Joe attends Iglesia Ni Christo church service

by joe134cd 21 Replies latest jw experiences

  • joe134cd

    Well I have heard various comments about them on here, so last week I decided to do an Internet search on them. I was quite surprised to find there was an INC in my local area and ironically only meters away from the KH.

    It was very interesting to say the least, and in the short time I was there I could quite understand how they get there reputation as a high control religion if not a cult. In some respects I think they are probably more JW than the JWs.

    Let me explain how my visit went. On my entry into the hired venue although I can hear the church service in progress, I find all the windows have been blanked out, and entry points into the venue locked. I Immediatly think "the windowless halls of the watchtower". Lol. Luckily I find a member outside who lets me in. Where by I have one guy with a patch on his back who sits beside me and the other sits in front of me. I couldn't help but think may be they had strategically been put there in anticipation that I could have trouble on my mind. I guess these two guys were the equivelant of a JW attendant. I just found it kind of culty that all entry points were locked, and Windows blanked out. The other mistake I made was sitting in the wrong section. Men sit on one side and women on the other. This observation became apparent shortly after I was asked to move. I kind of got the feeling that the congregation was wondering what a white guy was doing there.

    So now the service starts. It was on how the world is so wicked ( and yup good old Mat 24 got a mention) and how God is the comforter through prayer and his church administration. Salvation can only be gained through keeping close to the church administration in these last days and this is where we find comfort. If we deviate from this then we will lead an empty meaningless life. I was thinking "Gee where have I heard that before", and the thought of them quoting Mat 24;14 just made me cringe. Interesting in the time I was there I heard the term "Church administration" 6 times in about 30 minutes. I was counting. So just like the faithful and discreet there is a lot of emphasis put on ad hearing to what they say.

    Some other observations I made. . They had an awesome singing choir, and they could certainly turn out a good tune. The meeting was rather formal like the JWs. Those leading the Cong wore suites and ties, although I noticed a lot in the Cong were casually dressed. No one in the Cong had a bible in hand when the pastor mentioned the scriptures. They had a supper afterward, and the people were polite and friendly, despite the difficulty getting into the venue and the controlled entry point. The congregation had a very youthful aspect to it. There were a lot in the 18 - 25 year olds and at least half the congregation would of been 40 and under. If I was to place money on who would survive based on what I saw it would be INC. But that's not to say that filipino JW congs/groups would also show the same demographic. Another thing I noticed was the ritualistic way the passed the collection plate. Well it wasn't a collection plate but rather a white bag. In the other churches I have been to they usually have 2 people at either end of the isles and the congregation members will pass it from one to another. In this case however they had one person who walked in between the rows and I saw him looking into the bag as people placed the money in. I couldn't help but think maybe this is a way of obligating people - as the church dose have a reputation for extorting money. After the collection the bags get rolled up and held above their heads. It kind of reminded me of like the high priest making an offering.

    Ok the service ends. I'm asked why I came and who invited me. I think this is a requirement of its members to at least get one interested member. Similar to a FS report. I ask a member about some of their core beliefs e.g 1914, blood, trinity, of which he is unable to explain he also dosnt know what the sabbath is. I then get asked if I would like to see the pastor, if I would like to have a bible study, and For my contact details. like their JW cousins they arent slow. I explain to the pastor my back ground, and the reasons for me going. According to him eating blood is different to intravenios, although smoking heroin is the same as injecting it.1914 was for told in bible prophecy that the church administration would be set up and this is when more trouble on the earth started. INC dosnt believe in the trinity but the JWs do, because they use the name Jehovah - ok he lost me a bit on that one. The JWs are very different to INC. Although I think he was unaware of how similar they were or their connection to the Adventist movement. Last but not least don't look us up on the Internet as the only true source of information can be found on the offical web site - and trust me he wasn't referring to Lol. The pastor was clearly a company man so I listened respectfully to what he had to say.

    They have got another Service tomorrow. So I might attend it just to get a more clearer picture, and report about it if enough people want to know.

  • dozy

    Thanks Joe. It's a religion that has always intrigued me because of it's obvious similarities with JWs.

