OF THE ADEBOGUNS
THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF NIGERIA AND THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
TABLE OF CONTENT
1. Introduction ----------------------------------------------------------- 1
Goal and Objective
Research Assumption and Limitation
2. Literature Review----------------------------------------------------- 10
History of the Anglican Church Of Nigeria
Vision statement of the Church
Church of Nigeria Missionary Society
3. Theological Review -------------------------------------------------- 23
Description of the Church
Characteristics of the Church
When did the church Begin?
4. Comparison of the New Testament Church and The Anglican Church
of Nigeria------------------------------------------------- 36
Appendixes ------------------------------------------------------------- 52
Appendix 1 Statistical and graphical data
(Result of seminar, interview and questionnaire filled at Immanuel College of Theology and Christian Education,
Ibadan, Oyo, Nigeria)
Appendix 2 Copy of the Questionnaire
THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF NIGERIA AND THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
The Anglican Church Nigeria is part of the world wide Anglican (Episcopal) communion. It is in full communion with the diocese of Canterbury. It is acclaimed to be the fastest growing and the largest in the Anglican world. This study examined part of the life of the church that is used as model in the Anglican World in the light of the New Testament church. This research work evaluated the life of the Church with the hope of identifying the areas the church has derailed or is derailing (despite her growth), and the area of strength. Recommendations are made on how the church can remain focused and reflect on the pattern of a true evangelical New Testament Church tradition in every aspect of her life in this changing world and society.
This piece traced the history of the church from its inception to date. Identified areas in which the Anglican Church of Nigeria does not reflect a New Testament church. It also proposed solutions to some of these problems. The methodology used included presentation of Seminar on the topics, questions and answers session with seminary students, and an interview with some lay and ordained members of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. It important to mention that the writer of this piece served as a full time priest in the Anglican Church of Nigeria for some years. Personal experience of the church also played a significant role in the writing of this piece. Questionnaires were given to ordinands (final year seminaries students), who are the potential church leaders to be able to understand the current situations in their different dioceses in the three provinces of the Anglican church of Nigeria. These and other issues raised in the questionnaires played a significant role in the conduct of this research paper. Other inquiries were made to be able to ensure that the recommendations are relevant to today’s church.
PURPOSE OF THIS PROJECT
Statement and Relevance of the Problem
The Anglican Church Of Nigeria is often described as the fastest growing and the largest body within the Anglican Church. Having grown up, served in the system as a full time priest and also hoping to return back to the system in the future, it is essential for the church to remain focused and deal with some cankerworms that are beginning to eat into the fabric of the organization. Is the church gradually moving away from the orthodox doctrine and practice of the New Testament Church? This piece will answer this question. This project will expose some of these vices and propose solutions and recommendations for the system so that it will continue to be light in the world. The church should not be deceived by the outward success but take note of the loopholes that may change her testimony, especially in the training the future ministers of the organization. If the ordinands do not have full understanding of the Church and the scope of what they are called into, it will affect their goals, objectives and pursuit when they become full time or part time ministers in the Church.
GOALS AND OBJECTIVES:
a) To trace the history of the Anglican Church of Nigeria from her inception to date.
b) To examine the life of the Anglican Church of Nigeria
c) To identify the areas of strength of the Anglican Church of Nigeria.
d) To identify the areas the Anglican Church of Nigeria does not reflect a true New Testament Church
e) To compare the practices in the Anglican Church of Nigeria with that of the New Testament Church.
f) To make suggestions/recommendations on how the Anglican Church of Nigeria can reflect the pattern of New Testament.
RESEARCH ASSUMPTIONS AND LIMITATIONS
Though leadership in the Anglican is discussed, this piece does not focus on the form of leadership and specific issues like the ordination of women, and the selection of elders or leaders. This piece acknowledges that there are various forms of government (Episcopal, Congregational etc) and the Anglican Congregation worldwide has chosen to adhere to Episcopal system. The writer acknowledges this and does not discuss the various forms of government/administration in this piece. It is also assumed that readers of this piece are familiar with the system of government in the Anglican Communion worldwide (Episcopal).
It is also assumed that the readers of this work are familiar with the three forms of leadership/ordained ministry of the Anglican Communion (deaconate, priesthood and bishopric). The process of ordination and selection of candidate for ordination are not discussed in this work.
Though this work traces the formation of the Anglican Church of Nigeria, the history is limited to the growth of the Church Nigeria and does not focus extensively on the Anglican Church worldwide.
REVIEW OF SOME AVAILABLE LITERATURE
As noted earlier the Anglican Church of Nigeria is the fastest growing entity in the Anglican world. It could also be regarded as the largest single congregation in Nigeria. It has a long history rooted in tradition and generally the church is evangelical in nature. The growth ratio is higher than the vice ratio (problem facing the church). There are few authors who have written about the life, strength and weaknesses of the church. There are many reasons for these limitations in writing. These limitation include
a) Inability to identify the vices that are growing with the church. As a result of the growth experience in many parts of the Church many do not easily identify the weaknesses or some of the errors the church is beginning to get into.
b) Expensive printing and publication cost. There are great scholars and writers, printing and publication is relatively expensive.
c) Misrepresentation. Fear of misinterpretation is another factor that has hindered many from constructively criticism the life of the Church.
d) Government structure. The present system of government does not necessarily encourage active writing and research. This is due to several limitations on the part of the system.
However, bits and pieces have been written or said that could be referred to in this write up. This literature review is limited to the history of the Church of Nigeria and its mission agent. It also includes the vision statement of the church. Consideration is also given to what has been said about the church in Anglican world.
HISTORY OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF NIGERIA
The Church of
Nigeria belongs to the worldwide Anglican family.
The growth of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) since the end of the Slave Trade has been a very rapid one.
It is interesting to know that within two centuries, Christianity and indeed Anglicanism, which started like child’s play in Badagry, and Abeokuta has spread like wild fire to all nooks and crannies of our country Nigeria.
Christianity came into Nigeria in the 15th century through the efforts of Augustinian and Capuchin monks from Portugal. However, it was not until 1842 that Henry Townsend of the Church Missionary Society sowed the seed of the gospel and Anglicanism properly when he landed in Badagry1 from Freetown Sierra Leone.
