Full Project – THE BIBLICAL EXAMINATION OF FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCHES(A CASE STUDY OF MINNA DISTRICT)

Full Project – THE BIBLICAL EXAMINATION OF FACTORS RESPONSIBLE FOR DIVISIONS IN THE CHURCHES(A CASE STUDY OF MINNA DISTRICT)

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ABSTRACT

The main aim of the research is to determine if the difference in belief is the major cause of church division, the study made use of primary data from the information obtained from the distribution of research questionnaire. The study made use of a total population of 100. The sample of 40 was considered for the study, the data hypothesis was analyzed using the chi-square method. The study concluded that the difference in belief is the major cause of church division. Proper recommendations were made to assist the Pentecostal churches, the catholic churches and its member on the factors responsible for the divisions in the churches.

CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

 

1.1   Background of the study

The will of God for us is that we are united, that is why Jesus prayed in John 17 that his disciples would have unity. He prayed in verses 20-23, “I do not ask on behalf of these alone, but for those alsowho believe in Me through their word; that they may all be one; even as You, Father,are in Me and I in You, that they also may be in Us, so that the world may believethat You sent Me. The glory which You have given Me I have given to them, thatthey may be one, just as We are one; I in them and You in Me, that they may beperfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me, and loved them,even as You have loved Me”.

This prayer he madedid not just focus on the eleven remaining disciples but alsoto those who would reach discipleship through their ministry(Britney; 1994). The Bible lets us know that Christ Jesus is crediting his disciples with the numbers that will beproduced. Theprimary concern Jesus expresses at this time of his impending death is the issue ofunity among the disciples as their unity will most definitely be a vital prerequisite fortheir subsequent mission (Jessica; 2004:497).Disunity and division are threatsfound among the members of the Body especially as the Church increases and grows in numbers. As Christ is definitely supplicating theFather with references to God and himself, it is clear the unity herein described ismore transcendent than that of “simply human fellowship or the harmonious interaction of Christians” (Ebere; 1970). The external expression of this unity is to be the evangel of the Church to the world, which attests to the sending of Christ by the Father.

In 1 Corinthians 1:10 he exhorts, “Now I exhort you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all agree and that there be no divisions among you, but that you be made complete in the same mind and in the same judgment”, here Paul states this directive and takes a hard stand against division and factions in the Church Body, in light of both personal division and in light of doctrine. Unfortunately, Paul himself falls victim to one of these chasms of opinion in his relationship with Barnabas. Paul’s terminology to address doctrinal differences (1 Corinthians 11:19 and Galatians 5:20) is haireseis, denoting a difference of sound doctrine, even to the point of being an unjustified group (Accordance 2010). Just prior to the prayer in John 17 Jesus had established the institution of the Lord’s Supper in light of the Passover celebration, an institution given in great part to exhibit and foster unity with the Godhead, and unity as members of the Body of Christ. Paul affirms in 1 Corinthians 10:16, that the pinnacle of this desired oneness of communion, or church is displayed materially in the act of the Lord’s Supper, as it is a “sharing” in the blood and the Body of Christ. Mounce holds that the term church conveys the idea of fellowship, communion, participation and sharing (Mounce 2006:127, 247).

Paul subsequently uses the term only in a religious sense rather than a secular one to denote something greater than a society, to denote a fellowship of a higher level; he as well uses this term to express a “religious fellowship (participation) of the believer in Christ and Christian blessings for the mutual fellowship of believers” (Hauck 1983:804). 1 John 1:3 and 2 Corinthians 13:14 affirm that church is also held with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in addition to the communion of the saints, it is the Holy Spirit alone however, who brings believers into this fellowship (Prime 2008:105).

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