Prisoner Of Own Faith

I like to address this article directly to the members of the Church of Christ to reveal to you something that has been kept secret to us, for there is no way we would know this if we are kept prisoner of our own faith. We have to come out of our own comfort, open our minds and think outside the box to learn the true context of the scriptures – something we always believe we have the pristine gospel in our Church.

All members and former members of the Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo or INC) went through a series of doctrinal lessons. Because we are not concern of scriptures but to listen and finish the bible studies, we did not know we have gone through a process that in our mind is the security for our salvation. In reality there are techniques behind the process of indoctrination that are kept in secret. These techniques are:

  • Classical or mind conditioning
  • Prevention Technique
  • Sustainment Technique
  • Retention Technique

Classical or mind conditioning

During this process we are taught the bible is the basis of faith, that the words of God contains in the bible, that the First Century of Church was apostatized, through the prophesy of Bro. Felix Y. Manalo as the Messenger of God in these last days, that during the ends of the earth the Church of Christ re-emerged in the Philippines in July 27, 1914, coinciding the outbreak of the first world war 1. It was God’s standing policy that he set aside His own people, like the Jews, the Gentiles and the son’s and daughters of God from the Far east, members of the Church of Christ. That there is no other salvation outside the Church and those who are outside the Church will be condemned come judgment day. That only those who endure until the end will be saved and therefore if you leave the Church you will go to the lake of fire.

Something that I think is part of classical conditioning technique is how INC used the words in the bible. This is now important to understand.

“church” – Whenever a Minister read this word, it is translated or replaced by the proper noun “Church” or more specifically it is read in the bible as if it is referring always to the “Church of Christ“. Noticed even when Romans 16:16 “Greet one another with a holy kiss. The churches of Christ greet you.“. The “churches” is immediately translated to “Church of Christ” by the Minister. If you question then the alibi is that the “churches” refers to the different locales. This “church” in itself is a huge topic that will be uncovered in the future articles. For now let me say that if you understand the Context of Matthew 16, the greetings is for the people from different places, there are no mentions of different locales of Church of Christ but just places. For example Matthew 16:1 “I commend to you Phoebe our sister, who is a servant of the church in Cenchrea”. If you continue reading Matthew 16, never a “locale of ..” is used. The “church” is also used to refer to Church Administration like in Matthew 18:17, “If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, let him be to you as a Gentile and a tax collector.“. Again the “church” in that verse is a noun not a proper noun.

“you” – Whenever the Minister read “you” in the bible, it refers it to the members of the Church of Christ. Something we ignore most of the time in the bible is the audience relevance. When Christ speak to the Apostles, He is referring to them as “you“, He is speaking to the Apostles not us people of the 21st century.

“Israel” – In some cases the reference to Israel is referred to the Church of Christ. For example in Isaiah 41:9, “You whom I have taken from the ends of the earth,…“, If you read the context of Isaiah 41 He is speaking to the Israelite, the INC translate “Israel” as referring to the people of God in the last days, the members of the Church of Christ.

Other technique used as part of classical conditioning is the used of multiple bible translations. This is something astonishing to me because my mind was conditioned that some bible translations are wrong. Now I realized this selective teaching is wrong. For example the Church used Moffat for Isaiah 43:5-6 for the words “far east” but ignore “end of the earth” in the same verse because the Church want to use NKJV version which is “ends of the earth“. Same verse two translations and of course the alibi is that Moffat is wrong on using the “end of the earth“.

Prevention Technique

In the process of prevention, members of the INC are taught the bible is kept in mystery and only the Ministers have the wisdom to learn and interpret it correctly. There are those who attempted to learn the bible only to end up in destruction.

The Bereans are examples of receiving the teachings with all readiness, and searched the Scriptures daily to find out whether these things were so. I have already covered the theory of equivocations on the mystery of the gospel. I tend to believe now that this INC doctrine is to prevent us from learning the true context of the scriptures and if that is so, we could possibly abandon our faith – and that is what the Church refers to as “destruction” but to us it should be the grace of God. If you have not read the following topics I suggest you read them.

The INC Teachings Regarding The Mystery Of The Bible
Test The Spirits Whether They Are Of God

Sustainment Technique

In this process, the Church must ensure continues supply of offerings and bible students to keep the Church growing. We are taught to be generous in giving for in giving God is well pleased. We are taught as being light of salvation, part of our sworn duty is sharing our faith, by inviting people. We are discourage to teach [which made us no longer read the bible] but to invite only for the Minister have the right knowledge of the gospel.