  • slimboyfat

    Interesting I don't think we have any of these churches in Scotland. I have considered attending a closed brethren church, but the issues may be similar, in that it seems they expect you to have an invite. They don't like people just to turn up.

    Things I tend to look out for include any literature they have on offer. Plus how involved are women in the service. And find out how the money situation works: it's always interesting to work out who among the congregation is being paid for their work at the church. Especially at Adventist meetings this can be quite interesting to work out who is the paid pastor an who work voluntarily.

    Before I attended any other church I had the impression that most conservative churches restricted women as JWs do, but this has not been my experience. In the Mormon church women speak from the platform, say prayers, lead singing. Among the Christadelphians, where the women wear hats on Sunday, women can lead midweek meetings, say prayers and so on. In fact I've not found any group as restrictive in terms of what women can do as JWs. It would be interesting how Iglesia Ni Christo compares.

    In particular it's got me to wondering: why are JW women not allowed to offer prayers at the meetings? This is a restriction no other group has that I've visited. Is there a Bible justification for it? They use the scripture that says a woman should not teach the congregation. But prayer isn't supposed to be teaching, is it? I wonder if there's ever been a WT explaining why sisters are not allowed to offer prayers at meetings.

  • slimboyfat

    Apparently there are meetings in Scotland. I'll need to check this out. ;-)

  • stan livedeath
    stan livedeath

    is this the religion thats big time in the Philippines ?

  • dropoffyourkeylee

    Joe, thanks for the report. Very interesting.

    Were the services in English? and if I may ask, in what country are you located?

  • scratchme1010

    Thanks for the information. Seems like it can be fun... as long as one can leave and post about it here.

  • Giordano

    I appreciate this peek into the services of the INC joe134cd . Good job of reporting.

    And of course Slimboyfat's reviews of various churches......... is also stellar.

    Here's what I don't any of these church groups do anything for the greater community? It seems to me the more specialized religions do nothing for the communities they live in. They are more like a private club.

    Covering the windows & limiting access re entrances seems very claustrophobic. Perhaps overly protective. It sounded more tribal then religious. Creepy.

    Maybe it's just me still filtering my Ex JW baggage but it seems like this is just another time wasting religion with high control at its core.

    But then again I think all religions are a waste of time at best.

    Probably good to know which religions are the most dangerous and which ones are the most helpful when it comes to the care and treatment of their followers and the community at large.

  • joe134cd

    Ok to answer your questions? Please bear in mind I was only in the church for less than 2 hours, so this is purly based on my observation.

    The roll of women in the church?

    I didn't see any women taking the lead in the church services. Although I did see women been used for collecting the money, and they were not wearing a head covering. I saw women singing in the choir. I would say due to the fact that they segregate the sexes for the services they might take a similar approach to the jws although they can do less formal duties. It would be interesting to see if they would do the head covering thing in the presence of a male. Interestingly they geographically divide a geographic area up into territories. One of the lead men I spoke to would of been the equivalent to a CO. I was also given a very high quality glossy magazine to take with me that explained the church.

    Is this the religion that is big time in the Philippines?

    Yes it is.

    Where the serviced in English?

    Although tagalog is the official language, they are very proficint in English. I guess this along with their hard work ethic makes them so attractive to working abroad, and migration is probably the main reason why the church is spreading out side the Philippines. There were only 2 other Europeans there beside me - and I would be guessing to say we'e married to Filipinas. So yes the whole service was in English, and proficient english at that. I live outside the Philippines in a 1st world country.

    Do any of these churches do anything for the greater community?

    Officially yes they do, get involved in community projects. But unofficially I've heard that it' rather limited to their own.

    Maybe it's just me still filtering my Ex JW baggage but it seems like this is just another time wasting religion with high control at its core?

    It is a very top down religion, with emphasis been placed on obedience to church administration e.g it was mentioned 6 times in 30 mins. I don' think disagreement with the top would be tolerated. Interestingly the guy who started the religion is viewed as the messanger similar to CT Russel.

  • careful

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