Leveraging indigenous theologies

Anvil journal of theology and mission

Leveraging indigenous theologies for church growth in light of the emergence of World Christianity

by Paul Ayokunle


The call for recognising indigenous theologies cannot be more appropriate and urgent today, with Christianity continuously booming among diverse non-Western cultures and regions. Indeed, over the last hundred years, the centre of gravity of Christianity has shifted from the Global North (North America, Europe, Australia, Japan and New Zealand) to the Global South (the rest of the world, especially Africa, Asia and Latin America) with unprecedented growth in the same latter regions.[1] For instance, in 1900, there were only 9 million Christians in Africa while 300 million were present in Europe.[2] By 2021, over 600 million Christians were now in Africa and a much lower figure of about 500 million in Europe – a difference in excess of 100 million.[3] This sort of watershed in the history of World Christianity, Ola notes, is only comparable to the Protestant Reformation of about 500 years ago.[4] It is only fair for the voices of those who now demographically represent the Christian faith to receive attention and affirmation in theological circles and church growth endeavours as their Western counterparts do.

To solidify its argument for the validation of indigenous theologies for church growth, this paper presents an omolúàbí-shaped ecclesiology (OSE),[5] an African approach to church showcasing the riches and potential benefits of grassroots theologies for church growth when they fly. The OSE builds upon the norm-setting dimension of personhood among the Yorùbá people of south-western Nigeria.[6] The Yorùbá concept comes to the fore to suitably represent an African indigenous theology in the paper for at least two reasons. First, I am of Yorùbá ethnicity, so I am considerably familiar with key concepts within the culture. Second, omolúàbí as a moral aspect of personhood in Yorùbá cosmology perfectly dovetails with the common theme of ubuntu in discussions of African identity.[7] One may even conceive of the omolúàbí framework as a Yorùbá rendition of ubuntu social ethics and ideology because of their non-dismissible similarities.

The need for indigenous theologies in church planting and growth

I understand that even though non-Western regions now host most of the world’s Christians, intellectual, economic and political dominance remain in the West.[8] Yet, to continue to theologise and do missions from Western paradigms almost solely with little or no recognition of other voices is unhelpful for the body of Christ, and church growth in particular, for at least two reasons. First, the practice sustains the empire mission model that sees church growth and planting proceed from an elevated position of power (in terms of culture, wealth, nationality, literature or other positional advantages), consciously or unconsciously. Since the hotbed of Christianity has often been the centre of empires (beginning with the Jewish dominance to the Roman, British and American empires), it has been the case that mission agents advance to other cultures with the power and advantages of the empire, including dominant theological standpoints and church-planting models.[9] They often fail to see God already at work among the unprivileged recipient to lead them to partner with him however he wants. Consequently, they unconsciously establish churches that must theologise and do church like them to be authentic – a result of the subtle pride that comes with power (2 Tim. 6:17).

In the end, the new plants struggle to grow since they are unfamiliar with the foreign concepts about God and the church from the privileged mission agents. Indeed, as the Irish missionary to the Gold Coast (present-day Ghana), James McKeown (1900–89), who planted the Church of Pentecost in Ghana, observed: “It would be difficult to grow an English oak in Ghana. A local ‘species’, at home in its culture, should grow, reproduce and spread: a church with foreign roots was more likely to struggle.”[10] However, where there is room for indigenous theologies to emerge, the people will be more inclined to better comprehend the faith they have received and find it easier to proselytize. Plus, it is in every culture contributing their own theological reflections that the church can truly mature into the “full stature of Christ” (Eph. 4:13) since God has incarnated his truth in different cultures that it both affirms and seeks to transform.

