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1.1   Background of the Study

The place of African Indigenous Pentecostal Churches or otherwise called African Instituted Churches in Nigeria is undoubtedly a place of justifiable pride. The African Instituted Churches grew to destroy the whole idea of Christianity as the white man’s religion which the African could ill-afford to practice. The Instituted Churches were concerned with making Christianity “universal” and meaningful to the people of Africa.

Culture being the totality of a people’s way of life, differs from one people or country to another. It is important to realize that since culture is usually learned and does not always depend on unborn instincts, it is almost wholly the result of social inventions. The Yoruba passed their culture on from one generation to the other in a well-disciplined manner, usually in the form of myths, history, stories, riddles, proverbs, arts and craft. This cultural heritage of the Yoruba, as of all Nigerians and indeed of all Africans, includes the belief in the existence of one supreme-being.

Culture is the very life of a people, their beliefs and practices, their life and religious beliefs. All are interwoven to form their very life. It is therefore very difficult to draw a clear-cut line of demarcation between where their ethical life ends and where their religious life begins. Like the days gone by in the Old Testament, the Yorubas are known to exercise stringent disciplinary measure on their children or relations or neighbors when they do wrong. Such actions bring disgrace not only to the family concerned, but also calamities to the whole community. Anything that would bring peace, joy and prosperity not only to the individual, but also to the community must be done, while those things that would bring curses, sadness, sickness, death, calamity, disgrace or disrespect to the individual or the community are simply avoided as taboo.

St. Paul the Apostle defines Gospel as the power of God to save the human being. Gospel reveals how the human being is put right with God within his culture. Culture and religion are intertwined. It is difficult to separate them. The culture of a people often indicates their mode of worship and colors their pattern of faith. Every Prophet comes with a revelation fitted to his people and written in the language of the people he is sent to. This is true of Jesus Christ, who having brought the gospel rebuked bad morality but not culture.

The gospel can be expressed using African idioms and practices, without reclining into syncretism and apostasy. This is the case with the African Instituted Churches which is our main focus of study in this paper. God can be expressed within African concepts other than erstwhile foreign perception, which to Africans is distorted by the historical tragedy of European exploits over Africans.

1.2   Statement of the Problem

On the surface, culture may hardly seem to be an issue. Indeed, culture is not the issue for the issue faced by the Jerusalem Council, it was the gospel.The implications of the decision of the Council, however, concern culture and its relationship to Christianity. There is a great deal of difference between an issue and its implications. For instance, the issue in the Supreme Court Case of Roe v. Wade was whether or not an unwed mother, pregnant due to rape, had the right to an abortion under the Constitution of the United States. The implications of that decision went much farther, however, giving any woman in the United States the right to have an abortion for virtually any reason.

1.3   Objectives of the Study

  1. To know whether there is a significant impact of culture and traditional matters on church growth.
  2. To know whether there is a significant relationship between traditional matters and church growth.
  3. To investigate traditional matters that affects the growth of a church in a location.
  4. To identify the challenges of church growth.
  5. To know the contributions of culture and tradition on church growth.

1.4   Research Questions

  1. Is there is a significant impact of culture and traditional matters on church growth?
  2. Is there is a significant relationship between traditional matters and church growth?
  3. How does traditional matters that affect the growth of a church in a location?
  4. How does culture and tradition contributes to church growth if any?

1.5   Research Hypotheses

        Hypothesis 1

Ho: There is no significant impact of culture and traditional matters on church growth.

Hi:There is no significant impact of culture and traditional matters on church growth.

Hypothesis 2

Ho:There is no significant relationship between traditional matters and church growth.

Hi:There is no significant relationship between traditional matters and church growth.

1.6   Significance of the Study

Culture is often intertwined with strong feelings of right and wrong which we have held as Christian convictions, rather than as personal or societal preferences. The use of alcohol and tobacco, the enjoyment of the theater or of television, and the issue of dancing are just a few issues often included in the list of Christian “don’ts.” A study of the history of the church reveals that these particular prohibitions have not characterized Christian values with any degree of consistency. The reformers, to whom we appeal in matters of soteriology, had no problem with smoking or drinking. It was only some years later that these were considered sins and added to the list of Christian taboos. At times, even coffee and tea were on the list of forbidden items for Christians.

This study will be used as a basis for other researchers to work on the same or similar study.

1.7   Scope/Limitations of the Study

This study is on culture and tradition matters and church growth.

Limitations of study

  1. 1.        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).
  2. 2.        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.

1.8   Definition of Terms

Culture:A culture is a way of life of a group of people–the behaviors, beliefs, values, and symbols that they accept, generally without thinking about them, and that are passed along by communication and imitation from one generation to the next.

Tradition:A tradition is a belief or behavior passed down within a group or society with symbolic meaning or special significance with origins in the past.

Growth: Refers to a positive change in size, and/or maturation, often over a period of time.

Church Growth:is a movement within evangelical Christianity which aims to develop methods to grow churches based on business marketing strategies. Various church leaders have proposed different ways to grow churches.

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