The Dual Nature of Jesus Christ

One of most common marks of a cult is the denial of the Christian doctrine of the hypostatic union or the dual nature of Jesus Christ which is that of God and Man. Unlike the demigods of Greek mythology such as Hercules or the more recent Percy Jackson, Christ is both 100% God and 100% man; not 50% god and 50% man. Many portions of Scripture completely affirm His deity, showing that at no time did He lose His divine nature. Yet the Bible teaches, equally strongly, that Christ became fully human.

The Iglesia Ni Cristo (Church of Christ or INC), founded by Felix Y. Manalo in July 1914, strongly insists that Jesus has only one nature, and that is a human nature. Citing John 17:3, among others, they claim that only the Father is the one true God. According to Dr. Kenneth Boa, when someone realizes that Scriptures reveal Christ to be the complete God-man, he has three basic alternatives. First, he may decide to reject this revelation because it doesn’t make sense to him. Such a rejection would diminish or completely erase the Word of God’s authority in his mind. Second, he can try to reason it out, reword it, or illustrate it, as though it could be resolved like a paradox. In this case, people skirt the issue by minimizing certain Scriptures or avoiding a direct collision with the biblical data’s implications on this point. The third alternative is to acknowledge that no analogies or illustrations will really solve the puzzle and that the complete authority of the Word of God must be recognized, no matter how difficult some of its implications may be. All the biblical data is accepted by faith, and reason is made subject to revelation. Only when the Bible is approached this way can intellectual satisfaction be attained.

Just because our human intellect has difficulty grasping the truth of the hypostatic union, Felix Manalo and his “ministers of the gospel” deny the clear teaching of Scripture that Jesus is God incarnate. By doing this, it behooves me to understand how a man, albeit a special man, as the INC calls Jesus, can save us from our sins by becoming the ultimate sacrifice of atonement. A mere man, no matter how special he is, cannot satisfy the infinite wrath and justice of God. Only God Himself, in the person of Jesus Christ, can be sufficient.

Knowing God

“This is eternal life, that they may know You, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom You have sent.” (John 17:3; NASB)

The above-quoted passage is a favorite pet verse of Felix Y. Manalo, the self-proclaimed “God’s Messenger in these last days” and founder of the Iglesia Ni Cristo (INC) cult. He and his so-called “ministers” use this verse as a proof text to prove that Jesus is not God in nature. Manalo claims that the doctrines of the deity of Christ and the Trinity were only invented by the church leadership, as convened by Emperor Constantine, during the Council of Nicea in A.D. 325.

Indeed, Manalo’s teaching that Jesus was a created being is nothing new. The same teaching was espoused by Arius, an ascetic presbyter of Alexandria, Egypt of Libyan descent. The formal declaration of the doctrines of the deity of Christ and the Trinity in A.D. 325 does not mean that the same were just invented by the church council at that time. Prior to the convening of the Council of Nicea, the doctrine of the Trinity of the Godhead was already accepted and taught by the early Christians, it is only when the huge controversy arose and divided the church that a need for a formal declaration by the bishops was necessary.

The doctrine of the Trinity can be summarized in three statements, to wit: (1) God is three Persons; (2) Each Person is fully God; and (3) There is one God. Therefore, for Jesus to say that the Father is the only true God is still correct even though both the Son and the Holy Spirit are likewise each the only true God. Moreover, to base one’s doctrine on a single verse to the exclusion of all other passages that say otherwise, is incorrect exegesis. Our theology should be based on what the entire Scripture says. Just because we cannot fully comprehend its truth, it doesn’t mean that it is not true. The apostle Paul admonishes the young pastor Timothy to “pay close attention to yourself and to your teaching, persevere in these things, for as you do this, you will ensure salvation both for yourself and your hearers” (1 Timothy 4:16) and to “be diligent to present yourself approved to God as a workman who does not need to be ashamed, accurately handling the word of truth” (2 Timothy 2:15). In order to truly know God, we would do well to do the same.