oa Scriptura : Journal for Contextual Hermeneutics in Southern Africa - Beyond the rhetoric of the ‘next Christendom’? An examination of the integrity of the Christian faith in Nigeria

Volume 117 Number 1
  • ISSN : 0254-1807
  • E-ISSN: 2305-445X



The growing population of Christians in Africa, Asia and Latin America is one of the success stories of the Christian faith of the modern era. The central importance of this paradigmatic shift in the gravitational centre of Christianity to Africa has been clearly represented in the writings of Jenkins, Walls and Bediako. However, this rapid growth in numbers of Christians in Africa does not often correspond with the authentic translation of the Christian faith in the daily affairs of the peoples. This incapacity of the Christian faith is seen in the inability of the growing numbers of Christians to transform the public space. The paradox of growing Christian presence and growing poverty, corruption, bad government, disease, failed service delivery and several dysfunctional states challenge the effective impact of this Christian presence. It seems the rhetoric of numbers has not translated directly into Christian practice. Unfortunately, the excitement of numbers and the euphoria of the Southward movement of the Christian faith to the region of Africa and Nigeria in particular have not resolved the problematic character of the Christian faith and practices within this region. In Nigeria, the revival of cultures and the attendant theological enterprise in inculturation have often legitimised the importance of African cultural expressions on Christian beliefs, but also with tendencies of dis-torting the purity and integrity of Christian faith as a result of misunderstanding. Using analytical methodology, the present article engages the religious dynamism in Nigerian culturalised ecclesiastical space, and the necessity of preserving the Christian faith against cultural expressions which challenge the integrity of the Christian faith directly. Thus, this article argues for the repositioning of the Christian faith in Nigeria in order to fulfil its destined significance as one of the most important treasure houses of the “Next Christendom”.

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