Good Friday Ritual in Butuan City Disrupted

The observance of Good Friday by the Catholics is not as peaceful as everyone expected.

Background

Of the Philippine population of more than 90 million, 80 percent of it are members of the Roman Catholic Church while the remaining part of the population are Muslims, and members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, Protestant and Evangelical Churches, Church of Christ in Latter Days Saints, and other minority Christian Churches. In other words, eighty percent of the population are expected part of the observance of the Holy Week by the Roman Catholic Church.

Reported Attack in Butuan City

It was reported that while Catholics participated in a Good Friday ritual (station of the cross) in the mountainous area of Sitio Iyao, in Barangay Anticala, Butuan City, alleged communist armed forces fired at the government forces killing at least 2 CAFGU members.

Devotees suffered bruises and scratches as they run for their safety during the gun fires. They were immediately secured by the military forces and were brought home by the local government through its dump trucks.

The two fatalities are identified as:

  1. Ariel Andohoyan
  2. Ernie Darafil

The NPA (communist rebel forces), however, said that the Friday’s incident is not part of their operation. On Friday, they are celebrating their 44th founding anniversary.

It was perceived that NPA or the members of the communist party of the Philippines do not believe in God and in Religion.

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The Iglesia Ni Cristo and the Valentine’s Day [Video]

If you have friends or loveones who are members of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ), you might have noticed that they never answer or greet you back with a Valentine’s Day greetings. If you are working as teacher in a particular high school, you will also noticed that INC members do not participate in the JS (Junior-Senior Prom) which oftentimes celebrated on the night of the Valentine’s Day.

And with these observations, you might ask: Why do Iglesia Ni Cristo members not participate a Valentine’s Day celebration?

To answer that question, here’s an Iglesia Ni Cristo official answer. Watch this video.

The Iglesia Ni Cristo and the Valentine’s Day

The video actually answers the following questions:
1. How come that Church of Christ members do not celebrate Valentine’s Day? Isn’t it just a special day in where you show your love for someone?
2. What is the historical background of Valentine’s Day?

8 Reasons Why Catholics Support RH By Senator Miriam Defensor Santiago

As the members of the Roman Catholic Church who are Pro-RH Bill gathered in UP College of Social Work and Development, Senator Miriam Santiago who is known for her support for the RH-Bill, delivered her keynote speech on 15 September 2012 Saturday.

This gathering of the Pro-RH Catholics, which was attended by more or less 600 people, only shows that the Roman Catholic Church in the Philippines is currently divided. And what should we expect if that Church will continue to be divided? The lyrics of a song said: “For together (united) we stand, divided we fall…”

Here’s the speech of the Senator, “8 Reasons Why Catholics Support RH.”

I. Reason One: The Catholic Church Does Not Consider Anti-RH Teaching as Infallible

Theology consists of critical reflection on faith. St. Anselm of Canterbury gave to us the classic definition of theology as: “Faith seeking understanding.” But theology is the result not only of faith, but also of certain normative rules which fall into two categories: doctrines and dogmas. Doctrines consist of beliefs or teachings which receive the official approval of the Church.

But by contrast, dogmas, which literally mean “what is right,” are doctrines that are taught definitively and promulgated with the highest solemnity. In other words, dogmas are the definitive rules of faith. If you reject a dogma, you become a heretic. Parenthetically, it is very strange that our Church has failed to enumerate what are the Catholic dogmas.

A teaching which is dogma is infallible; but a teaching which is mere doctrine is not infallible. A doctrine can change over time. Thus, the 1973 Mysterium Ecclesiae, a declaration issued by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith states: “The expressions of revelation are historically conditioned, and therefore the meaning is not always self-evident to those in some other historical setting. The meaning in dogmatic language may change from one historical period to another. The truth itself may be expressed incompletely.”

In his classic bestseller, the 1994 revised edition of the book entitled Catholicism, Richard P. McBrien of the University of Notre Dame, said: “The Church has never explicitly claimed to such infallibility on a moral question.” The RH issue is a moral question. The Catholic Church has never claimed that any pronouncement on the RH issue is infallible.

And in the 1996 book Christ Among Us, Anthony Wilhelm said that on the question of contraception: “The large majority of theologians agree that no question of infallibility is involved.”

