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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 Three:The Dynamics Of Sullivan’s Ecclesiological Articulation of the Four Marks of the Church


Chapter ThreeThe Dynamics of Sullivan’s Ecclesiological Articulation of the Four Marks of the Church


This chapter is structured in four sections. The four marks of the Church as presented by Francis Sullivan will be exposed under each of these four-fold major divisions. That is to say, that the dynamics of Sullivan’s ecclesiological articulation of each mark will form a constitutive content of each section. Each of these expositions will be made in view of actualizing our set objective. This means that our exposition will be a selective presentation of Sullivan’s ecclesiological articulation of the four marks of the Church, which we cannot even pretend to entirely expose in this one presentation. Our focus therefore, is an exposition of the dynamic content of the four marks of the Church, which specifically is deeper than is imagined.

It is of particular interest to note, according to Sullivan, that even within the Catholic setting, a proper analysis of the Creed ought to be made, because, there is much more to the oneness, holiness, catholicity and apostolicity of the Church than what ordinarily meets the eye. It is in this regard, that he looks at these not merely as visible ‘marks’ or ‘notes,’ but in their full reality as attributes or properties of the Church in all their aspects. Indeed, from the perspective of these four properties of the Church, one can as from a prism see the ecclesiological views of Francis Sullivan cutting through all...

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