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Iglesia ni Cristo

Iglesia ni Cristo
Seal of the Iglesia ni Cristo
Seal of the Iglesia ni Cristo
Classification Restorationism
Theology Unitarianism
Governance Hierarchical/Monarchical
Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo
Region 102 countries and territories[1]
Headquarters No. 1 Central Avenue, New Era, Quezon City, Philippines[2]
Founder Felix Y. Manalo (as the registrant for the Philippine Government)
Origin July 27, 1914
Punta, Santa Ana, Manila, Philippines
Congregations 5,545[3] as of March 2014
Members No official disclosure of number of members
Hospitals New Era General Hospital
Aid organization Felix Y. Manalo Foundation
UNLAD International
Tertiary institutions New Era University
Other name(s) INC, Iglesia
Official website

Iglesia ni Cristo[4] (Tagalog pronunciation: , abbreviated as INC; English: Church of Christ) is an international Christian denomination that originated in the Philippines. It was registered in 1914 by Felix Manalo,[5][6][7] who became its first executive minister.

The Iglesia ni Cristo proclaims itself to be the [9][10] concurrent with the coming of the Seventh seal marking the end of days.[2][11]

By the time of Manalo's death in 1963, the Iglesia ni Cristo had become a nationwide church with 1,250 local chapels, and 35 large concrete cathedrals.[12] His son Eraño Manalo became the next church leader and led a campaign to grow and internationalize the church until his death on August 31, 2009,[13] whereupon his son, Eduardo V. Manalo, succeeded him as executive minister.[14] In 2010, the Philippine census by the National Statistics Office found that 2.45 percent of the population in the Philippines are affiliated with the Iglesia ni Cristo, making it the third largest religious denomination in the Philippines after the Roman Catholic Church (80.6%) and Islam (5.6%), respectively.[15][16]


  • History 1
    • Background 1.1
    • International expansion 1.2
    • Centennial 1.3
    • Twenty-first century 1.4
  • Beliefs and core values 2
    • Bible 2.1
    • God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit 2.2
    • One, true church 2.3
    • Felix Manalo 2.4
    • Baptism 2.5
    • Excommunication 2.6
    • Eschatology and resurrection 2.7
  • Practices 3
    • Worship and prayer 3.1
    • Evangelism 3.2
    • Outreach 3.3
  • Administration and organization 4
    • Ecclesiastical districts 4.1
      • The Americas 4.1.1
      • Asia 4.1.2
      • Europe 4.1.3
      • Africa 4.1.4
      • Australia 4.1.5
  • Architecture 5
  • Geographic distribution and membership 6
  • Social influence in the Philippines 7
  • Reception from other religions 8
  • Notes 9
  • References 10
  • External links 11


During American colonial rule over the Philippines, there were a variety of rural anti-colonial movements, often with religious undertones,[17] and American Protestant missionaries introduced several alternatives to the Roman Catholic Church, the established church during Spanish colonial period.[18]


Built in 1937, the former chapel of the Punta, Manila congregation is now an INC museum[19]

Felix Manalo, born on May 10, 1886, in Taguig, Philippines, was baptized a Roman Catholic. In his teenage years, Manalo became dissatisfied with Roman Catholic theology. According to the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, the establishment of the Philippine Independent Church (also called the Aglipayan Church) was his major turning point, but Manalo remained uninterested since its doctrines were mainly Catholic. In 1904, he joined the Methodist Episcopal Church,[20] entered the Methodist seminary, and became a pastor for a while.[21] He also sought through various denominations, including the Presbyterian Church, Christian Mission, and finally Seventh-day Adventist Church in 1911. Manalo left the Adventist church in 1913, and associated himself with atheist and agnostic peers.[5][22]

On November 1913, Manalo secluded himself with religious literature and unused notebooks in a friend's house in Pasay, instructing everyone in the house not to disturb him. He emerged from seclusion three days later with his new-found doctrines.[5][6] Manalo, together with his wife, went to Punta, Santa Ana, Manila on November 1913, and started preaching. He left the congregation in the care of his first ordained minister, and returned to his native Taguig to evangelise; there, he was ridiculed and stoned in his meetings with locals. He was later able to baptize a few converts, including some of his persecutors. He later registered his new-found religion as the Iglesia ni Cristo (English: Church of Christ; Spanish: Iglesia de Cristo) on July 27, 1914, at the Bureau of Commerce as a corporation sole, with himself as the first executive minister.[5][20][22] Expansion followed as INC started building congregations in the provinces in 1916.[23] The first three ministers were ordained in 1919.[6]

By 1924, INC had about 3,000 to 5,000 adherents in 43 or 45 congregations in Manila and six nearby provinces.[22] By 1936, INC had 85,000 members. This figure grew to 200,000 by 1954.[23] A Cebu congregation was built in 1937—the first to be established outside of Luzon, and the first in the Visayas. The first mission to Mindanao was commissioned in 1946. Meanwhile, its first concrete chapel was built in Sampaloc, Manila in 1948.[22][24] Adherents fleeing for the provinces away from Manila, where the Japanese forces were concentrated during the World War II, were used for evangelization.[22] As Manalo's health began to fail in the 1950s, his son Eraño began taking leadership of the Church. Felix Manalo died on April 12, 1963.[23][24] Within the span of 49 years of Felix Manalo's administration, the Iglesia ni Cristo had 1,250 local chapels, and 35 large concrete cathedrals.[12] Felix Y. Manalo was a recognized and highly respected religious leader of the Philippines.[25]

International expansion

On July 27, 1968, Eraño G. Manalo officiated the inaugural worship service of the church in [9]