II. Reason Two: The Catholic Enjoys Freedom Of Conscience

Every Catholic, like any citizen, enjoys freedom of conscience. In fact, modern theology now recognizes the primacy of conscience over mere doctrines formulated by certain clerics. In 1965, Pope Paul 6 issued an encyclical letter entitled Dignitatis Humanae, also known as Declaration on Religious Freedom. The Pope wrote: “Man perceives and acknowledges the imperatives of the divine law through the mediation of conscience. In all his activity, a man is bound to follow his conscience in order that he may come to God, the end and purpose of living. It follows that he is not to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his conscience.”

In 1967, the same Pope Paul 6 issued another encyclical entitled Populorum Progreso, also known as “On the Development of Peoples.” The Pope said: “It is for the parish to decide, with full knowledge of the matter, on the number of their children . . . in all these they must follow the demands of their own conscience.”

The 1971 statement by the US Sacred Congregation for the Clergy states: “Conscience is invulnerable and no person is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his (or her) conscience.”

Years later, in 1993, Pope John Paul 2 issued his encyclical entitled Veritatis Splendor, also known as Splendor of Truth. The Pope said: “The authority of the Church, when she pronounces on moral questions, in no way undermines the freedom of conscience of Christians. The Church puts herself always and only in the service of conscience.”

And in 1996, in the book Christ Among Us, which I have already cited, Anthony Wilhelm wrote that some “500 American theologians, in concert with many theologians throughout the world, asserted that for grave reasons Catholics may follow their conscience this matter even though the Pope has spoken.”

Quoting Andrew Greeley, both a priest and socialist, Wilhelm reached the following conclusion: “It is a clear teaching that, while erroneous decisions might be made in following one’s conscience, one who has tried to inform one’s conscience must then follow it.”

Iii. Reason Three:  Rh Observes The “Preferential Option For The Poor,” Under Liberation Theology

Liberation theology is the theory which interprets liberation from social, political, and economic oppression as an anticipation of eschatological or post-death salvation. The following are the basic principles of liberation theology:

  • It is the Church and not merely the Catholic hierarchy, which is a sacrament.
  • By Church, we mean the whole People of God, not just the hierarchy.
  • The whole People of God participates in the mission of Christ, and not just in the mission of the Catholic hierarchy.
  • The mission of the Church includes service to those in need, and, parenthetically, service to the women of the poor. The mission of the Church is not limited to the preaching of the gospel or the celebration of the sacraments.

In his 1988 book, A Theory of Liberation, Gustavo Gutierrez wrote that the preferential option for the poor is central in liberation theology. He advocated giving “preference to the poorest and most needy sectors.” He reminded Catholics of the statement made by Pope John Paul 23 just before the opening of Vatican 2 that the Church is called upon to be a church of the poor. Gutierrez said: “Let me say only that we have here two aspects of the church’s life that are both demanding and inseparable: universality and preference for the poor.”

IV. REASON FOUR:  RH is Part of Today’s Sense of the Faithful, Also Known as Sensus Fidelium

Literally, sensus fidelium means “the sense of the faithful.” It refers to doctrinal truth recognized by the whole body of the faithful. In theology, the sense of the faithful belongs to the individual believer within the community of the faithful. In other words, God teaches us not only through the priests and the bishops, but also through the laity, to whom God gives understanding of the faith.

In opposing the RH bill, certain members of the Catholic religious fail to listen effectively to the sense of the faithful. The Catholic clergy have a moral duty to take into consideration the experiences and consciousness of the laity. The religious should descend from the pulpit and consult with parishioners on RH. Today we find some of the male religious issuing their orders and directives from the pulpit, or in other words using the bully pulpit. Some of them manage only to appeal to blind faith, instead of participating in a consultative process with the Catholic laity, particularly the poor and the underprivileged.

