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Response to another set of empty claims

by Ewatson
(ewatson) Hi Pilosopo,

I’ve already asked you last week to provide proof for your claims in your part 1 but until now, nothing. No chapter and verse, no exegesis, nada. Do you only claim something without having the gonads to provide references and justifications supporting your claim?

Ah well, let’s see what this part 2 has to say. I’ll give you some more time to come up with some proof and references to back up your claims.

(pilosopo) To everyone interested to know about the Truth, It seems to us that everyone questioning the Iglesia Ni Cristo for its use not only of the Moffatt but also of the Lamsa are trying to project to the people who are following this board that without the two versions, the Iglesia Ni Cristo could not preach the gospel. This concept is purely hypothetical, a result of their biases and should be seen as an insult to the intelligence exhibited by the millions of people who joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo worldwide.

(ewatson) Hey, you’re free to use whatever version you want as long as the passages you cite are at least moderately accurate. This cannot be said for Lamsa’s Acts 20:28 or Moffatt’s Isa 43:5. How else can we view a religion that deliberately uses MISTRANSLATED verses just to bolster its claims?

(pilosopo) In their efforts to discredit the Church, they likewise attacked and undermine the biblical scholars who translated the Bible versions we use in presenting the truth.

(ewatson) Are there any other biblical scholars or any other Bible versions that say the same thing Lamsa Acts 20:28 or Moffatt Isa 43:5 say? No, they stand alone. Since you like Lamsa and Moffatt so much, what does Lamsa Isa 43:5 and Moffatt Acts 20:28 say? Hmmm? HMMM? What, they DON’T support the INC??????

(pilosopo) Unfortunately, these detractors are not Bible scholars, have not proven to be competent and credible persons. Their posting reveal their shallow understanding of the complex issues of biblical exegesis while their attacks in trying to excoriate the Iglesia Ni Cristo are based on biased and unfounded conclusions.

(ewatson) And all you’ve done is ad hominem attacks and make ridiculous claims without furnishing any proof. Well, why should we believe you?

(pilosopo) The Iglesia Ni Cristo has many priorities and we members know this exactly well. With millions of souls to take care to safeguard their salvation, plus the thousands who are in the process of joining the Church yearly, the Administration of the Church together with the ministers all over the world spend their time wisely for a just and righteous cause, the salvation of many. Although there are some disgruntled ex-members and perennial critics who spend their useless hours trying to discredit the Church, we think that they don’t deserve the attention of the ministers who are so busy tending to the flock.

(ewatson) Empty rhetoric.

(pilosopo) However, their poignant attacks against the Church did not go unnoticed. We face our adversaries with vigor and enthusiasm knowing that we are defending the truth which we have learned through our association with the ministers and workers of the Church, acquiring this vital knowledge during worship services, bible studies, evangelical missions, tv and radio programs and from the Pasugo magazines.

(ewatson) Yeah, you start out trumpeting just how true your church is and when you encounter an opponent who sees through the hype and baloney, you attack him personally instead of seriously discussing the issues and will sooner or later, scamper away. Whatever happened to ETE, Bible Student, godhereek and the rest of the INC defenders who were so active just a few months ago? You will also disappear because of your inability to respond to serious questions. Hype and hot air will only carry you so far.

Come on pilosopo, make Felix Manalo proud! Stick around and give us chapter and verse, referencing your claims and then provide the justifications for your usage. This isn’t hard as long as the INC isn’t distorting the Scriptures and inventing teachings that aren’t even there.

(pilosopo) Much to the chagrin of our enemies in the faith, their malicious attacks against the Church did not weaken our faith, nor the faith of millions throughout the world.