In 1965, INC launched its first resettlement and land reform program in Barrio Maligaya, Laur, Nueva Ecija. INC started operating a radio station in 1969 while its first television program aired in 1983.[23] The Ministerial Institute of Development, currently the New Era University College of Evangelical Ministry, was founded in 1974 in Quiapo, Manila and moved in Quezon City in 1978. In 1971, the INC Central Office building was built in Quezon City. In 1984, the 7,000-seater Central Temple was added in the complex. The Tabernacle, a multipurpose, tent-like building which can accommodate up to 4,000 persons, was finished in 1989. The complex also includes the New Era University, a higher-education institution run by INC.[22] Eraño Manalo died on August 31, 2009.[13] His son, Eduardo V. Manalo, succeeded him as executive minister upon his death.[14]


On July 21, 2014, President Benigno Aquino III and INC executive minister Eduardo Manalo led the inauguration of Ciudad de Victoria,[26] a 140-hectare tourism zone in Bocaue and Santa Maria, Bulacan, where the Philippine Arena is also located. The Philippine Arena, a 55,000-seater multi-purpose structure, touted as the world's largest indoor domed arena (by seating capacity), was constructed for the INC's centennial celebration on July 27, 2014.[27]

On July 27, 2014, INC celebrated its centennial anniversary at Ciudad de Victoria, with Philippine Arena as the main venue, and in about 1,180 worship buildings worldwide through live video feed. The week-long celebration consisted of pyro-musical displays, worship service led by Manalo, oratorio, musical presentation, theatrical play, quiz show, and evangelical mission.[29] For the worship service conducted for the INC centennial, INC secured two Guinness World Records for the largest gospel choir with 4,745 members[30] and largest mixed-used indoor theater for the Philippine Arena with 51,929 attendees.[31] On July 26, 2015, INC capped their centennial year through different activities such as International Unity Games, worship service led by Manalo, and Closing Centennial Celebration which were held at Washington D.C. USA, and the Philippine Arena.[32]

Within the span of five years (July 2009 to July 2014), INC has ordained additional 2,740 new ministers and enlisted about 9,000 new ministerial students, opened 220 new local congregations, 191 new locale extensions, 17 new ecclesiastical districts, and dedicated 603 new worship buildings (51 outside the Philippines).[33] Two main offices (Burlingame, CA, USA; Heathrow, London, UK) and 11 administrative infrastructure projects were also inaugurated in the same period.[34]

Twenty-first century

The first INC School for Ministry outside the Philippines was set up in Sacramento, California in December 2013. On November 4, 2014, Manalo inaugurated the new main campus building of the INC's College of Evangelical Ministry. The seven-floor edifice which is located at the New Era University grounds costs more than Php 1 billion or US$21 million.[35] On April 25, 2015, coincided with the dedication of the 600-seater worship building in Daegu, South Korea, Manalo led the oath-taking of 729 newly graduates of Bachelor in Evangelical Ministry as new regular evangelical workers. It is by far the largest batch of evangelical workers in INC history.[36]

During the mid of 2015, internal conflicts challenged the century-old church. It was when Felix Nathaniel "Angel" Manalo, the brother of current executive minister Eduardo Manalo, and their mother, Cristina "Tenny" Manalo, the widow of former executive minister Eraño Manalo, uploaded a video to YouTube alleging that the INC administration had threatened their life and that there has been a mass kidnapping of ministers. The Iglesia ni Cristo, however, denies the claims of kidnapping and has expelled Angel and Tenny Manalo for what they have described as creating schism in the church and power grabbing.[37]

Meanwhile, on February 28, 2012, INC held its largest Philippine-wide Grand Evangelical Mission (GEM) simultaneously on 19 sites across the country.[38] In Manila site alone, more than 600,000 people attended the event. According to INC, they held the simultaneous GEMs nationwide as part of their campaign for the intensive propagation of "God’s words".[39] On September 26, 2015, INC held its first worldwide GEM at the Philippine Arena as the main venue and in 2,125 sites throughout the world through video conferencing. It was officiated by INC executive minister, Eduardo Manalo.[40]

On October 4, 2015, INC, through Viva films, conducted the world premiere of Felix Manalo, a film depicting the origin of the INC and the life of its first executive minister, which was held at the Philippine Arena. The premiere broke two Guinness world records for the largest audience in a film premiere and the largest audience in a film screening with 43,624 attendees.[41]

