Golden Banner News Paper
Column Title: Let’s Think Togther
Article Title: Verbum Domini
Columnist: Cleb B. Calimutan
Date: March 06, 2012
A synod of Bishops gathered at Vatican in 2008 to discuss the Word of God in the life and Mission of the Church. The interest of the synod was to review the implementation of the directives on Scripture in the Second Vatican Council with the task to continue what the council had started. Verbum Domini (no.3) The pope created an apostolic exhortation in response to the synod. The documents highlighted three main parts.
Verbum Die (The Word of God) – The significant on the first parts is the Incarnation where the Word became flesh which is the center of Christian mystery. The Incarnate Word of God reveals God completely in space and time. It started with the dialogue between God and Man and Mary the first receiver of the announcement of the Word who will become her son in the Incarnation.
From then on the Scripture shall be interpreted from the principles and directions of Jesus which fosters a serious study of historical research and looking the meaning of the word of the Bible for today. “In order to appreciate the divine element in the Bible, three criteria are necessary:  the text must be interpreted with attention to the unity of the whole of Scripture (also known as “canonical exegesis)”;  the Tradition of the Church must be taken into account; and  the analogy of faith must be respected (no. 35). Although many Catholic exegetes are competent in the historical-critical method, more attention needs to be paid to the theological dimension of biblical texts, in accordance with these three elements.”
According to Pope Benedict ecumenism remains important and the Church should consider the lives of the Saints on how they carried the message of Jesus inn their own lives. Thus today theologians, pastors and scholars and many others are encourage to work together.
Verbum Ecclesia (The Word in the Church) – This the consideration of the word of God in the Church most especially in the liturgy and sacraments which will be understood and propounded with the Scripture the Word of God. The readings and the Gospel of the Mass shall have more importance in the proclamation of God’s message in the homilies.
Publications should be created and develop to help propagate the Gospel. Liturgy of the hour and prayer gatherings are encouraged among parishes and religious communities. However the faithful must see also the value of silence for in this solemnly that the word of God can be reflected in a more personal manner. The Pope urges the faithful to encounter Jesus and deepen their personal relationship with the Lord. “When the faithful do not know the Bible, they are often preyed upon by various sects which promote a distorted reading of Scripture” (no. 73). Lectio divina is encourage and deep prayer in the family circle.
Verbum Mundo (The Word to the World) – This is concerning the evangelization to the world empowering the heralds of the Gospels even the lays are encouraged to participate on evangelizing others thus bringing them to the fullness of truth the Catholic Church. Jesus Christ is the creator of the world and he is present in all things hence all thing shall be under Him. A lot of people are drawing themselves to Jesus Christ for it is the longingness of everybody to know the truth. And so while waiting the second coming of the Lord that we are hoping we shall take advantage the opportunity of evangelization. The migrants who are so innocent of the name of the Lord must be a good area of mission on preaching this people. An essential part of the Church’s proclamation consists in encounter, dialogue, and cooperation with followers of other religious traditions. “This is to take place without forms of syncretism and relativism” (no. 117) And everyone is encourage to respond with this call of the Holy Father.
Golden Banner News Paper
Column Title: Let’s Think Together
Article Title: The Long History of Opposition
Columnist: Cleb B. Calimutan
The Roman Catholic Church would celebrate this month of June the Trinity Sunday but like any other doctrine there are a lot of oppositions a very long line of Heretical Positions. But the truth always prevail, even how seemingly powerful the enemy is still truth and good prevails in the end. The first of those were very ostensible in opposing the doctrines:
1st Century – Judaic heretics, Cerenthus and the Ebionites held strongly the doctrine that there
is only one Person in God and denied the divinity of Jesus Christ.
Late 2nd Century – Mornchianism taught that there is only one Person in God.
a) Dynamic or Adoptionist Monarchianism – Taught that Christ is a mere man, even though born in a supernatural manner from the Holy Ghost and of the Blessed Virgin. The principal exponents of the Doctrine was Theodotius of Byzantine who brought the idea to Rome and was excommunicated by Pope Victor (189-198); Paul of Samosta, Bishop of Antioch who was deposed a heretic in the Synod of Antioch (268) and Bishop Phontius of Sermium who was deposed in the Synod of Syrmium (351).
The Defenders of the Faith were: St. Irenaeus and Tertullian
b) Patripassianic or Modalist Monarchianism – accepts the divinity of Jesus Christ but admits only one Person in God by teaching that the Father had become man in Jesus Christ and had Suffered. Few of those who taught this idea was Noetus of Smyrna and Praxeas from Asia Minor.The Defenders of the Faith were: St. Hyppolitus and Alexandrian Bishop, Dionysius the Great.
