The Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ) is an independent Christian religion whose primary purpose is to worship the Almighty god based on His teachings as taught by the Lord Jesus Christ and as recorded in the Bible. It is not a denomination or sect. It is neither affiliated to any federation of religious bodies nor itself an assembly of smaller religious organizations.
To date, the Iglesia ni Cristo membership comprises 108 nationalities. It maintains about 5,400 congregations and missions grouped into 107 ecclesiastical districts in the Philippines and in 92 other countries and territories in the six inhabited continents of the world.
Everyone who will heed the call of God and embrace its faith is welcome to the join the Iglesia ni Cristo regardless of his or her nationality, cultural background, social standing, economic status, and educational attainment.
Iglesia ni Cristo Vision
A “radiant church, without stain or wrinkle or any other blemish, but holy and blameless” (Ephesians 5:27, New International Version) and whose members are bound by perfect unity of faith and practice, devoted to a life of holiness and service founded on true Christian teaching.
Iglesia ni Cristo Mission
1.) To share the gospel of salvation to all people, by heeding Christ’s call to “go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved” (Mark 16:15-16 New King James Version).
To carry this out, the members gladly share their faith to everyone at all opportune time. They invite people to attend Bible study sessions and worship services. The Church (Iglesia Ni Cristo) also uses mass media in spreading its message of hope to a brader audience.
The Pasugo: God’s Message, the monthly official magazine of the Iglesia Ni Cristo, carries mainly religious articles and church news and features.
DZEM (954 kHz) broadcasts programs that discuss Bible teachignsl. These programs are aired by about 60 other radio stations all over the Philippines and several more in the US and Australia.
It produces television programs featuring biblical teachings that are aired over GEM TV-49, as well as major cable stations in the Philippines and some channels in the US. Video clips of these are also accessible in the Internet through GEMTV’s website, www.gemnet.tv.
2.) To edify the faith of its members through constant and effective religious instructions, “admonishing and teaching everyone with all wisdom … [to] present everyone perfect in Christ” (Colossians 1:28, NIV)
For the spiritual welfare of the members, worship services are held in Wednesdays and/or Thursdays and Saturdays and/or Sundays by every local congregation inside the house of worship. This solemn gathering of the faithful consists of hymn singing, prayers, and study of God’s words for proper applications in daily living.
Prayer meetings are also held weekly by each group of neighboring households for further instructions in the faith and announcements about the Iglesia Ni Cristo undertakings.
Pastoral visitations to the brethren are conducted regularly by the Church officers for prayer and spiritual counseling.
Through its Christian family organizations (Buklod, KADIWA, and Binhi) the Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo) undertakes programs to strengthen the family, to guide the single members in right living and in proper conduct, and to assist the youth in their studies. The Buklod (bond) is the organization of married members. The KADIWA (acronum of a Filipino phrase meaning “Youth with a Noble Intent”) is for the single members 18 years and older, and the Binhi (seed) is composed of 13 to 17-year old members.
What the Iglesia ni Cristo believe in?
Bible as the Basis of Faith.
The Iglesia ni Cristo regards the Holy Scriptures as the sole basis of its faith and practice. Some of its fundamental scriptural teachings are as follows:
- Absolute oneness of God the Father. The Church believes in the teaching of Christ and the apostles that the Father, the Creator, alone is the true God. (John 17:1,3; I Cor. 8:6)
- Jesus Christ, the Son of God. The Iglesia ni Cristo believes in Jesus Christ as the Son of God. God made Him Lord and Savior. He is the only Mediator of man to God. Jesus Christ is holy and a very special man but not God. (Matt 3:17; Acts 2:36; 5:31; I Tim. 2:5; John 10:36; 8:40; Acts 2:22, Easy-to-Read Version)
- The Church of Christ. The faithful firmly believe that the Church of Christ is the one Christ established for the salvation of mankind. It is for the Church that Christ gave His life and thus, it is this Church that He will save on Judgment Day. (Matt. 16:18; Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation; Eph. 5:23, 25)
- Judgment Day. The Church of Christ believes that God appointed a day when He will judge all people through Christ. This is the day of the Second Advent of Christ, which is also the end of the world. (Acts 17:31; Jude: 1:14-15; II Pet. 3:7, 10)
- Baptism. The Iglesia ni Cristo observes the biblical way of baptism, which is immersion in water. Receiving baptism in the Church of Christ is necessary for one to become a disciple of Christ, to be forgiven of sin, and to have hope for salvation. (Acts 8:38; John 3:23; Rom. 6:3-5; Matt. 28:19; Acts 2:38; Mark 16:15-16)
- Resurrection. The resurrection of Christ is the main proof that the dead will rise. Those in Christ will rise first to be with Him forever in the Holy City. Those who are not of Christ will rise a thousand years after the first resurrection to be cast into the lake of fire. (I Cor. 15:12-13; I Thess. 4:16-17; Rev. 20:5-10; 21:1-4)
The Church of Christ is one in faith and practice. Its unity remains intact through a centralized form of administration that ensures the adherence of all members and congregations to the same Bible teachings and Church rules.
