christianity in nigeria essay research paper ashley

Several faiths coexist in Nigeria, assisting to stress regional and cultural differentiations ( Kane 86 ) . Religion is frequently times the beginning of imposts, civilization, felicity and wars: it influences about every aspect of our life. In Nigeria, the chief faiths are Christianity, pagan religion, and Islam. Christianity began to distribute in the nineteenth century and has continued to distribute up through the twenty-first century. The major spread of the Christian church in Nigeria is clearly credited to the independent churches of the Nigerian people.

Lusitanian Catholic priests, who landed on the shore of Nigeria with bargainers, foremost introduced Nigerians to Christianity  . Because these priests were merely in Africa to function the Lusitanian trading community, the influences of Christianity were literally non-existent by the 1800’s. The true missions of the Christian church began in the late 19th century with Britain seeking to get rid of slave trade .

In 1850, Thomas Bowen of the Baptist convention arrived in Abukuta, Nigeria. Since he could non come in into mainland he chiefly focused on his work in Abukuta. Soon more missionaries joined him from the Baptist convention and several bases were opened — the work was slow but steady for the first 15 old ages. In 1875, W.J. David, Thomas’friend and co-worker arrived in Abukuta and together they revived the mission. Within five old ages at that place were six churches and outposts in the country  . Not much later, the new converts decided that they would wish to get down making out to their fellow Nigerians. Several folds of converts split and made an independent church and were allowed to come in Nigeria  . This changed everything; within 15 old ages, the rank grew to 2,880 and was still turning.

Around the same clip that the Baptist churches entered Africa, the Methodist churches and Presbyterians besides began their mission. The Methodist churches used Bible and literature prepared for them by the Presbyterians and together they about covered the southern half of Nigeria by 1916  . Meanwhile, the Lower Niger Mission began working easy with the Igbo in 1906. The Igbo people were really receptive of Christianity, so the mission within their folk was focused on  . Many school- instructors and physicians were sent to their country and a authorities was shortly set up  .

Unlike many civilizations, the Igbo requested more missionaries  . As clip went on within the Igbo folk, the missionaries learned their linguistic communication and around 1913, T.J. Dennis concluded the Ibo Union version of the Bible. With the interlingual rendition of the Bible into the Igob linguistic communication, came a rapid spread of Christianity in the folk. Since they were able to read in their ain linguistic communication, the linguistic communication of their bosom, they could now see God in a existent manner to them . This new rapid growing of Christianity amongst the Igbo birthed and fed many new independent churches in their country. Many leaders in the church have mixed emotions about the spring in members to the Christian church. Kane believes that it is good that the Africans have had the bravery to turn to the truth but, “It is bad, on the other manus, in that the new concerts are so legion that it is impossible to five them the sort of direction they need to do them into strong Christians.”  . In Hastings book he recalls the Catholic Pope stating, “There is no virtuousness in Numbers entirely if the quality is missing. “  But, there was no uncertainty that these independent churches were increasing the Numbers of the Christian church.

Amongst the independent churches there were five class of churches: churches concentrating on political release, churches concentrating on ascendant worship assorted with a bantam sum of Christianity  , those who take more from Christianity but still keep on to many African patterns, churches concentrating on the thought of one God as presented in the old testament, and eventually churches concentrating on Jesus as Savior and the disclosures of the Holy Spirit ( Mazrui 518 ) . All of these types of independent churches brought about some Christian truths but besides clung to many of the African traditions. Was this so incorrect? Many leaders of attached churches in the mission field experience negatively about these independent churches, while others are really pleased with what their seeds have produced. Not merely did the Numbers grow in the independent churches but besides in the Protestant and Catholic churches  . By 1967, there were 15,500,000 members of the Church of Christ on Earth independent church and by 1970; there were 6000 churches and 16 million members ( Mazrui 516 ) . By 1965 there were merely 2,870,000 Catholics in the whole of Nigeria .

Many Africans felt safer when belonging to a preponderantly black independent church. They felt this manner because they felt that the western white people were non merely seeking to alter their civilization ( Chidester 453 ) . White missionaries could develop a few leaders of the folks and so direct them out to be curates. This action was smarter and worked better because the black curates knew how to associate the narratives of God and the Christian rites in a familiar non-threatening manner to the indigens .

It is obvious that independent churches played an of import function in the spread of different signifiers of Christianity in Nigeria. Not merely did the Numbers increase in independent church populations, but the rank in attached churches besides increased well when independent churches held outreach undertakings ( Chidester 453 ) . Since the first missionaries arrived in Nigeria in the late nineteenth century, Christianity has flourished. Much of the recognition for the spread of Christianity, and the saving of African Culture of the folk of Nigeria is accredited to the independent Christian churches of Nigeria.


  1. Chidester, David. Christian religion: A Global History. England: Penguin Press, 2000.
  2. Falk, Peter. The Growth of the Church in Africa. USA: Zondercan Corporation, 1979.
  3. Hastings, Adrian. Church and Mission in Modern Africa. New York: Fordham University Press, 1967.
  4. Igbo People Igbo Information. 3 Nov. 1998. Art and Life in Africa Online. 16 March 2001 *http: //* .
  5. Kane, J. Herbert. The Christian World Mission: Today and Tomorrow. Myocardial infarction: Baker Book House Co. , 1981.
  6. Mazrui, Ali A. , explosive detection systems. General History of Africa. 8th erectile dysfunction. Oxford: Unesco Press, 1993.
  7. Nigeria Influence of the Christian Missions. 1 June 1991. 16 March 2001 *http: //* .

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