Henry Townsend and Samuel Ajayi Crowther were later ordained priests in the Anglican Church. After their ordinations as clergy in Church of England in 1842; The Rev Henry Townsend and the Rev Samuel Ajayi Crowther (a Yoruba ex-slave) returned to Abeokuta. With the untiring efforts of these evangelists, Nigerians began to believe in Jesus as the Lord and Savior of the entire world. And so, on December 25, 1842 in Abeokuta, Nigerians were able to celebrate for the very first time, the glorious annunciation that the Savior, who is Christ the Lord, was born (1st Christmas). They gave glory to God Almighty, experiencing the peace and joy of the Lord; Anglicanism had been born in Nigeria.
In 1846 The Rev Samuel Ajayi Crowther, The Rev Henry Townsend in the company of Rev Golmer and Mr. Philips worked together to consolidate the Church Missionary Society, Yoruba mission.
In 1857, The Rev. Samuel Ajayi Crowther led the CMS Niger Mission to Onitsha and environs to found a formidable native pastorate. He was elected Bishop (The Revd. Samuel Ajayi Crowther) in 1864 and posted to the see of the Niger.
Anglicanism soon had a secure base in Lagos, which became a Diocese on December 10, 1919 with F. Melville Jones as Bishop and Isaac Oluwole, Assistant Bishop. Retired Bishop H. Tugwell acted as the Bishop on the Niger before Bishop Lasbrey’s consecration in 1922.
When Leslie Gordon Vining succeeded Jones as Bishop of Lagos in 1940, the Anglican Church in Nigeria had a new vista opened. By 1955 when he died at sea, Vining, the last “white” Bishop of Lagos and the first Archbishop of the Province of West Africa (inaugurated in 1951) had taken giant strides to expand the frontiers of the Anglican church and training scores of young and dynamic Nigerian priests.
Other dioceses were thereafter created. After due process, the sixteen dioceses in Nigeria were constituted into the Province of Nigeria on the Feast of St. Mathias, February 24, 1979 with the Bishop of Ibadan, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Timothy O. Olufosoye as the Archbishop, Primate and Metropolitan.
Under Olufosoye, eight dioceses were created. These were Kano (8/1/80), Jos (10/1/80) Akoko (28/2/83), Owo (1/3/83), Akure (2/3/83), Orlu (6/11/84), Remo (4/3/86), Awka (6/3/86), and Osun (3/8/87).
Upon the election of the Rt. Rev J. Abiodun Adetiloye, Bishop of Lagos, as the second Archbishop, Primate and Metropolitan of Nigeria on April 14, 1988 and his presentation in June, the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) was launched on the growth fast lane.
The Diocese of Abuja (covering the new Nigeria Federal Capital Territory) was inaugurated on November 26, 1989 with the Rt. Rev Peter J. Akinola, erstwhile Missioner, as Bishop. 1990 and the year following was declared the decade of evangelism.
With unsurpassed missionary zeal, Archbishop Adetiloye initiated deft moves that culminated in the unprecedented consecration of eight missionary Bishops and the Diocesan Bishop of Kano on April 29, 1990 at St. Michael Anglican Cathedral, Kaduna. The missionary Bishops' core remit was the fast evangelism of the predominantly Muslim Northern Nigeria.
Eight other missionary Dioceses were inaugurated in September 1990 as follows: Minna (3rd), Kafanchan (5th), Katsina (6th), Sokoto (9th), Makurdi (24th), Yola (26th), Maiduguri (28th), and Bauchi (29th).
The Diocese of Egbado (now Yewa) was inaugurated on November 2, 1990 and Ife two days later (4/11/90). Two more missionary Dioceses of Calabar (20/12/90), Uyo (27/11/92), followed.
By now the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) had been proclaimed by the Archbishop of Canterbury as “the fastest growing church in the Anglican Communion!"
Living up to its billing, Nigeria under Adetiloye created the Diocese of Oke-Osun (25/1/93), Sabongidda-Ora (27/5/93), Okigwe North (7/1/94), Okigwe South (8/1/94), Ikale-Ilaje (6/2/95), Kabba (12/2/96), Nnewi (14/2/96), Egbu (16/2/96), and Niger Delta North (16/5/96).
Then in December 1996, five more missionary Dioceses were inaugurated in the North: Kebbi (4th), Dutse (6th), Damaturu (8th) Jalingo (10th) and Oturkpo (11th). The Diocese of Wusasa and Abakaliki followed on (2/12/97) and (4/12/97) respectively. The autonomous Diocese of Ughelli was inaugurated on January 8, 1998 and Ibadan North (14/12/98).
Definitely the golden year which produced the largest number of Dioceses was 1999 when in the month of July four dioceses were inaugurated, namely; Oji River (11th), Ideato (12th), Ibadan south (13th), and Offa (14th), and then November bore eight Dioceses! … Lagos West (29th), Ekiti West (22nd), Gusau (24th). Gombe (25th), Niger Delta West (25th), Gwagwalada (26th), Lafia (29th), and Bida (30th). The year ended with Oleh on December 21.
Three Provinces, One Church
Considering the sheer vastness of the Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), it was split into three Provinces on 20th September 1997 for effective management. It must be noted that these expansions and creation of dioceses was as a result of increase in number of believers in the mission. Many people had been added to the Anglican Church hence the need to decentralization. It was also a plan to reach out to other unreached areas/people. The expansion also brought leadership close to the people. It helped churches to be united and see other groups as partners in mission.
Province One, consists of the Dioceses in the West, and was headed by Archbishop Adetiloye who remained Primate of All Nigeria; Province two consisting of the Eastern Dioceses had the Rt. Revd. Ben. Nwankiti of Owerri and after his retirement in 1998 J. A. Onyemelukwe, Bishop on the Niger, as Archbishop, while Province three consisting of the Northern Dioceses had the Bishop of Abuja, the Rt. Revd. Dr. Peter J. Akinola as Archbishop. The church is forging ahead vigorously in her vision today despite her failures and distractions (Some of the failures, areas of improvements and distractions are noted in the later chapter of this write up).
