It is no longer in doubt that the church which brought civilization and development in most of the African nations and other world communities appears to be losing ground. Within the last ten years or so, the authority of the church has gradually but steadily been eroded by awkward and odd culture.
For example, invasion of our standard culture through the proliferation of churches has posed some challenges to the church. Evidently, before the civil war, there were just few orthodox churches. In fact, before the emergence of the Nigerian nation in 1914 there were two main churches and they were the Catholic Church regarded as the mother church and the Anglican Church known as the CMS.
Following these were other minor orthodox churches, there were other splinter churches which emerged from the main church. Historically, the emergence of the Church Missionary Society (CMS) was from the main Catholic Church. The history of the emergence of Anglican Church formerly called CMS was very clear.
History has it that a radical catholic priest known as Martin Luther of a German extraction collected a number of fellow radicals to write and paste articles of reformation at the University of Winnipeg 95 in the year 1517 protesting the practice of marketing of indulgence for the remission of sins.
Indeed, the intention of these protesters was not to oppose the Catholic Church but it was to protest against its selling of indulgence. However, the Catholic Church took a hard line against these protesters and most of them were excommunicated. Consequently, they were driven to a cause they never intended hence some of the radicals such as Martin Lurther, John Calvin, Huldrych Zwingli, Philip Melanchthon, Buguhagen and Oecolampadius all of German extraction founded other churches such as Wesley, Methodist, Presbyterian, Apostolic, etc.
Irrespective of this fragmentation, when the Christian missionaries arrived in Africa particularly in Nigeria, they came as missionaries to promote civilisation and development. And above all to Christianize the people. For many years the Catholic Church, the Anglican originally called CMS, Methodist, Presbyterian, etc did a very good job in the development of the primitive Africans.
Apart from teaching the people Christian doctrines, they brought a lot of developmental structures such as hospitals, schools, clinics, daycare centres and established other humanitarian projects from which the people benefited.
Undoubtedly, the church helped to abolish paganism (Idol worshiping) which was the people’s gods and enforced on then to accept God as the supreme being and the only God worthy of worshiping.
Without that, many African people became Christians adhering to biblical doctrines. Although it is a matter of debate as to the efficacy and the rationale for the missionaries to force Christianity on the African peoples because painfully enough, they destroyed the people’s culture which meant throwing the bath water with the baby.
There is no doubt that the church did a great job in the civilisation of Africa and other peoples of the world and it is equally not in doubt that it destroyed a lot of cultures for which the people were well known.
It is for this reason that in the last few years, there have been numerous attempts by many tribes and ethnic groups to revive their lost cultures if only to do this in a Christian manner. In the course of this, in the past 10/15years particularly after the war, some people have begun to practice a kind of “MIXKOGBUO” in our marriage culture. Today originated from Anambra, people have been celebrating traditional wedding and mixing it up with church wedding.
In this, a couple goes to their doctrinal church eg: Catholic, Anglican, Methodist or Presbyterian to receive blessings and do their wedding. After that, the couple will go to the compound of the bridegroom’s premises to do another called and known as the traditional marriage. It must be that this practice runs counter to Christian and cultural norms. When this practice began many years ago, many traditional leaders and scholars kicked against it.
The question is this, how can a couple after going to the altar to receive pastoral blessing turn round to go back to kneel down before a master of the ceremony to receive another blessing? Is this consistent with cultural and religious norm?
Another laughable aspect of the traditional marriage process is that after the couple have been joined in the religious matrimony, go back to participate in a process that requires her husband to be searching for her in the midst of the guests. What a silly act.
It is no doubt that traditional wedding after church wedding is scripturally counterproductive. No doubt it is driven by material considerations: they dance and gyrate in order to raise money. Besides what some of the masters of ceremonies say at these occasions are not consistent with our traditional or religious norms. In many instances, they are usually rude, vulgar and indecent.
Thus, the church particularly leaders of the Christian Association of Nigeria and PFN must take a bold step to stop this trend. Couples must make choice that if they want church wedding (white wedding) they must stick to that and if they must do the two, they must conclude the traditional wedding first before resorting to the church wedding.
In fact, this is a hard sickness which requires a hard drug. Thus the CAN must drum this message in the ears of their members. In the extreme, it may result to serving God and Mammon. On the issues of resuscitating our past cultures, some zealous priest must be careful in not intervening in the restoration of the people’s culture provided such practices do not include pagan practice or idol worshiping. Do I need to say more???