Second, retaining western theological hegemony, for instance, without much appreciation of perspectives from the non-Western worlds, despite the explosion of the church in such regions, slows down the realisation of God’s multi-ethnic agenda for his church,[11] as Rev. 7:9 suggests.[12] It is in every culture listening to one another as they theologise without the sense of a teacher–student relationship from any that the church would dwell together more honestly in unity. This is the way new plants in indigenous communities can feel included in the multi-ethnic body of Christ as they become members. Of course, the idea of inclusion is inherent in the concept of catholicity, one of the four basic marks of the church.[13] The implication of inclusion, and thus, multi-ethnicity, is that supremacy mindsets or other acts of marginalisation would reduce in the church, whether along racial lines, social class or any other caste. The church, despite its diversity in composition, would then be closer to attaining “the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to maturity, to the measure of the full stature of Christ” (Eph. 4:13). It is in the atmosphere of unity that church growth is more prone to happen. Indeed, as the Psalmist wonders in Ps. 133:1, “How very good and pleasant it is when kindred [regardless of their differences] live together in unity!” In this state of oneness, as he concludes in the third verse, “the Lord ordained his blessing”.

The next section presents omolúàbí-shaped ecclesiology. I briefly discuss African ecclesiology in relation to church growth to reveal some of the potential gems of indigenous theologies when they find a louder voice and receive a wider embrace.

Omolúàbí-shaped ecclesiology

OSE derives from the African (Yorùbá) concept of omolúàbí to formulate a theology of the church for growth. This sort of productive dialogue between the Yorùbá moral dimension of personhood and Christianity is not forceful because the “African moral system has a religious foundation”.[14] In fact, omolúàbí values broadly overlap the attributes constituting the “fruit of the Spirit” in Gal. 5:22–23.[15] The omolúàbí principles also form a cultural portrayer of 2 Pet. 1:5–7, which lists some necessary additives to the lives of believers in Christ.[16] As a preliminary to understanding OSE, in the following conversation I summarise the omolúàbí construct and its key principles.

Omolúàbí concept

Many African cultures’ moral sense of identity implies that an individual is not considered a person by just being human, but by necessarily acting in ethically acceptable manners and in tandem with social responsibilities within society.[17] The omolúàbí concept is a highly valued philosophical and cultural construct concerned with the moral aspect of identity among the Yorùbás.[18] Social scientists Grace Akanbi and Alice Jekayinfa rightly submit that “the end of Yorùbá traditional education is to make every individual ‘Omoluabi’”.[19] Philosophically and culturally, omolúàbí represents someone who possesses good virtues. The concept provides a yardstick for determining the morality or immorality of any act in society.[20] To refer to someone as omolúàbí is to recognise and affirm that such a person is well-cultured, mannered, honourable and respectful – a well-behaved person.[21] An omolúàbí embodies all virtues that facilitate the sound expression of wisdom, knowledge and skills for his or her betterment and society by necessity.[22] The following virtues are foundational for omolúàbí, among other desirable qualities.

Relationship dynamics

Omolúàbí showcases a sound understanding of the workings of relationships so that they are beneficial to everyone involved.[23] Maintaining harmony in all relationships, whether at work, school or home, is essential to an omolúàbí in attaining individuality, identity or self-actualisation.[24] Therefore, an omolúàbí operates by two guiding principles in social relationships: àjobí, meaning blood relations, and àjogbé, which translates as co-residence.[25] To an omolúàbí, everyone relates together from the viewpoint of “shared humanity”.[26] Harmony in social relationships also extends to the spirit world since African cosmological understanding accommodates the interaction of the spirit world and the physical world.[27] Hence, omolúàbís maintain equilibrium in their relationship with the spirit world.

Inú rere

The second fundamental virtue of omolúàbí is inú rere (goodwill, having a clean and good mind towards others), which is both a moral and mental quality.[28] Inú rere pushes omolúàbí to give easily to the community in deeds and actions.[29] It readily finds expression in the principle of hospitality, which creates “the desire for a welcome without reserve and without calculation, an exposure without limit to whoever arrives”.[30] To emphasise the importance of inú rere evident in hospitality and benevolence, the affirmation of personhood among the Yorùbás does not occur without considering deeds linking individuals with their families, friends, community and others.[31] In essence, inú rere is responsible for the love, care, kindness and concern that an omolúàbí shows towards other people instead of overly focusing on himself or herself.