V. REASON FIVE: Surveys Showing Catholic Support for RH is “A Sign of the Times”

The majority of Filipinos are Catholics. A nationwide survey therefore serves as a basis for assuming that the results of the survey reflect the thinking of Catholics. At the most recent survey conducted last August 2011 by the Social Weather Stations, the results produced “Yes” answers to the following questions:

  • “The choice of a family planning method is a personal choice of couples, and no one should interfere with it.” – Yes, 82%
  • “If a couple wants to plan its family, it would be able to get information from government on all legal methods.” – Yes, 73%
  • The government should fund all means of family planning, be it natural or artificial means.” – Yes, 68%

In other countries like the Philippines, which are predominantly Catholic, many are using family planning programs, including contraception, using public funding. Some of these countries and the percentage of Catholic for each are as follows:

  • Italy, 97% Catholic
  • Poland, 94%
  • Paraguay, 90%
  • Portugal, 90%
  • Ecuador, 90%
  • Argentina, 89%
  • Spain, 88%

This explains why that in these Catholic countries, the population growth rate is very low, hovering between .02 to .05% population growth rate. By contrast, the Philippines, without an RH law, has a population growth rate of 2.01%.

VI. Reason Six: Since God Is Love, Rh Is Proof Of Love For The Poor And Therefore Is Proof Of Love For God

The Catholic concept of God as love, is diametrically opposed to the fact that everyday, 15 Filipino mothers die from pregnancy and childbirth complications. When I last read my Bible, I came across the passage describing Jesus surrounded by disciples. As students, they decided to raise this question with Jesus, who acted as their teacher: “Master, what is the greatest law of all?” and Jesus answered: “The first law is that you should love God with all your heart and with all your mind and with all your soul. And the second law is that you should love your neighbor as yourself.”

In the Catholic Church, what has happened to the concept of love as the moral force of the universe? The Catholic religious, particularly the clerics, insist quite loudly that we should all obey the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae, also known as “On the Regulation of Birth,” issued by Pope Paul 6. This encyclical was the result of a Special Papal Commission established by Pope John 23 and concluded during the term of Pope Paul 6.

The Papal Commission was split into two. The majority proposed that contraception should no longer be condemned. By contrast, the minority proposed that the Pope should continue to condemn contraception. Perversely, Pope Paul 6 decided to adopt the minority view.

Unfortunately, the Pope rejected the majority view supporting artificial contraception, based on the following arguments:

  • The teaching of the Catholic Church evolves over time.
  • The problem with some of the religious is that they view the conjugal act as an isolated reality. But today, under the principle of totality, the conjugal act is viewed in the broader context of human love, family life, education, etc.

The majority opinion specifically stated that instead of viewing sex as a mere physical act designed to perpetuate the human race, instead: “In some cases intercourse can be required as a manifestation of self-giving love.”

I very humbly submit that in their blind allegiance to the encyclical Humane Vitae and ignoring that it embodies the minority opinion of the Special Papal Commission, the Catholic religious in this country, particularly the priests and bishops, continue the obsolete notion that the Church is an authoritarian structure. The Filipino Catholic religious should now accept that they do not constitute the Church. Instead, the Church is primarily constituted by the whole people of God. The Filipino Catholic religious should engage all members of the Church in dialogues.

Filipino Catholics should now insist that priests and bishops in our country are no longer a special caste in Philippine society. The Catholic Church does not consist of the priests and bishops alone. Instead, the Church consists of the whole faith community.

I very humbly submit that since the priest is no longer a special person in Catholic theology, many Filipino priests are suffering from a sense of confusion about RH.

VII. Reason Seven: Anti-Rh Is Cruelty To The Poor

On the RH issue, the Church hierarchy insists upon what it chooses to call morality, as if they have exclusive jurisdiction over morality. In the name of morality, the Church strongly opposes RH, thus inflicting upon the poor people undeserved and unnecessary suffering. In this aspect, the Church appears to be the opponent of progress and of improvement that would otherwise diminish suffering in the world. The Church chooses to label as morality a certain set of rules of conduct, which have nothing to do with human happiness.

Does the Church love and care for the Filipino poor? They are miserable, because among other reasons, they have so many children. Without reproductive knowledge and information, the poor are just condemned to a vicious cycle of poverty, from generation to generation.

I very humbly submit that in its methodology, the Catholic religious is unconsciously basing our religion on fear. Bertrand Russell, the famous writer and philosopher, and also one of the great heretics in morals and religion, has attacked religion with this passage which applies squarely to the campaign against RH: “Religion is partly the terror of the unknown and . . . partly the wish to feel that you have a kind of elder brother who will stand by you in all your troubles and disputes. Fear is the basis of the whole thing – fear of the mysterious, fear of defeat, fear of death.” And he urged his readers as follows: “Conquer the world by intelligence, and not merely by being slavishly subdued by the terror that comes from it . . . A good world needs knowledge, candidness, and courage.”

