The Gospel of Fear

No other Christian religions can match the faith of the members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. For decades I sacrifices even personal and work time, even declined job promotions for the sake of performing my duties. I believe the INC doctrines and practices made me stronger in my faith, but it was also the same doctrines and practices in the Church that made my faith weaker.

Now, I feel great. I feel the gift of the holy spirit. I know our Lord God and Jesus Christ better than before. I am equipped with the armor of God, that is His words from the scriptures.

Looking back at the beginning, I realized I had been subjected to the process of religious mind conditioning when I started attending INC doctrines. These conditioning are:

  • Believing the bible as the source for the words of God
  • Believing that the bible is kept in mystery, those who attempt to study have failed
  • Believing that there is no remedy for the sacrifices of sin if you missed worships service
  • Believing that persecutions and hatred cannot be avoided inside the Church of Christ
  • Obey your leaders and be submissive at all times
  • He who endure until the end will be saved
  • You go to the lake of fire if you leave the Church or if expelled from the Church

Additionally, the lessons in every worship service starts with edification, followed by being obedience, followed by teachings what will befall on you if you disobey, followed by how to emulate those who are enduring to their faith so that you can also emulate them. Over and over again twice a week.

What made my faith weak? The teachings that the bible is kept in mystery made me curious why would God make the scriptures a secret? This encouraged me to read. Initially I was afraid because it is like giving the devil a chance after all years of sacrifices enduring my faith. This is how every member of the Church shall remember. Slowly, I began to uncover the mystery is not truly a mystery. Now I feel great I am free to learn or hear ALL the words of God. I am free to learn the full gospel not only selected text that are within the doctrines of the Church.

The Bible and Mystery

The Church teaches the only source of the words of God is the bible. I believe this totally even now. This is one teaching that conditioned my mind that when the Minister is reading the bible it is “pristine” according to the doctrines.

The Church teach the bible is kept in mystery using Romans 16:25.

Romans 16:25(KJV) – 25 Now to him that is of power to establish you according to my gospel, and the preaching of Jesus Christ, according to the revelation of the mystery, which was kept secret since the world began,

The Minister preaching will stop there so now whether you are paying attention or not, the Minister just said the bible is kept in mystery is in it? Your mind conditioning just started. After decades of believing Matthew 16:25, somehow I started reading the same verse again. Didn’t the verse says “according to the revelation ..”? The word revelation means to reveal or to make it known. We don’t need to go any further in the bible, verse 26 again clarified the mystery has been revealed. The word “manifest” means revealed.

Romans 16: 26 (KJV) – 26 But now is made manifest, and by the scriptures of the prophets, according to the commandment of the everlasting God, made known to all nations for the obedience of faith:

Wait, there is a scapegoat. If you debate this, the Minister will say it has been revealed to the prophets only. Only to Bro. Felix Y. Manalo and the Church Ministers. Uhmm ok.  Hope you read these two articles already:  The INC teaching Regarding Mystery of the Bible and Test The Spirits Whether They Are Of God.

There is also equivocation by the church on the real mystery. Please read The Mystery Revealed.

Now this made me think these:

  • If the Church teach one lesson with equivocation, how many more doctrines are wrong? If you followed my previous articles, there are actually plenty of equivocations.
  • The INC doctrines prove other verses in scriptures false. This again made me thinking so is the bible really inspired by God? Why then some verses are wrong? For example Apostle Paul teach that salvation is a gift form God, gift is something you work for. But INC made this false by following only James that salvation can be achieved by faith and work. While “faith and work” sounds logical, it does not make sense to make Paul statement false. Please read the three-parts series “Is There Salvation Outside The Church?” for details on this topic.

No More Remedy For Not Attending Worship Service

One of the favorite verse in the Church is Hebrews 10:26-27.

Hebrews 10:26-27 (NKJV) – 26 For 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.

Now, I can no longer forsake worship services. But actually the Church has remedy for those who do not attend regularly.  Write an affidavit that you will renew your life, no longer forsake worship services. So the Church already contradict the scriptures that there is no more remedy. The worst part is the remedy is also a total violation of the instruction of our Lord Jesus Christ to not swear.

James 5:12 (NKJV) – But above all, my brethren, do not swear, either by heaven or by earth or with any other oath. But let your “Yes” be “Yes,” and your “No,” “No,” lest you fall into judgment.

Matthew 5:24 (NKJV) – “34 But I say to you, do not swear at all: neither by heaven, for it is God’s throne;”
Notice what James said: “les you fall into judgement.

The Church practice of writing affidavit specially for officer is a form of swearing. The word “affidavit” means a written statement confirmed by oath or affirmation. The Church implements this even if it violates the commandment of our Lord Jesus Christ. When you write an affidavit, it conditioned your mind not to repeat the same violation again because 1) it is awful to talk the same violation again to your Church leaders, 2) You think you are committing sins to God.

