This book proposes an approach to the connection between salvation theory and ecclesial spirituality in Nigeria, indicating how the factors of economic, political, and religious co-existence are related, with implications for a deeper understanding of salvation. Considering African Synods I and II, the author proposes a paradigm shift toward a new pastoral option for the Church in Nigeria in the program for seminary formation, which prioritizes strengthening of ecumenical/interreligious structures of dialogue and collaboration as a process of rapprochement to enable an emancipatory praxis to come to existence for the Church’s ministry and witnessing to "become flesh" in the reality of people’s lives. This entails a deeper spiritual and practical understanding of religion, couched in terms of dialogue that translates into alliances and cooperation for the common good based on ties common to all religions and, most importantly, the possibility of forming synergies with civil society organizations in pursuit of the common good.
The initial impulse for this study is to explore how the Catholic Church in Nigeria, in the spirit of the African Synods I and II, can overcome the ten- dency that confines Christianity to its personal and familial dimensions, and rediscover its sense of mission in service of God’s kingdom here “on earth as it is in heaven.” First of all, my gratitude to Most. Revd. William A. Avenya, the Catholic Bishop of the Diocese of Gboko, Nigeria for his encouragement and support. I remain indebted to all who have supported me in any way on this quest, especially the loving kindness of late Bishop Athanasius A. Usuh, of the Catholic Diocese of Makurdi, Nigeria for every opportunity he accorded me. Thank you to Most Revd. Peter I. Adoboh, Frs Simeon Iber, Daniel Ude Asue, Moses I. Iorapuu, Stephen Beba, Godwin Udaa, and Titus Imojime for being there for me all the way. Professors Bill O’Neil, SJ, Paul G. Crowley, SJ, Eduardo Fernandez, SJ, Iheanyi M. Enwerem, OP, Kevin Burke, SJ, and Alison Banders, have been inspiring mentors, excellent teachers and caring friends. Their critical in- sights, invaluable advice, and encouragement have made this research possi- ble, and I am eternally grateful to them. The scholars whose works I have built upon in writing this book, I duly and most humbly acknowledge their ideas and thoughts as listed in the bibliography. Father Stephen Saawuan intro- Acknowledgments xii THE DUAL REALITY OF SALVATION AND THE CHURCH IN NIGERIA duced me to...
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