AN INVESTIGATION INTO IMMORALITY IN THE CHURCH AND ITS EFFECT ON CHURCH GROWTH
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There is concern in several quarters at the rate immorality is making waves in the society; Morality is on its decline and decay and there is gross retrogression on moral ethics in the modern society. The Church being a religious institution is to set up examples of high moral standard in the society but however the church is not exempted from the claws and threat of immorality ravaging the modern world. This study thus took a critical look at the challenges of immorality in the church and its impacts on the growth of the church with particular reference to Agege District Headquarters Lagos.The research work adopts library/field based approach; this includes the study of related materials, books and the use of questionnaire with adequate documentation in the turabian format. The researcher therefore recommends that the Church provides basic training to meet the disciplinary standard for the crooked generation should be provided by the church to her members- both pulpit and pew. This includes: use of internet, bible literatures, audio and visuals aids and to be skillful in modern technology. The researcher also recommended that the church should educate their members about various forms of immorality and its consequence and also teaching them Gods standard of holiness constantly.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER ONE: INTRODUCTION
- Background to the study
- Statement of the problem
- Purpose of the study
- Significance of the study
- Delimitation of the study
- Research procedure
- Limitation of the study
- Definition of terms
CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURES
2.1 Concept of Immorality
2.2 Nature of Immorality in the Church
2.3 Causes of Immorality in the Church
2.4 Cases of Immorality Acts in the Church
2.5Challenges of Immorality in the Church
CHAPTER THREE: THE BIBLICAL CONCEPT OF IMMORALITY
3.1 In the Old Testament
3.2 In the New Testament
CHAPTER FOUR:THE CHALLENGES OF IMMORALITY IN THE CHURCH AND ITS IMPACTS ON THE GROWTH OF THE CHURCH: A CASE STUDY OF AGEGE DISTRICT HEADQUATERS, AGEGE LAGOS
4.1 Cases of Immorality in the church
4.2 Challenges of Immorality in the church
4.3 Effect of Immorality on the Growth of the church.
CHAPTER FIVE:SUMMARY, CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS
1.1 Background to the Study
Morality today, it has been observed, is increasingly on the decay. Ethics as a way of ordered living which propagates ideal communal life and human relationship is speedily waning. There is concern in several quarters that at the rate immorality is making waves in the society; the likely tendency is that there might be serious breakdown of law and order which might lead to anarchy. It is said that a lawless and immoral society is prone to chaoticsituation and anarchy. An ideal society is that which is devoid of violence, civil disorder, with minimal rate of crime and immoral practices and unethical standards. This is why sound morals and ethical standard have been the concern of mans’ social institutions in recent years. Hence, many campaigns in the society today are geared towards curbing immorality and other such voices and drama is a major instrument used by various anti- immorality’ and anti-corruption campaign agencies. In Nigeria, the church has been taking one of the leading roles in the campaign against immorality.
Moral according to Webster’s university Dictionary and Thesaurus is adjectival word that is “of or related to character, particularly as regards to right from wrong.” Morality is to be seen as the right motive on which man is supposed to act, the good which one ought to follow or achieve, the discerning power of conscience with which one determines or knows right from wrong, the law of mutual living able to yield positive action otherwise known as freedom of will. Ethics in theology, especially when referred to as Christian Ethics is the same thing as moral theology. Manton thus explains Moral Theology as “the study of how people should act in the sight of God.” The term is more frequently in Roman Catholic.
Immorality has been on increase today both in society and church. Ethics as a way of ordered living which propagates ideal communal life and human relationship is speedily declining. There is concern in several quarters that at the rate immorality is making waves in both society and amazingly, church. This is why sound morals and ethical standard have been the concern of many churches in this present generation. In Nigeria, some churches, especially Agege District Headquarters Lagos, and few others are presently taking leading role in curbing and preventing immorality in their churches through regular teaching of the words of God, seminars, and pronouncing disciplinary measures on offenders when eventually occurred.
According to Galatians 5:19-21 “Now the works of the flesh are evident, which are: adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lewdness, idolatry, sorcery, hatred, contentions, jealousies, outbursts of wrath, selfish ambitions, dissensions, heresies, envy, murders, drunkenness, revelries and the like; of which I tell you beforehand, just as I also told you in the time past, that those who practice such things will not inherit the kingdom of God – NKJV.
