Full Project – SAINT JAMES TEACHING ON FAVOURITISM [JAMES 2:1-7] AND ITS IMPLICATION FOR CHRISTIANS

Full Project – SAINT JAMES TEACHING ON FAVOURITISM [JAMES 2:1-7] AND ITS IMPLICATION FOR CHRISTIANS

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1       Background to Study

This research work expounds on Saint James Teaching On Favouritism [James 2:1-7] And Its Implication For Christians: a case Study of Christ Apostolic Church, Ifeoluwa District Badagry Lagos Nigeria.

A quick search of favouritism on Google reveals an unwavering epidemic skirmishing organizational progress and global goal attainment in any organization where this operates. Favouritism is a natural but sometimes destructive trait that generally surmises partiality. Favouritism to a large extent destroys equity and justice. Some opine it as the bedrock to strive and intra/inter religious contention. A critical analysis of James two (2) and Acts six (6) reveals a corrosive problem in Christianity “favouritism” and its deadly implications if not tackled as major problem. This menace weaves underneath its sleeve a high level of political corruption that has the tendency to stunt the growth of the church both spiritually and numerically.

Forthrightly, favouritism is the act of preferring or supporting one person more than another not necessarily base on merits (Kernerman, 2010). It is an unfair treatment of a person or group on the basis of prejudice (Wordnet, 2012). Favouritism to a large extent destroys equality as profess by Apostle James in James two (James 2:1-10). It is largely encamped by high level discrimination in the church either base on sexuality (preference of one gender above the other), Cronyism (favouritism shown to friends and associates), Nepotism (favouritism shown to relatives or close friends by those in power), Racism (discriminatory or abusive behaviour towards members of another race) Social Status (favouritism shown to only the upper class people and lastly Age ( favouritism shown to the elderly without taking the youth into consideration (Wordnet, 2012).

Furthermore, it is preferential treatment, preferential attitude toward a person or group over another having equal claims and rights.  Honestly, there is no inherent, no intrinsic and no needful reason for such treatment. People with equal needs are to be treated with equality. The scripture in Genesis shows a picture of corporate respect and not that of favouritism.  Truthfully, when expounding on the attributes of God, people tend to look at all other aspects of God’s attribute exception of His impartiality. In this line of thoughts, James focuses on the impartiality of God with reference to a person’s social status and economic status. Peter and Paul focused on salvation primarily: primarily on spiritual issues with the exception of Paul’s reference to the employee situation in Ephesians six (6) and Colossians three (3).

However, one of the major issues on favouritism occurred in the early Christian community between the Hellenist Jews and Hebrew Jews (Acts 6:1). The Hellenist murmured against the Jews because their widows were neglected in daily distribution, probably meaning: in giving of sustenance to the poor and needy. This shows that favouritism or partiality was, is and will always be in the church bearing in mind that the church is composed of people who have different cultures, backgrounds, beliefs, values and practices. Infact, the President of Daystar Leadership Academy (DLA) explain that favouritism is the product of an under developed mind, and pointed out that if this must be change, then the mind must first change (Sam, 2017).

Conversely, every issue needs to be solved properly. Because, church divisions dismay and distress mature believers, disappoints new believers, causes havoc in the lives of pastor as well as their families and generally kill the life and growth of such church.

Apparently, despite the prevalence of favouritism in the Pentecostal churches, there are very few academic and theological works on this topic. In Nigeria, favouritism is not a popular topic to engage people thus less attention is given to it except for some few journals and verbal complains by victims of this action. In view of this prevailing hitch, this study therefore aims at providing a lasting and workable solution to the menace of favouritism in Nigeria Pentecostal churches, a case study of Christ Apostolic Church, Ifeoluwa District Badagry Lagos Nigeria, using James 2:1-7 as a back drop.

1.2.      Objectives of Study

Underscoring the fact that there are limited interest in this field of study, the researcher’s major objective of this study is to investigate, and explore the real reasons that gave rise to favouritism among the Pentecostal churches in Nigeria and also to solve the problem of favouritism, and bring a balance of equal treatment to all individual as unto the Lord. Furthermore, is:

  1. To carry out a critical analysis of James 2:1-7 and its implication on solving the problem of favoritism in churches.
  2. To present Biblical standard for equality in the body of Christ without treating one person in a particular manner against others due to physical appearance and financial stability.
  3. To correct erroneous views of people on equality with scriptural references, and encourage Christians, ministers and churches to embrace it.
  4. To underscore the implications of favouritism in Christ Apostolic Church, Ifeoluwa District Badagry Lagos Nigeria.
  5. To expose the hidden practice of favouritism in churches and proffer solution.
  6. To contribute to world knowledge and stir people to do more works on religious favouritism.

1.3       Statement of Problem

The problem of favouritism in Pentecostal churches can never be overemphasized. It ranges from spiritual to psychological and then to the physical, thus, it affects the entire being of a man, and in turn affects the life stream of any organization. When acts 6 is being x-rayed, it is obvious that the main cause of the church not growing with the speed of light was because there was no unity in the church due to the practice of favouritism by some sects in charge of the distribution of daily services. The Bible points out that when the issue was solved that a large number of people joined the church, even the priest joined the church, although some scholars argued that it was normal for Luke to give progress report but this one come after a huge problem was solved . The big question at hand is, what is the problem with favouritism, is it a sin? Is there nothing good for the Pentecostal churches in it?

