Iglesia ni Cristo – What is it?

Full of defective doctrine and focused on a charismatic leader who claims a special, individual revelation from God, the Iglesia ni Cristo is heretical at best and a cult at worst.

Begun in 1914 by Felix Manalo in the Philippines, the church split in 1922 resulting in Manalo misusing Scripture and claims of a special revelation to build power and consolidate leadership.

Of course, like most all cults, the Iglesia ni Cristo says they are the one, true church—in this case simply because the name of their denomination is "The Church of Christ" and the Bible, of course, refers to the "church of Christ" (for example, Romans 16:16). Now, it may be obvious to us that the church referred to in the Bible points to all the churches at the time which followed the teachings of Jesus and His apostles, including Paul. Additionally, there are many places of worship throughout the world that have "Church of Christ" in their name. Quite obviously, a church's name is not what makes it biblical or true; its beliefs and practices conforming with God's truth is what matters.

Manalo also claimed that his church was spoken of in Isaiah 43:5–6: "Fear not, for I am with you; \ I will bring your offspring from the east, \ and from the west I will gather you. \ I will say to the north, Give up, \ and to the south, Do not withhold; \ bring my sons from afar \ and my daughters from the end of the earth." Manalo says the "east" here is the Far East and specifically means the true church would start in the Philippines.

The most significant heresy, though, is this church's denial that Jesus Christ is fully God. The doctrine of the Iglesia ni Cristo states that Jesus was created by God and empowered by Him to perform miracles. They also say the Holy Spirit is impersonal. This church claims to be the sole, true expression of God's church and that salvation can be found only there. Legitimate Christian churches claim a solidarity of orthodox doctrine, but leave room for differences in secondary doctrines. Jesus clearly said He is the only way to God the Father (John 14:6). This is an exclusive claim, but not one linked to membership in a specific church.

Additionally, the Iglesia ni Cristo falsely teaches:

• Only authorized Iglesia ni Cristo church messengers can deliver the gospel
• All other churches are false
• To be saved, a person must be a member of their church and be water baptized
• Christians must avoid eating dinuguan, a pork blood stew popular in the Philippines
• Church members cannot join trade unions and cannot appear in court
• Church members are required to attend church and required to tithe

Christians and others investigating Christianity must always measure the teaching of any person or church against the Bible. Here, the Iglesia ni Cristo fails.

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