“One New Man” of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) and the “Mystical Body of Christ” of the Catholic Church

The essay that Iglesia ni  Cristo is the One New Man in Ephesians (2:15) is indiscriminately scattered throughout the blogosphere in comments to posts, and even this blog was not spared.  Someone posted it as a comment (dated 13 Aug 2009) to my post entitled, “Is Iglesia ni Cristo the Church of Christ?” The essay starts with the following paragraph:

I don’t know if you already heard about the onenewman created in Christ Himself from two. Actually, I heard of it for the first time when I attended a Bible Exposition held in Cebu City by the Church of Christ (Filipino: Iglesia Ni Cristo). I never heard about it during my days in the Roman Catholic Church eventhough I actively performed my duties as the Sacristan Mayor of the Parish of San Agustin, Diocese of Surigao Del Sur. And this teaching is not just a teaching of the Ministers of the Church of Christ but it is the teaching of the Apostles as written on the Holy Bible.

Here is my reply:

REPLY TO ONE NEW MAN

The One New Man, I hope you won’t mind if I shall call you Sacristan Mayor. For three reasons: (1) We shall be talking about the One New Man, and we do not wish to confuse it with you, (2) the name Sacristan Mayor adds more weight to your testimony because it conveys that you were indeed a former Sacristan Mayor in the Roman Catholic church, and (3) a person who was baptized by a Roman Catholic priest “in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit” (Mt 28:19) becomes truly an adopted son of God, true heir of God’s Kingdom, and this sonship can never be removed even if, like in the story of Prodigal Son, you squandered your properties and left your Father’s house for the allurements of novel teachings of INC and have yourself rebaptized.

1. Sacristan Mayor, in order to understand the meaning of the “two” in “one new man from the two” in Ephesians (2:15), you don’t have to go to Colossians (1:18). You just look at the verses before what you quoted and you will see that what Paul refers by “two” are Gentiles and Jews:

“Therefore, remember that at one time you, Gentiles in the flesh, called the uncircumcision by those called the circumcision, which is done in the flesh by human hands, were at that time without Christ, alienated from the community of Israel and strangers to the covenants of promise, without hope and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus you who once were far off have become near by the blood of Christ.” (Eph 2:11-13)

Through Baptism we became neither Gentiles nor Jews but Christians:

“For all of you who were baptized into Christ have clothed yourselves with Christ. There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free person, there is not male and female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus. And if you belong to Christ, then you are Abraham’s descendant, heirs according to the promise.” (Gal 3:27-29)

2. Christians form the Church, the Mystical Body of Christ with Christ as its head (c.f. Col 1:18) Christ said to Paul in his conversion, “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting” (Acts 9:5). Thus, when Paul persecutes the Christians, he is persecuting Christ himself. Similarly, Christ said: “Amen, I say to you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.’” This is the Catholic doctrine of the Church as Christ’s Mystical Body. So what INC calls as One New Man is actually Christ’s Mystical Body in the Catholic sense. What INC teaches is not new; it is an old Catholic doctrine that sadly you were not taught, even if you were serving as sacristan mayor.

3. Since the Church is the Mystical Body of Christ and Christ said that “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me” (Jn 14:6), then it follows that

Outside the Church there is no salvation.” (Extra Ecclessiam nulla salus)

This is a Catholic doctrine which INC also misappropriates to itself. Concerning this doctrine the Catechism says:

“Basing itself on Scripture and Tradition, the Council teaches that the Church, a pilgrim now on earth, is necessary for salvation: the one Christ is the mediator and the way of salvation; he is present to us in his body which is the Church. He himself explicitly asserted the necessity of faith and Baptism, and thereby affirmed at the same time the necessity of the Church which men enter through Baptism as through a door. Hence they could not be saved who, knowing that the Catholic Church was founded as necessary by God through Christ, would refuse either to enter it or to remain in it.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Art. 846)

But unlike INC, the Church also teaches that some of those outside the Church may be saved:

Those who, through no fault of their own, do not know the Gospel of Christ or his Church, but who nevertheless seek God with a sincere heart, and moved by grace, try in their actions to do his will as they know it through the dictates of their conscience–those too may achieve eternal salvation.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Art. 847)

“God has bound salvation to the sacrament of Baptism, but he himself is not bound by his sacraments” (Catechism Art. 1257). But this does not prevent the Church from preaching the Good News:

“Although in ways known to himself God can lead those who, through no fault of their own, are ignorant of the Gospel, to that faith without which it is impossible to please him, the Church still has the obligation and also the sacred right to evangelize all men.” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Art. 848)

About Quirino M. Sugon Jr
Theoretical Physicist in Manila Observatory

10 Responses to “One New Man” of Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) and the “Mystical Body of Christ” of the Catholic Church

  1. Nothing is new in the INC teachings. It’s either they twist biblical passages to suit their teachings. We all need to pray for them for enligtenment.