Beliefs and core values

Iglesia ni Cristo believes that it is the true church established by

  • INCTV Livestream
  • INC Radio- DZEM 954 Official Site and Livestream

External links

  1. ^ "Ipinapakilala ang Iglesia Ni Cristo". Light of Salvation Christian Readings. June 2013. 
  2. ^ a b c d e f g h i Anne C. Harper. "Iglesia ni Cristo" (PDF). StJ's Encyclopedia of New Religious Movements (Sacred Tribes Press): 1–3. 
  3. ^ a b "Introduction to INC". Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ). Archived from the original on February 17, 2014. Retrieved March 6, 2014. 
  4. ^ "The official name of the church with upper case I in Iglesia and C in Cristo and lower case n in ni, as it appears on the copyright notice of the magazine Pasugo - Felix' Message". Pasugo - Message (Quezon City, Philippines: Iglesia ni Cristo) 59 (5). May 2007.  
  5. ^ a b c d Quennie Ann J. Palafox. "122nd Birth Anniversary of Ka Felix Manalo". National Historical Commission of the Philippines. pp. 1–2. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  6. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l Adriel Obar Meimban (1994). "A Historical Analysis of the Iglesia ni Cristo: Christianity in the Far East, Philippine Islands Since 1914" (PDF). The Journal of Sophia Asian Studies (Tokyo: Sophia University) (12): 98–134. 
  7. ^ Tipon, Emmanuel (July 28, 2004)."Iglesia ni Cristo celebrates 90th anniversary" (archived from the original on 2007-10-13). Retrieved August 19, 2005
  8. ^ a b c d e f Anne C. Harper (2001-03-01). The Iglesia ni Cristo and Evangelical Christianity (PDF). The Network for Strategic Missions. pp. 101–119. Retrieved 2011-06-12. 
  9. ^ a b c "Iglesia ni Cristo - Church of Christ - Official Website". Organization. Iglesia ni Cristo. p. Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  10. ^ Palafox, Quennie Ann J. 'First Executive Minister of the Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ)' "National Historical Institute"
  11. ^ a b c Johan D. Tangelder. "Sects and Cults: Iglesia ni Cristo". Reformed Reflections. Retrieved 2011-06-20. 
  12. ^ a b Sanders, Albert J., "An Appraisal of the Iglesia ni Cristo," in Studies in Philippine Church History, ed. Anderson, Gerald H. (Cornell University Press, 1969)
  13. ^ a b Arlyn dela Cruz (2009-09-02). "Iglesia ni Cristo leader Eraño Manalo dies". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  14. ^ a b Aries Rufo (2009-09-02). "No shifts seen when Ka Erdie's son takes over INC". ABS–CBN News. Retrieved 2011-10-07. 
  15. ^ a b c "Demography". Philippines in Figures (PDF). Manila: National Statistics Office. 2014. p. 27.  
  16. ^ Philippines, CIA Factbook
  17. ^ "IFI History". Iglesia Filipina Independiente. Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  18. ^ "America and Protestantism in the Philippines". Australian National University. Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  19. ^ "Punta And The Iglesia Ni Cristo". The Urban Roamer. Retrieved August 24, 2014. 
  20. ^ a b Juan Miguel Zubiri (2011-05-12). P.S. Res. No. 471 (PDF). Quezon City: Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  21. ^ a b c d e f Robin A. Brace (February 2009). "Who are the 'Iglesia ni Cristo'?". UK Apologetics. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  22. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q Robert R. Reed (2001). "The Iglesia ni Cristo, 1914-2000. From obscure Philippine faith to global belief system" (PDF). Journal of the Humanities and Social Sciences of Southeast Asia and Oceania (Leiden: Royal Netherlands of Southeast Asian and Caribbean Studies) 157 (3): 561–608. 
  23. ^ a b c d "96th Anniversary of the Iglesia ni Cristo on Tuesday, July 27, 2010". Manila Bulletin. 2010-07-26. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  24. ^ a b Quennie Ann J. Palafox. "The Iglesia ni Cristo". National Historical Commission of the Philippines. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  25. ^ Editorial, Manila Bulleting Online, May 10, 2007
  26. ^ Archangel, Xianne (July 21, 2014). "PNoy, Ka Eduardo Manalo unveil marker for Ciudad de Victoria". GMA News. Retrieved July 21, 2014. 
  27. ^ Donna, Cueto-Ibanez (July 20, 2014). "Iglesia opens world’s largest indoor arena for centennial rites". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved July 20, 2014. 
  28. ^ Paterno Esmaquel II, Published 12:03 PM, Jul 27, 2014. "Iglesia ni Cristo breaks 2 Guinness records". 
  29. ^ Archangel, Pia (July 27, 2014). "24 Oras: Pagdiriwang ng sentenaryo ng INC, tuloy-tuloy ngayong linggo". YouTube (GMA News). Retrieved July 27, 2014. 
  30. ^ "Largest Gospel Choir". Guinness World Records. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  31. ^ "Largest Mixed-Use Indoor Theatre". Guinness World Records. Retrieved October 1, 2014. 
  32. ^ "Featured News: Ciudad de Victoria, Bulacan, Philippines". Iglesia Ni Cristo Media. 26 July 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  33. ^ Velez, Freddie (July 28, 2014). "More than 1 million INC members mark centennial". Manila Bulletin. Retrieved July 30, 2014. 
  34. ^ Cornelio, Jayeel (July 27, 2014). "INC, Philippine Arena, and religious worlding". Rappler. Retrieved August 16, 2014. 
  35. ^ "November 4 [CEM New Building Inauguration]". Iglesia Ni Cristo Media. November 14, 2014. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  36. ^ "Executive News: April 25, 2015 [ Daegu, South Korea ]". INC. April 25, 2015. Retrieved May 22, 2015. 
  37. ^ Hofileña, Chay F. "Iglesia ni Cristo head expels mother, brother". Retrieved 23 July 2015. 
  38. ^ "I.N.C. holds 19 simultaneous grand evangelical missions nationwide". Business Mirror. February 27, 2012. Archived from the original on 2012-04-02. 
  39. ^ Dennis C. Lovendino (March 2012). "United in the mission to propagate the gospel". PASUGO God's Message (Quezon City, Philippines: Iglesia ni Cristo) 64 (3): 14.  
  40. ^ "INC leader thanks guests who attended Church’s first simultaneous worldwide evangelical mission". Eagle News Service. 28 September 2015. Retrieved 28 September 2015. 
  41. ^ Felix Manalo" sets two world records""". Eagle News. 4 October 2015. Retrieved 4 October 2015. 
  42. ^ Harper, Ann C. (2001). "The Iglesia ni and Evangelical Christianity".  
  43. ^ "The Real History of Christianity: Part III". The Real History of Christianity. Iglesia ni Cristo. pp. video @18:49. Archived from the original on July 31, 2013. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  44. ^ "Iglesia ni Cristo - Church of Christ - Official Website". Organization. Iglesia ni Cristo. p. Independent. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  45. ^ a b c d e f Iglesia ni Cristo. "A church that shares". Core Values. Iglesia ni Cristo. Archived from the original on 2013-07-31. Retrieved 26 March 2013. 
  46. ^ a b Pasugo (PDF) (in Tagalog) 20 (2). Quezon City: Iglesia ni Cristo. November 1968. p. 19.  
  47. ^ Pasugo (PDF) 21 (8). Quezon City: Iglesia ni Cristo. August 1969. p. 17.  
  48. ^ "Is the Holy Spirit God?". Iglesia Ni Cristo. Archived from the original on July 4, 2014. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
  49. ^ a b c d "Iglesia ni Cristo". Catholic Answers. 2004-08-10. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  50. ^ a b c Malou Mangahas; Avigail M. Olarte (2002-04-30). "A Most Powerful Union". Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  51. ^ (Pasugo, November 1973, 6)
  52. ^ (Lamsa translation; cited in Pasugo, April 1978)
  53. ^ Bocobo, Antonio E., JR. “On Choosing The True Religion.” October – December 1991, pp. 14,15