In 2 Timothy 3:1-5 “But know this, that in the last days perilous times will come; for men will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boasters, proud, blasphemers, disobedient to parents, slanderers, without self-control, brutal, despisers of good, traitors, headstrong, haughty, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God, having a form of godliness but denying its power. And from such people turn away – NKJV.
The prevalence of immorality in churches among members in Nigeria cannot he emphasized. It has grown to a level that creates fear and tension in the heart of anyone who has concern for the future in Nigeria as a nation and that of the teeming Christian populates of Nigeria. The society is grappling with many behavioral problems of the church members and clergy/pastors alike, which include fraud, deception. Intimidation, and drug offences, smoking, flirting, stealing and armed robbery, violent conduct and demonstration, vandalism, examination malpractices, cultism and thuggery. In addition the above listed widely publicized behavioral problems, heterosexual and homosexual activities are prevalent in some of the Nigeria churches.
According to New Testament of the Holy Bible, jealousy, killing, lies, adultery, fornication, theft, heresies, pride and several immoral acts are against the will of God. However, the church is guided by the word of God which is against all forms of immorality, but there are still some levels of immorality in churches.
1.2 Statement of the Problem
Without doubt, there is an increasingly low level of morality and ethical standard in the society today especially in the church, many interest groups have laid blame oi modernism and developments especially the advent of modern technology and the internet. One of the outstanding remarkable virtues of a good society should be sexual purity which has received little or no attention from the society today. Also. Sexual immorality has eaten deep into the fabric of the society, it has become the mainstay of to people’s behavior. Fraudulent accumulation of wealth has also been the order of the day in churches.
Researches have shown that sexual immorality and corruption has thousands of destructive effects on the society. However, the researcher is examining the issues of immorality in church with the hope of identifying the way forward.
1.3 Purpose of the Study
This research work is aimed at achieving the following objectives:
- To examine the issue of immorality in the churches.
- To determine the way forward on the issue of church immorality.
- To identify the factors encouraging immorality in the churches.
1.4 Significance of Study
This research study will he significant in many ways, at the end of’ the study, the following will be established.
- Outcome of the study will educate the church leaders and the general public on the issues of immorality in the church and identifying the way forward on the issue of church immorality.
- This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researcher interested in carrying out further research in this field. Subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.
1.5 Delimitation of the Study
The scope of this study shall be confined to Agege district headquarter, Agege Lagos in which careful study will be taken into consideration on the Challenges of Immorality in The Church and Its Impacts on Church Growth.
1.6 Research Procedure
With the intention of acquiring more knowledge and understanding on the
challenges of immorality in the church hind its impacts on the growth of the church, the following procedures were taken:
- Materials of relevant authors and authorities on this subject matter were reviewed, especially those of Christian literatures, magazines and lecture materials, some literature books such as textbooks, commentaries, concordances. Dictionaries, Handouts. Bibles from LIFE Theological Seminary Library and personal Library.
- The researcher also consulted the internet for information on this subject matter. And of course various document from the Agege district headquarter, Agege Lagos.
- Lastly, Questionnaire where also administered to members, Pastor and other leaders of’ the church used as case study to gather relevant information for a reliable compilation.
- 7 Limitation of the Study
Despite the end product of this research work, this project faced some constraints such as time, fund, gathering of’ materials and co-operation from question respondents at the collection of data.
There was also problem of getting the documentation of church in case study, which posed a delay in the compilation of the work. There was also problem of misplaced laptop of the typist which led to the delay of the project work due to retype of the entire project work. However, the researcher did this possible best to present a valid report.
1.8 Definition of Terms
The following words shall be given a proper definition as to the way they are to be used in this research project to enhance more understanding for the readers.
Morality: This is human attempt to define what is right and wrong about our actions and thoughts, and what is good and bad about our being and who we are.
Immorality: The quality of not being in accord with standards of right of good conduct.
Church: The word church is the group of believers. The word “church” is used to refer to the building where people congregate with other Christians. Also, it is referred to a particular grouping of churches or denomination. Biblically, “church” means either universal church or local church. The universal church refers to all member s of the body of Christ in all places and all ages.
Growth: This can he defined as the positive increase in size over a period of time.
Church Growth: This is the process of the church as a living organism to increase quantitatively and mature qualitatively in response to the great commission of the Lord Jesus Christ.
Rufus T. Etire, Principles and Practice of Christian Ethics. (Port Harcourt: R. T. Etire, 2002), 15
M.E. Manton: A Dictionary of Theological Terms. (London: Grace Publications, 2001), 45
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