Philippine Largest Christian Denominations Established by Filipinos

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The Philippines is the only Christian nation in Asia. Predominantly, the largest percentage of the country’s

population belongs to the Roman Catholic Church representing more than 80 % of the entire population. Aside

from the Roman Catholic Church, there are other significant Christian denominations/sects in the country most

of which were established by Filipinos.

In the real sense, the primary aim of establishment of a religion is to unite people but due to the mushrooming

of so many Christian denominations not only in the Philippines but from all over the world, and because of the

varying, contradicting and multiple doctrines of these sects people are divided.

1. El Shaddai Movement

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This movement is believed to be the largest born-again movement in the Philippines. They don’t have churches or

temples. Instead they gather every Sunday at Quirino Grandstand located at Luneta Park in Manila, the country’s

capital. El Shaddai is a Catholic Charismatic Renewal Movement from the Philippines. Its founder and servant

leader is Mariano “Mike” Velarde- better known as Brother Mike. Their Diocesan Bishop is the Reverend Jessie

Mercado of the Diocese of Parañaque, and its Spiritual Director is Novaliches Bishop Emeritus Teodoro Bacani of

the Roman Catholic Church.

2. Iglesia Ni Cristo

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One of the largest Christian sects in the Philippines with more or less 3 million members is the Iglesia ni Cristo or

Church of Christ, a Christian restorationist religious organization that originated in the Philippines. Most

publications refer to Felix Y. Manalo as the founder of the church. In fact, Felix Manalo officially registered the

church as a corporation sole with him as executive minister on July 27, 1914. The INC’s official doctrine, however,

do not teach Manalo as its founder. The most basic component of the INC’s beliefs is that Felix Manalo was sent

by God to reestablish the Christian Church in its true, pristine form because the original church was apostatized.

They believe that this apostatized church is the Catholic Church, and present Catholic dogma, such as the Trinity,

as proof of this apostasy. The organization does not submit to the dogma of the Trinity or the dogmas that Jesus

and the Holy Spirit are Gods

3. Philippine Independent Church

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This church is the first Christian denomination founded by a Filipino. The Philippine Independent Church, officially

the Iglesia Filipina Independiente, is a Christian denomination of the Catholic tradition in the form of a national

church. The church was founded by Isabelo delos Reyes on 1902 and made Gregorio Aglipay as its head. It’s

also known as the Aglipayan Church after its first head, Gregorio Aglipay. Since 1960 it has been in full

communion with the Episcopal Church of the United States (and through it with the entire Anglican Communion)

and, since 1965, with the Old Catholic Union of Utrecht Association of Churches.

Today the Philippine Independent Church or Aglipayan Church is the third largest Christian denomination in the

Philippines after the Roman Catholic Church and the Iglesia ni Cristo respectively, with approximately two to four

million members who are scattered all over the Philippines and with large congregations in the United States and

parts of Asia as well. The bulk of the Aglipayans comes from the northern part of the island of Luzon especially in

the Ilocandia region, where its first supreme bishop came from. Now the church is divided into 10 dioceses which

include the Diocese of United States and Canada. But, due to a lack of priests, many parishes in the USA are

priestless. The current Obispo Maximo is the Most Reverend Godofredo J. David, who has his central office in the

capital of the country in Manila (National Cathedral of the Holy Child in Taft Ave, Manila). The line of succession

goes back from the first Obispo Maximo Aglipay and which is followed by 10 other successors. The Philippine

Independent Church is considered the most tangible product of the 1898 Revolution against Spain.

4. Members Church of God International

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Another Christian sect with considerable number of members is The Members Church of God International known

colloquially as Ang Dating Daan, a Christian denomination with headquarters in the Philippines. The Church of

God International is primarily known through its television program, Ang Dating daan (The Old Path). It is not

related to the many Church of God groups that descended from the Barney Creek Meeting House revival of the

late 1800s in the US. While calling itself a Christian denomination, it is considered to be a cult by nearly all

mainstream Christian denominations due to their belief that only the leader of their church (Eliseo Soriano) can

interpret and understand the Bible, that Jesus Christ, while “a” god is a lesser god than the Father, and that God

is not Omniscient or Omnipresent. The group claims thousands of church locales in the Philippines, and around

500 international church locales in North America, Europe, South Africa, Asia, and Australia.

5. Jesus Is Lord Church

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Jesus Is Lord Church is a Pentecostal movement in the Philippines headed by Eddie Villanueva. Jesus Is Lord

Church is formerly named Jesus is Lord Fellowship, which started with just eight members when it was founded

by Villanueva in 1978. Today, the church claims that it has 3 million members in 36 countries.

6. Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus

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The Most Holy Church of God in Christ Jesus (Kabanalbanalang Iglesia ng Dios kay Kristo Hesus), is a Christian

denomination founded in the Philippines by Bishop Teofilo D. Ora in May 1922. It has spread to areas including

California, USA; Calgary, Canada and some Asian countries. The World Christian Encyclopedia estimates the

church has a following of about 50,000.

7. The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name above Every Name

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The Kingdom of Jesus Christ, the Name above Every Name was founded by Pastor Apollo C. Quibuloy, claiming

to be the appointed Son of God, on September 1, 1985. He started to preach in the slums of Villamor, Agdao,

Davao city with only 15 members. The small-group fellowship grew until it had spread across the Philippines within

a few years. Today, Kingdom Locale Congregations (KLCs) are in every barangay, municipality and city in the

country. This tremendous growth was brought about by the radio and television programs of Pastor Apollo. By

the middle of 1991, the ministry came into the television mainstream with the first airing of the Hour of Truth, which

later became “The Gospel of the Kingdom”.

Other Christian sects in the Philippines with considerable followings include Rizalista, Philippine Benevolent

Missionaries Association, Jesus Miracle Crusades, and others, many of which are considered cult movements.

Christian sects have been continuously sprouting like mushrooms since the days of the Reformation movement.

In the Philippines alone, there are more than 2,000 religious denominations registered in the Securities and

Exchange Commission. This does not include yet hundreds of unregistered sects and cults.

The big questions are –Why do people keep establishing different denominations when in fact we worship the

same God? Do they really exist to preach the Gospel of the Lord and for the salvation of souls OR for business

purposes?  Others say it’s a good business because it’s tax-free and it is the only business that doesn’t need

capital. Well, the answers lie in our hand, after all God has given each one of us the gift of wisdom.

Hope you have had a wonderful time reading this. Thanks!

See also

Religious Dogmas Being Used by Other Christian Denominations Against the Roman Catholic Church


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