Since I am a Filipino, probably the most vocal and influential critic of the Catholic Church in the Philippines is the Iglesia ni Cristo.
The INC began with a handful of followers on July 27, 1914 in Punta, Santa Ana, Manila; with Manalo as its head minister. Bro.Manalo propagated his message within his local area, growing the Iglesia ni Cristo and converting members of other religions. As membership increased, he delegated others to spread the teachings of the INC and it eventually spread throughout the Philippines and to other countries. After Bro.Felix Manalo’s death in 1963, his son bro.Eraño took over duties as executive minister and bro.Eduardo V. Manalo is the deputy executive minister.
“Since Christ is man, then He is different from God because God is not man.”
The above premise is the primal teaching of the Iglesia ni Cristo. They are probably the only church in the whole world outside of Islam that teaches this doctrine. The INC aptly believes that Jesus Christ is a man, of flesh and bone, a mere mortal, period.
I came across the INC Blog http://iglesia-ni-cristo-refuting-beliefs.blogspot.com/ as I was writing down this article and I found the following statements:
Christ is not God for having the name “Immanuel” in Mt. 1:23
Reading through the blog furthermore, you would find the following explanation to support the above arguments:
ASCRIBING THE NAME Immanuel (“God is with us”) to Christ does not imply that Christ Himself is God who is with us. The meaning of one’s name does not denote one’s nature or state of being. For instance, a lady may be named Rose or Daisy but this doesn’t mean that she is a literal flower.
In John 5:18, Christ called God His Father, and by this, believers in the deity of Christ say that Christ was making Himself equal with God. The verse says:
“Therefore the Jews sought all the more to kill Him, but also said that God was His father, making Himself equal with God.” (Jn. 5:18, NKJV)
Their conclusion is certainly erroneous. The Jews themselves also recognized God as their Father. They even said to Christ: “… We were not born of fornication; we have one Father–God” (Jn.8:41, Ibid.). But does this mean that the Jews were also making themselves equal with or were claiming equality with God? Absolutely not!
If Christ were the Mighty God referred to in the verse, so many questions would be left unanswered: Is God a child? Was God ever born? Was God ever given? If the giver is also God, wouldn’t that make two gods? Other verses on the Bible would then be contradicted. Numbers 23:19 says, “God is not a man … Nor a son of man “(NKJV). Malachi 2:10 states, Have we not all one Father? Has not one God created us?(Ibid.). John 20:17 records the pronouncements of our Lord Jesus Christ thus: “… I am ascending to My Father and you Father, and to My God and your God”.
How accurate is this claim? Is Jesus Christ really not a God? Did the self-proclaimed prophet Felix Y. Manalo erred in this teaching?
Please read my next article wherein through the help of Fr. Paul Kaiparambadan and the Holy Scripture, we would refute this claims one by one.