Monthly Archives: May 2016

Why There Are People Who Wants To Destroy Historical Sites?

Why some people wants to destroy historical sites?

In everyone’s life there are good memories and bad memories. In most cases, people who remember good memories cherish those memories. If places are part of good memories, they remain in our imagination and many times you wish to see the same place to reminisce the past.

On the other hand, part of our lives are bad memories. In those cases you often try to erase your bad memories by destroying artifacts and places that are part of the bad experiences. It is like a bad dream and you never want to remember it.

Why Do Leaders Allow Destroying Historical Places?

There are those leaders of the organization who allow destroying historical places because they hate them or because they think they are not part of their religion. ISIS destroyed several ancient places like

  • Nimrud – A city in the Assyrian kingdom, which flourished between 900 and 612 B.C.
  • Khorsabad – Assyrian King Sargon II built a palace at Khorsabad between 717 and 706 B.C. The Oriental Institute says that “Khorsabad is unusual among the Assyrian palaces because of its stylistic innovations, the preservation of paint on its reliefs, and the extensive ancient written documentation concerning the organization of the building project. “
  • Mosul Museum – Mosul Museum held 173 original pieces of antiquity and large statues from the UNESCO World Heritage site of Hatra as well as artifacts from the archaeological sites of the governorate of Ninevah.
  • Mosul Library – The library’s collection reportedly included 18th-century manuscripts and Ottoman-era books.
  • Hatra – Established by the successors of Alexander the Great and dating back to 300 B.C., Hatra became the capital of what some believe to be an early Arab kingdom ruled by the Parthian Empire that also included the fabled city of Petra in Jordan.

Why ISIS destroyed historical sites? In a commentary for CNN, Cornell University archaeologist and classicist Sturt W. Manning wrote that such destruction spoke of “the human folly and senseless violence that drives ISIS. The terror group is destroying the evidence of the great history of Iraq; it has to, as this history attests to a rich alternative to its barbaric nihilism.

For the ISIS group, there seem to be a bad memories of the past and so they want to destroy evidences of those memories.

Destroying Historical House and Memory Of Ka Erdy Manalo at 36 Tandang Sora

Sometime on or before May 29, 2016, the residence of the late Brother Erano G. Manalo was reduced to rubble. Who would do such a thing for the leader of the Church for 46 years? What are their motives? What is it really that they want to destroy? What ever it is, likely not a good memory of someone who has the power to order the destruction of such a historical place for the Church and its members.

Let us read the bible.

Proverbs 10:7, NKJV – 7The memory of the righteous is blessed,
But the name of the wicked will rot.

-Cornelius

The Danger of Taking An Oath

One of the practice in the Church that I am questioning in my mind is the oath taking. As an officer you take an oath before accepting an office and sometimes specially when there is new Minister assigned, we are required to re-affirm our office. As a member sometimes we are asked to take a new oath specially when there are new campaigns be it propagation or offerings.

Recently in 2015, every members are required to fill up new R2-01 form. This is the member’s detailed records which now includes our thumb marks. The new R2-01 form is now accompanied by another form which is the “affidavit of affirmation of faith” .

Different Oath Takings Inside INC

These are some of the oath taking and forms I remember not including before you are baptized:

  • Membership Oath Taking  – this is the first oath taking every member will normally do before becoming a member. This is accompanied by the Membership Oath Taking Form
  • Affidavit of Re-Affirmation of Faith Form – This is a form introduced in 2015 that we now need to fill up every time you register to a locale.
  • Officers Oath taking – Every time you accept an office you take an oath, every oath you sign an oath taking form.
  • Membership re-affirmation – This is an on-demand command by a resident Minister or Church Administration as a way to remind every member the duties that they have been taught during the doctrines and worship services. This is sometimes also accompanied by written affidavit promising a support for what is being campaign for.

Jesus Forbids Oaths

Interestingly, Jesus actually forbids oaths in the bible. So why Iglesia Ni Cristo keep doing it over and over again?

Matthew 5:33-37, NKJV – 33 “Again you have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not swear falsely, but shall perform your oaths to the Lord.’ 34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 nor by the earth, for it is His footstool; nor by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the great King. 36 Nor shall you swear by your head, because you cannot make one hair white or black. 37 But let your ‘Yes’ be ‘Yes,’ and your ‘No,’ ‘No.’ For whatever is more than these is from the evil one.
Definition of “swear” from Oxford dictionary
1. make a solemn statement or promise undertaking to do something or affirming that something is the case:

Check the synonyms of swear from thesaurus.com. Two of the synonyms are “swear to God” or “take an oath”.

