16 March 2016

Why We Joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ)


WHY WE JOINED THE 
IGLESIA NI CRISTO
(CHURCH OF CHRIST)



  THE Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) has congregations in more than 100 countries and territories with members from more than 120 nationaties. Know why thousands and thousands of people throughout the world joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ). Find out what makes this Church unique.

Read the inspiring stories of those who have joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ).

Why a former Roman Catholic priest
joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo

Brother Beda H. Aboloc is a former Roman Catholic priest ordained in 1957. He even became the assistant secretary of the Roman Catholic bishop of Surigao, Philippines. He left the Roman Catholic Church and became a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in 1964. Why a former Roman Catholic priest joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo?

“My name is Beda Aboloc. I was born in Cantilan, Surigao del Sur, Mindanao, Philippines, on May 27, 1928, and was baptized in Roman Catholic...
“...During that last year of my seminary training, I received the tonsure, the four Minor Orders, and the Two Major Orders of Sub-diaconate and Diaconate. So after studying for six years in the Sacred Heart Seminary and four years in San Jose Seminary, I received the last Major Order, the Priesthood, in Surigao, Surigao del Norte on March 24, 1957. Since then I was addressed Reverend Father Beda Aboloc. I celebrated my first Solemn Hymn Mass in my hometown on April 7, 1957...
“On April 13, 1964, Brother Sandoval began my Bible Study but after two lessons, another minister, Brother Angel Casanova took over, because Brother Sandoval was too busy to have a fixed schedule. In the course of my bible Study, I discovered a world of difference between the doctrine of the Catholic Church and the doctrine of Church Of Christ. After serious thought and consideration, I was convinced of the truth, the way, and the life of the Church Of Christ, so much so, even before my Bible Study was over, I took part of the campaigns of the Church Of Christ in Calapan, Mindoro, on May 1, 1964 and in Naga City, Camarines Sur, on May 15, 1964. My Bible Study was finished on May 27, 1964, my thirty-sixth birthday. On May 29, 1964, I took part for the third time in another campaign of the Church Of Christ in Pasig, Rizal.
“During the campaign, I told the public that I found the teachings of the Roman Catholic Church to be wrong especially the prohibition imposed on priests to marry and the prohibition to eat meat, which are doctrines of the devil, according to the Bible. I exhorted all Catholics, including priests, to go out of Roman Catholic Church and enter the Church Of Christ if they want to be saved on judgment day. On May 30, 1964, Minister Brother Balmores baptized me in the Church Of Christ, in the chapel of Baclaran, Rizal.”
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Why a former Roman Catholic seminarian
joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo

Brother Pedrito B. Placio is a former Roman Catholic seminarian. He became a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) in 1981. Whay a former seminarian joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo?

“I was born a Roman Catholic in Marihatag, Surigao del Sur on November 1943. I studied in a Catholic school, worked my way as a convent boy in Marihatag, studied in the seminary and finished my Bachelor of Arts degree in Philosophy at San Carlos seminary in Makati, Metro Manila in 1967; after which, I left the seminary and went to Jolo, Sulu to tend for myself...
“Although these things troubled me I remained a devout Catholic. But in 1967 I left the seminary. In 1981 somebody gave me copies of thePasugo, and I got curious when I saw the name of Brother Beda Aboloc, my former colleague. I read his articles and got more curious. The moment came when it was I myself who sought for a minister to teach me, and I finally requested for an Iglesia Ni Cristo minister to enlighten me.  My astonishment was so great when that minister answered all my queries directly from the pages of the Bible without any moment of hesitation. I underwent all the Bible Study sessions and got baptized in Zamboanga City on July 25, 1981. I found peace and inner happiness but above all, I found the Truth, the Way, and the Life.”
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Why a former Roman Catholic nun
joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo

Sister Erlinda Mrafuentes-Dela Cruz is a former Roman Catholic nun, and became a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) in 1994:

