AN EXPOSE OF MATTHEW 5:39 (TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK) AND THE NIGERIAN EXPERIENCE
LIST OF ABBREVIATIONS
O.T. Old Testament
N.T. New Testament
B.C. Before Christ
O.I.C. Organization of Islamic Conference
I.D.B. Islamic Development Bank
S.A.P. Structure Adjustment Programme
i.e. That is.
All Biblical References in this work are from the New Jerusalem Bible. Kinshasa: Verbum Bible 1985
The Holy Bible, The Revised Standard Version. Catholic Edition – London: Thomas Nelson and Sons Limited 1966.
On the surface level, discussing the theology of “Turning the other cheek” in the present day Nigeria will definitely invoke not too positive reactions. These reactions are most often as a result of improper grasp of what this theology entails. Therefore, in the introduction of this study, I will give the basic focus of what the project entails.
Articulating a systematic thought pattern as it affects the theology of “Turning the other cheek”, it would be imperative as a starting point, in the first chapter, to make a brief exposition of this theology. Since a theology of this kind can easily be confused and interchanged with passivity, it would be part of our task in this same chapter to see if this theology is of passivity rather than pacifism.
This line of thought will inevitably lead us to propose this theology as an active nonviolent and liberating theology. This theology will also be seen at its cross-roads.
I shall, in chapter two, critically examine the contemporary Nigerian situation in her political, religious and socio-economic experiences. Chapter three will see us applying this theology to the contemporary Nigerian situation, asserting that this theology is the authentic Christian response to the circumstances of our times.
Finally, in the evaluation and conclusion of this study, I will try to show the ultimate goal of our work.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Title Page i
List of Abbreviations vi
Table of Contents ix
GENERAL INTRODUCTION 1
1.1 Statement of Problems 1
1.2 Aims and Objectives 2
Division of Work 5
AN EXPOSITION OF THE THEOLOGY OF
TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK 6
2.1 A Reflection on Matt. 5:39 6
Pacifism not Passivity 13
Active Nonviolent Resistance theology 20
This Theology as Liberating theology 32
2.3 A theology at a Cross-road 39
CONTEMPORARY NIGERIAN SITUATION:
A CRITICAL ANALYSIS 45
3.1 Political Experience 46
3.2 Religious Experience 51
3.3 Socio-Economic Experience 58
THE APPLICATION OF THE THEOLOGY OF
“TURNING THE OTHER CHEEK” IN THE FACE
OF NIGERIAN 68
4.1 Contemporary Experience 68
5.0 Evaluation 76
5.1 Conclusion 80
1.1 STATEMENT OF PROBLEM
The world and Nigeria in particular has witnessed so much violence and injustice both at the personal and public level that one begins to wonder what has happened to PEACE, JJUSTICE AND LOVE. Today, we hear of wars and rumours of wars. Nation fighting against nation and kingdom against kingdom. Many people are being tortured, repressed, harassed, vilified, hunted down, abused and dishonoured.
In the religious sphere, many are persecuted for bearing the name of Christ. Churches and Mosques are being burnt down in the name of the same one God we worship.
Many Muslims, and many more Christians have lost their lives in different religious violence in our beloved country.
This project therefore aims to achieve the all-important gospel mandate of “Turning the other Cheek” in the midst of religious and social debacle that has become part of our experience in Nigeria. This project seeks to contribute to the task of reconstructing a Nigeria that is more genuinely human, founded on the respect for human life and our common brotherhood. Above all, it aims at finding a peaceful common ground of understanding between Muslims and Christians in Nigeria in the face of religious crisis.
AIMS AND OBJECTIVES
The aims and objectives of this work are as follows:
How Christians can faithfully abide by the instruction of Jesus “turning the other cheek”.
To know whether it is possible for an ordinary man to resist the temptation without retaliation.
To know whether this principle can bring general peace in the world.
To know whether this principle can lead to genuine tolerance and peaceful co-existence in our world today.
A study of “an expose of Matthew 5:39 (Turning the other Cheek) and the Nigerian experience, is best done in our view when the method used is expository, exegesis, historical, analytic and critical The nature of this work therefore calls for an eclectic methodology – a critical analytic methodology.
The rationale for this methodology is that a critique is much more meaningful when it follows a thorough and robust analysis and exposition of a system of thought or belief. This eclectic methodology will help in giving a synoptic view of the topic under discussion.
SCOPE OF STUDY
This research work focuses on the Gospel of St. Mathew Chapter 5:39. “Turning the other cheek” is the main issue for discussion in this work. It is another form of non-violet resistance of no retaliation to ones enemies. This teaching of Jesus has to do with love of ones enemies and oppressors. This work also centres on Nigerian experience on issue of religious violence most especially in the Northern part of the country (Muslims – Christian religious riots). This work suggests some positive ways that Muslims and Christians in the North can have a cordial relationship, peaceful coexistence and plant the seed of religious tolerance.
DIVISION OF WORK
This work is divided into five chapters. Chapter one deals with the general introduction of this work.
It is the general picture of the work chapter two centres on the exposition of the theology of ‘turning the other cheek’. There is a deep reflection in theological manner what turning the other cheek entails.
Chapter three deals with contemporary Nigerian situation from political, religious and social-economic perspectives. Chapter four is on the application of the theology of turning the other cheek. Chapter five is on the evaluation, recommendations and conclusion.
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