Morality and Holiness
The Iglesia ni Cristo strives to maintain a high moral standard. It regards the teaching of the bible as a way of life. It promotes purity of life among its members by means of instructions, reminders, and, when necessary, corrective or disciplinary measures.
Peace and Order
The Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo) helps maintain peace and order by teaching its members to respect and observe rules and regulations governing such. They are dissuaded from joining unions and organizations that resort to violence or extra-legal means to advance their causes.
Lawfulness and Discipline
The Church puts a premium on lawfulness and discipline. It complies with the apostolic teaching to submit to human authority, that is, the duly constituted government, and abide by its laws (Titus 3:1; I Pet. 2:13). But over and above any law, its members obey the laws of God for christens in our time as written in the Bible.
Brotherhood and Equality of Members
The Iglesia ni Cristo promotes Christian brotherly love. All members are deemed equal in the sight of God (Gal. 3:26, 28). Gender, racial, social, educational, and economic discriminations are strongly discouraged.
Sanctity of Marriage
Marriage in the Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo) is regarded as sacred and inviolable. It is God Himself who instituted marriage and He does not allow the separation of the husband and the wife whom He joined together (Matt. 19:4-6). Thus, the Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo) does not subscribe to divorce, annulment, or legal separation as a solution to marital problems in the same way that it opposes live-in relationships and same-sex marriage.
Stability of the Family
The Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo) acknowledges the importance of family as the basic unit of its organization and of society as a whole. The stability of every family contributes to the stability of the entire Church. The home is where religious education begins so Christian parenting and proper love of children are taught and reinforced at every opportune time.
Separation of Church and State
The Church of Christ (Iglesia Ni Cristo) upholds the democratic ideal of separation of Church and State. It advances through peaceful and legal means the right and freedom of its members and congregations to conduct worship and other religious activities as provided for and protected by the fundamental law of the land.
Established in the Philippines on July 27, 1914, the Iglesia ni Cristo started with the late Brother Felix Y. Manalo who first preached its biblical message of salvation in the corners of Manila. The Church easily gained a following that, in the next couple of years, spread from within the nation’s capital to its neighboring provinces and regions.
By 1939, the Church had already expanded to as far as Ilocos Norte province in Northern Luzon and to the Cebu province in the Visayas with the addition of 14 districts. It reached farther south in Mindanao in 1946 with the establishment of a district in Cotabato. When its first Executive Minister, Brother Felix Manalo, passed away in April 1963, the Church had established districts in more than half of all the provinces in this Far Eastern archipelago.
On its 54th anniversary, the Iglesia Ni Cristo, then led by its second Executive minister, the late Brother Eraño G. Manalo, successively established the first two congregations outside the Philippines – Honolulu, Hawaii and San Francisco, California in the USA. Thus began the Church’s expansion in the West and around the world.
From the late 1960’s through out the ‘70s, the Iglesia ni Cristo had begun to permeate the continents of North America (establishing congregations and missions in other American states and territories, such as New York and Guam in 1969, and Canada in 1971); Europe (first in England in 1972 and followed by Germany, Switzerland, and later, Spain); Australia, mid-‘70s; Asia (China by way of Hong Kong, Japan through Tokyo, Thailand); and Africa (Nigeria and South Africa in 1978).
As more congregations arose across the globe, the US Main Office was set up in Daly City, California in June 1987, to assist the Central Administration in supervising the growing presence of the Church in the West. By the end of the ‘80s, congregations and missions have been formed in the Scandinavian countries and their neighbors.
The first congregation in Latin America was established in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba in 1990. The following year, the Iglesia Ni Cristo reached Mexico and Aruba.
A milestone in the Iglesia ni Cristo’s global expansion was the establishment of its congregations in world cities that are of great relevance to the history of Christianity – Rome, Italy on July 27, 1994; Jerusalem, Israel in March 1996; and Athens, Greece in May 1997. The predecessors (prayer groups) of these full-fledged congregations began two decades earlier.
From 2000 to Present
At the dawn of the new millennium, the Church’s mission penetrated South America, with the establishment of group worship services in Brazil and Peru. Even in minor island nations and territories throughout the Pacific and in the Middle East, Iglesia ni Cristo members abound at present. Ditto in South Asian countries like Malaysia, Indonesia, and many others.
Now moving on to its centennial year in 2014, the Iglesia ni Cristo is blessed with sustained growth and progress. As membership keeps on growing, more ministers, evangelical workers, and Church officers are put in place. Through its district offices scattered around the world and its main offices in the US and in Europe, the brethren’s spiritual concerns are properly coordinated and attended to by its central administration led by its present Executive Minister, Brother Eduardo V. Manalo.
The unity of faith is kept. The mission of salvation lives on.
Note: This is copied from the pamphlet published by the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
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