Unfortunately, members do not know you are committing sins whenever you write an affidavit or take an oath for an office.

If you are a Church Minister, it is written “do not swear” as commanded by our Lord Jesus Christ. But what do you do? You disobey and promote swearing. You violate our Lord Jesus Christ, constantly! What do you call someone who violate the commandments of our Lord Jesus Christ?

Again ask this, how many more wrong teachings inside the Church of Christ?

Persecutions and Hate

As a member of the Church if the world hate you, it is our Lord Jesus Christ who hate them first.

John 15:18 (NKJV) – 8 If the world hate you, ye know that it hated me before it hated you.

You are not of this world that is why the world hate you.

John 15:19 (NKJV) – 19 If you were of the world, the world would love its own. Yet because you are not of the world, but I chose you out of the world, therefore the world hates you.

By hearing these teachings, you are now conditioned to depend yourself against those who are asking why you joined the INC.

But wait, who was Christ speaking to in John 15:18-19? If you read from the last verse in chapter 15 and go back to previous chapters, Jesus was speaking to the disciples of His time.

John 15:27(NKJV) – 27 And you also will bear witness, because you have been with Me from the beginning.

The “you” is not you INC members of year 2017. The “you” are the disciples who were with Jesus from the beginning of His ministry. The bible is not written to us, it is written for us because it is profitable for our own learning of the words of God and Jesus Christ. While the verse are applicable to Christians in our time, nowhere in the book of John is written only to the Iglesia Ni Cristo members so it is wrong to translate “you” as you member of the Church of Christ. The real context of John 15:18-19 is the discipleship and it is a specific situation in their time.

Again ask this, how many more wrong teachings inside the Church of Christ?

Obey your leaders and be submissive at all times

This is where he Church Executive Minister shines in all the glory of his own. This is now the conditioning to the extreme to prepare you for the worst situation in the Church. Your obedience with no hesitation. If a member obeys its leader without questions, then the Church will remain strong. The same commandments exercised by the District Ministers in their own district, even most of Locale Ministers today exercised their leadership after all life is difficult if you are not a Minister so I cannot blame them. Might as well enjoy life. The Church exercised a hierarchical command starting from the Executive Minister, Deputy Executive Minister, Executive Councils (Sangunian), District Ministers and Locale Ministers. Then for the members, each locale have head deacons, area overseers, group overseers, department leaders and officers and ordinary members. This hierarchy is strictly followed and no member below hierarchy can make own decision without approval of the next leader. The Church use these verses

Hebrews 13:17 (NKJV) 17 Obey those who rule over you, and be submissive, for they watch out for your souls, as those who must give account. Let them do so with joy and not with grief, for that would be unprofitable for you.

If the bible is to be obeyed verse by verse without knowing the context, Hebrew 13:17 is one that every leadership will use to exercise their command to its fullest. But the bible protect us from this authoritarian ruler

Revelation 2:15 (NKJV) – 15 Thus you also have those who hold the doctrine of the Nicolaitans, which thing I hate.

The doctrine of Nicolaitans is referring to a hierarchical commands who have abusive power. If we only go back up to Hebrew 13:7, we can understand that there are limitations.

Hebrews 13:7 (NKJV) – 7 Remember those who rule over you, who have spoken the word of God to you, whose faith follow, considering the outcome of their conduct.

Considering the outcome of their conduct. How are the leaders doing? Are they still abiding to the teachings of God? Do they preach the gospel of peace or the gospel of fear?

Romans 10:15 (NKJV) – 15 And how shall they preach unless they are sent? As it is written:
“How beautiful are the feet of those who preach the gospel of peace, Who bring glad tidings of good things!”

Do not always believe the teachings the bible gave us example how first century Christians test the spirit.

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.

He who endures

Enduring encompass everything that has been conditioned in your mind. The Church teaches that he who endure until the end will be saved.

Matthew 24:13 (NKJV) – 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved.

While enduring is a way to succeed in any endeavor, the Church is using Matthew 24:13 in the wrong context (again). Matthew 24:13 does not teaching enduring to secure your salvation because for this to be true, you have to prove Apostle Paul teachings of grace and salvation false therefore un-inspiring the words of God. Which is by the way the INC do deny Apostle Paul teachings of grace and salvation.  Matthew 24:3 was spoken by Jesus in the context of destruction of Jerusalem. The destruction of Jerusalem is more than three years tribulation from 66 AD to 70 AD.

Let us understand the true context of Matthew 24:13

Matthew 24:1 (NKJV) Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple.