  2. Juan Manuel says:

    quote..”Similarly, Christ said:”Amen, I say unto you, whatever you did for one of these least brothers of mine, you did for me.”””This is the Catholic Doctrine of the Church as Christ’s Mystical Body…”unquote WHERE IN THE BIBLICAL VERSE YOUR CATHOLIC STAND READS???You are doing it your own…Let’s admit it that the Cathecism contains all the doctrines of the catholic church, not the Bible. Please, DO NOT hoodwink people into believing what is not in the Bible. ..catholic is catholic…as plain as that…right??Thank you anyhow in your “enlightenment” & i pray that you too will be enlightened to accept the truth & reject that which is not biblical..More power & God bless..

  3. Mansour Hussain says:

    CATHOLIC DEFENDER August 27, 2009 at 3:33pm
    “…the biblical passages that are twisted…”are verses that were not well explained by one’s mentor, so the student considered it “…twisted…” !Or simply that the mentor could not by himself explain to his pupil what is written in the bible!!!So the situation get worst…
    I will pray that the Spirit of Truth will come down to you to help you find the Truth & be enlightened…amen!!

  4. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    Juan Manuel, it is not the Protestants or the Iglesia ni Cristo who compiled the Bible but the Catholic Church, so only the Catholic Church has the right to interpret the Bible.

    Pope Gelasius I, bishop of Rome (492-496 AD), fixed the Canon of the Scriptures in the document Decretum Galesianum: http://www.ntcanon.org/Decretum_Gelasianum.shtml. This decree also has a list of books which are declared uninspired and should not be read by Catholics. The list is long, but the forbidden gospels are those of Gospel under the names of Matthias, Barnabas, James the Younger, Peter, Thomas, Bartholomaeus, Andrew, and the forgeries of Lucian and Hesychius.

    Thus, by using the Bible compiled by the Catholic church, non-Catholics admit that the Catholic Church was inspired by the Holy Spirit to know which Gospels are authentic and which are fake. If the Church was preserved by Holy Spirit from making an error in this matter, considering the number of fake gospels, then we can be assured that it is the same Spirit which will guide the Church into correct interpretation of these Gospels. As Jesus said to his apostles:

    “I have much more to tell you, but you cannot bear it now. But when he comes, the Spirit of truth, he will guide you to all truth. He will not speak on his own, but he will speak what he hears, and will declare to you the things that are coming.” (Jn 16:12-13)

  5. Roxanne says:

    “The apostles entrusted the “Sacred deposit” of the faith (the depositum fidei), contained in Sacred Scripture and Tradition, to the whole of the Church. (cf. 1 Tim 6:20; 2 Tim 1:12-14) “By adhering to [this heritage] the entire holy people, united to its pastors, remains always faithful to the teaching of the apostles, to the brotherhood, to the breaking of bread and the prayers. So, in maintaining, practicing and professing the faith that has been handed on, there should be a remarkable harmony between the bishops and the faithful.”

    “The task of giving an authentic interpretation of the Word of God, whether in its written form or in the form of Tradition, has been entrusted to the living teaching office of the Church alone. Its authority in this matter is exercised in the name of Jesus Christ.” This means that the task of interpretation has been entrusted to the bishops in communion with the successor of Peter, the Bishop of Rome.

    “Yet this Magisterium is not superior to the Word of God, but is its servant. It teaches only what has been handed on to it. At the divine command and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it listens to this devotedly, guards it with dedication and expounds it faithfully. All that it proposes for belief as being divinely revealed is drawn from this single deposit of faith.” (CCC 84-86)

  6. Roxanne says:

    In addition, St. Paul referred to the Church as Christ’s Body:

    “And he hath subjected all things under his feet and hath made him head over all the church, Which is his body and the fulness of him who is filled all in all.” (Ephesians 1:22-23)

    ” And he is before all: and by him all things consist. And he is the head of the body, the church: who is the beginning, the firstborn from the dead, that in all things he may hold the primacy:” (Colossians 1:17-18)

    “For the husband is head of his wife just as Christ is head of the church, he himself the savior of the body. As the church is subordinate to Christ, so wives should be subordinate to their husbands in everything. Husbands, love your wives, even as Christ loved the church and handed himself over for her to sanctify her, cleansing her by the bath of water with the word, that he might present to himself the church in splendor, without spot or wrinkle or any such thing, that she might be holy and without blemish. So (also) husbands should love their wives as their own bodies. He who loves his wife loves himself. For no one hates his own flesh but rather nourishes and cherishes it, even as Christ does the church, because we are members of his body. “For this reason a man shall leave (his) father and (his) mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh.” This is a great mystery, but I speak in reference to Christ and the church.” (Ephesians 5: 25-32) (cf. Isaiah 54:5 “For he who has become your husband is your Maker; his name is the LORD of hosts; Your redeemer is the Holy One of Israel, called God of all the earth.”)

