Iglesia ni Cristo

Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ)[1][2] (Tagalog pronunciation: [ɪˈglɛ̝ʃɐ ni ˈkɾisto̞], abbreviated as INC) is an independent nontrinitarian Christian religious organization that originated in the Philippines. It was registered in 1914 by Felix Y. Manalo,[3][4][5] who became its first Executive Minister.

INC claims itself to be the one true church and the restoration of the original church founded by Jesus, and that all other Christian churches are apostates.[4][6] INC doctrine cites that the official registration of the church with the government of the Philippines on July 27, 1914, by Felix Y. Manalo—upheld by its members to be the last messenger of God—was an act of divine providence and the fulfillment of biblical prophecy concerning the re-establishment of the original church of Christ in the Far East[7][8] concurrent with the coming of the seventh seal marking the end of days.[9][10]

By the time of Manalo's death in 1963, INC had become a nationwide church with 1,250 local chapels and 35 large concrete cathedrals.[11] His son, Eraño G. Manalo, became the next church leader and led a campaign to grow and internationalize the church until his death on August 31, 2009,[12] whereupon his son, Eduardo V. Manalo, succeeded him as Executive Minister.[13] In 2015, the Philippine census by the Philippine Statistics Authority found that 2.64% of the population in the Philippines are affiliated with the Iglesia Ni Cristo, making it the religion with the third largest number of adherents, with Islam at 6.01% and Roman Catholicism at 79.53%.[14]

Iglesia Ni Cristo
Iglesia ni Cristo seal
Official seal
AbbreviationINC
ClassificationRestorationism
TheologyUnitarianism
GovernanceCentralized
Executive MinisterEduardo V. Manalo
Region151 countries and territories (worldwide, concentrated in the Philippines)
HeadquartersQuezon City, Philippines
FounderFelix Ysagun Manalo (as the registrant for the Philippine government)
OriginJuly 27, 1914
Punta, Santa Ana, Manila, Philippine Islands
Congregations7,000
Members3 million (estimated worldwide)
HospitalsNew Era General Hospital
Aid organization
  • Felix Y. Manalo Foundation
  • UNLAD International
Tertiary institutions
Other name(s)Church of Christ
Official websiteiglesianicristo.net

History

During American colonial rule over the Philippines, there were a variety of rural anti-colonial movements, often with religious undertones,[15] and American Protestant missionaries introduced several alternatives to the Roman Catholic Church, the established church during Spanish colonial period.[16]

Background

Punta
Built in 1937, the former chapel of the Punta, Manila, congregation is now an INC museum[17]

Felix Y. Manalo, born on May 10, 1886, in Taguig, Philippines, was baptized in the Roman Catholic Church. In his teenage years, Manalo became dissatisfied with Roman Catholic theology. According to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the establishment of the Philippine Independent Church (also called the Aglipayan Church) was his major turning point, but Manalo remained uninterested since its doctrines were mainly Catholic. In 1904, he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church,[18] entered the Methodist seminary, and became a pastor for a while.[19] He also sought through various denominations, including the Presbyterian Church, Christian Mission, and finally Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1911. Manalo left Adventistism in 1913 and associated himself with atheist, and agnostic peers.[3][20]

On November 1913, Manalo secluded himself with religious literature and unused notebooks in a friend's house in Pasay, instructing everyone in the house not to disturb him. He emerged from seclusion three days later with his new-found doctrines.[3][4] Manalo, together with his wife, went to Punta, Santa Ana, Manila, in November 1913 and started preaching. He left the congregation in the care of his first ordained minister and returned to his native Taguig to evangelise; there, he was ridiculed and stoned at his meetings with locals. He was later able to baptize a few converts, including some of his persecutors. He later registered his new-found religion as the Iglesia Ni Cristo (English: Church of Christ; Spanish: Iglesia de Cristo) on July 27, 1914, at the Bureau of Commerce as a corporation sole, with himself as the first executive minister.[3][18][20] Expansion followed as INC started building congregations in the provinces in 1916, with Pasig (then in Rizal province) having two locals established.[21] The first three ministers were ordained in 1919.[4]

By 1924, INC had about 3,000 to 5,000 adherents in 43 or 45 congregations in Manila and six nearby provinces.[20] By 1936, INC had 85,000 members. This figure grew to 200,000 by 1954.[21] A Cebu congregation was built in 1937—the first to be established outside of Luzon, and the first in the Visayas. The first mission to Mindanao was commissioned in 1946. Meanwhile, its first concrete chapel was built in Sampaloc, Manila, in 1948.[20][22] Adherents fleeing for the provinces away from Manila, where the Japanese forces were concentrated during World War II, were used for evangelization.[20] As Manalo's health began to fail in the 1950s, his son Eraño began taking leadership of the church. Felix Manalo died on April 12, 1963.[21][22] Within the span of 49 years of his administration, INC had 1,250 local chapels and 35 large concrete cathedrals.[11]

International expansion

Iglesia ni Cristo Central Temple (Commonwealth Avenue, Quezon City)(2018-02-07)
INC Central Temple in Quezon City, Philippines

On July 27, 1968, Eraño G. Manalo officiated the inaugural worship service of the church in Ewa Beach, Honolulu, Hawaii—the first mission of the church outside the Philippines. The following month, INC established the San Francisco congregation.[23] [24] INC reached Europe through the United Kingdom in 1971, and Canada in 1973. INC established its first congregation in South Africa in 1978.[25] INC established congregations in Rome, Italy on July 27, 1994; Jerusalem, Israel on March 31, 1996; and Athens, Greece on May 10, 1997.[26] In 1998, INC has established 543 congregations, and missions in 74 countries outside the Philippines. [20]

