The problem that C.A.C as a religious organization faces today is Division, schisms and dissensions. A Greek philosopher once said, let no one when young delay to study philosophy nor when he is old grow weary of this study for no one can come too early or too late to secure the health of his soul. This statement was made during the social and political upheaval in Greece. The situation is true of C.A.C today when social change is equally rapid and life is no more bearable for most C.A.C families. It is important to think for oneself, examine ones beliefs, tradition and habit to deal with new problems and draw new solutions. Today, if one fails to think for oneself, someone else will think for one. This write-up is out to aid the thinking of C.A.C as touching the issue of the causes and effects of the conflicts within the organization. More so, this write-up is divided into five chapters which recognize an orderly, regular research. To start with first chapter that is based on introduction, statement of problems, objective of the study, clarification of terms, scope and limitation and methodology. The second chapter examines the advent of Christianity in Nigeria, founding of Christ Apostolic Church and the organization of the church. The third chapter deals with the causes of the conflicts within C.A.C: explained and unexplained reasons. Research method, this chapter deals with the method and procedure used in carrying out this study. The fourth chapter involved the effects of the conflict; positive and negative effects, result presentation and analysis. The last chapter suggests the solution and conclusion. Analysis, the researched intend to use simple percentage to analyze the data. This will be used to test the hypotheses. Primarily this research is carried out for the change and betterment of C.A.C. and as a reference point to the coming generations. Conclusively, it is hoped that it will be of great gesture for members and workers and leaders of C.A.C who have the patriotism for Christ Apostolic Church.
Divisions, schisms and dissensions have been a characteristic feature of the church right from its infancy. But the fact still remains that Christianity divided is an abnormality. This division contradicts the will Jesus Christ who prayed as follows; “I do not pray for these only, but for those who believe in me through their words, that they might all be one” (Jn. 17:20 RSV.).
The earliest indication of divisive tendency in Christianity dates back to the Apostolic Age. The contention between Paul and Barnabas over acceptance of John Mark for the second missionary journey was the first. This was sequel to the John Mark’s abandonment of the Apostles during the first journey though the parted ways, it was short lived.
The second sign of division took place in the Corinth, Paul was not happy with the divisive tendency in the Corinthians church, hence he wrote to Condemn the stance of some who claimed that they belong to Paul, Apollos and Cephas or Christ’s party. He ended by declaring “surely Christ had not been divided among you” .
Thereafter no more was heard of the quarrel. The above illustration show unmistakably that the apostles did not encourage division among the Christians.
Of great significance to us is the division that lasted to this day as a result of the conflict within Christ Apostolic Church. The Christ Apostolic Church is reputed to be of one Lord, in collaboration with the motto “one fold one shepherd” any other cause other than for which it was intended is an aberration.
It was an attempt to satisfy mordinate ambition of some leaders. The shaltering of the unity of Christ Apostolic Church is a big scandal. Any good member should hide his face in shame for the unfortunate development. Our interest is not that of apportioning blame or pointing accusing finger to any group, but that of putting it clearly and unmistakably terms that division in Christ Apostolic Church was not originally intended. They claim that the conflict has been very useful to the cause of Christianity is to beg the issue.
Division was not originally ordained by Christ otherwise he could not have prayed the highly priestly prayer. “I do not pray for these only but also for those who believe in me through their words, that they may all be one”.
It is unfortunate that inspite of the prayer the church still broken into ministries such as WORD SOUL WINNING EVANGELICAL MINISTRY (WOSEM) e.t.c. It is pertinent to mention here that evangelical revival of late 1970s by Prophet T.O. Obadare resulted into a ministry called WOSEM.
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEMS
On the topic-conflict within Christ Apostolic Church, there are papers on conflict within C.A.C. which are written by various scholars and clergymen, I have read some notable papers presented by eminent scholars which treated some issues about the conflict going on within C.A.C. There is a booklet published by C.A.C. information department titled “Beginning of correction in C.A.C. and the likes. But this work focuses on conflict within C.A.C. causes and effects.
The following questions will serve as sub-problem around which the study will be formulated and serve as guide to the discussion in the later chapters.
- What are the people’s views towards conflict? Some approved of it while some view it as evil and barrier to development. Other people felt and saw it as mixed blessings-blessing in disguise. But the question is; Is conflict good or evil?
- How far has the conflict within C.A.C. influenced other churches? Has it really influenced them positively or negatively?
- Are there problems or evils which the conflict within C.A.C. has posed to the church?
