Is Iglesia ni Cristo the Church of Christ?

Fr. Daniel J. McNamara, S.J., during one of our walks years ago, told us: “The Iglesia ni Cristo is neither a church nor of Christ.” It is worthwhile to ponder on his words as Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) celebrates its 95th Anniversary last July 27, 2009–95 years after Felix Y. Manalo made the INC into a corporation with him as the executive minister last July 27, 1914.

A true church of Christ has four marks: one, holy, Catholic, apostolic (c.f. Catechism of the Catholic Church Art. 811 ).   If one of this does not hold, then the Iglesia ni Cristo is a false church of Christ.

1.  Is the Iglesia ni Cristo one?  The INC is is united in doctrine and even in voting. No wonder many politicians who wished to be reelected this coming 2010 elections are all congratulating INC in its 95th anniversary. The INC passed the first test.

2.  Is the Iglesia ni Cristo holy?  The Catholic Church has produced numerous saints: beggars and kings, scholars and soldiers, old and young.  Can the INC name at least one–only one–person in all its history whom they consider as a saint, a man or woman worthy of emulation, whose life reflected the radical message of the gospel–a Mother Teresa, an Ignatius of Loyola, a Francis of Assisi?  The INC can give none.

3.  Is the Iglesia ni Cristo catholic?  Catholicity simply means universal.  The INC is universal in space: the INC is now found in many countries and its mission is to convert the whole world.  But the INC is not universal in time:  where was INC in the first centuries of Christianity, when the truths of the Faith were debated and clarified?  The INC was not there.  It is true that INC proclaims an affinity with the teachings of Bishop Arius (AD 250-336), the founder of Arianism, a heresy which denies the divinity of Christ.  But between Arius and Manalo is 1,600  years of absence.

Catholic also means “according to totality” or “in keeping with the whole” (Catechism of the Catholic Church Art. 830):

The Catholic Church is catholic because Christ is present in her.  “Where there is Christ Jesus, there is the Catholic Church.”  In her subsists the fullness of Christ’s body united with its head; this implies that she receives from him “the fullness of the means of salvation” which he has willed: correct and complete confession of faith, full sacramental life, and ordained ministry of apostolic succession.  The Church was, in this fundamental sense, catholic on the day of Pentecost and will always be so until the day of Parousia.

The INC also claims this catholicity, for they also adopt the following catholic doctrine:

Ouside the church there is no salvation.

I remembered one of INC’s television show called Tamang Daan, the Right Way in contrast to Eli Soriano’s Datin Daan or the Old Way.  In their show, one of INC’s argument to support their doctrine is a quotation from a catholic author: “Outside the Church of Christ there is no salvation.”  The two INC ministers–always two since two is the sign of Socratic dialogue for knowing the truth–will tell the readers that the text they are quoting has the imprimatur of the Catholic Church.  Then they make a twist of Faith: translate this sentence in Filipino and you will see that “Outside Iglesia ni Cristo there is no salvation.” Oh, what a proof.

4.  Is the Iglesia ni Cristo apostolic? To be apostolic, the INC must be founded by an apostle, in the same way as the Roman Catholic Church was founded by Apostles Peter and Paul. But the fact that INC only celebrated its 95th founding anniversary means that INC could never be founded by an apostle.  An apostle was a person sent by Christ with the authority to preach the Kingdom of God (c.f. Mt 10).  The apostles in turn ordained bishops and gave them authority to govern the church, as Timothy was ordained by Paul through the laying of the hands:

Do not neglect the gift you have, which was conferred on you through the prophetic word with the imposition of hands of the presbyterate. (1 Tim 4:14)

And these bishops in turn ordain new bishops to take their place.  The Roman Catholic Church, for example, is apostolic because it traces its apostolic lineage from St. Peter, the first bishop of Rome, to the present pope, Pope Benedict XVI.  But who ordained Manalo?  Who laid hands on him?  No one.  He ordained himself.  Oh, I made a mistake.  Protestant pastors ordained him (full story by Emily Jordan).  But INC never recognizes the Protestant faith.  Mainline Protestants at least believes on the Divinity of Christ, which the INC reject. This itself poses a question on the validity of the Manalo’s ordination.  (The validity of the Protestant minister’s apostolic succession is a separate issue.)  So effectively, no one ordained Manalo.  He ordained himself.