Cultural integration

Omolúàbí is culturally aware and integrated.[32] The uncultured is an omo lásán or omokómo, suggesting a worthless child. Omokómo is socially unincorporated, culturally deviant or a misfit in the community or set-up.[33] Chief among the implications of being cultured is to have ìteríba (respect).[34] An omolúàbí has self-respect (including recognition and setting boundaries) and honour for others, including parents, elders, other authority figures, peers and even younger ones.[35] Ìwàpèlé or ìwàtútù (gentleness or gentle character)also comes to the fore as a vital element of being cultured. Ìwàpèlé expresses itself in “being mindful of the individuality of others, treating others gently and being tolerant and accommodating of the peculiarity of the existence of others”.[36] An omolúàbí, who has high regard for culture demonstrates ìwàpèlé in communications, business, musical constructions, religious actions and other aspects of life.[37]

Ọ̀rọ̀ síso

The spoken word (ọ̀rọ̀ síso) is so significant among the Yorùbás that it forms another key characteristic of omolúàbí.[38] Ọ̀rọ̀, meaning “words”, can convey disrespect or hurt to others when used frivolously or unguardedly. Omolúàbí has this understanding and therefore uses ọ̀rọ̀ with dexterity. It is admirable for omolúàbí to demonstrate intelligent use of ọ̀rọ̀ by engaging Yorùbá proverbs (òwe) in communication. Indeed, without òwe, “speech flounders and falls short of its mark, whereas aided by them, communication is fleet and unerring”.[39] An omolúàbí is that cultured person who can “optimize the efficaciousness of speech”,[40] leveraging proverbs amid other communication tools and consequently demonstrating cultural appreciation and awareness.


The fifth hallmark of omolúàbí is ìwà (character). Even in omolúàbí’s etymology, ìwà is central.[41] Ìwà can either make one more valuable when exhibiting ìwà rere (good character/moral goodness) or less desirable when demonstrating ìwà buburu or ìwà ibaja (bad/terrible character). Good character may not be the sole determinant of personhood, but it certainly attracts a lot of admiration for the Yorùbás. In fact, they often link good character and ewà (beauty). For them, moral goodness acts as the “normative necessary condition for a person to be truly and strictly considered beautiful, and to be a person in the robust sense”.[42] Bad character, however, receives condemnation and reduces an individual’s personhood or humanness to the level of “ordinary things” such that one attracts the tag ènìyàn lásán (worthless fellow) or eranko (animal).[43] As African philosopher Ademola Fayemi concludes, ìwà is the “fulcrum of human personality”.[44]

Isé and akínkanjú

Another set of connected central qualities of omolúàbí is isé (hard work) and akínkanjú (courage/bravery).[45] Omolúàbí puts a lot of care and effort into work because, without a strong work ethic and diligence, a person attracts the tag of òle (lazy/indolent person), making other omolúàbí qualities meaningless.[46] Indeed, Yorùbás hold that isé l’ogun ìsé, eni ti ko sisé yio jale. This popular saying literally translates as “hard work is the panacea for poverty; whoever does not work hard will become a thief or robber”. Isé and akínkanjú virtues ensure that an omolúàbí courageously navigates tough times and develops ìfaradà (fortitude) to endure and rebound when knocked down.[47] Rightly so; life is not a bed of roses and can be unpredictable. As such, without the extra virtue of akínkanjú to support isé,it may be difficult to remain hardworking or exhibit other core qualities of omolúàbí. Akínkanjú is opposed to “escapism, self-condemnation, abandonment and indulgence in vices to circumvent life obstacles”.[48]


Òtító (truth), integrity and honesty are a compendium of related, basic characteristics of omolúàbí.[49] Integrity conveys a sense of wholeness or completeness from the Latin word integras.[50] Likewise, omolúàbí exhibits coherence and consistency in principles, values, thoughts, speech and actions. Omolúàbí is honest, straightforward, incorruptible, truthful and accountable.[51] Thus, he or she becomes “a good and dependable person who stands above board at all times”.[52] Omolúàbí’s integrity and òtító reflect in his or her private and public endeavours that such an individual does not indulge in or support fraudulent activities.[53] Truth and integrity are central to being an omolúàbí because, ultimately, they are the “stuff of moral courage and even heroism”.[54]

What omolúàbí-shaped ecclesiology would look like

I believe that the church can enhance its growth through the interaction between omolúàbí principles and ecclesiology. The resultant indigenous ecclesiology would have the following expression.