In 1965, INC launched its first resettlement and land reform program in Barrio Maligaya, Laur, Nueva Ecija. INC started operating a radio station in 1969 while its first television program aired in 1983.[21] The Ministerial Institute of Development, renamed as "Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) School for Ministers", was founded in 1974 in Quiapo, Manila, and moved in Quezon City in 1978. In 1971, the INC Central Office building was built in Quezon City. In 1984, the 7,000-seat Central Temple was added in the complex. The Tabernacle, a multipurpose tent-like building which can accommodate up to 4,000 people, was finished in 1989. The complex also includes the New Era University, a higher-education institution run by INC.[20] Eraño G. Manalo died on August 31, 2009.[12] His son, Eduardo V. Manalo, succeeded him as executive minister upon his death.[13]

21st century

Ph-bulacan-bocaue-philippine arena front.jpeg
The Philippine Arena

On July 21, 2014, former President Benigno Aquino III and INC executive minister Eduardo V. Manalo led the inauguration of Ciudad de Victoria,[27] a 140-hectare tourism zone in Bocaue and Santa Maria, Bulacan, where the Philippine Arena is also located. The Philippine Arena, a 50,000-seat multi-purpose structure owned by the INC, currently holds the Guinness World Record for the largest mixed-used indoor theater.[28]

Philippine government declared the year 2014 as the "Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial Year" through Proclamation No. 815[29], whereas, the 27th of July of the same year was declared as a special non-working holiday to commemorate the 100th founding anniversary of Iglesia ni Cristo.[30]

On July 27, 2014, INC celebrated its centennial anniversary at Ciudad de Victoria, with Philippine Arena as the main venue, and in about 1,180 worship buildings worldwide through live video feed. The week-long celebration consisted of pyro-musical displays, worship service led by Manalo, oratorio, musical presentation, theatrical play, quiz show, and evangelical mission.[31] For the worship service conducted for the INC centennial, INC secured two Guinness World Records for the largest gospel choir with 4,745 members and largest mixed-used indoor theater for the Philippine Arena with 51,929 attendees.[32] On July 26, 2015, INC capped their centennial year through different activities such as International Unity Games, worship service led by Manalo, and Closing Centennial Celebration which were held at Washington D.C. United States, and the Philippine Arena.[33]

On October 4, 2015, INC, through Viva films, conducted the world premiere of Felix Manalo, a film depicting the origin of the INC and the life of its first executive minister, which was held at the Philippine Arena.[34]

According to the resolution passed by the Senate of the Philippines to commemorate INC's 104th anniversary, INC has already established more than 7,000 congregations in 151 countries and territories throughout the world.[35]

Beliefs and core values

Iglesia Ni Cristo believes that it is the true church established by Jesus Christ in the first century, and that its registration in the Philippines is the fulfillment of biblical prophecies that Christ's church would re-emerge in the Far East.[7] Because of a number of similarities, INC's doctrines have been described as restorationist in outlook and theme.[36]

Bible

The Iglesia Ni Cristo believes that the Bible is the only book inspired by God. It is the sole basis of all their beliefs and practices.[37]

God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit

The Iglesia Ni Cristo believes that God the Father is the creator deity and the only true God. INC rejects the traditional Christian belief in the Trinity as heresy,[9][20] adopting a version of unitarianism. They believe that this position is attested by Jesus Christ and the Apostles.[4][37][38]

Christ and the Apostles are united in teaching how many and who is the real God. Similar to other true Christians, according to Apostle Paul, there is only one God, the Father—not the Son and more so not the Holy Spirit. The Apostles also did not teach that there is one God who has three personas who are also Gods. ... It [Trinity] is not found in the Holy Scriptures or the Bible, and if [Catholic] priests ever use the Bible to prove this teaching of theirs, all are based only on suppositions and presumptions.
—trans. from Pasugo (November 1968)[38]

The church believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God[37] and the mediator between God the Father and humanity,[20] and was created by God the Father. God sanctified him to be without sin, and bestowed upon him the titles "Lord" and "Son of God". The church sees Jesus as God's highest creation, believe that he is only a Man and denies the deity of Jesus.[19] Adherents profess Jesus' substitutionary role in the redemption of humankind. He is believed to have been "foreordained before the foundation of the world" and sent by God "to deal with sin". Members "are saved by Christ's blood" who died because of his "self-sacrificing love".[9][39]

INC believes that the Holy Spirit is the power of God and also not a deity, being sent by God the Father and Jesus Christ to guide God's people. [40]

One true church

Iglesia ni Cristo flag
Iglesia Ni Cristo flag (the colors represent faith, hope and love while the seven-branched candelabrum or menorah represents the church in the Bible)

The Iglesia Ni Cristo believes that it is the one true church founded by Jesus Christ[37] and was restored by Felix Manalo in the last days. They believe that the first century church apostasized in that century,[41] or in the 4th century due to false teachings.[4][6] INC says that this apostate church is the Roman Catholic Church. Meanwhile, its reestablishment is seen as the signal for the end of days.[9][19][20]

