THE PROBLEM OF DIVISION IN THE CORINTHIANS CHURCH
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CHAPTER ONE GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.1 General introduction
This chapter presents background of the study, problem statement, objectives of the study, research questions, scope of the study, significance of the study and conceptual frame work, review of related literature, methodology, research constraints and definitions of terms.
Origins of Church of God
Church of God (also known as Pentecostal Church) entered Ikeja in 1981. It maintained this name until 1993 when the pioneer leaders were voted out. It was on this ground that the divisionism arose. Those voted out accused the Church that, they were voted out due to their poor education background. The election was according to Act 6:3 “Choose men of good reputation, they must be full of wisdom and spirit”.
In 1993, the name Church of God of Ikeja was given to the church. This name was not welcome by some church members who did not want the change in the name of the Church and maintained the old name (Church of God).
In 2013, the church members collided over church properties. The case
went up to higher local authority offices such as Local councils and Resident
District Commissioner’s office (RDC). And it was ruled that, there is freedom
of worship, therefore those who want to maintain the name Church of God should
remain and those who want to be called Church of God of Ikeja should move away
to a new place. The church properties should be shared between the two Churches
depending on the number of the people leaving the Church, (if they are few,
then they will take less properties
and vise-versa). This gave rise to the Church of God of Ikeja
resulting into divisionism between the two Churches. It is against this background that this study was conducted to assess the divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja in Ikeja.
1.2 Background to the Study
The study assessed the effect of divisionism in the Pentecostal Churches with a case study of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja in Ikeja. Church of God entered Ikeja in 1981, it maintained it’s name till 1993 when it was divided into two fashions.
The early 1970s Pentecostal Christianity has become a growing force across the world, especially in Latin America and in Africa. Nigeria has been the site of Pentecostalism’s greatest explosion on the African continent, and the movement’s extraordinary growth shows no signs of slowing. He further noted that Pentecostal activities have raised concerns in most societies and among academics. “The various manifestation of Pentecostal explosion in Africa and elsewhere in the world, have attracted the attention of scholars from different academic disciplines”1.
In Africa, the proliferation of churches is gradually becoming a social problem and this has been linked to a host of factors such as divisionism situations in these churches and to other socio- economic/political factors associated with religious freedom and poor governance. Pentecostal churches are found in all manner of questionable places like ‘in cinema halls, and also in night clubs, hotels, and all such places previously demonized as abodes of sin by classical Pentecostals’. One apparently covert cause of Pentecostal church proliferation, which has not
- 1 1Marshall, R.. Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria. The University of Chicago Press, USA, 2009, p.1.
been critically explored and evaluated, is the role of intra-church in Pentecostal church proliferation2.
Understanding Divisionism in church
Divisionism has been endemic in Christian religious institutions and the Pentecostal church, in some communities, the Pentecostal churches have a bad reputation due to incessant intra-church divisionism 3.
Divisionism is a state of opposition, antagonism, discord, clash and collision. Divisionism arises when forces relevant to two or more goals were of equal strength4. Divisionism occurs when two related parties-individuals, groups, communities, or nation-states find themselves divided by perceived incompatible goals or interest or in competition for control of scarce resources5. Schlee argues that with this Avurich bridges the gap between approaches to understanding divisionism: one based on the idea of scarcity and the other related to perception and/belief. Controversies, hostilities, resentments, hatred, aggressiveness, rancor and bickering are originally tied to divisionism situations. Divisionism is often explained in terms of the interest of groups involved, since, what people are fighting for is fundamental in divisionism analysis, it is also pertinent in identifying who is fighting whom and why6. Divisionism is not new; it is as old
- Adeboye. ‘A Church in a Cinema Hall?’ Pentecostal Appropriation of Public Space in Nigeria. Journal of Religion in Africa, 2012, p. 145-171.
- 3 Martins, R. D. Church Conflicts: How Do You Settle Church Conflicts? A Radio Bible Class Publication, USA, 1986, p.12.
