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IMMORALITY IN CHURCHES: ISSUES AND THE WAY FORWARD

Immorality in Churches: Issues and the Way Forward

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TABLE OF CONTENTS

Abstract

CHAPTER ONE

1.0      INTRODUCTION

1.1        BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

1.2       STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

1.3       OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

1.4       RESEARCH QUESTIONS

1.5       SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

1.6       SCOPE/LIMITATIONS OF THE STUDY

1.7       LIMITATIONS OF STUDY

1.8       OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

 

CHAPTER TWO: REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.1       INTRODUCTION

2.2       THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

2.3       CONCEPTUAL FRAMEWORK

2.4       THE WAY FORWARD OF IMMORALITY IN CHURCH

2.5       EMPIRICAL REVIEW

CHAPTER THREE: RESEARCH METHODOLOGY

 

3.1       INTRODUCTION

3.2       RESEARCH DESIGN

3.3       STUDY AREA

3.4       SAMPLING DESIGN AND PROCEDURES

3.5       DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENT

3.6       ADMINISTRATION OF THE DATA COLLECTION INSTRUMENT

3.7       DATA PRESENTATION

3.8      STATISTICAL TOOLS FOR DATA ANALYSES

 

CHAPTER FOUR: DATA ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION

4.1  INTRODUCTION

4.2  DATA ANALYSIS

CHAPTER FIVE: FINDINGS, CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS

5.1 Findings

5.2 Conclusion

5.3    Recommendations

References

Appendix

 

Abstract

The main objective of the study was to examine immoralities in the churches: issues and the way forward. To achieve the objective of the study, research questions were raise to guide the study. The research design adopted for this work is cross –sectional survey and descriptive analysis. Using a randomly selected sample of the different categories of churches (Catholic, Pentecostal and Orthodox). One hundred and twenty respondents were randomly selected using stratified random sampling technique as the sample size of study. A structured questionnaire was the instrument used for data collection. Chi-square was used to analyze the data collected.

Findings from the study reveals that majority of the respondents are of the opinion that immorality have significant effect on the socio well-being of churches. See table 10 and 11 above. Another finding from the study reveals that immorality in churches is increasing on a daily bases.

 

CHAPTER ONE

1.0    INTRODUCTION

The prevalence of immorality in churches among members in Nigeria cannot be overemphasized. It has grown to a level that creates fear and tension in the heart of anyone who has concern for the future of Nigeria as a nation and that of the teeming Christian populates of Nigeria. The society is grappling with many behavioral problems of the church members and clergy/pastors alike.

Moreover, according to Ekundayo & Oyeniyi (2008) and Adebule (2012) immorality include fraud, deception, intimidation, drug offences, smoking, flirting, stealing and armed robbery, violent conduct and demonstration, vandalism, examination malpractices, cultism and thuggery.

In addition to the above listed widely publicized behavioral problems. Dotonu (2011) stated that heterosexual and homosexual activities are also viewed as part of the behavioral problems prevalent in some of the Nigerian churches.

 

According to the new testament of the Holy Bible, jealousy, killing, lies, adultery, fornication, theft, heresies, pride and several immoral acts are against the will of God.

In the light of 1 Corinthians 5:1-5, it is actually reported that there is sexual immorality among you, and of a kind that is not tolerated even among pagans, for a man has his father’s wife. And you are arrogant! Ought you not rather to mourn? Let him who has done this be removed from among you.

 

For though absent in body, I am present in spirit; and as if present, I have already pronounced judgment on the one who did such a thing. When you are assembled in the name of the Lord Jesus and my spirit is present. With the power of our Lord Jesus, you are to deliver this man to Satan for the destruction of the flesh. So that his spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord. 1 Corinthians 5:1-5.

 

1.1     BACKGROUND TO THE STUDY

Immorality has great and grievous consequences both to the family and in the church. A lot of death, diseases and infestations and the free operation of familiar spirits in the church come as a result of the sin of immorality. God’s presence leaves the church whenever immorality comes into the church. Immorality puts off the fire of revival from the church and drives away the presence of the Holy Spirit out of the church.

