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ECUMENICAL CHALLENGES AMONG CHRISTIANS IN NUPELAND (1903-2003).

BY

SAMUEL ZUBAIRU JOSIAH

 

ABSTRACT

Nupe Kingdom had its traditional religion like other African Societies, hence, they believe in divinities. These include,: Ewo, Ndakogboya, Ndaba Zunma, and others. Islam came later and penetrated Nupeland. The entire Nupeland was governed by Islamic legal system, especially at the advent of Mallam Dendo, who came to revive Islam in Nupeland. Mallam Dendo arrived Nupe country in 1810 after the death of the 19th Etsu Nupe.Christianity entered Nupeland through the Church Missionary Society (CMS) in 1841. The efforts of CMS has imparted the land positively. However, with the coming of other mainline churches and missions such as, African Independent Churches and Pentecostals to Nupeland, the life of the people have been improved greatly in all areas. That notwithstanding, the level at which Christians in Nupeland are committed to unity as seen in the priestly prayer of Jesus in John 17:21 was not encouraging. It has hampered the growth of Christianity in Nupeland. Therefore, this paper identifies hindrances to unity among Christians in Nupeland which is the bane of Christian growth. The researcher adopted historical and interpretative methodology to carry out the research. Historical method is necessary in order to get proper information about the ecumenical bodies in Nupeland. The interpretative method is germane to this work in order to make a proper analysis of the various information collected. Through these methods, the ecumenical problems in Nupeland are identified which include: multiplicity of ecumenical bodies, lack of adequate funding, denominationalism and among others. In view of this, the researcher suggests the following measures as solutions to ecumenical problems in the land: awareness among all ecumenical groups that only a joint task can move gospel forward in Nupeland; adequate funding of the ecumenical bodies by individual Christians and church groups, more participation in full time mission work, better organization of Nupe literature ministry, involvement of the mission bodies in wholistic ministry of the gospel. When these recommendations are followed, Christianity will have better impact, as a lot of these ecumenical obstacles will give way. Through this, Nupe people will have a better and practical taste of what the gospel is all about. The paper concludes by reiterating that more co-operation is needed from various denominations resident in Nupeland since evangelism is a task for all.

 

INTRODUCTION

Nupeland which falls in the territory of River Niger was visited with Christian Gospel during the 1841 and 1857 Niger expeditions. The expeditions were collaboration of the Church Missionary Society (CMS), the British Government and Commercial agents. Prominent among the explorers were Reverend J.F. Schon, Samuel Ajayi Crowther, among others.1

At the initial stage, the church was faced with various challenges which made the work of evangelism difficult, some of the difficulties encountered included slave trading, poor transportation and communication systems, ill health and death.2 The greatest of these challenges was Islam. The reason for this was that Islam had already become a way of life of many people. Despite these challenges, Christianity penetrated Nupeland and the first Christian mission, CMS became established. The church did not just become established but it has survived for over a century now.

There are many challenges confronting the spread of Christian Gospel in Nupeland in the 21st century. These include inadequate number of personnel, language barrier, finance, culture, disunity, etc. This paper attempts to discuss the challenge of disunity among various Christian organizations which has hampered the growth of Christianity among the Nupe.

The researcher attempts to undertake the study of ecumenical challenges in Nupeland for a period of 100 years starting from 1903. The Gospel seems not to have any significant impact in its first 60 years of existence in the land. Taking into cognizance its inception in 1841, the first CMS station was developed in Bida in 1903.3 2003 marks the hundredth year from 1903. Having existed for that long, one would expect that Christianity should have made a significant growth in the land but reverse is the case. In the preface written by Ike Nwachukwu et al, in a book titled: Evanglizing Nupeland: Prospects and Strategies, it was reported that:

There are not more than 4% Christians among the Nupes. This figure has been hotly contested by some people as being too low. But what has not been contested is that the total Christian population is less than 10% of the total population. By the time we look for those who are born again they can’t be up to 1%. Is this cheering news for a hundred years of preaching Christ in Nupeland.4

While we may not totally agree with these figures quoted by the author because of the paucity of statistical data to prove this assertion, we need to appreciate the fact that this writer may not be very far from the reality. Available evidences show that Nupeland contain a smaller percentage of Christians than some areas of the north evangelized much later e.g. Tivland and Idomaland.5

This became a serious concern for Christian groups in Nupeland and consequently, the Nupe Christian consultation meeting was summoned and held on the 18th September, 1999 at St. John’s Church compound Bida.6 The meeting did the appraisal of evangelism in Nupeland. One of the problems identified was disunity among Christians in Nupeland.

