Between God's will and parents wish
Letter to the Editor:
PASUGO, November 1996, p.2
I AM A17-year-old Catholic who been reading PASUGO and inquiring about the Iglesia ni Cristo for almost half a year now. I have learned a lot of things by reading your articles but I know that I still have a lot more to learn. And the only way I can learn is by studying your doctrines.
I have decided to undergo Bible study on doctrines but my mother won't allow me to. She thinks I have other reasons for joining your Church. But the fact is, I no longer believe in Catholic teachings. I can't possibly go to a Catholic Church and expect myself to understand their teachings; nor can I set aside religion or forget I've ever come across such problem and go on with my life. I don't want to be a pagan either.
I really want to study the doctrines of your Church but I won't be able to do this without my parents permission, if I keep it from their knowledge, I won't be able attend the worship services. And If I decide to receive instructions on doctrines in spite of their objections, I will disobey them and sin against God for He ordered us to obey our parents, as written Ephesians 6:1-3.
I know that the second coming of Christ is near. And I don't want myself and my family to be endangered.
How can I convince my parents to allow me to study your Church's doctrines? They keep on saying that becoming a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo won't change anything and that as long as one is doing no evil to his fellowmen, he will be saved. Should I disobey my parents and yet do what is right?
Jackie Lou Militante
Quezon City, Philippines
Quezon City, Philippines
It is heartening to note that, at your young age, you have already developed a great interest to search for the truth.
As regards your dilemma, the Bible teaches that we must respect or honor our parents for this is the first commandment with a promise (cf. Eph. 6:2). We must listen to and obey their advice knowing that their intentions are good. But there is a limit as to how far children ought to obey their parents. The Lord Jesus Christ clarified this to His disciples:
“Anyone who loves his father or mother more than me is not worthy of me; anyone who loves his son or daughter more than me is not worthy of me.” (Mt. 10:37, New International Version)
The Lord Jesus Christ emphasized that those who love their parents more than they do love Him will not be worthy of Him. This does not mean that we should not love or obey our parents, rather, our love for the Savior and for the Lord God must be greater than our love for anybody else.
If our parents would coerce us into following or believing doctrines and practices which are against the will and commandments of the Lord, we would have to sacrifice obedience to parents for obedience to Christ and to God. Obedience to God must precede obedience to parents. God Himself stated, thus:
“I said to their children in the desert, ‘Do not follow the statues of your fathers or keep their laws or defile yourselves with their idols. I am the LORD your God; follow my decrees and be careful to keep my laws.” (Ezek. 20:18-19, Ibid.)
The choice you have to make may not be an easy one. You have to carefully weigh everything, knowing that your decision will have far-reaching consequences.
We pray that God bless and help you decide properly.
___________________Bible Study Suggestion: If you have further questions, please feel free to visit the Iglesia ni Cristo congregation nearest you. A minister or an evangelical worker would be happy to answer any biblical question you have in mind. For the latest Worship Service Directory of Iglesia ni Cristo Locales and Congregations outside the Philippines, please visit www.iglesianicristoworshipservice.com.