Recognition of and harmony with the Spirit

Perhaps OSE’s spiritual emphasis is its most crucial element. Just as an omolúàbí is conscious of the participation of the spiritual world in the physical, engaging OSE would imply that the church recognises the influence and necessity of the Holy Spirit in its life. The church cannot be “unidimensional” in its orientation, as with the Western interpretation of life events, but multifaceted, acknowledging spiritual reality alongside the physical.[55] African Pentecostals are confident that church growth is spiritual and passionately demonstrate this belief in the supernatural, in alignment with the African world view. Thus, it should not be strange that Pentecostalism has taken over the face of Christianity in Africa.[56] The global church can learn from omolúàbí’s multidimensional worldview. In practical terms, OSE’s supernatural emphasis would imply that the church believes, permits and projects the Bible teachings on divine healing, angels, visions, miracles, prophecies, dream interpretation and other spiritual possibilities through the Holy Spirit’s power. Then, the church can truly begin to “live by the Spirit, [and]… be guided by the Spirit” (Gal. 5:25).

Also, OSE would insist that the church maintain peace and fellowship with the Holy Spirit. This “communion of the Holy Spirit” (2 Cor. 13:13) will more than likely require a vibrant prayer life since prayer is a vital channel to “truly connect with God [or His Spirit]”.[57] Unity with the Holy Spirit will also see a church mature in the fruit of the Spirit and grieve him less every day (Eph. 4:30). Such a church will experience more productivity as it deploys various growth strategies, for the Holy Spirit remains the enabler of biblical church planting and growth principles.[58]


OSE expects that the church operates with a rich knowledge of relationship dynamics. Being the church in this way would undoubtedly help its social growth. Living by the omolúàbí ethosof ìwàpèlé and ìteríba would translate to congregants respecting themselves regardless of age, social status, race or other classifications. By implication, the youths would find it more convenient to contribute to the church’s development without being disdained or silenced. The adults would also enjoy the benefits of learning from the younger generation besides the opportunity to pass down their much-needed wisdom in an atmosphere of respect for individuality. Consequently, the cross-pollination of ideas and learning would increase, culminating in church growth.

Relationship dynamics awareness would also mitigate conflicts and misunderstandings in the church, as more forbearance would characterise social interactions. The other’s attitudes, behaviour and actions would filter through the consciousness that pluralistic cultures comprise the church. As such, the tendency for offences would reduce. Leaders and members would engage more effectively without distrust, bitterness, anger, hypocrisy, pride or prejudice as they respect relationship etiquette and boundaries and operate in love with one another. Congregants, regardless of their divide, would also be able to serve more lovingly together as they apply the social principles of àjobí and àjogbé. Indeed, high-handedness would find faint expression in the church that models àjobí and àjogbé. As with the Early Church, everyone would live as comrades and a true family. Luke describes the brotherly love of the Early Church thus: “There was not a needy person among them, for as many as owned lands or houses sold them and brought the proceeds of what was sold. They laid it at the apostles’ feet, and it was distributed to each as any had need” (Acts 4:34–35).

Stress on social ministry

Third, OSE would mean that the church gets involved socially in the life of its members and community. It would not measure its growth by spiritual contributions only. Rather, it would equally be aware of and deliberately seek to address its members’ needs and social justice. This imperative for the church’s social engagement derives from omolúàbí’s virtues of hospitality and benevolence – both offshoots of inú rere. The leaders of a socially involved church will be cautious to prevent their professional backgrounds’ formality from impeding the church’s social commitments. Indeed, there is the tendency for ministers with professional experiences to style their congregations as business environments, preferring their highly skilled membership, to which they focus most of their efforts, including social ministry.

OSE is opposed to such bias and segregation, which prevents social interaction and opportunities for congregants to meet one another’s material and immaterial needs. Instead, the omolúàbí’s goodwill implicit in OSE would ensure that church leaders put away preferences in administering the church and its resources. By implication, the body of Christ would be open to all and show concern and care, even to the marginalised. As in Luke 4:18, the poor, prisoners, blind, oppressed and other overlooked groups in society will find aid through the church’s social services. As the church becomes more intentional in its social engagement, especially beyond its congregants to strangers, it would begin to live up to its expectation as “the light of the world” (Matt. 5:14) instead of a shining light to itself. The acts of love would open up possibilities for the recipients to join the church, increasing its numerical strength.

