This is rather a difficult question and a complex topic but I will not shy away because it is profitable for our own knowledge.
There are several Christian religions claiming to be the only Church to be saved. They teach that one must join their Church to be included in the Church that Jesus will save. Some of the popular religions are covered in letusreason.org website and these are excerpts from that site.
Iglesia Ni Cristo – “Each member … should submit himself to the Administration of the Church in order to be saved.”(PASUGO, January 1976, p. 9)
Roman Catholic Church-”But by divine institution it is the exclusive task of these pastors alone, the successors of Peter and the other Apostles, to teach the faithful authentically, that is with the authority of Christ ….” (Vatican Council II Vol. 2, p. 430, 1984). However, the catholic.com website wrote this: “there are exceptions, and it is possible in some circumstances for people to be saved who have not been fully initiated into the Catholic Church”.
Mormonism LDS – 13th LDS President Ezra Taft Benson, “This is not just another Church. This is not just one of a family of Christian churches. This is the Church and kingdom of God, the only true Church upon the face of the earth…” (Teachings of Ezra Taft Benson, p.164-165). This church is the only true and living church on the face of the whole earth (D and C 1:30) “There is no salvation outside the church of Jesus Christ of Latter -day Saints (Mormon Doctrine, p.670)
“Behold there are save two churches only; the one is the Church of the Lamb of God and the other is the church of the devil; wherefore who so belongeth not to the church of the lamb of God belongeth to that great church; which is the mother of abominations; and she is the whore of all the earth.” (The Book of Mormon, 1 Nephi 14:10)
Jehovah’s Witnesses- The Gospel of the Kingdom ceased to be proclaimed shortly after the death of the apostles. It was not preached again until after 1918.(WT, 12/1/1928, pp. 363-64)
“The Watch Tower Bible and Tract Society the one and only channel which the Lord has used in dispensing his truth continually since the beginning of the harvest period?” (WT 4/1/1919, p. 6414)
International Church of Christ – “There is one church! There is one God. There is one kingdom of God and this is it! (The Great Commission, audio tape, Weger/Rock, Hodge/Hamann/Fulcher/Fields)
“you are in the only family that exists on the face of the earth.”( Phil Lamb, We Are Family, audio tape 1990 West Coast Conf.)
“We’re the last hope the world has. Nobody else is going to do what we’re doing. Nobody else has the right message. Nobody else has the right commitment.”( Gordon Ferguson, Radical Men, Radical Times Hosea Radical Love of God, Manila World Leadership Conf., Aug. 1994 )
True Jesus Church– On 5. on the web they emphatically state “The True Jesus Church is the true church restored by God through the Holy Spirit of the latter rain. She is the revival of the apostolic church in the end times.” on the web “I am the way, and the truth, and the life; no one comes to the Father, but by Me” (John 14:6). Therefore, one can receive eternal life only through the true church.”
7th day Adventists-”I saw that God has honest children among the nominal Adventists and the fallen churches, and before the plagues shall be poured out, MINISTERS AND PEOPLE WILL BE CALLED OUT FROM THESE CHURCHES and will gladly receive the truth….But the light will shine, and ALL WHO ARE HONEST WILL LEAVE THE FALLEN CHURCHES, and take their stand with the remnant” (Early Writings, p. 261 )
The Philadelphia church– Mr. Flurry “The “household” is God’s Family or true church. It’s the family that God rules. This is God’s inner circle–His very elect. One servant, one leader or one man is made ruler over God’s church. Only this church (The PCG) gives meat in due season. Only this church is doing God’s work!” (The Philadelphia Trumpet, p.1 May 1995)
The local Church (Witness Lee)– When we were in the denominations, we were blind. I do not believe that any dear Christians who have really received sight from the Lord could still remain in the denominations. Everyone who sees must leave the fold and enter the pasture, under the sunshine, in the fresh air, in liberty. Where are you now? Are you in the fold, or are you now in the pasture? Allow me to say this: if anyone is still in the fold, he is blind. Of course, a blind person requires the fold to keep him. But when he receives his sight, he will swiftly leave the fold for the pasture, for the sunshine, for the fresh air.” (Witness Lee, Christ Versus Religion LSM, 197,1 p.109-110)
House of Yahweh – “The One Body of Messiah IS The House of Yahweh! “…IF we ‘separate’ from the One Body of Messiah: The House of Yahweh, then we succumb to Satan, then at that very moment we become worshipers of Satan…of if one LEAVES The Body – The only Prophesied, Established Work that Yahweh Himself has chosen, then that one does NOT partake, or is NO LONGER a partaker, with the rest of The body of Messiah – The House of Yahweh” (What Yahweh’s Feasts Mean to You, pp. 78, 87).
