Open Letter for Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas

April 8, 2014

Archbishop Socrates B. Villegas, D.D.
President CBCP
Archbishop of Lingayen-Dagupan

Dear Father,
Grace and peace to you From God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
I will be opening this letter with two bold statements then follow it up with the illumination of such claims.
1. The Catholic Church right now is in great peril.
2. There is a drastic need for all Catholics to learn the Catechism of the Catholic Church.
Yes, we are in deep crisis and to deny this fact means that we have deliberately closed our eyes and ears to the spiritual degradation that we are now in. To say that what we now experience has been always here throughout the Church’s History and is not enough reason for great concern, only reveals that we already have succumbed to the enemy’s insidious deception.
“We have been Sacramentalized but not Evangelized”. I could not agree more with this axiom. Here in the Philippines we have always been proud to say that 80% of our population is Catholic. But sad to say, that also 80% of these Catholics know next to nothing about the teachings of the Catholic Church. This is the reason why our country could hardly be called a Christian nation judging on its moral bankruptcy. We may reason out that morality wise we fare much better than our western counterparts, but what we always forget to consider is, that we ought to gauge ourselves thru Christ’s standards.
I will now site several of the many detrimental effects of the lack of adequate adult Catholic Catechism.
There is an alarming rate of exodus by Catholics from the mystical body of Christ to other beliefs. Most Catholics are easy prey to this so called “evangelization” of other Christian sects since they do not understand their faith and cannot answer back even to those basic and relevant questions hurled at them by their so called concerned “evangelizer”. The usual thing that you hear from these “converted“people is this; “not until I became Born Again/Iglesia Ni Cristo/ Jehovah’s Witness/Adventist etc. I did not discover the true Gospel and was not able to give up all my vices”. And this is sad but typical occurrence is perfectly illustrated by our very own, Manny Paquiao who was once a Rosary-cladding Filipino pride. The fact of the matter is, just like “Manny”, people are hungry for the Word of God no matter how irreligious they seem to be, whether they are aware of this or not since man is created to hunger for Truth (God). Now if this deep longing and craving for the Truth is not satisfied inside their house, like hungry dogs they will devour whatever scrap of food they can get outside their house no matter how poisonous it may be just to satisfy their hunger. We cannot totally blame “Manny” for trading the true worship found in the Holy Eucharist for a false one since most of them do not know what it means or what a great treasure they already possess. We have not been effective in educating them. We have always been prompt and thorough when it comes to liturgical celebrations and preparations of “activities” but when it comes to preaching the solid doctrine, we placed it on the back seat. A lot of us have become lax and contented in just generating members instead of laboriously heeding the command of Christ to make disciples. The faithful are left to grapple from scraps of truth heard from here and there.
Let us take the case of the Iglesia Ni Cristo as an example. The reason why they are flourishing and are so effective in recruiting members and keeping them in place, is because they put emphasis on indoctrination and constantly hammer to the heads of their members what they believe and why they believe it. Their members have a concrete working theology of their belief no matter how erroneous it maybe. This is what we lack in our present set-up (at least here in the Philippines for that matter).
Yes, we have catechists, but only for children and the number of these catechists are dwindling at a rapid rate because of the lack of support. Even the important tradition of Flores de Mayo where children are catechized before their first communion is slowly fading away (even Confession are no longer given utmost importance nor regularly offered). Yes, we have seminars for the parents before baptism, seminars for couple before the wedding, GSK’s, retreats, recollections, homilies at Mass and many others which are extremely important, however these are still not enough. Yes we have several Catholic charismatic groups but most of them are not centered on teaching the Catechism. Some group may be, but their audience are limited on a few interested ones and not on a massive scale since it is not incorporated into the Church own program.
Next, many of these so called faithful Catholics who remain inside the Church do not even identify nor support the teachings of the Church especially when it comes to morality like teachings about artificial contraception, divorce, same sex marriage and many others. Why? Because people cannot be expected to embrace directives which they do not have a working understanding for such difficult restrictions which entail hefty sacrifice and personal discomfort on their part.
Next, until now we can still observe widespread Christo-paganistic practices among Filipinos such as the practice of “ padugo”, “patagna”, “habak”, “mananambal”, mga “pamahiin”, and various “Feng shui” practices among Filipino-Chinese Catholics which is seemingly a fusion of Christian and oriental religion which somehow mostly not being addressed.
Another detrimental effect of lack of Catechism is the rapid decline in Vocation. This is a natural consequence of it, since most our catholic youth right now are no longer grounded on solid doctrine, (which is found in the Catechism) and not instilled in them the genuine love of Christ and Church. Also because of the lack of adequate adult catechism, many who enter the seminary or convent enter for the wrong reason and wrong motives and bring with them when they graduate their wrong reasons and treats Priesthood as an occupation rather as a Vocation. That’s why a lot our priests right now, instead of being the Alter Christos who supposed to usher salvation of souls to those whose faith are weak, now become the instrument of apostasy and perdition of many, every time they do various kinds of scandals.
But the most injurious effect of all in putting the Catechism on the sidelines is the lack of Unity and Catholicity nowadays on the teachings among priests, religious and lay people inside the Catholic Church. Modernism, Liberal Theology, heterodoxy have already crept into the Church, Seminaries and Catholic schools which give all the more reason to put an emphasis to promote The Catechism of the Catholic Church. A concrete example of this is for instance a priest here in Ozamiz city taught in his homily that pre-marital sex is just a venial sin. Also one priest stated in his homily that fornication is okay as long as no pregnancy will result. Many priests and religious do not share the belief of the Church concerning the teaching on Humane Vitae. Some promote religious indifferentism and false ecumenism. There are many other conflicting teachings to mention which leaves the faithful dazed and confused. This will clearly be the outcome when in Seminary Formation; the teachings of dissident and liberal theologians are given precedence over and above The Catechism of the Catholic Church as what is going on right now in some seminaries.
In relation to these problems we face, we need to step up our effort since the Salvation of Souls is what is at stake here. It is high time that we have to have an active Catechism Centre here in our Diocese sanctioned and spear-headed by the Bishop where the Catechism of the Catholic Church is systematically indoctrinated to all the faithful especially adults. There is a great need to have a place for a regular, weekly, all year-round extensive Adult Catechism Lecture Center where people can go and deepen their Catholic Faith and equip them for evangelization.