336 A.D. – Alexandrine Presbyter Arius, taught that the Logos or the Word is created in time
and does not exist in eternity. This doctrine was condemned in the Council of Necea (325). This Council drafted a creed, which confesses Jesus Chrsit to be the Son of God, His generation from the Substance of the Father, His true Divinity and His consubstantiality with the Father.
360 A.D. – Macedonianism (Pneumatomachi – combators against the Holy Spirit) a group
founded by Semi-Arian Bishop Macedonius. The Defenders of the Faith: St. Athanasius at the General Council of Constantinople.
565 A.D. – Johannes Philopunos, according to him, the Three Divine Persons individuals of the
God-head, as three men are three individuals of the species of man.
1120 A.D. – Roscelin, A Canon of Compiegne, was a nominalist, according to him The Divine
Persons were three separate realities which are connected with one another morally only. The Defenders of the Faith: His teaching was combated by St. Anselm of Canerbury, and condemned at the Synod at Soissons.
1154 A.D. – Gilbert of Poiters who taught that there are Three Persons plus God Head.
The Defenders of the Faith: Bernhard of Clairvaux, the teaching was condemned in the Council of Rheims.
1202 – A.D. Abbot Joachim of Fiore, conceived the unity of the Three Divine Persons as a
collective unit. The Defenders of the Faith: Peter Lombardus, the teaching was condemned by the
Lateran Council in 1215 A.D.
1873 – A.D. Anton Gunther he taught that the Three substances of the Divine Persons are
1524 -Martin Luther in some of his articles (Schmalkadic Articles P.I Art.1-4) he denied the
Dogma of the Trinity.
1604 – Socianism, established by Faustus Sozzine – denied the plurality of the Divine Persons,
declared that Jesus is a mere man, and the Holy Ghost is an impersonated divine force.
However it will always remain: “In God there are Three Persons, the Father, The Son and the Holy Ghost.
Each of the Three Persons possesses the one (numerical) Divine Essence.” (De fide.)
Amidst the long struggles of the Church there were also heroes of faith who died defending the truth taught by Jesus and His disciples. And the Church were able to preserve the sanctity of Her doctrine and the Church continues to sail preaching the word of God in the history of mankind for it is the mission entrusted by Jesus as he said:
“Going therefore, teach ye all nations, Baptising them in the Name of the Father and of The Son and of the Holy Ghost.” (Mt.28:19)
“As also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; in which are certain things hard to be understood, which the unlearned and unstable wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction” (2 Peter 3:16).
I have read a post in the Splendor of the Church Ring of Fire Blog which contains arguments from an INC member refuting some verses which prove the divinity of Christ. I personally took up the cudgel of answering these objections for several reasons. Firstly, because as a Catholic I believe in the foundational doctrine of Christianity regarding the divinity of Christ and as St Peter admonishes “be ready always to satisfy every one that asks you a reason of that hope which is in you” (1 Peter 3:15). Secondly, I find the arguments put forward worthy of refutation because by the manner it was given it seem that the objector is confident that he has successfully refuted the Catholic position. Thirdly, because the case at hand illustrates the typical strategy used by the INC of quoting and interpreting isolated passages in order to prove their point. The original post was partly written in English and partly in Tagalog. In this response, I paraphrased his objections in order to make it more understandable and decent. Let us now take a look at INC arguments.
INC objection: “Whoever is a child of God does not continue to sin, for God’s very nature is in him” (1 John 3:9 TEV). Are Christians also God in this particular verse?
From the way the question is posed it is safe to conclude that the INC is aware that there are scriptural passages which may be interpreted as Jesus having the nature of God [i.e., Colossians 2:9; Philippians 2:6]. In order to evade this the INC attempts to make a false analogy: If as 1 John 3:9 which says that the very nature of God is in the believer and this does not ipso facto make him God, so also those passages which speak about Christ having the nature of God do not prove that Christ is God.
The text cited above is rendered differently in other reputable bible versions: “Whosoever is born of God commits not sin: for his seed abides in him” (Douay Rheims); “Whosoever is born of God doth not commit sin; for his seed remaineth in him” (KJV); “No one who is begotten by God commits sin, because God’s seed remains in him” (NAB); “Those who have born of God do not sin, because God’s seed abides I them” (NRSV). If we use these renderings of the verse, the force of the INC objection is significantly diminished. Of course, the INC will stick to the TEV rendering of this verse since this will best serve their purpose. The INC is not only selective in their quotation of scriptural passages but also in the bible versions they will use in quoting a particular passage. They do not usually go by the rules of textual criticism in determining whether a particular verse is translated accurately or not since to them the highest criteria for judging the accuracy of a text is whether or not it subscribes to their man-made doctrines which are constructed upon isolated proof texting. It then becomes apparent that they are not mostly concerned with accuracy of their alleged proof as much as it’s effect to the unwary audience.