 

God’s command against immorality: Exodus.20:14; Lev.18:20-24; Lev.20:10; Dt.5:18; Prov.6:25-29, 32-33; Mt.5:27-28; Rom.2:22; Eph.5:1-6; Rev.21:8. Both in the Old and New Testament God’s command against immorality are very clear.

God is against all forms of sexual immorality before marriage. Boy friend and girl friend immoral relationship is a great sin in the sight of God. It is very unfortunate that these things go on the many churches without anybody taking action or preaching against it. Some church even organize what they call youth programme. Where the boys and the girls are totally free to live in immorality and dancing and embracing and kissing one another.

 

In the family, parents “with sound moral and ethical sanctity” Anofienem (2007) are no longer available like in the traditional society . Hence, “morally decadent children with little or no regard to societal norms and values” are increasing as the day go by. When these children move from homes to educational institutions, they become worse due to the current state of education Auwal (2015) in the country.

Eyoboka, (2004)  in particular argues that most Pentecostal Churches have not come out to strongly condemn immorality. Instead they provide comfort zones for moral decadence in all ramifications This scholar believes that the Church has greatly contributed to the high rate of indecent dressing in Nigeria by allowing their members, mostly ladies to dress half naked.

 

Selfishness now supersedes the love for others (Global News, 2016) . In most institutions, non-Christians are more useful in assisting the needy than many Christians. The business activities of founders of many Pentecostal ministries are not different from that of bourgeois, as many workers in institutions established by them cannot adequately take care of themselves and their families due to poor remunerations and conditions of service, poor motivation at work and in personal development. Therefore, the wealth of some of the Pentecostal ministries could be said to be largely rooted in capitalism.

 

Not surprisingly, several cases of fraud and corruption are now synonymous with many Pentecostals ministries (Bello, 2016) . It is on these notes Anipupo (2015)  traces the origin and escalation of corruption in the society to the Church. According to him, the value system of a given culture influences people’s faith and religion.

However, the prevalence of immorality in churches has grown to a level that creates fear and tension in the heart of anyone who has concern for the future of Nigeria as a nation and that of the teeming Christian populates of Nigeria.

 

Furthermore, the society is grappling with many behavioral problems of the church members and clergy/pastors alike. Which according to Ekundayo & Oyeniyi (2008)  and Adebule (2012) include fraud, deception, intimidation, drug offences, smoking, flirting, stealing and armed robbery, violent conduct and demonstration, vandalism, examination malpractices, cultism and thuggery.

 

However, Dotonu (2011)  observed that sex abuse and fraudulent misappropriation of money appeared to be one of the most serious and most common immorality among the youths and leaders of the churches involved in this mess.

According to the new testament of the Holy Bible, jealousy, killing, lies, adultery, fornication, theft, heresies, pride and several immoral acts are against the will of God.

In addition, cases of disorderliness and rowdiness in several Pentecostal Churches are evident. This usually manifest in the course of observing the sacred meal (Holy Communion) in a rowdy manner. Impatience, riot, abuse, cursing, fighting, eagerness, witch-hunting, wickedness, hatred are now trademarks of Christianity. These motivated the researcher to carried out this research on immorality in churches: issues and way forward in selected Redeemed Christian Churches in the study area.

 

IMMORALITY IN CHURCHES ISSUES AND THE WAY FORWARD
IMMORALITY IN CHURCHES: ISSUES AND THE WAY FORWARD

 

IMMORALITY IN CHURCHES: ISSUES AND THE WAY FORWARD

1.2    STATEMENT OF THE PROBLEM

There is concern in several quarters that at the rate immorality is making waves in the society. The likely tendency is that there might be serious breakdown of law and order. Which might lead to anarchy. However, an ideal society is that which is devoid of violence, civil disorder. Thus, with minimal rate of crime and immoral practices cum unethical standards. This is why sound morals and ethical standard have been the concern of many social institutions in recent years.

In Nigeria, the church has been taking one of the leading roles in the campaign against immorality (Etire, 2002) .