5.  Thus, the Iglesia ni Cristo posesses only one mark of the true Church of Christ: it is one, but it is not holy, nor catholic, nor apostolic.  Let us not be deceived.  Not all those who are named Manny Pacquiao can box like the real Manny Pacquiao.  Not all those who calls themselves the Church of Christ or Iglesia ni Cristo is the true Church of Christ.  Only the Catholic Church is.  The Church of Iglesia ni Cristo is a false church, an Anti-Church.  The Christ of Iglesia ni Cristo is an Arian idol, an Anti-Christ.  Let us not be deceived.

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Obama and the AntiChrist of Soloviev: Pacifist, Ecologist, and Ecumenist

In his March 2007 homily to Pope Benedict XVI and the  leaders of the Roman Curia, Archbishop Biffi said, drawing from the work of the Russian philosopher Vladimir Soloviev, that the Antichrist will present himself as a pacifist, ecologist, and ecumenist. After his homily, the pope praised the Cardinal for giving a “very accurate diagnosis of our situation today.”

About two years after, last 20 Jan 2009, Barack Obama took oath as the 44th president of the United States of America.  After four months in office, Pres. Obama’s words and actions fit Soloviev’s and Cardinal Biffi’s description of the Antichrist.

Obama before Christ.

When Pres. Obama gave an address at the Georgetown University, he had the symbol IHS, which stands for Christ, covered.  Christ told the Jews, “Before Abraham was, I am.”  Now, by covering the IHS, Pres. Obama symbolically tells us Christians: “Before Christ was, I am.”  In the beginning was Obama, the word was with Obama, and Obama is God.

Obama the Pacifist

In his campaign speeches, Obama vowed to solve the Middle East peace problem.  Now, a few days ago, Obama invited the the heads of state of Israel, Palestine, and Egypt to the Oval Office to discuss his proposal for peace.  By being born with two races, African and American, Obama believes that he is the best person to negotiate peace between different races, in the same way as Christ, being both God and man, can reconcile man back to God.

Obama the Ecologist

President Obama is the greenest president.  In his campaigns, Obama vowed to use more renewable energy, reduce greenhouse gases, invest in green technology, save more oil, have hybrid cars on the the roads.  In doing so, Obama wants to make a contrast between himself and President George Bush, for Bush did not sign the Kyoto protocol which commits industrialized nations to cutting their carbon dioxide emissions.

Obama the Ecumenist

Last 07 April 2009 in Turkey, Obama said that he wants a broader engagement based on mutual interest and mutual respect. He said that the partnership with the Muslim world is critical, not just in rolling back the ideologies that people of all faiths reject, but also to strengthen opportunity for all its people. “I know that strain is shared in many places where the Muslim faith is practiced. So let me say this as clearly as I can: The United States is not and will never be at war with Islam.” Obama feels that he is the best person to reconcile the (Christian) West with Islam because he is the president of the leading country of the West and his father and grandfather are Muslims.

But is Obama a Christian?  Since Ronald Reagan signed the National Day of prayer as the first Thursday of May into law, successive presidents have celebrated it publicly until Pres. George Bush.  When the time came for Obama to celebrate it, he said that “Prayer is something that the President does everyday” and he decided against holding a public ceremony.

This is not surprising since last 2007, Obama declared (you tube):

“Whatever we once were, we’re no longer a Christian nation. At least not just. We are also a Jewish nation, a Muslim nation, and a Buddhist nation, and a Hindu nation, and a nation of nonbelievers.”

“Somehow, somewhere along the way, faith stopped being used to bring us together and started being used to drive us apart. It got hijacked. Part of it’s because of the so-called leaders of the Christian Right, who’ve been all too eager to exploit what divides us.”  (World Net Daily)