[Excerpt from Why I Am NOT an Iglesia Ni Cristo Copyright © 2015 Edward K. Watson. All rights reserved. Chapter 1.]

 

Lessons in Logic

What is possible is not necessarily probable and what is probable is not necessarily proof.

Possible ≠ Probable ≠ Proof

For example, flipping a coin can either be heads or tails. Since it is a binary selection, the probability is ½ or 50% that the coin will land heads [P = 1 – ½]. The likelihood that two coin tosses will result in two heads and no tails is ¼ or 25% [P = 1 – (½ × ½)]. Three heads in a row is 1/8 or 12.5% [P = 1 – (½ × ½ × ½)].

Is it possible to flip a coin and have it land heads 10 times in a row? By following the above process and extending it ten times, we can determine that the probability of ten heads occurring is P = 1 –  1/1024 or just .00097656. In other words, it is 99.9% unlikely that a person will be able to get ten heads in a row. It isn’t impossible, just incredibly unlikely (BTW, this is a fun activity to do in a school gymnasium full of kids).

So, is it possible for a person to get ten heads in a row on his or her first attempt? Sure! As shown above, the likelihood is just once in a thousand attempts, but it’s still possible.

Is it probable for a person to get ten heads in a row on his or her first attempt? No. A thousand-to-one odds against anything means it is not probable but improbable. “Probable” requires the likelihood be above 50%, and the higher the percentage, the more probable it is.

Is it proof a person can get ten heads in a row on his or her first attempt? Absolutely not. One-in-a-thousand odds means it isn’t proof. Heck, nine hundred ninety-nine in a thousand is still not proof (i.e., as evidenced by the inverse of the above scenario: One cannot claim it is provable that a person can never get “heads” ten times in a row).

Proof is solid and cannot be credibly contested. 1 + 1 = 2 is proof. Statistically speaking, proof is anything above five sigma (5σ) or anything that is 99.99994267% certain. Anything below this level falls in the “Probable” category.

The Iglesia Ni Cristo claims to be the one true church and the only institution that possesses genuine baptismal authority. However, there are thousands of other religions that say the same thing. The INC loudly proclaims it can provide “proof” that it is true;[1] but, as this book will demonstrate, any simple challenge rapidly sees the boast collapse into merely “Possible” territory, completely bypassing the “Probable” domain.

Now that the proper logical framework is established, let’s look at the INC claims more closely.

To ascertain the validity of the INC, there has to be at least one determinant that makes the INC different from all other churches. How then does one determine whether the INC is credible? By identifying something that is unique to it and evaluating its credibility.

These “Unique Differentials” are vitally important; since they are the only things that make a religion stand out from the rest (in other words, they’re the only religions that have them). There are two kinds, the Authoritative, and the Evidential.

Authoritative refers to the necessity of inclusion into that particular faith while the Evidential furnishes proof supporting the Authoritative claim. An Authoritative claim can’t stand on its own without providing something tangible—and these are found in the Evidential claims.

Unique differentials are easy to identify: Roman Catholicism has the Pope. It also has Papal Infallibility, the Assumption of Mary, opposition to all forms of artificial birth control, and several other uniquely Roman Catholic doctrines that aren’t also believed by Protestantism and Eastern Christianity.

Eastern Christianity has the equality of patriarchs and absence of Filioque from their Nicene Creed.

Protestantism as a whole has Sola Fide and Sola Scriptura.

Mormonism has the Book of Mormon and the other Latter-day Scriptures, Joseph Smith and other modern prophets, including a current living one, a multiversal cosmology, and rational theodicy.

Jehovah’s Witnesses has Charles Russell and the New World Translation (other religions believe in the separation of Jesus and YHWH).

Seventh-day Adventists has Ellen G. White and her writings (other religions believe in worshiping on the seventh day).

What then are the INC’s unique differentials that make them unique among all religions?

Authoritative:

  1. Felix Manalo is the only one who had the genuine authority to restore the “True Church.”
  2. Felix Manalo is the only one to possess genuine authority to baptize others.