They believe that the Iglesia Ni Cristo is the fulfillment of the Bible verse, Isaiah 43:5, where "east" refers to the Philippines where the Church of Christ would be founded.[4][10][19][20][41] INC teaches that its members constitute the "elect of God" and there is no salvation outside the Iglesia Ni Cristo.[20][42] Faith alone is insufficient for salvation.[9][6] The Iglesia ni Cristo says that the official name of the true church is "Church of Christ or Iglesia Ni Cristo (in Tagalog)". The two passages often cited by INC to support this are Romans 16:16 "Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you",[43] and the George Lamsa translation of Acts 20:28: "Take heed therefore ... to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood."[44]

Felix Y. Manalo

Felix Y. Manalo is said to be the restorer of the church of Christ, and "God's last messenger" (Sugo in Tagalog).[19][41]

INC says that Manalo is the "angel from the east", mentioned in Revelation 7:1–3 who started the INC at the same time that World War I broke out. This is the start of the period according to INC being referred to in the Bible as the ends of the earth (cf Is 41:9-10; 43:5-6) the time when the end of the world is near, even at the doors (cf. Mt. 24:3, 33), which began with the outbreak of a war of global proportions (cf. Mt. 24:6-7)[6][45] Felix Manalo is from the Philippines, which they say is in the "center" of the Far East.[46] The ‘four winds’ in Revelation 7:1-3, they say refers to World War I and the four angels are the four leaders known as the big four (Woodrow Wilson, David Lloyd George, Georges Clemenceau, and Vittorio Orlando) who they say worked on the prevention of the war to continue.[47][48]

Manalo is also portrayed as the fulfillment of several passages in Isaiah and other books of the Bible.[4][20] Manalo's titles are "ravenous bird from the east" (Isa. 46:11), "worm Jacob" (Ps. 22:6-7), "one shepherd" (John 10:16) and "the third Elijah" (Mt.17:10-11; Mal.4:5) and proclaimed to be an "Angel" on the book of Revelations.

As the one who sent by God to restore INC, Manalo became the first executive minister and spiritual leader of the church.[10] As such, he taught that what is written in the Bible was the ultimate authority in all aspects of the church, and effectively as a messenger of God, Manalo is "the foremost Biblical authority for all humanity and the divinely designated leader of a reestablished church of Christ in the modern world."[20]

Baptism

The church believes that baptism is done by immersion baptism or Believer's baptism by adults in water, and that it is necessary that people be baptised in the Iglesia Ni Cristo to become disciples of Jesus Christ.[37] The church rejects infant baptism. Newborn children of members are instead dedicated to God through a congregational prayer, led by an ordained minister of the INC.[49]

People who wish to be baptized in the INC must first submit to a formal process taking at least six months. Once someone officially registers with their local congregation, the person is given the status of being a Bible student (Tagalog: dinudoktrinahan) and taught the lessons concerning fundamental teachings and its beginnings in the Philippines. These lessons are contained in the doctrine manual written by Eraño G. Manalo entitled "Fundamental Beliefs of the Iglesia Ni Cristo". This book is given to ministers, evangelical workers, and ministerial students of the INC. Each lesson is usually thirty minutes to one hour in length. After hearing all the lessons, the students enters a probationary period (Tagalog: sinusubok) during which they are obliged to attend fifteen once-a-week group prayer meetings, where they are taught to pray and are guided in their adjustment to the INC lifestyle. When the sixth month comes, students who have been active in attending the twice-a-week worship services and whose lifestyles are in accordance with INC doctrines are screened before being baptized. During the screening, they are asked questions about the teachings of the church.

Excommunication

Members who are not living in accordance with the doctrines taught in the INC are admonished. Those who continue in violation of INC doctrines after being admonished are excommunicated or expelled from the INC and thus lose salvation, and therefore, the church does not believe in the perseverance of the saints. Certain violations, such as eating blood,[a] being absent from worship services too long without any solid reason, drinking alcohol, or marrying or having a romantic relationship with a non-member may result in mandatory excommunication.[9][42][50][51]

Eschatology and resurrection

INC believes that a person is composed of a body ("vehicle"), soul ("individual") and spirit ("life" or fuel). Members believe that when a person dies, his/her body and soul both die and go into the grave where both will remain until the Second Coming of Christ, whereas the spirit will go back to God. Upon Christ's return, all dead servants of God, from the time of the patriarchs up to the last days, would be resurrected to join living faithful and loyal INC members. They will be rewarded by living in the Holy City or New Jerusalem, together with God the Father, and Jesus Christ. At the right time chosen by God, a second resurrection would occur, and non-INC members will experience second death which is the Lake of Fire (Dagát-dagatang Apóy).[9]

The church believes that God set a day where He will judge all people. They believe that this day is also the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.[37]

INC divides time into three eras: the era of the Patriarchs from creation to the birth of Moses, the era of the Prophets from the birth of Moses to the birth of Jesus, and the Christian era from the birth of Jesus to the Last Judgment. Adherents believe Felix Manalo to be the last messenger of God in the Christian Era.

