THE IGLESIA NI Cristo (Church Of Christ) was officially established in the Philippines on July 27, 1914. This posts as a problem to others why they cannot accept that the Iglesia Ni Cristo as the one true Church established by the Lord Jesus Christ. They often asked: “If the Iglesia Ni Cristo is the one true Church established by the Lord Jesus Christ why it emerged only in 1914?”
The Lord Jesus Christ indeed established His Church when He was still here on earth. The Church Of Christ was built by Christ in the first century in Jerusalem. However, apostasy took place. The first century Church Of Christ was apostatized by false teachers. It was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who warned the first century Christians that many of His disciples will be led astray (cf. Matt. 24:9-11). But, the Lord Jesus Christ also promised that He is going to rebuild His Church (cf. John 10:16).
Thus, we believe that the emergence of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) in the Philippines in 1914 was the fulfillment of Christ's promise that He is going to rebuild His Church. These are attested by prophecies written in the Bible.
WHY CHURCH OF CHRIST
It is true that the Lord Jesus Christ build His Church while He was still here on earth. Matthew 16:18 attests to this fact:
“And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18 NIV)
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself who established the Church Of Christ in the first century. He said, “I will build my church.” Take note that the Lord Jesus built only one Church. He said, “I will build my CHURCH.” He did not said, “I will build my CHURCHES.” This Church has an official name and it is important that she continuously be called in that name, because:
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” (Acts 4:12 NIV)
The Bible said, “there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.” This “name” is the name given to the Lord Jesus:
“And now I am coming to you; I am no longer in the world, but they are in the world. Holy Father! Keep them safe by the power of your name, the name you gave me, so that they may be one just as you and I are one.” (John 17:11 TEV)
The Lord Jesus prayed to God to “Keep them safe by the power of your name.” The name He is referring to is the name given to Him by the Lord God. So the name given to Him by the Lord God is also the name “given to men by which we must be saved.” This is the name "Christ":
“Salvation is found in no one else, for there is no other name under heaven given to men by which we must be saved.
“Then know this, you and all the people of Israel: It is by the name of Jesus Christ of Nazareth, whom you crucified but whom God raised from the dead...” (Acts 4:12 and 10 NIV)
The true Church established by Christ is named after Him. It is only right that the true Church is named after Him because:
(1) Christ is the founder of the Church (Mt. 16:18)
(2) Christ is the owner of the Church (Mt. 16:18)
(3) The Church is the body of Christ and He is the head of the Church (Col. 1:18)
How is the Church called after the name of Christ? In Romans 16:16, this is what the Bible says:
“Greet one another with a holy kiss. All the churches of Christ send greetings.” (Romans 16:16 NIV)
Also in Acts 20:28, this is what the Bible says:
“Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers to feed the church of Christ which He purchased with His blood.” (Acts 20:28 Lamsa)
Actually, even Catholic authorities attest that the Church is indeed called after Christ, from the earliest times has been called the “Christian Church” or the “Church of Christ”:
“5. Did Jesus Christ establish a Church?
“Yes, from all history, both secular and profane, as well as from the Bible considered as a human document, we learn that Jesus Christ established a Church, which from the earliest times has been called after Him the Christian Church or the Church of Christ.” (Cassily, Francis B., S.J. Religion: Doctrine and Practice for use in Catholic High Schools. 12th and revised edition. Imprimi Potest: Charles H. Cloud, S.J. Provincial of the Chicago Province. Imprimatur: George Cardinal Mundelein, Archbishop of Chicago. Chicago: Loyola University Press, 1934, p. 442-443.)
Thus, the Lord Jesus Christ established His Church in the first century, in Jerusalem, and it is named after Him, the “Church Of Christ.” The name “Iglesia Ni Cristo” is the Tagalog for “Church Of Christ.”
WHERE IS THE CHURCH OF CHRIST
WHICH CHRIST ESTABLISHED IN
THE FIRST CENTURY?