Matthew 5:34 clearly say do not swear at all, neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne. Swearing can mean to refer to bad words but why we are sure we are talking “swear” in the context of taking oath? It is because verse 33 Jesus is talking about the old – perform your oath to the Lord. It is an old practice which in Christ’ time He forbids us to do so.

The question now is why are we directly violating the teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ to not swear at all? Worst of it is we do it repeatedly. Now that we learned about this, could it be that us, INC members, are the one referred to in 2 Tim. 3:7 because the church do not teach the full gospel?

2 Timothy 3:7, NKJV – 7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

No matter how many times we go to the church, if we keep learning the same thing over and over again, we will never come to the knowledge of the truth. But now we do as we start learning more about the gospel.

Are Offerings In The Church Shoddy?

Is the Iglesia Ni Cristo doctrines on voluntary givings shoddy? In the article “The Many Different Offerings Inside The Church of Christ“, I listed all types of offerings I can possibly identify and all the bible verses we hear in doctrinal lessons. While all the teachings are biblical, the interpretations are different than other religions. That make INC different but is it for the good faith or is it a flawed doctrine?

Order in the Church Assembly

In 1 Cor. 14:26, Apostle Paul explained how the church gathering is to be conducted, that is with psalm, teachings, tongue, revelation, interpretation.

1 Cor. 14:26, NKJV – 26How is it then, brethren? Whenever you come together, each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation. Let all things be done for edification.

Nothing mentioned about the offerings. So why churches teaches members to make an offerings during worship services? There are several bible verses Ministers use like the ones identified in “The Many Different Offerings Inside The Church of Christ“.

Many Protestant churches only have offering boxes before you enter the sanctuary much like the locale offering boxes inside the INC chapel. The difference is (some if not all) Protestants do not collect during the worship. I think because they follow 1 Cor. 14:26. Why is so different in the INC?

The Perfect Offering

A young rich man asked the Lord Jesus Christ, “what good thing shall I do that I may have eternal life?”. 18 … Jesus said, “‘You shall not murder,’ ‘You shall not commit adultery,’ ‘You shall not steal,’ ‘You shall not bear false witness,’ 19Honor your father and your mother,’ and, ‘You shall love your neighbor as yourself.’ ” 20 The young man said to Him, “All these things I have kept from my youth. What do I still lack?”.

Matthew 19:21, NKJV – 21 Jesus said to him, “If you want to be perfect, go, sell what you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven; and come, follow Me.”

This is the most radical teaching of our Lord Jesus Christ when it comes to giving, that is, He advised the rich young man to sell all his possessions and give to the poor. To close the context of Matthew 19:21, theologians explained that in Matthew 19:22, it clarifies that the young rich man is so attached to his possessions, Jesus knows that and so he answered the rich man’s question in a radical way. The interesting part here is that Christ did not say give it to the Church!

The Basis of Giving our Contributions

What is the basis of giving our contributions? One of the verse we use is Hebrews 13:15-16.

Hebrews 13:15-16, NKJV – 15 Therefore by Him let us continually offer the sacrifice of praise to God, that is, the fruit of our lips, giving thanks to His name. 16 But do not forget to do good and to share, for with such sacrifices God is well pleased.

Read the two verses carefully now, verse 15 teach about offering the sacrifice of praise to God which is the fruit of our lips [spiritual offerings]. According to verse 15, there is no money needed in spiritual offerings because what is required is only the use of our lips to praise and thank God. Verse 16 is teaching about doing good and to share [material offerings]. This is where the Church might have above and beyond interpretations of offerings for it is verse 16 that we use to instruct not to be absent on weekday and weekend worships service for our God seek for our offerings, for such things He is well pleased. But is there mentioned of offering in the church in verse 16? It is speaking of “doing good” and “share”. Doing good may be a form of monetary offering to help the Church expenses and propagation of the gospel. Sharing is sharing to the poor. But what about the poor member of the Church? Sadly, we also tell them to do all kinds of offerings in the church instead of helping them.

Are We Giving To Please God or To Please Man?

The Lord Jesus wants us to give for the right reasons. Jesus warned His disciples not to give for the sake of being admired by men. “Beware of practicing your righteousness before men to be noticed by them,”.