This paper shows that the success and survival of Christianity in Nupeland rest largely on proper co-operation among the evangelical bodies since this is what Jesus Christ commanded in John 17:21. This research brings out clearly things which constitute a challenge to Christian unity in Nupeland. This has actually limited the success of Christianity in the land. The paper, having identified its ecumenical problems suggests possible solutions to the problems highlighted.

 

Geographical Location of Nupe People.

          Nupe Language is one of the main languages spoken in the northern states of Nigeria. In the words of Awolalu and Dopamu, “the dialects among the Nupe do not pose any major problem since any of the dialects is easily understood by all the Nupe.”7 Nupeland lies in the heart of Nigeria. It is located within the low basins formed by River Niger and Kaduna which is between 9030’ and 8030NL8.

According to Idrees, the land covers a distance of about 11,200sq km.9 The River Niger traverses the length of Nupeland into almost two equal halves. A point drawn on River Niger from Leaba to the east of Kataeregi forms the northern boundary while another point drawn eastward from Tsaragi in Edu Local Government Area of Kwara State to Abugi through to the South of Baro in Niger State along River Niger forms its Southern boundary. The River Niger which flows straight north-south between Leaba and Jebba separates Nupeland from their Yoruba neighbours in the west, while the eastern boundary is slowly rising land east of Lapai and Gidi which flows upward towards the hills of Gbagyi country.10

Political Organization in Nupeland

          Prior to the time when Edegi came to limelight in the 15th century, Nupeland appeared not to have a universally uniform political system. However, oral traditions and available historical records show that three distinct political systems existed in Nupeland before 15th century when Tsoede came to unify Nupe Kingdom under one central government. These involved the Bini confederacy, the riverine polity of the Kyadya and batachi, and the independent village council system.

          The establishment of Nupe Kingdom has been traced to Edegi also known as Tsoede. He became the king of Nku with the royal title of Etsu Nupe. He assumed his influence on government over the entire Bini confederacy with the capital at Nupeko. He also compensated the twelve slaves given to him by his late father by making them chiefs of the Bini confederacy.

          Tsoede embarked on confederating Nupe towns and it was during his tenure that Nupe became a separate kingdom from Idah. He later moved his capital to Gbara when Nupeko became too small. He reigned for over sixty eight years and died at the old age of a hundred and eighty years during an expedition in a war.11

Socio-economic life of the Nupe

          The social life of the Nupe is very rich. Many of the social and cultural practices of the people are informed by their religious beliefs. The social life of the Nupe also reflects the passage of life, such as, birth, marriage and death. These stages of life are very important in the life of the Nupe and in consequence of this many ceremonies and rituals are associated with them. Birth is treated not as a climax but just a stage in a series of events. It starts with conception and ends sometime after birth. In the old traditional Nupe society, marriage can be categorized into two types: relationship and non-relationship marriages. The third type came with Islam and this can be described as charity marriage. Today, Christian marriage has been added to the social life of the Nupe.