Our ultimate goal is that this will eventually be duplicated in all the parishes all over the Philippines. Let us make it our goal that the teachings of Jesus Christ (The Catechism of the Catholic Church) will become a common knowledge to all Catholics just like the Israelites during the ancient days where most (if not all) of them are well versed of the Laws of Moses.
Contrary to popular belief, the Catechism is not at all boring, it is actually suitable for all ages particularly the youth, as long as it is skillfully presented, adequately elucidated and correlated to practical daily experiences with concrete examples rather than given in vague and abstract language. As a matter of fact, since October 2010, five of us (who were given Ecclesiastical Authority by the Bishop) members of the Society of St. Vincent de Paul and Catholic Faith Defenders through the support of Vicar General Msgr. Maximino Naron are conducting 30 minute catechism lectures before Sunday Mass in some of the different parishes in Ozamiz and Tangub City. So far the response has been very encouraging and parishioners love it.
Even then, we feel that this effort is still not fast enough to reach out to many people as possible as time is of the essence since many Catholics right now are prancing their way to hell and are not even aware of it. I should know, since I was once like this before, until by God’s grace, led me to the Truth which in turn set me free from bondage of sin. I was once an active member of a Catholic Charismatic group yet living an immoral life and on the verge of leaving the Catholic Church. I was on my way to perdition yet without the faintest idea that I’m already heading downhill. Why? Because of wrong theology. I was not aware that even though how I claim to love Jesus and how “good” I seem to be, one mortal sin (unrepented of at death) is enough to send me to hell forever. I reached my 30’s yet still I was not aware how important Sanctifying Grace is, that this is what we need to enter heaven. Actually I was not even aware that there is such a thing as Sanctifying Grace. In fact, never have I heard this mentioned in any homily or sermon at mass in my entire life. This is now the state of most average Filipino Catholic. And I know with great conviction that there’s a lot of Catholics out there who are just like me before who needs to hear the Truth and needs to be saved from the state of Mortal Sin and spiritual death and time is running out, fast.
Lastly, the intention of this letter is not to point fingers nor judge any specific clergy, religious or laity whatsoever. I apologize if this might come across as harsh but my aim is to point out hard facts that are actually happening in our midst that might have slipped our awareness that by now warrants drastic and prompt measures. I pray that this exhortation and request will be taken with an open mind for the greater glory of God and the furtherance of His Kingdom here on earth. In fact, I would not be so honest like this in expressing my innermost sentiments have it not been you to whom I will be submitting my letter to. My utmost respect and confidence on your spiritual integrity has given me the audacity to be up front like this knowing that a message such as this will fall into sympathetic heart and mind, like yours.
In humility and obedience shall I wait for your response.

