Iglesia Ni Cristo & North Korea: Brothers-in-Arms?

Today, Philippine bloc group, Iglesia Ni Cristo unveiled their new City of Victory near Manila. Complete with what has been touted as the largest domed arena in the world. You can read some more on Rappler. As well as the truth behind another one of their false claims here.

INC FollowersWhat I really wanted to point out here, was as I read Rappler’s article, I came across a photo of some of Iglesia’s followers, which immediately reminded me of North Korea and how its people blindly and in robotic fashion, have followed the Kims’, who have ruled over their nation for 60+ years now.

Once again, my curiosity got the best of me, and ignited another spark.

So how can I even compare a church and its brethren to a rogue nation? It’s actually very easy when you look at the recorded history of both parties.

First, let’s take a quick look at Iglesia and how it began:

Iglesia Ni Cristo was founded by Felix Manalo in 1914 in the Philippines. The phrase “Iglesia Ni Cristo” is Tagalog (the language of the Philippines) for “Church of Christ.” Sadly, while claiming to be a church, Iglesia Ni Cristo has all of the basic elements of a cult. The first and foremost is a single charismatic leader who claims to have a special revelation from God.

Felix ManaloFelix Manalo was a former Catholic who abandoned Catholicism in his teens. He experimented with several Protestant denominations and the Jehovah’s Witnesses. Manalo finally started his own church, the Iglesia Ni Cristo, in 1914. When a schism in the church appeared in 1922, he began claiming to be God’s prophet in an effort to accumulate power and re-assert his leadership over the church. As well as giving rise to a Personality Cult.

And now for North Korea:

Kim Jong-ilAlthough the DPRK (Democratic Peoples Republic o f Korea) officially describes itself as a Juche Korean-style socialist state and elections are held, it is widely considered a dictatorship that has been described as totalitarian and Stalinist with an elaborate cult of personality around the Kim family. The Workers’ Party of Korea, led by a member of the ruling family, holds de facto power in the state and leads the Democratic Front for the Reunification of the Fatherland of which all political officers are required to be a member. Juche, an ideology of self-reliance initiated by the country’s first President, Kim Il-sung, became the official state ideology, replacing Marxism–Leninism, when the country adopted a new constitution in 1972.

North Korean FollowersSo there you have it. Plain as the nose on ones face. Both parties, groups, organizations, political factions, or whatever the hell else you want to call them, center around a singular being or entity, who has not only placed himself before God. But set himself up in a “godlike” position for their followers to worship.

Both parties are known to have “purged” their worlds of so-called non-believers.

North Korea has done it through forced disappearances. Arrests and/or jailing. And even killings. In fact, the one killed is very likely to find his/her entire family waiting for them in the afterlife.

Iglesia has a more subtle approach. For any irregularities (suddenly giving less in the obligatory tithing), you are brought before the congregation and publicly humiliated. Greater infractions (marrying someone outside of Iglesia), gets you excommunicated from the organization itself. Sadly, your own family will practically be required to shun you. And you may also find it hard to find gainful employment, due to Iglesia’s clout with many businesses.

Now that I have gone through the hardcore, publicly known facts. And North Korea is beyond any kind of rescue, we return once again to the Philippines and what I shall now refer to, as the “Cult of Manalo.” How is it, that such an organization can thrive the way it has for 100 years now? This too, is a very simple question to answer. And in the following order.

  • Weakness
  • Fear
  • Control

Historically, Filipinos seem to have suffered from an identity crisis. For nearly 500 years now, they have lived as others. First, Spain and Great Britain fumbled around with the islands for 400 years. Then came the Americans. Only in the last few decades has any attempt been made on the Filipino’s part to create a sovereignty of some sorts.

This creates a sort of social weakness within a person. And can lead to that person searching for some kind of acceptance. This is exactly what Iglesia Ni Cristo has been feeding on for a century now. Much in the same way street gangs gain new recruits. Confused youths seeking acceptance.

By claiming their founder, Felix Manola was some kind of biblically prophesized angelic messenger (who died, by the way), this also allows Iglesia justification to play the “fear” card at the same time. In a nation that is heavily religious to begin with, Iglesia preys on the Filipino’s need of being truly accepted by God if they ever expect to enter Heaven. Thus, by joining their organization, you surely will. And if not, you are guaranteed a bus ride straight to hell.

Which brings us to the ever-popular notion of control. Once they have you resting cozily in their arms, controlling you is never far behind. This has been done by reminding the “now blind” follower that he/she must continue coming to their church. Giving their required tithe. Listening to their minister spout altered biblical readings. Etc. If none of this is followed, to the letter. Be prepared to get booted out the door. And reminded that you’re going straight to hell.

Which, when you think about it? Either North Korean or Iglesian. It’s probably a blessing in disguise.

Albert Anastasia

I'm just another ExPat enjoying life here in Asia. I am also having the time of my life exposing the ugly truth about the present Governmental administration of the Philippines. Especially that of current President "BS" Aquino. And the rest of his Liberal Party assholes.

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6 thoughts on “Iglesia Ni Cristo & North Korea: Brothers-in-Arms?

  1. Hahahaha. Indeed. It is really a cult. But still I respect them since I have also Iglesian friends. But I’ve managed and invited them in a Catholic Mass in which they’ve enjoyed the homily part. I quote “Ang galing naman. Yung sermon, purong sermon lang, hindi katulad sa amin na naninira ng iba”. Then after a month, they converted into Catholic but as far as I can remember, I didn’t invited them. By the way they are from Iglesia in De Castro Subdivision, in Brgy. Sta. Lucia, Pasig City.

    Cheers and Godbless! 🙂

    1. I hear you there Marc. I have a few INC friends. But when they ask me to join their church (very loose term in this case), I just say no thanks. It pretty much ends there.

  2. They’re not only similar to DPRK. They are slowly turning into an extremist “Christian” organization.

  3. This thread is based on mere hearsay. The membership in Iglesia Ni Cristo comprises 110 nationalities mostly converted or came from other religions. 110 nationalities?! And yet you are comparing us to other groups or country. In addition, this article shouldnt be posted here, not all filipino are stagnant! I cant speak for the others but The Church of Christ is successful and no other religion can attain or equalled the Churchs’ victory!

    1. Typical response from a cult member. Nice try though. And for the record. We have never once said all Filipinos are stagnant. You said that… remember.

  4. The INC and NK parallels are pretty accurate. I stopped attending INC services years ago but I still have immediate family members attending services, and with offices in the church. If I get caught and expelled for bluntly expressing my disapproval towards INC, my family members will lose their offices. This reminds me of the North Korean fugitive stories when a NK citizen broke a rule, s/he was publicly executed, sometimes with family members included.

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