“I was born and baptized into the Catholic Church. My grandmother taught me how to pray the Angelus and the rosary daily. My early childhood  was replete with different sizes of statues of all saints elaborately dressed like medieval beings and arranged on the altar where we knelt before them as we recited long and repetitious prayers in their honor. My mother, Dominga Calderon, taught me to have a personal devotion to all souls in Purgatory. I became a prayer leader of the novena for the dead especially during All Souls’ Day in the cemetery. I devoutly observed different practices such as fasting and abstinence during holy week and the nine-day novena in preparation for the feast days of the honored patron.
“...I joined the Religious of the Virgin Mary (RVM) congregation in the year 1979. I stayed with this congregation until 1987. Then from 1988 to 1994, I joined the Sisters for Christian Community (SFCC), an international congregation. I became a perpetually professed Sister but everything was in vain...
“I curiously observed the Iglesia Ni Cristo worship service at Putatan Chapel, Muntinlupa City. To my great surprise, I was deeply touched by the hymn sung by the choir. I couldn’t help but join the brethren in crying throughout the hymn-singing. More so, I was overwhelmed by the impact of the preaching of the minister about the relationship of parents and children.
“After few weeks I felt a craving, hungering and thirsting for another worship service. I attended the worship services several times, and then I realized that the true light was gradually shining in me. I finally decided to listen to the doctrines of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. The lessons that dealt with the sign of the cross were the focal points of my conversion. I was so terrified when I learned the true meaning of the sign of the cross on the forehead. I thank God for the gift of Brother Felix Y. Manalo, the messenger of God in these last days. I felt extraordinary gifts from God right after studying the first ten doctrinal lessons.
“At last, I felt deep within my heart that I found His kingdom in the Iglesia Ni Cristo. Truly inspired by His light and love, I immediately wrote a letter to the SFCC Sisters in the USA, requesting them to dispense me from my vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. I was officially dispensed from my vows on April 10, 1994.
“I joyfully continued studying the remaining lessons until April 30, 1994. For more than six months I was tested on how faithful I was in attending the worship services. Most of the time I attended the worship service in Dagupan City.
“I observed that the more I attended the worship services, the clearer my faith and conviction became that the Iglesia Ni Cristo is the answer to my spiritual dryness when I was inside the convent. The solemnity and orderliness of the (Iglesia Ni Cristo) worship services, and the teaching that is purely taken from the verses of the Bible, were totally absent from the Masses I heard in the convent. I would experience the power of God and His mighty blessings whenever the (Iglesia Ni Cristo) ministers and deacons lead the prayer. I had never felt these extraordinary graces when I attended Masses or any liturgical services when I was a nun.
“Finally, on October 1, 1994, I was baptized into the only true Church, the Iglesia Ni Cristo. This is the most unforgettable date in my life.”
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Why a former Anglican priest from
Nigeria joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo

Born in Nigeria in July 25, 1945, Brother Innocent E. Okekeh is a former Anglican Priest from Onitsha, Anambra State, Nigeria. He first came to the Philippines in 1974 to pursue his studies, but he learned more than he expected.

“It was in the course of my studies in the Philippines from 1974-1984—during which I earned Bachelor of Divinity from Union Theological Seminary (1978); Master of Arts in Education at the Philippine Christian University (1980); Doctor of Philosophy in Educational Management in Centro Escolar University (1983)—when I began attending worship services of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in places like Sampaloc, Manila and Cavite. I did it on my own volition. Nobody in or outside the Philippines coerced, compelled or even introduced me to the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
“So why did I leave my former church and join the Iglesia Ni Cristo? First, I was spiritually convinced that the Iglesia Ni Cristo is the only one true church. It does not hide the truth. It does not add or subtract teachings from the Bible. It is not a church wherein doctrines and practices are a mixture of beliefs where anything can go in. The Iglesia Ni Cristo is unique, the only church I have seen in my life that is truly biblical. However, one thing that I have noticed in the Iglesia Ni Cristo is that there is no discrimination among themselves, even among ministers, and among the foreigners, that is why they have houses of worship and congregations even in many African countries including Nigeria.
“I also noticed that the worship service of this church is free from showmanship. The method of worship and thanksgiving is very orderly. Each member is well taken care and if any would fail to attend the worship service, he is visited by his overseer. Pastoral visits are widely practiced, starting from the district minister down to local officers.
“The Iglesia Ni Cristo does not worship idols or graven images. There is nothing like human tradition imposed in worship. During worship services, members participate actively in singing holy hymns, respond in prayers, listen attentively to the sermon, and voluntary give offerings. The whole worship service up to the time of dismissal is short but sufficient unlike in other churches where people stay from 8 am to 2 pm, which is very noticeable in some so-called evangelical churches causing complaints from their members.
“Another reason why I left the Anglican Church is because of its tolerance of unbiblical practices like divorce, consecration of women as priests, and same-sex marriage. Moreover, the political problems and disunity I observe in my former church are very discouraging.
“One major component of my conversion to the Iglesia Ni Cristo is its clear and precise doctrines regarding the true nature of God and Jesus Christ. Unlike other churches that have confusing doctrines such as the trinity, the Iglesia Ni Cristo upholds these biblical truths. God is Spirit in His state of being, which means that He has no flesh and bones; Christ is man in His state of being, meaning He has flesh and bones; God is immortal, while Christ experienced death, the cessation of breath; God has no beginning, while Christ came from God; God does not recognize any other God besides Himself, while Christ recognizes the only true God as His God; God does not get tired or weary, while Christ got tired; and finally, God is not born of any woman but Christ was born of a woman and He cannot perform anything without the Almighty God empowering or enabling Him.”
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Why a former Roman Catholic from
Rome joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo

Brother Marco Boni is a former Roman Catholic from Rome, Italy. He became a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in 1991.

“...I was born here in Rome on July 11, 1953. I finished my studies with the degree of Geometry in 1972 and at present I am connected with a building enterprise and the civil tribune of Rome.
“After my graduation and after doing some contractual jobs, a great opportunity opened for me through an advertisement in a journal. I became part of an American association, which was constructing an airport in Tehran under the Iranian government. I became curious about a co-worker who was always absent on Sunday afternoons. Iran, being a Muslim country, counts Sundays as working days while Thursdays and Fridays are nonworking days. I found out that those absences were part of the great sacrifices members of the Church Of Christ do every time they are to perform their greatly treasured duties to God during worship service days in a country where such adoration is equivalent to death. In my curiosity, I attended their worship services. I felt their warm hospitality and I felt that there was something inside of me that longed for an explanation. To this day I am touched with the solemnity; and spirituality of the worship services.
“In September 1978, a revolution broke out in Iran. In February 1979, I escaped and fled to Rome. I was able to attend the worship services at York Hotel. In spite of the hardships, I continued participating, for I felt a dire need to do so. For exactly 20 years, I listened to the words of God under different ministers who were always ready to answer my questions about the tiresome praises of priests on the mysteries of the Catholic faith. In 1990, Brother Rizalino Santos, the resident minister at that time, started to teach me the fundamental biblical doctrines of the Church Of Christ. Any question I asked him he answered by reading verses in the Bible, never in his own words and neither did he pronounce the prophetic sentence of the Catholic priests that it is a “mystery of the faith”!
“One of the doctrines that touched me deeply is the truth regarding God and Jesus Christ who, according to some religions are one, but in the Bible, they are two and are entirely different. Also, I was amazed at how all members in the Church Of Christ from the youngest to the oldest—receive the same teaching from the Bible. What determined my choice to become a member of the Church Of Christ was when I asked Brother Santos to show me where in the Bible we can read that Jesus Christ is not God. He took by hand the Bible and read to me different verses, among which are: John 17:3, John 20:17, and I Timothy 2:5. These verses left me surprised, especially John 20:17 wherein Jesus Christ makes clear that He is not God.
“In the light of this truth, I asked where the Catholic Church draws the origin of the teaching regarding the so-called Trinity. He read two passages from the book “Discourses on the Apostles Creed” written by a Catholic priest in which it says that in the Council of Nicaea, in 325 A.D., the Catholic Church defined that it was an article of faith that Jesus Christ is God; and in the Council of Constantinople, in 381 A.D., that the Holy Spirit is God. There are no biblical bases of the teaching of the so-called Trinity. This fact made me deeply upset, so much that I asked a priest whom I recognized then for an explanation. But rather than answering me in a calm manner, he was outraged and sent me away.
“After a long and in-depth study of the doctrines in the Church Of Christ, I received the holy baptism on January 27, 1991. My life changed totally from everything I was in the past and I started to propagate and share my newfound faith with my countrymen.”
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Why a former member of the Jehovah’s
Witnesses from Canada joined the
Iglesia Ni Cristo

Brother Edwin Chase is a former member of the Baptist Church from childhood to age 16, and after attending different denominations, he was baptized as a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses in 1992. But why he decided to became a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in the year 2000?