(ewatson) Well, many things can be said about this. Some of the printable ones are brainwashed, ignorant, moronic, having one’s head … (oops! Can’t write that), foolish, damned, gullible…

(pilosopo) Many of us who are responding to the attacks against the Iglesia Ni Cristo and defending her in this board were formerly devout Catholics and Protestants, some of us were seminarians who dreamed to become a priest (thanks God we did not become instruments of the devil, cf. I Tim. 4:1-3), some of us were altar boys and have assisted the priests during the mass. Some of us are Americans but majority are Filipinos. We came from different locales throughtout the United States bound together with one sublime purpose: to defend the truth.

(ewatson) If you really have the “Truth” why not back up your claims? Why not provide the specific chapter and verses? Why not exegete those proof-texts so that we can determine the validity of the INC religion? I’m not AFRAID to studiously examine them. Heck, I’ll CONVERT to the INC religion if an INC can actually prove it’s the “True Church.”

Instead of being smart, you become arrogantly hostile and avoid responding to serious questions. Do you think independent third party observers or investigators are going to be impressed and would want to join the INC after seeing your evasions and hostility?

Glenn is the best INC defender on this forum and is widely respected and honored by all non-INC participants on this forum, not just for his civility, but also for his intelligence. YOU, OTOH, are the exact OPPOSITE. Universally reviled and dismissed because of your rabid intolerance and hostility. Who is more Christ-like? Who is a better influence and example? If Glenn, this forum’s best INC defender, acknowledges his inability to justify the primary INC prophetic proof-texts, what chance do you have? At least he’s honest about it.

(pilosopo) And, we could guarantee you that we did not join the Church because of marriage as someone was trying to project on this board. Probably he thinks that his case is true to all. Unfortunately, his shortsightedness in this aspect makes him a laughing stock among the faithful brethren who have read his posting. Why is he no longer in the Church? Everybody knows in the Iglesia Ni Cristo what the Bible teaches, that if someone joins the Church without faith, eventually that person will be separated (Rom. 5:2, John 6:60-66, Heb. 11:6). All those who have separated from the Church, although they may provide thousands of reasons, show only one thing: they do not believe. They are the ones mentioned in II Peter 2:20-22 NIV.

(ewatson) Baloney. All you’ve done it claim something. PROVE IT! If you’re really the “True Church” it should be easy to furnish the proof. Where is it?

(pilosopo) By reading the articles in the Pasugo and having fellowshipped with them, we came to know of the many who left the Catholic Church because of faith. We know Bro. Theophilus Darku, a former Catholic priest who is a deacon now in California and Bro. Ted Dizon, a former Catholic priest who is now also a deacon in Florida. They could testify to the fact that they joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo by faith, granting you shall encounter them in person when you will come to our worship services. Bro. Darku was celibate when he left the priesthood and joined the Church. This is also true in the case of Bro. Beda Aboloc, the Catholic priest from Surigao who abandoned the priesthood when he heard about the Iglesia Ni Cristo in the Philippines. Later on, he joined the ministry and got married when he was already an ordained minister. Unlike the others (like Chuck Hunter), they abandoned Catholicism because they have seen the enormous errors in their former religion. But why did they join the Iglesia Ni Cristo and not the Protestant churches? Because through the preaching function of Bro. Felix Manalo and the ministers of the Church they were led to the truth which could not be found in any other church except the Iglesia NI Cristo, a divine knowledge that was obviously not revealed to people like Servant, CCOG and their cohorts.

(ewatson) LOL! Many Roman Catholic priests have also joined the Mormon faith. Does this mean my church is automatically true because of their joining? There are hundreds of Protestant pastors who’ve converted to Roman Catholicism. Does this mean RC is automatically the true faith? When I was a Mormon missionary in the Philippines, I met a former INC minister who joined the Mormon Church. Does this automatically mean we’re true and you’re not?

Don’t be silly. Perceptions of Truth are different from actual Truth. People join particular faiths for a variety of reasons, some sincerely believe the church they’re joining is the “True Church” but mere belief doesn’t make it so.

Many Filipinos are sick and tired of being marginalized and taken for granted by other races and faiths. This was the motivation behind Father Aglipay breaking away from RC and creating the Filipino Independent Church. This was Felix Manalo’s motivation for breaking away from Protestantism and creating the Iglesia ni Cristo.