Excellent leadership

OSE also demands effective leadership, which pastors keep evolving through isé (hard work) and akínkanjú (courage) to remain relevant in a fast-developing and changing world. More specifically, church leaders may need to add to their ministerial training, both formally and informally. David not only led the Israelites by integrity or personal charm but also with skills (Ps. 78:72). The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the need to acquire some technological expertise, an unusual field for many church leaders. Learning an unfamiliar skill would likely require ìteríba (humility and respect) from the pastors since the facilitators may be young professionals or pew members. Leaders must similarly extend training or discipleship to their congregations. Only after investing in training their church members would pastors be ethically correct to expect improved lifestyles, patterned after Christ, from them. A methodical discipleship process is helpful in this regard. The systematic training would be in addition to ministers’ exemplary lifestyles modelling Christ’s life to their congregations, just as trainers do with their trainees.

OSE would also ensure that through excellent leadership, delivered on the platform of isé, leaders apply themselves to the thorough and consistent study of the Scriptures and other helpful materials for their ministries. Doing the above would align with Paul’s advice to Timothy to “Study to shew thyself approved unto God, a workman that needeth not to be ashamed, rightly dividing the word of truth” (2 Tim. 2:15 (KJV)). Demonstrating akínkanjú would also imply pastors courageously speaking out when they feel helpless, lonely, depressed or discouraged. Asking for help would no longer look like a sin or abomination. Of course, when ministers have support systems, they will be fresh. The church will enjoy them at their best and, thus, enjoy better nourishment and growth.

Holistic salvation

OSE seeks a comprehensive or holistic salvation experience. Just as omolúàbí provides a system for validating personhood from a moral viewpoint in Yorùbá culture, Christian identity would only be more meaningful, recognised and whole with a complementary ethical life. Titus 3:8 affirms the same truth that Christians must not be lacking in moral goodness or “good works”.[59] While the advocacy here is not for perfectionism, it would only be awkward for anyone to claim membership in the church and yet be morally deficient. Jas. 2:18 re-echoes it this way: “But someone will say, ‘You have faith and I have works.’ Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith.”

To church leaders, holistic salvation would, for instance, translate to a balance in presenting God’s ability and desire to provide for his people as Jehovah Jireh (Gen. 22:14) so that such negative tags as the prosperity gospel would become extinct.[60] Indeed, God “has pleasure in the prosperity of His servant [or people]” (Ps. 35:27). Humanity’s excesses in revealing this truth should not result in the total rejection of God’s power and eagerness to supply all needs (including material). Moreover, this dimension of God cannot but be particularly emphasised in regions without adequate social amenities or other physical needs. Africans do not even consider a religion (or God) that does not meet their multifaceted needs besides the salvation of their souls as meaningful.[61] In essence, Jesus’ moderate lifestyle would be the yardstick for presenting God’s willingness to prosper his people. Indeed, Jesus is the pinnacle of omolúàbí and “the pioneer and perfecter of our faith” (Heb. 12:2).

Holistic salvation also concerns spoken words. OSE suggests that church leaders demonstrate tact in using words for their communications and sermon delivery to be more positive and less offensive. The dexterity with words stems from omolúàbí’s grasp of ọ̀rọ̀. Paul also understands the importance of sound speech and lists it among the crucial qualities young men must exhibit in Titus 2:6–8. Indeed, pastors must never forget that words are delicate; they must always proceed with discretion to achieve their intended purposes and minimise offences.[62] In all, where holistic salvation marks a congregation, the church would experience growth. The necessity of complementary moral life to spiritual experience for affirming Christian identity will result in more spiritually mature Christians. These congregants would make the church attractive to outsiders through their moral goodness, thus leading to a numerical increase for the church.