Setting aside the issue on which is the more accurate rendition of this particular verse, this quotation from the TEV will not at all help the INC cause. The fallacy of the INC lies in the fact that although it is said that God’s very nature is in the believer (1 John 3:9 TEV) and it is also said to be in Christ but each has it in a different sense. God’s very nature is in the believer by way of partaking or sharing of the divine nature “By whom he has given us most great and precious promises: that by these you may be made partakers of the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4). This partaking of the divine nature, which in Catholic theology is called the infusion of sanctifying grace into our souls, is the formal principle which makes us sons of God and objectively holy and pleasing before Him. The fact that Jesus is called Son of God and we are also called sons of God does not put us in the same category as Jesus. We are made sons of God by way of adoption, “you have received the spirit of adoption of sons, whereby we cry: Abba (Father). For the Spirit himself gives testimony to our spirit that we are the sons of God. (Romans 8:15-16). On the contrary, Jesus is Son of God by nature, “No man has seen God at any time: the only begotten Son who is in the Bosom of the Father, he has declared him” (John 1:18; “For let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus: Who being in the form of God, thought it not robbery to be equal with God” (Philippians 2:5-6). However, the INC fails to make this all-important distinction which is a manifestation of a very shallow theology, if any.
INC objection: If you believe that Jesus is God based on Colossians 2:9 because it says that “For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally”,will you also say that Christians are God since we can also read that “All the fullness of God might be filled in them“ (Ephesians 3:19 KJV)?
I would like to point out to the readers that this is typical INC strategy. They will quote bible verses out of context, formulate a false analogy and build their doctrine out of it. In response to this let’s do a contextual reading starting with verse 17 to 19 which reads: “That Christ may dwell by faith in your hearts: that, being rooted and founded in charity, you may be able to comprehend, with all the saints, what is the breadth and length and height and depth, to know also the charity of Christ, which surpasses all knowledge that you may be filled unto all the fullness of God.” St Paul here teaches that the way to comprehend and gain a deep insight into the mystery of Christ is through sanctity [that is our souls is rooted and founded in charity] which is the way of the saints. Christ who dwells in our hearts also enables us to grow ever deeper into his own mystery until we are filled unto the fullness of God [that is the measure of knowledge which God wants to reveal Himself to us]. In the same Epistle St Paul said: “Untilwe all meet into the unity of faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto themeasure of the age of the fullness of Christ” (Ephesians 4:13). If we observe carefully St Paul substituted Christ [in Ephesians 4:13] for God [in Ephesians 3:19]. The “fullness of God” is equated with “fullness of Christ” in relation to the knowledge of the Son of God given to us. Thus St Paul does not equate Christ with us but he equates Christ with God.
Let us now turn our attention to Colossians 2:9 which reads: “For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally.” Once again, it is important to read this passage in its context. In his Epistle to the Colossians, St Paul was warning the believers against men who practice superstitious worship paid to angels or demons by offering sacrifices to them from which they derive hidden knowledge [gnosis]. In so doing they also denied the supremacy of Christ who is the head both of angels and men. In order to condemn them of their pretensions and warn the believers St Paul wrote: “Beware lest any man cheat you by philosophy and vain deceit: according to the tradition of men according to the elements of the world and not according to Christ. For in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally. And you are filled in him, who is the head of all principality and power” (Colossians 2:8-10). St Paul here upholds the supremacy of Christ [who is head of all principality and power] by asserting his divinity though he appeared in form of man [in him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead corporeally]. Thus by an examination of the context of the passage it becomes crystal clear that this passage supports the divinity of Christ. But context is foreign to INC interpretation of key Biblical passages.
INC objection: If you [Catholics] insist that the Son and the Father is God because Jesus said they are one based on your interpretation of John 10:30, will you also say that the disciples is God since they too are one as the Father and the Son are one (John 17:11, 21-22)?
The recurring fallacy of the INC in quoting verses out of context and failing to make proper distinctions is again manifest. Once again, a contextual reading will reveal the error in the INC interpretation. In John 17:11-22, Jesus was praying to the Father for his disciples. In the verses surrounding John 10:30, Jesus was addressing the unbelieving Jews.
