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


Study Level: BTech, BSc, BEng, BA, HND, ND or NCE

Amount: ₦3,000.00

                                            CHAPTER ONE


1.1 Background to the Study

Christians are taught to emulate the life of Jesus Christ, this implies the total application of Christ’s lifestyle in tackling social challenges of the society. God’s initial idea is for the church to change society, drawing many lost souls to God and not the other way round. The church is expected to act as an agent of reconciliation between waring communities, and not the reason why neighboring society turn against each other. Every church either big or small is meant to show concern towards it host community particularly that of her members not just hampering on saving the souls. The church which represent Christ has three major roles to play in our society which are: evangelism which is to preach Christ, edification which is to practice Christ, and benevolence which is to personify Christ.

To best understand the role of the church in maintaining peace and harmony in the 21st-century it is imperative that we understand what peace truly entails. Although, there have been several definitions of peace ranging from the erroneous definition of peace as the mere absence of war to political definitions of peace. A single and universally accepted definition of peace has eluded humanity, just as the quest for peace has been one of the preoccupations of humans since the dawn of history. Peace is known to be a universal phenomenon that everyone desires and wishes to enjoy endlessly. In the Christian context, the word Peace is translated from the Hebrew word ‘Shalom’, which is a key word in the Bible and it is at the center of how God wants us to live on earth. But in the Nigerian context peace has been far-fetched since the 1960 independence, there have been reoccurring scenarios of conflicts, ethno-religious crisis, protest, political clashes, bandits’ attacks and militancy till date. The African conception of peace recognizes the fact that in order to ensure lasting peace some elements should be present. These include “acknowledgement of guilt, showing of remorse and repentance by a perpetrator of injustice, asking for and receiving of forgiveness, and paying compensation or reparation as a prelude for reconciliation and peaceful coexistence” (Francis, 2006 p.26)

The introduction of Christianity in Nigeria have always been for societal peace and harmony against violence. Peace was not only what Jesus taught but He also lived it, this in most cases is what scholars call pacifism, as Jesus never taught violence, even at his arrest by the Pharisees and one of his disciples struck the ears of the priest, Jesus rebuked the disciple and said that “those who live by the sword shall die by the sword” (Mathew 26:52, NKJV). In another place Jesus taught the people not to retaliate any evil done to them as it used to be, an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth, if one should strike you on the right cheek, turn the left cheek (Mathew 5:38-39, NKJV) but now to always forgive those that offend them and he charged them to forgive their neighbors even seventy times seven (Matthew 18:22, KJV).

The introduction of Christianity in Nigeria has made significant contributions to societal peace at a number of different levels (Albert, 2011). Christians therefore are those who follow and act the teaching of Christ in all ways of life. One of the climaxes of Christianity or Christian virtue is peace. Christians are enjoined in the Bible to embrace and live peacefully with their neighbors’. The following scriptures confirm this: Depart from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it (Psalm 34 vs 14). Blessed are the Peace makers for they shall be called the children of God Matthew 5 vs 9). Let him eschew evil and do good; let him seek peace and ensue it (1 Peter 3 vs 11). Follow peace with all men and holiness, without which no man shall see the Lord (Hebrews 12 vs 14). If it be possible, as much as it lieth in you, live peaceably with all men (Rom 12 vs 18). With all these scriptural teachings of the church, Christians are supposed to be role models to the society. This led to the study on the role of the church in maintaining peace and harmony in Nigeria.