  54. ^ INC quotes Isaiah 43:5 from a inexact paraphrase by Protestant Bible scholar James Moffatt that reads, "From the far east will I bring your offspring." Citing this translation, one Iglesia work states, "Is it not clear that you can read the words ‘far east’? Clear! Why does not the Tagalog Bible show them? That is not our fault, but that of those who translated the Tagalog Bible from English—the Catholics and Protestants" (Isang Pagbubunyag Sa Iglesia ni Cristo, 1964:131)
  55. ^ "Islands Find a New Faith: Sect Gains Foothold". The Milwaukee Journal. June 20, 1959. Retrieved 18 February 2015. 
  56. ^ "The four angels holding the winds were leaders of nations, who were also messengers, or angels, as written in I Pet. 2:13-14. The wind that they were controlling refers to war as mentioned in Jer. 4:11-13, 19. This was the war that broke out on 1914. The four leaders of nations who worked on the prevention of the war, which broke out in 1914, were Lloyd George of Great Britain, Clemenceau of France, Orlando of Italy, and Wilson of America. They were better known as the Big Four" (World History, p. 494)--(Pasugo, July 1964, p. 33).
  57. ^ Eraño G. Manalo (1989). "Lesson 22: Baptism". Fundamental Beliefs of the Iglesia ni Cristo. Quezon City: Iglesia ni Cristo. 
  58. ^ "Shepherd, Harvey". July 30, 1994. Retrieved 2009-04-29. 
  59. ^ "Leksyon #10, Doktrina 3b". ‘Ang Pinakamabigat Na Parusa Na Maaaring Igawad Sa Isang Iglesia ni Cristo’ (in Filipino). Iglesia ni Cristo. 1998. (Doctrinal lessons for third year ministerial students) 
  60. ^ "Iglesia ni Cristo - Church of Christ - Official Website". Organization. Iglesia ni Cristo. pp. Worship Services. Retrieved 25 March 2013. 
  61. ^ Geronimo, Jee (July 24, 2014). "Faith in action: The practices of Iglesia ni Cristo". Rappler. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  62. ^ "Iglesia Ni Cristo (1914)". The Bereans: Apologetics Research Ministries (Philippines). Retrieved 2011-06-19. 
  63. ^ Levi M. Castro (May 2007). "God's Last Work of Salvation". Pasugo (Quezon City: Iglesia ni Cristo) 59 (5): 28–30.  
  64. ^ Hirofumi Ando (1969). "A Study of the Iglesia Ni Cristo: A Politico-Religious Sect in the Philippines". Pacific Affairs (University of British Columbia) 42 (3): 334–345.  
  65. ^ Bienvenido C. Santiago (September 2008). "We Always Ought to Pray". Pasugo (Quezon City: Iglesia ni Cristo) 60 (9): 2–3.  
  66. ^ Roland A. Aguirre (September 2008). "Why Prayer Matters". Pasugo (Quezon City: Iglesia ni Cristo) 60 (9): 10–14.  
  67. ^ Dennis C. Lovendino (March 2012). "A mandate zealously fulfilled". PASUGO God's Message (Quezon City, Philippines: Iglesia ni Cristo) 64 (3): 25.  
  68. ^ "Missionary works". Iglesia Ni Cristo. Retrieved May 9, 2014. 
  69. ^ "Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko". Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ). Retrieved February 24, 2014. 
  70. ^ "FYM Foundation". INC Media Services. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  71. ^ "A History". Felix Y. Manalo Foundation, Inc. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  72. ^ "INC holds trade summit, job fair". The Philippine Star. January 28, 2014. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  73. ^ Cueto-Ybañez, Donna (July 9, 2012). "Iglesia ni Cristo breaks 3 Guinness records". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  74. ^ "Huge Filipino charity walk breaks Guinness records". Yahoo! News. February 16, 2014. Retrieved February 17, 2014. 
  75. ^ "PH Sets Another Guinness Record with INC’s Lingap sa Mamamayan". Eagle Broadcasting Corporation. Retrieved February 23, 2014. 
  76. ^ Gabieta, Joey (March 16, 2014). "INC in full force in aid, relief plans in Tacloban". Philippine Daily Inquirer. Retrieved March 16, 2014. 
  77. ^ "Iglesia Ni Cristo to inaugurate housing and livelihood projects for Yolanda survivors". Eagle News. January 23, 2015. Retrieved January 23, 2015. 
  78. ^ Katherine Adraneda (2009-09-02). "Iglesia ni Cristo leader Manalo passes away". The Philippine Star. Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  79. ^ Suarez, E.T. (2005-07-27). "Iglesia ni Cristo turns 91 today E.T" (Web news). Manila Bulletin. Manila Bulletin Online. 
  80. ^ "A Signature in the Sky". Philippine Free Press: 25. July 30, 1994. 
  81. ^ a b "INC Directory". Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ). Retrieved July 5, 2014. 
  82. ^ a b Paul A. Rodell (2002). Culture and customs of the Philippines. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Publishing Group. p. 86.  
  83. ^ "Fernando Zialcita, Ph.D". Ateneo de Manila University School of Social Sciences. Retrieved 2011-06-11. 
  84. ^ Isabelo T. Crisostomo. "Biography of Brother Felix Manalo". Pasugo (May–June 1986). 
  85. ^ Bro. Marcoleta (May–June 1986). "The Central Temple". Pasugo (Quezon City, Philippines: Iglesia ni Cristo) 37 (5 and 6): 51–54.  
  86. ^ Orozco, Ron (January 10, 2014). "Places of worship: Iglesia ni Cristo (Church of Christ)". The Fresno Bee. Retrieved July 7, 2014. 
  87. ^ "Iglesia Ni Cristo". May 25, 1996. Archived from the original on 2001-11-17. 
  88. ^ Mangahas, Malou; "Church at the Crossroads",Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism, April 29, 2002
  89. ^ Hunt, Chester L. (1991). "Indigenous Christian Churches". In Dolan, Ronald E. Philippines: A Country Study. Washington: GPO for the Library of Congress. Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  90. ^ , (Manila: April 1, 2004)Inquirer News ServiceTubeza, Philip C. 'SC ruling sought on sects' vote', . Retrieved February 6, 2006
  91. ^ Jurado, Emil. 'The so-called command votes', Manila Standard Today, (Manila: March 7, 2007). Retrieved August 13, 2007
  92. ^ , ABS-CBN/SWS, May 14, 2001Day-of-Election Survey. Retrieved February 6, 2006.
  93. ^ Pedroso, Kate (May 7, 2013). "In the Know: INC’s voting-age members". Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  94. ^ Romulo, Michaela; Santos, Reynaldo Jr (July 25, 2014). "Infographic: What you should know about the Iglesia ni Cristo". Rappler. Retrieved July 28, 2014. 
  95. ^ Danao, Efren L.; Cruz, Maricel V., 'INC vote may be overrated factor' The Manila Times (Manila: May 4, 2004)
  96. ^ The Southeast Missourian - Google News Archive Search
  97. ^ "Now it's final: Aquino, Binay win in May 10 polls". Retrieved 2011-10-22. 
  98. ^ Ramos, Marlon Population bill advocates turn to Iglesia for support (09/24/2008)
  99. ^ Kwok, Abigail Solon: "Iglesia stand on population bill 'important'" (09/18/2008)
  100. ^ "Republic Act No. 9645" (PDF). Senate of the Philippines. Retrieved August 18, 2014. 
  101. ^ Paul Michael Camania Jaramillo. "BSP releases 100-peso bill Iglesia Ni Cristo Centennial overprint". Retrieved May 2, 2015. 
  102. ^ Tan, Kimberly Jane (July 4, 2014). "PNoy forms task force for Iglesia ni Cristo centennial celebration". GMA News. Retrieved July 4, 2014. 
  103. ^ "Phl gov't installs "National Historical Marker" in INC Central Office grounds". Eagle News. July 26, 2014. Retrieved July 27, 2014. 
  104. ^ Malou, Mangahas; Avigail M. Olarte (April 2002). "Iglesia ni Cristo: A Most Powerful Union". Mala. Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism. Retrieved 2008-11-11. 
  105. ^ Gutierrez, Jason (July 23, 2014). "Filipino church flexes political muscle". Al Jazeera. Retrieved July 25, 2014. 
  106. ^ Keating, Karl 'Into the Maw of the Cult' This Rock (San Diego: Catholic Answers, February 1990); archived from the original on 2005-02-08
  107. ^ Oppenheimer, Mike "Salvation", Let Us Reason ministries (2002). Retrieved July 28, 2005.
  108. ^ Oppenheimer, Mike. "The True Church". Let us Reason ministries. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 
  109. ^ "Ryrie Misquote". Examine Iglesia ni Cristo. Retrieved 22 January 2015. 