Matthew 6:1-4, NKJV – 1 “Take heed that you do not do your charitable deeds before men, to be seen by them. Otherwise you have no reward from your Father in heaven. 2 Therefore, when you do a charitable deed, do not sound a trumpet before you as the hypocrites do in the synagogues and in the streets, that they may have glory from men. Assuredly, I say to you, they have their reward. 3 But when you do a charitable deed, do not let your left hand know what your right hand is doing, 4 that your charitable deed may be in secret; and your Father who sees in secret will Himself reward you openly

We ought to give for the glory of God and the good of His people. We must desire His approval of our giving, rather than the praise and admiration of people. Are you giving for God’s praise or man’s? When the church offering is below the target set by the Church administration, a rigorous campaign will be instructed to the overseers. It is even announce in worship service nowadays. Is in it the objective to raise the percentage is to please the administration? How about the manner of giving locale and special special offerings in the church where you have to write our names and amount in the envelope? Is that spiritually correct? What do the finance officers, head deacons and Ministers think when they see someone offer too little or too big? Do they not judge those offering too little? What about the weekly thanksgiving deposits where you have to write your name and you see how much others deposited and others see how much you deposited? Is this not the hypocrisy mentioned in Matthew 6:1? If the offerings is for God why do we have to write our names and amount for it is between you and God not you and the administration is in it? We’ll admit it or not it is for auditing how much individuals are offering that is why there is always auditor in the locale.

How about the giving of donations of the church? We do this once in a while and when we do, we make sure it causes traffic jam so that our efforts are noticed by men. Is this not hypocrisy?

Is the Church doctrines on offerings flawed from the beginning?

A Nation Like A Point Of No Return

All, members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo and all those who have been expelled for various reasons, went through the study of the 26 doctrinal lessons, completed a probationary period then received the baptism and became a full pledge member. It sounds like a cupellation of gold until it reaches its brightness and shines.

Little that we know, we have undergone a classical conditioning process. Our minds were put in a box like a prisoner in your own realm for there is no life outside the box. We can summarize the lessons as follows

  • Believe in the bible – If you believe it, you have to believe all the scriptures.
  • Believe in God, Jesus Christ and His true nature.
  • Believe there is only one but true church- The Church of Christ in the first century was apostatized and re-emerged in 1914 in the Far East.
  • Practice brotherhood and unity
  • Obey the administration
  • Perform your duties: offering, missionary work, do not be absent in worship services
  • Believe in judgment day and no salvation outside the Church of Christ – If you leave the church or if you are expelled you go to lake of fire.

Of course everything we learn is biblical. You see, once you believe in the first topic, you have to believe almost everything that you will hear, otherwise the Minister will teach you Hebrews 10:26-27.

Hebrews 10:26-27, NKJV – 26For if we sin willfully after we have received the knowledge of the truth, there no longer remains a sacrifice for sins, 27 but a certain fearful expectation of judgment, and fiery indignation which will devour the adversaries.

In other words, since you accepted to hear even by just starting lesson No. 1, if you do not continue the lessons, you will become enemy of God. Therefore you will go to the lake of fire come judgement day.

Are we trapped? Well we are not if all the doctrines are truly pristine and truthful…but what if they are interpreted incorrectly? Now we are in a point of no return for no good reason. Because of the classical conditioning and the teachings are biblical as explained within the context of the doctrine, many so-called silent defenders are afraid to go outside the box.

Thinking Outside The Box

If everything inside the Church (Iglesia Ni Cristo) is in holy array in the eyes of the members and non-members, it is foolish to think outside the box. But the truth is there is a lot of controversy and signs of malicious practices, allegations of corruptions, living in luxurious lifestyle, use of hatred words, condemnation and persecutions of those who have been expelled, and even twisted teachings of the gospel.

Regarding Hebrews 10:26-27, we will analyze this verse in future post looking at it in true context and another dimension before we get trapped.

You cannot see all what is happening inside the box if you do not have the view from outside the box!

You see, when INC Ministers preach the bible is kept in mystery we read Romans 16:25

Romans 16:25, NKJV – 25Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began.

If you attempt to questions the church doctrines, the Minister will attempt to stop you from further reading by reading Romans 16:25. There are other verses they use but let first focus on Romans 16:25 and continue reading verse 26.