          Marriage among the Nupe shows their rich cultural heritage and the importance they attach to the family life. With the arrival of Islam and Christianity in Nupeland, there are a few modifications. The belief of the Nupe is that death is a transition to another life and world which is about to begin. Life, to them is cyclical hence, their belief in re-incarnation. The physical body which is a material substance will decay at death but the personality soul called rayi which is the spiritual substance returns to its Source of Being.12

          The economic system of Nupeland was divided into four major sectors: Agriculture, transportation, commerce and industry. The major determinants of the economic pursuit of the Nupe were centered around the land area occupied and the climate of the environment. The availability of many rivers and streams made it possible to practice agriculture on a large scale and also enhanced the growth of fishing and transportation industries. The major rivers were the Niger and Kaduna. Aside these major rivers, there were also big streams which formed tributaries to the Niger. They included Gbako, Gazun, Kampe, Dukku, Egwa and Nalli.13 Agriculture which was the predominant occupation of the Nupe was practised at both peasant and commercial levels. Therefore, the economy of the Nupe rested essentially on agriculture. These agricultural activities included farming, fishing, hunting and animal husbandry.

          From the ancient times, the Nupe have been involved in trade and commerce. The commercial activities were hinged on the available rivers. There were river ports where different markets were located. These markets had international status because foreign folks from different places converged to transact business. Such markets included Raba, Katsa, Eggan, Jebba, Gudu, Gbaradogi, Kpatagban and Elah.14 Others included Baro, Koton Karfi, Bida, Gbajibo, Mokwa, Doko, Muregi, Lewu and Kutigi. Some of these markets still maintain their status quo as international markets but others have also been added to them. For instance, Gbugbu, a very big international market located in the terminus between Lafiagi and Patigi along Tsaragi-Zanbufu road in Kwara State is a market which hosts people across the globe. Goods traded include food commodities, wears and other related materials. It serves as a good source of income both to the state and local governments.

          Another important economic sector which put the ancient Nupeland on the world map was the number of medium and large scale industries which were available in their various sizes and locations. The major industries were those of weaving, blacksmithing and glass work. In the pre-Tsoede era, the most important industries were those of mat-weaving and cloth weaving also known as ede kpa.15 The Nupe tradition has it that the emergence of Tsoede facilitated the introduction of other industries like blacksmithing, brass-smiting, aluminum works and other industries seen in the Nupe country today. According to Manson, when the Europeans arrived in the 18th century, the Nupe were the best producers of clothes of esteem quality.16

Meaning of Ecumenism

Ecumenism is a term used for unity among Christians. The meaning grew with various events of the past. Ecumenism was a brain-child of protestants who sought to heal wounds of antagonism which came from reformation.17

The word “ecumenical” is from the Greek word oikoumene which means “the whole inhabited world” referring to that portion of the earth which had been brought within the orbit of Greek civilization as opposed to barbarian lands.18 This definition has an idea of the emergence of smaller society out of a bigger society. This goes along with the concept of a church which is the “called out” people out of a larger society. It is a group of people bound together with a strong chord as members of the same family who came from the same ancestry. oikoumene has the root oikos meaning a household, family, lineage, a people, nation and in its plural form it refers to members of a spiritual family or brotherhood.19    

From the foregoing, ecumenism could stand for the interfaith movement striving for mutual respect, tolerance and co-operation among people of the same faith. This is in line with William Rusch’s definition of ecumenism. He sees it as “the Christians international organizations formed to carry church’s concern for political, social and economical issues into the international arena”.20 It is an attempt to have a common ground on various issues of human life in accordance with the scriptural beliefs. This indicates that members of ecumenical bodies have more things in common than trivial things which separate them. They are united in their beliefs in God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Authoirty of the scriptures, etc. Hence, these commonalities become a magnetic force which draws them together towards a common goal.

In the early church, ecumenism was used for the great doctrinal councils, before its division.21 Since, the time of Emperor Constantine there had been many of such councils such as Nicaea, Ephesus, Constantinople and Trent. The essence of these councils were towards church unity. These councils represented the entire church in the world. With time, the emphasis of this word begins to shift from the world to a particular Church thereby making it to share similarity with other Greek word for the Universal church, Catholic.22

Another manifestation of ecumenism in the 17th and 18th centuries was what the people of the time called eirenical. This word was from the Greek word called eirene meaning Peace.23 However, the implication associated with this word was the fact that those who advocated for it encouraged peace rather than reunion. A way to ensure peace is by reaching agreement on vital issues. This still boils down to the issue of unity.