  1. ^ Pig blood is a major ingredient of Dinuguan, which is a popular dish in the Philippines.
  2. ^ The Church does not publish its membership statistics. Estimates from other sources vary. In 1996, Catholic Answers stated that membership was then estimated to be between 3 and 10 million world-wide.[87]


Meanwhile, the Members Church of God International, another Christian denomination based in the Philippines, has had a history of conflicts with the INC.

In a 1984 issue of the Iglesia ni Cristo's God's Message magazine, authors quote Charles Caldwell Ryrie's commentary in his Ryrie Study Bible on John 1:1 as being an example of a Protestant theologian supportive of their nontrinitarian doctrine that Jesus Christ is distinct from God. However, Ryrie has stated that the quotation was taken out of context, and that he believes in the Trinity.[109]

Let Us Reason Ministries, an online apologetics research group, has challenged the Iglesia ni Cristo's doctrines that one can only receive salvation if they are a member of the INC, and for saying that the INC has the sole authority from God to interpret and preach the Bible, while other religions do not.[107] They also say that the Iglesia ni Cristo fallaciously misinterprets Biblical passages in order to suit their doctrines.[108]

Karl Keating, the founder of Catholic Answers said in 1990 that the INC engages in anti-Catholicism and anti-Protestantism in its God's Message magazine. Keating views the church as being built on a set of anti-Catholic doctrines, and that their lessons, as well as their God's Message magazine are dedicated more to debunking Catholic and Protestant beliefs and doctrines than to explaining their own positions.[106]

Reception from other religions

Philippine Center for Investigative Journalism described INC as a "most powerful union" in the Philippines.[104] Meanwhile, Al Jazeera, a Doha-based broadcasting network, described INC as a "state within a state", saying that it is "an autonomous entity of its own, taking care of its members in remote areas where government presence is scarce, and plugging the gaping hole in terms of basic services that remain woefully lacking in many communities in the archipelago". Furthermore, it was described that the INC "have expanded their influence beyond their membership, and so the group today can be considered to be at par with political parties or national political groups." The inaugural ceremony of INC's Ciudad de Victoria according to them resembled a state visit more than a simple religious gathering.[105]