Practices

Worship and prayer

JfBulacanPhilArena9907IglesiaStadiumfvf 04
A missionary gathering inside the Philippine Arena

The church conducts regular worship services, one during the week, and one during the weekend, conducted in the local languages (providing sign language interpreters and translators in some congregations). It consists of singing of hymns, prayers, studies of the bible, collection of voluntary offerings, and benediction.[52][53] Both God the Father and Jesus are worshiped.[54] The ministers of every congregation in a given worship service use the same sermon outline prepared by the executive minister. Deacons and Deaconesses guide worshipers to their seats and collect voluntary offerings.[6] The singing of hymns is led by the locale's choir. The first hymnbook, termed Ang Himnario ng Iglesia Ni Cristo, which consists of 300+ songs, was published in 1937. Children’s worship services (Tagalog: Pagsamba ng Kabataan or PNK) are held every weekend. They use similar lessons as the standard worship services taught using the Socratic method (question and answer).[4] The church teaches that willfully forsaking the worship service is a grievous sin,[55] thus members are expected to attend the congregational worship services twice a week without fail.[56]

The church encourages its members to make prayer a part of everyday life. Thus, prayer before various activities, such as taking meals and going to sleep, are commonly practiced.[57] Prayers recited in rote repetition are not observed.[58]

Evangelism

Since February 1939, the church has been publishing Pasugo[9] (English: God's Message) in both Tagalog and English.[41] Filipino has been the only language used since its inception in 1939 until 1953. Currently, about two - thirds of its pages are devoted to the English - speaking population.[59] Felix Manalo wrote its first editorial where he stated the publication's purpose, including the propagation of the faith.[4] Issues contain articles which detail INC doctrines and refute doctrines which it considers as heresy, such as the Trinity.[6][19] It also features information on church history, educational programs and missionary achievements, including lists and photographs of newly dedicated chapels. In 2001, it had a monthly circulation of 235,000 copies.[20] For the year 2009, there were more than four million copies of Pasugo distributed worldwide.[60]

In the Philippines, through the Christian Era Broadcasting Service International Incorporated (CEBSI Incorporated), INC broadcasts programs that discuss Bible teachings over the radio and television. These programs are aired by about 60 other radio stations all over the Philippines (i.e. INC Radio- DZEM 954kHz) and several more in the US and Australia. INCTV-49, as well as major cable stations in the Philippines and some channels in the US Direct TV ch 2068, telecast the INC’s religious programs. These programs can also be seen in the Internet via the website www.incmedia.org[61]

INC holds religious gatherings called evangelical missions regularly which aim to attract more followers. On February 28, 2012, INC held its largest Philippine-wide evangelical missions simultaneously on 19 sites across the country.[62] In Manila site alone, more than 600,000 people attended the event.[63] On April 13, 2013, INC launched Lingap-Pamamahayag under its project Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko (English: My Countrymen, My Brethren), which incorporates outreach missions to its evangelical missions.[64] On September 26, 2015, INC held its first worldwide evangelical mission at the Philippine Arena as the main venue and in 2,125 sites throughout the world through video conferencing. It was officiated by INC executive minister, Eduardo Manalo.[65]

Outreach

INC Worldwide Walk for Poverty Roxas Boulevard
INC members participate in the charity walk, "Worldwide Walk to Fight Poverty", in Manila.

On November 19, 1981, INC has launched the Lingap sa Mamamayan (Aid To Humanity) Program. The program aims to provide relief goods, health care, and other services to the needy, especially those who are afflicted by calamities and disasters. It also provides seminars for disaster preparedness, first aid, and family planning. Other humanitarian activities such as blood donation and community clean up drives were also conducted in different parts of the world where the Iglesia Ni Cristo is established.[66]

Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation, the INC's arm in executing the Lingap sa Mamamayan and other related programs, was formally registered in the Philippines on February 4, 2011, and in the United States on May 17, 2012. The institution is also recognized in Japan, South Korea, Spain, and Russia.[67]

INC also established the Unlad International, Inc in 2012.[68] It is the INC's arm in providing sustainable livelihood to its members.

On July 7, 2012, the INC Lingap sa Mamamayan was conducted in the slums of Parola in Tondo, Manila and was awarded three Guinness world records for breaking records in the most people involved in a dental health check, the most blood pressure readings taken in 8 hours and the most blood glucose level tests in 8 hours.[69] On April 29, 2016, four more Guinness world records were broke by the INC. These records are the largest collection of clothes for recycle/donation, the most shoes donated to charity in 24 hours, the most medical ultrasound examinations in eight hours, and the most medical risk assessment in eight hours which was also held in Tondo, Manila.[70][71]

On February 15, 2014, INC bagged another two Guinness world records when they conducted a worldwide charity walk simultaneously on 135 different sites scattered in 29 countries. INC holds the records for the largest charity walk on a single venue when 175,509 members of the church finished the 1.6 km walk in Manila; and for the largest charity walk in 24 hours (multiple venues) when a total of 519,521 participants finished the charity walk in different parts of the world. The proceeds were used for the housing and livelihood projects of super Typhoon Haiyan survivors.[72] INC also broke the same records on May 6, 2018 for its Worldwide Walk to Fight Poverty with 283,171 people in single venue, and 773,136 people in multiple venues for its African missions and outreach. [73]

On February 22, 2014, INC conducted another Lingap sa Mamamayan at its first resettlement project in Barrio Maligaya in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. Coinciding with the barrio's 49th anniversary, INC bagged another world record after setting the record for the most number of hunger relief packs distributed within eight hours. A total of 302,311 hunger relief packages were given.[74]

On March 14, 2014, after conducting a worship service in Tacloban, Leyte, INC executive minister Eduardo V. Manalo, led the groundbreaking ceremony of the EVM Self-Sustainable Community Rehabilitation Project in Sitio New Era, a 3000-hectare property of the church in Brgy. Langit, Alang-alang, Leyte. The project which costs more than one billion pesos includes at least 1000 housing units for the survivors of super typhoon Haiyan. Garments and dried fish factories, and eco-farming project are also included to provide livelihood to the community. More than 150,000 hunger relief packages were also given which contains 3 kilos of rice, canned goods and instant noodles aside from the free medical and dental services conducted that day.[75] On January 23, 2015, Manalo inaugurated the livelihood and housing project.[76]

