So, it wasn’t planned. But I can fairly well say that it was the aftermath of a member of the Iglesia ni Cristo buying stuff from our mini-store while a member of Jehovah’s Witnesses was speaking to me. I’m talking about that Iglesia ni Cristo member inviting me to one of their so-called “missions”. Well, I knew why that person came around tonight and I thought that it wouldn’t be polite if I didn’t accept the invitation. So, I did. But it was a good thing as I was able to listen to the most hilarious lecture ever. OK, maybe it wasn’t hilarious and I’m certain that that preacher wasn’t trying to be funny. In fact, he seemed really serious about what he was talking about and only went for humour a few times. But, yes, I made an effort to keep myself together and not start laughing or asking questions that might ruin his entire lecture. Anyway, it didn’t seem like we were to asks questions and neither did he seem open to questions.
But being in that place gave me bits of knowledge about their religion: (1) they acknowledge Jesus Christ as saviour, (2) they believe that sinners burn in hell forever, and (3) they believe that the people of their church, “Iglesia ni Cristo“, are the only ones whom God intends to save and nobody else; among others.
I was totally following that preacher from the very beginning but he started losing me when he came to his second point. I can give them the first one. He pointed that out because there are rumours about their church not believing in Jesus Christ. And, yes, I’ve heard of that. I was totally astounded when I first heard that and couldn’t believe it seeing as the name of their church is “Iglesia ni Cristo“. I mean, why would they name their church to someone they don’t believe in?
Going back to his second point, which was mostly based on the book of Revelation, my immediate reaction was, “Isn’t God supposed to be a merciful one? Why would he let people burn in hell forever if he is merciful? Doesn’t that make him hardhearted?” Of course, I couldn’t say it out loud and neither can I bolt – it would’ve seemed wrong, or very impolite. Besides, don’t they lock their doors when they begin an activity in their church? So, I had no choice but to keep on listening. (And it was a good thing as it’s always nice to have a firm foundation to whatever you stand for.)
However, everything crumbled when he reached his third point stating that only the members of their church has the chance to be saved. My immediate reaction, “That’s just preposterous.” They are on this assumption based on a few verses in the Bible using either “iglesia” or “Iglesia ni Cristo“. He went on further as to say that whichever Bible you refer to, this is what is stated, “Iglesia ni Cristo” and nothing else, whether your Bible is in Filipino, Waray, Hiligaynon, etc. You know what sounded missing? English, yes. He could cite all those dialects but he couldn’t mention it. At least, not until later. I wasn’t actually sure what I wanted him to do, to keep on making people believe that all versions of the Bible state “Iglesia ni Cristo” which will inevitably include English or for him to plainly he state that even a Bible written in English will say so. Either way, he loses and lies. Why? Because I am pretty sure that I’ve read the words “Church of Christ” in a Bible written in English but not the words “Iglesia ni Cristo“. Not that I read a Bible in any other language or dialect, for that matter. In the end, he went on to doing the latter.
It’s a good thing that I know how to make myself behave properly in different situations. If I didn’t, I would’ve asked him loads of questions, most of them I wouldn’t know how to state in plain Filipino which is what he was using. (Yeah, my Filipino is weaker than my English.) Besides, I argue better in English.
The major reason I went there, besides not wanting to be rude, was because I wanted to learn about them and, well, give them a chance. They lost it. However, none of those would compare to a few words that the preacher stated to emphasise his third point, “See, this is why we became members of this church! We wanted to be saved and the Bible states that this is the only church the God will save!… I used to be a die-hard Baptist. Most of us used to be firm believers in our previous religion. But the Bible says that this is the only church He will save.”
Besides all those sounding all wrong, seeming like the only reason he became a member of Iglesia ni Cristo, and most others among them, was that he wanted to be saved and that he had come to believe that it was the sole church that God will save and not that he wanted to follow God and Christ or that he found truth in that church, I was like, “Wasn’t the Bible written in the ancient times? And wasn’t your church founded in the Philippines with your current head being only either third or fourth generation from your founder?” You can only imagine the repercussions of his statements.
Yes, it was some sort recruitment talk but the only thing that guy did for me was discredit his own church and tell me that the God they believe in is a rather cruel one.
Oh, one more thing, before I was able to get out of their church grounds, the person who invited me sort of gave me a handshake and another invitation. This time, to their church service or worship or whatever they call it. I got out of it by telling him that I wouldn’t be able to come because I don’t usually wake up until about 8am or even 9am. (Their Sunday worship is at 7am.) At least, I didn’t lie.
Ah, the flowers smell so beautiful.