Evidential:

  1. The Bible prophesies of Felix Manalo.
  2. The Bible prophesies of the Iglesia Ni Cristo.
  3. The Bible prophesies (more correctly, mentions) the Philippines.

By their nature, if just one of the Authoritative claims is shown to be false, the INC religion has virtually no chance of legitimacy. After all, if it is disproven that Felix Manalo received genuine authority to restore the “True Church”; the INC religion is automatically false. If Felix Manalo did not receive genuine baptismal authority; the INC religion is automatically false.

Furthermore, the first two Evidential claims are vitally important to the INC because they are the only things that can provide support for its Authoritative claims (i.e., Felix Manalo has the genuine authority to restore the “True Church” because the Bible prophesies of him).

Since the INC isn’t the only religion to emerge or exist in the Philippines, it is possible for the third Evidential claim to be valid without proving the INC religion is the “True Church.” Consequently, the citation of the third Evidential claim, while helpful, can never prove the INC is the “True Church.”

So, the only things that can prove the authenticity of the INC faith is:

  1. The Bible prophesies of Felix Manalo.
  2. The Bible prophesies of the Iglesia Ni Cristo.

Neither of the two Authoritative claims of the INC are sufficient to prove its authenticity because both rely on its first two Evidential claims for support (i.e., HOW did Felix Manalo get genuine authority to restore the “True Church”? HOW did Felix Manalo get the genuine authority to baptize? Because he was prophesied in the Bible. Because the INC was prophesied in the Bible to emerge from the “Far East”).

The Burden of Proof is on the Iglesia Ni Cristo

Anyone can make claims. I can claim to bench press 200 kg. I can claim to fly. I can claim Marian Rivera has a crush on me. Claims, by themselves, mean absolutely nothing without the provision of supporting evidence.

Since the Iglesia Ni Cristo boasts of fulfilling dozens of biblical prophecies, they are obligated to prove their claim is true since the rules of logic demand the burden of proof is always on the claimant of biblical prophecy fulfillment, never the skeptic.

This proof needs to be extraordinarily clear and incontrovertible since fulfillment of prophecies thousands of years ago is incredibly extraordinary, because they show tangible evidence of the supernatural—something no one’s been able to prove empirically following the scientific method (with at least a five sigma [5σ] level of evidence) despite centuries of effort.

This means Felix Manalo can’t self-servingly say “This prophecy is about me” and leave it at that. He needs to prove he truly is who he claims to be. Russell’s teapot demands nothing less.

If the Bible really prophesies of Felix Manalo, it should clearly say so and does it in a way that excludes the tens of billions of other people who lived on the earth. After all, why can’t Isaiah 41:2; 46:11; and Rev 7:1-3 refer to me? I’m also from the “east.” If these verses are good enough for Felix, why can’t they be good enough for me? Or for you? Perhaps those passages are referring to you dear reader? After all, if the INC can blissfully disregard the context of their cited passages and claim to be legitimate, why can’t anyone else do likewise?

To aid readers, this book provides all the proof needed to prove the true identities (if possible) of those found in the “Prophetic fulfillment” passages used by the INC. This is to combat the INC tactic of shifting the burden of proof to the skeptic by demanding the critic prove who their selected prophetic proof-texts talk about if they’re not about Felix Manalo or the INC.

This INC practice is a dishonest attempt of arguing from ignorance (argumentum ad ignorantiam), to avoid the unpleasant fact the burden of proof is on the INC. It’s quite simple:

If the Iglesia Ni Cristo claims prophetic fulfillment, they must prove it.

It won’t do for them to demand a skeptic prove the identity of the angel from the east or the ravenous bird from the east or the identity of the isles—that’s not the skeptic’s problem since it is a logical fallacy to assume a thesis is true just because someone cannot disprove it. It is the INC that claims they fulfill those passages, so they must prove their allegations.

It is vital that at least one out of the 35 or so prophetic proof-texts used by the INC religion is proven to be valid and irrefutable. It has to be indisputable because “Extraordinary claims require extraordinary evidence.”