VIII. Reason Eight:  The Rh Bill Is Over Ten Years Old; It Is Cowardly To Keep Postponing The Decision

It appears that in Congress, the first precursor to the RH bill was filed in 2001. The bill is now 11 years old. If the present efforts to delay the bill by means of a filibuster in the House of Representatives and in the Senate, then this will be proof that legislators are afraid of the Catholic vote. We do not even know whether there is such a thing as a Catholic vote. But any reasonable person would immediately reach the conclusion that some of our legislators refuse to face the facts squarely. Perhaps they think that if they are anti-RH, they will automatically go to heaven; while the pro-RH legislators will automatically go to hell. I repeat my belief that there is no hell; but if there is, there is nobody there because God is everlasting love.

Source: ABS-CBN News

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Why Do The Iglesia Ni Cristo Don’t Read The Bible? – SELaplana

Question

I attended the so-called Pamamahayag of the Iglesia Ni Cristo here in Cebu. I observed that they are not reading the Bible.

My question is, why do the Iglesia Ni Cristo don’t read the Bible?

Answer

I want to make it clear first that I am not authorized to answer questions in behalf of the Iglesia Ni Cristo. My answer to your question is not the official answer of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, but just my own thought. It can’t be used as reference for the INC because it might contain idea that is not in accordance to the INC’s official stand.

Now, you said that you attended an Evangelical Mission which is called in tagalog as “Pamamahayag.” Well, you did the right thing.

FYI, before, the “pamamahayag” was called “Bible Exposition.” And during the said “pamamahayag” most of the people who attended it are visitors who accepted the invitation of the brethren.

And one of your observation is that the Iglesia Ni Cristo is not reading the Bible.

Actually, I just can’t imagine if it is true that you really attended a “pamamahayag” because during the “pamamahayag,” the minister who is teaching the words of God is actually reading the Bible. So, how could you say that the Iglesia Ni Cristo is not reading the Bible just by observing the INC’s “pamamahayag?”

If you really attended a “pamamahayag” of the INC, you would immediately notice that the minister who preached the words of God is using the Question-and-Answer scheme. The minister asked a question, and the answer was read from the Bible word by word.

For example: If the Minister will ask the question: Who is the only true God according to Christ? He will then read the book of John in chapter 17 verses 1 to 3.

So, if your question to me is: Why do the Iglesia Ni Cristo is not reading the Bible? … then I will tell you that your question is wrong. Why wrong? It’s because you are asking my explanation about the thing that the INC is actually NOT doing. I mean, you want me to explain why the INC is not reading the Bible, when in fact, the INC is reading the Bible.

So, I guess, you’re just trying to ask this question because somebody is telling you. But the truth is you haven’t attended any pamamahayag of the INC.

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Innocence of Muslims, An Anti-Muslim Film – SELaplana

The “Innocence of Muslim” is a 2-hour film produced by the company of certain “Sam Bacile” in which originally (according to reports) it is name “Innocence of Bin Laden.” The film revealed that the prophet of Muslim, Muhammad, is allegedly a womanizer. According to the report of the Los Angeles Times, the film is filmed in Los Angeles in 2011.

Muslims in Egypt, Tunisia and Libya protested against the said anti-Muslim film.

On Tuesday, September 11, 2012, as the Americans remembers the 911 attack, protesters in Libya attacked the US embassy and killed the Ambassador, Chris Stevens, and other three Americans.

In Cairo, about 2,000 people gathered around the US embassy protesting against the film and some climbed the walls and burned the US flag.

Google on the Video Clip

The “Innocence of Muslim” trailer is available at Youtube.

Google claimed that the video clip has not violated the Youtube’s term, so they decided not to take the video down. However, due to the conflict in the Muslim world, they restrict access from countries like Egypt and Libya.

The government of Afghanistan temporarily blocked access of Youtube to avoid their citizen from viewing the video.

About the Producers of the Film

There are at least 2 people identified as part of the film: (1) Sam Bacile; (2) Steve Klein, the film consultant.