We need to make clear the fact that the concept of ecumenism does not mean all various Christian traditions are members of one single and the same confessional international organization. The one basic confession that unites all these different denominations or traditions is the Lordship of Jesus Christ.24

Origin and History of Christian Ecumenism in Nigeria

The history of ecumenical movement in Nigeria can be traced to the event of hospitality which Rev. Thomas Birch Freeman of the Wesleyan Methodist Society offered to Rev. Henry Townsend of the Church Missionary Society, when the latter arrived in Badagry in 1842.25 About ten years later, the Wesleyan Methodists and the Anglicans established their headquarters in Lagos in 1851.26 Thereafter, some other ecumenical movements established include: Evangelical Union, Eastern Regional Committee of Christian Council, Christian Council in South Eastern Nigeria27. The Christian Council of Nigeria (CCN), The Christian Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (CPFN)/Pentecostal Fellowship of Nigeria (PFN), Organization of African Instituted Churches (OAIC), Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN), Evangelical Church Winning All (ECWA)/Tarraya Ekklesiyoyin Kristi a Nigeria (TEKAN), among others.

Theological Basis for Unity

The scriptures do not mince words in emphasizing the need for oneness of the church. For instance, John 11:52 teaches that the task Jesus came to accomplish was to “gather into one the children of God who are scattered abroad.” There is a clear reflection of Christian Unity in the early Church especially among the apostles and other disciples. In Acts 2:1 the Bible says that members of the Church were with one accord in one place having one mind. They also had one doctrine and one goal, Acts 2:41-42. The passages cited above indicate that unity is part of God’s original plan for his church. Hence, ecumenism takes its root from the scriptures.

The great Apostle Paul also developed the theology of Christian Unity in many of his letters to the church. In his letter to the Corinthian church, he encouraged the church to be united. Prior to this time, the church had been divided along four basic lines, such as, Paul, Apollos, Peter and Christ. Paul asked the church a rhetorical question to show that division was not expected in the church of God. He asked whether Christ was divided [1 Cor 1:3], the division in the Corinthian church was informed by human loyalties,28 personalities and legalistic rules.

Goals of Christian Ecumenism

One of the goals of ecumenism is the enthronement of social justice and reconciliation. Where there is no justice, it will be difficult for the Gospel to thrive. Some Christians all over Nupeland today are persecuted, for unjustifiable reasons e.g. failure to participate in the worship of a communal divinity or paying money to promote festivals connected with such divinities, refusal to participate in communal work or meetings on Christians day of worship etc. Consequently, such Christians have common ground for coming together to raise a concerted voice against injustice, either against themselves or other people. This is in line with John Ferguson’s claim that, the ecumenical church has sought to apply Christian principles to social and industrial affairs where social injustice was perpetrated in order to remedy situations that were dehumanizing.29 Another aim of Christian ecumenism is to bring the social outcast of the society, the down-trodden and the socially irrelevant together and give them a sense of belonging. These socially marginalized individuals are built into an inclusive community where love is the principle of inter-relationship.30

          All things being equal, the more the number of Churches or denominations the better for the Gospel. The reason for this as outlined by Oyebanji is that salvation is not a denominational matter. He further states that when we eventually get to heaven no one will be judged or accepted into God’s kingdom on the basis of denomination. He gave the third reason when he says “right here on earth, it would be over-ambitious of any denomination to singularly want to monopolize the task of evangelizing the whole world.”31 Therefore, multiple denominations have a capacity to spread the faith through the exchange of pulpits, attendance of each other religious crusades, public lectures, workshops and celebrations32 without any gainsaying, ecumenism in Nupeland is aimed at evangelism as commanded by Jesus Christ.