This Carl Sagan axiom is appropriate since it’s extraordinarily amazing a biblical prophet 2600 years ago talked about a person far in the future, whom we now know to be Felix Manalo. It is also extraordinarily amazing to find the “True Church” out of the 30,000 different religions or so that currently exist on earth.

If I claim to deadlift 300 kg, all a skeptic has to do is demand I prove it. The burden is on me to prove it. If I claimed there’s a really cool-looking teapot floating in space between Earth and Mars, I’d better make sure I can back it up. Likewise, with the INC. Since it claims the Bible prophesies of Felix Manalo and the Iglesia Ni Cristo religion, and these prophecies are the justification for validating their claim to being the “True Church”; the burden is on them to prove these scriptural proof-texts really are in reference to Felix Manalo or the INC, and not in reference to someone else.

Now that the proper methodology is defined, we can get down to the business of determining the validity of the INC religion by examining its two Authoritative claims.

1.1) Was Felix Manalo the Only One to Possess Genuine Authority to Restore the True Church?

Any discussion with the Iglesia Ni Cristo always returns to the person of their founder, Felix Manalo. Their church’s interpretation of biblical prophecies is justified because Felix Manalo interpreted them that way and he is the “Last Messenger” who is the only one capable of properly interpreting the Bible.

The INC claim they are the only ones who will be saved because:

  • They are the only ones who’ve been legitimately baptized because,
  • Felix Manalo and his successors are the only ones possessing legitimate authority to baptize.

Everyone else, regardless of faith, baptism, or righteousness will be condemned for all eternity in hellfire (dagatdagatang apoy) unless converting to the INC faith.

Biblical precedent for acquiring authority

The INC claims Felix Manalo was called by God to restore the true church in 1914. For a person to receive such a calling, he needs to receive the authority to restore the “True Church.”

The Bible explains how a person receives this divine authority to baptize and establish a new faith:

Heb 5:1-5 For every high priest taken from among men is ordained for men in things pertaining to God, that he may offer both gifts and sacrifices for sins: 2 Who can have compassion on the ignorant, and on them that are out of the way; for that he himself also is compassed with infirmity. 3 And by reason hereof he ought, as for the people, so also for himself, to offer for sins.

4 And no man taketh this honour unto himself, but he that is called of God, as was Aaron (kai ouch heautō tis lambanei tēn timēn alla kaloumenos hypo tou theou kathōsper kai Aarōn [καὶ οὐχ ἑαυτῷ τις λαμβάνει τὴν τιμὴν ἀλλὰ καλούμενος ὑπὸ τοῦ θεοῦ καθώσπερ καὶ Ἀαρών]).

5 So also Christ glorified not himself to be made an high priest; but he that said unto him, Thou art my Son, today have I begotten thee.

While Heb 5:4 discusses high priests, its focus on Christ being a high priest despite not being a holder of the traditional office shows it concerns itself with proper transferal methodology. No man can claim legitimate authority on his own. He needs to be called of God in the same manner Aaron was called.

For Felix Manalo to be called by God and receive the authority to organize the true church (if it was absent), he needs to receive that calling just like Aaron received his calling.  How did Aaron receive his calling?

Ex 28:1,41 And take thou unto thee Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him, from among the children of Israel, that he may minister unto me in the priest’s office, even Aaron, Nadab, and Abihu, Eleazar and Ithamar, Aaron’s sons . . . And thou (Moses) shall put them upon Aaron thy brother, and his sons with him; and shall anoint them, and consecrate them, and sanctify them, that they may minister unto me in the priest’s office.

God himself called Aaron, but he didn’t ordain Aaron directly. God spoke to his representative at the time, Moses, and told Moses he wants Aaron to become a priest. The prophet (Moses) informed Aaron he was chosen and subsequently ordained him and his four sons. This authority was then passed on to the descendants of two of his sons (Eleazar and Ithamar), who retained it for centuries while functioning in the office of high priest.

According to the Bible, the proper method of transferring authority is:

God → Lord’s Representative → Minister →…Minister

During the OT period, the Lord’s Representative was Moses. During the NT period, it was John the Baptist (for baptism) and the Twelve Apostles (below Christ).

