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Ethical Misconduct among Nigerian Church Leaders in the Context of 1timothy 3: 1 – 7

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

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Abstract

The expectation of uncorrupted virtue, particularly with regard to truth and justice, is that ministers of God. The Pastoral Epistles placed strong emphasis on the necessity of ministerial integrity, defined as having godly disposition, holiness, blamelessness, and consistently competent hands. Living moral life increases one’s credibility and efficiency of clergy member. There are surprisingly few Godly clergy in Nigeria today that live up to this standard. Many religious leaders profit from corruption; some prey on the mentality of the typical Nigerian, who is constantly looking for miracles and wonders; still others use their followers as means of material and financial gain. To great extent, gospel preaching has turned into an economic endeavor. Through rereading of Timothy 3:1–7, the paper aims to reevaluate the applicability of the apostolic prescriptions in the Pastorals, with regard to the duties of bishops and deacons, to the Nigerian situation. After examining the situation of ministerial integrity in Nigeria, the paper came to the conclusion that the Nigerian Church could improve its reputation and produce leaders who uphold the moral standards expected of church leaders and overseers in the pastoral by adopting and enforcing these qualities in the selection and appointment of ministers. Keywords: Nigeria, Timothy 3:1–7, Church leaders, unethical behavior.

 

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1 Background to the Study

The Pastoral Epistles’ portrayal of Christian leadership is meant to act as an example of chastity, truthfulness, faithfulness, and honesty. These epistles center on the structure and leadership of the Christian community. The main idea is behavior that pleases God; this is achieved by an orderly and trustworthy church hierarchy that clearly assigns roles (Schrage, 1988:257). The New Testament makes a detailed effort to mold Christian living and behavior. It is important for Christians to uphold their uniqueness even in their “good works” and to be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:13–14) (Schrage, 1988:11). Christians are expected to live holy, courteous, and tranquil lives in all respects. Personality, preaching gift, administrative prowess, or intellectual achievements are not as significant as the demonstrated character of individuals aspiring to positions of leadership in the church (Stamps, 1992:1908). pastor who embodies the faith in all that they do is vital component of Christian leadership. Church leaders are required to uphold the standards of Christian ethics as outlined in Timothy 3:1–7 and Titus 1:1–8. As representative of God, bishop must be pure; he must be friendly and free from conceit, anger, intoxication, aggression, and greed. This epistle places more stress on candidate’s character than their position as church leader.

Because Christianity is an ethical religion, God and society have very high expectations for ministers of the gospel. As a result, when these leaders—from whom much is expected—lack integrity and behave badly, the outcome is extremely disappointing. Ministers are not respected, and as a result, their supposed heavenly power over parishioners and other members of the community is weakened.The current status of the Nigerian Church may be reflected in the current state of the Nigerian nation. The lack of integrity or the loss of it among gospel Ministers in the recent time have reached an alarming rate which has caused a high level of deterioration not only in the quality of Christians but also reflected in the current deplorable state of the Nigerian Nation.

The overemphasis on materialism brought about by the prosperity gospel has not left the Church in the same state as when it arrived; in fact, it is the root cause of the majority of misbehaviors by ministers. Parishioners and other members of the community who play important roles in the various facets of national leadership have suffered as a result of the gospel ministers’ wrongdoing, which has caused a loss of respect and influence. Every person in national leadership attends a religious center and is influenced by a pastor or religious leader; this could have an impact on how well they perform in their political capacity. At the moment, government institutions seem to be weak and failing, there is a lot of decay and rottenness in most areas of national leadership. The Political class has not been able to stay clear of corruption and there are clear evidences that despite the increase in the number of churches of different denominations, the impact of
Christianity is not much felt in the society today. There is a lot of moral decadence in the lives of the citizenry such that the cultural value once celebrated as a nation such as honesty, faithfulness, patriotism, trust, and so on, are being eroded. In the light of the fore goings, it becomes necessary to understand the role that ministers’ lack of integrity or the loss of it have played in all of these and proffer solutions that can help reverse the trend.

1.2 Statement of the Problem 

There is a hurry to get rich soon, and unemployment and other vices in Nigerian society have also encouraged many people to become ministers. There are numerous churches in Nigeria today, but there is no transformation; crime, prostitution, embezzlement, corruption, tribalism, and other such things are on the rise, and they are already present in the church. The Sun Newspaper claimed on November 27, 2012, that two ministers of God, Prophetesses, sold a day-old baby for N.3 million in Aba (Sampson, 2012). The news on the front page and on the newspaper’s website stated that they had to lie to the mother of the baby that her child died from a feigned illness, even threatening the mother not to ask for the baby again, and that when the matter was reported to the police, they had to relocate their ministries before being caught. The church was unable to fulfill its societal purpose since the majority of clergy failed to maintain their integrity. Many have fallen and disappointed society, and many see no distinction between the sacred and the secular. There was the story of a Baptist Pastor (2007) who, while being reasonably comfortable, proceeded to sell some of the Church’s landed properties and falsified the signatures of the church account signatories in order to withdraw money from the Church account on his own. Saturday Punch (2013) reported the case of a woman who accused her husband, the General Overseer of Eternal Glory Bible Church, of being fetish and adulterous before a Customary Court in Lagos. She pleaded with the court to dissolve her marriage on the grounds that it lacked love, the Pastor is not honest, he already had nine children with another wife before he married her but did not disclose this to her. There are several dimensions of this seeming loss of integrity among ministers today. It ranges from misconducts relating to issues of abuses of position which has to do with the minister making use of his privileged position for his own end; counselling abuses which has to do with the inability of the minister of God to keep to counselling ethics; financial misconducts which relates to a minister’s inability to handle corporate money transparently, the unjust and ungodly ways some ministers employed in order to make money, sexual misconducts which relates to improper handling of the relationship with opposite sex and the improper means some have adopted in an attempt to get the power needed for ministry.

1.3 Purpose of Study

The primary aim of this study is to investigate Ethical Misconduct among Nigerian Church Leaders in the Context of 1timothy 3: 1 – 7. the specific objectives are:

i.

ii.

iii.

 

Conclusion
The minister must have a reasonable level of education and training adequate for the setting in which he operates. He must also demonstrate the capacity for continuous learning and knowing. He must be spiritually minded, regenerated and divinely empowered by the Holy Spirit. . Effort must be made by the pastor to prevent any lifestyle that will bring stigma or reproach to the name of God in his life and family. Churches and ministries should see the need to take good care of their Pastors as very important as this will help the ministers to overcome temptations with regards to money and it will also help the church. The remuneration of Pastors should be improved and adequate welfare package should be put in place for their families. Churches should have policies about standard of conduct, screening procedure, supervision guidelines, adequate insurance
coverage, honest pastoral referees, and procedure for handling allegations of unethical behaviour and misconduct by ministers.

 

REFERENCES
Adewole, I. (2009, October 13). “The sentence of Rev King,” The Nigerian Tribune Retrieved June 23, 2012 from www.tribune.com.ng/news.

Ajaero, C. (2007, August 20). “Pastoral Empires”, Newswatch. Retrieved from http:www.mewswatchngr.com/editorial/prime/Cover/10820085539.html.

 

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