"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

Monday, December 28, 2015

Why I Left Iglesia Ni Cristo and Became Secular

This article is contributed by Allan Michael Pedraja. Contact author for comments and questions.

I was born a “handog” in a big clan of Iglesia Ni Cristo here in Makati. I even sent my younger brother to New Era University to study BEM (Bachelor of Evangelical Ministry). It’s been four years since my brother got ordained as a full-pledged minister.

I am from the family of “true believers”. My father who passed away last year at the age of 91 served as a head deacon ever since I was a child (now I’m 37). My sister is a head secretary, another sister is a head choir, and another sister is a deaconess. My oldest brother-in-law [sic] assumed my father’s position as a head deacon after he passed away. All three of my brother-in-laws are head deacons, while our youngest brother holds a high position in INC Engineering.

My knowledge about this religion is not a joke after all, but I stopped attending worship services even before this current scandal broke-out. The more knowledge I have, the more I became convinced that this group is not with the biblical god.

As a man of integrity, my family respected my decision. Not even my brother – who is a minister, can answer my questions.

The reason why I left INC is simple yet too personal. I don’t want other people to control myself. I don’t want to live in isolation. I don’t want to be told to do this and do that – not from the people who weren’t even feeding me – the leadership of INC. I don’t want to live like a robot and do only things in their favor.

Yes, members of INC are deprived of freedom – freedom that a normal person should have. Members are blind to realize this because their minds are clouded by the term “pasakop sa pamamahala” (follow the head).

INC is all about psychology. They planted fear (of dagat-dagatang apoy) to members so they follow whatever the leaders (ministers) told them to do so because if they won’t, they will be expelled. Expulsion is scarier than death according to them.

I wasted a lot of time and money in this religion for almost three decades. I went to the church twice a week and attended in different church-related activities, but lately I asked myself “What for? What all of these sacrifices all about when leaders are spending INC’s money in luxury?”.

Any religion is business and the best selling product is “fear”. INC is champion in teaching “fear” to its members.

With the current situation, the normal worship services are totally different than before. The church is losing a lot of respect from the general public, and in order to control the damage, it is strictly pushing the members to follow whatever Eduardo Manalo has to say.

I won’t join in any other business of religion. I will remain secular – a simple person who follow the rules of law.

The current scandal inside the Iglesia ni Cristo will only worsen. I already told my minister brother to prepare for the worst to come. I asked him once, “What are we going to do if what happened to Lowell Menorca and Isaias Samson happened to you?”. My brother was speechless.

The Iglesia Ni Cristo council will do everything and spend all the members’ money to protect themselves, but I don’t see the law on their side. Truth will prevail and this time, they will be the biggest losers. The public – unlike the INC members, are not dumb. Eduardo Manalo has just destroyed the 100-year legacy. The damage is beyond repair.

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