Upon the retirement of the Most Rev Joseph Abiodun Adetiloye, in December 1999, a new primate, Most Rev Dr Peter Akinola was presented on 25 March 2000. He is the current primate of the Church of Nigeria, the archbishop of province three and the bishop of Abuja Diocese. He has made several efforts in pursuit of peace with God (evangelism) and human (reconciliation).
VISION STATEMENT OF CHURCH
The Church has complete faith in the Almighty God and will go to where he leads. The Church will, during the vision period, strive to achieve numeric and spiritual growth and show greater care and love for the flock.
The Church will strive to be more efficient and effective in the management of its resources, create a sound financial base for itself and be more tolerant in intra-and inter-religions affairs.
The Church of Nigeria shall
The following encapsulates the Vision of the Church of Nigeria:
During the vision period, The Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) shall be; bible-based, spiritual dynamic, united, disciplined, self supporting, committed to pragmatic evangelism, social welfare and a Church that epitomizes the genuine love of Christ.
Elements of the vision
The vision lays stress on spirituality, unity, evangelism, care, love and laying the foundation for enduring growth. Some of these key elements are highlighted below.
Evangelism is the transfer of the knowledge of our Lord Jesus Christ And His goodness from one believer to another. The transfer takes place through preaching, Bible study, good neighborliness, etc. Our Lord Jesus commanded us to "Go ye into all nations and make disciples of all men". Whosoever believes is saved. Evangelism is a key obligation of the Church and, indeed, all believers.
This relates to our level of awareness of God’s sovereignty. One’s level of God consciousness underscores one’s attitude and relationship with God and man. All Christian must be devoted and must consistently seek the truth through prayer, meditation, conscious bible study and devotion.
Unity is strength. When we are united like a broom, it is hard to break us. Unity can be cultured through love, dialogue, effective communication and respect for the view of others. The unity of the Church can translate to the unity of the nation.
The Anglican Communion is fundamentally a caring church. When a neighbor is ill, we should care for him. When she is hungry, we should feed her. We should share food and other materials with those in need so that, like the window of Nain, the Lord can replenish our resources.
The Anglican Communion must commit itself to caring for one another within the Church as well as others in Nigeria and the world at large
MISSION IN THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF NIGERIA
It is often said that mission is the heartbeat of God. Does the church of Nigeria have any plan to reach out to the outside world?
What is CNMS?
The Church of Nigeria Missionary Society is the mission agent of the church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion), taking the mission of God’s love and reconciliation to every home in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
CMS of London started in the year 1799 and was God's agent of bringing the Gospel of our Lord Jesus Christ to Nigeria. Starting as CMS Schools, hospitals and Churches, he present Church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) was formed and has now grown to 77 Dioceses as the fastest growing church in the Anglican Communion.
In 1994, between 4th - 8th July, a Provincial Missions Conference was held in Jos at the end of which a recommendation to establish a Mission Body was sent to the Episcopal Synod which considered and ratified the recommendation at her standing Committee Meeting in September 1994 at Erunwon in Ijebu Diocese.
This independent and indigenous Missionary Body was inaugurated on 15th September 1996 at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Lagos under an eighteen-man Executive council.
Mandate and Aim
CNMS has the manifesto of Luke 4:18-19 to organize rescue operations as a mission agent of the Anglican Communion, taking the mission of God's love and reconciliation to every home in Nigeria, African and beyond.
To achieve its central mission, CNMS has set the following seven objectives: -
(I) To select, train, and send-forth Mission Partners to unreached parts of Nigeria, Africa and the rest of the World.
(II) To co-ordinate the missionary effort of the Church and organize evangelistic outreaches.
(III) To mobilize, train and empower the laity to effectively participate in evangelism.
(IV) To promote and encourage consistent and sustained Prayer support for Mission and Evangelism.
(V) To create awareness for various areas of Mission through radio, television, film and print media, and facilitate their execution.
(VI) To mobilize support and raise funds for mission and evangelism in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
(VII) To carry out appropriate research to reveal the nature, composition and geographical extent of unreached people-groups in Nigeria, Africa and beyond.
Relationship with other faiths
The Anglican Church is a welcoming Church. Ours is a democratic a well as a dynamic organization. We preach Christ risen and ascended. We allow His love in us to flow and reach out to our brothers and sisters who may ultimately become co-adherents. The members of the Anglican Church are committed to establish mutual co-operation with members of the other faiths and religions. In this way, we can achieve the goal of winning more people to Christ and evolving a society that is just, caring, equitable, and one in which all can live in peace and true love.
I once had a discussion with a senior Anglican clergy in Nigeria who despite his romance with other denominations does not see them as ‘the church’. In his words, he said the “Anglican denomination is the Church” and other denominations are just assemblies. A friend of mine had the same experience in England recently. The Church of England in parts of the diocese of Lichfield is called the Church and the Methodist congregation is called the chapel. Members of the Roman Catholic Church probably will have the same definition and feelings until Vatican ll. The issue of who or what the church is therefore of great importance to us today. In fact the study of ecclesiology is more important today than it was in the last century. Lord Robert Runcie, former archbishop of Canterbury writes: ‘In my address to the national Evangelical Anglican celebration in 1988 I called for more contribution from the evangelicals to the growing discussion and contributions from evangelicals on the growing discussion of ecclesiology’ As important as this subject is, many still do not understand how to explain it. Many ordinands who are preparing to go into the ordained ministry do not even understand where they are going. What is the church? What is the relationship between the church and Israel? When did the church begin? Which denomination on earth is the church? Which one is not the church?
John Macquarrie points out that:
Probably more gets written about the church nowadays than on any other single theological theme. Most of these writings have a practical orientation. We hear about the church in relation to rapid social change, the church in a secular society, the church and reunion, the church in missions. But however valuable some of this insight gained in these various fields may be, that need to be guided and correlated by a theological understanding of the church.
