Ni Bro. Marwil N. Llasos, OP
Taking something which does not belong to you is of course theft. What do you call it when the Iglesia ni Cristo ascribes unto itself what clearly belongs to the Catholic Church? Is it not also THEFT?
NAME GAME: EXPOSING IGLESIA NI CRISTO’S INTELLECTUAL DISHONESTY
The Iglesia ni Cristo (1914) points to its name to prove that it is the true church founded by Christ. As proof text for this claim, INC members instinctively point to Romans 16:16 of the Tagalog Bible. INC members have been drilled to recite by rote:
“Mangagbatian kayo ng banal na halik. Binabati kayo ng lahat ng mga iglesia ni Cristo” (Roma 16:16).
Since INC members are so used to the “tunog” system, they put great stress on “iglesia ni Cristo.” They simply take it for granted that Romans 16:16 talks about “mga iglesia ni Cristo” or “churches of Christ” – in the plural. Uncritical and unscholarly, INC members won’t go as far as investigating the original Greek of the text which mentions the plural ekklesiai. When you point this elementary fact to INC unthinking members, they will simply retort, “That’s your opinion.” INC debater Jose Ventilacion did that to Karl Keating of Catholic Answers.
Favorite reference of the Iglesia ni Cristo: Religion Doctrine and Practice by Francis B. Cassilly, S.J.
Another tactic of the INC, this time of their ministers and debaters, is to present books written by Catholic authors to prove that the Iglesia ni Cristo – Church of Christ in English – is the original true church. Again, the tactic is “tunog” system.
One standard reference for INC ministers and debaters is the book “Religion Doctrine and Practice” by Francis B. Cassilly, S.J. They will say that even Catholic priests admit that the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) is the true church founded by Christ. And then they will read a portion of Cassily’s book:
“2. Did Jesus Christ establish a Church?
Yes, from all history, both secular and profane, as well as from the Bible considered as a human document, we learn that Jesus Christ established a Church, which from the earliest times has been called after Him the Christian Church or the Church of Christ.” [p. 329]
INC ministers usually don't show the actual page they are quoting. Here it is. In the immediately preceding paragraph, Fr. Cassilly argued that one proof of the divinity of Christ is that He founded a Church. Remember that the Iglesia ni Cristo denies the divinity of Christ. Ergo, the INC is not the Church of Christ according to Fr. Cassilly
To the extreme delight of the unthinking INC crowd, the ministers translate it to Tagalog with delirious emphasis on “Iglesia ni Cristo.” The conclusion? They have proven that the Iglesia ni Cristo is the true Church founded by Christ – based on Catholic sources at that. But have they?
Herein lies the intellectual dishonesty and deception of the Iglesia ni Cristo. INC ministers do not mention the immediately preceding paragraph where Fr. Cassilly is proving the divinity of Christ. Yes, you’ve read it right – the DIVINITY of Christ.
Here’s what Fr. Cassilly is saying in the paragraph before the chopped quote of the INC:
“Jesus Christ, as we have seen before, was the Messias or Redeemer promised in the Old Law, for in Him all the prophecies were fulfilled. He claimed to be God, and as a proof worked by His own power many miracles. As a final demonstration of His divinity He promised to rise again to life after His death, and He kept His promise. Knowing, then, that Christ is God, we simply ask ourselves whether he founded a Church.” [p. 329]
And then follows the favorite quote of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
Why don’t the INC ministers mention that? Because it will unmask their pretense and deception that the Iglesia ni Cristo is the true Church founded by Christ as mentioned by Fr. Cassilly. The nerve for the INC ministers to claim that the INC is the true founded by Christ when it denies the divinity of Christ!
Fr. Cassilly’s point is clear. Christ is God and to prove His divinity He founded a Church which has been called after Him as the Christian Church or the Church of Christ. What about the Iglesia ni Cristo? Does it teach that Christ is God? NO! How dare you claim that you are that Church of Christ mentioned by Fr. Cassilly!
We have proven once again how this false church, so-called Church of Christ, would go just to prove that it is Christ’s church. Its very actuation of resorting to falsehood, intellectual dishonesty and deception shatters to bits and pieces its pretense to be the true Church founded by Christ. INC members are indeed of their father the devil (Jn. 8:44).
The reference used by INC ministers backfires on them. To Fr. Cassilly, the Christ's Church is the Catholic Church
Now let’s to turn to the true Church Fr. Cassilly has in mind:
“The lessons on the Catholic Church are among the most important in the study of religion; for if we once admit that the Catholic Church is the true Church established by God to teach men infallibly the way to heaven and that He has commanded all men to be members of it, our way is clear. We know, then, just what we must believe and do to be saved. But if there is no true Church or we do not know which it is, we shall have no guide as to what we must believe or do to reach heaven.
In this discussion we shall prescind from the inspiration of the Holy Bible, which we learn from the teaching of the Church, and draw our arguments from it merely as a historical document; for even as mere human history, it is just as worthy of belief as any other testimony of history.” [p. 328-329]
There is no doubt that to Fr. Cassilly’s mind, Christ’s Church is the Catholic Church. The Iglesia ni Cristo will never point out that fact:
“15. By what name do we call Christ’s Church?
We call Christ’s Church the holy Catholic Church.
Christ’s Church has many titles. It is sometimes called merely “The Church” or “The Catholic Church.” It is also known as the “The Christian Church,” “The Roman Church,” or “The Roman Catholic Church,” the word “Roman” being added to indicate that it is in communion with the bishop of Rome, the successor of St. Peter. St. Pacian in the fourth century said: “Christian is my name; Catholic is my surname.” The Church is also styled “The Kingdom of Christ,” “The Body of Christ,” and “The Spouse of Christ.” [p. 335]
Now that another cold-blooded deception of the fake and usurper Iglesia ni Cristo has been unmasked, what remains of its credibility? ZERO. By this time, INC ministers have eggs all over their faces.
"Narito, ako'y laban sa kanila na nanghuhula ng mga sinungaling na panaginip, sabi ng Panginoon, at sinasaysay, at inililigaw ang aking bayan sa pamamagitan ng kanilang walang kabuluhang kahambugan: gayon man ay hindi ko sinugo sila, o inutusan ko man sila; at hindi man pakikinabangan nila ang bayang ito sa anomang paraan, sabi ng Panginoon" (Jer. 23:32).
 Hereafter “INC.”
 Ang Biblia.
 Tagalog for “sound.”
 “aspasasthe allElous en philEmati hagiO aspazontai humas hai ekklEsiai pasai tou christou” (Rom. 16:16, Greek NT transliterated).
 The INC likewise takes it for granted that there are dime a dozen churches, denominations, sects and cults that call their organization “Church of Christ.” INC members moreover take it for granted that when “Church of Christ” is mentioned, it refers to them.