Mark 13:1 (NKJV) Then as He went out of the temple, one of His disciples said to Him, “Teacher, see what manner of stones and what buildings are here!”

Luke 21:5 (NKJV) Then, as some spoke of the temple, how it was adorned with beautiful stones and donations, He said,

The story started with the disciples showing the amazing Temple building, the fortress and the central religious place of the Jews. While the disciples are proud and amazed of their fortress, Christ telling them the Temple will be destroyed not one stone will remain standing. Let us now complete the reading in Matthew 24

Matthew 24:1-14 (NKJV) – 1 Then Jesus went out and departed from the temple, and His disciples came up to show Him the buildings of the temple. 2 And Jesus said to them, “Do you not see all these things? Assuredly, I say to you, not one stone shall be left here upon another, that shall not be thrown down.”

3 Now as He sat on the Mount of Olives, the disciples came to Him privately, saying, “Tell us, when will these things be? And what will be the sign of Your coming, and of the end of the age?

4 And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. 5 For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many. 6 And you will hear of wars and rumors of wars. See that you are not troubled; for all these things must come to pass, but the end is not yet. 7 For nation will rise against nation, and kingdom against kingdom. And there will be famines, pestilences, and earthquakes in various places. 8 All these are the beginning of sorrows.

9 “Then they will deliver you up to tribulation and kill you, and you will be hated by all nations for My name’s sake. 10 And then many will be offended, will betray one another, and will hate one another. 11 Then many false prophets will rise up and deceive many. 12 And because lawlessness will abound, the love of many will grow cold. 13 But he who endures to the end shall be saved. 14 And this gospel of the kingdom will be preached in all the world as a witness to all the nations, and then the end will come.

The words spoken in Matthew 24:1-14 are very familiar to the Iglesia Ni Cristo members. The “rumors of wars“, “earth quake“, “famines“, “pestilences” are all familiar words used to teach that the first world war I is the fulfillment of the prophesies of the re-emergence of the Church of Christ in the last days. These keywords are actually spoken in the context of Jerusalem Temple destruction mentioned in Matthew 24:2. The same is true for the “he who endures till the end” in refers to the same topic. Christ was talking about enduring the sufferings to be caused by the destruction of Jerusalem during the three and a half years of tribulations. The Apostles asked questions that are RELATED events: “when will these things [destruction of the Temple] be? and what will be the sign of the end of the age [the end of covenant age, the old covenant, the end of Jewish age. NOT THE END OF THE WORLD]?.

The mind conditioning always ends with the fear of death, the fear in the lake of fire. If you do not endure, you will end up in the lake of fire. Now you are conditioned to the extreme situation.

Again ask this, how many more wrong teachings inside the Church of Christ?

The following verses are also used by the Church but let us understand them now more seriously.

John 10:28 (NKJV) – 28 And I give them eternal life, and they shall never perish; neither shall anyone snatch them out of My hand.

Notice what Christ said, those who are saved will not perish, meaning those who will not be saved will perish. The word “perish” is to suffer death, to die, to disappear. Nothing is eternal punishment mentioned here.

Mark 16:16 (NKJV) – 16 He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned.

Mark testifies what our Lord Jesus says: “He who does not believe will be condemned“. The word “condemn” is a sentence to a punishment, like death. Again nothing is mentioned of eternal punishment.

The bible use “death” not necessarily in a physical death. God told Adam and Eve they will surely die if they eat the forbidden fruit. They ate anyway and so they die not physically but spiritually.

Again ask this, how many more wrong teachings inside the Church of Christ?

God’s nature is love therefore while the bible teach about death, the center of teaching God’s words should be about love and not a constant reminder of eternal damnation.

1 John 4:8 (NKJV) – 8 He who does not love does not know God, for God is love.

So where do the Church get the teaching of eternal punishment? It is from the traditions and religions that Bro. Felix Y. Manalo joined before creating the Church of Christ.

Summary

I now have full of faith in the words of God from the scriptures. Now I understand the bible, not all of it yet, but the verses that I already covered in a contextual sense not just connecting selected text. I believe the bible is inspired book. No verses in the bible contradict another verse. With that in mind, any verse that seems to be contradicting each other one must find the logical reasons to explain until the two verses are in agreement. If you cannot explain the harmony then you are wrong, not the bible. Keep searching until you find the harmony. With these principles, I believe if anyone is teaching one verse to be false in favor of making the other verse true then he/she is a false teacher teaching false doctrine.

In closing, the mind conditioning inside INC is a way to strengthen the faith but it is also a bad practice to instill fear. The fear to read the bible, the fear of eternal punishment in the lake of fire. This is the gospel of fear, the fear of death. When you are subjected to its doctrines, you become a prisoner of your own faith. Forever hold your peace.

-Cornelius