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1.1     Background to the Study

Proverbs 14:28; Acts 4:13 established it that God is interested in Church growth and at the same time piety of every member of the Church. Hence, Christians are required to exhibit all the embodiment of godliness by modelling their lives around Jesus Christ. The rapid increase in the number of Churches in any society must therefore be corresponded with developing interest in the fear of the Lord for a godly living in order to ensure societal development. Christians are supposed to live exemplary lives of Jesus Christ (Matthews 5:13; John 1:5) that should warrant a just society, free of crime and encourage economic growth. That is why the above scriptures describe them as the light and the salt of the earth.

Two passages in the New Testament give me tremendous amount of joy. First is what Jesus Christ says in John 10:10: I have come to the world in order that you might have life, and to have it more abundantly. The second passage comes from Mark 1:15: The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is among you. We may be wondering the relevance of these scriptural passages for the topic and in the field of economics. Without delving into the exegetical analysis of these important texts, suffice it to be mentioned that they underline the fundamental stance of the church vis-à-vis the world, the society and mankind in general. According to Anozie (2007), a church is a group of people or persons called out or set apart, sanctified or redeemed from the shackles and sorrows of this evil world to serve God‘s purpose in any human society like ours with exemplary life worthy of the divine calling, in honest manifestation of other virtues like humility, patience, meekness, forgiveness, tolerance, unity, love, faithfulness, justice and truthfulness.

It is both a theological travesty and also a human anachronism to see the church as a withdrawn community, unconcerned with the privations and problems of the contemporary society. Hence, Ajayi (1965) opined that social reform is instrumental in the preaching of a new religion. There is no doubt that certain elements within the church circles undermine the positive impacts of the church towards the economic growth of nations. Such groups of people have encouraged the wrong notion that the church and the kingdom of God are synonymous with poverty, want and need, if you can excuse a conical play-on-words. Can a kingdom succeed in poverty? If Jesus talked about the kingdom and talked about abundant life, it follows that the movement of which he was the originator must champion the crusade for economic development and social change.

Whatever may be the historians‘ raison detre with reference to the reformation; it is an incontrovertible fact that without the economic and social deprivations of the German populace, Martin Luther‘s appeal probably could not have stirred the German people. Of particular importance was his appeal to the German common people and the consequent peasant revolt. Germany was in need of economic change and they saw in Luther the one means of developing their economy and improving the social lot. This illustration tries to sensitize us to the particular stance of Christ that his mission was to improve the lot of men.

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