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An Ecclesiological Exploration of the Four Marks of the Church

An Eccumenical Option for the Church in Nigeria


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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Chapter Two:The Marks of the Church


Chapter TwoThe Marks of the Church


This second chapter is structured in four sections. Each of these sections borders on a theological discourse on each of the marks (notae) of the Church. We will conduct our study here carefully by treating the issues in this chapter in conscious exclusion of Sullivan’s theological meditation on them, although the entire corpus of our investigative inquiry borders on an ecumenico-ecclesiological exploration of the marks of the Church in the ecclesiology of Sullivan, which will be given a considerable treatment in the next chapter. Indeed, a study of the theological nuances of the four marks of the Church in this chapter will be a crucial prelude to an appreciation of Sullivan’s take on these four marks.

Here, the marks of the Church will be treated not without any teleological motivation, but with a clear-cut intention of touching on such themes that will be of direct consequence at illustrating our set objective. To accomplish our desired goal, we will adopt an historical, expository and analytical method. The reason for such options is rooted in the conviction that with such tools, we will be enabled to wade into the historical past in view of discovering the reason or reasons that may have led to their formation and formulation into a creedal statement, and the understanding that may have been had of them even in apostolic and post-apostolic periods and then to the present time. I am inclined to think...

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