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The Persecuted Church

 

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INC Who are they ?

When we think of prejudice we immediately image things about race or ethnic backgrounds. But there are other prejudices that are more harmful and that is of religion. Prejudice means to form an opinion before the facts are known, or to have a bias even to the point of dislike and the extreme of hatred. There is many groups who personify this under the banner of Christianity but none more extreme than the church known as Iglesia ni Cristo. They are all of these. What makes this church in my opinion diabolical is that they study tenaciously what we believe and completely disregard it to prove us wrong. There are many anti Trinitarians and anti grace churches that operate in seclusion which bring their message to individuals or to their church. Iglesia ni Christo is different, they are engaged in a aggressive public campaign with radio and TV to bring their heretical message to all. The are famous for debating  Christians who are unable to stand up and defend scripture in that type of a format.

There are numerous books written to counter counterfeit groups. go to any bookstore and there are at last 6-10 on J W’s, Mormons and the differences can be readily apparent. But Iglesia has been growing with hardly a whisper from the apologist's and counter cult organizations. When researching this church I found next to nothing in numerous books on cults. I had to rely on my personal encounters, the materials I collected over the years and their  TV programs .The reason little is found may be because their teachings are secretive. Not what they teach against, that is public, but what they teach their members is veiled in secrecy.

Igleslia Ni Cristo means Church Of Christ (in Philipino). We are not referring to the universal Church of Christ, as the body of Christ or the mainline Churches of Christ . This Particular Church was founded in 1914 by Felix Manalo in the Philippines, today they have expanded to at least 220 congregations in 67 countries outside the Philippines. In 1969 (over 30 years ago), this organization listed 2,415 congregations throughout the rest of the Philippines and in 1988 they reported 220 congregations outside the Philippines. In the Untied States INC has at least 77 congregations in 22 states with 30 congregations located in California alone. The INC organization has been acquiring regular broadcast time on radio and television stations in the United States. Here in Hawaii they have at least 4,000 members almost unanimously from the Filipino community.

When one tunes into their broadcast they will immediately see a single representative in an office setting, behind a desk with a bookshelf filled with books in the background. His speaking is very frank, dry and serious, he is point blank about what they call "the message." What is this message? To tear down the churches teaching of Christ being God and that he is not deity, that he is the Son not the father. The Father is almighty the Son is not. One better have their bible open and know what they believe when listening to them.

No one can deny their passion for what they believe is the truth. Nor that they can be nice people. Unfortunately they ignore the whole history of the Church in the zealous rebuttals against Catholicism. Nothing is out of reach of their researchers to demean and belittle. Some of the greatest scholars in languages and history are ignored or misrepresented as they present what they believe is correct. I suspect that many know better in what they teach.

They choose and train excellent orators to present their rebuttal against what the Church has believed since its inception. Everyone is trained in the same manner and all speak with similar gestures and content . Why change what has worked for over 50 years. In the same fashion as J W’s but with more intensity they challenge everyone to what they were taught as wrong. Their intention is to take people out from Catholic and Protestant wing of the church to join theirs which they claim is the only true church on earth.

In fact the majority of the Iglesia's members are ex-Catholics. The Philippines is a very religious country and probably the only dominantly Catholic nation in the Far East, with over eighty percent of its population belonging to the Church. Since this is its largest potential source of converts, Iglesia implements anti-Catholic scare tactics which cannot stand up to biblical scrutiny to support their own doctrines. The Iglesia sells its doctrines to the people not by proving they are right but only having to prove the Catholic Church's teachings are wrong.  This is not a hard task to do since Protestants have been equally successful in doing this as well.

The Churches teaching which is under Iglesia's fire is the divinity of Jesus Christ. Like the Jehovah's Witnesses, Iglesia claims that Jesus Christ is not God but a created being.  They also deny there is any Trinity using the same cliche' others do, you can't find the word "Trinity" in the Bible.  Neither is the Island of the Philippines mentioned in the bible,  but that doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

The INC organization keeps the number of its members a secret. Operation Mobilization, however, determined that in 1974 the membership of Iglesia Ni Cristo in the Philippines was 1,400,000. We can get a fairly accurate idea of how many INC members there 'are in the Philippines today from some facts reported in a leading Filipino newspaper. The article, entitled "The Iglesia Factor In Manila's Poll",  reported that 200,000 voters out of Manila's 1 million voters were INC members. Using this 20% figure it is possible to determine the approximate number of INC members living in the Metro Manila area (Metro Manila consists of Manila and the 12 cities that surround it). The population of Metro Manila easily exceeds 10 million, so we can assume there are at least 2 million adult INC members in Metro Manila alone. Considering all these factors, the worldwide membership of the INC organization could be 3 million or more, making it one of the largest un-exposed cult in the world!( estimates range as high as 6 million)

There are more people from the Philippines living In the United States than from any other Asian country. A recent study on Asian population stated that by 1990 the total number of Filipinos living in the United States will exceed 1.4 million. People living in a culture other than their own will normally seek other people from their home country. This makes the INC organization, a church with many ties to the Philippines, attractive to Filipinos living in the United States. Its strength is its nationalism.

How has such a large religious organization escaped the searchlight of research groups that investigate new religious organizations and organized heresies? Only a few books and tracts about the INC organization have been written but they are rarely seen outside the Philippines. Most of these research groups are located in the United States and in other countries thousands of miles from the Philippines.  A major reason why INC has not received proper exposure is that their printed materials are difficult to obtain and very few people leave the church to speak out. The lack of "official" INC information has made  research hard to come by.

The INC published the first issue of their official magazine, ''Pasugo'', in 1939. This monthly magazine was originally published entirely in Phillipino. This magazine is especially important as it is the only written source of spiritual instruction that INC encourages it's members to study. This is the primary source of indoctrination promoting their own unique claims of truth. During the time of World War 11 the ''Pasugo'' was no longer printed but publication resumed again in 1951.

In recent years, INC has been printing their magazine bi-monthly with about half of the articles in English. This magazine is now available in the U.S. in an all English version.

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