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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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Chapter Five:Ecumenism, the Church in Nigeria and the Ecumenical Option of Sullivan’s Four Marks of the Church

Extract

Chapter FiveEcumenism, the Church in Nigeria and the Ecumenical Option of Sullivan’s Four Marks of the Church

Introduction

This chapter is structured into three sections. The first section concerns itself with a general introduction to the understanding of ecumenism with brief historical illustrations of its early beginning. The second section introduces us to the birth of ecumenism in Nigeria and the factors responsible for it. It further enables us to know the extent ecumenical event has taken place in Nigeria, with eventual stress on the successes and failures it has recorded and the obstacles inhibiting its steady progress. The third section simply dwells on the explorative application of the four marks of the Church as ecumenical recommendation for a sustainable ecumenical engagement in the Nigerian context given its unique constitutive structure. We begin first with the general understanding of ecumenism as a first step towards a better appreciation of what the entire project entails.

5.1  Understanding Ecumenism

For a better appreciation of our further considerations in the subsequent sections, we will as a matter of necessity make brief illustrations on the essential meaning of the term ecumenism. We will do this by first approaching it through its etymology. This will be followed by a brief historical elaboration of its early appropriation and theological utilization by the separated brethren. Here, special illustrations will be made about the International Missionary Conference of 1910, the Faith and Order Movement, the Life and Work Movement and...

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