Most Christians don’t have a problem with Heb 5:4’s biblical condition of authentic transference of authority since they believe in apostolic succession:

  1. Catholic: God → Lord’s Representative (John the Baptist + 12 Apostles) → Catholic Priest → …Catholic Priest

Catholics[2] believe John the Baptist possessed legitimate authority to baptize, which in turn was transferred to others. They believe the 12 Apostles passed on their authority (including John’s baptismal authority) to the early bishops of the Catholic Church, which was then passed to their successors until this day.

  1. Most Protestants: God → Lord’s Representative (John the Baptist + 12 Apostles) → Catholic Minister → …Protestant Minister

Most Protestants who believe in the necessity of baptism also believe in the extension of apostolic succession to their own denominations during the Reformation because their founders were either former ordained Catholic priests or could trace their line of authority to Catholic priests. They believe John the Baptist possessed legitimate authority to baptize, which in turn was transferred to others. They believe the 12 Apostles passed on their authority (including John’s baptismal authority) to the early bishops of the Catholic Church, which was then passed to their successors – until being passed on to those who became founders of the Protestant churches. This authority was then perpetuated to their successors until this day.

  1. Mormons: God → Lord’s Representative (John the Baptist + Peter, James, and John representing the 12 Apostles) → Mormon Minister → …Mormon Minister

Mormons believe John the Baptist possessed legitimate authority to baptize, which in turn was transferred to others in 1829 in a supernatural visitation. They believe the 12 Apostles, in another supernatural visitation, this time by Peter, James, and John, passed on their authority to Joseph Smith and Oliver Cowdery, also in 1829, which was then passed on to their successors until this day.

  1. Some Protestants: God → Bible → …Protestant Minister

Some Protestants disbelieve the necessity of this transference of authority and believe the Bible gives them all the authority they need, but since they don’t place baptism as a condition for salvation, they aren’t trapped by the limitation imposed by Heb 5:4.

  1. Iglesia Ni Cristo: God → INC Minister → …INC Minister

The INC believes John the Baptist possessed legitimate authority to baptize, which in turn was transferred to a few others in the first century. This authority was lost at the deaths of the 12 Apostles when they did not transfer their authority to anyone. They believe God chose Felix Manalo and gave him the baptismal authority and this authority is passed on to his successors to this day.

Here once more is the correct biblical description of authority transfer:

God → Lord’s Representative → Minister →…Minister

It is immediately apparent that the INC (and Jehovah’s Witnesses for that matter) have a tremendous problem because they remove the “Lord’s Representative” from the proper methodology laid out in the Bible while still insisting one must be baptized in their church to attain salvation.

Before illustrating this difficulty, it is important to ask:

  1. Did Felix Manalo fulfill the requirements of being called by God? Did God call him through an authorized representative?
  2. Did an authorized representative ordain him?
  3. Since these conditions did not occur despite the very clear statement in Heb 5:4, what validity is the unsupported claim of Felix Manalo?

How did Felix Manalo receive genuine authority?

How exactly did God call Felix Manalo? How did he receive his calling? What or who gave him the right to build the true church? Some INC members informed me that Felix Manalo came to the conclusion he was chosen by God to restore the true church after a passage in the Bible appeared to glow red. This occurred after Felix Manalo allegedly sequestered himself in a room without food and water and did nothing except read the Bible over a period of many days.

This was a supposed sign from God that he was chosen to restore the true church? No angelic visitations? No theophanies? No miracles or supernatural manifestations? No prophecies that came to pass? No voice from heaven or bestowal of additional Scripture? No possession by the Lord’s Spirit?

I do not know the validity of Felix Manalo’s claim but even if it did appear to Felix that it happened, was it really a sign from God or was it brought about from being cooped up in a room and reading for many days?

Surely, there has to be something tangible and witnessed by others to bolster Felix Manalo’s claim to be the “Last Messenger” instead of a self-serving claim impossible to verify. At the very least, where are his “works”? What has Felix Manalo taught or done that proves he is really who he claimed to be? Has he done any miracles or given prophesies that were fulfilled? Has he solved the dilemma of theodicy? Has he provided mankind with a previously unknown but credible cosmology? Has he restored teachings that were corrupted and lost? Did he give humanity additional Scripture?