Without doubt, there is an increasingly low level of morality and ethical standard in the society today. Especially in the church, many interest groups have laid blame on modernism and developments especially the advent of modern technology and the internet.

Moreover, one of the outstanding remarkable virtues of a good society should be sexual purity which has received little or no attention from the society today. Also, sexual immorality has eaten deep into the fabric of the society. It has become the mainstay of the peoples’ behaviour (Adebule, 2012). Fraudulent accumulation of wealth has also been the order of the day in churches.

In addition, Omoteso (2003)  have shown that, sexual immorality and corruption has thousands of destructive effects on the society. However, the researcher is examining the immorality in churches: issues and the way forward in the light of 1 Corinthian 5:1-5.

 

1.3    OBJECTIVES OF THE STUDY

The main objective of the study was to examine immorality in churches: issues and the way forward.

The specific objectives of the study are:

  1. To examine the issues of immorality in churches.
  2. To determine the way forward on the issue of church immorality.
  3. To identify the factors encouraging immorality in churches.

 

IMMORALITY IN CHURCHES: ISSUES AND THE WAY FORWARD

1.4    RESEARCH QUESTIONS

  1. What is the level of immorality in churches?
  2. What is the way forward on the issue of church immorality?
  3. What are the factors encouraging immorality in churches?

 

1.5    SIGNIFICANCE OF THE STUDY

The following are the significance of this study:

  1. The outcome of this study will educate the church leaders and the general public on the issues of immorality in the church and identifying the way forward on the issue of church immorality.
  2. This research will also serve as a resource base to other scholars and researchers interested in carrying out further research in this field subsequently. If applied will go to an extent to provide new explanation to the topic.

 

1.6    SCOPE/DELIMITATION OF THE STUDY

This study is delimited in scope to immorality in churches: issues and the way forward. Which will cover all forms of immoral activities that exist in churches today with a view of finding a lasting solution to the problem.

 

1.7    LIMITATIONS OF STUDY

  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. 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    OPERATIONAL DEFINITION OF TERMS

Immorality: Immorality is evil, sinful, or otherwise wrong behavior. Since morality refers to things that are right, immorality has to do with things that are wrong — like stealing, lying, and murdering.

Moral: Moral, according to Webster’s Universal Dictionary and Thesaurus, is an adjectival word that is “of or related to character, particularly as regards to right from wrong.

Church: The word “church” means shows that the great majority uses this word either to denote a place where various religious ceremonies take place or as a component in the title of various denominations. However, these usages of the word church do not correspond to what the Word of God defines as church. Thus, making necessary a better examination of the meaning of this word.

 

CHAPTER TWO

REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE

2.1 INTRODUCTION

In Christianity teaching, morality concerns acts, also called human acts. An act, in moral theology, is a knowing choice; it is an exercise of free will and intellect (reason). Every knowing choice is an act. Every act is subject to conscience and to the unchanging truths of the eternal moral law of God.

What makes one act moral and another act immoral? The Magisterium of the Roman Catholic Church has a definitive teaching in answer to this question: the three fonts of morality.

 

But does the Church need to publish a specific and comprehensive list of immoral acts. So that we may distinguish morality from immorality? If the Magisterium has not specifically named, described, and condemned a particular act, does the act then become moral or somehow permissible? The answer to both questions is “No.”

 

The Magisterium teaches that all of the requirements of the eternal moral law are knowable by human reason, without the necessity of Divine Revelation. No human act is exempt from conscience and the moral law.

The basic principles of ethics taught definitively by the Roman Catholic Church begin with the three fonts of morality. These three fonts are necessary and sufficient to determine the morality of any and all knowingly chosen acts. 1. Intention 2. Moral object 3. Circumstances.

 

THEORETICAL FRAMEWORK

Over time, many people have ridiculed at any suggestion that the evils in society could be linked with the teaching of the theory of evolution. But new research has confirmed what Bible-believers have known all along, that the rising acceptance of Darwin’s theory is related to declining morality in the community.