On November 9, 2015, Manalo inaugurated a community project for Kabihug tribe, an indigenous group in Camarines Norte. The project is situated in a 100-hectare land which includes 300 housing units, calamansi orchard, ecological farm, dried fish factory, garments factory, clinic, learning center, and an INC worship building.[77] After 6 months, another housing and eco-farming community project was inaugurated by the church on May 27, 2016 for the B'laan tribe in Bgy. Danlag, Tampakan South, South Cotabato in southern Philippines.[78]

Administration and organization

Iglesia Ni Cristo Executive Ministers
Name Tenure of office

Felix Y. Manalo July 27, 1914 – April 12, 1963
Eraño G. Manalo April 23, 1963 – August 31, 2009
Eduardo V. Manalo September 7, 2009 – present
Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) Executive Minister Brother Eduardo Manalo (cropped)
Eduardo V. Manalo, Iglesia Ni Cristo's current Executive Minister.

Iglesia Ni Cristo has had three Executive Ministers (Tagalog: Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan) that lead the Church Administration in overseeing the faith of the members. Eduardo V. Manalo, as the current Executive Minister, serves as the church's leader, and, in this capacity, manages the administration of the church.[79] Along with other senior ministers which comprises the Church Economic Council (Tagalog: Lupon ng Sanggunian), the Executive Minister forms the Central Administration of Iglesia Ni Cristo.[42] All church ministers and ministerial workers are male, however, there are numerous female church officers. Ministers are encouraged to marry for the purpose of obeying the command to marry and multiply, and to become effective counselors to church members with family-related problems.

The Central Office in Quezon City, built in 1971, is Iglesia Ni Cristo's headquarters. The Central Office is one of several structures inside the INC Central Office Complex. It houses the permanent offices of the central administration and some of the church's departments. It is here where about a thousand INC professionals and volunteers hold office.[80][81] It was located in Manila during its early years, then in San Juan, and later in Makati, before moving to its present site. INC also has three main offices outside the Philippines; in Burlingame, California, Washington D.C., USA and in Heathrow, London, United Kingdom.[82]

Administration and ministerial work are delegated into ecclesiastical districts (termed divisions until 1990) which are led by District Ministers (formerly, division ministers).[20] Ecclesiastical districts comprise 40 congregations (referred to as locales) on average.[82] All locales were directly managed by Felix Y. Manalo until 1924 when the first ecclesiastical district was organized in Pampanga.[4].

Architecture

INC churches in Montclair, California and Washington, D.C.

Iglesia Ni Cristo chapel CA
Iglesia Ni Cristo DC

Iglesia Ni Cristo church buildings primarily serve as places of worship and are used for other religious functions. These are described by Culture and customs of the Philippines, a book published by Greenwood Publishing Group, as structures "which employ exterior neo-Gothic vertical support columns with tall narrow windows between, interlocking trapezoids, and rosette motifs, as well as tower and spires." There are multiple entrances leading to the main sanctuary, where males and females sit on either side of the aisle facing a dais where sermons are made. The choir loft is located behind the dais, and in larger churches, a baptistry with pools for immersion baptism is located at the back of the church.[83] Meanwhile, Fernando Nakpil-Zialcita, an anthropologist from Ateneo de Manila University,[84] said that INC churches can be uniquely identified for "its exuberant use of fanciful forms and ornaments [and a] brilliant white facade whose silhouette is a cusped Gothic arch or a flattened Saracenic arch." [20] The distinctive spires represent "the reaching out of the faithful to God."[4] Prominent architects, such as Juan Nakpil (a National Artist of the Philippines for architecture) and Carlos A. Santos-Viola, had been involved in designing INC churches while the Engineering and Construction Department of INC, established in 1971, oversees the uniformity in design of church buildings.[83]

The first chapel was built on Gabriela Street in Tondo, Manila in 1918, fashioned out of sawali (woven leaf panels), nipa and wood, typified the style and materials of the early chapels. After World War II, INC began to build concrete chapels, the first of these in Washington (Maceda), Sampaloc, Manila completed in 1948. Next came the chapel and former official residence of the executive minister in San Juan, Rizal (now San Juan City, part of Metropolitan Manila). The complex in San Juan was designed by Juan Nakpil.[85] The Central Temple which opened on July 27, 1984, can accommodate up to 7,000 persons was designed by Carlos A. Santos-Viola.[86] The Central Temple features octagonal spires, "fine latticework" and ribbed windows. Recent buildings are variations on the designs of the Central Temple. These are designed to accommodate 250 to 1,000 persons while larger churches in Metro Manila and provincial capitals can accommodate up to 3,000 persons.[20]

INC churches outside the Philippines which were acquired from different religions undergo intensive renovations to meet the standard of their worship services.[87] Since most of INC churches abroad were acquired from different religions, there is significant variation from one house of worship to another.

Political influence in the Philippines

Duterte Manalo meet Iglesia Ni Cristo (vert. cropped)
President Rodrigo Duterte meets with Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo.