“I was born in Barbados and, for most of my childhood up to the age of 16, my family and I attended the Baptist Church. In 1973, I immigrated to Canada after which I decided to look into other religions such as the Pentecostal Church, the Jehovah’s Witnesses, the Catholic Church and the Anglican Church. My goal was to find a religious group that teaches biblical truth.
“In 1992, I was introduced to the Jehovah’s Witnesses and soon after, I started studying with them. After two years, I was baptized and became a member of the Jehovah’s Witnesses. About five years into being a member, I became very disturbed with regard to some of their teachings. I began to   ask questions. Sometimes,   the answers I received from the elders were contrary to what was written in the Holy Scriptures.  An example of such teaching is their claim that they are the true religion, yet they teach that Jesus is God, a Mighty God, and that the Father is the Almighty God.  However, in the Bible, it is written that God said that He is God and there is no one else like Him.
“Another verse states that life eternal may be attained if one comes to know the true God and Jesus Christ whom God has sent.   I asked the elders many questions but they told me that the Bible was not meant for me to understand.  They told that God has blessed them with the ability to understand the biblical mysteries and that I need to wait for their interpretations.
“One day after many months of rejecting my co-worker’s invitation to their worship service, I finally decided to attend her Church, the Church Of Christ. I was expecting to hear the same teachings as what other churches propagate but to my surprise, it was totally different from what I have heard and seen before.   I wanted to hear more and I asked about many unanswered questions to the Church’s resident worker. He was able to give very   convincing answers to my questions by quoting from the Bible. I was amazed how he read the words of God to answer all my questions.   At the same time, I was enlightened about the Church. Soon after, I started attending Bible studies, again putting forward my questions to the minister. Without hesitation, all my questions were answered.
“I then found out that the Church Of Christ is the true Church, and it was God calling me.  After completing my Bible studies, I was eventually baptized in August 2000. The Lord continues to shower His blessings upon me.  Through prayers and God’s mercy, I was able to convince my best friend and her family to study God’s words.”
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Why an Indian National and a former
Hindu joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo

Brother Amit Ranjan is an Indian national and a former Hindu that never did it occur to him that one day he will change his religion, becoming a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo.