Ecumenical Challenges Among Christians in Nupeland

There is no gainsaying the fact that there are challenges to church unity in Nupeland despite several ecumenical bodies. The growth and expansion of Christianity has so much been limited in Nupeland due to division among the Nupe Christians. Jerry Shaaba captures this vividly when he says;

 

There is no true love and unity among the Nupe Christians. Let us not forget that if we must war successfully, there must be two important ingredients, true love to share ideas, strategies and resources in order to advance the kingdom of Christ. This is no time for petty bickering, partisan jealousies or divided loyalties. No house divided against itself will ever stand.33

Division among Nupe Christians manifests in some of the ways explained in this paper. This actually constitutes ecumenical challenges in Nupeland. The first notable challenge is the pluralistic ecumenical bodies. Many ecumenical bodies in Nupeland are just duplication of efforts because rather than fostering unity, some of them are tearing the church apart. Where there is a multiplicity of ecumenical bodies, denominations making up such ecumenical groups seek their own distinct ecumenical identity and defined missions and goals which may not be the same with others.34 When this occurs, it makes total loyalty and commitment to be very difficult. The point therefore, is that, it is better to have a few but strong ecumenical bodies than many but weak ones. For Nupeland, activities of other ecumenical bodies could be successfully co-ordinated by primary bodies like CAN, PFN and NCF.

Another challenge of ecumenism in Nupeland is finance. No organization can be run smoothly without adequate funding. Many ecumenical bodies in Nupeland lack adequate funding which has crippled the activities of these bodies. Lack of adequate funding must have been as a result of multiple membership of the concerned denominations; hence to get the umbrella funded successfully becomes a problem.

Also connected with ecumenical problems in Nupeland is sectarianism. Different denominations in Nupeland in some ways have constituted obstacles to the spread of the Gospel due to the lack of genuine fellowship among them. In a situation where a denomination fails to see the saving and active presence of Christ in other denominations, it makes co-operation very difficult if not impossible. This is an example of Christian experience in Nupeland. According to Michael Ifeanyi Mozia,

This can arise from a sort of superiority complex. Wherein one constantly feels that one’s church or denomination is superior to another’s. such an attitude can blind a person to the extent that he or she may not be able to recognize the Christian elements in other churches… This can lead to a kind of holier-than-thou attitude which can easily jeopardize Christian unity.35

Theological issues constitute ecumenical challenge in Nupeland. This is a critical point because it is what makes the distinctiveness of these churches. The social problems in Nupeland require theological solution but in an attempt to do this, churches differ in their approach thereby bringing division among Christians. This is in line with what Ninan Koshy says, “the African continent has the experience of slavery, poverty, wars, disease, hunger and political instability, economic shambles due to growing corrupt practices, religious terrorism and cultural issues.”36 In Nupeland, the major social problems include witchcraft, drunkenness, adultery/fornication. Hence, in order to find solution to them, Christians in Nupeland are poles apart, especially from the theological perspective. Therefore, theological differences among churches is a serious challenge.

Strife, Envy and Jealousy: Oyebanji makes a very important statement on one of the challenges to church unity not in Nigeria alone but all over the world. According to him,

Strife, envy and jealousy are a major disease of churches world-wide but the Nigerian situation is very worrisome. Just as there is unhealthy rivalry among the three broad groups of denominations, i.e. the catholic, the protestant and the Pentecostals, so also are rancor, envy and jealousy among the various sub-groups in each category and across categories… with all due respect, this is the situation in which many Nigerian churches are today, irrespective of their location.37  

          Oyebanji’s statement aptly describes the situation of the Church of Christ in Nupeland. Regardless of the presence and activities of the Christian Association of Nigeria (CAN) in Nupeland the problem still lingers on. This is a serious setback to church unity.

Emergence of False Teachers and Prophets: The love of money has made many Christians to deviate from the sound doctrinal teachings of the scriptures. Many of the churches founded in Nigeria, of which Nupeland has its own share, are not founded for evangelism but economic reasons, a means of livelihood for impoverished homes.38 When such happens some churches in this category may resort into the use of diabolical means to effect miracles in order to draw more membership to themselves. Since the aim of such Christians are different from the aim why Jesus Christ established his church, to fellowship together and have the same aim with those who have authentic message becomes very difficult.