Iglesia Ni Cristo is known for its practice of bloc voting during elections.[88][89][90] During the 2016 presidential election, INC communities in Agusan del Sur, Nueva Ecija, Rizal, Dasmariñas City, and Quezon City delivered 98% to 100% of the total votes to the endorsed candidates.[91] The church supported the candidacies of Benigno "Noynoy" Aquino III,[92][93] and Rodrigo Duterte during the 2010, and 2016 presidential elections respectively.[94]

On June 12, 2009, former President Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo signed Republic Act 9645, declaring July 27 as "Iglesia ni Cristo Day", a special national working holiday.[95] On February 13, 2018, President Duterte appointed INC's executive minister, Eduardo Manalo, as special envoy for overseas Filipino concerns.[96]

Issues

During mid 2015, internal conflicts challenged the century-old church. It was when Felix Nathaniel "Angel" Manalo, the brother of current executive minister, Eduardo V. Manalo, and their mother, Cristina "Tenny" Manalo, the widow of former executive minister Eraño G. Manalo, uploaded a video to YouTube alleging that the INC administration had threatened their lives and that there has been a mass kidnapping of ministers. The Iglesia ni Cristo, however, denies the claims of kidnapping. In July 23, 2015, Eduardo V. Manalo, expelled his two brothers, one of three sisters, and mother, for allegedly trying to create a schism in the church and take over the church's leadership.[97] Former INC minister Lowell Menorca II stated his life and that of his family were threatened by the INC administration, the Canadian government granted him asylum stating "“When the panel considers the links between the INC and the law enforcement authorities in the Philippines... [t]he panel is satisfied Menorca would be unable to avail himself of state protection, from the risks that he fears in that country." [98]

Reception from other religions

Karl Keating, the founder of Catholic Answers, said in 1990 that the INC engages in anti-Catholicism and anti-Protestantism in its God's Message magazine. Keating views the church as being built on a set of anti-Catholic doctrines, and that their lessons, as well as their God's Message magazine are dedicated more to debunking Catholic and Protestant beliefs and doctrines than to explaining their own positions.[99]

Let Us Reason Ministries, an online apologetics research group, has challenged the Iglesia ni Cristo's doctrines that one can only receive salvation if they are a member of the INC, and for saying that the INC has the sole authority from God to interpret and preach the Bible, while other religions do not.[100] They also say that the Iglesia ni Cristo fallaciously misinterprets Biblical passages in order to suit their doctrines.[101]

Dr. James White, of Alpha and Omega Ministries, challenged the theology of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in a public debate. Dr. White and Bro. Joe Ventilacion of the Iglesia ni Cristo met for a debate on April 21, 2017 in Rapid City, South Dakota. [102]

Notes

  1. ^ Pig blood is a major ingredient of Dinuguan, which is a popular dish in the Philippines.

See also

References

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External links

2015 Iglesia ni Cristo leadership controversy

The 2015 Iglesia ni Cristo leadership controversy is a dispute between senior members of the Christian denomination Iglesia ni Cristo (INC) in the Philippines. In July 2015, it was reported that the INC had expelled some of its ministers, along with high-profile members Felix Nathaniel "Angel" and Cristina "Tenny" Manalo. Angel is the brother of current INC Executive Minister Eduardo Manalo and Tenny is the mother of Eduardo, and widow of former Executive Minister Eraño Manalo.Angel and Tenny were expelled from the INC for allegedly "sowing disunity" in the Church. The INC administration released a statement claiming that Eduardo had agreed to the expulsion of his brother and mother from the INC, as decided upon by its overall leadership. However, both Angel and Tenny claimed their lives were threatened by the Iglesia administration. Angel and Tenny had reportedly been illegally detained at the Iglesia's Central Office Complex in Tandang Sora, Quezon City, and that at least ten ministers of the Church were missing and alleged to have been abducted.Former INC ministers Roel Rosal and Isaias Samson, Jr., claimed that the Sanggunián (the highest administrative council of the INC) had unlawfully abducted and detained ministers, along with members of the Manalo family, to cover up corruption surrounding the chief auditor, Glicerio "Jun" Santos, Jr. On July 24, 2015, INC, represented by Glicerio B. Santos, IV, head counsel and son of Santos, Jr. filed a libel complaint against Samson. Detained INC minister Lowell Menorca stated that he was forcibly detained by the INC administration, and was kidnapped at gunpoint by police officers in the employ of INC leaders and was forced to deny his captivity under duress. Menorca later fled to Canada and filed for refugee status, which was granted in 2018, with the Immigration and Refugee Board of Canada stating: “When the panel considers the links between the INC and the law enforcement authorities in the Philippines, the general climate of impunity that pervades Philippines law enforcement, particularly with respect to the issue of extrajudicial killing, and the level of corruption that exists in the Philippines government and law enforcement apparatus, the panel is satisfied Menorca would be unable to avail himself of state protection, from the risks that he fears in that country..."

2015 Iglesia ni Cristo protests

The 2015 INC protests (EDSA IV) were a series of marches which occurred between August 27–31, 2015. Supporters of the Iglesia ni Cristo, a religious body led by executive minister Eduardo V. Manalo, protested against the Department of Justice for allegedly meddling in internal church affairs by taking action on an illegal detention case filed by expelled minister Isaias Samson, Jr. Samson alleged that he was illegally detained by the church and has accused the church of corruption.

Ang Iglesia ni Cristo

Ang Iglesia ni Cristo (transl. The Church of Christ) is the first religious television program produced by the international Christian religious organization Iglesia ni Cristo (through the Christian Era Broadcasting Service International) and its currently broadcast by INC TV (DZCE-TV) and Net 25. The program premiered on February 13, 1983 on MBS (now known as PTV 4) and RPN 9, along with City 2 Television (reverted to BBC-2) from the same year until EDSA Revolution in 1986. One of its first panelists of the program was Bro. Eduardo V. Manalo which he's now a current executive minister of the church. It soon moved ABS-CBN in 1990. When Net 25 was launched, most of its INC programs (including "Iglesia ni Cristo") began to air on the said network.Ang Iglesia ni Cristo was also aired when Iglesia ni Cristo (through its religious broadcast arm, Christian Era Broadcasting Service) established its own TV network, GEM TV in 2005 and it later replaced by INC TV in October 2012.