- Is conflict within C.A.C not causing disunity and discord among members of the church?
- Is there any solution to the causes and effects of the conflict within C.A.C.?
The project in conclusion will suggest ways and proffer solutions on how to make effective use of conflict within C.A.C. not necessarily apportioning blame on various groups that supported or not in support of conflict within the church. Conflict has its own merits and demerits and cannot relatively and absolutely be condemned, since we are looking at it in an objective view.
1.2 THE OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY
This project is aimed at showing the settling down of the mission founded churches in Nigeria through the effort of missionaries such as the CMS, church missionary society, Roman Catholic Mission, Methodist society, Baptist church e.t.c. it traces the rise of independent churches and the founding of CAC.
Looking at CAC today, one would wonder where CAC is heading to, CAC is still far from the prayer of our lord Jesus Christ “that they might all be one” having this at the back of my mind, a critical look will be given to the reasons for conflict in CAC but to give a sort of general view of the causes and effects.
1.3 CLARIFICATION OF TERMS
For the purpose of this study, there is need to have a working definition, some words needs to be defined, these includes: conflict, Christ, Apostolic and Church.
- Conflict: The word conflict as given by various dictionaries seems to be similar in meaning according to their definitions. Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines conflict as “struggle, controversy, opposition, differences and clash. Therefore conflict within CAC is concern with serious disagreement in the church through the establishment of some ministries and position consciousness in CAC.
- Christ: The Oxford Advance Learner’s Dictionary defines Christ as a name given to Jesus, the founder of Christianity, the anointed one. It is a name emphatically placed on the coming Messiah foretold in the old testament, perhaps the most notable prophecy being in Isaiah 9 vs 11. He was to be of the house of David, justice and righteousness never ending would be established on his coming. This was not universally accepted. There are many unbelievers throughout their lives. The believers accepted him as the son, the second member of the trinity, meaning (the anointed one) the Messiah, the one foretold, Christ Jesus, His complete acceptance of himself as the son of God had it influence in winning many doubters, the incomparable preaching and the power of His preaching influence constantly increasing members of mankind.
- Apostolic: The Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary defines apostolic as the apostles or their teaching. The words appears about 80 times in the N.T limited to certain men of the first generation of the church and missionaries of the gospel. The first twelve apostles sent out by Jesus are named in MK. 3:14-19 and elsewhere Paul, James, Barnabas, Mathias and in some grouping Junias, Andronicus and Silvanus, subsequently many claimed the title which the church desire to limit to those who had seen Jesus and had firsthand knowledge called the signs of apostle and were fully committed to the church.
- Church: The word church here may be used interchangeably as “denomination” which means religious class or group. The churches which are in plural form can be use to designate denominations.
The word church as various definitions and usages. In essence it is very ambiguous to define. Nevertheless here are some definitions and usages. The World Book Dictionary defines church as building for public Christian worship or religious services. The World Book Dictionary seem to have given a lay idea of the church. The word church has undergone many changes and therefore has many connotations. The Scottish word “kirk”, the German word “kirche”, the Dutch “kerk” are derived from the Greek word “kryriankan” meaning the Lord’s house, another Greek word “ekklesia” signifies in classical Greek, the assembly of the citizen of a city for legislative or deliberative purposes. The Greek word “ekklesia” has no religious usage. It was adopted LXX to render the Hebrew work, kahal which the Hebrew word “edah” signifies in later Hebrew “the religious assembly of the Israelites”. These two words were adopted for local religious assembly of jews who lived outside Jerusalem. Trace into the New testament, the word first applied to the Ekklesia of Jerusalem which was of all those who believed in Jesus Christ, and this was the legitimate successor of the Israelites assembly of Yahweh. In essence, the church is the body of Christ, not the building, but the people of God, gathered unto God.
1.4 SCOPE AND LIMITATION
During the course of the study, we will examine how far the church (CAC) has encountered conflict especially in this previous decade. Why has Apostolic Church been conflict in an alarming rate within our days. The essay is not aimed at listing various conflict in CAC but to analyze the causes and effect.
In carrying out this study, several methods will be adopted. I have consulted various works written on the topic and those written in relationship with the topic.
In addition, field investigation for articles, pamphlets, journals and unpublished materials were made use of from observations we have always inquired people’s opinion on the conflict within CAC. Moreover I have attended prayer meetings that stress on the issue. Conclusively, I have made use of my experiences as a member to gather materials for this research work.