Yoruba spiritual heritage and its implications for the Yoruba indigenous churches in Nigeria
Adetunmibi, Manasseh Adegboyega
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This thesis investigates the misuse of spiritual heritage in the Yoruba Indigenous Churches in particular, and Nigeria in general. The study argues that the misuse of spiritual heritage is not only detrimental to the Gospel message, but has the potential to destroy all the good that Christianity has achieved in Nigeria. Given this misuse, the growth of Yoruba Indigenous Churches is not commensurate with true Christian life. Yoruba Indigenous Churches add value to that community because they meet the existential and psychological needs of their members. However, the fusion of the spiritual and the physical to explain the reality of life in these churches leaves room for the abuse of spiritual heritage. The Yoruba spiritual heritage has shaped and continues to shape Nigerian Christianity. The concept of ori (alter ego) (destiny) provides the Yoruba with a means to solve some of the important puzzles of the human condition. They believe that their lives are predestined by the type of ori chosen before their entry into the world. It is a Yoruba connecting point to the spirit world. They worship their ori because their success or failure depends on it. The thesis presents many other elements of the Yoruba spiritual heritage as background to the main argument. The study examines the influence of the Yoruba spiritual heritage on two Yoruba Indigenous Churches whose theologies leave room for spirit causality of evil, injustice, inequality, gender discrimination and corruption. The study responds by suggesting a more critical inculturation theology as a paradigm to solve the problem of the misuse of spiritual heritage in Nigeria. The results of this study can perhaps be applied to other churches in Africa. It also provides the necessary ethical and theological framework that can be used to build societal morality. Many African theologians seem to be comfortable with the impact of African traditional beliefs on African Christianity. The argument of this school of thought is understandable and acceptable to a certain degree. There is, however, no guarantee that the role of traditional beliefs is always a positive one. There might also be negative effects that should be carefully considered.
- Theology 
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