By: Bro. Isahel N. Alfonso
One of the distinctive teachings of the Iglesia Ni Cristo is their belief that Jesus Christ is just a man and not God. While they boast Felix Manalo as an angel sent by God, they ridiculed Jesus Christ by teaching and believing that He is only a man. They inherited their teaching that Jesus Christ is just a man from an ancient heretic named Arius. Arius was the one who vigorously defended the heretical teaching that Jesus Christ is just a man and not God. This brings us to another point where is the Iglesia ni Cristo during this great council (as founded by Felix Manalo) to defend their heretical doctrine that Christ is just a man? If they are the true Church as what they claim then they should be the first one to raise a defense on this theological matter, yet, they are not able to do so because the Iglesia ni Cristo did not exists yet during those time.
The INC And The Divinity Of Christ
A close analysis on the contentions of the INC ministers on the nature of Christ will give us an insight that their arguments are not really arguments at all. If we are going to observe an INC minister preaching or debating about the nature of Christ notice that all the biblical passages that he will quote are the ones that will prove that Christ has a human nature thus they would emphasize on the qualities or elements that tells us that Christ is a man. Upon hearing statements from an INC minister that Christ is just a man we do not have to hassle and refute each and every scripture passage that they quote in proving that Christ is a man because the Catholic Church teaches that Christ has two natures, Human and Divine nature. The Catechism is very clear on this matter;
The unique and altogether singular event of the Incarnation of the Son of God does not mean that Jesus Christ is part God and part man, nor does it imply that he is the result of a confused mixture of the divine and the human. He became truly man while remaining truly God. Jesus Christ is true God and true man. During the first centuries, the Church had to defend and clarify this truth of faith against heresies that falsified it. CCC 464
For an INC minister to prove that Christ is a man in front of a Catholic apologist is irrelevant in a debate concerning the nature of Christ for we Catholics do not deny the fact that Christ is a man. However what we do believe is that Christ is true God and true man. For the INC arguments to prosper they should be debating people who do not believe that Christ is a man, but in front of a person who believes that Christ is true God and true man their efforts in proving their cause is futile.
In our exposition we no longer have to prove that Jesus Christ has a human nature since this is part of the fundamental teaching of the Catholic Church about Christ. Our foremost concern is establishing the divinity of Christ using the Scriptures. There are numerous passages in the Bible that tells us that Christ is God but the INC ministers preferred to give a twisted and at times hilarious interpretations just to do away passages that clearly points to Christ’s divinity.
Let us start with the Gospel of John in proving the divinity of Christ, for John’s Gospel is highly theological and gives emphasis on Christ divinity. In the opening chapter of John’s Gospel we are told about the “Word” or logos in Greek.
In the beginning was the Word. And the Word was with God and the Word was God. John 1:1
The Word that St. John is talking about in this passage is none other than but Jesus Christ, according to the New Testament Scholar Antonio Garcia-Moreno he said;
The Logos is neither a philosophical abstraction nor a divine being merely clothed with a human appearance, as the Docatae taught. For the Evangelist the Logos is the personal and pre-existent Christ who, in a specific moment in history, had taken unto himself a human nature.Antonio Garcia-Moreno, Jesus of Nazareth The King of the Jews: A study on Johannine Christology, p.62, 2010
In a debate between a Catholic apologist and a district minister of INC Rizalito Ocampo, the minister was asked “if Christ is not the Word in John 1:1, then who is it?” The only response that can be heard from the district minister was “in John 1:1 you cannot read Jesus Christ”. Such is not even an answer but an escape goat to avoid answering the the unanswerable question hurled to him. But how are we to know that the Word in John 1:1 is truly Jesus Christ?
John 1:1 is a very short passage yet it is very much sufficient to prove the divinity of Christ. Upon close reading of the passage it tells us of three important elements of the Word which is also applicable and belongs to Jesus Christ.
In the beginning was the Word
This passage points not to the time wherein the world was created but on the time before the world was created, this tells us about the preexistence of the Word. Jesus Christ on the other hand manifest his existence before the world was created in John 17:5 Jesus Christ said,
Now Father give me in your presence the same glory I had with you before the world begun. John 17:5
Jesus Christ is speaking here in the past tense which means that he was already with God before the world was created. This is a very clear and explicit words from Christ that he himself confess that he was with the Father before the world begun. So who are we to believe? The INC ministers or our Lord Jesus Christ himself? St. Paul in his epistles also affirms this truth, in his epistle to the Colossians he speaks about Christ preexistence.
He is the image of the unseen God, and for all creation he is the first-born, for in him all things were created, in heaven and on earth, visible and invisible, thrones, rulers, authorities, powers all was made through him and for him. He is before all and all things hold together in him. Col.1:15-17
St. Paul is telling us that it was through Christ that everything was created and this would only be possible if Christ has a preexistence. But on the same passage Christ’s preexistence is affirmed with the words “He is before all”.
And the Word was with God
This statement tells us of the distinction between the Father and the Son, some pseudo Christians believe that the Father and the Son are one and the same, this is a serious error concerning the relationship of the Father and of the Son. Since Christ has a preexistence as proved by the passages we quoted above this brings us to a logical conclusion that Christ is distinct from the Father. This distinction was already been prefigured in the Old Testament when God showed himself to Abraham under the appearance of three men.
Yahweh appeared to Abraham near the oak of Mamre. Abraham was sitting at the entrance to his tent, in the heat of the day, when he looked up and saw three men standing nearby. Genesis 18:1-2
In this passage we are told that Yahweh appeared to Abraham under the appearance of three men. But why three men? Because it is a revelation that there is one God in three distinct persons. In like manner Christ was with God in the beginning because they are distinct yet shares that nature of God. In the Gospel of Matthew such a distinction is also mentioned by the Gospel writer in Mt.28:18-19, Jesus Christ said,
Go therefore, and make disciples from all nations, Baptize then in the Name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. Mt.28:19
Notice that the Gospel writer wrote “in the name” not “in the names” which is plural, because the Gospel writer is referring only to one God in three distinct persons which is the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit.
And the Word was God
St. John when writing his Gospel carefully wrote “Word was God” and not “Word was a god” which would imply that Jesus Christ or the Word is a God lower than the Father as what the Jehova’s witnesses believed. He did not also write “Word was the God” because it would mean that the Father and the Son are one and the same. What St. John wrote was crystal clear “And the Word was God” referring to the nature of the Word which is divine. In St. Paul’s epistle to the Colossians he is telling them that Christ possess a divine nature, hence Christ is truly GOd.
For in him dwells the fullness of God in bodily form. Col.2:9
Such a fact is irrefutable but the INC ministers will surely find a way to beat around the bush and raise hilarious and illogical explanations regarding this passage. In Hebrews chapter 1 verse 8 it is no longer the apostles who professed Christ divinity but it was already the Father who is telling us that Christ is God. Who then shall we believe the INC ministers who are famous for deceiving people of God?
But of the Son we read this: Your throne, O God, will last forever and ever; a rule of justice is your rule. Hebrews 1:8
Beyond any reason of a doubt it is quite clear from the passages of the Holy Scripture that Jesus Christ is God. Any person who deliberately refuses to believe such truth will have nothing in the end of times but the fires of Hell.