Creating a new religion, or converting people is a dime a dozen. Thousands of people have done it. While Felix Manalo is more successful than most in the sense that he’s now acquired over two and a half million followers, his accomplishments regarding the number of followers pales in comparison to others with vastly larger number of adherents.

In essence, if the INC’s growth and size are proof of Felix Manalo’s authenticity, what are we to make of the founders of the more than 400 religions that have over one million adherents? What about Mohammed, Joseph Smith, Ellen G. White, Charles Russell, Martin Luther, Baha’ullah, Sun Myung Moon, Mary Baker Eddy, Miki Nakayama, Aimee McPherson, Alexander Campbell, Calvin, Knox, Wesley and hundreds of others?

Regardless of Felix Manalo’s “calling,” Christ founded his Church upon the apostles and prophets (Eph 2:19-20). Upon men. His representatives were always men, not books. He gave authority to men to build his church (Matt 16:18; Mark 16:15-16; John 15:16; 20:21; Heb 5:1-6), never to a book or group of books (the Bible) which wouldn’t exist for another two hundred years after the church was established. The Bible cannot ordain anyone—only another person can. Who then ordained Felix Manalo and gave him genuine authority?

Circular reasoning

Where is the evidence Felix Manalo received authority from God to restore the “True Church”?

Since the INC can’t point to anything tangible, they claim he fulfills biblical prophecy. However, when one examines the context of their cited proof-texts (i.e., Isaiah 41:2; 41:9-15; 42:1,4-7; 46:11; Mal 4:5-6; John 3:34; 6:29 and Rev 7:1-3 and 14:9 – see Chapter 2 below) and points out they have nothing to do with Felix Manalo; the INC then claims we can’t see it because we aren’t believers in Felix Manalo.

This classic case of circular reasoning, or begging the question, whereby the premise is a consequence of the conclusion, would be hilarious were it not for the earnestness of INC followers. It’s heartbreaking to see people willfully suspending their reasoning ability just to maintain a semblance of legitimacy for Felix Manalo.

The following scenarios easily illustrate the INC’s circular reasoning:

Scenario 1: Felix Manalo’s claim to authenticity

Felix Manalo: I am chosen by God to restore his church.

Skeptic: How were you chosen?

Felix Manalo: I was reading the Bible asking God for guidance over a period of three days and the words of one verse appeared red.

Skeptic: Perhaps you only imagined it. Are there any witnesses to this event? What verifiable proof can you offer that you are who you claim to be?

Felix Manalo: I am prophesied in the Bible.

Skeptic: Now that’s more like it. Where?

Felix Manalo: I am the righteous man from the east mentioned in Isaiah 41:2; the ravenous bird from the east mentioned in Isaiah 46:11; the angel from the east mentioned in Rev 7:1-3; and the third angel in Rev 14:9. I am the Elijah figure mentioned in Mal 4:5-6 and the one Jesus described as sent by God in John 3:34 and John 6:29. God described me in Isaiah 41:9-15, and Isaiah 42:1,4-7, calling me his servant and telling me he chose me from the ends of the earth.

Skeptic: I’m puzzled. I don’t find any indication these passages talk about you. Their context shows this righteous man or bird of prey from the east is King Cyrus of Persia who lived at the “Ends of the earth” and a “Far country” east of Israel who’s standard was a bird of prey. The angel from the east will only appear after the signs of Christ’s return devastate the earth. Likewise, with the third angel. The Elijah figure was used in reference to John the Baptist and is used as a harbinger of the returning Messiah. The John references are perhaps the most disturbing, since their context clearly shows Christ was referring to himself. Finally, the context of Isaiah 41 and 42 describe God’s servant as a personification of Israel, and the returning Remnants in particular.

Felix Manalo: Well, you can’t see it because only I have the authority to interpret the scriptures correctly.

Skeptic: How did you get this authority?

Felix Manalo: Because I am chosen by God to restore his church.

Scenario 2: INC claim to authenticity

INC: I belong to the True Church.

