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An Ecclesiological Exploration of the Four Marks of the Church

An Eccumenical Option for the Church in Nigeria

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Philip Chika Omenukwa

The vibrancy of faith and the fast growth of different churches in Nigeria seem to obscure the reality of some precarious historical challenges that call for crucial and genuine ecclesiological inquiry. The Nigerian Church’s unique history loaded with various facets of indoctrination and the peculiarities of her constituents demands an urgent ecclesial and theological attention. Following an exploratory, analytical, critical and historical methodology, this book finds Francis Alfred Sullivan’s explication of the intricate nuances of the Four Marks of the Church as a fitting ecumenical model for the Nigerian ecclesial situation. It delves into this model and presents the findings through a catechetical prism as an alternative for effective and sustainable de-indoctrination. The author also finds dialogue as a probable effective tool for de-indoctrination, but also acknowledges that legitimate ecclesiological dialogue does not rule out difficulties in the process. He therefore argues that the consciousness of the ecumenical worth of the Four Marks of the Church as well as faithfulness to the principles of dialogue will lead to the resolution of much of these differences.
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Acknowledgement

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The world is too large to be my special and exclusive reserve. But, within this world exists my space where my continual search for meaning in existence finds its breathing ground. It is from this miniature world of mine, in tune with all that exists around it, that this scholarly work emanates, nurtured and nourished by the services provided by some cherished persons that deserve to be duly acknowledged.

Before any other, I must with utmost earnestness show sincere gratitude to the Most Holy Trinity, the Almighty God, the Giver of wisdom and knowledge, for his gifts and blessings. He always stoops down to my humble state as a compassionate Father. To Him be all glory and praise forever and ever. Next is the Blessed Virgin Mary. Each day in my life, I come more and more to the realization of why I must continually dedicate my entire life and priesthood to her.

My sincere thanks go to my bishop, Most Rev. Dr. Augustine Tochukwu Ukwuoma, the Catholic bishop of Orlu, for his paternal love, concern and guidance all these years of studies. Equally, I acknowledge my bishop-emeritus, Most Rev. Dr. Gregory Obinna Ochiagha, through whose hands I was ordained to the Catholic priesthood and who gave me the first permission to undertake a master programme in Philosophy in the Imo State University. I remain indebted. Worthy of mention is the Catholic Archdiocese of Freiburg for her great assistance. My sincere thanks equally go...

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