The church means many things and different things to different people. It may even mean several things to the same person. For example, one may say, “let’s go to church.” “To what is he going?” Says another, “I grew up in the church.” What does that mean? Still another may insist, “The church ought to do something about it.” What is the church that he thinks should act? “We go to Dr. Self Made’s Church,” affirms someone else. Is it really Dr. Home-made doctorate’s church? “At my church” continues another, “we have a good youth program” Another will say, “Is that the business of the church?” These various expressions reflect how vague and uncertain our idea of the church. Where did the word come? How did it get into the society that it now has different meanings and interpretations?
The use of this word did not start in the Church. Originally it is merely a gathering of people summoned or gathering of citizen of polis (city) or gathering of people called out by a herald to meet in a public place assembly for special purpose. This purpose could be political or other gathering that really does not really have a link with the religious gathering. It was a word loosely used by everyone for gathering. The word later developed into a New Testament word that was given a special meaning that is completely different from the secular use.
The meaning of the New Testament concept must be seen against two backgrounds, that of classical Greek and that of the Old Testament. “The biblical sense of the OT and NT is furnished only by the addition tou teou, and the specific NT sense by the further addition of kristw teou, irrespective of whether the addition is present in a given case, or present in whole or part.” Two words in the Old Testament appear to have meaning related to the word church… lfhfqf(qahal) and hfrac (edah). The former term, perhaps derived from the word for voice, refers to a summons to an assembly and the acts of assembly. It is not so much a specification of the members of the assembly as a designation of the occurrence of the assembling. ‘Qahal’ was translated in the Septuagint as ekklesia and ‘edah’ is translated as sunagwgh.
The English Word translated ‘church’ comes from the Greek word kuriakon, which means, “ that which belongs to the Lord”. This word is only used twice in the New Testament (1Cor 11: 20, Rev 1:10). But “church” is used especially to translate another New Testament word that is closely related to the idea of ‘that which belongs to God’- it is the word ekklesia, which describes “the people who belong to God.” The word could be splited into two ek (out of) and kalew I call. Joining these two words will mean ek-kalew -called out of. This analysis of the word has given a meaning to the word church. This word appears several times in the New Testament. Scripturaly therefore, the church is the called out people of God and not the architectural design. It is not a particular denomination. It is the membership. It is not necessarily a particular assembly. It is comprised of people who have been called out from darkness and chains of sin and Satan into the glorious light of the gospel of Christ.
If this is the meaning of the church, is there any distinction between those who are dead and those who are alive?
VISIBLE, INVISIBLE, AND TRIUMPHANT CHURCH
It will be of great important to understand the above terminology that is being used in our society. The distinction is an attempt to resolve the misuse of the word - Church. Billy Graham one the American evangelist of the twentieth century says,
The invisible church is that larger body of believers who, down through the ages, have sincerely trusted Jesus as Lord and Savior. One becomes a member of the Church when he receives Jesus Christ as his Lord and Savior. The visible church is the present day universal church, composed of the local groups of Christians. In it are both the wheat and tares….
This distinction is appealing to many today. But is this really what the Scripture teaches? Will this not imply reading into the scriptures because of today’s problem? Will the definition of the invisible church as stated above imply communion of the living and the dead? I agree with the fact that there are many in the midst of the church (wheat) today that are not part of the church (tares). If the church is the called out people of God, I would think every unsaved member of a local assembly is not part of the church.
The triumphant church, however, are believers who were part of the church and they are now with the Lord. They are still part of the church that will reign with Christ. How then can we describe the Church so that believers in Christ will have the correct understand of what it meant?
DESCRIPTION OF THE CHURCH
It appears a good way to describe or discuss the nature of the church is to consider the various ways it is described in the Scriptures. The church is
If the church could be described as explained above, what are the characteristics that make the church distinct and unique?
CHARACTERISTICS OF THE CHURCH
It is my opinion that analyzing the characteristics of the church will enable one to understand more about the church.
Having examined the characteristics of the church. How did the church begin or what is the origin of the church?
WHEN DID THE CHURCH BEGIN?
Several proposals have been given on the beginning of the church. Some have argued that since the church has an Old Testament equivalent, it started in the Old Testament era. Louis Berkhof, among others speaks of the church in the patriarchal and mosaic period. If this is true why did Jesus not use the word more that twice in the gospels and in fact one of the references is speaking of the future? It is also interesting to note that Luke the writer of one of the gospels did not use the word in his gospel but used it several times in Acts of the Apostles. It would therefore appear that the church did not start in the Old Testament or before Pentecost. The church seems to have started after Pentecost after the death, and resurrection of Jesus and the empowering of the disciples. I am aware of the fact that this will raise questions as to the status of Israel (Old Testament believers). If these Old Testament believers were people of God, and the church of the New Testament also constitute the people of God, does that imply two categories of God’s people? Some scholars have suggested the idea of ‘shadow’ and ‘true image’ in the resolution of this conflict. The basis of this argument is that the Old Testament is a shadow of things fulfilled in the New Testament.
Erickson in his book “The Christian Theology” says
Those who were part of Israel prior to Pentecost have been incorporated into the church. Israel was not, then, simply succeeded by the church; rather Israel was included within the church. The people of God are truly one people; the body of Christ is truly one body.”
The grafting of the Gentiles into the body that is reflected in Paul’s letter in Romans supports this point of view. I will pitch my tent with Erickson on this proposal.
Having discussed the definition, nature, and characteristics of the church, it would be essential to compare the Anglican church of Nigeria with these standards. It would also appear to the outside world reading the vision statement of the Anglican church of Nigeria, that the church is vibrant in all aspects of its life. This is far from the true. Like the church of Ephesus, addressed in the book of Revelation, it appears the church has lost his first love in certain areas of its life. The following section will therefore focus on some of the things I consider to be issues in the Anglican Church of Nigeria today which the church as whole needs to reflect upon so that we can be true to our vision and mission in the world. It is a comparism of the Anglican Church of Nigeria and the New Testament Church.
COMPARISON OF THE ANGLICAN CHURCH OF NIGERIA AND THE NEW TESTAMENT CHURCH
Does the Anglican Church Of Nigeria reflect the true pattern of the New Testament Church? In what areas have we allowed the cankerworm of the world to eat into the fabric of the Church? In what ways has the church completely interwoven with the world? Are there areas that the church has completely entered the world and visa versa?
