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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 5. Invigorating the Call of the African Synods I and II in Living Out of the Christian Faith in Nigeria


· 5 · INVIGORATING THE CALL OF THE AFRICAN SYNODS I AND II IN LIVING OUT OF THE CHRISTIAN FAITH IN NIGERIA The preceding chapters have indicated that the Christian faith is, in fact, “constituted by justice, expressed, and embodied in our social relations as well as in our personal lives.”1 However, the practice of Christianity in Nigeria has “too often been isolated from its social and cultural context.”2 This disposition has impeded Christianity’s witness in the public life of the country and calls for rethinking. Contemporary public discourse concerning the common good revolves around two opposing variants: those who argue that all of humanity must do something about the right ordering of society and those who contend that it is the sole responsibility of governments to keep society ordered to address the needs of the common good. Many Christians in Nigeria fall on the latter side of the debate, believing that, for the most part, the Christian call is limited to perform simply acts of charity. Popular African religiosity has been shaped particularly in the direction in which spatio- temporal con- cerns are not the prerogative of good Christians, but, rather, those in civil governments are the only leaders capable of handling “worldly” matters.3 As Orobator notes, the basic understanding of any African regarding the Kingdom of God is, “God will offer access to the kingdom as a reward to the “saved” in the dramatic event of the “rapture” (cf. 1 Thess. 4:16–17). This Invigorating the Call...

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