IglesdanLCristo
(Church of Christ)
   The Iglesia ni Cristo, or Church of Christ, is an indigenous 20th-century Protestant church that has become one of the largest and most controversial churches in the Philippines. It was founded by Felix Manalo Isugan (1886-1963) after leaving behind his childhood Roman Catholic Church and several Protestant churches along the way In 1913, he felt a calling from God to found his own church. Following World War II, the church grew; it now has more than 1,750,000 members.
   The Church of Christ is staunchly anti-Catholic. It rejects the Trinity in favor of a strict monotheism: Christ is not God, though he did have a messianic role. Manalo is venerated as the sugo or last prophet of God, and identified with the angel in the seventh chapter of Revelation. Like the equally successful Jehovah's Witnesses, Iglesia ni Cristo members take literally the biblical injunction against eating the blood of animals, which in the Philippines means they refuse to consume a popular food known as dinuguan, prepared with cooked animal blood.
   The Iglesia ni Cristo has appeared in various countries of western Europe and the United states, primarily within the Filipino expatriate communities. It now publishes a journal in English, God's Message, and has opened a world mission headquarters in California.
   Further reading:
   ■ A. Leonard Tuggi, Iglesia ni Cristo: A Study in Independent Church Dynamics (Quezon City: Conservative Baptist Publishing, 1976)
   ■ ----, "Iglesia ni Cristo: An Angel and His Church," in David J. Hesselgrave, ed., Dynamic Religious Movement: Case Studies of Rapidly Growing Religious Movements around the World. (Grand Rapids, Mich.: Baker Book House, 1978): 85-101.

Encyclopedia of Protestantism. . 2005.

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