The recognition and affirmation of indigenous theologies are, indeed, important and helpful for missio Dei (the mission of God). In the same way that “God so loved the world that he gave his only Son,”[63] he has revealed himself within different cultures and people. No culture is more loved or privileged over others for exclusive access to God’s wisdom. Neither is any group of people the sole curator or steward of God’s revelations. The variety in creation and its complementary design attest to God’s love for diversity and the wholeness that comes from interdependencies. No matter how seemingly trivial or massive the insight is, the church must begin to acknowledge sound theological reflections from all cultures. Validating some and looking down on others or attempting to make them conform to the dominant voices reduces the chances of the church to know God more wholesomely and deeply, and to grow. Indeed, the OSE hints at how resourceful indigenous cultures can be in theologising and for church growth, if and when they find wings to fly. Indigenous theologies are necessities for advancing God’s mission as the church continues to seek ways to contextualise the Christian faith so that it may be more productive to its recipients. The emancipation of indigenous theologies is inevitable and urgent.

About the author

Paul Ayokunle is a theologian and a mission-minded scholar who has researched church growth dynamics among African diaspora congregations in Liverpool at a doctoral level for more than four years at Liverpool Hope University. He is also on the pastoral team of Pentecost Baptist Church, Liverpool.

More from this issue


[1] Harvey C. Kwiyani, Sent Forth: African Missionary Work in the West, American Society of Missiology, no. 51 (Maryknoll, New York: Orbis Books, 2014), 9.

[2] Gina A. Zurlo, Todd M. Johnson and Peter F. Crossing, “World Christianity and Mission 2021: Questions about the Future,” International Bulletin of Mission Research 45, no. 1 (2021): 23.

[3] Zurlo, Johnson and Crossing, “World Christianity and Mission 2021,” 23.

[4] Joseph Ola, “Strangers’ Meat is the Greatest Treat: African Christianity in Europe” (2019): 1, https://www.academia.edu/41993424/_STRANGERS_MEAT_IS_THE_GREATEST_TREAT_AFRICAN_CHRISTIANITY_IN_EUROPE.

[5] I have developed the concept of omolúàbí-shaped ecclesiology as part of my doctoral research, at Liverpool Hope University, for promoting church growth and multi-ethnic congregations. While I am aware of the more comprehensive meaning it has in theological discourse, I have applied the term ecclesiology loosely in this paper to refer to the lifestyle of the church: a way of doing or being church. I have taken this approach to avoid any theological argument that may be associated with the concept and retain the focus of the paper.

[6] The Yorùbás are arguably the largest ethnic group among Black Africans with historical consciousness and widely researched history. Famous for being the most literate group in Africa and having an impressive rate of urbanisation, the Yorùbá people have a well-established traditional structure and religion. For more about the Yorùbás, see S. Adebanji Akintoye, A History of the Yoruba People (Dakar: Amalion Publishing, 2014), 12.

[7] Ubuntu is from the popular Zulu maxim of the Nguni people, umuntu ngumuntu ngabantu, which means that a person is a person through other persons. As a concept, ubuntu stresses that no one is self-sufficient, and that interdependence is a reality for all. In essence, ubuntu implies that a person only discovers his/her own human qualities, behaviours and traits through bonding and interacting with fellow human beings. For more details, see Barbara Nussbaum, “African Culture and Ubuntu: Reflections of a South African in America,” World Business Academy: Perspectives 17, no. 1 (2003): 2; Dan J. Antwi, “Koinonia in African Culture: Community, Communality and African Self-Identity,” Trinity Journal of Church and Theology VI, no. 2 (1996): 68; Augustine Shutte, Philosophy for Africa (Rondebosch, South Africa: University of Cape Town Press, 1993), 46.

[8] Lazarus Phiri, “Mission Without Empire,” podcast audio, Mission Shift (April 2022), accessed 13 February 2023, https://www.cru.org/communities/city/episode/ep6-mission-without-empire/.

[9] Ibid.

[10] Christine Leonard, A Giant in Ghana: 3000 Churches in 50 Years – The Story of James McKeown and the Church of Pentecost (Chichester: New Wine Press, 1989), 69.

[11] In a broad sense, a multi-ethnic church connotes a gathering of believers in Christ, where members come from various backgrounds without one culture asserting itself over others.