Romans 16:26, NKJV – 26but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—

Now it is clear, that the bible is no longer kept in secret because it has been manifested (revealed) to all the nations. You see how only using verse 25 can be misleading?

Another verse a Minister will use is 2 Tim 3:7 to attempt to stop you from further reading the bible.

2 Timothy 3:7, NKJV – 7always learning and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth.

Think outside the box, try to understand the content of the verse. The word “always” means repeatedly, now who repeatedly listen to the same teachings? Is it the one who just started learning the bible? Could it be us, INC members? We always learn in bible studies, worship services, evangelical missions, the same verses over and over again. We never learn some other verses of the bible. Could it be that we are not learning the truth because we keep on listening to the same teachings? Let us do an analogy for example only, if one verse of the bible say walk straight, another verse say you turn right. Now if INC pick to walk straight, we never ever come to the understanding why the other verse says turn right. You see, 2 Tim 3:7 could be referring to the members of INC. Boomerang!

If the INC is teaching Romans 16:25 incorrectly, was it twisted intentionally? Even if not, what if the other teachings are also wrong?

Take for example Romans 9:24, Colossians 3:11 and Galatians 3:28:

Romans 9:24, NKJV – 24even us whom He called, not of the Jews only, but also of the Gentiles?
Colossians 3:11, NIV – 11Here there is no Gentile or Jew, circumcised or uncircumcised, barbarian, Scythian, slave or free, but Christ is all, and is in all.
Galatians 3:28, NKJV – 28 There is neither Jew nor Greek, there is neither slave nor free, there is neither male nor female; for you are all one in Christ Jesus.

You see there are no third group of people mentioned in those verses. Acts 2:39 is favorable to INC because if there must be third group of people to justify there is messenger in this last days, Bro. FYM, who will restore the Church of Christ from its apostasy.

Acts 2:39, NKJV – 39For the promise is to you and to your children, and to all who are afar off, as many as the Lord our God will call.

But what if we misinterpreted Acts 2:39? Without thinking outside the box, you will never understand Romans 9:24 and Colossians 3:11. What if there is only Jews and Gentiles? Why do you think the other religions preach that all those converted to Christianity from the first century who are non-Jews are the Gentiles. That includes all of us till the coming of the Lord Jesus Christ.

You see now without thinking outside the box, you are at the point of no return.

I Weighed The Church But Found Wanting

scaleFor many many years being active member of the Church of Christ, much like other members, I do not read the bible. In recent months, the church worship service lessons are noticeably teaching of the same topics: obey the administration, obey the teachings on offerings and mission, if you do not obey your salvation is at risks or you are setting up yourself for your own destruction. For other people this is called mind conditioning and some may call this spiritual corruptions. I noticed two recent church teachings that led me to start reading the bible. This is a [short] story of my conversion that led me to “test the spirit” just like what is mentioned in I John 4:1

I John 4:1, NKJV – 1 Beloved, do not believe every spirit, but test the spirits, whether they are of God; because many false prophets have gone out into the world.

First Doubt

A Minister of the Church is trying to explain to the congregations why the “One With EVM” is being used everywhere in recognizing the leadership of the Executive Ministers. When he said “it is because you cannot be one with Jesus and God if you are not one with EVM” these words stick in my head because I thought it is already adding to the teachings of God.

Second Doubt

A Minister of the Church is constantly reminding every officers and members why we should not get offended in offerings. It was then followed by a campaign for a special offering and that every member must give according to the purpose of your heart for it is this way God is so pleased. The instructions is followed by every member of the household must give, including all children, that is if you are 4 in the family, there should be for envelopes – that means infants or children must be also offer according to the purpose of their hearts. These instructions is also followed by saying the child also received allowances right? I am not offended in offerings but when it is going beyond the teaching then I think it is adding again to the teachings of God. How can an infant give offering according to the purpose of their heart?

Testing the Spirit

The Church teaches that the bible is kept in mystery and only the INC Ministers has the gift from God to teach the pristine gospel. The church also teaches that there are those who led to their own destruction for trying to understand the bible. This is my first test, if I read the bible I could be led to false teachings. In order for me to actually read the bible, I need to read it prove reading the bible is not a bad idea – weird reasoning but how else your prove that you can read the bible and not self-destruct yourself? I needed to test myself with the following:

  1. Is the bible really kept in secret and only INC Ministers can read and interpret it?
  2. Is the bible teaches that there are those who try to understand the bible and they end up in destruction?

