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CONTEXTUALIZATION AND MISSIONS IN 21ST CENTURY NIGERIA

| Format: Ms Word | 1-5 Chapters | Table of Content|

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to the Study

Contextualization may be one of the most important issues in mission today. Unlike the “Death of God” movement in theology, contextualization is no mere missiological fad that will fade when another “hot topic” catches one’s attention.  Concern over issues of contextualization has been a part of the Christian church from its inception, even though the vocabulary of contextualization dates back only to the early 1970s. It is a perennial challenge—one that Christians have faced every time they have communicated the Gospel across language and cultural boundaries. The church has struggled with this problem through the ages as it has evolved from one era to another.  Essentially, contextualization is concerned with how the Gospel and culture relate to one another across geographic space and down through time.

Contextualization captures in method and perspective the challenge of relating the Gospel to culture. In this sense the concern of contextualization is ancient—going back to the early church as it struggled to break loose from its Jewish cultural trappings and enter the Greco-Roman world of the Gentiles. At the same time, it is something new. Ever since the word emerged in the 1970s, there has been almost an explosion of writing, thinking, and talking about contextualization.

Contextualization is part of an evolving stream of thought that relates the Gospel and church to a local context. In the past scholars have used words such as “adaptation,” “accommodation,” and “indigenization” to describe this relationship between Gospel, church, and culture, but “contextualization,” introduced in 1971,and a companion term “inculturation” that emerged in the literature in 1974, are deeper, more dynamic, and more adequate terms to describe what we are about in mission today So the researcher believes the church is making some progress in our understanding of the relationship between Gospel, church, and culture, but she still have a long way to go in everyday practice.

Contextualization is not something the church pursue motivated by an agenda of pragmatic efficiency.Rather, it must be followed because of one’s faithfulness to God, who sent God’s son as a servant to die so that all may live. As Peter Schineller says, “We have the obligation to search continually for ways in which the good news can be more deeply lived, celebrated and shared.”

Contextualization has become an important missiological concept in the 21st century. It is a controversial concept often misused and misunderstood. There are Christians who feel the term does not do justice to the gospel message. Allowing Christians familiarity with the world when God calls His people to be separate and different from the world.  An opposite extreme subjects the application of principles of Biblical truth to circumstances. A balance is needed. Hiebert calls this balance critical contextualization. He states that critical contextualization is “whereby old beliefs and customs are neither rejected nor accepted without examination” by the church community. In doing this Hiebert suggests contextualization needs to be critical (of the local culture) and rooted in biblical authority. In this research, the researcher will consider contextualization in mission today.

1.2       Statement of the Problem

The church and missionaries in attempt to advance the gospel of the kingdom of God to culture outside their community had suppressed the cultural influence of the community ministered to. The mission of spreading the gospel to the uttermost ends of the world is an achievable goal in this generation due to factors such as globalization, information and communication technology. But this gospel has not been relevant to the cultural, political situation of the people. This gospel had been more theoretical rather than practical in the Nigerian setting. Therefore the researcher attempt to reconcile the preaching of the gospel with the cultural, social and political situation of the people.

1.3       Purpose of the Study

This research work is aimed at achieving the following objectives:

  1. To explore whether the concept of mission and contextualization are effectively practiced in the Contemporary church.
  2. To present different scholars opinion on concept of contextualization and missions.
  • To presents the challenges and pitfalls of contextualization of Biblical Christianity in missions.
  1. To suggest remedies to challenges of contextualization of Biblical Christianity in missions
  2. To incorporate new strategies of contextualization in Mission activities.
  3. To present the Biblical basis and examples of Missions.

1.4       Significance of Study

This research study will be significant in many ways, at the end of’ the study, the following will be established.

  1. Outcome of the study will relevant to missionaries for effective contextualization of the gospel.
  2. 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.
  • It will also be relevant to Students obtaining courses in Cross cultural communications all over the world.
  1. It shall also be relevant to the Foursquare Gospel Church in Nigeria in analyzing the strength and weakness of its attempt to contextualize the gospel.

1.5      Delimitation of the Study

The scope of this study shall be confined to Foursquare Gospel Church, Ifako 2 Zonal Headquarters in which careful study will be taken into consideration on the relationship between Contextualization and Missions in the 21st Century Nigeria.

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