[12] “After this I looked, and there was a great multitude that no one could count, from every nation, from all tribes and peoples and languages, standing before the throne and before the Lamb, robed in white, with palm branches in their hands” (Rev. 7:9, NRSV).

[13] Graham Cray, ed., Mission-Shaped Church: Church Planting and Fresh Expressions of Church in a Changing Context (London: Church House Publishing, 2004), 96–97. Catholicity refers to “the universal scope of the church as a society instituted by God in which all sorts and conditions of humanity, all races, nations and cultures, can find a welcome and home.” See more in Paul Avis, The Anglican Understanding of the Church (London: SPCK, 2000), 65.

[14] John S. Mbiti, African Religions and Philosophy (Oxford: Heinemann Educational Books, 1969), 62.

[15] The qualities are “love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, generosity, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control” (Gal. 5:22–23, NRSV).

[16] Here Peter notes: “For this very reason, you must make every effort to support your faith with goodness, and goodness with knowledge, and knowledge with self-control, and self-control with endurance, and endurance with godliness, and godliness with mutual affection, and mutual affection with love” (2 Pet, 1:5–7, NRSV).

[17] Polycarp Ikuenobe, “Good and Beautiful: A Moral-Aesthetic View of Personhood in African Communal Traditions,” Essays in Philosophy 17, no. 1 (2016): 128.

[18] Olusola Victor Olanipekun, “Omoluabi: Re-thinking the Concept of Virtue in Yoruba Culture and Moral System,” Africology: The Journal of Pan African Studies 10, no. 9 (2017): 219.

[19] Grace Oluremilekun Akanbi and Alice Arinlade Jekayinfa, “Reviving the African Culture of ‘Omoluabi’ in the Yoruba Race as a Means of Adding Value to Education in Nigeria,” International Journal of Modern Education Research 3, no. 3 (2016): 15. See also Akíntúndé Akínyẹmi, Orature and Yoruba Riddles (New York: Palgrave Macmillan, 2015), 231.

[20] Bosede Adefiola Adebowale & Folake Onayemi, “Aristotle’s Human Virtue and Yorùbá Worldview of Ọmọlúàbí: An Ethical-Cultural Interpretation,” African Philosophical Inquiry 6 (2019): 32.

[21] Joseph Babalola Osoba, “The Nature, Form and Functions of Yoruba Proverbs: A Socio-Pragmatic Perspective,” IOSR Journal of Humanities and Social Science 19, no. 2 (2014): 49.

[22] Adebowale and Onayemi, “Aristotle’s Human Virtue,” 31.

[23] Dolapo Adeniji-Neill, “Omoluabi: The Way of Human Being: An African Philosophy’s Impact on Nigerian Voluntary Immigrants’ Educational and Other Life Aspirations,” Ìrìnkèrindò: A Journal of African Migration 5 (2011):4.

[24] M.W. Payne, “Akìwowo, Orature and Divination: Approaches to the Construction of an Emic Sociological Paradigm of Society,” Sociological Analysis 53, no. 2 (1992): 180.

[25] Akinsola A. Akiwowo, Ajobi and Ajogbe: Variations on the Theme of Sociation (Ile-Ife: University of Ife Press, 1983), 10.

[26] Shared humanity refers to the nature or attributes common to all human beings. Howard Grace emphasises that these shared behaviour and qualities are not necessarily positive, but also include negative aspects of human nature. See more in Howard Grace, Vision of a Shared Humanity: Being Aware of Shared Human Nature (2019).

[27] Marius Nel, “The African Background of Pentecostal Theology: A Critical Perspective,” In Die Skriflig/In Luce Verbi 53, no. 4 (2019): 6.

[28] Wande Abimbola, “Iwapele: The Concept of Good Character in Ifa Literary Corpus,” in Yoruba Oral Tradition: Poetry in Music, Dance and Drama, ed. Wande Abimbola (Ibadan: University of Ibadan Press, 1975), 389–93.

[29] Adeniji-Neill, “Omoluabi,” 1.

[30] Jacques Derrida, “The Principle of Hospitality,” parallax 11, no. 1 (2005): 6.

[31] Adeniji-Neill and Ammon, “Omoluabi,” 2.