Even today, Filipinos are continually taken for granted by the RCC. They comprise over 8% of its total membership and a whopping 20+% of its average worldwide weekly mass attendance (with some overseas churches having more than 90% of its attendees being Filipinos) and the Philippines is virtually the only Christian country that prohibits divorce (the other being Vatican City – Ireland now allows it). Despite this loyalty to the RCC, Filipinos only have one saint and only one cardinal out of the current 167. No Filipino has ever acquired a reasonable sense of influence in the Vatican and the Philippines has never been assisted by the massive financial resources of the RCC outside its Philippine charities.

Is it any wonder some Filipino clergy leave the RCC in disgust?

(pilosopo) It is quite clear to all of us that Bro. Felix Manalo used a BIBLE in preaching the doctrines of the Church. Regarding the question of what versions, we repeat this point and we hope that this will become clear to all who asked about this question. Just like everyone else, Bro. Felix Manalo and the ministers of the Iglesia Ni Cristo have access to all the different versions (not different Bible) which are available to all people: biblical scholars, bible societies, and the general public.

(ewatson) Missing the point as usual. There’s NOTHING wrong with using different biblical versions AS LONG AS your intention is to get the clearest message possible. However, this ISN’T the INC motivation since you use Lamsa Acts 20:28 and Moffatt Isa 43:5. Examining the Greek and Hebrew texts as well as dozens of other Bible versions, all show Lamsa Acts 20:28 and Moffatt Isa 43:5 to be MISTRANSLATIONS. The INC religion and its ministers KNOW this and yet, continue to quote known mistranslations. How can one expect to take the INC religion seriously when it engages in this blatant DISHONEST behavior? Can the “True Church” be built upon lies?

Hmmm. This gives me an idea. One day, I’ll hire a bunch of Bible scholars who will publish a new Bible version. This new version will be called “Watson’s Emphasized Bible (WEB). In this Bible, I’ll make sure they put in “Church of Christ” in Rom 16:16; Acts 20:28 and let’s see, 1 Cor 1:2; 10:32; 11:16,22; 15:9; 2 Cor 1:1; Gal 1:13; 1 Thes 2:14; 2 Thes 1:4 and 1 Tim 3:5. I’ll have them put in “Far East” in Isa 41:2; 43:5; 46:11 and Rev 7:2. I’ll also have them insert “upon the isles in the Far East” in Jer 46:27; John 10:16; Acts 2:39; and Eph 2:17 as well as insert “in the Far East” in Ps 65:5 and Isa 24:14-16.

Tell me, how long will it take before every INC minister and the Pasugo magazine starts using the WEB Bible Version to justify INC beliefs?

Who cares about honesty!? The end justifies the means, right? I don’t doubt the WEB Version will rapidly become the version of choice of the INC religion since it already has a demonstrable track record of biblical dishonesty. After a few years, I’ll pull the plug and issue a corrected version with a statement saying it was merely a “Sting Operation” to show INC dishonesty.

Oooh, baby, what a WEB we weave when we capture those who deceive.

(pilosopo) Bro. Felix Manalo utilized all of the existing versions and resources available to him during the period when he was still preaching. It is a known fact that Bro. Felix Manalo was here in the United States in 1919 and made some serious research work in California. During this period, he was introduced to these different versions of the Bible during his stay here. Before he began his ministry as a result of God’s call, he was an active member and evangelist of his former religious affiliations. His association with these groups, coupled with his own studies, allowed him to get acquainted with different versions/translations of the Bible. It is superfluous to mention all of the versions he used in preaching the Bible since this is a common knowledge.

(ewatson) Isn’t this the same school that claimed there’s NO RECORD of him ever attending it? Furthermore, what in the world can God’s “Last Messenger” learn from Protestant ministers, whom you label devils? Didn’t he “restore” the church in 1914? Did Christ need to go to Satan to learn from him?