If the true Church Of Christ was established in the first century, how can the Iglesia Ni Cristo claims that she is the one true Church established by Christ if she emerged only in 1914? The answer to this question is also the answer to the question “Where is the Church Of Christ which Christ established in the first century?” the Lord Jesus Christ Himself answered this question:
“Then you will be handed over to be persecuted and put to death, and you will be hated by all nations because of me. At that time many will turn away from the faith and will betray and hate each other, and many false prophets will appear and deceive many people.” (Matthew 24:9-11 NIV)
The Lord Jesus Christ Himself warned His disciples that: (1) they will be handed over and persecuted and put to death; and (2) many false prophets will appear and deceive many. How many will be deceive? In Weymouth Translation of Matthew 24:11, this is what is written:
“Many false prophets will rise up and lead multitudes astray.” (Matt. 24:11 Weymouth)
It was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who said that His disciples will be persecuted and put to death, and multitudes will be led astray or will be deceived. Thus, when the Lord Jesus Christ said in Matthew 16:18 that “the gates of Hades will not overcome” His Church, it doesn’t mean that there will be no apostasy that will took place. It is the Lord Jesus Himself who said that “multitudes” of His disciples will be “led astray” by “false prophets.” What does our Lord Jesus Christ meant in saying that the gates of Hades will not overcome His Church?
“And so I tell you, Peter: you are a rock, and on this rock foundation I will build my church, and not even death will ever be able to overcome it.” (Matthew 16:18 TEV)
When the Lord Jesus said that “the gates of Hades will not overcome” the Church, according to Today's English Version (TEV) it means that “not even death will ever be able to overcome it.” What does it mean that “not even death will overcome” the Church established by Christ? This was answered by Apostle Paul in I Thessalonians 4:16:
“For the Lord himself will come down from heaven, with a loud command, with the voice of the archangel and with the trumpet call of God, and the dead in Christ will rise first.” (NIV)
Thus, it is only the conclusion of those who oppose that the first century Church Of Christ was apostatized that the words of the Lord Jesus saying “the gates of Hades will not overcome” the Church meant that the Church will not be apostatized. Their conclusion contradicts what the Lord Jesus said in Matthew 24:9-11. Not only our Lord Jesus Christ, but also His apostles forewarned that apostasy will took place. This is what Apostle Paul said in I Timothy 4:1 and 3:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
“Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth.” (KJV)
Apostle Paul explicitly said that "some shall depart from the faith." Apostle Peter also wrote the following:
“But there were also false prophets among the people, even as there will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who bought them, and bring on themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their destructive ways, because of whom the way of truth will be blasphemed.” (II Peter 2:1-2 NKJV)
Apostle Peter said. “there will be false teachers among you.” He also said that these false teachers “will secretly bring in destructive heresies.” Take note that these false teachers will rise among the first Christians and will secretly bring destructive heresies INSIDE the Church that "many will follow their destructive ways." As related to this, Apostle Paul also wrote the following:
“I know that after I leave, savage wolves will come in among you and will not spare the flock. Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth in order to draw away disciples after them.” (Acts 20:29-30 NIV)
According to Apostle Paul, “Even from your own number men will arise and distort the truth.” He is referring to “bishops” of the Church (cf. Acts 20:28). Also, Apostle Paul said that the apostasy will occur “after I leave,” referring to his death (Cf. Acts 20:29-30, 24-25 and 37-38; I Tim. 4:6-8). Thus, the apostasy will take place after the death of the apostles or after the apostolic period (first century AD). Those who will led astray the multitudes of the disciples, who will distort the truth and secretly bring destructive heresies inside the Church, and called by Apostle Peter as “false teachers,” will come from "among their ranks" (among the bishops).
Take note that the apostles prophesied that after their death (after the apostolic period) or those will come immediately after them, were those that will led astray the Church. The Catholic Church claims that they are the successors of the apostles.