This section is therefore intended to compare and contract the organization called the Anglican church of Nigeria with the gathering of believers in the New Testament era.
The Church of the New Testament had her own problems. However, the scriptures provides a great example for us to follow. The Bible tells us about the life, characteristics, worship and organization of the church. The scriptures did not leave us in the dark on election, preferment and other practices of the church. Every assembly of the Church should compare itself with these characteristics. This does not exclude the Anglican church of Nigeria. Specific areas in the life of the Anglican Church of Nigeria will be considered below.
Election and preferment
How were people elected in the Scriptures? What about the issue of promotion in the church? Election is not based on family relationship, preferential treatment, and geographical relationship/association but on the gifts and calling of God. In any election we must remember the story in Acts of the Apostles 6: 3 ‘Therefore, friends, select from among yourselves seven men of good standing, full of the Spirit and of wisdom whom we made appoint to this task’. The apostles stress the need for election to be according to God’s endowment in a person’s life. How is this decision made? It must be done through sincere prayer.
So they proposed two, Joseph called Barsabbas who was also known as Justus and Matthias. THEN THEY PRAYED, and said, “Lord you know everyone’s heart. Show us which of these two you have chosen to take the place in this ministry apostleship from, which Judas turned aside to go to his own place”. Acts 1: 23-25
We must admit that there are elements of insincerity in our gathering today. We, however, need to take a clue from the New Testament church. We must be sincere in our election lest we bring confusion into the gathering of the people of God. The Bishop needs to exercise caution in making such decisions. The priest and others in position of leadership need to use their positions to the glory of God and made decisions according to the will of him who has called them. Preferment must not be based of preferential treatment or family relationship. It must be based on merit, gifts, spiritual maturity and ministry commitment (Acts 6). Above all, those who are involve in the decision-making must allow the leading of the Holy Spirit.
It appears the worship of the people of God in the New Testament era was not bounded by format, rule, regulation and tradition. They worshipped as led by the Holy Spirit of God. Does that imply lack of preparation? The worship of the people of God should rather be seen as worship that is sensitive to the Holy Spirit. We probably need that learn from this today. I subscribe to Anglican liturgy and the various books of service. But the point I am making is that the church does not need to be stereotyped. The Holy Spirit must not be chained in our worship. There are worship leaders in the Anglican church today who will not only refuse to deviate from the set pattern but they will also not be sensitive to the leading of the Holy Spirit as they lead worship. This calls for prayerful preparations. It is evident in the church today that there are priests who will not take time to pray before any service is conducted because the set format is in the prayer book. There is need to remember that the God that is being worshipped is still in charge of the worship. We need to prepare, but we must allow HIM to take his place in our preparation and the actual service. The centrality of God is what makes worship what it should be. “God is Spirit; and those who worship him must worship in spirit and truth” (John 4:24). This calls for total dependence upon Him who is being worshipped.
Ministry of the Church
Every believer is called to serve God and contribute with whatever investment, gifts and talents God has given to them. Ministry is not exclusively for the deacon, priest or Bishop. Ministry is for all who are saved. The New Testament believers and assembly did not exclude anyone from participation. The stereotyped idea that is often in the Anglican Church needs to be revised. Transition to priesthood should not be automatic; it should be based on the call of the individual. There are people who think they have been called to be deacons and do not want to be Priest. These individual should not be seen as lazy or of less important to any other clergy. But they should be seen as responding to their own calling. While I strongly agree with the need for leadership within the church of God, this should not be to the neglect of the lay ministry. Lay leadership needs to be encouraged again in the Anglican Church. Some services should be extended to the lay leaders within the church especially during the celebration of the sacrament.
Another idea that needs revision is the statement that the central ministry of the church is celebration of the sacrament. I do not think this is true. Sacraments are important. But the outreach of the church to the dying world is what I consider the central ministry of the church. This is evident in the last words of Jesus Christ to his disciples
“Go therefore and make disciples of all nations… Go into all the world and proclaim the good news to the whole creation” (Matt 28:19, Mark 16:15)
The mandate given to CNMS is important for every Christian and how the mandate is being actualized. It appears the mission is localized and with restriction. The apostles were told by Jesus Christ in Acts 1: 8 ‘But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.’ The mission assignment is not limited to their local area. They were told to spread their net to the ends of the ends of the earth. The church must be willing to spread the gospel to the ends of the earth. The ends of the earth include the western Anglican community. But my concern is the neglect of other sister Anglican churches all over the world that needs to be revived. The situation of the Anglican churches in the western world requires urgent attention by other sister churches. Several doctrines that are being passed in the Anglican churches are of concern to the immigrant coming to the western world. For instance the approval of same sex union in June 2002 within the Anglican diocese of Westminster, Vancouver, Canada is disturbing to African Anglicans. Many of these immigrants who are Anglicans from Nigeria are gradually defecting to other denominations. It appear the Anglican churches in many parts of the western world are inward looking and this makes it very difficult for them to evangelize.
There are two big false notions in the Anglican churches worldwide today. One is the common understanding in Nigeria that the gospel came from the west and therefore westerners do not need to be evangelized. The second is the arrogance within the churches in the west that the Anglican churches in the west do not need missionaries from sister churches. They (the church in the west) see the church in Africa and Asia as not developed. They also feel the gospel must go from the west to the undeveloped world and not vice versa. These are wrong notions.
It appears Nigeria mission agency is gradually giving in to this. Some priests and lay people who have the burden to reach out to the west are often denied the opportunity by the leadership of the church. They do not have the support required. The CNMS needs to include outreach to the west as part of her mandate. CNMS needs to begin the exchange program of priest and laity that will bring revival into their sister churches in the western world. There is also a need for missionaries to start moving to Anglican churches in the western world. In fact missionaries are more needed in the Anglican churches now than any time in the history of the church.
The Church -- People or Building
It is important for the lay and the ordained in the Anglican Church of Nigeria to understand what is the church. To some people (lay and ordained) the church is not more than the building. Hence the emphasis in establishing new congregations or making the existing ones to grow is to build gigantic Victorian buildings. Significant money that would have been used for mission is diverted to the project. There are church buildings that have taken over 30 years to come to completion. While it is important for the congregation to have a place to worship, I do not thing all the resources of the church should be diverted to this never completed projected. The same church that is willing to spend millions on church building find it difficult to invest in things of eternal value.
