Utilization of Religious Education for Effective Inculturation of the Gospel

Ilechukwu Leonard Chidi, Uchem Rose, Asogwa Uche


‘‘Go therefore make disciples of all the nations baptize them in the name of the father and of the son and of the Holy Spirit and to teach them to observe all the command I gave you’’ (Mt: 28:19), is a mandate given by Christ to preach the Gospel message to every nook and cranny of the world. The success of this mandate however depends on the degree to which the preaching of the Gospel is adapted to local cultures. To make it succeed, these is every need of the incarnation of Christian life and Christian message in a particular cultural context, in such a way that this experience not only find expression through elements proper to the culture in question, but becomes a principle that animates, direct and unites the culture, transform it and remaking it so as to bring about ‘New Creation’’ The gospel, therefore should penetrate the very life of culture, becomes incarnate in them, overcoming those cultural elements that are incompatible with the faith and Christian living and raising their values to the mystery of salvation which comes from Christ. The crux of this paper is to ascertain how religious education can be employed as a medium for the enculturation of the gospel message in Africa. Quantitative data collection was carried out in South East Geo-Political Zone (among the Igbo people) of Nigeria to investigate into the role of religious education in acculturating the gospel message in Africa. The outcome of the study revealed that religious education plays outstanding role in promoting enculturation of the gospel message. It has the specific vocation of bringing the gospel message to the heart of culture and enables all to understand for themselves and commit to the concrete living of Christian meaning and living. It makes possible, the conversion of persons, cultures and Christianization of ethos of the people’s cultures and through enculturation encourages evangelization to respect and preserve what is good in a culture. Recommendations included that those who are pastorally responsible for culture should resolutely be committed to finding ways of evangelization to reach minds and hearts, and to transform cultures in a way which also enrich them. The study was conducted in Igbo speaking states of South East zone of Nigeria. The findings were generalized to cover Africa as it is the same Gospel of Christ dialoguing with the various cultures of Africa.

Keywords: Religious Education, Inculturation, Gospel Message, Culture

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