In my mind if I can answer those two questions, then I can proceed reading the bible for my own understanding.

Is the bible really kept in mystery? I have covered this topic in the article “The INC Teachings Regarding The Mystery Of The Bible“.  Please read the article and comeback here if you have not read it. Let us understand the two bible verses used in the Church doctrines one more time.

Rom 16:25-26, NKJV – 25Now to Him who is able to establish you according to my gospel and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery kept secret since the world began.26but now made manifest, and by the prophetic Scriptures made known to all nations, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, for obedience to the faith—

Notice how verse 26 actually explained that the gospel has been revealed to all the nations. This is never taught inside the INC and so my doubt level just go up to continue reading the bible. What about those who tried to understand the bible and are led to self-destruction?

2 Pet. 3:16, NKJV – 16as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things, in which are some things hard to understand, which untaught and unstable people twist to their own destruction, as they do also the rest of the Scriptures.

If you really try to understand 2 Peter 3:16 and not just listen to how the Minister teach it, the verse is actually referring to untaught and unstable people. We are obviously taught and stable people mentally and spiritually, therefore this verse is not applicable to us.

It is with these two bible verses that leading me to believe there is “mind conditioning” inside the INC because there are some things that are “untaught” for fear that the members will go against the teachings or doctrines of the church.

More Doubts

Since I saw the one with EVM sign of the right thumb, the first thing came to my mind is why create an icon for spiritual purposes? Is that not idolatry?

Mark of The Right Thumb - One With EVM

Almost every baptized member of the church heard about the mark on the forehead and on the right hand ni the book of Revelation. The INC doctrines refers to the Catholics having the mark on their forehead on ash Wednesday. What about the right hand? The right thumb mark is part of the right hand so it is enough to think the right thumb mark is a dangerous sign. As I read the bible verse in Revelation 13:16-17

Revelation 13:16-17, NKJV – 16 He causes all, both small and great, rich and poor, free and slave, to receive a mark on their right hand or on their foreheads, 17 and that no one may buy or sell except one who has the mark or the name of the beast, or the number of his name.

It is the word “or” that is mark on their right hand or on their forehead. Followed by “buy or sell”. Is in it we now have the sign of the right thumb which is part of the right hand? Is in it the Iglesia ni Cristo now we sell tickets not only in the chapel but even in Philippine Arena? Scary, though I cannot prove this is correct but it is logical the notice “mark on right hand OR on their forehead”, “buy or sell”.

There are more doubts as I started reading the bible understanding one more time the doctrines of the Church. It is not correct to prevent members from reading the bible like the Jews examined the scriptures everyday to see if Paul is true in his preaching (Acts 17:11).

Acts 17:11, NRSV – 11 These Jews were more receptive than those in Thessalonica, for they welcomed the message very eagerly and examined the scriptures every day to see whether these things were so.

These bible verses are just some of the reasons why I became interested to reading and understanding the Church doctrines once again. I am now confident that it is not true the bible is kept in secret, that only the INC Ministers can preach or interpret them. I have also proven in the bible that even the first century Jews are reading the scriptures to verify if the preacher is teaching the true gospel of God. So I will continue to read and share my thoughts.

Having the Armor of God

Everyone should learn the words of God, not only what you heard from the doctrines of any religion, but everything like it is your armor of God. Everyone must be reading the bible not just the ministers of the Church. Ephesians 6:11-17 speaking of principalities – a state ruler, against powers – those who are leading in power, against the rulers of darkness – those who rule with evil intentions.

Ephesians 6:11-17, NKJV – 11 Put on the whole armor of God, that you may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. 12 For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand. 14 Stand therefore, having girded your waist with truth, having put on the breastplate of righteousness, 15 and having shod your feet with the preparation of the gospel of peace; 16 above all, taking the shield of faith with which you will be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked one. 17 And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God;

Disclaimer

I do not claim I am a preacher, nor I became a preacher, nor I claim to be a messenger, nor I am a prophet, nor I have a prophetic dream. I am just one human being, a God’s creation, one who believe in Jesus Christ as the messenger of God, the savior, and Jesus’ God is my God, Abraham and Moses’ God is my God.

Let it be known that my name is Cornelius. What I say here are my own words, no one asked me to say them, no one told me to tell them, no one forced me to write them. All my words came from the wisdom that I received from Him.