Skeptic: How do you know?

INC: Because the Bible prophesies of our church.

Skeptic: That’s incredible! Where?

INC: Our church is the seed from the east mentioned in Isa 43:5-7; those afar off upon the sea mentioned in Psalms 65:5; Christ’s other sheep of John 10:16; those who fear God from the rising of the sun of Isa 59:19; and whose name is Church of Christ in accordance with Romans 16:16.

Skeptic: Where? The context of every passage your cited shows they don’t have anything to do with the INC religion of the 20th century Philippines and, in fact, your interpretation conflicts with numerous other biblical passages.

INC: Well, you can’t see it because you don’t belong to the True Church.

The INC’s claim of Felix Manalo having legitimate authority from God to restore the True Church is devoid of any credible, tangible proof of authenticity. All the INC can do is engage in the logical fallacy of circular reasoning, which merely comes down to:

Felix Manalo has genuine authority because Felix Manalo said so.

This is hardly credible. Anyone can claim prophetic fulfillment or of receiving divine authority. It’s another thing to prove it. Heck, the only thing stopping me from claiming it is my sense of decency.

1.2) Was Felix Manalo the Only One to Possess Genuine Authority to Baptize Others?

The most fatal logical inconsistency of the INC is their insistence that a person can only be saved if they are baptized into the INC religion.

According to INC belief, only those who join the “True Church” can be saved. This is accomplished when an INC minister baptizes them because he is the only one possessing authority to perform such an ordinance. Without baptism, a person cannot be saved, and neither can he receive authority to baptize others.

The INC cites many biblical passages in attempting to prove the necessity of baptism such as John 3:3-5; Acts 8:12-21; 19:1-6; Mark 16:16; Rom 6:3-5; Luke 7:29-30; Matt 7:21; Gal 3:27-28; Acts 16:30-33; Acts 2:37-38,41; and so forth.

While these passages do emphasize baptism’s importance, the INC isn’t a unique claimant to them since every Christian religion that believes in its necessity will cite them as well. Catholics, Mormons, and Baptists will also quote them. Does this mean the INC believes these religions are automatically true just because they cite the same passages?

It is also important to point out none of these passages say we must be baptized into the INC church that was created by Felix Manalo in the Philippines in 1914. All they imply is baptism in the New Testament church is important. Which of the thousands of churches today inherited the NT’s church’s authority?

The INC needs to provide clear evidence they are the valid successors of the first century Christian church if they expect intelligent people to be impressed by their citation of biblical passages that show the importance of baptism.

After all, a listener merely has to say, “I completely agree with you, baptism in the Lord’s church is important. This is why I was baptized in my church” to force the INC minister to move on to furnishing “proofs” that the INC church is true, and the listener’s church is false.

The INC’s Achilles Heel: Who baptized Felix Manalo into the INC faith?

The INC insists no one can be saved without being subject to baptism into their church. We can then justifiably ask the INC minister:

Who baptized Felix Manalo into the Iglesia Ni Cristo?

This simple question poses enormous problems for the Iglesia Ni Cristo since one cannot give what one doesn’t have. Can I give a million dollars if I don’t have a million dollars? Can I give the flu if I don’t have the flu? One cannot give what one doesn’t have.

Felix Manalo couldn’t perform legitimate baptisms if he wasn’t baptized legitimately. Sure, he was baptized Catholic and Protestant – but these baptisms aren’t valid according to the INC.

Regardless of INC excuses, the fact still remains Jesus needed to be baptized (Matt 3:13-17) despite being sinless (2 Cor 5:21; Heb 4:15; 7:26; 9:14; 1 Pet 2:22; 1 John 3:5) and despite being the greatest man who ever lived.

Was Felix Manalo so much greater than Jesus that he didn’t need to be baptized?

We can then continue asking the INC minister:

According to you, an unbaptized person cannot be saved, which naturally means he cannot possess the authority to baptize or else all churches are equally true. If Felix Manalo wasn’t baptized, then, according to your own standards, he couldn’t possibly have any authority to baptize others. Are his baptisms then valid?

