ who is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE told Simon Peter that upon this rock he WILL build his Church and the Gates of Hell WILL NEVER prevail against it.

If we accept the teachings of the cult of Manalo that the Church has apostatized, then we are making Christ a liar which is totally contradicting our premise.

As this same Christ who is the WAY, the TRUTH, and the LIFE had uttered that his Church WILL NEVER apostatized, then who is Felix Manalo to say Christ’s words ceased to be effective? There could be never two Churches and there could never be two truths. Between Jesus and Felix Manalo, one of them MUST BE the LIAR. And most certainly without any hint of doubt, Jesus IS NOT!

Heaven and earth may pass away but the Bible made it clear that Christ’s words WILL NOT! And he said His Church WILL NEVER be quenched by any evil power, any lies, any slander, any deceit, any falsehood, any mistake, any sin, any history, any weather, any politics, any wordly power, His Church WILL perpetually exists even if this Church wouldn’t conform to our present world, it will not yield.

From these basic truths of the Bible, there is no need for another Messenger, now or in the future for Christ is the Last and Perfect of all Prophets and Sages and Messengers. The culmination of everything is Christ so that after him there’s no one to replace his redemptive action.

Sad to say but our separated brethren and in particular, the harshest words come from the Seventh-Day Adventists and the Iglesia ni Cristo in whose teachings they demonized Christ’s Church and deceive many. Iglesia ni Cristo’s PANDOKTRINA authored by the founder of this cult is full of hatred and bigotry against Christ’s true Chruch—the Catholic Church according to their PASUGO Abril 1966, p. 46: "Ang Iglesia Katolika na sa pasimula ay siyang Iglesia ni Cristo." (The Catholic Church in the beginning was the [true] Church of Christ.")

Christ’s Church is one and it’s not many. His Church was established in Jerusalem according to PASUGO Mayo 1954, p. 9, and in more than 2000 years, this same Church is vibrant in our midst and Successor of Peter as our earthly leader.

There’s no other truth than this, that Christ is the WAY, the TRUTH and the LIFE and that He has only ONE Church for there is only ONE LORD, One Faith, One Baptism (Eph 4:5).

I hope I made sense.

To Jesus Christ be praise forever!

NB. Members of this cult can’t blame me for quoting third party sources because they don’t make their teachings available in bookshelves. The Official Catechism of the Catholic Church is there for everyone to read but to this date, this cult claiming to be Christ’s “true” Church have none!)

Further Reading: Cult Help

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.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Remembering the Great Man Karol Wojtyla

Four years ago, today, we remember the death of one of the most beloved Pope of the Catholic Church, a zealous religious and political leader who brought order to our disorderly world. Pope John Paul II's death on April 2, 2005 was mourned by Catholics and non-Catholics alike even non-Christians. The news scattered so quickly like a wild fire that on that same hour, people were seen rushing to the Vatican square hugging each other like they lost their own father. In my flat in Saudi Arabia, I wept so bitterly when the news came to me. John Paul II was closest to youths and I was there when he visited Philippines for the 10th World Youth Day in Manila where he gathered more than 4 million people, the largest gathering he got. Thanks to giant news cable channel like CNN, BBC, Al-Jazeera when they were there bringing fresh news to millions who have been touched by this saintly man.

Pope John Paul's Funeral, was considered the largest single gathering of of Dignitaries so far. Among those who paid visits were Patriarchs from Eastern Churches and the Archbishop of the Church of England.

We pray that John Paul II may kindly look down on us his beloved people and listen to our supplication to God through his intercession and be counted soon among the ranks of those whose robes were washed by the Blood of the Lamb.

As Deacon Keith Fournier puts it in words, John Paul II is "a genuine human being with a heart that embraced the whole world, like the Heart of the One whom he represents on earth. He was truly the “Vicar of Christ”, representing the Lord, the King of Kings, for us all. We had him but a short time."

John Paul II, pray for us!

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