 1.2 Statement of the Problem

There has been increased cases of disruption to peace and harmony in Nigeria today despite the church’s tireless efforts to sustain peace as demonstrated by Jesus Christ. The church has always taught the members on the act of non-retaliation as taught by Jesus which helps to absorb violence instead of escalating it, hence every cycle of violence provoking revenge, which in turn provokes more violence is broken by the simple act of tolerating the violence and avoiding retaliation. Religious crisis, cultural or ethnic conflicts, political agitations arising from the feeling of marginalization, tribal or ethnic politicking whose result is always negative and anti-unity, kidnap activities across, the country, bandits attacks on officers and the Fulani herdsmen brutality have become a reoccurring security challenge in Nigerian. Recently, the Nigerian Defense Academy (NDA) and many police stations was overpowered by “unknown gunmen” who kidnapped and killed officers on duty in the country. Notwithstanding all this insecurity challenges, every human being treasures and values security, without which there cannot be unity, peaceful co-existence, development, Unity and Progress. Hence there is need for security to enhance peaceful coexistence in Nigeria. The study on the role of the church in maintaining peace and harmony in Nigeria came in time to fill this gap.

1.3 Objectives of the Study

The primary aim of this study is to investigate the role of the church in maintaining peace and harmony in Nigeria. The specific objectives are;

  1. To examine the contributions of church to the wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of ethno-religious crisis.
  2. To ascertain how the gospel of Christ could be used in tackling the issues of insecurity in Nigeria.
  3. To present a theological model that will aid peaceful coexistence in Nigeria.
  4. To identify the factors disrupting peace and harmony of our society.

1.4 Research Questions

The following questions were used to achieve the above objectives:

  1. Does the church contribute to the wellbeing of Nigerians in the face of ethno-religious crisis?
  2. Could the gospel of Christ be used in tackling the issues of insecurity in Nigeria?
  3. Are there possible solutions to the problem of division and peaceful coexistence in Nigeria?
  4. What are the factors disrupting peace and harmony in our society?

1.5 Significance of Study

It is often imperative to question what would be the significance of any endeavor, be it academic or otherwise. This is also applicable in this present research. The researcher anticipates that, the findings of this research will be very useful to the Nigerian government, religious bodies and the general public on the role the church plays in sustaining peaceful coexistence in our society. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently, if applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.

1.6 Research Methodology

This research will adopt a survey approach based on library work and field research. A detailed survey of the Bible, commentaries, Encyclopedia, Journal, books, internet, and dictionaries was carried out in Christ Ascension Church Theological Seminary, Abakaliki.

1.7 Delimitation of the Study

This study will cover the role of the church and Christianity in general as regards the issue of societal peace and harmony in Christ Ascension Church (1984FC), Abakaliki District.

1.8 Limitations of the Study

The following constraints tend to hinder the flow of the study; 

Financial constraint: Insufficient fund tends to impede the efficiency of the researcher in sourcing for the relevant materials, literature or information and in the process of data collection (internet, questionnaire and interview).

Time constraint: The researcher will simultaneously engage in this study with other academic work. This consequently will cut down on the time devoted for the research work.

1.9 Operational Definitions of Terms

Role: According to an online Dictionary, Role is defined as the function assumed or part played by a person or thing in a particular situation.

Church: A church building or church house, often simply called a church, is a building used for Christian religious activities, particularly for Christian worship services. The term is often used by Christians to refer to the physical buildings where they worship, but it is sometimes used (by analogy) to refer to buildings of other religions.

Peace: According to Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary, Peace is defined as a state of transquility or quiet.

Harmony: According to Cambridge Online Dictionary, Harmony is defined as a situation in which people are peaceful and agree with each other, or when things seem right or suitable together.

Peaceful coexistence: This is simply an atmosphere of living together in peace rather than in constant hostility.

Religious Crisis: A religious war or holy war (Latin: bellum sacrum) is a war primarily caused or justified by differences in religion. In the modern period, debates are common over the extent to which religious, economic, or ethnic aspects of a conflict predominate in a given war.

Niger Delta: Delta State is an oil and agricultural producing state in Nigeria. It is situated in the region known as the South-South geo-political zone with a population of 4,112,445

Boko Haram: The Islamic State in West Africa or the Islamic State’s West Africa Province, formerly known as Jamā’at Ahl as-Sunnah lid-Da’wah wa’l-Jihād and commonly known as Boko Haram until March 2015, is a jihadist terrorist organization based in northeastern Nigeria, also active in Chad, Niger and northern Cameroon.



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