“I consider myself blessed to be one of those who were called and chosen to serve God. I am an Indian national. I was raised in India, the country known as the cradle of Hinduism, and never did it occur to me that one day I’ll change my religion.
“During my first visit to the Philippines in February 2001, I was invited to attend a worship service of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in Tangub, Negros Occidental. The lesson was preached in the local dialect, while the hymns were sung and the prayers were rendered in Tagalog. This sounded strange to me, but it was an exhilarating experience, I should say, and I noticed right away not only the organized manner of worship but, most of all, the absence of statues, which has been in total contrast to the Hindu worship.
“Again, on my return in August 2001, I was able to attend a worship service and the impression I had on my first visit was the same. These visits had exposed me to the Christian belief. In December 2002, while traveling in Thailand, I was able to go to a congregational worship service in Bangkok where, for the first time, I was able to understand everything that transpired because it was conducted in English although the preaching of the gospel was on video.
“In December 2003, I was invited again to attend the worship service of the Iglesia Ni Cristo by Sister Rhea Joy C. Jadia, the same person who introduced me to this faith that is far different from what I had grown accustomed to. She was very much devoted to her religion and was very vocal about it that she kept on asking me questions about my Hindu faith. In the process, she managed to make me think things over and it resulted in more unanswered questions regarding the religion and tradition in which I was raised to uphold with no queries.
“Starting on January 18, 2004, I attended the worship services on my own but in all those times, I still kept asking myself what I was doing there. I was far from being comfortable. I didn’t know anybody.
“I felt that   I   was    like   a   stranger surrounded by strangers with a strange faith being preached to me. What I didn’t perceive at that time was that God was calling me and He guided my steps to the place of worship on the scheduled time to keep attending the worship services.
“After several months of continuous attendance in the worship services, I felt there must be something I needed to discover and so, I prayed to God to show me the reason why I should believe in this Church, when all other religions around the globe also claim that they are of God. I communed with God in prayers, asking Him that if He is true and this faith is true, that He make me feel His presence. By then, I had already learned to say a heartfelt prayer and sing the hymns during the worship services as well.
“But I realized that something was still missing. So, I prayed harder and I learned to lean unto God for support, protection, and guidance not only for my professional life but for my personal needs as well and, most of all, to show me the path of His righteousness.
“I continued to attend the congregational worship services as well as the Thanksgiving worship services and even the grand evangelical missions. My faith deepened but I was not ready to take the big leap of conversion just as yet. The religion I grew up to was completely different from this newfound religion I was being introduced to. I grew up celebrating grand Hindu festivals, prayed to all Hindu gods (feeling then that my prayers were also heard and answered), followed Hindu traditions, and so on. More than anything else, I loved and respected my parents and the culture which I was raised in. I felt like a huge ingrate if I turned my back on them to embrace a new faith.
“When I went back to the Philippines in June 2005, I was able to attend a worship service in Cebu where the house of worship was spacious and worthy of admiration. They had an English worship service, so I was able to actively take part in the service and listen attentively. I also attended a worship service in Caliban, Negros Occidental where the place of worship was comparatively small. After having been to so many congregations, I came to a conclusion: Big or small, admirable or simply humble, whether the gospel is preached in a language I understood or not, all members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo are united in spirit in serving the one true God and it left an indelible mark in my heart.
“Before   I left,   Sister   Rosemarie C. Jadia, the mother of Sister Rhea, gave me a copy of the Pasugo. She holds several offices in the Church and is also steadfast in her faith.   I read the Pasugo, understood it. On the worship service I attended after that, I approached Brother Carlito Y. Matahom Jr., a deacon, and told him of my intention to undergo instruction in biblical doctrines. He introduced me to a minister, Brother  Ranilo G. Borrero, who   was   instrumental in making me understand the true religion.    His   spiritual     guidance enhanced my enthusiasm to get know the Church better, how I could become worthy to be called a member of the Church, and, most of all, how I could give honor and great glory to the one true God.