One is left to ask, what is the significance of this building? The church of the New Testament met in houses and there is no place in the New Testament where their focus is on buildings or the best structure in town. Some have also argued that the church deserves the best. It is true that God wants the best for his people but he does not support extravagancy. God is the God priority. It is time for the church of Nigeria to move away from the idea of building a church that will look like the St Paul’s Cathedral in London. There are other priorities that will help growth. In some dioceses it now church building is now competition. Our church building must be best in town or our church building most be better that the other church building in town should not be the focus in having a place of worship. The focus should be on what is needed to accommodate people coming to worship. This does not mean the congregation should be short sighted in building. Clergy and lay members of the church must be taught this essential value. It is unfortunate to see ordinands who think the church is the building and not the people. When he is made a pastor of a church his focus will be how to have the best building in town. The gospel will have to suffer or be secondary to accomplish this.
The vision statements of the Anglican Church of Nigeria emphasize the need to care for people within and outside the communion (See page 19). In reality there is a growing gap between the poor and rich in the church. A great number of the rich are becoming powerful and influential. Their riches are often used to oppress the poor, the priest and the work of the kingdom. Care is neglected within the church. The church needs to reflect the example in the Act 2:46. Caring for people will involve sharing our resources, showing genuine concern and true love. We must love and care in words and deed. There is need to take note of John’s injunction:
“But whoever has the world’s goods, and behold his brother in need and closes his hearts against him, how does the love of God abide in him? Little children let us not love with word or tongue, but in deed and truth.” (1 John3: 17 –18 NASB). True love cares. It is not enough for the church to have a paper of confession of care for its member; it must be part of the life of its gathering. Care must flow through every vein of the church.
Giving and Bazaar
Giving is a practice of the Church of God in Christ Jesus. Jesus wanted his church to give sacrificially and seek not to be noticed. (Matt 6:1-4). The reverse is the case in parts of the Anglican Church of Nigeria. People give to be noticed and praised at bazzar. It is necessary for the body of Christ to acknowledge gifts. The motive of the giver also needs to be checked. In conversation many people are boasting of their gifts. Gifts are gradually becoming criteria for Church leadership. Leadership should be based on gifts and calling. Leadership must not be based on monetary gifts. Many of the congregations celebrate harvest as a reflection of the final harvest and a period to share the fruit of their farms with other people. This is good and Scriptural. However the idea of selling the food at bazaar need to be given a second thought. Could we not give it to the poor or sell at a lower rate to help the less privileged? Do the selling have to be a period of competition and display of wealth among members of the congregation? These are questions that need to be asked in every gathering of the church in Nigeria so that we can truly give in the true Spirit of a New Testament Church. All things must be done to the glory of God. Our giving must be as unto the Lord.
The idea of the church entering the world and the world entering the church is true in the gathering of the Anglican congregation. This is reflected in several areas in the life of the Church. My pastoral experience has indicated that there is a great competition in the community now, who wears the best dress to the church? Who is driving the best car? Who have the best? These unhealthy competitions are great discouragements to the less privileged of the society. A friend of mine stopped going to church because he cannot compete on dress. Many people are been discouraged because of this act. The early New Testament gathering shows a caring attitude towards their members. No sense of competition is reflected in their action. It is time for the church to bring to preach moderacy and contentment. “But godliness actually is a mean of great gain, when accompanied by contentment” (1Tim6: 6)
Preaching and Teaching
“My people perish because they lack knowledge” (Hosea 4:6) is always true in every church that neglects the preaching and teaching of the Word of God. The response of some of the ordinands on what the Church is (see Appendix 1) provides a great reflection of the depth of their understanding of the Word of God. Many parishes are committed to the preaching and teaching of the word of God beyond the Sunday morning sermon. There are however some who do nothing beyond the Sunday morning sermon and the time for preaching on Sunday has been reduced considerably in some churches. I know there is need for proportion in every worship service; it does not imply the neglect of the word of God. To some, Sacrament (Holy Communion) is more important that preaching. Celebrating communion is important, but I do not think it is more important than the word of God. The two are needed in the church today. Seminary programs should be designed such that provision is made for students to be properly grounded in the word of God. Emphasis should also be place on the need for pastors to cultivate an ongoing attitude of studying the word of God. The pastors and the church members are supposed to study to show themselves approved unto God (2Tim 2:15). If the pastors know their duties as teachers they will look for avenues to teach the word of God beyond the Sunday morning service. Paul admonishes his son in the Lord ‘to preach the Word: be ready in season and out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort, with great patience and instruction” (2Tim 4:2). Teaching is an essential ministry that must not be neglected in the church today if we are to reflect the true Church of God.
Leadership in the Church
The three-fold leadership ministry in the Anglican Church of Nigeria are: deaconate, priesthood and bishopric. Generally ministers are ordained first as transitional deacons. They are then made priest after some time. Is the ministry of a deacon transitory or vocational? Ordination should be based on call. Deaconate ministry is a unique ministry of service. There are varying options about the automatic transition of deaconate into priesthood. The interview held at Immanuel college of Theology (see Appendix 1) shows that there are seminary students who feel passionate about allowing deaconate ministry to be a separate, and unique ministry of the church without any form of discrimination. Those who choose this ministry must not be looked down upon. It must be a deliberate choice for those who are called by God to assume this office. I agree with the period of probation and the need to help new seminary graduate to develop in the ministry before giving them greater responsibility.
However those who choose to be deacons must be allowed reputable places in the church. If they refuse to proceed to priesthood ordination, they must not be seen as disobedience or punished now or in the future for refusing to come forward for priesthood. It appears deaconate ministry is already absolved in the priesthood. Are we all called to be priest or bishop? Everyone should feel comfortable to remain in whatever position they have been called. The church of Nigeria needs to consciously encourage vocational deaconate ministry. In the New Testament, deaconate is a unique ministry, a ministry of service in the church; that is different from shepherding, pasturing or overseeing. Stephen and Phillips were appointed for this deaconate ministry and they did great exploits for the Lord. It time for the church of Nigeria to encourage vocational deaconate ministry. Those who choose to be “life- deacons” must be encouraged and given their full place in the Church. They should not be treated as priest –in- the- making. The seminary education should include curriculum that will prepare people specifically for deaconate ministry. It should be a training geared towards this specific ministry. Acts 6:1 –7 is a good example for us.