Christian Era Broadcasting Service International

Christian Era Broadcasting Service International, Incorporated (CEBSI) (formerly known as Christian Broadcasting Service from 1969 to 1994 and Christian Era Broadcasting Service Inc., from 1994 to 2014) is a Philippine television and radio network, and a religious broadcast arm of Iglesia ni Cristo. This station studios are located in Quezon City. According to The Manila Times, CEBSI operates 3 channels on Philippine cable television, these include INCTV 48 and NET 25.It is a sister company of the Eagle Broadcasting Corporation, which owns Net 25, DZEC Radyo Agila 1062 AM and Pinas FM 95.5. Currently, its flagship television station, DZCE-UHF TV Channel 48 (INC TV) in Metro Manila.

Conflicts between Iglesia ni Cristo and Members Church of God International

Since 1980, there have been conflicts between Philippine-based Christian religious organizations Iglesia ni Cristo ("Church of Christ", INC) and the Members Church of God International (MCGI), when MCGI Overall Servant Eliseo Soriano started his radio program Ang Dating Daan (ADD). Through his program, he discussed biblical issues and "exposed" what he believes to be wrong doctrines of other religious groups, including those of INC. In 2001, after 20 years of reticence, the INC launched its own program, Ang Tamang Daan, as a direct response for the first time to Ang Dating Daan, featuring video footages and recordings of ADD hosts as issues were tackled. Over time, the animosity between the two groups has intensified and the relationship has been severely strained.

DZCE-TV

DZCE-TV is the flagship station of the Philippine Television Network INC TV (merger of GEM TV and INC Channel on SkyCable). Now on its 6th programming season, INCTV is the flagship UHF television station of Christian Era Broadcasting Service International, a broadcast ministry of the independent Philippine Christian church, the Iglesia ni Cristo. INC TV studios and transmitters are located at Redeemer Street, Milton Hills Subdivision, Brgy. New Era, Quezon City.

DZEM

DZEM (954 kHz Metro Manila) INC Radio is an AM station owned and operated by Christian Era Broadcasting Service International which is the religious broadcast arm of the Iglesia ni Cristo in the Philippines. The station's studio is located at Central Avenue, Quezon City, and its transmitter is located at Barangay Paliwas, Obando, Bulacan. DZEM operates 20 hours daily from 4:00 am to 12:00 midnight on 954 kHz AM Band, while it operates 24 hours daily via internet streaming (except during an International Evangelical Mission On-air and Online, where it broadcasts 24 hours on all platforms).

Executive Minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo

The Executive Minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Filipino: Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan ng Iglesia ni Cristo) is the primary leader of the Philippine-based Christian denomination, the Iglesia ni Cristo.There has been three Executive Ministers of the church since the Iglesia's founding in 1914 and all of them came from the Manalo family. The Executive Minister serves a life tenure. The Deputy Executive Minister assumes the duties of Executive Minister during the latter's absence and succeeds him when he (Executive Minister) dies or retires. For example, the current Executive Minister, Eduardo V. Manalo was elected Deputy Executive Minister by the INC District Ministers, also known as the Division Ministers in 1994.The Executive Minister along with Deputy Executive Minister and 11 other Senior Ministers (The Sanggunian or Church Economic Council) forms the Church's Central Administration.

Felix Manalo

Félix Manalo Ysagun (born Félix Ysagun y Manalo , May 10, 1886 – April 12, 1963), also known as Ka Felix, registered the "Iglesia ni Cristo" in the Philippine Government in July 27,1914. He was the first Executive Minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo. He is the father of Eraño G. Manalo, who succeeded him as Executive Minister of the INC, and the grandfather of Eduardo V. Manalo, the current Executive Minister.

Because there were no precursors to the registered church, external sources and critics of the INC refer to him as its messenger. The official doctrine of the Iglesia ni Cristo professes that Felix M. Ysagun is the last messenger of God, sent to reestablish the church founded by Jesus Christ, which had fallen into apostasy following the end of the Apostolic Age.

INC Central Temple

The Iglesia ni Cristo Central Temple (Filipino: Templo Central) is a main temple of the Philippine-based Christian religion, the Iglesia ni Cristo. Located along Commonwealth Avenue in Quezon City, it was completed on July 27, 1984, and is the biggest church/place of worship in the whole country for all religions as per the dimensions are concerned with a capacity of around 7,000 people.Built on complex of the INC Central Office, the Temple was erected fifteen years after the completion of the Central Office. It was designed to hold around 7,000 worshipers, accommodating some 3,000 in the main hall and 1,900 in its two side chapels. In addition, the ground floor sanctuary, connected to the main hall by video circuit, can accommodate an excess crowd of around 2,000. The sanctuary has a large baptistery pool designed for the simultaneous baptism of up to 600 people.In 2014, a 20-ton pipe organ with 3,162 individual pipes custom made by American firm A.E. Schlueter Pipe Organ Company, was installed within the period of 14 months in time for the 30th anniversary celebrations of the Central Temple on July 27. The organ was first played during the special worship service held on July 5, 2014.

