"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, September 4, 2010

On Holy Images: How do Iglesia ni Cristo apologists repond?

Here is another excellent rebuttal to Iglesia ni Cristo's two-faceted principle application on dealing with "images" in general. We should note that the Iglesia ni Cristo (a cult founded by Felix Manalo in the Philippines) condemns ALL HOLY IMAGES in the Catholic Church (which they admitted to be the TRUE Church of Christ source: PASUGO Abril 1966, p. 46) while they proudly erected an image of Felix Manalo at their Central Temple in Diliman (darkness in Tagalog), Quezon City in the Philippines.

Photo Source: philippinepoliticsismyreligion

Thanks to Catholic Eternal Truth Blog for this excellent apologetics:

INC Apologist Evades a Catholic Apologist Questions

I posted the following questions for the apologist of Iglesia ni Cristo in Bishop Tagle's discussion board in facebook.

TANONG PARA SA MGA MIYEMBRO NG KULTO NI FELIX MANALO:

1. Did God absolutely prohibit ALL KINDS OF IMAGES? [Yes or No]

2. If God prohibited ALL KINDS OF IMAGES would it imply that even your very own picture is prohibited by God? [Yes or No]

3. If God did not prohibit ALL KINDS OF IMAGES, what then are the kinds of images that God prohibited?

4. In Exodus 20:3-5, what kind of images were prohibited? ALL KINDS OF IMAGES or IMAGES OF IDOLS?

5. Is the image of Christ an image of an idol?

6. Did God prohibit the making of an image of a holy person? [Yes or No]

7. Is a Holy person an idol?

8. What makes an image idol?

9. Did God commanded the making of images?

10. To follow your logic, would you then agree that your minsters should destroy the statue of Manalo in your central office? Since in Ex.20:4 it says, "You are not to make an image or picture of anything in heaven or on the earth or in the waters under the earth:", and the statue of manalo is an image of manalo here on earth.

And this is the answer of the INC apologist trying to evade most of my simple questions.

sahel Alfonso posted: TANONG PARA SA MGA MIYEMBRO NG KULTO NI FELIX MANALO:(correction: Iglesia Ni Cristo)


1. Did God absolutely prohibit ALL KINDS OF IMAGES? [Yes or No]
Sagot ko po: Basahin mo ang Exo. 201-5 ( huwag yes or no lang ang sagot. it's not fair)


2. If God prohibited ALL KINDS OF IMAGES would it imply that even your very own picture is prohibited by God? [Yes or No]
Sagot ko po uli: Basahin mo ang Exo. 20:1-5


3. If God did not prohibit ALL KINDS OF IMAGES, what then are the kinds of images that God prohibited?
Sagot ko po: Exo. 20:1-5 "huwag ninyong yuyukuran o' paglilingkuran man"


4. In Exodus 20:3-5, what kind of images were prohibited? ALL KINDS OF IMAGES or IMAGES OF IDOLS?
Sagot ko po: "....you should not bow down to all kinds of images before God.


5. Is the image of Christ an image of an idol?
Sagot ko po: There is no real images of Jesus Christ been recorded in the holy scriptures. The images of Jesus Christ inside the church of Roman Catholic is not the real images of Jesus Christ. Means "Fake"


6. Did God prohibit the making of an image of a holy person? [Yes or No]
Sagot ko po: any images like in heaven, in earth and in the sea, bow down to them is prohibited by God.


7. Is a Holy person an idol? Sagot ko po: What do you think?


8. What makes an image idol? Sagot ko po: Bow down, kneeling down infront of them before God.


9. Did God commanded the making of images? Sagot ko po: Bronze Serpent and Querubins but not to worship, not to bow down or not to kneel down infront of them before God.


10. To follow your logic, would you then agree that your minsters should destroy the statue of Manalo in your central office?
Sagot ko po: As the same reasoning you hath applied with the pictures of your loved one's, with our Hero's statue in Rizal Park. There is no wrong in making any images as long you shall not worship it, not to bow down or kneel down infront of them before God.


Since in Ex.20:4 it says, "You are not to make an image or picture of anything in heaven or on the earth or in the waters under the earth:", and the statue of manalo is an image of manalo here on earth.


Sagot ko po: with the purpose of worshiping it, bow down or kneel down infront of it before God, is strickly prohibited by God.
In the case of FYM statue, it is with the same purpose of Dr. Jose Rizal statue, they have been made not for worshiping, they have been made not of the purpose of putting them inside the house of worship, thay have been made not for the purpose of people must be bow down or kneel down infront of them before God.


Unlike your images inside your churches, they have been served, people were bow down or kneeling down infront of them before God, while recutation of prayers and worshiping God.


Satisfied ka ba sa mga sagot? So, balikan mo yun mga tanong ko at ikaw naman ang sumagot ng mga yun. okay give and take lang tayo di ba?