Well, favouritism greatest problem is that it is a silent poison that if not manage well can kill a whole organization. Its subtle in its operation, it makes the favoured feel alright but yet set the unfavoured at war with the favoured and at bitterness with the one showing the favour. This often leads to sects in church; it causes great division and in turn shortens Gods hand from such organization. The greatest cause of favouritism is leadership incapacity to grow his mind. Bad leadership breeds favouritism, thus if this issue is to be resolved, the leader really needs to play the lead role in relegating power to policies to run the organization.

Furthermore it creates unhealthy competition in the church which sometimes leads to physical battle in the case where the unfavoured is not a matured Christian. It is basically giving audience to a particular class of person and not giving to others base on their appearance, style, talent, bank account, car, house, sex, age, profession, connection and others. This problem pushes the victims to leave the church and maybe go to an occult to find acceptance. The show of favouritism is the lack of Christ kind of love (1 John). It is loving base on what such an individual can bring to the table and not base on what can be done to help such an individual. Thus a great need to solve such problem, thus the need for the research.  Favouritism is a great problem not just in the church alone but also in families, schools, offices, government house, etc. Thus, it can be termed a national problem that can claim the lives of its victims if not handle with quick response and care. Favouritism affects the whole personality of its victims, ranging from psychological effects that distorts the person’s identity and sometimes traumatize the person. It also has emotional and educational effects on the person that makes the individual automatically dull in class due to inferiority complex. Furthermore, it leads to serious medical issues that have to do with negative reaction when once a particular tribe is being mention due to the involvement of such in the practice of favouritism towards the person. And lastly it sometimes leads to suicide when the person starts feeling worthless and finally decides to end his/her own live.

In a nutshell, after examining the menace of favouritism in the society and its subtleness in its operation in churches, offices, families, political terrain and organization, combine with the fact that there is a serious gap in knowledge in this particular area of study, due to the limited academic and theological works done on the subject matter, the researcher deem it necessary to embark on an academic research to proffer solution to Pentecostal churches on how to battle favouritism using the treasures found in the book of James 2:1-7 as a back drop.

1.4       Research Questions

The main research questions are:

  1. Is there favouritism in Pentecostal churches, Christ Apostolic Church, Ifeoluwa District Badagry in particular?
  2. How does one know when there is favouritism in the church?
  3. What are the main causes and effects of favouritism in some Pentecostal churches?
  4. How did the Apostles handle the issue of favouritism in James 2:1-7?
  5. How did the early church members aid in solving the problem of favouritism?

1.5    Thesis Statement (THIS POINT TO RECOMMENDATION)

The cure to the menace of favouritism in Pentecostal churches is rooted in the ability of church leaders and members to relinquish powers to principles and structures based on transparency, character and integrity to run the Pentecostal churches and not feelings and sentiments.

1.6       Significance of the Study

This study is expected to have momentous theoretical and practical implications on Pentecostal churches. The research is largely practical with a strong focus on understanding the concept and theories of favouritism and to proffer a lasting solution for individual on how to avoid showing favouritism to someone over others, most especially in the Church of God. Therefore, it is believed that some of the ideas and suggestions that are brought forward in this research on the subject matter will be helpful in the following ramifications:

  1. It will help pastors and organization leaders in striking a balance in his/her relationship between his members and his ministerial duties.
  2. It will proffer strategies for Pentecostal churches to solve the already existing problem of favouritism.
  3. It will open the eyes of church leaders to the menace of favouritism in

the Pentecostal churches .

  1. It will help Christ Apostolic Church, Ifeoluwa District Badagry guard against the poison called favouritism in their churches.
  2. It will educate Pentecostal church members on how to response to favouritism.
  3. It will help expose James 2:1-7 and its importance in solving the problem of favouritism and it will also stir up more academic research on favouritism.

1.7       Scope of Study

The scope of this particular study is limited to providing solution to the problem of favouritism in Pentecostal churches in Nigeria alone, not the whole World. Secondly, the researcher will be exegeting only James 2:1-7 not the whole book of James and finally, the researcher will be focusing on church favouritism with little or no touch on the other field of favouritism.

1.8       Operational Definition of Terms

In order to do justice to the above researcher topic, it would be pertinent for the researcher to define some words as it will be applied as far this research work is concern.

Critical

It is the painstaking and systematic break down of ideas, text or structures into pieces in order to get or arrive at detailed information about a given text. It is basically view as a pros and cons evaluation to arrive at a better understanding of the text for better application by the reader.

Analysis

Analysis is a detail examination of a text or a step to step understanding of a procedure to arrive at a given result. It means to break down and study in parts.

Critical analysis

Critical analysis is a subjective writing because it expresses the writers’ opinion or evaluation of the text. It means a form of intelligent criticism which helps people to reach independent and justifiable conclusion about their experiences (Moran, 1997). However, it attempts to get under the surface of a particular situation or problem, discover the possible reasons behind it, and break down into the various facts and questions of which it essentially consists, and finally examine the strengths and weaknesses of different ideas about it and any evidence relating to it (Bradford, 2017).

Favouritism

“It is the act of unfairly treating one person better than others because you like them better. On the other hand it could also mean ‘partiality’”. It is the practice of giving unfair preferential treatment to one person or group at the expense of another. Thus, for the purpose of this study the word would be used interchangeably (oxford dictionary, 2017).

Solving

This means to find an answer to, explanation for, or of dealing with a problem (Free, 2017).

Problem

Problem is a situation, person, or a thing that needs attention and needs to be dealt with or solved (Cambridge, 2017). It could also be a question raised for inquiry, consideration, or solution (Miriam, 1828).

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