Iglesia ni Cristo Museum (Santa Ana, Manila)

The Iglesia ni Cristo Museum is a museum in Punta, Santa Ana, Manila. The building of the museum was originally used as a place of worship and is the first local congregation of the Iglesia ni Cristo and is now used as a museum by the church. It is the location where founder Felix Manalo first preached about the Iglesia in 1914.

Iglesia ni Cristo Museum and Gallery

The Iglesia ni Cristo Museum and Gallery is an ecclesiastical museum located in Quezon City and is owned and operated by the Iglesia ni Cristo. It is located within the grounds of the INC Central Office. It features the history of the Christian denomination and memorabilia of its founders.

Iglesia ni Cristo chapel, F. Manalo-San Juan

The Iglesia Ni Cristo Locale of F. Manalo-San Juan (Filipino: Lokal ng F. Manalo-San Juan), formerly Locale of Riverside (Filipino: Lokal ng Riverside) is a chapel and former central office complex of the Philippine-based Christian sect, Iglesia ni Cristo. Located in Barangay Santa Lucia, San Juan, it was completed in 1952, and it is the former central office complex and main house of worship of the church. The art-deco ensembles were designed by the national artist of architecture Juan Nakpil, who also built some of the standalone theaters in Rizal Avenue, UP Diliman Campus buildings and Quiapo Church.

Iglesia ni Cristo chapel, Makati

The Iglesia Ni Cristo Locale of Makati (Filipino: Lokal ng Makati), formerly Locale of Bautista is a chapel of the Philippine-based Christian religion, the Iglesia ni Cristo. Located at Barangay Palanan, Makati, Metro Manila, it was completed on 1977 to become a separate congregation from Paco Locale in Paco, Manila and nearby Proprietarios congregation in Pasay City. It was designed by architect, Carlos A. Santos-Viola with seating capacity of 1000.

After a destructive fire that hit the chapel and its compound in 2011, the Church Administration decided to remodel and renovate the burned chapel, also it is one of the first chapels of the Church, that is renovated to the modern standards of INC Construction and Engineering Department.

The Chapel was rededicated 10 months after the fire, the seating capacity also expanded by 200 worshipers, in addition to original 800 seating capacity. It was dedicated by Brother Israel U. Flores, who was then the District Supervising Minister of Metro Manila South.

Iglesia ni Cristo chapel, Punta

The Iglesia Ni Cristo Locale of Punta (Filipino: Lokal ng Punta) is a chapel of the Philippine-based Christian religion, the Iglesia ni Cristo. Located at Punta, Santa Ana, Manila, it was completed on 1989 in commemoration of the 75th anniversary of the church to replace the old chapel (now a museum) meters away from the current chapel, the congregation was the first locale of the church established in 1914. It was designed by architect, Carlos A. Santos-Viola in collaboration with the Iglesia ni Cristo Construction and Engineering Department.

Iglesia ni Cristo chapel, Washington (Sampaloc)

The Iglesia Ni Cristo Locale of Washington (Filipino: Lokal ng Washington), is a chapel of the Philippine-based Christian sect, the Iglesia ni Cristo. Located at Sampaloc, Manila, it was completed on 1948, and it is the first chapel built in reinforced concrete by the church.

The church administration decided to build a permanent house of worship for the members registered in Sampaloc, Manila. Brother Felix Y. Manalo tasked architect Alfredo J. Luz to build a concrete house of worship along Washington street (now A. Maceda street) in Sampaloc. It was dedicated by Brother Manalo in 1948.

In 2010, the 62-year-old chapel underwent renovation to meet the standard of the Iglesia ni Cristo Construction and Engineering Department. The chapel was upgraded into an fully air-conditioned chapel and made some alterations in the interior and partially on exterior of the chapel. The chapel is now part of the ecclesiastical district of Metro Manila West, and it gave birth to offshoot locales like La Loma Congregation, Sampaloc Congregation, and Galas (now Araneta Avenue) Congregation.

Iglesia ni Cristo chapel, Washington D.C.

The Iglesia ni Cristo chapel in Washington D.C. in the United States is located along 16th Street. It used to be a place of worship and school of the Saints Constantine and Helen Greek Orthodox Church. The Iglesia ni Cristo through the Allison James Estates & Homes purchased the chapel building from Summit Commercial which represents the Greek Orthodox church for $9.2 million in November 2012. It was renovated by the Iglesia as a house of worship for its own adherents.The complex composed with two building. The former Orthodox church building has one story and a basement with a land area measuring 14,800 square feet (1,370 m2) is located within a 1.82 hectares (196,000 sq ft; 18,200 m2) parcel of land. The former school building within the complex is three stories high and measures 16,370 square feet (1,521 m2).

List of programs broadcast by INC TV

The following is a list of the programs currently broadcast on INC TV (4th Season), a free-to-air religious channel owned by the Christian Era Broadcasting Service International, a broadcast evangelization arm of the Iglesia ni Cristo. Selected programs are also been aired on Net 25 every weekday afternoons and evenings and weekend mornings, afternoons, and evenings.

Philippine Arena

The Philippine Arena is the world's largest indoor arena. It is a multipurpose indoor arena with a maximum seating capacity of 55,000 at Ciudad de Victoria, a 140-hectare tourism enterprise zone in Bocaue and Santa Maria, Bulacan, Philippines about 30 kilometers north of Manila. It is one of the centerpieces of the many centennial projects of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) for their centennial celebration on July 27, 2014. The legal owner of the arena is the INC's educational institution, New Era University.

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