“On July 20, 2005, I began my Bible studies. I felt I was ready to embark on this endeavor of understanding the commandments of God. While undergoing   instruction in biblical doctrines, I learned how to pray like a true member of the Church Of Christ. I studied the commandments of God, I learned about the true nature of Christ, the reemergence of the Iglesia Ni Cristo in these last days in the Philippines on July 27, 1914, the real essence of baptism, and a lot more. It changed my life completely.
The most significant day of my life was marked on March 25, 2006 when I received the holy baptism and emerged a new person, now a true servant of our Almighty God. It was so overwhelming and very spiritual and it made me realize my purpose- in life, giving meaning to my life—to serve and honor our Lord God and our Lord Jesus Christ. The next day was another significant day in my life. It was my first attendance in the Holy Supper in the true Church.
“Today, I am no longer the stranger I used to be but an active member of the true Church. I make sure to participate in all Church activities and no matter how tight my work schedule is. I try hard not to miss any of the worship services because it is where I feel most at peace with God and with myself. Shortly after my baptism, due to the nature of my job as systems consultant, I was able to go to other countries and attend worship services in other congregations, namely Kuala Lumpur and Penang in Malaysia, Jakarta in Indonesia, Bangkok in Thailand, and even in Kowloon in Hong Kong.”
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Why a Japanese and a former Buddhist
joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo

Brother Tomio Horie is from kawasaki, Japan and a former Buddhist. Why he joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo?

“THE ONLY RELIGION I had previously known was Buddhism. I was raised by my parents believing that freeing oneself from material desires, a practicing Buddhist can attain nirvana or spiritual peace. Once a Buddhist has attained nirvana, he will then be able to use his time to improve the world. I had no idea about God then. My idea of divinity was the statue of Buddha with his arms folded on his lap and a beatific smile on his face. During summertime, I would typically attend some religious rituals and ceremonies held in Buddhist shrines or temples and participate in local festivals.
“In 1978 I married Yasuko  Asai. We were blessed with two kids named Hitomi and Yasunori. During that time, my life was devoted to my job. I was focused on material gains, on earning much in order to let my family enjoy a comfortable life, yet I hardly spend time with my family. Until one day, something unexpected came up and my wife was diagnosed with lung cancer. I consulted different doctors in a frantic effort to save my wife. In the process, almost all my savings went to the payment of medical and hospital bills. Despite all that I had done, my wife died at the age of 44 on March 18, 1998. The loss of my wife brought a lot of changes in my family. But despite the sorrow of losing her, life  had to go on, I had to raise my two kids alone and continue working  at the same time--being a single parent.
“In 2001, I went to the Philippines where I was introduced to the Church of Christ. I flew back to Japan to find the Church there and I went straight to the Iglesia ni Cristo house of worship. in Yokohama, with ardent interest in joining the Church. I continued listening to the fundamental doctrines and regularly attended the worship services, and slowly I was able to understand the teaching of the Church and the truth about the words of God. I realized that material possessions are not the most important things man should have in order to have a happy and peaceful life. The teaching that had the biggest impact on me was the existence of the one true God, the Father. I also appreciated and wholeheartedly accepted the teachings of the Bible on loving and caring for one's family, spending valuable time with your family while at the same time working hard to provide for all their needs. This was in sharp contrast with my past experience wherein my family was relegated to second place because I worked so hard for the money. These are just some of the reasons that convinced me about the truthfulness of the teachings in the Church of Christ.
“By God's grace, I was baptized on February 9, 2002. I came from a place where most people do not believe in God, but because of His overflowing love for me, He called me to His Church and gave me the chance to serve Him. I am truly fortunate because the words of God guided me to become a member of the true Church of Christ. Now I am certain of salvation. At present, I am the 4th Head Deacon in the local congregation of Kawasaki. I am truly thankful that God has definitely touched my life.”
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Why a former Baptist (Protestant)
joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo

Brother Edwin Pobre is a former Baptist (Protestant). See why he left the Baptist Church and Protestantism and joined the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ):

“I was a former Baptist and have always believed that the Bible is the word of God. As a Baptist, I was made to believe that salvation came by faith alone and not by works; that all one needs to do to be saved is to accept Jesus as his personal savior. I remained strong in this belief until my father-in-law told me that one cannot be saved without works. According to the Bible, he said, faith without works is dead. He tried to convince me through their own published interpretations of the Bible. However, it occurred to me that their interpretation was self-serving.
“Nevertheless, doubt started to creep into my mind and I began to question how one can be saved by a dead faith. I talked to a lot of Protestants from different sects about their opinion on this matter, but I quickly realized that they were in the same boat as I was. They all believed that faith alone can save man. Having the approval of my peers, I remained in my belief that I have been saved because I have accepted Jesus as my personal savior. I believed that no matter what I did, good or bad, I was entitled to eternal life. Today, I shudder at the thought of what might have been had I not known the Iglesia Ni Cristo before I passed away.
“I met Brother Efren Navoa in 1993 but we never had the chance to sit down and talk about anything else but business. I had a stroke the following year, crippling my right leg and arm. As I recovered, I accepted an offer to get involved in a marketing organization, where, by coincidence, Brother Navoa was also involved in. One day I saw his Iglesia Ni Cristo ring. I was intrigued and was prompted to ask him about his beliefs.
“Brother Navoa discussed with me his beliefs, telling me that only the Iglesia Ni Cristo will be saved. He went on to tell me that the Father is the only true God and that Jesus is a man, not God. He told me that the Iglesia Ni Cristo is the same Church that Christ established in Jerusalem and that Brother Felix Manalo is the messenger sent by God to fulfill the Biblical prophecies referring to the reemergence of the Church of Christ.
“My pride was bruised. I was hurt because everything he said ran counter to my beliefs. But I had always believed that when there are two opposing beliefs, it is possible that one is true and the other is false, or that both may be false. But I was certain that it was impossible for both to be right.
“I wasn't the type of person who debates over religious beliefs, but since my own and my children's salvation were at stake, I was compelled to search for the truth and determine which belief is right.
“To me, the Bible is the ultimate arbiter of religious disputes among professed Christians, so in order to search for the truth, I read the Bible for the first time in 27 years. I consulted the Bible to find out if what Brother Efren told me were true. But as I started searching, I quickly realized that studying by myself was impossible. I needed someone to tell me what to look for and where to find it. Eventually, I got tired and forgot about it until four months later when Brother Efren invited me to another Bible Exposition.
“When Brother Efren handed me the invitation in July 1996, I was actually very eager to go although I tried not to show my eagerness. I expected the Bible Exposition to be just like all the others I have gone to. I even suspected that the Iglesia Ni Cristo had its own version of the Bible to support its belief.
“The exposition turned out to be very different from what I had expected. The format was unlike anything I’ve seen before. The minister simply asked questions that I’m sure everyone was dying to ask, then he simply answered the questions by reading the Bible He did not tell stories or jokes nor used flattering speech as evangelists and pastors do. What amazed me was how the minister connected seemingly unrelated verses like a jigsaw puzzle to present the whole picture of salvation. He was using several versions of the Bible, none of which was their own.
“Many questions entered my mind. I wanted to know about God's righteousness regarding sin, about his will regarding salvation. Once and for all, I wanted to settle the issue of whether faith alone can indeed save man.
“Quoting directly from the Bible, the minister read the invitation of Jesus to enter the door of the sheep and related it to what the Apostle James said about faith and works. It made sense to me that if one has true faith in Jesus, entering the flock must be the first act or work to prove that faith. He went on to explain the relevance of the Church and the righteousness of God regarding sin. He pointed out that Jesus is the Savior of the Church and that it was for the Church of Christ that Jesus died.
“I learned that while every man must pay for his own sins, Christ paid for the sins of His body, the Church. I understood that in order for Christ to pay for a man's sins. that man must first be one with Christ in His body, the Church.
“While I believed everything that I heard to be true, the question that bothered me most was why I needed to become an Iglesia Ni Cristo member. As far as Baptists were concerned, everybody belongs to the 'Universal Body' of Christ and all religious groups are mere denominations of this universal body. Somehow I still held on to my reservations regarding membership in the Church of Christ.
“I spent the following week talking with my Protestant friends. They gave me a heavy dose of Greek and Hebrew Biblical translations to prove that the Church is irrelevant to salvation. I found this extremely hard to digest. I looked forward to another Bible exposition.
“Then I met the real Jesus in the next Bible exposition. The Jesus that I have been made to believe was a God. But for the first time in that Bible exposition, I heard Jesus praying to His Father, and referring to His Father as the only true God. I also heard Jesus talk about Himself as a man with flesh and bones and not the one true God. I was certain that this is the same Jesus who is called God by Catholics and Protestants, and the same Jesus who was the son of Mary and the same Jesus who died on the cross.
“The following day, I spent three hours with the resident minister, Brother Tom Guingab, Jr. to ask questions about the universal Church of Christ which I believed I already belonged to. I also asked him about the different verses which Protestants believe indicate that Jesus is God. Patiently, Brother Tom pointed out that the original Church established by Christ was misled by false preachers. Citing Bible prophecies and historical accounts, he patiently traced the history of the Church up to its reemergence in the Philippines through God's last messenger Brother Felix Y. Manalo. His delivery and explanation of the various verses quoted by those who teach that Jesus is God made sense to me. For the first time, I learned that the doctrine of the Trinity which Protestant pastors explain as a mystery is actually a doctrine made up by the Council of Nicaea in 385 AD by the Roman Catholic Church, which Protestants themselves believe is the apostate Church.
“After the meeting, I spent nights going over the verses I had written down. I attended various Protestant Bible study groups and asked them what they thought about the doctrines I have just heard from the Iglesia Ni Cristo. I talked to pastors to find out how they would handle the issues. I got a variety of reactions, most of them irrational. Some even tried to prove Jesus wrong when He said that the Father, and not Him, is the only true God.
“I wondered how one could profess belief and faith in Jesus yet tries very hard to prove Him wrong. To my simple mind, if the Father alone is the true God, as Jesus Himself said, then common sense dictates that Jesus cannot be God.
“I attended another Bible exposition, but this time, I had already come to the conclusion that the Iglesia Ni Cristo’s doctrines were more scriptural and rational than my former belief. I decided to know more about Iglesia Ni Cristo’s doctrines, signed up for their Bible studies to receive the basic doctrines. There was no pressure in this decision. I thought that if I'm not convinced by the end of the studies, I could simply back out. I thought that I didn't have anything to lose by listening. I thought that I had more to lose if I didn't listen because these doctrines might turn out to be right after all...
“I became an Iglesia Ni Cristo because its teachings are more scriptural than the doctrines I used to believe in. I am now convinced that the Iglesia Ni Cristo is the true Church of Christ for which Jesus shed His blood. I invite everyone who truly desires to be saved to join our Bible studies and make sure that they're on the true way to salvation.”
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9 comments:

  1. Here are the reasons why we decided to become members of this Church...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Salamat at isa ako sa natawag sa loob ng tunay na Iglesia :)

    ReplyDelete
  3. INC FOREVER:
    IT'S BECAUSE I TRULY BELIEVE THAT I BELONG TO THE TRUE CHURCH OF CHRIST OR IGLESIA NI CRISTO SO WHERELSE I COULD GO?
    A GREAT JOURNEY TILL THE FINISH LINE TOWARD THE GOAL OF MY CALLING - WHEN OUR LORD JESUS CHRIST RETURN!

    ReplyDelete

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