The Church teach faith without works is dead and so we must work, work, work for the Church. Recruiting of officers is continues on a daily basis, some officers have sworn offices from different departments. Many members goes to the chapel daily and multiple times going back and forth home and chapels during week ends. The truth is Jesus forbids to take oaths in the Christian age.

Some related topics you can read regarding the process of sustainment:

The Many Different Offerings Inside The Church of Christ
Are Offerings In The Church Shoddy?
The Danger of Taking An Oath

Retention Technique

In the process of retention we are taught to obey our leaders, for they have been given the authority on earth for our own salvation. We are then reminded that if we do not obey, we can be expelled from the Church. Expulsion is the worst case scenario for members for it means you are no longer of God but of the devil, you are destine to go to the hell, the lake of fire.

The Church doctrines made this technique sound truthful, scriptural and pristine gospel by using the gospel itself. I posted articles regarding obeying the leaders and identify some theories of equivocations:

Should We Obey Our Leaders and Submit To Them Without Questions?
Submit To God, Obey Your Leaders.
The Fear of Death.

The Church doctrines implement registration of members which is the “Book of Life” on earth. The Church also implements expulsion process, exercising the authority given to the Church leaders on earth.

What are the basis of the INC doctrines for implementing the Registration Book which is the “Book of Life” on earth?

Daniel 12:1, NKJV – 1
“At that time Michael shall stand up,
The great prince who stands watch over the sons of your people;
And there shall be a time of trouble,
Such as never was since there was a nation,
Even to that time.
And at that time your people shall be delivered,
Every one who is found written in the book.

What is the theory of equivocation on Daniel 12:1?

There is nothing in the verse referring to a regulation of a registry book on earth. The book of Daniel is know for its apocalyptic language. “At that time“, is a time in the future [future from the time of the Jews while in Babylonia, this future is also possible as our future or it could also be a part of history in our time already] many considered a tribulation day that in that time, the
people of God will be delivered to be watched by angel Michael everyone whose name is written in the book.

What other INC doctrine relates to Daniel 12:1?

Revelation 20:12

Revelation 20:12, NKJV – 3 And I saw the dead, small and great, standing before God, and books were opened. And another book was opened, which is the Book of Life. And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.

This verse is talking about “books” and “Book of Life“. Notice “..And the dead were judged according to their works, by the things which were written in the books.“. Let us say there really is “Book of Life” written by men on earth, to believe it, we have to have “books” of those who will be judged and their works should have been written to that books. Who is then responsible to writing the works “the things” for those who will be judged?

Who is responsible for creating the Book of Life?

The Church is using Matthew 16:19, 18:18 giving the Church Administration the authority on earth to write the names of those who will be saved.

Matthew 16:19, NKJV – 19 And I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven, and whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.”
Matthew 18:18, NKJV – 18 “Assuredly, I say to you, whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.

Notice the “you” is translated by the Minister to “Church Administration” when reading this verse in bible studies and worship services. If we understand the context of Matthew 18, Jesus is talking to the “you“, the Apostles. This is part of mind conditioning, word translation technique. Using Matthew 18:18, the Church elevated itself having the authority of God on earth by being able to identify people who will be registered or remove from the book of life. In INC context, “binding” is the writing of name in the registry book and “loosing” is equivalent to removing name from the registry book, or expulsion. The registration book is the Book of Life on earth which is also the Book of Life in heaven [ “whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, what ever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven“]. What if the devil made one of the secretary in the church to forget to write somebody’s name? Don’t be naive, it happens. Poor member he/she is not going to be saved just like that!

The true meaning of “binding” and “loosing”

There are many articles regarding the bible meaning of binding and loosing although they do not have the same explanation, almost all refers to application of the law of God which are within the rules by the words of God written in the scriptures – remember it is a sin to add or remove what is written in the bible. Binding refers to “prohibiting” and loosing refers to “permitting“. Its quite the opposite of “registering” [to be saved] and “expulsion” [to be condemned]. It has nothing to do with registration and expulsion nor anything to do with Book of Life on earth which is going to be the Book of Life in heaven.