The INC gets trapped in their exclusivity. No matter what the INC minister says, he can’t avoid the force of the argument: Felix Manalo cannot give what he never received. The only things the INC minister can do is to avoid the argument or utilize circular reasoning (i.e., “Felix Manalo’s baptisms are valid because he was chosen by God to restore the True Church in our time”) but as shown above, this is groundless and dishonest.

The Achilles Heel of the INC faith is brought home by the coup de grâce:

If Felix Manalo’s baptisms aren’t valid and have no authority, why then should I join the Iglesia Ni Cristo when it lacks legitimate authority?

1.3) The Futility of INC Baptism

If Felix Manalo wasn’t legitimately baptized, he can’t be saved and neither can he legitimately baptize others. No matter how the INC try to avoid the issue, the fact that it insists a person has to join their church through baptism or else they can’t be saved, and Felix Manalo wasn’t baptized into their church—negates any other argument for the validity of their church. Sure Felix Manalo was baptized, but he was baptized in other religions—whose baptism isn’t valid in the eyes of the INC.

Credibility of baptismal claims

As shown above, virtually all other Christian churches who teach the necessity of baptism have a greater chance of legitimacy than the INC (or JW – “Who baptized Charles Russell as a Jehovah’s Witnesses?”) because of their belief in apostolic succession.

Just as with the case of an authority to establish a church, the INC’s view on baptismal authority is out of step with the rest of Christianity. As this chapter has shown, this isn’t a good thing. It shows the INC faith has virtually no chance of being legitimate, regardless of their cited proofs.

This means:

No circumstances exist in which the Iglesia Ni Cristo can be the “True Church.” Anyone who is only baptized in the INC needs to be re-baptized in another Christian faith to even have a chance of salvation.

An ironic twist of fate

The INC has portrayed Catholicism and Protestantism as satanic and rejects their baptism as invalid, with their ministers bereft of any real authority from God.

However, it is said that on December 25, 1918, 4½ years after creating the INC religion, Felix Manalo received the laying on of hands from a group of Protestant pastors.

I’m not saying it really happened and, of course, the INC vehemently deny it, but, and this is the irony, if it really occurred, it actually helps the INC have a more credible claim of authority.

If the INC accepts this laying on of hands as a legitimate bestowal of authority on Felix Manalo and if they accept the legitimacy of the Catholic and Protestant baptisms that Felix Manalo received before he started the INC religion; then all the subsequent baptisms Manalo performed after December 25, 1918 would’ve been encompassed within the Protestant claim of authenticity. The INC faith would then have a greater claim to authenticity since it would’ve inherited the authority that was passed down through the Protestant branch of Christianity.

O, the irony! The INC denies, obfuscates, and minimizes the only thing that can potentially help them!

Unfortunately for the INC, Felix Manalo already baptized people before the laying on of hands incident allegedly occurred, which would mean all who converted before this date would need to be re-baptized, and any they baptized would also need re-baptism and so forth. Yikes!

Closing Thoughts

This chapter has demonstrated the INC faith is incapable of adhering to its own standards and teachings of possessing baptismal exclusivity.

The INC needs to provide proof Felix Manalo received genuine baptismal authority without needing to be baptized in the INC himself. And we’re not talking about two sigma (2σ) or even four sigma (4σ) probabilities, but actual proof (above 5σ).

Anyone can claim to be called by God. If God really called Felix Manalo, then God surely would have given evidence that Felix was his chosen representative. Where is the evidence that God really chose Felix Manalo?

An examination of the history and claims of the INC shows that whether the apostasy took place or not, the Iglesia Ni Cristo has no chance of being the true church due to its weakness based upon authority.

This chapter has proven without a doubt that the INC fails its own soteriological doctrines and standards, and its two Authoritative claims are worthless.

 

[1] Every INC minister I’ve spoken to claimed they can “prove” theirs is the True Church, but rapidly backed away when they saw my well-worn and well-marked Bible and when I asked them to back up their claim.

[2] And Anglicans/Independent Catholics and Eastern Christians.

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Why I Am Not an Iglesia Ni Cristo