Contextualizing the Christ-Event: A Christological Study of the Interpretations and Appropriations of Jesus Christ in Nigerian Christianity
Ezigbo, Victor I
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In Nigerian Christianity, many theologians and Christians who do not have any formal theological training perceive Jesus Christ primarily as a solution to the problems that confront humanity. As a solution, they expect Jesus Christ to inspire some theological discourses that will deconstruct and overthrow Western theological hegemony, to rekindle the quest to preserve some indigenous traditions, to liberate the oppressed, poor and powerless, to expose the oppressors and all evildoers, to liberate and protect people from the attacks of the malevolent spirits, and to save people from being eternally separated from God. But what these solution-oriented Christologies have overlooked is that the Christ-Event is a paradox for it creates simultaneously a problem and a solution for the Christian community which confesses that God has revealed God’s self in this event. The contextual Christology that I develop in this study probes the theological, christological and anthropological consequences of this claim for interpreting and appropriating Jesus Christ in the Nigerian contexts. To achieve this task, I will converse with and critique some selected ‘constructive Christologies’ of some key theologians and some ‘grassroots Christologies’ that have been informed by social conditions, indigenous worldview, encounter with some versions of Christianity propagated by the West, and some existential issues that confront many Christians. However we choose to interpret and appropriate Jesus the Christ in our contexts, he remains simultaneously a question and an answer to the theological, cultural, religious, anthropological, political and socio-economic issues that challenge us. Viewed from this perspective, I will argue that the Christ-Event upsets, unsettles, critiques, and reshapes the solution-oriented Christologies of Nigerian Christianity. I will explore this claim within the circumference of the overarching thesis of this study; namely, as both a question and an answer, Jesus Christ confronts us as a ‘revealer’ of divinity and humanity. Thus, he mediates and interprets divinity and humanity for the purpose of enacting and sustaining a relationship between God and human beings.