On July 24, 2014, the Philippine government, through the National Historical Commission of the Philippines, installed a “national historical marker” inside the INC Central Office grounds along Commonwealth Avenue in Diliman, Quezon City. With the historical marker installed inside the INC Central Office, the site has now become part of “historical ground” recognized by the Philippine government which mandates its preservation.[103]

On June 12, 2009, former Philippine president Arroyo approved Republic Act No. 9645, an act that declares July 27 of every year as "Iglesia ni Cristo Day", an official national working holiday, in recognition of INC's exemplary feat of leading its members towards "spiritual enlightenment" and good citizenry. The act is a consolidation of House Bill No. 5410 and Senate Bill No. 3281.[100] In the last quarter of 2013, the Bangko Sentral ng Pilipinas (Central Bank of the Philippines) had issued 100-Peso banknotes with an overprint of the Centennial logo of the INC to commemorate its 100th founding anniversary. The commemorative banknotes were printed, distributed and circulated throughout the country.[101] On July 2, 2014, Philippine president Aquino made a proclamation through Proclamation No. 815 to declare the year 2014 as "Iglesia ni Cristo Centennial Year". The proclamation was issued to "enhance public awareness" on the contributions of INC to national development.[102]

The support of the INC was reportedly sought out for passage of the bill for the Responsible Parenthood and Reproductive Health Act of 2012. In 2008, the INC and the Catholic Church were pitted against each other when health advocate RH Advocacy Network (RHAN) sought the support of the INC to counter the firm opposition of the Catholic Church and former Philippine president Gloria Arroyo to the bill.[98] Representative Janette Garin of the first district of Iloilo said the INC's stand could determine if the bill gets passed in the House of Representatives. She said the opinion of the Iglesia ni Cristo is “important” in determining the fate of House Bill 5043.[99]

Ever since former Philippine president Manuel L. Quezon created a lasting friendship after asking Felix Manalo for advice, the INC has been known for its strong social influence.[88] INC members are noted for bloc voting in Philippine elections,[89][90][91] with conversion turn-out between 68 and 84 percent of its members voting for candidates endorsed by its leadership, according to comprehensive surveys conducted by ABS-CBN.[92] This is in part due to their doctrine on unity. Recent estimates say that the INC can deliver a minimum of 1.37 million members of voting age (61% of 2.25M based on 2010 census).[15][93][94] INC vote seems to be only significant in close-run elections, noting that some INC-supported candidates lost in the election. Businessman Eduardo Cojuangco Jr. lost to Fidel Ramos in the 1992 Philippine presidential election.[95][96] In 2010, Iglesia ni Cristo declared support for Benigno Aquino III and Mar Roxas for president and vice president respectively. Aquino won the election but Roxas lost to Jejomar Binay.[97]

Felix Manalo's birth site was recognized in the Philippines as a National Historical Landmark

Social influence in the Philippines

In 2010, the Philippine census by the National Statistics Office estimated that 2.45% of the Philippine population is affiliated with the Iglesia ni Cristo, making it the third-largest religious denomination in the country after the Catholic Church and Islam, respectively.[15]

According to the official INC website, the Iglesia ni Cristo membership comprises 114 nationalities. It maintains 5,545 congregations and missions grouped into 129 ecclesiastical districts in the Philippines and 102 other countries and territories.[3] Catholic Answers, a Catholic apologetics group, estimated INC membership to be at minimum of 3 million members worldwide.[2]

  Countries and territories with official INC presence
  Countries and territories with no official INC presence

Geographic distribution and membership

INC churches outside the Philippines which were acquired from different religions undergo intensive renovations to meet the standard of their worship services.[86] Since most of INC churches abroad were acquired from different religions, there is significant variation from one house of worship to another.

The first chapel was built on Gabriela Street in Tondo, Manila in 1918, fashioned out of sawali (woven leaf panels), nipa and wood, typified the style and materials of the early chapels. After World War II, INC began to build concrete chapels, the first of these in Washington (Maceda), Sampaloc, Manila completed in 1948. Next came the chapel and former official residence of the executive minister in San Juan, Rizal (now San Juan City, part of Metropolitan Manila). The complex in San Juan was designed by Juan Nakpil.[84] The Central Temple which opened on July 27, 1984, can accommodate up to 7,000 persons, and cost about US$2 million was designed by Carlos A. Santos-Viola.[85] The Central Temple features octagonal spires, "fine latticework" and ribbed windows. Recent buildings are variations on the designs of the Central Temple. These are designed to accommodate 250 to 1,000 persons while larger churches in Metro Manila and provincial capitals can accommodate up to 3,000 persons.[22]

Iglesia ni Cristo church buildings primarily serve as places of worship and are used for other religious functions. These are described by Culture and customs of the Philippines, a book published by Greenwood Publishing Group, as structures "which employ exterior neo-Gothic vertical support columns with tall narrow windows between, interlocking trapezoids, and rosette motifs, as well as tower and spires." There are multiple entrances leading to the main sanctuary, where males and females sit on either side of the aisle facing a dais where sermons are made. The choir loft is located behind the dais, and in larger churches, a baptistry with pools for immersion baptism is located at the back of the church.[82] Meanwhile, Fernando Nakpil-Zialcita, an anthropologist from Ateneo de Manila University,[83] said that INC churches can be uniquely identified for "its exuberant use of fanciful forms and ornaments [and a] brilliant white facade whose silhouette is a cusped Gothic arch or a flattened Saracenic arch."[22] The distinctive spires represent "the reaching out of the faithful to God."[6] Prominent architects, such as Juan Nakpil (a National Artist of the Philippines for architecture) and Carlos A. Santos-Viola, had been involved in designing INC churches while the Engineering and Construction Department of INC, established in 1971, oversees the uniformity in design of church buildings.[82]