Based on the interview of Bacile by the Wall Street Journal, the film was made through the $5 million he collected from at least 100 Jews and there are at least 60 actors and 45 crews used in the making of it for three months.

Steve Klein argued as reported by the US media that it is not true that Israel is behind the film. He said the production of the film is private.

The media traced the cellphone used in the interview and it was traced back to the residence of certain Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, a 55 years old man who was sentenced 21 months in jail for fraud last 2010, and claimed that he was a Coptic Christian.

The New York Times cited certain Coptic Christian Egyptian-born Coptic Christian, and Pastor Terry Jones as part of the promotion of the film.

Another person involved in the making of the film is Cindy Lee Garcia, an actress who portrayed as the woman who gave his daughter to Mohammad. She said that there are parts of the film that the dialogue was changed by dubbing over the original dialogue as recorded during the filming.

According to reports, three months ago, the movie was aired by a Hollywood theatre and there are only few (less than 10) people watched it. A trailer of it is posted at Youtube in July by a user named, “Sam Bacile,” but it did not attract attentions from Muslims until an Arabic version of it was released and posted at Youtube.

LATimes reviewed the trailer saying, “the scenes in the trailer portrayed the prophet Muhammad as a buffoon, suicidal, gay, lascivious and condoning of pedophilia.”

When an Egyptian TV station, Al-Nas aired the movie, Muslim protests followed and became deadly.

According to the report by the Associated Press, Sam Bacile, went into hiding after he heard about the news about the killing of the American Ambassador in Libya.

Why Muslims got insulted by the Film?

Islam actually forbids any form of depiction of their prophet. Showing his image is actually considered by Islam as an insult.

Producers of Anti-Islam Film Innocence of Muslim Arrested

Nakoula Basseley Nakoula, the alleged producer and director of the Innocence of Muslim which is an anti-Islam film, is arrested in California and ordered by a court to be jailed for violating the court’s probation in relation to his fraud case.

One of his probation that has been violated is the requirement not use aliases without permission from his probation officer. Basseley allegedly violated it in three instances:

  1. During his fraud case
  2. When he tried to get a passport in 2011
  3. During the making of the film

Basseley will be placed under protective custody if jailed for his safety from the Muslims inside the jail.

source: CNN

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Man Should Join the Church of Christ to be Saved

Question

To Fred Gonzales, I was the one who argued that the church built by Christ is not an organization but anyone who believes Him and have faith in Him and made Him one’s personal savior. And I thought, my argument has urged you to post an answer to a question “Is the church not an organization?”

Now, I want to ask a follow up question: If you are true that a Church built by Christ is an organization, does it mean that in order for a man to be saved, he must join that organization? If yes, does it mean that what the Bible said in John 3:16 is false? Remember that the Bible (John 3:16) clearly stated that anyone who will believe Christ will have everlasting life.

Answer

I guess I already had posted an article about John 3:16. Kindly read that post and you’ll learn that those who are true believers of Christ entered or joined the Church built by Christ and became members of it.

By the way, for the sake of those who still thought that the term “Church” I am mentioning here refers to a worship building where Christians perform their worship services, kindly read my previous post, “Is the Church (Iglesia) Not an Organization?

Regarding your first question, “Does it mean a man should join the Church (organization) of Christ for him to be saved,” my answer is a big YES. I thought you already had read my previous posts, like:

  1. How to become God’s Friends?
  2. How to become Christ’s Friends?
  3. How to become Christ’s Sheep?
  4. How to become Christ’s Disciple?
  5. How to become in United with Christ?
  6. How to become God’s Child?
  7. How to become close to God?

These posts or articles tell you how important Christ’s Church is and that all those who head to the call of Christ are found inside the Church of Christ.

You can also read the following articles. They are posted on this blog by Sustines Laplana:

  1. Don’t Need to Join the Church of Christ?
  2. The One New Man in Christ
  3. Accept Christ as Personal Savior

Thank you so much.

Yours,

Fred Gonzales

Is the Church (Ecclesia) not an Organization? – SELaplana

Question

To Fred Gonzales. I was reading your articles especially those related to salvation. They are informative articles. But I disagree on some of the points raised by your articles, particularly about the word “Church” or “Ecclesia”.

For you, the “Church” is an organization. But for me, the “Church” is us, the believers of Christ. Whether you are part of a sect, or of any fellowship groups, as long as you believe in Christ and accepted Him as your personal savior, then you are already a “Church”.