Sincerely,

Jose Gonzalo M. Ditching S.S.V.P.
Nat’l Vice President, Internal Affairs
Catholic Faith Defenders

CFD (Ryan Mejillano) vs Kinawawang INC (Julius Cutin)

CFD (Ryan Mejillano) vs Kinawawang INC (Julius Cutin)

Tingnan po naman ninyo ang isa nanamang kinawawang Ministro ng INC-Manalo laban sa ating kapatid na si Bro. Ryan Mejillano ng Catholic Faith Defenders.
This four-part video is the supposed discussion turned debate between CFD Bro. Ryan and Minister Julius Cutin of INC(Manalo), Locale of Mintal, District of Davao. It was initiated by the INC (of Manalo) to trap Bro. Ryan thinking that the latter was just a petty and mediocre Catholic Christian. This happened at the residence of an INC member who was very desiroua few months before to engage Bro. Ryan in a debate with another INC (of Manalo) Minister.

Please notice the difference between a Catholic Christian and Iglesia Ni Cristo (Ni Manalo). Notice how an INC Minister delivers his part, his speeches, how he evades from the main topic that was agreed, how he first use foul words from the start to the end of these four videos.

Enjoy and reflect.

Sancta Maria, ora pro nobis.

All Rights Reserves
Video Duplication is for back-up purposes only.
Video Courtesy:

http://www.youtube.com/user/najeca2

http://www.youtube.com/user/20asisjohncarlo

TAGALOG SUBTITLE

A CATHOLIC ANSWER TO IGLESIA NI CRISTO [INC] ATTEMPT AT DISPROVING THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST

A CATHOLIC ANSWER TO IGLESIA NI CRISTO [INC] ATTEMPT AT DISPROVING THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST

by Prof. Ramon Gitamondoc, CFD National Pres.

 

 The Transfiguration A CATHOLIC ANSWER TO IGLESIA NI CRISTO [INC] ATTEMPT AT DISPROVING THE DIVINITY OF CHRIST
The Transfiguration of the Lord revealing His Divinity

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!

 

Link: http://thesplendorofthechurch.blogspot.com/2012/10/a-catholic-answer-to-iglesia-ni-cristo.html

 

 

A Case Against The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Founded By Felix Manalo) Part II Divinity of Christ

A Case Against The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Founded By Felix Manalo) Part II Divinity of Christ

By: Bro. Isahel N. Alfonso

 

 A Case Against The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Founded By Felix Manalo) Part II Divinity of Christ

 

 

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.

A Case Against The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Founded By Felix Manalo)

A Case Against The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Founded By Felix Manalo)

By: Bro, Isahel N. Alfonso

 A Case Against The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Founded By Felix Manalo)

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.

Bro.Wendell Talibong (CFD) VS Ramil Parba (INC.M) Final

Bro.Wendell Talibong (CFD) VS Ramil Parba (INC.M) Final

 

DEBATE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (Bro.Wendell Talibong) VS INC(MANALO) (Ramil Parba) ON AUGUST 5 2006 IN BOHOL.(Malaman ang Katotohanan na ang SANTA IGLESIA KATOLIKA APOSTOLIKA ROMANA ang Tunay na Iglesia ni Kristo)

 

Igsoon palihog tan-awa kini ug inubanan sa Espirito Santo ikaw makahatag ug hukom kon kinsa sa duha ka debatedor ang na pildi ug nang limbong…

Bro.Wendell Talibong (CFD) VS Ramil Parba (INC.M)

Bro.Wendell Talibong (CFD) VS Ramil Parba (INC.M)

 

DEBATE OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH (Bro.Wendell Talibong) VS INC(MANALO) (Ramil Parba) ON AUGUST 5 2006 IN BOHOL.(Malaman ang Katotohanan na ang SANTA IGLESIA KATOLIKA APOSTOLIKA ROMANA ang Tunay na Iglesia ni Kristo)