Administration and ministerial work are delegated into ecclesiastical districts (termed divisions until 1990) which are led by district ministers (formerly, division ministers).[22] Ecclesiastical districts comprise 15 to 70 congregations (referred to as locales) on average.[81] All locales were directly managed by Felix Manalo until 1924 when the first ecclesiastical district was organized in Pampanga.[6] INC oversees 129 ecclesiastical districts, 101 in the Philippines and 28 more districts throughout the world:

Ecclesiastical districts

The Central Office in Quezon City is Iglesia ni Cristo's headquarters. The central office is one of several structures inside the central office complex. It houses the permanent offices of the central administration and some of the church's departments. It is here where about a thousand INC professionals and volunteers hold office. Built in 1971 for 22 million (US$473 thousand), the building is currently estimated to be worth ₱1 billion (US$21 million).[79][80] It was located in Manila during its early years, then in San Juan, and later in Makati, before moving to its present site. INC also has two main offices outside the Philippines; in Burlingame, California, USA and in Heathrow, London, United Kingdom.[81]

Iglesia ni Cristo has had three executive ministers (Tagalog: Tagapamahalang Pangkalahatan) that lead the church administration in overseeing the faith of the members. Eduardo V. Manalo, as the current executive minister, serves as the church's leader, and, in this capacity, manages the administration of the church.[78] Along with other senior ministers which comprises the Church Economic Council (Tagalog: Lupon ng Sanggunian), the executive minister forms the Central Administration of Iglesia ni Cristo .[50] All church ministers and evangelical workers are male, however, there are numerous female church officers. Ministers are encouraged to marry for the purpose of obeying the command to marry and multiply, and to become effective counselors to church members with family-related problems.

Administration and organization

On March 14, 2014, after conducting a worship service in Tacloban, Leyte, INC Executive Minister Eduardo V. Manalo, led the groundbreaking ceremony of EVM Self-Sustainable Community Rehabilitation Project in Sitio New Era, a 3000-hectare property of the church in Brgy. Langit, Alang-alang, Leyte. The project which costs more than one billion pesos includes at least 1000 housing units for the survivors of super typhoon Haiyan. Garments and dried fish factories, and eco-farming project are also included to provide livelihood to the community. More than 150,000 hunger relief packages were also given which contains 3 kilos of rice, canned goods and instant noodles aside from the free medical and dental services conducted that day.[76] On January 23, 2015, Manalo inaugurated the livelihood and housing project.[77]

On February 22, 2014, INC conducted another Lingap sa Mamamayan at its first resettlement project in Barrio Maligaya in Palayan City, Nueva Ecija. Coinciding with the barrio's 49th anniversary, INC bagged another world record after setting the record for the most number of hunger relief packs distributed within eight hours. A total of 302,311 hunger relief packages were given.[75]

On February 15, 2014, INC bagged another two Guinness world records when they conducted a worldwide charity walk simultaneously on 135 different sites scattered in 29 countries. INC holds the records for the Largest Charity Walk on a Single Venue when 175,509 members of the church finished the 1.6 km walk in Manila; and for the Largest Charity Walk in 24 Hours (Multiple Venues) when a total of 519,521 participants finished the charity walk in different parts of the world. The proceeds will be used for the housing and livelihood projects of super Typhoon Haiyan survivors.[74]

On July 7, 2012, the INC Lingap sa Mamamayan was conducted in the slums of Parola in Tondo, Manila and was awarded three Guinness World Records for breaking records in the most people involved in a dental health check, the most blood pressure readings taken in 8 hours and the most blood glucose level tests in 8 hours.[73]

INC also established the Unlad International, Inc in 2012.[72] It is the INC's arm in providing sustainable livelihood to its members.

Felix Y. Manalo (FYM) Foundation, the INC's arm in executing the Lingap sa Mamamayan and other related programs, was formally registered in the Philippines on February 4, 2011, and in the United States on May 17, 2012. The institution is also recognized in Japan, South Korea, Spain, and Russia.[71]

On November 19, 1981, INC has launched the Lingap sa Mamamayan (Aid To Humanity) Program. The program aims to provide relief goods, health care, and other services to the needy, especially those who are afflicted by calamities and disasters. It also provides seminars for disaster preparedness, first aid, and family planning. Other humanitarian activities such as blood donation and community clean up drives were also conducted in different parts of the world where the Iglesia ni Cristo is established.[70]


INC holds religious gatherings called evangelical missions regularly which aim to attract more followers. On April 13, 2013, INC launched Lingap-Pamamahayag under its project Kabayan Ko, Kapatid Ko (English: My Countrymen, My Brethren), which incorporates outreach missions to its evangelical missions.[69]

[68] In the

Since February 1939, the church has been publishing Pasugo[2] (English: God's Message) in both Tagalog and English.[49] As of 2010, the God's Message Magazine also features a Spanish section and in 2012 it has also German and Japanese sections. Felix Manalo wrote its first editorial where he stated the publication's purpose, including the propagation of the faith.[6] Issues contain articles which detail INC doctrines and refute doctrines which it considers as heresy, such as the Trinity.[8][21] It also features information on church history, educational programs and missionary achievements, including lists and photographs of newly dedicated chapels. In 2001, it had a monthly circulation of 235,000 copies.[22] For the year 2009, there were more than four million copies of Pasugo distributed worldwide.[67]

INCTV Channel-49 and INCRadio 954 kHz, the official religious channel and radio station of Iglesia ni Cristo.