And this is my response to the INC apologist

[Isahel Alfonso posted: TANONG PARA SA MGA MIYEMBRO NG KULTO NI FELIX MANALO:(correction: Iglesia Ni Cristo)]

The Church that Felix Manalo founded in 1914 cannot be the Church that Christ founded in Mt.16:18. Felix Manalo founded his church in Punta, Sta. Ana Manila in July 27 1914 (cf. Encyclopedia of the Philippines Vol.20, by Zoilo Galang). As a matter of fact he even registered it not as a religious organization but as a corporation,

Felix Y. Manalo officially registered the church as a corporation sole with himself as executive minister on July 27, 1914 and because of this, most publications refer to him as the founder of the church. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Iglesia_ni_Cristo

Clearly the church that Manalo founded is not really for the cause of religious belief but a business under the guise of religion. According to the weekly magazine on business, money and people Vol.1 No. 14, published June 6 1989.

The succession in the position chief executive minister of the INC proves that this group is a family owned business. As we all know when Felix Manalo died his son Erano Manalo succeeded him. And after the death of Erano Manalo his son Eduardo Manalo succeeded him. This form of succession is akin to handling over the ownership of a company registered as a sole proprietorship. Under this principle the title chief executive minister is only a façade what it really means is that the Manalo’s are the chief executive officer or owner of their company named Iglesia ni Cristo.

Now let’s go to the juicy part wherein the INC apologist tried to evade my questions.

Did God absolutely prohibit ALL KINDS OF IMAGES? [Yes or No]
Sagot ko po: Basahin mo ang Exo. 201-5 ( huwag yes or no lang ang sagot. it's not fair)

This question is similar to the question “are all apples red?” which can be answered by a yes or no. However instead of answering the question straight forward the INC apologist tried to evade the question by saying “it’s not fair”. What is in this question that he evaded answering it? This question is a basic inquiry regarding the images prohibited by God in the Bible. In order to fully understand the prohibition of the images we have to know first which images is prohibited. Thus the question “Did God prohibit all kinds of images?” is a valid query. If the answer to this question is “No” then it would imply that there are specific images that is prohibited and not prohibited by God. If the answer is “Yes” then it would also imply that all kinds of images regardless if it is used is abominable in the eyes of God including out very own pictures. And it would make photography and painting a sinful profession since both fields produce images. However basing on the Biblical data not all images are prohibited by God. In Ex.25:18 God commanded the making of the image of Cherubims, in Ex.20:3-5 it prohibits the images of idols.

Exodus 20:4 [Contemporary English Version]

Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth.

By practice INC do not believed that all kinds of image were prohibited by God as evidence by having a statue of Felix Manalo in their central office. But by principle they condemned all kinds of images as evidence by their slanderous claim that Catholics worship forbidden images. By doing so they had contradicted themselves and exposed their hypocrisy. Hence the INC apologist evaded to answer this question.

If God prohibited ALL KINDS OF IMAGES would it imply that even your very own picture is prohibited by God? [Yes or No]
Sagot ko po uli: Basahin mo ang Exo. 20:1-5

This question is aimed to know if our understanding of the prohibition by God on images is correct or not. The question is very categorical and simple. I did not ask where in the Bible God imposed the prohibition in images but rather is our pictures included in the prohibition of God. And again the INC apologist evaded the question because it refutes their principle that all kinds of images are prohibited by God. My question can be answered by a Yes or No, but instead that INC apologist gave me a passage from the Bible which is way out of my question, indeed they are the far-east-far-out.

If God did not prohibit ALL KINDS OF IMAGES, what then are the kinds of images that God prohibited?
Sagot ko po: Exo. 20:1-5 "huwag ninyong yuyukuran o' paglilingkuran man"

The INC apologist lacks reading comprehension, my question was, what kind of images were prohibited by God? But instead he answered me by citing a passage from the Bible and emphasizes “do not bow down and serve them”. The passage he cited answers my question but he intentionally emphasize verse 5 of Exodus chapter 10, but why? Why didn’t he emphasize verse 4 which directly answers my question? Verse 4 clearly answered what kinds of images were prohibited; it’s the images of idols.

Exodus 20:4 [Contemporary English Version]

Do not make idols that look like anything in the sky or on earth or in the ocean under the earth.

Yet he did not put emphasis on this passage because he will be in the dilemma of qualifying the images of Christ, Mary and saints as an image of idol. And in order for him to prove that these images are images of idols he has to prove that Christ, Mary and the saints are idols.

In Exodus 20:3-5, what kind of images were prohibited? ALL KINDS OF IMAGES or IMAGES OF IDOLS?
Sagot ko po: "....you should not bow down to all kinds of images before God.

Desperately the INC apologist evaded again the question. My question is very basic and simple, if the images prohibited in Exo.20:3-5 the images of idols or all kinds of images. And again I am confronted with a far-east-far-out answer. I was not asking whether we should bow down on images or not but rather on what kind of images were prohibited in Ex.20:3-5. Is the INC apologist intentionally evading my questions or he lacks reading comprehension? You’ll be the judge.