Let’s take a closer look first at John 10:30 where Jesus said “I and the Father are one.” The traditional Catholic interpretation of this passage is that Jesus and the Father are two distinct persons based on the use of the plural linking verb ARE and that they share one divine nature based on ONE. Let me explain why this interpretation is perfectly consistent within the context. In the preceding verses Jesus speaks lengthily about himself as the Good Shepherd who takes care of his sheep and that those who belong to his fold listens to his voice. In verse 14, Jesus says: “I am the good shepherd: and I know mine, and mine know me.” Using the INC line of reasoning [that is, if we don’t try to distinguish], since Jesus said “I know mine, and mine know me” are we to say then that our [his sheep] knowledge of Jesus is in the same measure as Jesus’ knowledge of us? Of course not! In verse 15, Jesus makes this astounding claim: “As the Father knows me, and I know the Father and I lay down my life for my sheep.” Unquestionably, the Father knows the Son perfectly. Does the Son also know the Father perfectly? If we look at parallel sayings of Jesus as recorded in the Gospels, we see that Jesus leaves no doubt about this. Here is what Jesus declares: “And no one knows the Son but the Father: neither does any one know the Father, but the Son” (Matthew 11:27). What does Jesus mean here? Do we not know the Father? Of course, we do! But not in the same measure as Jesus knows the Father. While we know the Father in the measure that the Son reveals Him to us, Jesus knows the Father perfectly. The Jews understood well the full impact of His words so that in verse 19, John wrote that “A dissension rose again among the Jews for these words.” However their dissension did not deter our Lord from teaching to them what He has come to reveal. In verse 28, Jesus delivers to them another one of his hard sayings: “And I give them life everlasting: and they shall not perish for ever. And no man shall pluck them out of my hand.” Says who?? Did Jesus just claim here that he is able to give life everlasting? Yes, He did. But isn’t this gift reserved for God ALONE to give? Not only that, Jesus claims that no man shall pluck them [the elect] out of his hand. Hand in biblical parlance is used to mean power which saves the just and judges evil men (see Exodus 6:1, 7:5, 9:3, 13:3 etc.). Jesus can give everlasting life because he has the power to accomplish what he wills. In verse 29, Jesus clarifies from whom He receives all that He has: “That which my Father has given me is greater than all: and no one can snatch them out of the hand of my Father.” Notice the shift in the words “out of my [Jesus’] hand” in verse 28 to “out of the hand of my Father” in verse 29. It is the same hand [power] of Jesus and the Father which gives life everlasting. Jesus receives this power from the Father as the Son is said to receive all that the Father is [His nature]. In order to avoid any misgivings about Jesus receiving power from the Father that Jesus’ power is something delegated and not inherent, Jesus emphasizes in the verse 30: “I and the Father are one.” There is no escaping here that Jesus intended to drive home to his hearers his claim to divinity. The Jews got this perfectly but they could not accept this astounding truth and for them this is blasphemy so they “took up stones to stone him” (John 10:31). Had the Jews misunderstood Jesus then Jesus would have corrected them as He did in other occasions (Matthew 16:5-12; John 3:3-8; John 11:11-14). In the succeeding verse, Jesus defended his words and gave reasons why we should accept his words at face value even if it cannot be fathomed by our finite understanding.
The quote in John 17:11, 21-22 where Jesus said “they may be one, as we also are” is not in anyway denying his substantial unity with the Father nor does it make us united substantially to the Trinity. Our unity with one another and to God is only analogical to the unity within the Blessed Trinity. The Father, Son, and Holy Spirit are one in power and therefore essence. This can be proven in Jesus great commissioning of his disciples: “Going therefore, teach all nations: baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Ghost” (Mat 28:19). Name here means power and authority as evident when we also read other passages of Scriptures (Mark 16:17; Acts 3:6; 4:7). Notice the use of the singular “name” and not the plural “names.” Father, Son, and Holy Spirit equally and wholly share this one name. Furthermore, when speaking of God, His name also refers to His essence (Exodus 3:14). What the passage from John 17:11, 21-22 simply mean is that the essential unity of Jesus and the Father is the vital principle of our unity with one another and with God. Jesus’ disciples are not united by any human affinity but by the grace of God. They are united with one another in so far as they abide in Jesus and not by anything else. Once more, the INC fails to make the proper distinctions for whatever reasons.
INC objection: In John 20:28 in which the Apostle Thomas said “My Lord and my God” we are sure that Jesus is not the God referred to here but the Father because if we read back to verse 17, we will notice that in this verse Jesus acknowledged who his God is. He says: “I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God.” The God of Jesus is the Father. Therefore, Jesus is not God.