The research survey of 2035 people, conducted by the Australian National University, revealed that belief in evolution is associated with moral permissiveness. Darwin himself apparently feared that belief in evolution by the common man would lead to social decay.

The survey showed that people who believed in evolution were more likely to be in favour of premarital sex than those who rejected Darwin’s theory. Another issue which highlighted the contrast between the effect of evolutionary ideas and that of biblical principles was that Darwinians were reported to be ‘especially tolerant’ of abortion. Also, according to atheist philosopher David Stove the theory of evolution was influential in regards to the sexual revolution.

According to a 2007 study reported in the Journal of Family Issues, adherents of liberal Christianity are more likely to engage in marital infidelity than theologically conservative Christians holding other important factors equal (“strong liberal Protestants” who typically profess to believe in evolution have more marital infidelity than “strong holiness/pentecostals” and “strong other conservative Protestants” holding other factors equal (Petts (2007) .

 

Some Baptists are Darwinists or hold to old earth creationism in recent years although many have not and the study does not differentiate between these types of Baptists).

In areas of the Western World where there is a significant amount of atheists and evolutionary belief. There have been notable problems related to bestiality (see: Evolutionary belief and bestiality and Atheism and bestiality and Geographic areas where bestiality is posing a notable problem (Beetz 2002). For example, on July 1, 2013 the Daily Mail reported that bestiality brothels were spreading quickly through Germany.

 

In addition, there “are even ‘erotic zoos’ which people can visit to abuse animals ranging from llamas to goats. The first so called “bestiality/zoophile rights” group, called Equality for All, has its roots in secular Europe and formed in the ’90s.

The first so called “bestiality/zoophile rights” group, called Equality for All, has its roots in secular Europe and formed in the ’90s. It is located in the Czech Republic.

 

According to a 2010 Euro barometer poll, 16% of Czech citizens responded that “they believe there is a God” which the lowest rate among the countries of the European Union. Europe has higher rates of evolutionary belief than the United States .

According to a 2002 Pew Global Attitudes survey, there are striking differences in public opinion between the U.S. and European countries on issues such as the importance people attach to religion in their lives and the linkage they perceive between belief in God and morality.

The survey shows that a large majority of Americans consider religion important in their personal lives and closely associate religion and morality.

Furthermore, Pew Forum surveys over several years show that Americans are generally more comfortable with religion playing a major role in public life. In contrast, Europeans generally place much less importance on religion in their lives. Therefore, general indicators show that major churches in Europe are declining in terms of membership, recruitment of clergy, financial contributions and overall public influence.

 

The Pew Forum convened distinguished experts Peter Berger, John Judis and Walter Russell Mead to analyze these differences between the U.S and Europe and to assess their impact on transatlantic relations.

 

Conclusion

Despite the numerical growth of churches in Nigeria, immorality is unabated in the country. The findings have highlighted the reasons for the immoralities in contemporary churches in Nigeria.  However, in  contemporary  Nigeria,  moral  integrity  seems  to  have  been  replaced  with  laxity.  Thus, scriptural  doctrine  or  teaching  seems  to  have  been  slaughtered in place of freedom.

The moral cyphers in  the  recent  past  have  been  replaced  with  conditional  principles and it makes many Christians to be at peace  with  a  one-sided  message  that  tits  to  prosperity.  Messages  of  many  Pentecostal  Churches  in  contemporary Nigeria hinge  on prosperity, healing and  deliverance  etc.

 

Although,  prosperity  is  necessary  to  live a successful life, but when it is been preached to the  detriment of holiness, it becomes an issue of concern. If  much  emphasis  is  placed  on  prosperity,  deliverance,  signs and wonders, most Christians could simply forget  about holiness  and its importance in  Christianity. This  could  be  used  to  explain  why  some  brethren  do  everything  possible to  get money.

However,  the poor  emphasis on holiness  could be  regarded as  one of  the  strategies  of today  Pentecostal  Churches to  command  large  crowds.  Any  attempt  to  enforce  holiness  could  prompt  members  to  relocate  to  other  Churches  that  provide comfort zone for unrighteous living (living the  way they like).

 

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