Miyerkules, Mayo 22, 2013

On putting other religions down

On putting other religions down

Letter to the Editor:
PASUGO, November 1995, p.2

WE ARE SEVEN in the office adhering to different religions. During our break-time periods we often discuss religion and my attention was struck by what one of my co-workers said, that only the Iglesia ni Cristo members will be saved by Jesus Christ on Judgment Day.

To satisfy my curiosity, I attended the worship services held on Thursdays by the Iglesia ni Cristo with the help of Virginia Sangre, one of my officemates who is a member of your religion. I was impressed at the way discipline and commitment were shown when I attended worship services at the local Church of the Iglesia ni Cristo at Pondol, Balamban, Cebu through the courtesy of Ms. Sangre’s family.

I asked for a copy of the PASUGO to satisfy my growing curiosity. I read the “Letters” column and this encouraged me to write this letter.

My question is, “Why does the Iglesia ni Cristo claim that only its members will be saved on Judgment Day? Did not Christ say ‘not all people calling me Lord, Lord has the assurance to enter the kingdom of God’?”

Secondly, I appreciate the article of Mr. Pedrito B. Placio entitled, “Whom to believe and why” (May-June 1992) but what turned me off is his tendency to put his previous religion, which is Catholicism, down. This seems to be the standard procedure of the Iglesia ni Cristo—putting other religions down.

I would like to stress that if we understand and respect each other and teach our doctrines without putting others down, then we altogether celebrate the word of God. He will be happy if we do this. And if we as the church of God share love, then all of us will be saved.

Rio B. AmoradoCebu, Philippines

Editor's reply:
We are glad that you went through great lengths to satisfy your curiosity about the Iglesia ni Cristo and we hope you profited much from the experience.
You are right that Christ said:

“Not every one that saith unto me, Lord, Lord, shall enter into the kingdom of heaven; but he that doeth the will of my Father which is in heaven.” (Mt. 7:21, King James Version).

From this biblical passage we can properly deduce that only those who do the will of God will enter the heavenly kingdom. And what is the will of God? This we can read in Ephesians 1:9-10, thus:

having made known to us the mystery of His will, according to His good pleasure which He purposed in Himself, 10 that in the dispensation of the fullness of the times He might gather together in one all things in Christ, both[a] which are in heaven and which are on earth—in Him. (Ephesians 1:9-10, NKJV)

And how can people be gathered in Christ? It is by entering (cf. Jn. 10:9) the Church which He established (cf. Mt. 16:18) and of which He is the Savior (cf. Eph. 5:23) (cf. Acts 20:28, Lamsa).

‘I am the door; anyone who comes into the fold through me will be saved.’ (John 10:9, Revised English Bible)
18 And I also say to you that you are Peter, and on this rock I will build My church, and the gates of Hades shall not prevail against it. (Mt. 16:18, NKJV)

23 For the husband is head of the wife, as also Christ is head of the church; and He is the Savior of the body. (Eph. 5:23, NKJV)

Take heed therefore to yourselves and to all the flock over which the Holy Spirit has appointed you overseers, to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood. (Acts 20:28, Lamsa Translation)

It is thus the will of the Father that all should enter or join the fold or flock or the Church of Christ and not just any other church or religion.

In apostolic times, it is stated that the Lord “added to the church daily such as should be saved” (Acts 2:47, KJV). Thus, it is to the Church of Christ and not to any other church that those to be saved are added or brought.

47 Praising God, and having favour with all the people. And the Lord added to the church daily such as should be saved. (Acts 2:47, KJV)

Brother Pedrito B. Placio may sound to you as “having the tendency” of “putting other religious down” but that judgment is not accurate.

There is no such thing as a standard procedure of the Iglesia ni Cristo to put other religions down. This Church respects other the religious in as far as they are honest beliefs of men. But since the Iglesia ni Cristo also believes that there is only one true religion established by Christ at the command of God, it cannot avoid pointing out this truth which incidentally includes pointing out what is false.

In the process of pointing out one’s discovery of the truth and in sharing it with others one cannot but reject that which is false. The case of author Pedrito B. Placio is like the case of one who thought he had the correct answer but discovered the true one later.

We can only “celebrate the word of God,” as you put it, by following His words and not other’s. And if the word of God shows that the Lord Jesus Christ established only one Church, the Church of Christ, then we can give Him (the Father) glory by joining this Church and not any other’s.
Note: Some cited verses are printed in full to facilitate study.

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