In my opinion John 20:28 can stand by itself without any further explanation. Instead of confronting the direct meaning of the verse the INC evades it by jumping back to verse 17. Before I address verse 17, let us first turn our attention to verse 28 and the immediate verse which precedes and follows it. In verse 27, Jesus rebukes Thomas for his lack of faith and gave him proof of his resurrection saying, “Put in your finger hither and see my hands. And bring hither the hand and put it into my side. And be not faithless, but believing.” Having no room to doubt, Thomas believes and makes his profession of faith to the risen Christ in verse 28: “Thomas answered and said to him: My Lord and my God.” Then in verse 29, Jesus confirms this profession of faith saying: “Jesus said to him: Because you have seen me, Thomas, you have believed: blessed are they that have not seen and have believed.” It is truly amazing how one can miss the plain and simple meaning of this statement. Jesus is Thomas’ Lord and God. Thomas saw Jesus in his risen humanity yet professed belief in Jesus’ divinity. The verse does not say “Thomas answered and said to them” but “to him.” These words were addressed to Jesus and to no other. In dealing with John 20:28, the INC out rightly abandons their oft-repeated dictum not to add or subtract anything from the Bible. For the INC when Thomas says to Jesus “My Lord and my God” Jesus is only Thomas’ Lord but not his God. Let us keep in mind this line reasoning of the INC as this will come in handy in shutting up their back door exit.
In an attempt to escape being trapped in a self-willed denial of verse 28 the INC harps back to verse 17. They will assert that when Jesus said “I ascend to my Father and to your Father, to my God and to your God” he therefore acknowledges the Father to be his God and therefore Jesus is not God. But wait a minute, did they not just tell us that when Thomas said to Jesus “my Lord and my God” that Jesus is only Thomas Lord but not his God and that Thomas was referring to two different persons [Jesus as his Lord and God as (well guess what?) his God]? How then could they suffer from exegetical amnesia when it comes to verse 17 in which Jesus said “My Father… and my God” and tell us that in here Jesus is speaking about the same person who is his Father and at the same time his God? The fact that Jesus addresses the Father as God is not in anyway a denial of his own divinity in the same way that the fact that the Father addresses his Son as God is a denial of Father’s divinity. This will bring us to the answer to the next objection.
INC objection: If in Hebrews 1:8 the Father acknowledges the Son as God, then it will come out that there will be a contradiction in God’s word since He has already declared “Have not I the Lord, and there is no God else besides me? A just God and a saviour, there is none besides me” (Isaiah 45:21). He, in fact, repeated this twice in this particular passage. That is why the correct translation in order to eliminate this contradiction is James Moffatt’s which reads: “But unto the Son, He saith ‘God is thy throne…’”
In an attempt to explain away Hebrews 1:8 the INC presumes to create a contradiction in God’s word but in reality the contradiction exists only in their mind and not in the word of God. In order to understand why the INC avoids this particular verse, let’s read what it says: “But to the Son: Your throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a sceptre of justice is the sceptre of your kingdom” (Douay Rheims); “But unto the Son he saith; Thy throne, O God, is for ever and ever: a scepter of righteousness is the scepter of thy kingdom” (KJV); “But of the Son he says, ‘Your throne O God is for ever and ever; and the righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom” (NRSV); “but of the Son: ‘Your Throne, O God, stands forever; and a righteous scepter is the scepter of your kingdom” (NAB). In this passage of scriptures it is clearer than the noonday sun that the Father addresses his Son as God! If this verse stands then the Catholic Church teaching on the divinity of Christ stands and all INC members should rush to the feet of Jesus in repentance for the sin of blasphemy!
Where the INC finds an alleged contradiction between the above rendering of Hebrews 1:8 and Isaiah 45:21 the Catholic finds that this can harmoniously be reconciled with the doctrine of the Blessed Trinity. Since the doctrine of the Trinity states that each of the three divine persons is wholly, entirely and truly God then the fact that Father address his Son as God in Hebrews 1:8 presents no difficulty. And since the doctrine of the Trinity maintains that the Son is not another God besides the Father but as Jesus Himself teaches that He and the Father are one (John 10:30) then it does not contradict Isaiah 45:21. Furthermore, when we read in context Isaiah 45:21, God was reproving the people for worshipping idols: “Assemble yourselves, and come, and draw near together, you that are saved of the Gentiles: they have no knowledge that set up the wood of their graven work, and pray to a god that cannot save” (Isaiah 45:20). It is in the context of condemning idolatry that God reminds the people that there is no God besides him. In verse 22, God said, “Be converted to me, and you shall be saved, all you ends of the earth: for I am God, and there is no other.” The God of spoke in the Old Testament appeared in the New Testament and bears the name of Jesus: “Neither is there salvation in any other. For there is no other name under heaven given to men, whereby we must be saved” (Acts 4:12). “For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13). I wish the INC will not stop at Isaiah 45:21 but will continue reading up to verse 24 where God said: “For every knee shall be bowed to me, and every tongue shall swear.” Upon reading this Philippians 2:10-11 easily comes to mind which says: “That in the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those that are in heaven, on earth, and under the earth: And that every tongue should confess that the Lord Jesus Christ is in the glory of God the Father.”