Hawaii fellowship of the Universal World Church “a voice thundered and uttered these words “This is my daughter in whom I am well pleased. As Jesus, my son, paid the price through his faithfulness upon the cross.. my anointed daughter, Miss Velma, has paid the price through her faithfulness at the golden altar. Therefore, all who will believe in her, will receive my gift of eternal youth which is new revelation Mamre.” (The mighty Miracle of the new Revelation of Mamre p.49-50) The new Revelation of Mamre is the greatest gift ever given to a people by almighty God. “(The mighty Miracle of the new Revelation of Mamre p.7)
Salvation According to the bible
We all know after the first Century Christians, the Catholic religion came into power and becomes the Christian religion until the Protestant Reformation in the 16th century. The bible that we read today is available to us because they are compiled and maintained by the Catholic fathers. By that it is almost impossible to believe that the “people of God” disappeared after the first century Christians died as claimed by the Iglesia Ni Cristo – if that is the case we are reading the bible produced by “non-God’s people” therefore we should not even trust it. Because I believe the bible is inspire words of God, it was compiled, maintained, translated by the people of God.
There are two contradicting teachings about salvation in the bible. The Pauline doctrines of salvation by faith alone and James which is faith and works. I think all the organized Church listed above follow the teaching of James which means they deny the teaching of Apostle Paul.
Protestants practicing Lutheranism and Calvinsm follows the doctrine of Apostle Paul. They teach the doctrine of “Sola fide” or faith alone and that is in-line with the teachings of Apostle Paul. The Protestant broke out of Catholic religion because they claim the Catholics are doing wrong. The words of God are from “Sola Scriptura” or “scripture alone” and not from the mouth of the Pope. Unlike Iglesia Ni Cristo practices, Lutheranism and Calvinsm do not swear because of what is stated in Matthew 5:34 “But I say to you, make no oath at all, either by heaven, for it is the throne of God,”.
Faith Alone vs. Faith and Works
As part of my learning in the bible I follow some principles:
- The bible is inspired words of God
- No bible verses contradicts another verse
The question now is why is the teachings of Paul about “faith alone” appear to be contradicting the teaching of James that is “faith coupled with works”. These are the possibilities
1. Paul is wrong, James is correct
2. Paul is correct, James is wrong
3. Paul is correct and James is correct
If the bible is inspired words of God, there is no such thing as “Paul is wrong and James is wrong“. But even scenario #1 and #2 denies the idea that the bible is inspired by God. The Iglesia Ni Cristo doctrines is in-line with scenario #1. They do not teach Paul is wrong but that is the reality, they deny the teachings of Apostle Paul and teach the doctrine of faith and works by James.
Because I believe the bible is inspired words of God and no verse contradict another verse, I am more comfortable to scenario #3. In the next post I will explain why both Paul and James are correct and why salvation is not only inside Iglesia Ni Cristo. In fact because of violation of Matthew 5:34 inside INC, I doubt more on the validity of being the only Church to be saved. I am sorry to say that but I believe what the bible says.
Again, you to not need to believe me but I encourage you to always validate what I write by doing your own research and verifying the verses I used in the bible. Always test the spirit for the knowledge of God’s words are profitable to you.