ECUMENISM IN NIGERIAN CONTEXT: ANY WAY FORWARD?

Sebastian C. Anokwulu

Abstract


Many challenges face the realization of Christian unity among Nigerian churches, just like
other places in the world. But peculiar ecumenical challenges face Nigeria; like so many churches are
without history-line, many theologically untrained clerics own churches, lack of common ecumenical
forum to understand one another’s confession of faith, virulent verbal antagonism against one another’s
faith, uniting bodies like CAN or CCN are highly politicized, trained experts in ecumenical issues are
not given opportunity to help in leadership positions, etc. In the face of these challenges, one questions
if true practice of Ecumenism is possible in Nigeria. Through a survey of Nigerian ecumenical history,
the paper presents the backgrounds of ecumenical challenges in the first part. Then, using analytical
principles, the succeeding chapter examines the openness of Nigerian clerics and faithful to
Ecumenism. In the remaining chapters, the paper uses critical tools to present Ecumenical paradigms
both from the Catholic and Protestant fronts for Nigerians to follow. In the end, the paper evidently
shows that seed of true Ecumenism has been sown in Nigeria with new consciousness and trained
experts getting involved in the discussion of the matter. As the work of the Holy Spirit, there is already
a ray of light seen at the end of the tunnel for Nigerian Ecumenism. Thus, the paper recommends that
Nigerian churches should be converted from confessionalism to have one Christian identity; should be
open to listen and dialogue with one another; should be involved in healing of past memories and
reducing the ecclesiological issues that divide them and finally be ready to bear common witness to
Christ among non-Christians.

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