Globalization: Through Information Technology, the world has become a global village. There have been social interactions across the globe. This is given social factors like culture, politics, religious practices a new face. Despite the advantages that globalization has brought to these social elements, it has a far reaching effects on Christian faith in particular. Through globalization, many Christian youths come in contact with diverse practices and beliefs which drift them away from the Christian faith. The introduction of hi-tech and information technology, especially internet has become a challenge to the unity of Christian faith in that many Christians get deep into all forms of beliefs which they encounter without appropriate guidance.39 This is a reality in Nupeland and tears the body of Christ apart.

Feminism: This is the emergence of women liberation theology. This refers to series of struggles and campaigns by women for reforms on issues like reproductive rights, domestic violence, maternity leave, equal pay, women’s suffrage, sexual harassment, sexual violence, women ordination, among other related issues. Women struggle for liberation which takes its roots from the National Women Liberation Movement has emerged in the Church today. Women, on daily basis have a growing consciousness that man’s leadership shackle on them must be broken. Although the practice vary from one church to the other, that notwithstanding, some women are already occupying some leadership positions in Nupeland. This is a major challenge to ecumenism in Nupeland as some denominations do not believe in this e.g. ECWA, Deeper Life, Anglican, etc.

Language: Language is an important tool in any human relations. One of the major impediments to the spread of Christianity in West Africa at its inception was the language barrier. In the words of Elisha Jiya, “almost all the present missionaries working in Nupe land are non-natives”40. Therefore, since the process of learning the language takes a long time, it constitutes a major barrier in fostering unity among different churches in Nupeland since not everybody understands English Language which is the official language of the country.

Culture: Culture is the way of life of a particular people. Culture plays a vital role in the religious life of any people. Despite the fact that the culture of the Nupe people has promoted the gospel in that land yet some cultural practices which are not scriptural have hindered Christian co-operation in Nupeland. Elisha Jiya states clearly the dark side of some Nupe cultural practices on the advancement of the Gospel in the land. He states it thus:

Many of our cultural practices are in direct opposition to the teachings of our Lord Jesus Christ. The people always find it difficult to leave these cultural practices to embrace Christ.41

Instances of this include “rufadan” (a marriage rite), “ekpodzun” (rite of widowhood) “ekpo la” (Practice of inheriting a widow). Where people are not ready to leave unscriptural cultural practices it threatens the genuine unity in Christendom.

Leadership: The bane of growth and development of Nigerian nation is lack of competent leadership. This statement is also true of the ecclesiastical leadership in Nupeland. This is vividly captured in this excerpt:

The church in general lacks able and dynamic leadership. Most of the church ministers/leaders are not born-again and so do not have the burden for the lost souls. In fact, in many cases, the leaders oppose any evangelistic/Pentecostal movement in their churches42

Ecumenism becomes a difficult task in Nupeland in view of this problem. Many leaders are visionless and some of them work contrary to the unity of faith among their people. Unfortunately, these are the people who give direction to their followers. This on most occasions makes ecumenism a herculean task.

Suggestions and Recommendations

There is no doubt that the challenges of ecumenism are real.43 However, if the following suggestions and recommendations are adhered to, it will encourage unity among various Christian groups in Nupeland.

There must be a constant awareness among all Christian bodies in Nupeland that no single church, group or individual can do the work alone. For Christianity to have further positive impacts, Christians must bury their pride and differences and be united.

All denominations must recognize the pluralistic nature of the Nigerian church. Generally speaking, heterogeneity, diversity and pluralism are the permanent features of the Nigerian church and these features are naturally rooted in the nature of man who have the faculties of knowing, reasoning, thinking, deciding, choosing and exercising freewill in the context of his personal autonomy.44 Therefore, this awareness will surely enhance understanding and cohesion among Christians in Nupeland. Christians must appreciate their commonalities rather than emphasizing their differences.

The Christian bodies in Nupeland need a fuller commitment to the work of mission than just week-end activities. The result from week-end activities is grossly too low and this cannot make the necessary impact needed. Ike Nwachukwu’s suggestion is vital here. According to him,

Brethren need to sign off their work and vocation to go and live with the people with the sole aim of witnessing and discipling those saved. The ultimate goal will be to raise an indigenous church, which will be headed by converts disciple in such communities… the white missionaries left the comfort of their developed communities to come to Nupeland to win souls… the time has come for us the Nupes, to arise and go, live with our people and make disciples of them.45

To solve the problem of finance, various ecumenical bodies must pool their resources together towards effective evangelism. Rather than doing individual work, the ecumenical bodies in Nupeland should have a forum where each of them will discuss the problems facing mission in their land and bring their resources together to better the lives of the Nupes.