Answer

First of all, I want to thank you for taking time reading my articles posted on this blog of Brother Sustines Laplana. By the way, below is the list of my recently published articles:

In the New Testament part of the Bible, you will find the word “Church”. It is first mentioned by Christ in Matthew 16:181 when He told His disciples that He would be building His own Church. This Church is not a chapel or a place where Christians gather to perform their worship services to God. The Church as mentioned in the Bible is the body of Christ2.

You should take note that a body of a man is an organization of body parts. The body parts are well connected to each other which they respond only to the signal sent by the brain (head). For example, if the head will send a signal to its body telling it to walk, each part of the body will perform its own function, thus making the body move according to the will of the head, which in the case given, the will of the head is that its body will walk.

The same is true to the body of Christ which is the Church. When the physical body of man has parts, the Church has parts3 too, but its parts are the disciples of Christ. Each of the parts of the body of Christ has his functions3 too. In the Church, there are apostles, prophets, ministers, teachers, and others4. And all parts of the body (Church) of Christ are held together (connected to each other) by its joints and ligaments5.

Now, if the Church of Christ is composed of well-organized members of it, therefore, the Church of Christ is not just a fellowship group, not just a group of believers of Christ, but an organization of the believers of Christ of which Christ Himself is the head of it (Church).

References

  1. Matthew 16:18
    18 And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. (New International Version)
  2. Colossians 1:18
    18 And he is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy. (New International Version)
  3. Romans 12:4-5
    4 For just as each of us has one body with many members, and these members do not all have the same function, 5 so in Christ we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others. (New International Version)
  4. Romans 12:6-8
    6 Having then gifts differing according to the grace that is given to us, let us use them: if prophecy, let us prophesy in proportion to our faith; 7 or ministry, let us use it in our ministering; he who teaches, in teaching; 8 he who exhorts, in exhortation; he who gives, with liberality; he who leads, with diligence; he who shows mercy, with cheerfulness. (New King James Version)
  5. Colossians 2:19
    19 and have stopped holding on to Christ, who is the head of the body. Under Christ’s control the whole body is nourished and held together by its joints and ligaments, and it grows as God wants it to grow. (Good News Translation)

Isn’t Christ the Great God and Savior in the Book of Titus? – SELaplana

Question

I read your post regarding the true message of the verse I John 5:20. I really thought that the verse is telling us that Christ is the one who is the true God. But I found your explanations right.

Now, what can you say about the Titus 2:13 which says that Christ is the great God and Savior. Isn’t Christ the great God and Savior?

Answer

The rendition of the New International Version of the Bible for the verse, Titus 2:13, is:

13 while we wait for the blessed hope—the appearing of the glory of our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ, (Titus 2:13, New International Version)

Actually, if you’ll examine the verse, it can be interpreted in two ways:

1.) Christ is the Great God and Savior

The phrase, “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” could mean that Jesus Christ is the great God and Savior. This is how others understand it, especially those who want to prove that Christ is the God.

2.) Christ is the Savior but not the Great God

The same phrase, “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ” could also mean that Jesus Christ is the Savior, but the great God is another individual. In other words, the said phrase is talking about two individuals: First is the great God; and the second one is the Savior who is Jesus Christ.

The Truth

From the two ways of interpreting the phrase, “our great God and Savior, Jesus Christ,” as presented above, we will choose one which is also the truth. But, we will do it by the help of a verse from that same book which is the Titus 1:4 that says:

4 To Titus, my true son in our common faith: Grace and peace from God the Father and Christ Jesus our Savior. (Titus 1:4, New International Version)

The verse is talking about two individuals: (1) God the Father; (2) Christ Jesus, the Savior.

But take note, the Book of Titus is written by one writer, Apostle Paul, as stated in verse 1 of Chapter 1 which says:

Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ to further the faith of God’s elect and their knowledge of the truth that leads to godliness — (Titus 1:1, New International Version)

So, the thought about who is God and who is Christ written by Apostle Paul in the first few verses in the first chapters is the same thoughts written in the verses of the later chapters.

Besides, we already have learned that:

  1. The Father is the only true God.
  2. There is no other God besides the Father.
  3. Christ is not the Father but He is the Son of God.
  4. The Father is the Jehovah.