In a desperate effort to salvage their position, the INC clings to the translation of James Moffatt: “But unto the Son, He saith ‘God is thy throne…’” This is another glaring example of INC’s selectiveness in using a bible version that will best suite their purpose. This will give us an idea that the INC is not interested in knowing the truth but in only defending their position at all cost and in whatever means. This translation by Moffatt is at least doubtful if not badly inaccurate for several reasons: 1)Reputable bible versions such as the Douay Rheims, KJV, NRSV, NAB and many others render this particular verse as “Thy Throne, O God.” 2) These particular passage is actually a quotation from the Book of Psalms 45:6 where again in a host of reputable bible versions it is rendered as “Thy Throne, O God.” 3) If we grant the Moffatt “But unto the Son, He saith ‘God is thy throne’” then this will make the Son greater than God since the one who sits on the throne is unquestionably greater than the throne on which he sits. 4) Ascribing a throne [dominion and authority] to the Son is proper since Jesus is called King of kings and Lord of lords (Revelations 19:16) and only God deserves this title (1 Timothy 6:15). 5) The Moffatt translation is noted for altering passages which points to the divinity of Christ like in Exodus 3:14 and John 8:58 by removing the I AM; In 1 Timothy 3:16 by changing “God was manifest in the flesh” into “He who was manifest in the flesh”; In Matthew 8:2 “worshipped” (KJV) or “adored” (Douay Version) is changed into “knelt.” 6) In the same context the Son is given divine prerogative: “And again, when he [Father] brings in the first begotten into the world, he [Father] says: And let all the angels of God adore him [Son]” (Hebrews 1:6). Here the Father commands all the angels to adore his Son. If the Son is not God, is the Father commanding us to worship a creature? Of course for the INC they will teach that God alone is worthy of adoration but since God commands us to adore his Son then we should obey the Father anyway. This is nothing but what someone calls double-think!
Finally, I would like to exhort all INC members to have an open mind. Read and learn the arguments of Catholicism from people who are Catholic and who know very well the Catholic faith. My prayers are for you!
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.
By: Bro, Isahel N. Alfonso
The Iglesia ni Cristo was founded by Felix Ysagun Manalo in the Philippines on July 27, 1914. The doctrines that they teach are anti-Christian since it goes against the basic tenets of Christianity like that of the Divinity of Christ, and he (Felix Manalo) is an angel sent by God as the last messenger. Since this cult has victimized so many innocent people bringing them to perdition it is an opportune time for us to establish our case against this cunning and deceitful group.
The INC And The True Church
While reviewing debates between Catholic apologists and INC ministers on the topicWhich Is The True Church. The INC ministers do not have any good arguments to prove that their Church as founded by Felix Manalo is the true Church of Christ. Their main contention when arguing their position is that the name of their Church which is Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ in English) is found within the pages of Scripture. They are argue that since Jesus Christ is the founder of the Church henceforth the true Church should also be named after Him thus the name of the true Church is Iglesia ni Cristo or Church of Christ. Quoting erroneous Bible translation like the of Lamsa just to the read the phrase “Church of Christ” then they would say that the name of their Church is Church of Christ and concluding that theirs is the true Church. Later on they would ask for the official name of the Catholic Church and ask the Catholic apologist whether he could find the official name of the Catholic Church within the pages of Scripture and if he cannot find it the INC minister would conclude that the Catholic Church is not the true Church since its name is not found in the Bible. Such a line of reason is very illogical since it would imply that the basis of a Church for being the true Church is whether its name can be found within the pages of Scripture and not on the person who founded such Church. If this is the case then the INC ministers has no reason not to accept those man made Churches as a true Church since they too patterned the name of the Church from phrases that can be found within the pages of Scripture.
