One of my favorite verse that I used to share with acquaintances is Acts 2:39.
The Iglesia Ni Cristo teaching about Acts 2:39 is that the promise is given to 3 groups of people:
- to you – Jews
- to your children – Gentiles
- all who are afar off – INC members
Let us try to explore these 3 groups of people.
(1) To you – The Jews
If you read the whole Acts chapter 2, In Acts 2:22, there is no doubt Apostle Peter is talking to “Men of Israel” and in Acts 2:29 he repeat that saying “Men and brethren,“. In Acts 2:37, the people asking “Men and brethren, what shall we do?”, then Peter replied in verse 38 and 39 regarding repentance, baptism and the group of people who received the promise. There is no doubt Peter was speaking to the Jews which is the first group of people of God.
Who really are the (2) to your children and (3) all who are afar off?
In this article, I will again test the spirit if the teaching is correctly interpreted. Why am I doubting these teachings? Because I have learned in other verses previously about Jews and Gentiles only so far. These are the verses:
The Greek referred to these verses are the Gentiles. So far all the 4 verses above refers to Jews and Gentiles only. So far only Acts 2:39 mentioned about “to all who are afar off”. Let’s read two Ephesians verses
Now please read the whole Ephesians chapter 2 to really understand the whole context. I copied all text here to emphasize some words.
There are several points to make from Ephesians chapter 2.
- Apostle Paul referring to Gentiles (Ep. 2:11) who are known as “Uncircumcision” because Jews are required to be circumcised, before Christ are without covenant (Ep. 2:12) and without promise having no hope and without God. But now (Ep. 2:13) in Christ Jesus you (Gentiles) who once were far off have been brought near by the blood of Christ.
- Christ broken down the middle wall of separation (Ep. 2:14) – meaning no more separation between Jews and Gentiles.
- Christ created in Himself one new man from the two (Jews and Gentiles – context of chapter 2), thus making peace (Ep. 2:15). Do you know? In INC doctrine, Ephesians. 2:15 is used followed by Col.1:18 , “And He is the head of the body, the church” to explain that Christ created “Head” (Himself) and the body (Church) as one new man. Another favorite verses I used in a mission. There is now a problem with this doctrine because Ep. 2:15 Christ created one new man from the two referring in the context of Jews and Gentiles who became one in Jesus(Gal. 3:28), removing the ordinances of the law (Uncircumcision vs. Circumcision).
The INC doctrine on Ephesians 2:15 now becomes another theory of equivocation.
- The Gentiles are referred to again as from “afar off” in Ep. 2:17.
So far, “to all who are afar off” appear to be referring to the Gentiles not to INC members from the Far East.
Now who are the true “(2) to your children”? The bible referenced several verses regarding Jews and Gentiles (Rom. 1:16, Rom 9:24, Col 3:11, Gal 3:28) and nothing else mentioned about the children.
The reference to “to your children” cannot be the Gentiles just what the INC teaches in order to make a room for the third group who are from “afar off”. Those who are “afar off” in previous verses refers to the Gentiles (The Greeks) who are afar from Jerusalem. Greek (as in Acts 16:1 Acts 16:3 ; 18:17 ; Romans 1:14 ), generally denotes any non-Jewish nations so all of us Christians now are Gentiles. If (2) to your children – are Gentiles, and (3) to all who are afar off – are INC members, it would appear all Gentiles died as a result of apostasy or natural death, which is the case what INC teaches.
Since Apostle Peter was speaking to the Jews in Acts 2:39, when he referred “to your children” logically he was referring to the children of the Jews. The children of the Jews cannot be Gentiles because the Gentiles are always non-Jews and come from different place and race.
In conclusion of Acts 2:39, there appear to be only two groups of people as follows
- to you (Jews) and to your children (children of the Jews at that time)
- all who are afar off – The Gentiles or all Christians who are non-Jews from the first century up to present.
This will also put Acts 2:39 to the theory of equivocation.
Another Sheep I have
In John 10:16, Christ said
If we break the verse:
- other sheep i have – refers to Gentiles
- not in this fold – refer to Jews
- will be one flock and one shepherd – Christ is the good shepherd (John 10:11) of Christian flock
But the INC break this verse differently
- other sheep i have – refer INC members who are from “afar of country”
- not in this fold – refer Jews and Gentiles (to make room for third group from afar off country)
- will be one flock and one shepherd – Christ is the shepherd, Br. FYM as last messenger, and flock is INC.
Why “not in this fold” the fold refers only to the Jews? Because at times of Christ the Gentiles are not yet converted. Only after Christ died and ascended to heaven. The Gentiles were converted to Christianity as a result of preaching of Saul who became Apostle Paul (Acts 13:9) when Christ is already in heaven. Therefore the “fold” during the time Christ spoken in John 10:16, refers only to Jews who believed in Him.
The interpretation of the INC in John 10:16 is skeptical now. This could be another theory of equivocation but I will leave the judgement on your own understanding.
Before I conclude, I like to write Colossians 1:15-18 because in the INC, when Col. 1:18 is read, it is not read in fullness.