Fundamental Beliefs of Iglesia ni Cristo
The book Fundamental Beliefs of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ),<ref name="FBINC">Manalo, Eraño G., Fundamental Beliefs of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ)(Manila: Iglesia ni Cristo, 1989)</ref> written by Eraño G. Manalo, summarizes the beliefs of the Iglesia ni Cristo.
The titles of the 27 bible lessons and their summaries are:
- The Bible : The words of God are written only in the Bible. The Bible should be the only basis of service to God. This is the truth which will teach man salvation from punishment on Judgment Day. Thus, each member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo should give value to the teachings of God written in the Bible by fulfilling them in his life.
- The true God : The Father Who created all things is the only true God. There are no three persons in one God; thus, reject the belief in the Trinity.
- The true religion : The belief that all churches belong to God is false. Christ founded only one true Church - the Church of Christ (Iglesia ni Cristo). Therefore, we value the Church because herein are we able to do the kind of service acceptable to God and through which we shall be saved.
- The Church of Christ : The Church of Christ is the Church that Jesus will save (Acts 20:28 Lamsa) because He made this Church His body and heads it Himself - before God, the Church and Christ are one new man (Eph.2:15 NKJV; Col.1:18 NKJV). This is the reason why Christ is able to answer for the sins of His Church without violating God's law, that whoever commits a sin, the same must die for that sin (Dt.24:16). Hence, false is the belief that salvation can be attained by means of faith in Christ alone even without membership in the Church of Christ. The Church is necessary not because it saves but because it is the entity that Christ will save (Eph.5:23 TEV).
- History of the church built by Christ in the first century : The Church built by Christ during the first century was apostatized (Acts 20:29). This was led away by false prophets which arose in the Church after the time of the Apostles (Mt.24:11 RSV), and those who remained firm in the faith were slain by ravenous wolves (Mt.7:15). The fulfillment of the prophesied false teachers who will lead the Church away are the Catholic priests. They introduced false teachings (1 Tim.4:1,3) into the Church until the Church became the Catholic Church - a church essentially different from the Church of Christ as described in the Bible.
- Proofs that the apostasy of the first century Church of Christ took place : The apostasy of the Catholic Church from the Church established by Christ in the first century took place with their turning away from the teachings of God taught by Christ and His Apostles (Worship of Images, Mass, Popes and Priests as vicars or successors of Christ, Mediator Saints, Purgatory). Therefore, the apostasy takes place whenever there is a teaching of God the Catholic Church violates. In view of this, all the doctrines and practices of the Catholic Church should be rejected.
- The origin of other churches : We should not be surprised at the number of churches today that are not of Christ. It is not Christ who established them but the enemy or the devil (Mt.13:24-30,36-39 NKJV). These churches that do not belong to Christ are the Catholic Church and her offsprings, the various Protestant denominations and sects. Only one Church belongs to Christ, the Church of Christ.
- Not by faith only : Many Protestant groups uphold the belief that faith alone in Christ is sufficient for salvation. They have excluded other conditions such as baptism (Mt.16:15-16), Church Membership (Jn.10:9,Acts 2:47, 20:28 Lamsa), suffering for Christ's sake (Phil.1:29), works (Js.2:14,17,20), preaching by the messenger of God (Acts 16:32-33), remaining in the true church (Jn.15:5-6), holding firm and obey Gospel (1 Cor.15:1-2 NIV), enduring & remaining till end (Mt.24:13). Their faith-alone concept of salvation is in direct conflict with the Bible where we can find pronouncements that man is not justified by faith only (Js.2:24).
- One organized church : One should not deny the necessity of one organized church as the Church of Christ.
- The Church of Christ in the Philippines : The Church of Christ which emerged in the Philippines (a country in the Far East) in these last days was established by virtue of the fulfillment of the prophecies of God (Isa.43:5 Moffatt) and of Christ (Jn.10:16;Acts 20:28 Lamsa). This is the third group (Acts 2:39) of people in the Church established by Christ. This arose in these last days after the apostasy of the Church built by Christ in the first century as a result of the work done by false prophets. Even the spread of this Church in the Far West (Isa.43:4-6;59:19 NKJV) is a fulfillment of God's prophecy written in the Bible.
- Brother Felix Y. Manalo - God's Messenger in the last days : The messenger of God (Rom.10:15 NKJV) in these last days (Isa.43:6) is Brother Felix Y. Manalo (Rev.7:2-3). It was not he who built the Church of Christ but it was Christ Himself (Mt.16:18) by virtue of the fulfillment of the prophesy (Jn.10:16). Brother Felix Manalo was only utilized by God as His instrument to preach the pure Gospel of salvation in these last days. His authority as God's messenger is clearly stated by various prophecies in Scriptures (Is.41:9-10; Is.46:11-13; Rev.7:2-3). Hence, it behooves man to have faith in the commissioning of Brother Felix Y. Manalo.