The name of the Church is not basis for knowing whether such church is the true Church or not, the name of the Church is irrelevant in proving for the authenticity of the Church. Regardless whether the name of the Church is found in the pages of Scripture or not, if it is not founded by Jesus Christ then it is not the true Church. Granting without admitting that the name of the church founded by Felix Manalo is found in the pages of Scripture but the mere fact that it is not Christ who founded it then it is not the true Church. Felix Manalo is the true, real and only founded of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, it is not Jesus Christ who founded their Church, but only a man named Felix Manalo. Thus it is futile for his ministers to proclaim that their Church is the true Church.
Historically and Biblically speaking the Catholic Church is the only true Church of Jesus Christ. The establishment of the Church as founded by God was prophesied by the prophet Daniel he said;
In the time of those kings the God of heaven will set up a kingdom never to be destroyed or delivered up to another people. It will crush all those kingdoms and put an end to them. And it will endure forever. Daniel 2:44
There are two important facts that can be deduced from this prophecy of Daniel first is that God will be the one who will established His kingdom here on earth and secondly this kingdom will last forever. These facts point us to the establishment of the Church, the kingdom of God here on earth by Jesus Christ. In the Gospel of Matthew Jesus Christ said;
And now I say to you: You are Peter, and on this rock I will build my Church; and never will the powers of death overcome it. I will give you the keys to the kingdom of heaven: whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven, and whatever you unbind on earth shall be unbound in heaven.Matthew 16:18-19
The prophecy of the prophet Daniel finds its fulfillment in the words of our Lord Jesus Christ, Jesus Chris is the God (Jn.1:1. Rom.9:5, Ti.2:13) who will establish His kingdom here on earth and His kingdom or Church will endure forever for this Church is no religious building or a group of people professing the same faith rather this Church is His mystical body (Col.1:18, Eph.1:22), and He is perpetually present in His Church when He said that I will be with you until the end of time (Mt.28-20). This Church which professed to be the true Church is the Catholic Church. In the early days of Christianity the Church that Jesus Christ founded was called Catholic;
You must all follow the bishop as Jesus Christ follows the Father, and the presbytery as you would the Apostles. Reverence the deacons as you would the command of God. Let no one do anything of concern to the Church without the bishop. Let that be considered a valid Eucharist which is celebrated by the bishop, or by one whom he appoints. Wherever the bishop appears, let the people be there; just as wherever Jesus Christ is, there is the CATHOLIC CHURCH. . . St. Ignatius of Antioch, Letter to the Smyrnaeans
At the early days of Christianity there is only one Christian Church and that is the Catholic Church. Thus the Catholic Church has more legitimate reasons for claiming to be the true Church than the Iglesia Ni Cristo which was founded by Felix Manalo. The Church of Felix Manalo is unheard of prior to 1914 not an iota or even a speck of stain ever points to the Church of Felix Manalo. For the INC to substantiate their claim as the true Church they should provide us with solid historical evidences that their Church is the Church that Christ founded in Matthew 16:18-19 and not some silly name game. But as far as truth is concerned the INC minsters failed to prove their case that their Church is the true Church of Christ.
CATHOLIC FAITH DEFENDERS: REFLECTION ON THE LOGOS THE WORD OF GOD
By Bro. Cleb Calimutan
St. John wrote a very deep and remarkable truth, the “Logos” or the Word of God who is God. The Word here is not the spoken word but it is the intellect the unspoken word: the mind of God. Hence it is consubstantial with God – or in one with the very substance of God. And so since God is eternal the word is also eternal, as St. John said, “In the beginning was the Word” it is when the beginning (time) started – the Word existed already, for it is co-eternal with the Father. For if the Word is not co-eternal with God then God would exist in eternity without a Word, which is explicitly absurd.
And since the Word is consubstantial with God the Word is also infinite with God for if not then in the very substance of God there would be something that is not infinite namely the Word; again this opposite proposition leads to absurdity. And so it remains that the Word is infinite with the God. But two diverse infinite beings cannot exist at the same respect in the same sense; for they become the limit to each other. Hence, the truth then proceeds to the next manifestation that the very, “Word of God is God” as the apostle declared. He is not a different God but God in one with the nature of God.
Now a distinction is made manifest that the Word of God – is of God wherefore even they exist in one but the distinction remains for God is declared in the first hence in the first person and the Word is manifested as the second person as the apostle declared, “The Word was with God.” And so the procession is enunciated, that God is the first and the Word is in the next – namely the 2nd from the first; and so the Word is the Second Person of God.