Christian media bodies should be established in Nupeland. Also, the current Christian programmes sponsored on government radio stations should be strengthened and adequately funded. This is because media have the capacity to reach several thousands of people at the same time and it is very effective. Therefore, media tools like Jesus Film Fellowship, Radio programmes like Evangelical Love Winning All (ELWA), a media arm of the Evangelical Church Winning All, ECWA should be harnessed.

The writing of Nupe Christian literature should also be encouraged. Such literature can include news letters or bulletin of the Christian work in Nupeland. This will help to sensitize the Christians on the state of the work in the land. Also, the gospel message through the literature can serve as a tool of conversion.

The Christian bodies in Nupeland must be involved in the holistic ministry. They must provide not for the spiritual needs of the people alone but also for the social, health, intellectual and economic needs of the people. All these can only be made possible if the missions in Nupeland are united in accordance with the priestly prayer of Jesus Christ in John 17:21

Conclusion

Many noticeable growth and development in Nupeland today can be traced back to the Christian mission area. Since the inception of Christianity, Nupe people have experienced better life in all ramifications. This became more pronounced with the multiplication of other Christian groups in Nupeland. This has been made possible through the little ecumenical efforts among them. However, some disunity has also been noticed among the several Christian bodies in Nupeland and this has grossly hampered the growth of Christian work. It then follows that for Nupeland to overcome her different challenges politically, economically, socially and spiritually, the Gospel of Christ is needed. Paul in his letter to the Romans states that the Gospel of Christ is the power of God unto salvation. Since this Gospel is to all humankind, including the Nupe, it needs to be preached. For effective preaching of this life transforming Gospel, it requires the co-operation of all Christian bodies in Nupeland. The fact still remains that no single individual or a group of people can do the task effectively alone, it requires a joint effort.

 

Notes and References

1. M. Daudu and J.N Gbule. An outline of the history of Christianity in West Africa (Zaria: Micsons Press and Publishers 2000) 13-14.

2. Ogbu kalu. Christianity in West Africa, the Nigeria Story (Ibadan: Daystar Press, 1978) 94.

3. Ibid, 17.

4. Ike Nwachuwu. “The Nupeland” in Evangelizing Nupeland (Ibadan: Pamilerin Blessed Press). P.7

5. Ibid, 1

6. Ibid.

7. J. Omosade Awolalu and P. Adelumo Dopamu. West African Traditional Religion (Ibadan: Onibonoje, 1979) 5.

8. S.F Nadel. A Black Byzantium: The Kingdom of Nupe in Nigeria (London: Oxford University Press, 1942) 1.

9. Idrees Aliyu. Political Change and Continuity in Nupeland. (Ibadan: Calton Publications Limited, 1998) 1.

10. S.F Nadel. A Black Byzantium: The Kingdom of Nupe in Nigeria (London: Oxford University Press, 1942) 1.

11. Hadiza Alfa. The Evolution of Etsu Nupe Dynasty. (Kano: Tofa Commercial Press Limited, 208, 31

12. J. Omosade Awolalu and P. Adelumo Dopamu. West African Traditional Religion, 299.

13. A.A. Idrees Aliyu. The Collapse of the Kyadya State. The Impact of External Forces as a Riverine State in the Middle Niger 1857 – 1905. “An unpublished M.A. Thesis, University of Ibadan, 1985. 4

14. Ibid, p.5

15. Dauda Ibrahim. Nda: The Only Nupe Man in Africa, 12

16. M. Manson. Foundations of the Bida Kingdom (Zaria: Ahmadu Bello University Press, 1981) 15.

17. T.S Garret and RMC Jeffery. Unity in Nigeria (London: Edinburgh House Press, 1965)p.96

18. A.S Oyalana. “oneness in the Spirit: The Goal of Ecumenism in Nigeria” in Ademola Ishola & Deji Aiyegbonyin (eds).Rediscovering and Fostering Unity in the Body of Christ (Ibadan :Sceptre Prints Limited,2000) 2.

