THE ROLE OF THE CHURCH IN MAINTAINING PEACE AND HARMONY IN NIGERIA

Ebele Angela Udeoji (PhD), Angela Samson Murya

Abstract


This research was motivated by a passion for the roles the church can engage in order to maintain peace and harmony in Nigeria. The Church in Nigeria is a force for peace and unity even if it is also on the receiving end of conflict. The Word of God (the Bible) has been misinterpreted by some interpreters or pastors. For example, "Jesus said to them, but if you have a purse and also a bag, if you don’t have a sword, sell your cloak and buy one," and where Jesus also said, "For all who draw the sword will die by the sword." (Luke 22:36; Matthew 25:52). These verses and many others have been misconstrued to mean Jesus was telling his followers to get swords to fight non-Christians. Therefore, Christians are misled to non-tolerance, the opposite of what was taught by Jesus Christ in the Bible. Field survey, written and recorded documentaries were the methods used in sourcing data for this research. Related books were reviewed, the internet was maximized, some prominent personalities were interviewed, questionnaires were administered to respondents, and relevant data were gathered in order to solve the lingering headache distorting peace and harmony in Nigerian society. The results gathered from this research proved that the church has a significant role in maintaining peace and harmony by, praying for peace and harmony, helping and contributing to aid victims of violent attacks, can caution the government when violating against human rights, and preach peace and harmony, fight for the wellbeing of non-Christians and many more as stated in the recommendations. In conclusion, this research analyzed the harms caused for Nigeria by religious intolerances shortly after independence in 1960 till date. The Church has also contributed in various ways in times of crisis. Maximum consideration was given to the biblical teachings of Jesus Christ regarding the role of the church in preserving peace and harmony in Nigeria. Key-solving results from this research may be useful for government policy formation and other future researchers to build on.


Keywords


Church, Harmony, Peace, Religious violence, Role

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