It is a known fact that the true meaning of bind and loose was originally a Jewish Hebrew phrase. It is the authority to carry out the will and decisions of God upon earth as they had already been established in heaven. To bind means to forbid or be unlawful and to loose means to allow or be lawful. The future tense (shall having been bound or loose) shows that this authority is only valid when used in submission to Christ’s word or teaching. It does not give any Church, the authority to make up new teachings such as a church registration book on earth becomes the Book of Life in heaven.

How do the Church exercise its power of “loosing”?

Using 1 Cor.5:13, the Church given itself the authority to expel members.

1 Corinthians 5:13, NKJV – 3 But those who are outside God judges. Therefore “put away from yourselves the evil person.”

In most cases, INC Ministers use selective technique using TEV

1 Corinthians 5:13, TEV – 3 But should you not judge the members of your own fellowship? As the Scripture says “Remove the evil person from your group.”.”

Let us learn a lessons from the Old Testament. The entire Israel suffers from God’s punishment because of the mistake of David just for numbering the Jews. In 1 Chronicle 21:1-7.

1 Chronicle 21:1-7, NKJV –
1 Now Satan stood up against Israel, and moved David to number Israel. 2 So David said to Joab and to the leaders of the people, “Go, number Israel from Beersheba to Dan, and bring the number of them to me that I may know it.”3 And Joab answered, “May the Lord make His people a hundred times more than they are. But, my lord the king, are they not all my lord’s servants? Why then does my lord require this thing? Why should he be a cause of guilt in Israel?”4 Nevertheless the king’s word prevailed against Joab. Therefore Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came to Jerusalem. 5 Then Joab gave the sum of the number of the people to David. All Israel had one million one hundred thousand men who drew the sword, and Judah had four hundred and seventy thousand men who drew the sword. 6 But he did not count Levi and Benjamin among them, for the king’s word was abominable to Joab.7 And God was displeased with this thing; therefore He struck Israel.

From this experience of King David, numbering of people, which is, listing of people or taking census is detestable to God. Listing of His people is only the province of God. Only God decides who should or should not be saved.

The Church doctrines further threaten those who will be loosed using 1 Timothy 1:19-20.

1 Timothy 1:19-20, NKJV – 19 having faith and a good conscience, which some having rejected, concerning the faith have suffered shipwreck, 20 of whom are Hymenaeus and Alexander, whom I delivered to Satan that they may learn not to blaspheme.

Firstly, being delivered to Satan in one’s life does not mean you do not have the chance to be saved. According to Romans 11:29, God’s gift is irrevocable – cannot be changed especially by a human being. Secondly, If we believe the experience of Hymenaeus and Alexdander applies to all man kind, then we must believe the experience of the thief who was nailed on the cross with Jesus was saved can be applied to anyone, regardless of Christian religion or denomination, can be saved by repenting even for the last moment of your life. This forfeit the claim that only INC members will be saved.

Who goes to Lake of Fire?

The Church use John 15:6 to explain further that those who are “loose” are burned in the lake of fire.

John 15:6, NKJV – 6 If anyone does not abide in Me, he is cast out as a branch and is withered; and they gather them and throw them into the fire, and they are burned.

Does the verse talking about “lake of fire“? Absolutely not. The verse does not speak of abiding in the Church Administration, it is referring to abiding in the Lord Jesus Christ. Let me be straight who does not abide in Jesus Christ. Unfortunately, Jesus forbids oaths and yet, we, INC member, keep violating Jesus for doing oath taking.

Matthew 5:33-37, NKJV – 33Again 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.

Jesus is talking that oath taking is the thing of the past in Old Testament. Jesus changed this as per His instructions. If you believe in the gospel, if you believe in the words of Lord Jesus Christ, then you must believe Matthew 5:33-37. If you do not believe it, are you with our Lord Jesus Christ? It is unfortunate, we never knew this verse before, we took oath by accepting our membership, we took oath when we accept our different offices, we took oath when there is new Minister assigned and out of his effort to gain our obedience, we are asked to repeat our oath – all is against the teaching of our Lord Jesus. Now how do we explain John 15:6 “if anyone does not abide ….“? Are we the one going to the lake of fire then? Scary, that is why we need to learn the scriptures.

One day I saw a church building with a banner in front that says “WE ARE FULL GOSPEL CHURCH“. For a moment I laugh, is there a “HALF GOSPEL CHURCH”? Now, having learned more of scriptures that I never heard before,  I am beginning to think that the Church of Christ is possibly one of those considered not a full gospel Church. Truth hurts when you think you have the truth but then you realized you are wrong.