PROLIFERATION OF CHURCHES IN NIGERIA AND INCREASE IN MORAL DECADENCE IN THE SOCIETY

 CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

Background to the study

From the Bible (Prov. 14:28; Acts 4: 13) God is interested in Church growth and the piety of every member of the Church. Thus, Christians are supposed to showcase all the embodiment of godliness. The rise in the number of Churches in any society therefore, should correspond with developing interest in the fear of the Lord for a godly living in order to ensure societal development. Christians are supposed to live exemplary lives (Mat. 5:13; John 1:5) that should warrant a just society. That is why the above scriptures describe them as the light and the salt of the earth. From all indications, the reverse seems to be the case in Africa and this is increasingly becoming worrisome to scholars across the continent

Our global society today is undergoing significant constant expansion of churches which have brought not only changing values, but also greater source of solutions to people’s problems. Christianity in Nigeria has witnessed an unprecedented growth in terms of expansion of churches alongside with the phenomenon of evangelical commercialization. According to Gbenda (2018), “there is an upsurge of independent churches often tagged “New Religious Movement or Spiritual Churches” in the country. Their rise and growth are at geometrical progression.”

This rapid multiplication of churches is borne out of the understanding that in Nigeria, there is freedom of religious worship. The pace at which churches are spreading like a wildfire is very alarming. Essien, (2013: 30), observes that, the country (Nigeria) is presently a procreate ground for all kinds of religious movements and that a general survey of the history of religions shows that most religions of the world have been in the process of expansion. According to Adesanya, (2004: 55), the unbridled proliferation of churches in Nigeria has steered up concerns among adherents of religious faiths, onlookers and academics alike, that the origin of this phenomenon could be traced to the sparked of religious revolution in 16th century Europe. In recent times, it is observed that expansion of churches has attracted a wide coverage in academic circles. For instance, Nussbaum, (2009: 2), avows that, special international research and documentation centers have been created for the study of religious expansion at Lima, Peru by Kenneth Scott, at Durban, South Africa by G. C. Oosthuizen, at Birmingham, England, by Harold. These research centers understudy the immediate causes and effects of church expansion. It is on this note that Beckford and Mbaeyi (2011: 53), observes that the global interest in the study of new religious movements is partly based on the fact that it is well known among scholars of religions, Sociologist and anthropologists that period of rapid social change, whether positive or negative have been marked in many societies by the rise of these religious movements.

It is the fact that religion in its advent, came in denominational garbs. The European missionaries who brought the faith to us came, not as a single front, but distinct credal denominations, one contrasting itself to the others as the true, the better and the worthy of affiliation by the expected converts. According to Iroegbu (2015: 1) the adventurous background of the three “Cs” Colonialization, Commercialization and Christianization, were the motivated factors of European invasion of Africa. Africa becomes a battle field for victor, and that he who gets the greatest, the highest and the best was significantly understood as conquest. Having arrived, these sects spread in a dual progression. There was an increase in geometrical progression in their splitting and sub-splitting that made them spread all over the place, with new structures, new names and new responsibilities. Definitely, their spread was natural and conversional as well as an increase in population of members. The expansion of churches in Nigeria today is as a result of numerical strength of churches which was a result of church growth. This rapid multiplication of churches according to Ibiyinka (2011: 2) is borne out of the understanding that there is freedom of religious worship in Nigeria. The society is witnessing expansion of churches which has brought changes in values, created job employment, Western education by establishing both primary and tertiary institutions as well as hospitals. In the spiritual wellbeing of man, the new churches have done tremendously as a great source of solution to people’s problems.

 

However, the negative effects brought about by the expansion of churches are over riding the good side of it which is reflecting in the current situation in the country where corruption and moral decadence are the order of the day. It is sad and disheartening that churches nowadays fails to stop or reduce moral decadence in the society which ought to be the major impact of churches in our society. Since then the churches have continued to multiply in Nigeria particularly after the Nigerian civil war. The end of the Nigerian civil war 1970 marked a turning point in the history of churches in Nigeria. Tremendous developments could be said to have taken place in the church especially in the areas of its operation and Africanization practice. It is on this note that Essien (2021) observes that the emergence of new churches have affected the people’s way of life both positively and negatively. Their spread is in geometrical progression with new structures, new names, positions and responsibilities.

However, God is interested in church growth and the piety of every members of the church. The Christians are supposed to showcase all the embodiment of godliness. The rise in the number of churches in any society therefore, should correspond with developing interest in the fear of the Lord for a godly living in order to ensure societal development. Hence the phenomenon of church expansion in our contemporary society has tremendous effects on the people. It is based on this background that the researcher intense to investigate the effects of expansion of churches in Nigeria and its implication on National Development. This paper explores concept of proliferation of churches, factors and effects of proliferation and recommend among others that church leaders should initiate Christ and their focus is to win souls and not to make money out of the gospel.

 

 

 

Statement of the problem

The establishment, growth and expansion of churches in Nigeria have been greatly influenced by great minister of God through evangelism and revival among the Christians. Observably, some churches have been growing today which are deviating from the aims and objectives of preaching and spreading the gospel of the Lord Jesus Christ to all nations which starts from their localities. Many pastors and founders of these newly established churches see church as a means of generating income into their own pocket thereby leaning the spiritual aspects for physical aspects. It has also been observed that most of
these newly generated church founders have mislead a lot of people especially their church members on the path of truth thereby leading them to the path of destruction.
Though, some of these churches were established with good and sincere motives, but it will be observed that proportion of the good ones is lesser when compared with the fake churches. It is also obvious that many places in Abeokuta have been turned into worship centers, places that would have been used for developing the ancient city of Ibadan

 

This study therefore investigates the factors responsible for the proliferation of churches in Abeokuta and the effect which the proliferation had on churches either positively or negatively, and therefore, gives suggestions and recommendations to both church members, founders and the host communities.

The problem in our society today is the high moral decadence in the society, as the churches, parents and tutors etc have failed in their role of moral education. Hence this study intends to investigate the proliferation of churches in Nigeria and increase in moral decadence in the society.

 Objective of the study

The major objective of the study is investigate the proliferation of churches in Nigeria and increase in moral decadence in the society

the specific objective is

  1. To determine the factors responsible for the proliferation of churches in Nigeria
  2. Find out the Causes of Moral Decadence among christen in Nigeria
  3. To determine how Proliferation of church increase moral decadence in the society
  4. To find out the the possible Solutions to the problems of Proliferation of Churches in Nigeria

Research questions

The following research questions were raised to guide the study;

  1. What are the factors responsible for the proliferation of churches in Nigeria?
  2. What are the Causes of Moral Decadence among the christen in Nigeria
  3. To what extent does Proliferation of church increase moral decadence in the society
  4. What are the Solutions to the problems of Proliferation of Churches

Significance Of The Study

The research is important because it teaches us the relationship between church and morality. It will serve as a documents that can be referred to in order to clear some doubt about the issue of moral decadence. It will serve as documents that will enlighten the Christian leaders on the need to embark on teaching of morality in churches.

Finally, the study will also enlighten the public on the causes of moral decadence and how to find a lasting solutions to such a problem.

Scope Of The Study

The study is designed to investigate into the proliferation of church in Nigeria and increase in moral decadence in the society. The study is restricted to the Nigeria society


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