“But select from among you, brethren, seven men of good reputation, full of the Spirit and of wisdom, whom we may put in charge of this task. But we will devote ourselves to prayer, and to the ministry of the word” (Acts 6:3-4). The apostles committed themselves to the ministry of the word and prayer while other people were appointed to be in charge of food distribution. We need to re-define the deaconate ministry in the light of the Scriptures and not tradition. The process of discernment must begin during their seminary training.
The Church employed different forms of disciplines in the New Testament era. Discipline was not limited to leaders of the church. Every member is subject to the discipline of the church. It appears the Anglican Church of Nigeria has a restricted form of discipline. It is clearly stated in the constitution of every diocese in Nigeria the discipline of a bishop, priest or deacon. The disciplinary process is also stated. It is also evident that there is no form of discipline for laity who falls into errors. Are they sacred lambs? Is this a form of preferential treatment? Will this not amount to a double standard? Discipline in the New Testament church is not limited to leaders of the Church, but all members why must the church of Nigeria be different? Pauline recommendation for discipline includes separation (temporary and permanent), and excommunication.
It is time to return to the original arts. The church of God in Christ was born by the Holy Spirit and He is still willing to equip it daily. The Anglican Church Of Nigeria is not excluded from this growth. We need to return to our foundation. The foundation that allows the leading of the Holy Spirit in our preferment and election processes, the community that worships God without putting him in the cage and dictating how he is to be worshipped. The church that focuses more on people rather than buildings, the body that is outward looking and always willing to reach out to people and not just maintaining a status quo. It is important for the ministers of the church to be properly trained so that they can be committed to total ministry and not just laying undue emphasis on sacrament. We must shun worldliness so that we can please him. The care of the poor must not be neglected to please the rich. Rather the rich should be encouraged to use their resources for the furtherance of the kingdom of God. Their riches must not be used to place undue influence on the ministers. Every believer must be committed to given, sharing and obedience to the word of God. The true Church of God is one that is under God’s influence, depending on him for his being. The Anglican Church of Nigeria must depend on him. We must not be crowded with praises that we receive from our sister churches in the other parts of the world. A person with one eye is the king in the land of the blind. We must examine ourselves, continue with what we do that is right, repent of areas we have failed and renew our vision and focus. Jesus is coming for a church without blemish according to God’s standard and not a church that has other people as the bases of her perfection. Jesus is our standard, author and finisher of our faith. I will therefore make the following recommendation as part of the conclusion for this research work
Discipline must not be restricted to the leadership of the church. It should be properly outline in the constitution of every diocese. Lay disciplinary process must not be forgotten.
Deaconate should be seen as a unique ministry. It should be vocational not necessarily transitional. Every diocese and bishop needs to support this. Seminary curriculum must make provision for this unique ministry.
Priority should be given to building the church (the people) and not gigantic building. Outreach and mission must be given priority. Every parish must have a certain percentage of their income dedicated exclusively to mission within and outside their territory. It should be included in the yearly goals of the parishes. All parish members must be committed to this great work given by God to all his people.
The ministry of the priest is classified as the ministry of the word and sacrament. These two should therefore be given priority in every local congregation. The Word is as important as the sacrament. None should be given priority over the other. If in worst scenario there must be priority it should be the Word and not Sacrament.
The gathering of the people of God must not be seen as a place of competition but a place of caring for all. It must be a place of equality of all believers, a place of fellowship and care for all.
Giving must not be for selfish reasons. Bazaar must be eradicated or people must be taught to give as unto the Lord not a way of showing their wealth.
All believers are called to ministry. The priesthood of every believer must be emphasized in the Anglican Church of Nigeria. We are called to ministry. Ministry is not only for the ordained.
Election and preferment should be based on scriptural factors like gifts, commitment to duty/ministry and work done. It must not be based on preferential treatment or other mundane factors that are unscriptural.
Worship must be something done with the leading of the Holy Spirit and not with the exclusion of the one who leads the Church (Holy Spirit).
Definition of Terms
New Testament Church: The church of the New Testament as recorded by the writing of the Scripture especially the book of Acts of the Apostles.
Anglican Church of Nigeria: Autonomous ecclesiastical province of the Church of England in Nigeria, West Africa.
Province: Ecclesiastical division of the church within a geographical area. It is made up of different dioceses
Diocese: Smaller division of a province. It is made of archdeaconry (District within a diocese)
Primate: The head of the autonomous national church
Archbishop: Most senior bishop in a province
Cathedral Church: the mother church of the diocese where the throne of the bishop is located.
Throne: The ecclesiastical seat of the church. Usually located within the cathedral.
Ordinand: Final year Anglican seminary student in training that has been confirmed for ordination
Postulant: Anglican Seminary student in training but not yet confirmed for ordination.
CMS: Church Missionary Society, mission agency within the Anglican Communion
Episcopal: A system of government where, the bishop is the ultimate head and authority of the church.
See of Canterbury: The seat of the head of the Anglican church world wide
Bishopric: The position of the ecclesiastical head of the diocese
Priesthood: Pastoral ministry (priest is the pastor of a local church or parish)
Deaconate: The position of newly ordained clergy. The deacon is allowed to
Ordination: The laying of hand and consecration of person to priesthood (pastoral ministry) in the Anglican Church
Advent: The beginning of the Christian Year, the first Sunday after the feast of St Andrew.
Feast: A church celebration held in the church, usually with eucharist to commemoration the life of a saint
EFAC: Evangelical society in the Anglican Communion
Bazaar: Yearly auction organized the church
Harvest: A yearly service organized in the most of the Church In the Anglican Church of Nigeria (Usually in the first week of farming harvest season).