About the Author

Fred Gonzales is a regular contributor of this blog of Sustines Laplana.

He is a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo but he has no authority to represent the INC. His articles should not be used as reference in behalf of the INC because these articles might contain thoughts that are contrary to the official thoughts of the INC.

If you want to hear the official teachings of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, kindly visit the nearest worship building of the INC and look for the Church Worker or Minister assigned. You can ask the assistance of the members of the INC near you.

 

Isn’t the Bible revealed in the Book of I John that Christ is the True God? – SELaplana

Question

If Christ did not claim that He is God and that He rejected the thought of His disciples that He is God, then why is the writer of the book I John in the Bible declared that Christ is the true God?

Answer

I think the verse that you are referring to is the I John 5:20.

Christ is the true God

It is true that there are versions of the Bible that render the verse in a way that the true God stated in that verse is Christ, just like these renditions:

20 We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding so that we know the real God. We are in the one who is real, his Son Jesus Christ. This Jesus Christ is the real God and eternal life. (I John 5:20, God’s WORD Translation)

20And we [have seen and] know [positively] that the Son of God has [actually] come to this world and has given us understanding and insight [progressively] to perceive (recognize) and come to know better and more clearly Him Who is true; and we are in Him Who is true–in His Son Jesus Christ (the Messiah). This [Man] is the true God and Life eternal. (I John 5:20, Amplified Bible)

The Father is the True God

There are also other versions of the Bible that render the verse in a way that Christ is the Son of God who give us knowledge about the true God and because of Him we belong to the true God.

Here’s how the Contemporary English Bible renders the verse:

20 We know that Jesus Christ the Son of God has come and has shown us the true God. And because of Jesus, we now belong to the true God who gives eternal life. (I John 5:20, Contemporary English Bible)

Either Christ or the Father is the True God

Other versions of the Bible render the verse in a way that it can be interpreted in two ways:

  1. First interpretation is that Christ is the Son of God who give us knowledge about the true God but the true God is not Christ but His Father;
  2. The other interpretation is that Christ is the Son of God who give us knowledge about the true God, but He is the one who is being referred to as the true God. It is the common rendition by different versions of the Bible.

Here are few of the renditions of the verse by different versions of the Bible:

20 We know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we know the true God. We live in union with the true God—in union with his Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God, and this is eternal life. (I John 5:20, Good News Translation)

20 And we know that the Son of God has come, and has given us understanding so that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life. (I John 5:20, New American Standard Bible)

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true; and we are in him who is true, in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (I John 5:20, English Standard Version)

20 We know also that the Son of God has come and has given us understanding, so that we may know him who is true. And we are in him who is true by being in his Son Jesus Christ. He is the true God and eternal life. (I John 5:20, New International Version)

Examining I John 5:20

Let us examine the verse, I John 5:20, using the rendition of the New King James Version.

Question: Why use the New King James Version?

Answer: It is because the rendition of the verse by the New King James Version is similar to the rendition made by the majority of the versions of the Bible.

Here’s the verse based on the rendition by the New King James Version:

20 And we know that the Son of God has come and has given us an understanding, that we may know Him who is true; and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ. This is the true God and eternal life.

1.) According to the verse, the Son of God has come.

Question: Who is the Son of God?

Answer: Christ is the Son of God

16 Simon Peter answered and said, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” (Matthew 16:16).

2.) The verse said, “that we may know Him who is true”. In other words, the Son of God who is Christ gives us the knowledge to know the one who is the true God.

Question: Did Christ really made known the true God to his disciplies?

Answer: Yes. Christ made the true God known to his disciples.

26 I made you known to them, and I will continue to do so, in order that the love you have for me may be in them, and so that I also may be in them. (John 17:20, Good News Translation)

Question: Why is there a need for Christ to make God be known?

Answer: It’s because men don’t know God and it is only Christ who is the Son of God knows God.

28 Then Jesus, still teaching in the temple courts, cried out, “Yes, you know me, and you know where I am from. I am not here on my own authority, but he who sent me is true. You do not know him, 29 but I know him because I am from him and he sent me.” (John 7:28-29, New International Version)

Question: So then, who is the true God that Christ introduced to his disciples?

Answer: The Father is the True God. (read my previous post, “Who is the only true God?”)