(pilosopo) When new versions of the Bible like the George Lamsa came out of circulation, in which the rendition of Acts 20:28 is CHURCH OF CHRIST, it confirms to us what has been preached then by Bro. Felix Manalo is true, that the name of the Church purchased by Christ’s blood is the Church of Christ. This type of incident solidifies to us that even without the Lamsa version, because of the guidance of the Holy Spirit, Bro. Felix Manalo was then able to preach the biblical truth that the true Church is Church of Christ. Later versions of the Bible such as Lamsa confirmed what he had preached to us.

(ewatson) George Lamsa has been universally ridiculed by biblical scholars of every stripe for his translation, which is acknowledged to be among the WORST version in existence (together with the JW’s NWT), because of his willful distortions of passages in complete disregard of what the Greek or Hebrew say just because he believed Aramaic was the original biblical language (which is demonstrably false). Jesus may have spoken Aramaic but there’s no evidence the entire Bible (NT in particular) was written in it.Tell me, why don’t you use Lamsa Isa 43:5?

(pilosopo) When some people questioned the Iglesia Ni Cristo for utilizing different versions of the Bible, it shows their ignorance and shortsightedness regarding the complex background of textual criticism. Every textual scholar and all bible translators agree that a version, whether it is a single translation, or a work of a committee, is not a perfect translation. Try to analyze the preface of every translation/version of the Bible because the truth about every work of translation is indicated there. Here is a sample, the final statement of the NIV Committee on Bible Translation:

“Like all translations of the Bible, made as they are by imperfect man, this one undoubtedly falls short of its goals. Yet we are graceful to God for the extent to which he has enabled us to realize these goals and for the strength he has given us and our colleagues to complete our task.”

How was this specific version of the Bible translated into English? It says, “the translation of each book was assigned to a team of scholars. Next, one of the Intermediate Editorial Committees revised the initial translation, with constant reference to the Hebrew, Aramaic or Greek. Their work then went to one of the General Editorial Committees, which checked it in detail and made another thorough revision. This revision in turn was carefully reviewed by the Committee on Bible Translation, which made further changes and then released the final version for publication. In this way the entire Bible underwent three revisions, during each of which the translation was examined for its faithfulness to the original languages and for its English style.” [Quoted from Preface to the NIV]

Since there is no perfect translation of the Bible into the vernacular, theologians and bible scholars have to utilize and compare these scholarly works since what might be missing in one version is supplied in another version. Paraphrasing is constant throughout all of the translations, whether it is the Vulgate, KJV or NSRV. No textual scholar will ever claim that there is a perfect translation. Even the Catholic official version in English, the Douay-Rheims is a translation from the Latin, which is not the original language of the Bible.

(ewatson) As one who has over 40 biblical versions, I completely agree. However, to claim only Lamsa Acts 20:28 is the correct version for this verse despite 39 other versions and the original Greek say otherwise is a dishonesty hard to swallow.

(pilosopo) Ministers of the Iglesia Ni Cristo today avail themselves of all the scholarly works/materials available to everybody, from the different versions of the Bible, to the different manuscripts of the Bible in Hebrew, Aramaic, Greek, Syriac and Latin. By looking into these different sources, ministers of the Iglesia Ni Cristo do not only provide the church members a result of a scholarly work, but a genuine and pristine gospel. By comparing spiritual things with spiritual (I Cor. 2:13 NKJV), the verses are properly explained, or properly exegeted, in technical term. On top of that is the guidance and inspiration of the Holy Spirit to the messengers of God who reveals even the deep things of God (I Cor. 2:10-12 NKJV).

(ewatson) It’s hard to swallow such tripe. PROVE IT! All you’ve done is make claims. Is it too much to ask you back up your claims?