The church encourages its members to make prayer a part of everyday life. Thus, prayer before various activities, such as taking meals and going to sleep, are commonly practiced.[65] Prayers recited in rote repetition are not observed.[66]

The church conducts regular worship services, one during the week, and one during the weekend, conducted in the local languages (providing sign language interpreters and translators in some congregations). It consists of singing of hymns, prayers, studies of the bible, collection of voluntary offerings, and benediction.[60][61] Both God the Father and Jesus are worshiped.[62] The ministers of every congregation in a given worship service use the same sermon outline prepared by the executive minister. Deacons and Deaconesses guide worshipers to their seats and collect offerings.[8] The singing of hymns is led by the locale's choir. The first hymnbook, termed as Himnario, which consists about 300 songs, was published in 1937. Children worship services (Tagalog: Pagsamba ng kabataan or PNK) are held every weekend. They use similar lessons as the standard worship services taught using the Socratic method (question and answer).[6] The church teaches that willfully forsaking the worship service is a grievous sin,[63] thus members are expected to attend the congregational worship services twice a week without fail.[64]

Worship and prayer


INC divides time into three eras: the era of the Patriarchs from creation to the birth of Moses, the era of the Prophets from the birth of Moses to the birth of Jesus, and the Christian era from the birth of Jesus to the Last Judgment. Adherents believe Felix Manalo to be the last messenger of God in the Christian Era.

The church believes that God set a day where He will judge all people. They believe that this day is also the Second Coming of Jesus Christ.[45]

INC believes that a person is composed of a body ("vehicle"), soul ("individual") and spirit ("life" or fuel). Members believe that when a person dies, his/her body and soul both die and go into the grave where both will remain until the Second Coming of Christ, whereas the spirit will go back to God. Upon Christ's return, all dead servants of God, from the time of the patriarchs up to the last days, would be resurrected to join living faithful and loyal INC members. They will be rewarded by living in the Holy City or New Jerusalem, together with God the Father, and Jesus Christ. After 1,000 years, a second resurrection would occur, and non-INC members will experience second death which is the Lake of Fire (Dagát-dagatang Apóy).[2]

Eschatology and resurrection

Members who are not living in accordance with the doctrines taught in the INC are admonished. Those who continue in violation of INC doctrines after being admonished are excommunicated or expelled from the INC and thus lose salvation, and therefore, the church does not believe in the perseverance of the saints. Certain violations, such as eating blood,[1] being absent for too long without any solid reason during worship services, or marrying or having a romantic relationship with a non-member may result in mandatory excommunication.[2][50][58][59]


People who wish to be baptized in the INC must first submit to a formal process taking at least six months. Once someone officially registers with their local congregation, the person is given the status of being a Bible student (Tagalog: dinudoktrinahan) and taught the twenty-five lessons concerning fundamental teachings and its beginnings in the Philippines. These lessons are contained in the doctrine manual written by Eraño G. Manalo entitled "Fundamental Beliefs of the Iglesia ni Cristo". This book is given to ministers, evangelical workers, and ministerial students of the INC. Each lesson is usually thirty minutes to one hour in length. After hearing all the lessons, the students enters a probationary period (Tagalog: sinusubok) during which they are obliged to attend fifteen once-a-week group prayer meetings, where they are taught to pray and are guided in their adjustment to the INC lifestyle. When the sixth month comes, students who have been active in attending the twice-a-week worship services and whose lifestyles are in accordance with INC doctrines are screened before being baptized. During the screening, they are asked questions about the teachings of the church.

The church believes that baptism is done by immersion baptism or Believer's baptism by adults in water, and that it is necessary that people be baptised in the Iglesia ni Cristo to become disciples of Jesus Christ.[45] The church rejects infant baptism. Newborn children of members are instead dedicated to God through a congregational prayer, led by an ordained minister of the INC.[57]


As the one who established the INC, Manalo was the chief administrator, chief theologian and spiritual leader of the church.[11] As such, he was the ultimate authority in all aspects of the church, and effectively "the foremost Biblical authority for all humanity and the divinely designated leader of a reestablished church of Christ in the modern world."[22]

Manalo is also portrayed as the fulfillment of several passages in Isaiah and other books of the Bible.[6][22] Manalo's titles are "ravenous bird from the east" (Isa. 46:11), "worm Jacob" (Ps. 22:6-7), "one shepherd" (John 10:16) and "the last Elijah" (Mt.17:10-11; Mal.4:5).

INC says that Manalo is the "angel from the east", mentioned in Vittorio Orlando) who they say worked on the prevention of the war.[55][56]

Felix Manalo is said to be the restorer of the church of Christ, and "God's last messenger" (sugo in Tagalog).[21][49]

Felix Manalo

They believe that the Iglesia ni Cristo is the fulfillment of the Bible verse, Isaiah 43:5, where "east" refers to the Take heed therefore . . . to feed the church of Christ which he has purchased with his blood."[52]

The Iglesia ni Cristo believes that it is the one true church founded by Jesus Christ[45] and was restored by Felix Manalo in the last days. They believe that the first century church was apostasized in the 1st[49] or 4th century due to false teachings.[6][8] INC says that this apostate church is the Roman Catholic Church. Meanwhile, its reestablishment is seen as the signal for the end of days.[2][21][22]

Iglesia ni Cristo flag (the colors represent faith, hope and love while the seven-branched candelabrum or menorah represents the church in the Bible)

One, true church

INC believes that the Holy Spirit is the power of God and also not a deity, being sent by God the Father and Jesus Christ to guide God's people.[48]

The church believes that Jesus Christ is the Son of God[45] and the mediator between God the Father and humanity,[22] and was created by God the Father. God sanctified him to be without sin, and bestowed upon him the titles "Lord" and "Son of God". The church sees Jesus as God's highest creation, and denies the deity of Jesus.[21] Adherents profess Jesus' substitutionary role in the redemption of humankind. He is believed to have been "foreordained before the foundation of the world", and sent by God "to deal with sin". Members "are saved by Christ's blood" who died because of his "self-sacrificing love".[2][47]

The Iglesia ni Cristo believes that God the Father is the Creator deity and the only true God. INC rejects the traditional Christian belief in the Trinity as heresy,[2][22] adopting a version of unitarianism. They believe that this position is attested by Jesus Christ and the Apostles.[6][45][46]

God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Spirit

The Iglesia ni Cristo believes that the Bible is the sole basis of all their beliefs and practices.[45]



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