  7. Truth says:

    UTOS NG DIOS NA MAGASAWA AT HUWAG MAGHIWALAY

    At sinabi ng lalake, Ito nga’y buto ng aking mga buto at laman ng aking laman: siya’y tatawaging Babae, sapagka’t sa Lalake siya kinuha. Kaya’t iiwan ng lalake ang kaniyang ama at ang kaniyang ina, at makikipisan sa kaniyang asawa: at sila’y magiging isang laman (Genesis 2:23-24).

    At sinabi, Dahil dito’y iiwan ng lalake ang kaniyang ama at ina, at makikisama sa kaniyang asawa; at ang dalawa ay magiging isang laman? Kaya nga hindi na sila dalawa, kundi isang laman. Ang pinapagsama nga ng Dios ay huwag papaghiwalayin ng tao (Mateo 19:5-6).

    Nguni’t kung ikaw ay magasawa, ay hindi nagkakasala; at kung ang isang dalaga ay magasawa, ay hindi siya nagkakasala. Datapuw’t ang mga gayon ay magkakaroon ng kahirapan sa laman: at ibig ko sanang kayo’y iligtas (I Corinto 7:28).

    Ang Tungkulin ng Asawang Lalake

    At siya’y magaasawa sa isang dalagang malinis (Levitico 21:13).

    Ibigay ng lalake sa asawa ang sa kaniya’y nararapat: at gayon din naman ang babae sa asawa (I Corinto 7:3).

    Sapagka’t ang lalake ay pangulo ng kaniyang asawa, gaya naman ni Cristo na pangulo ng Iglesia, na siya rin ang tagapaglisgtas ng katawan. Mga lalake, ibigin ninyo ang inyo-inyong asawa gaya naman ni Cristo na umibig sa Iglesia, at ibinigay ang kaniyang sarili dahil sa kaniya (Efeso 5:23 & 25);

    Ang Tungkulin ng Asawang Babae

    At sinabi ng Panginoong Dios, Hindi mabuti na ang lalake ay magisa; siya’y ilalalang ko ng isang katuwang niya (Genesis 2:18).

    Kaya nga kung, samantalang nabubuhay ang asawa, siya’y makikisama sa ibang lalake, siya’y tatawaging mangangalunya: datapuwa’t kung mamatay ang asawa, ay laya na siya sa kautusan, ano pa’t siya’y hindi na mangangalunya, bagaman siya’y makisama sa ibang lalake (Roma 7:3).

    Nguni’t hayag na sinasabi ng Espiritu, na sa mga huling panahon ang iba’y magsisitalikod sa pananamapalataya, at mangakikinig sa mga espiritung mapanghikayat at sa mga aral ng mga demonio, Na ipinagbabawal ang pagaasawa, at ipinaguutos na lumayo sa mga lamangkati, na nilalang ng Dios upang tanggapin na may pagpapasalamat ng mga nagsisisampalataya at nangakakalam ng katotohanan (I Timoteo 4:1 & 3).

    Sapagka’t nang unang panahon, ay ganito naman nagsigayak ang mga babaing banal na nagsiasa sa Dios, na pasakop sa kanikaniyang asawa (I Pedro 3:5);

  8. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    Truth,

    You point is that we must all get married. I have answered this question in my last comment in the following post:

    https://monkshobbit.wordpress.com/2009/09/01/reply-to-iglesia-ni-cristo-prohibiting-priests-to-marry-and-abstinence-from-meats-are-doctrines-of-devils/#comment-736

    I wrote it in response to your comment. Please write your response there, too.

  9. Truth says:

    Posted by Quirino M. Sugon Jr on December 22, 2009 at 6:58 pm

    You point is that we must all get married. I have answered this question in my last comment in the following post:

    To Mr. Quirino M. Sugon Jr

    Huwag ninyong ibigin ang sanglibutan, ni ang mga bagay na nasa sanglibutan. Kung ang sinoman ay umiibig sa sanglibutan, ay wala sa kaniya ang pagibig ng Ama (I Juan 2:15).

    At sinabi ng Panginoong Dios, Hindi mabuti na ang lalake ay magisa; siya’y ilalalang ko ng isang katuwang niya (Genesis 2:18).

    Nguni’t sa mga duwag, at sa mga hindi mananampalataya, at sa mga kasuklamsuklam, at sa mga mamamatay-tao, at sa mga mapakiapid, at sa mga manggagaway, at sa mga mapagsamba sa diosdiosan, at sa lahat na mga sinungaling, ang kanilang bahagi ay sa dagatdagatang nagniningas sa apoy at asupre, na siyang ikalawang kamatayan (Apocalipsis 21:8).

  10. Quirino M. Sugon Jr says:

    Truth,

    Please translate and explain what you wrote in English. In this way, I will know if you really understand what you are copying and pasting from INC writings, so that we can have a fruitful conversation. If you write in Tagalog, I will delete it. Remember that people from other countries are reading my blog. Write in English so that they can follow your arguments.

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