- 4 Ogunbameru, O. A. Sociological Theory. Penthouse Publications, Ibadan, 2008, p. 33.
- 5 Kadende-Kaiser, R. M. and Kaiser. Phases of Conflicts in Africa. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 2003, p. 2-3. 6 Schlee, G. Taking Sides and Constructing Identities: Reflection on Conflict Theory. Marx Planc Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saalle, 2004, p. 76.
as the world. To Ogunbameru, the first divisionism occurred in heaven when Lucifer rebelled against God7. This rebellion has continued in various socio-religious institutions as humans in them are in constant interaction. Thus, interaction is the verge of divisionism. It is glaring that, one of the myriad intractable problems facing Uganda today is religious divisionism. Every leader once in a while finds one’s self directly or indirectly in some form of divisionism.
Divisionism refers to a condition in which one identifiable group of human beings in an environment (whether tribal, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious, socio-economic or political among others) is engaged in conscious opposition to one or more identifiable human group(s) because these groups are pursuing what appear to be incompatible goals8. According to Kreutz, most social theorists believe that divisionism plays certain positive functions and as such not always dangerous as often assumed9. Critically however, divisionism is known to be potentially dangerous. Thus, improper handling of divisionism destroys institutions, communities, marriages, and corporations may stir up chaos. This may cause the end or downfall of great leaders as well as fragmentation of their organizations. The ability to tame hostilities depends on the type of divisionism resolution technique employed. Divisionism resolution is therefore, the systematic techniques, procedures, and strategies employed by skilled mediators and interventionist, in the quest to ameliorate, reduce, or eliminate divisionism in all human
7 Revelation 12: 3-10
8 Olabode, A. D. and Ajibade, L. T. Environment Induced Conflict and Sustainable Development: A Case of Fulani-Farmers’ Conflict in Oke-Ero LGAs, Kwara State, Nigeria, 2010, p. 259
8 Kreutz, J. How and when armed conflicts end:
providing UCDP Conflict Termination Dataset. Journal of peace research, 2010,
relationships or interactions10. Particular divisionism management strategies have their advent ages and disadvantages and are more or less effective depending on the type of divisionism and the situation or context in which the divisionism occurs11. When developing strategies to resolving divisionism such as crafting and implementation of peace agreements, it is necessary to assess and respond to short, medium and long term self-interests of the parties to the divisionism
Thus, if divisionisms are not resolved promptly in marriages, churches, communities and nations, informal groups may develop to handle the situation, which may escalate the crises to the extent that the institution may be adversely affected. The result of church crisis is break-ups and proliferations which sometimes metamorphose to societal nuisance12. In view of the above facts, it is important to undertake in-depth study on divisionism in Nebbi community which was expected to provide further insight on the effects of division.
1.3 Problem Statement
Religious practices and beliefs are meant to unite the followers and educate them about religious tolerance and non-discrimination. However, divisionism has led to social and religious disunity among it’s adherents. The Church of God started in Ikeja way back in 1981 under one leadership until 1993 when it broke into two factions known as Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja. This came after voting out church leaders who do not have the required
- 10 Onyima, B.N. Conflict Resolution in Pentecostal Churches: A Case Study of Pentecostal Churches in Ibadan. An Unpublished project at the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Ibadan, 2007, p. 62.
- 11 Brockman, J. L., Antonio, A. N., & Archana, B. Effectiveness of a Conflict Resolution Training Program in Changing
Graduate Students Style of Managing Conflict with their Faculty Advisors. Innov. High Educ. 2010, p. 277–293.
- 12 Kadende-Kaiser, R. M. and Kaiser, P. J. Phases of Conflicts in Africa. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 2003, p. 2-3.
academic papers resulting into breakaway, hatred, quarrel and fight over property. The newly elected educated leaders remain in the Church of God while the uneducated leaders who were voted out started the Church of God of Ikeja. If this problem of divisionism is not resolved, it could affect the unity that existed in the Pentecostal Church. There is need, therefore to establish the causes, effect and possible solutions of divisionism between the adherents of the Church of God and church of God of Ikeja in order to resolve the problem in Ikeja.
