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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 4. “The Word Became Flesh”: Discerning a Pastoral Option for the Nigerian Church Considering African Synods I and II

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· 4 · “THE WORD BECAME FLESH” Discerning a Pastoral Option for the Nigerian Church Considering African Synods I and II The preceding chapters have advanced the argument that Christian religion is neither abstract nor esoteric. Indeed, at the heart of the Christian gospel is the profession: “the word became flesh and dwelt among us” (John1:1–18).1 In the incarnation of Jesus is the most radical expression of God coming to meet humanity where humanity is, and in a form with which humanity can relate. The very conditions of daily life, the social context of the people constitute, in fact, the locus of God’s self- communication, the place of the deepest form of divine encounter. Simply put, the incarnation implies that the Son of God became human so that children of men and women can live more fulfilled lives (John 10:10). This is the interpretation of the Christian gospel that lies at the heart of this study. Building on the rich ecclesiological framework of Ignacio Ellacuría, as I explored initially in the previous chapter, I want to look at pertinent dis- cussions of the African Synods I2 and II3 in 1994 and 2009, to advance my discussion for a paradigm shift toward a new pastoral option for the Church in Nigeria in the area of seminary formation, and a strengthening of ecumenical/ interreligious structures of dialogue and collaboration with other arms of civil society as rapprochement in emancipatory praxis for the Church’s ministry and witnessing, to be able...

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