- The promise for those who endure persecution : Persecutions cannot be avoided because overcoming it serves as basis for inheriting the kingdom of heaven (Mt.5:10-12). Thus whatever kind or extent of persecution a member of the Church of Christ may face, he should not falter or withdraw. He should instead pray to God for assistance in order to overcome religious persecutions.
- Membership in the Church of Christ : The proper way of joining the Church of Christ is that which is done because of faith (Rom.5:2) in God and in Christ (Jn.14:1-2) as well as the recognition and acceptance of the Church and of God's commissioning of His messenger in these last days (Jn.6:29). If the motive for joining the Church of Christ is pure and proper, the man who joins the Church would be able to perform all the commandments and Church disciplines, the performance of which proves that he is a true member of the Church of Christ. He does not easily discouraged and neither does he drew back. Instead, he remains firm in his election.
- The Lord Jesus Christ, Part I : Christ should be highly honored and worshipped by members of the Church of Christ because this is the will of God (Phil.2:9-11). Christ should be recognized as the Son of God (Mt.3:7), Lord (Acts 2:36), Saviour (Acts 5:31), Mediator (1Tim.2:5), a holy man who did not commit sin (1 Pet.2:21-22). The attributes mentioned here give no indication to His nature which we believe is of a man (Jn.8:40); He is not the true God. (Ezek.28:2) Man should also renounce the belief that Christ is true God and true man (Hos.11:9)
- The Lord Jesus Christ, Part II : The clear distinctions of Christ from God are proofs that the true God is not Christ. Our Lord Jesus Christ possesses attributes surpassing the ordinary man but this does not mean that He is God. God has attributes which we do not find in Christ. If Christ can do wonders such as miracles, all these are done by God through Him as God's instrument. On His own powers alone, Christ cannot do anything. Christ Himself states, "I can of my own do nothing."
- The Lord Jesus Christ, Part III : Teachers of the "Christ is God" doctrine also use the Bible. But we should not allow ourselves to be deceived by them because we cannot read any text in the Bible where Christ says He is the true God. If that is the case, why do they have biblical texts to prove their contentions? Those biblical texts have been given erroneous interpretations (Jn.1:1,14; Isa.9:6) or wrong meanings (1 Jn.5:20) or even based on verses wrongly translated (Rom.9:5).
- Leading a new life : It is not enough for man to join or become a member of the Church of Christ to be saved. He should lead a new life, too. Members who lead a new life are truly of Christ and of God. Thus, all sinful ways should be renounced and he should live by the teachings he has received.
- Worship services : Each member of the Church of Christ believes that constant attendance in worship services is one of his obligations. Great blessings accrue to those who constantly attend worship services while great sins are committed by those who disregard this responsibility.
- Our voluntary contribution : The Church of Christ believes that it is God who gave the command to contribute and give thanksgiving offerings to support the needs of the Church. To fulfill these obligations is to lay up a good foundation for the attainment of eternal life.
- The brotherhood : The Church of Christ believes that it is the will of God for us to love one another as true brothers and sisters. Hence, if anyone has sinned against us, we should forgive him and we should reconcile with those who are mad at us.
- Other prohibitions : The members of the Church of Christ believe that it is God who forbids the eating of blood and prohibits marriage with those of other faiths. Elopement is an act of disrespect for parents and this is a sin in the eyes of God.
- On baptism : The Church of Christ believes that baptism is necessary for one to become a disciple of Christ and for the attainment of eternal salvation. But this should be done in accordance with the teachings of the Bible.
- Missionary work and praying : The Church of Christ believes that each member should do missionary work or share his faith with others. Each one should learn how to pray to God so that he would not weaken in faith and thus be able to resist temptations.
- The church administration : Each member should submit to the Administration placed by God in the Church by means of total agreement with the teachings and rules observed in the Church of Christ.
- Unity : The Church of Christ believes that unity is God's teaching and that division within the Church is an evil thing. This unity is implemented by the Church of Christ not only during election time but also in all its works in the service of God.
- Judgment Day : The Church of Christ believes that God has determined the Day of Judgment which will take place on the second coming of Christ. This is the great day when the Church of Christ will receive the reward promised by God -- the everlasting home for God's chosen people.
- Overall instructions : Summary of the lessons and general instructions.
- ^ Manalo, Eraño G. Fundamental Beliefs of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ). Manila: Iglesia ni Cristo, 1989.
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