IMPACT OF ETHICAL MISCONDUCT AMONG NIGERIAN CHURCH LEADERS AND SCRIPTURAL MISINTERPRETATION FOR SELFISH PURPOSE

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CHAPTER ONE

INTRODUCTION

1.1. BACKGROUND OF THE STUDY

Church leadership as explained in the Pastoral Epistles is expected to serve as a role model of faithfulness, truth, honesty and chastity. The focus of these epistles is on the church organization and governance of the Christian community. The central concept is conduct that is pleasing to God; a regular and reliable ecclesiastical hierarchy with clear assignment of responsibilities (Schrage,2008). The New Testament strives to shape Christian life and ethical conduct extensively. It is concerned that Christians be “the salt of the earth” and “the light of the world” (Matt.5:13-14) and maintain their distinctiveness even in their “good works” (Schrage, 2008). Christians are called upon to lead a quiet, peaceable, ethical life, godly and respectful in every way. The proven character of those who seek leadership in the church is more important than personality, preaching gis, administrative abilities, or academic accomplishments (Stamps, 2002). A pastor or reverend whose quality of life is an illustration of the faith is absolutely essential for Christian leadership. Church leaders are under obligation to live by the norms of Christian ethics as stipulated in 1Tim.3:1-7, Tit.1:3-8. A bishop as God’s steward, must be blameless; he must be hospitable, must not be arrogant or quick-tempered or a drunkard or violent or greedy. In this research, much emphasis is laid on the character or ethical conduct of Church leaders rather than the position they occupy. The expectations of God and the society for ministers of the Gospel or church leaders is very high, this is because Christianity is an ethical religion hence when ministers of the Gospel, leaders from whom much is expected lacks integrity and misbehave, the result leaves so much to be desired and usually has a great consequence on their followers. There is lack of respect for church leaders and consequently the weakening of his expected godly influence over Parishioners and other persons in the church and the society .The present state of the Nigerian nation could be a reflection of the state of the Nigerian Church. The lack of integrity or the loss of it among church leaders in recent time has reached an alarming rate which has caused a high level of deterioration not only in the quality of Christians but also reflected in the current deplorable state of the Nigerian Nation