3.) The said verse said “and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ.

Question: What does that mean?

Answer: Before concluding what is the real message of it, let us first analyse it.

We should take note that it uses two pronouns, the “HIM” and the “HIS”. These pronouns are all referring to the true God, isn’t it.

You might argue: No! The pronoun “HIM” refers to Christ, and the pronoun “HIS” refers to the Father.

My Answer: If the pronoun “HIM” refers to Christ, have you forgotten the fact that the one introduced by Christ as the only true God in John 17:3 is the Father?

Now, from the above discussion, we learned that Christ is the Son of God. Christ gives us understanding about the true God. And the true God is His Father according to Christ.

So, if we will use the word “Father” or substitute the word “Father” instead of using the two noted pronouns, the statement will be written like this:

and we are in [the] Father who is true, in [the] Father[’s] Son Jesus Christ.

With this, the message is already clear….

The statement, “and we are in Him who is true, in His Son Jesus Christ,” means: We are in the Father who is the only true God. And We are also in His Son Jesus Christ.

Conclusion

There are two subjects that are being talked about in the verse I John 5:20 and they are:

  1. The Son of God.
  2. The True God.

The Son of God is the one who will make the True God known by men. In other words, the Son of God came to introduce the true God to men. The son of God is Christ while the true God is Christ’s Father.

Therefore, the true God revealed in I John 5:20 is not Christ but the Father of Christ.

About the Author

Fred Gonzales is a regular contributor of this blog of Sustines Laplana.

He is a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo but he has no authority to represent the INC. His articlesshould not be used as reference in behalf of the INC because these articles might contain thoughts that are contrary to the official thoughts of the INC.

If you want to hear the official teachings of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, kindly visit the nearest worship building of the INC and look for the Church Worker or Minister assigned. You can ask the assistance of the members of the INC near you.

 

What is the Nature of Christ? – SELaplana

Question

From your recent presentation, you did presented the truth recorded in the Bible that tells us that Christ is not a God, nor does He claim He is God, and that He even rejected the thoughts of His followers that He is God.

So my question is: If Christ is not a God, so then what is He. What is His nature?

Answer

The question is actually answered by Christ Himself. In John 8:40, He said this:

“But now you seek to kill Me, a Man who has told you the truth which I heard from God. Abraham did not do this. (John 8:40, New King James Version)

According to Christ, He is telling the truth. And the truth, He has told, is what He heard from God.

In other words, when Christ said that He is a man, this is the truth, and that truth is what He heard from God.

Do you know who this God is who told Christ what to say? Consider this verse:

“For I have not spoken on My own authority; but the Father who sent Me gave Me a command, what I should say and what I should speak.” (John 12:49, New King James Version)

The God who is the source of what Christ is saying is the Father. According to Christ, the Father gave Christ what to say and what to speak.

And we already have learned a lot about the Father such as:

  1. The Father is the only true God. Besides Him, there is no God. No God came before Him nor there will be after Him.
  2. He is the Father of Christ and His disciples.
  3. He is the God of the Old Testament.
  4. He alone created all things and no one helped Him in creating all things, and no one is equal to Him.
  5. He is the Jehovah based on some versions of the Bible.

Dual Nature

But there are those who preach about Christ and said that Christ is not only man but also God. So, for them, Christ has two natures, the nature of man and the nature of God. How true is this?

From my previous blogpost, we learned that Christ clarified that He is not spirit because He has flesh and bones because according to Christ, the spirit has no flesh and bones. We also learned that Christ revealed that God is spirit. In other words, Christ has made clear that He is not God.

And from the above, we also learned that Christ is man. In fact, this truth is coming from God Himself. So, Christ distinguished also that He is not the God. The God is the one whom the truth that about his nature came from.

Therefore, Christ is not God-Man but a Man who is telling the truth.

About the Author

Fred Gonzales is a regular contributor of this blog of Sustines Laplana.

He is a member of the Iglesia Ni Cristo but he has no authority to represent the INC. His articles should not be used as reference in behalf of the INC because these articles might contain thoughts that are contrary to the official thoughts of the INC.

If you want to hear the official teachings of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, kindly visit the nearest worship building of the INC and look for the Church Worker or Minister assigned. You can ask the assistance of the members of the INC near you.