THE FULFILLMENT OF THE APOSTASY
The dictionary defines “apostasy” as “the renunciation of a religious or political belief or allegiance” (Microsoft Encarta Dictionary). Thus, Apostasy is a defection, a falling away from what one believed in, as apostasy from one’s religion, creed, or politics. Hence, one becomes an apostate as soon as he departs from his former belief, whatever it was. What undergoes change is not the person nor his nature but his beliefs. The Bible defines “apostasy” as “turning away from the true faith.” This is what is written in I Timothy 4:1:
“Now the Holy Spirit tells us clearly that in the last times some will turn away from the true faith; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.” (New Living Translation)
According to Apostle Paul, “some WILL TURN AWAY FROM THE TRUE FAITH; they will follow deceptive spirits and teachings that come from demons.” Thus, apostasy took place when the Church departed from the true Christian teachings and embraced "different teachings" (teachings not upheld by true Christians, not taught by the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles, not written in the Bible).
Here in I Timothy 4:1, Apostle Paul did not only gave a clear definition of what apostasy is, but also warned the first century Christians that apostasy will take place:
“But the Spirit speaks expressly, that in latter times some shall apostatise from the faith, giving their mind to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons.” (Darby Bible)
Apostle Paul did not only warn the first century Christians that apostasy will take place, but he also wrote how the first century Christians will be apostatized. He said, “giving their mind to deceiving spirits and teachings of demons.” Thus, Apostle Paul gave signs in order for us to easily identify the apostatized church; they will follow the “teachings of demons.” What are some examples of the “teachings of demons” that the apostatized church will follow? In I Timothy 4:1 and 3:
“Now the Spirit speaketh expressly, that in the latter times some shall depart from the faith, giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils;
“Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats, which God hath created to be received with thanksgiving of them which believe and know the truth." (I Timothy 4:1 and 3 KJV)
Apostle Paul wrote, “...giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils...Forbidding to marry, and commanding to abstain from meats.” These are some of the signs that the Bible gave so that we could recognize the fulfillment of the apostatized church: they followed the doctrines of the devil of forbidding to marry and abstaining from meats.
The Roman Catholic Church practices “clerical celibacy.” They forbade their priests and bishops to marry:
“Although celibacy is not expressly enforced by our Savior, it is, however, commended so strongly by Himself and His apostles, both by word and example, that the Church felt it her duty to lay it down as a law.
“The discipline of the Church has been exerted from the beginning in prohibiting Priests to marry after their ordination.” (Gibbons, James Cardinal. The Faith of our Fathers. New York: P.J. Kennedy and Sons, 1917, p. 328)
The Roman Catholic Church also orders her members to abstain from meats on certain days:
“What does the second commandment of the Church order us to do?
“It orders us to fast and abstain from flesh meat on certain days of the year.” (A Seminary Professor. Manual of Christian Doctrine: Comprising Dogma, Moral, and Worship. New York: Lassale Bureau, 1949, p. 317)
Thus, when the Church Of Christ of the first century departed from the true faith and followed the erroneous teachings (teachings not taught by the Lord Jesus Christ and His apostles, and not written in the Bible) like clerical celibacy and abstaining from meat, she became the Catholic Church. This is the reason why it’s the Catholic Church that continued up to this day - the first century Church Of Christ was apostatized and transformed into Catholic Church.
THE LORD JESUS CHRIST PROMISED
THAT THE CHURCH OF CHRIST
It was the Lord Jesus Christ Himself who prophesied that multitudes of His disciples will be led astray. However, even though the first century Church Of Christ will be apostatized, this is what the Lord Jesus promised:
“And other sheep I have which are not of this fold; them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice; and there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (John 10:16 NKJV)
Although the first century Church Of Christ will be apostatize, the Lord Jesus Christ said, “other sheep I have.” He called them His “other sheep” because they “are not of this fold.” He will bring them also and they will hear His voice and they will be “one flock.” The “fold” or “flock” the Lord mentioned refers to the “Church Of Christ” (Acts 20:28 Lamsa). Thus, when the Lord Jesus said that He has other sheep “not of this fold,” what He meant is that He has other sheep not of THIS Church Of Christ (referring to the first century Church Of Christ).
