WITH THE PROLIFERATION of so many different religions and churches, many people are confused and do not know where to begin their search for the true Church. On the other hand, there are those who have just chosen to accept the popular belief that all religions are the same. But how could all religions be true when their doctrines and beliefs are not only different but also in conflict? The Bible teaches of only one true Church and that it has the name “Church Of Christ,” is prophesied, and believes the Father alone is the true God.
Importance of the name “Church Of Christ”
The apostles called the true Church the Church Of Christ:
“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)
Contrary to what many think, the name, as applied to Christ’s Church, is very essential, for no other name has been or will be given to us by which we can be saved (Acts 4:8– 12 The Message).
Since it is only by the name of Christ can one be saved, so the name of Christ should not be removed from that of the Church He built (Matt. 16:18). The name of the Church should follow the name of Christ Who built and owns it. Moreover, as the Church is the body of Christ (Col. 1:18), the name of the Church must follow the name of its head.
Others claim that “Church of God” can be read in other Bible translations such as the New King James Version— that it is the more accurate rendering of Acts 20:28. Such claim is wrong because the latter part of the verse states: “which he has purchased with his blood.” The rendering “church of God” means that it was God who died and shed blood on the cross. This contradicts other Bible verses that teach that God is immortal (I Tim. 1:17), is Spirit (John 4:24 Today’s English Version), has no flesh and bones (Luke 24:36–39), and therefore has no blood. It is the Lord Jesus Christ’s blood that washed the members of His Church of their sins (I Pet. 1:18–19; Rev. 1:5).
The importance of prophecy
Prophecy proves that the religion or church that has the light is the true one. Any religion without light is, of course, in darkness:
“To the law and to the testimony! If they do not speak according to this word, it is because there is no light in them.” (Isa. 8:20 NKJV)
The testimony referred to is a biblical prophecy:
“… For the testimony of Jesus is the spirit of prophecy.” (Rev. 19:10 NKJV)
Are there prophecies about the Church Of Christ that emerged in the Philippines? In John 10:16, the Lord Jesus Christ prophesied that He had other sheep. Christ called them His other sheep because they did not belong to the fold or flock at that time. These other sheep of Christ would come from the future:
“I have other sheep too. They are not in this flock here. I must lead them also. They will listen to my voice. In the future there will be one flock and one shepherd.” (Easy-to-Read Version)
Christ would bring them also and they would be made one flock or one Church Of Christ (Acts 20:28 Lamsa).
In a related prophecy, Christ’s other sheep is said to emerge from the Far East:
“From the far east will I bring your offspring, and from the far west I will gather you.” (Isa. 43:5 Moffatt Translation)
The place of emergence of Christ’s other sheep in the Far East is a nation composed of islands of the sea:
“Therefore in the east give glory to the LORD; exalt the name of the LORD, the God of Israel, in the islands of the sea. From the ends of the earth we hear singing: ‘Glory to the Righteous One’.” (Isa. 24:15–16 New International Version)
In fulfillment, the place where Christ’s other sheep would emerge is the Philippines, a country in the Far East composed of thousands of islands:
“The Philippines were Spain’s share of the first colonizing movement in the Far East …” (World History, Vol. 2 p. 445); and, “It cannot be without significance that the country which stands almost at the geographical center of the Far East, the Philippines, also be that in which Christianity has taken the deepest root.” (Asia and the Philippines, p.169)
Also as prophesied, the Church from the Far East would reach the Far West. This would happen when in the east or the Philippines people could see God’s brilliant deeds:
“till in the far west men have awe of the Eternal, and in the east they see his brilliant deeds; for his vengeance pours out like a pent-up stream, driven by a blast of wind.” (Isa. 59:19 Moffatt Translation)
When the Church Of Christ’s mission of salvation would have spread throughout the Philippines it would reach the Far West. This part of the prophecy was fulfilled when Brother Eraño G. Manalo officiated at the first worship service in Hawaii on July 27, 1968. This was followed by another gathering of brethren in San Francisco, California. These are the official beginnings of the Church Of Christ in the Far West. According to the 1976 World Almanac, Hawaii and California are part of the region of the United States called Far West (p. 88).
The importance of knowing the Father alone as the only true God
Having the knowledge that the Father alone is the only true God is another proof of the true Christian Church (I Cor. 8:6). Christ Himself revealed why knowledge of the identity of the true God is important:
“Eternal life is to know you, the only true God, and to know Jesus Christ, the one you sent.
“After Jesus had finished speaking to his disciples, he looked up toward heaven and prayed: Father, the time has come for you to bring glory to your Son, in order that he may bring glory to you.” (John 17:3, 1 Contemporary English Version)
Based on the statements of the Savior, knowing the only true God is essential to obtaining the eternal life. In other words, a wrong belief in God, or not knowing who the only true God is, prevents one from being saved. In His prayer, Christ used the pronoun “you” referring to the Father as the “one and only true God.” This discounts the doctrine of the Trinity. If the Trinity were true, then Christ should have used the pronoun “us” to include Him and the Holy Spirit. He never taught the trinity or even the concept of the trinity. The word “trinity” cannot be found in the Bible.
The apostles also taught the Father alone as the only true God:
“All of you are part of the same body. There is only one Spirit of God, just as you were given one hope when you were chosen to be God’s people. We have only one Lord, one faith, and one baptism. There is one God who is the Father of all people. Not only is God above all others, but he works by using all of us, and he lives in all of us.” (Eph. 4:4–6 CEV)
In the one body or one true Church, there is only one true faith, and in that true Christian faith, there is room for only “one God who is the Father.” The apostles did not teach that there is one God composed of three divine persons—the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit.
The teaching that the Father alone is the true God was also taught by the prophets:
“Don’t you know that we all have God as our Father? Didn’t the one God create each of us? …” (Mal. 2:10 CEV)
Therefore, the belief that the Father is the only true God is the teaching of Christ, the apostles, and the prophets. This is also the teaching upheld by the only one true Church today, the Church Of Christ that emerged in the Philippines on July 27, 1914 as the fulfillment of biblical prophecies. No other church called “Church Of Christ” teaches that the Father alone is the only true God. If a church teaches the trinity or a variation of it, it is not truly of Christ and of God.
Even by focusing only on these three main points—name, prophecy, and belief in the only one God, the Father—as the takeoff of one’s search, one can clearly see that the Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church Of Christ) is the only true Church.
This article was originally published in the Pasugo: God’s Message magazine, March 2018 issue.