    & Deji Ayegboyin eds. Rediscovering and Fostering Unity in the Body of Christ 82.

19. The Analytical Greek Lexicon (ATL), London: Samuel Bagister & Sons Ltd, 1973, 284ff.

20. William G. Rusch. Ecumenism-A Movement Toward Church Unity (Philadelphia: Fotress, 1985) 65.

21. WWW.Wikipedia.com. Accessed on 28-9-2014.

22. Solomon Makanjuola Mapaiyeda. “The Relevance of the World Council of Churches in Global Ecumenism: An African Overview” in Orita: Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies, 96.

23.Barry T. The Churches Search for Unity (Great Britain: Richard Clay Ltd) 15.

24. Adeboye Godwin Oriyomi. Promoting Christian Ecumenism in Nigeria Church Through the Charismata in the Light of 1Corinthians 12:12-27. A long Essay Submitted to the Faculty of ECWA Theological Seminary Igbaja, November, 2014, 28-29.

25. A.S Oyalana.” Attempts at Church Ecumenism in Nigeria” 1909-1965 in Orita: Ibadan Journal of Religious Studies xxviii/1&2(June&December,1996) 37.

26. Deji Ayegboyin”. Rediscovering and Fostering Unity in the Body of Christ: The Nigeria Experience” in Ademola Ishola & Deji Ayegboyin eds. 20.

27. Ibid, 01.

28. James E. Andrews and Joseph A. Burgess. An invitation to Action: The Lutheran-Reformed Dialogue (Philadelphia: Fortress Press, 1984) 12.

29. John Ferguson. Some Nigeria Church Fathers (Ibadan: Daystar Press, 1969)p.49.

30. Joshua Oluwole oyebanji. “Fostering Unity of Faith and Well-Being in a Multi-Denominational Community” A centenary Celebration Lecture in Honour of the Cathedral Church of St. Michael Esie (1912 -2012), 5th October, 2012.

31. Ibid.

32. Ibid.

33. Jerry Sha’aba David. “SIM/ECWA Missions in Nupeland” in Ike Nwachukwu, et al,Evangelizing Nupeland, 14.

34. Melanie A. May. Bonds of Unity: Women, Theology and the Worldwide Church (Atlanta: Scholars Press, 1989) 54.

35. Michael Ifeanyi Mozia. “The Roman Catholic perspective” in Ademola Ishola & Deji Ayegboyin (eds), Rediscovering and Fostering Unity in the Body of Christ, 98.

36. Ninan koshy. Churches in the World of Nations: International Politics and the Mission and Ministry of the Church (Geneva: WCC, 1994) 32.

37. Joshua Oluwole oyebanji. “Fostering Unity of Faith and Well-Being in a Multi-Denominational Community”, 13.

38. Ibid, 14

39. Know what you Believe: An Exploration of the Need, Challenges and Prospects of Unity of Christian Faith in the 21st Century, A Seminar Paper Presented During An Education Zonal Seminars at ECWA Headquarters Jos, 2013.

40. Elisha Jiya, “Hindrances to Evangelism in Nupeland” in Ike Nwachukwu et al Evangelizing Nupeland: Prospects and Strategies, 49

41. Ibid, 50

42. Ibid, 51

43. Pauline Webb. (ed) Faith and Faithfulness: Essays on Contemporary Ecumenical Themes (Geneva: WCC, 1984) 54.

44. Akpenpuun Dzurgba. “The Perspective of the Church of Christ in the Sudan Among the Tiv” in Ademola Ishola & Deji Ayegboyin; Rediscovering and Fostering Unity in the body of Christ, 136.

45. Ike Nwachukwu. “Strategies for Reaching the Land” in Ike Nwachukwu, et al, Evangelizing Nupeland, 54.      

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