The "other sheep" mentioned by the Lord Jesus Christ in John 10:16 are not of the Church Of Christ of the first century. Remember that the first century Church Of Christ was apostatized. The Lord promised that “them also I must bring.” He also said that “there will be one flock.” The word “flock” is referring to the Church Of Christ. Thus, the words of the Lord Jesus Christ saying "Other sheep I have which are not of this fold, them also I must bring, and they will hear My voice, and there will be one flock..." refers to His promise of rebuilding the Church Of Christ.
Therefore, even though the first century Church Of Christ was apostatized, Christ will rebuild His Church. The Church Of Christ will re-emerge. Who are Christ's "other sheep"? When and where it will emerge? Apostle Peter answers these questions:
“For the promise is unto you, and to your children, and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call.” (Acts 2:39 KJV)
This verse shows that the Church Of Christ the Lord established is composed of three groups of people: (1) "For the promise is unto you" - the Jews (cf. Acts 2:36); (2) "and to your children" - the Gentiles (cf. I Cor. 4:6); and (3) "and to all that are afar off, even as many as the LORD our God shall call."
Thus, the "other sheep not of this fold" that the Lord Jesus Christ mentioned in John 10:16 is the third group of people that comprised the Church that the Lord Jesus Christ founded and will came from "afar off," When and where the third group of people that comprised the Church that the Lord Jesus Christ founded and who Christ called as His "other sheep" will emerge? In a related prophecy, Isaiah 43:5-6, this is what is written:
“Fear not: for I am with thee: I will bring thy seed from the east, and gather thee from the west; I will say to the north, Give up; and to the south, Keep not back: bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth.” (Isaiah 43:5-6 KJV)
The Bible said, "bring my sons from far, and my daughters from the ends of the earth." The children of God that will come from afar will emerge in the time the biblical prophecy calls the "ends of the earth."
The Bible explained that the "end of the earth" is the second coming of the Lord Jesus Christ (cf. Matt. 24:3), while the "ends of the earth" is the time when the end is near (cf. Matt. 24:33). The Lord Jesus Christ gave signs indicating that the time is already at the "ends of the earth" or the end is near:
“Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, "Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?"
“So you also, when you see all these things, know that it is near, at the doors!
“And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. All these are the beginning of sorrows.” (Matt. 24:3 & 33 & 6-8 NKJV)
The first sign that Jesus gave as an answer to His disciples’ question about the signs of His return and the end of the world was a war that would be dramatically different from all other wars that preceded it. What would make this war so unique is that the news of its battles would quickly spread both far and wide. This Great War prophesied by the Lord Jesus Christ found fulfillment in the war that was once called “the war to end all wars,” or the First World War which began on July 27, 1914 (Story of the Great War, edited by Francis J. Reynolds, et al. New York: P.F. Collier and Son, 1916. Vol. 2, p. 291).
The Prophet Isaiah not only prophesied when the children of God will emerge (from the ends of the earth), but also the place where they will emerge (from the Far East):
“From the far east will I bring your offspring, and from the far west I will gather you." (Isaiah 43:5 Moffatt)
The Philippines where the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) emerged is in the Far East:
“The Philippines were Spain's share of the first colonizing movement in the Far East." (Boak, Arthur E. R., et al. World history. Madison United States Armed Forces Institute, 1942, Vol. 2, p. 445.)
WHY THE IGLESIA NI CRISTO
EMERGED ONLY IN 914
The gap between the first century Church Of Christ and the Church Of Christ that emerged in the Philippines is because the first century Church was apostatized. Although apostasy took place in the first century Church Of Christ, however, Christ promised that He is going to re-establish the Church Of Christ. Hence, the emergence of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) in the Philippines in 1914 was the fulfillment of Christ’s promise of re-establishing His Church.
Iglesia ni Cristo Central Temple
Commonwealth Avenue, New Era, Quezon City, Philippines