Consequently a proposition of truth is verified that in the very nature of God there is always a First and a Second Person. But, between the first and the second Person in this very one God a relation is existing for if there is no relation then the two persons exist with absolute diversity hence they cannot exist as one, but they exist as one, hence the spirit of relation is realized with the first and the 2nd Person hence the third one proceeds from the first and the second persons which must follow as the third or the third person. Now the truth of the mystery is complete that in one nature of God there exist three different persons.
The mystery is so deep that a thorough reflection is needed, and God who got a dialogue with mankind revealed Himself with an ultimate mode of communication that this very Word is made flesh and now known as the Son of God (Jn.1:18). And so if the Second Person is the Son it follows that the First is the Father for I started my argument of truth from the Son, however the truth can be demonstrated in different many ways of elucidation.
The “Word is made flesh” a term indicating a lot of solid truth – for flesh is used as a synecdoche pertaining to the humility of God who became a man. And so the Second Person assumed another and a lower nature of being that is the nature of man. And so Jesus the Second Person of God united Himself with the nature of man. He is now Person with two natures one is of His Divinity and the other one is of His Humanity.
The motive then of the incarnation is knowing and loving. For God loves us and He wanted us to love Him. But, man cannot love whom he does not know and so God manifested Himself as the truth – the very Word of God whom we shall know and love. For, He the Lord who knows us in the most absolute way manifested His love in the most perfect way. That is through His death on the cross.
DID JESUS’ GODHEAD DIE ON THE CROSS?
By: Atty. Miguel L. Abas
CFD National President
Not few Christians believed and taught that Christ’s Godhead died on the cross. This belief may be attributed to their failure to grasp fully the doctrine on “Hypostatic Union.”
So what is “Hypostatic Union”? By Hypostatic Union, we mean the union of divine and human natures in the second person of the Holy Trinity, our Lord Jesus Christ. As such, Jesus possesses two natures, human and divine. He is both God and man. These two natures are joined but not mixed in one divine person of Christ. The fundamental teaching of the Church on the subject is clear. “The Latin Fathers, principally under the influence of Tertullian, came to a clear Trinitarian and Christological terminology as follows:
‘Videmus duplicem statum (=naturam), non confusum, sed conjunctum in una persona, Deum et hominem Jesum’, which means, “We hold a double state (nature), not mixed with one another but joined in the one person, the God and man Jesus (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Dr. Ludwig Ott, p. 144).
Jesus redeemed us through his sacrifice on the cross as Divine Person, not only as man, but His Divinity, as well. But while His Divinity concomitantly joined in the sacrifice as the essence for the mystery of salvation, the same was not subjected to death. The reason is simple. According to St. Paul, “That thou keep the commandment unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ, who is the Blessed and only Mighty, the King of kings, and Lord of lords; WHO ONLY HATH IMMORTALITY (emphasis supplied), and inhabiteth light inaccessible…” (1 Tim. 4: 14-16). So there is a nature in Christ which is immortal and that is His Divinity.
Further, the Church teaching in regard to these two natures in Christ, is stated more clearly when it said, “It follows from the essence of the Hypostatic Union, that while on the one hand things pertaining to both the Divine and the human nature can be attributed to the person of Christ, on the other hand, things specifically belonging to one nature (as man) cannot be predicated to the other nature (as God). The rule is not valid if there be reduplication. By reduplication the concrete term is limited to one nature. Thus, it is false to say that ‘Christ has suffered as God.’ (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Dr. Ludwig Ott, p. 159).
Finally, “the 3rd General Council of Ephesus (year 431) confirmed the Twelve Anathematism of St. Cyril of Alexandria… They were later recognized by Popes and Councils as the expression of the Church doctrine of Faith. The main content is the following:
a) x x x
b) x x x
c) The human and Divine activities predicated of Christ… may not be divided between two persons or hypostases, the man-Christ and the God-Logos, but must be attributed to the one Christ, the Logos become Flesh. It is the Divine Logos, who suffered in the FLESH, was crucified, died, and rose again” (Fundamentals of Catholic Dogma, by Dr. Ludwig Ott, p. 142).
To this, St. Peter has confirmed the above truth when he said, “Because Christ also died once for our sins: that he might offer us to God, being put to death indeed in the flesh, but enlivened in the spirit” (1 Peter 3:18).
So, the official teaching of the Catholic Church is, that Christ through His flesh (human nature), suffered and died on the cross, not his Divinity. Thus as quoted above, if it is false and erroneous to say that Christ has suffered as God, more so, would it be false and erroneous to say that Christ has died as God.
Note: Scripture citations are quoted from the Douay & Rheims Version of 1935.