LAY/THEOLOGICAL TRAINING INSTITUTION, AROCHUKWU
IN AFFILIATION WITH
ABIA STATE UNIVERSITY, UTURU
ASSIGNMENT PRESENTED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF RELIGION / THEOLOGY
IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENT OF THE COURSE
RELIGION AND SOCIETY
TOPIC: CORRUPTION IN THE CHURCH
KALU, PETER OBASI
REV. ELIJAH OBINNA, PHD
SEPTEMBER 2014. INTRODUCTION
There is hardly an organization or institution that is devoid of corruption. This is not because corruption is a part of every organization but because man is a corrupt being. Man’s corruption can be traced back to Adam who got corrupted by eating the forbidden fruit. The Bible helps us to understand that this act resulted in the corruption of the entire human race. Romans 5:18 clearly states it that through Adam’s offence judgment came to all men, resulting in condemnation (corruption of all men). So corruption is inherent in man.
The church is a religious institution made up of individuals and run by man. As an institution the church is hierarchical and most often Episcopal in nature. Irrespective of the type of church polity in practice there is always a top official and a lower official. Thus it is structured in a way that different facets of the church consist of a leader and followers (or members, as you like). The focus is always at the top. Those at the top usually dictate the way the books of standard are read, interpreted and applied, thus creating a room for manipulation. There are actually many other rooms for manipulation and practice of corruption which have religious connotations. Bearing this in mind one can expect to see the church, not as a body without shortfalls. However, we do not expect such word as corrupt or corruption to be associated with the church.
The church consists of saints, pretenders and sinners. Romans 5:19 tells us that as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous. The church consists, therefore of those who have received Jesus into their heart as Lord and Saviour and those who are just church attendants and members but still live a life of disobedience. There is nothing on that can be used to distinguish between the saint, the pretender and the sinner. However the sinners have a greater tendency for corrupt practices than the saint. Even the saints, as long as they still have their flesh also have tendencies for corruption.
In this work, we shall look at the various ways corruption has been in the church from the Bible days until today. Before we do that let us look at corruption, what it means and the different ways it is practiced.
WHAT IS CORRUPTION?
In philosophical, theological and moral discussions, corruption is spiritual or moral impurity or deviation from an ideal. Corruption involves many activities including moral perversion, perversion of integrity, depravity, dishonest proceedings, bribery and embezzlement, e.t.c. Corruption is a product of greed, an act which deviates from the formal rules of conduct governing the actions of someone in a position of public authority because of private motives such as wealth, power or status. It entails a pervasive failure to tap self interest for productive purposes. Hence, corruption whether in the public or private sector, symbolizes an abuse of institutional trust for private gain.
Corruption varies in practice from one sector to another and from one organization to another. Government or political corruption occurs when an office-holder or other governmental employee acts in an official capacity for personal gain. In this work, our focus shall be on religious corruption which is conceptualized as the misuse of a position of authority for personal or group benefit, involving a...
References: Boer, R Harry. A Short History Of The Early Church. Michigan: Wm B. Eerdmans
Publishing Company, 1976.
Butler C. Trent. Holman Illustrated Bible Dictionary. Tennessee: Holman Bible
Dickson, Roger E. Dickson Teacher’s Bible (International King James Version).
Kansas: African International Missions Publishers, 2011.
Harma A.M. & Renwick A.M. The Story Of The Church. Nothingham:
Inter-Varsity Press, 1958.
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