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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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Theology of Historical Reality?

The greatest drama in contemporary Africa is the rupture between the good news of the kingdom of God and integral human development.1 This study makes the claim that, although the Catholic Church in Nigeria has always eloquently affirmed an inseparable link between the two, the tangible signs of the actuality of the kingdom of God proclaimed by the Church remain largely invisible for most Nigerians. What is clear to many,2 however, is that the Church’s participation in social transformation does not go far enough in unmasking and working to eliminate evil. Among other things, poverty of leadership has been identified as a major factor standing in the way of the Church’s witness as a credible agent for social change in Nigeria.3 Iheanyi M. Enwerem chronicles concrete instances illustrating poverty of leadership by Nigerian Church leaders, noting that a growing number of the Catholic clergy in Nigeria are beset with “weaknesses that border on the poverty of transparency, accountability, credibility, and ethical dealings.”4 Most of the senior clergy would seem to share the joint benefits of the standards and the status symbols of the affluent in the society, just as they share in many of its possibilities of power.5←1 | 2→

The considerable access to the political elite translates to sharing some of the privileges of power, which creates a tension between the traditional role of the Church as an arbiter of conscience, and guardian of the social responsibility...

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