1.4 General Objectives
The general objective of the study was to find out the causes and effect of divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja in Ikeja.
1.4.1 Specific Objectives
The specific objectives of the study were to:
- determine out the causes of divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja.
- assess out the effect of divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja.
- analyse the strategies the church has to addressing divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja.
1.5 Research Questions
The study was guided by the following research questions:
- What are the causes of divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja?
- How does divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja effect on community?
- What strategies does the church have to addressing divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja?
1.6 Scope of the Study
The scope of the study includes its geographical, content and time aspects.
1.6.1 Geographical Scope
The study was conducted in Ikeja. The district is in Northern Uganda. It is bordered by Arua District to the north, Amuru District to the northeast, Nwoya District to the east, Bulisa District to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the south and Zombo District to the west. Nebbi, where the district headquarters are located approximately 77 kilometres (48 mi), by road, southeast of Arua, the largest town in the sub-region. The coordinates of the district are: 02 27N, 31 15E (Latitude: 2.4500; Longitude: 31.2500) and it population is 2,091,734 people. Ikeja was chosen because it is one of the districts with divisionism among Pentecostal Churches.
1.6.2 Content scope
The study was restricted to the effects of divisionism on the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja such as power struggle, corruption and hatred. The scope also looked at the effect and possible solutions to divisionism.
- Time Scope
The study covered a time from 1981-2016. This included the time when the
church started. This was adequate enough to give us the required information.
1.7. Limitations of the study
As with any research there are study limitations that should be acknowledged for the benefit of future research efforts.
There was a challenge of gaining entry to the organisation targeted. The organisational leaders explained that as a policy, they expected any person aiming to conduct the research in their organisation to make an application in advance in a period of four months prior to the survey. This was not achievable since at the Faculty, introductory letters are only given after submission of the proposal for review. However, the leaders understood the researcher’s explanation and allowed him to conduct the research.
Another challenge that was faced was that some respondents were not interested in answering the questionnaires since it was as if it was none of their business and some wanted to be given some money as a way of interesting them to give answers. But with the help of the church leaders, the researcher was able to explain to them how the research is not for business purposes but purely academic and they cooperated.
Money was needed to facilitate the researcher during the study. The researcher had to borrow money from relatives and friends in order to facilitate him during this research study.
Some respondents hide information from the researcher because of fear or some were expecting to be paid money for the information they are giving. The researcher presented an introductory letter to the respondents and informs them that this study is for the academic purpose and the result will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality.
1.7 Significance of the study
includes both practical and theoretical significance
- Practical significance
The study findings are expected to help government in formulating policy that can be used to regulate the different religious groups in the country. This will help in reducing the rampant divisionism among the churches.
The findings of the study are expected to help churches by outlining the factors leading the disunity among Pentecostal churches and this can act as a guide for them to follow and do the right thing.
This study is expected to guide the community in Ikeja about the causes of disunity among Pentecostal churches and how to mitigate them in order for them to live in harmony.
1.10 Definition of terms
Roles are specific tasks or duties that members are expected to complete. They are specific activities or obligations for which they are held accountable when they assume or a signed to.
Christians are the follower of Jesus Christ. They believe that Jesus Christ is he Messiah, sent by God.
Churches are public worship of God or a religious service in such a building
Divisionism is splitting into two or more groups.
Divisionism is a fight, battle, struggle, especially prolonged struggle; strive between people or groups.
Adherents is sticking or being faithful to.
Assess is to make judgment about something.
Cause is a person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon or condition.
Effect refers to a physical force like a collision, an influence (bad role model or a hero) or a strong effect.
Ethnicity refers to culturally traits that are shared by a category of people such as language, religion, or national origin.
Evangelism refers to the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or person witness.
Pentecostal refers to relating to or denominating of a number of Christian movement and individuals emphasizing baptism in the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongue, prophecy and exorcism.
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