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The Dual Reality of Salvation and the Church in Nigeria

Gabriel T. Wankar

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.

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Chapter 1. State of the Question: The Historical Reality of Nigeria and the Need for Salvation

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· 1 · STATE OF THE QUESTION The Historical Reality of Nigeria and the Need for Salvation This chapter, which serves as the basis of this investigation, presents a general diagnosis and appraisal of the historical evolution of the Nigerian State, with a view to unveil aspects of the social lives of those people which should be the target of the Church’s message of salvation. My diagnosis will, first, provide an outline of the specific historical evolution of the Nigerian State from the time of its colonization to contemporary independent Nigeria, emphasizing current political and economic realities that affect the Nigerian people. Second, it will review the life of the Church in Nigeria, paying attention to the concept of salvation as it relates to the situation of the people, and how in its limited way, the Church approaches social issues of economic and political exclusion of a dysfunctional democracy. It is important to state from the outset that the Nigerian Church does not exist in a vacuum, but that it is always conditioned by historical factors of both time and place. The Church in Nigeria, therefore, cannot be treated in isolation from the conditions of social life, which are prevalent in that country. Hence, any assessment made regarding the Church’s actions or inac- tions towards prevalent social conditions of poverty, death, corruption, and disregard for the rule of law by a small corrupt clique should be viewed against the background of its existence in a society that suffers from these vices. This...

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