Intro to INC
Introduction to the Iglesia Ni Cristo Part I
The term “Iglesia Ni Cristo” means in English “Church of Christ .” Although it appeared in the Philippines in 1914, it does not claim to be a new religious movement. Rather, it teaches to be the third group of people who will constitute the one true Church established by the Lord Jesus Christ himself. Contrary to the common perception of detractors, the Iglesia Ni Cristo never taught that its founder is Bro. Felix Manalo. The founder of the Church of Christ in the Philippines is the Lord Jesus Christ through His prophecy and Bro. Felix Manalo is his messenger, the shepherd of His other sheep which became one flock. If someone would continue to insist that Bro. Felix Manalo is the founder, his religious bias is shown because of his inability to comprehend the biblical basis of this doctrine. The Church sees Bro. Felix Manalo as someone whose function is similar to Apostle Paul, the emissary of Christ to the Gentiles, that through his ministry, the Church spread throughout the Gentile world. These local churches were not called by the term the “Church of Paul” but Paul himself addressed the entire church as the “Church of Christ.”
Looking at this angle, it was not a surprise for many that when Bro. Felix Manalo registered the Church with the Philippine government, it was registered as the “Church of Christ” since it not his Church but Christ’s Church. Fulfilling another biblical prophecy, the Church was registered at the same time that the First World War erupted in Europe: July 27, 1914 . Others dismissed it as simply coincidental but the Church teaches that it was a divine mandate, a fulfillment of God’s prophecy of bringing His children from the Far East , at a time when the world shall see the visible signs of Jesus’ second coming. These and other undeniable biblical truths convinced millions of its adherents worldwide to embrace the Church wholeheartedly.
With Church membership coming from all walks of life, in which a great percentage are poor in the standard of the world, the Church of Christ which started in the Philippines gained foothold in the West, beginning with two congregations in Hawaii and California, during the summer of 1968. Since then, hundreds of local congregations were established in the Union. The Church could now be seen operating in more than 70 countries and territories worldwide, with a big contingent in the United States, particularly in the State of California.
Although branded as a cult by critics, the Iglesia Ni Cristo continues to spread. The emergence of new congregations worldwide attests to this fact. Although some Christian groups, not only in the Philippines, but also in the United States, have tried to stop the continuous exodus of their people into the Church, their efforts were simply wasted, an exercise in futility. Thousands yearly are being accepted into the Church and there is no indication that it will be hampered. Ministers are being sent to new congregations throughout the world, an absolute proof that its work of evangelization is a stunning success which baffled some observers, even its own harshest critics.
Recently, the worldwide web became the forum in which these self-proclaimed critics of the Church launched their attacks against the Church. It is true that there were some people who were searching about the Church (very few) were misled by these groups. Unfortunately, their tactics were ephemeral since these curious researchers did not stop dead on their tracks but went beyond the web to find out more about the Iglesia Ni Cristo. These people came to the church services, engaged in biblical discussions with the ministers, attended bible studies and evangelical missions, in order to satisfy their queries. This action brought them to a complete realization that whatever people put up in the web against the Church were simply a product of their ignorance of the genuine doctrines of the Church, or simply their attacks show that they are devoid of biblical knowledge, in which their resulting view would be a piece of poor scholarship.