(pilosopo) While the original writers of the Bible were inspired by God, the copyists and the translators are fallible men. They are prone to commit mistakes. There are errors in transmission, copying, editing of the texts of both the Old and the New Testament. This glaring truth is known to all textual scholars. One has simply to read reference books on textual criticism in order to know about this simple truth. On New Testament, read Metzger’s THE TEXT OF THE NEW TESTAMENT, Its Transmission, Corruption, and Restoration, Third Enlarged Edition, or the work of Bart Ehrman, THE ORTHODOX CORRUPTION OF SCRIPTURE, The Effect of Early Christological Controversies on the Text of the New Testament. For Old Testament, read Emanuel Tov’s TEXTUAL CRITICISM OF THE HEBREW BIBLE.

In view of this, who are the capable guides/preachers of the Bible? The messengers of God because they are guided by the Holy Spirit. The Holy Spirit that guided the biblical writers is the same Holy Spirit that guides the true preachers (I Thess. 1:5 NIV). This is the primary reason why the Iglesia Ni Cristo consistently upholds the authority of Bro. Felix Manalo in preaching the pristine gospel since as a messenger of God, he was guided by the Holy Spirit (Rev. 7:2-3, Eph. 1:13). The same Holy Spirit is guiding now the ministers of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in preaching the gospel truth throughout the world.

(ewatson) How did Felix Manalo get legitimate authority? You claim he was a “messenger of God.” OK, HOW? It isn't a difficult question. Anyone can claim to be a messenger of God. Heck, there are thousands today in psych wards. Where’s the proof?

(pilosopo) A word of encouragement for the faithful brethren throughout the world who stood firm in their calling and election, let us continue the good work. Let us not allow anybody to destroy our genuine faith.

(ewatson) How do you know it’s “genuine?”

(pilosopo) Resist the devil and his tricks (many of them are on the Internet).

(ewatson) Sure. This includes avoiding any form of dishonestly, which includes LYING and DISTORTING God’s Word.

(pilosopo) Follow the admonition of the Bible as told by Jude to those who have been called and loved by God the Father and kept by our Lord Jesus Christ, “dear friends, although I was very eager to write to you about the salvation we share, I felt I had to write and urge you to contend for the faith > that was once for all entrusted to the saints,” but you dear friends, build yourselves up in your most holy faith and pray in the Holy Spirit, keep yourselves in God’s love as you wait for the mercy of our Lord Jesus Christ to bring you to eternal life” (Jude 1:1-3, 20-21 NIV).

(ewatson) Hey, you’re talking about ME! I’m the one who’s “contending” for the true faith of Jesus Christ whereas all you’ve done is personally attack others and avoid backing up your claims.

(pilosopo) Mabuhay ang Iglesia Ni Cristo!

(ewatson)Mabuhay ang LDS Church! Mabuhay ang RCC! Mabuhay ang Baptist Church! Mabuhay ang Pentecostal Church! Happy now?

(pilosopo) The utter hypocrisy of Ewatson is shown in his posting on the Mabuhay ang LDS Church! Mabuhay ang RCC! Mabuhay ang Baptist Church! Mabuhay ang Pentecostal Church!

Since this idiot don't understand what is the meaning of Mabuhay, he's ignorance shows his hypocrisy. To wish the other religions MABUHAY while actively bashing them on this board is a hypocrisy in superlative degree. No wonder why you can't trust this man! His flip-flopping shows his mind is not fixed, probably the bolts are loosed.

Brother Glenn, beware of this man. I already told you that he does not deserve the pearls that you received from God through His messenger, Bro. Felix Manalo. If you will still pay attention to him, I'm afraid that you might be screwed up too like him.

(ewatson) Sticks and stones may break my bones but Pilosopo's fatuous pomposity will never defeat the TRUTH.

(iseek) Why resort to personal attack when you can't refute his argument? I think you have a lot of readers that can see your tactics. Refute what he presented in the proper way and site your biblical evidence. If you attack him personally, it will not serve your purpose. Please Mr. Pilosopo, for the benefit of all INC members, I'm one of them, argue with Mr. Watson using the bible as the basis of your arguments. Thank You.