Is the image of Christ an image of an idol?
Sagot ko po: There is no real images of Jesus Christ been recorded in the holy scriptures. The images of Jesus Christ inside the church of Roman Catholic is not the real images of Jesus Christ. Means "Fake"

The INC apologist is using the principles of sola scriptura to disprove that the images of Christ in the Catholic Church is fake. The burden of proof is upon him to present evidence from the Bible and history that the images of Christ in the Catholic Church is fake. If the images of Christ in the Catholic Church is fake, whose image is it then? Where in the Bible also says that the images of Christ in the Catholic Church is fake?

Did God prohibit the making of an image of a holy person? [Yes or No]
Sagot ko po: any images like in heaven, in earth and in the sea, bow down to them is prohibited by God.

This question is actually a variation of my first question, I have anticipated that this INC apologist will evade my question, thus it is necessary to make variations in order trap this serpent. Basing on his answer he believes that all kinds of image were prohibited. Just I suspect by practice they believed that not all images are prohibited by God since they too has a statue of Felix Manalo in their central office. And in principle they believed that all images are prohibited. Clearly they contradicted themselves.

Is a Holy person an idol? Sagot ko po: What do you think?

When confronted with a straight forward question INC apologist does not know how to answer. The question I posted can be answered even by an elementary student, yet this INC apologist is playing dumb. What do I think? No it is not prohibited, the Cherubim is an angel and God commanded the making of its statue Ex.25:18.

What makes an image idol? Sagot ko po: Bow down, kneeling down infront of them before God.

This INC apologist exposes his ignorance of Biblical language kneeling down or bowing down in front of an image or a person does not make that person an idol. In Dan.2:46 King Nebuchadnezzar bowed down to Daniel does that make Daniel an idol?

Daniel 2:46 [God’s Word]

King Nebuchadnezzar immediately bowed down on the ground in front of Daniel. He ordered that gifts and offerings be given to Daniel.

Joshua 5:14 [Contemporary English Version]

"Neither," he answered. "I am here because I am the commander of the LORD's army." Joshua fell to his knees and bowed down to the ground. "I am your servant," he said. "Tell me what to do."

In these passages the term bowed down in Hebrew is שׁחה (shachah) which is used interchangeable for adoration to God or giving respect and veneration to Holy persons. The Hebrew language lacks the vocabulary of the English language thus in the Hebrew language a single word can have different meaning. When Catholics bow down to a statue he does not worship the statue in place of God or worship God through the statue. But rather he renders veneration or respect to the person represented by the image.

Did God commanded the making of images? Sagot ko po: Bronze Serpent and Querubins but not to worship, not to bow down or not to kneel down infront of them before God.

At last he did not evade the question and his answer is in conformity with the Catholic belief. God allowed the making of certain images as long as you do not worship those images. Catholics have images but we do not worship images in place of God or worship God through the images. I have already explained about “bow down” and “kneeling”, doing these actions does not connote worship.

To follow your logic, would you then agree that your minsters should destroy the statue of Manalo in your central office?
Sagot ko po: As the same reasoning you hath applied with the pictures of your loved one's, with our Hero's statue in Rizal Park. There is no wrong in making any images as long you shall not worship it, not to bow down or kneel down infront of them before God.

Since in Ex.20:4 it says, "You are not to make an image or picture of anything in heaven or on the earth or in the waters under the earth:", and the statue of manalo is an image of manalo here on earth.

Sagot ko po: with the purpose of worshiping it, bow down or kneel down infront of it before God, is strickly prohibited by God.
In the case of FYM statue, it is with the same purpose of Dr. Jose Rizal statue, they have been made not for worshiping, they have been made not of the purpose of putting them inside the house of worship, thay have been made not for the purpose of people must be bow down or kneel down infront of them before God.

Unlike your images inside your churches, they have been served, people were bow down or kneeling down infront of them before God, while recutation of prayers and worshiping God.

Catholic do not worship images, bowing down and kneeling in front of images does not make the image an idol not does it connote adoration. We have images of Saints not for the purpose of worshiping their statues but for the same purpose of having statues of our national heroes. You accused as of serving the images in our Church that is only your opinion and a product of your obscure reasoning. The Church do not teaches that images should be served. I challenge you to cite from the OFFICIAL MAGISTERIAL DOCUMENTS like CATECHISMS, PAPAL ENCYCLICAL and COUNCIL DECREES that images should be served and worship.

Satisfied ka ba sa mga sagot? So, balikan mo yun mga tanong ko at ikaw naman ang sumagot ng mga yun. okay give and take lang tayo di ba?

No I am not satisfied with your answer since you keep on evading my questions like how your ministers evade our questions.

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