The Prayer book: The prayer book of the Anglican Church is called Book of Common Prayer (BCP). The book has gone through several modifications and revision. In some places the book of alternative services is also been used in part of the Anglican world
Preferment: Preferment is the term used in Anglican circle for promotion of clergy. It is usually the sole responsibility of the bishop to prefer any of his/her priests at his discretion
STATISTICAL AND GRAPHICAL DATA
This section focus on the result of the seminar presented at Immanuel College of theology and Christian education, Ibadan, Oyo, Nigeria on October16 2001. References have been made to some of the answers in the body of the paper. It my hope that this section will give a quick preview of the result as it relates to the subject of this paper. It analyzes some of the results of interview and questionnaire filled by the ordinands in the school.
Proportion of Denominations of people interview
A) How best can you define the Church?
B) What other definitions do you have for the Church?
C) Can you give any passage of the Scriptures to support your definition of a church?
Know a passage 75%
Don’t know 25%
D) Does the Anglican Church of Nigeria reflect the pattern of A New Testament assembly?
Not sure 8%
E) Should the deaconate ministry be a vocational of transitory ministry?
Yes (vocational) 18%
No (transitory) 72%
Both (vocational and transitional) 10%
F) What do you consider to be the ministry of the Church?
Soul winning/outreach, and hospitality (care, sharing) =60.71%
Preaching, Teaching, Healing and Deliverance = 16.07%
Administration, and Maintenance of tradition = 3.57%
Discipleship and growth = 3.57%
Don’t Know = 12.5%
G) About preferment/election/promotion
95% of the students think Preferment/election as it is today unfair/partial/bias
100% feel a greater percentage of the bishops misuse their powers
100% of the students feel this power of the bishop should be reduced.
100% feel preferment/promotion should not be the sole decision of the bishop
100% Feel preferment should be based on merit, calling and ministry involvement and not family relationship/ties.
Adebogun Olukayode, Hints of spiritual gifts and their uses, national
print it center, Regina, Canada 2002
Baptism Eucharist and ministry, Anglican Book Centre, Toronto,
Barry Ferguson (ed), The Anglican Church and the World of Western
Canada 1820 –1970, Canadian plains Research Center,
University of Regina, Regina, 1991
Billy Graham, The Billy Graham Christian worker’s handbook,
Worldwide Publication, Minneapolis, 1984
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Craig Van Gelder, The essence of the church, Baker Books, Grand
Rapids, Michigan 2000
Donald G Miller, The nature and mission of the church, John Knox
Press, Richmond, Virginia, 1969
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Hilderbrandt Jonathan, History of the Church in Africa, Africa Christian
Press, Ghana, 1990
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Publications, Colorado, 1990
Karl Rahmer, The Church after the council, Herder and Herder, New
Michael Slaughter Out of the edge, Abingdon Press, 1988
Millard J. Erickson The Christian Theology, Baker Book House, Grand
Rapids, Michigan, 1995
Paul Elmer More & Frank Leslie Cross (Eds), Anglicanism, Society for
promoting Christian Knowledge, London, England, 1957
Phillip Turner & Frank Sugeno, Crossroads are for meeting, Society for
Promoting Christian Knowledge, USA, 1986
Rick warren, The purpose driven Church, Zondervan Publishing House,
Robert J. Page, New Directions in Anglican Theology, The Seabury
Press, New York, 1965
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Stott, John, The message of Acts, intervarsity Press, England, 1990
The Holy Bible (NRSV), Zondervan Bible Publishers, Grand Rapids,
The Book of Common Prayer with additions and deviations proposed in
1928, University Press, London
 A city in South West of Nigeria. Most slaves were transported from Nigeria through this city.
 A city in south west of Nigeria.
 The Niger Delta Diocese was inaugurated on January 1st 1952. Lagos Diocese gave birth to the Dioceses of Ibadan on 25th January 1952, Ondo - Benin on 24th February 1952. Northern Diocese on 27th January 1959. Between 1962 and 1977, further dioceses were created as follows: Benin (3/1/62), Ekiti (29/10/66), Enugu (16/8/70), Aba (9/1/72), Kwara(1/11/74) Ilesa (2/11/74), Egba/Egbado (3/8/76), Ijebu (8/8/76) and Asaba (10/8/77).
 Source not found, but the statement is true
 I find it difficult to agree with this definition of evangelism by the Anglican church of Nigeria. Evangelism is not done within believers. It is the declaration/spreading of the good news to a dying world so that they will come to the knowledge of truth and fellowship with Christ. I would rather say that the above is teaching.
 Is this true today?
 This section on the church of Nigeria (Anglican Communion) and The vision statement of the church is adapted and modified from the church of Nigeria Anglican Church website (www.nigeria.anglican.org).
 The Vatican 11 1965 had a major impact on Christianity. It was officially declared that other denomination i.e. the falling brothers are part of the church. Though the view still stands that they will come back one day like the prodigal son.
 Tim Bradshaw, The Olive Branch-An evangelical Anglican doctrine of the Church, Oxford, 1992, cover page
 John Macquarrie, Principles of Christian Theology, New York, Scribner, 1966 p. 346
 TDNT P.513
 Billy Graham, The Billy Graham Christina worker’s handbook, Minnesota, 1984 p.58
 Donald Miller, The nature and mission of the Church, Virginia, 1969 p 16-17
 Ibid p 17
 Ibid p 17-18
 Ibid p 19
 Berkhof, Systematic Theology p570
 Millard Erickson, Christian Theology, Michigan, 1995, p.1048-1049
 Preferment is the term used in Anglican circle for promotion of clergy. It is usually the sole responsibility of the bishop to prefer any of his/her priests at his discretion.
 The prayer book of the Anglican Church is called Book of Common Prayer (BCP). The book has gone through several modifications and revision. In some places the book of alternative services is also been used in part of the Anglican world.
 In Anglican theology, there are two sacraments, which is defined as ‘the outward and visible sign of an inward and spiritual grace given unto us, ordained by Christ himself, as means whereby we receive the same and a pledge to assure us therefore’ (The book of Common Prayer, London p420).
 The Anglican church of Nigeria does not ordain women into the ministry at this time.
 Students preparing for ordination in the Anglican seminaries are called ordinands
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