[32] Ibid., 4.

[33] Yunusa Oyeneye and M.O. Shoremi, “The Concept of Culture and the Nigerian Society,” in Essentials of General Studies, vol. 2, ed. O.O. Odugbemi et al. (Ago Iwoye: CESAP, 1997), 253.

[34] Abimbola, “Iwapele,” 389.

[35] Adeniji-Neill, “Omoluabi,” 1.

[36] Sunday Olaoluwa Dada, “Aristotle and the Ọmọlúwàbí Ethos: Ethical Implications for Public Morality in Nigeria,” Yoruba Studies Review 3, no. 1 (2018): 267.

[37] John Ayotunde Isola Bewaji, Beauty and Culture: Perspectives in Black Aesthetics (Ibadan: Spectrum Books, 2004), 159.

[38] Ọ̀rọ̀ is a composite of ogbon (wisdom), imo (knowledge) and oye (understanding), the creative companions of Olodumare, the supreme being in Yorùbá cosmology. Ọ̀rọ̀ is the source of speech, meaning and communication, potent enough to “create order out of existence”. It finds utterance primarily through owe (proverbs) and by implication, other range of communicative properties of the Yorùbá people viz: “sculpture, àrokò, dance, drama, song, chant, poetry, incantations like ọfọ̀, ògèdè, àyájọ́èpè, odù, ẹ̀sà and many others”. See more in Rowland Abiodun, “Verbal and Visual Metaphors: Mythical Allusions in Yoruba Ritualistic Art of Orí,” Word and Image 3, no. 3 (1987): 254–56; Ayo Opefeyitimi, “Ayajo as Ifa in Mythical and Sacred Contexts,” in Ifa Divination, Knowledge, Power, and Performance, ed. Jacob K. Olupona and Rowland Abiodun (Bloomington: Indiana University Press, 2016), 25; Abimbola, “Iwapele,” 389.

[39] Oyekan Owomoyela, Yoruba Proverbs (Lincoln: University of Nebraska Press, 2005), 12.

[40] Ibid.

[41] Abimbola, “Iwapele,” 393.

[42] Ikuenobe, “Good and Beautiful,” 129.

[43] Ademola Kazeem Fayemi, “Human Personality and the Yoruba Worldview: An Ethico-Sociological Interpretation,” The Journal of Pan African Studies 2, no. 9 (2009): 170.

[44] Ibid.

[45] Adeniji-Neill, “Omoluabi,” 2.

[46] Dada, “Aristotle and the Ọmọlúwàbí Ethos,” 267.

[47] Oyebade Oyewole and Azenabor Godwin, “A Discourse on the Fundamental Principles of Character in an African Moral Philosophy,” African Journal of History and Culture 10, no. 3 (2018): 48.

[48] Ibid .

[49] Abimbola, “Iwapele,” 389, 93.

[50] Alan Montefiore and David Vines, eds., Integrity in the Public and Private Domains (London: Routledge, 1999), 9.

[51] Patrick Dobel includes many of these attributes among values accommodated within integrity. For further details, see J. Patrick Dobel, “Integrity in the Public Service,” Public Administration Review 50, no. 3 (1990), 354-66.

[52] Akanbi and Jekayinfa, “Reviving the African Culture of ‘Omoluabi’,” 15.

[53] Oyeyemi Aworinde Oyerinde, “‘Omoluabi’ – The Concept of Good Character in Yoruba Traditional Education: An Appraisal,” in S.F. Ogundare, Andrian Forum 4 (1991): 200.

[54] George G. Brenkert, ed., Corporate Integrity and Accountability (Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage, 2004), 5.

[55] Samson Olasupo A. Ayokunle, Communities of Faith in Diaspora: Elements and Liturgy of Worship (Ibadan: Baptist Press (Nig.) Ltd, 2021), 69.

[56] Kwiyani, Sent Forth, 113.

[57] Stormie Omartian, “Foreword,” in Power through Prayer, ed. Edward M. Bounds (Chicago: Moody Publishers, 2009), 9.

[58] Eddie Gibbs, “The Power Behind the Principles,” in Church Growth: State of the Art, ed. C. Peter Wagner (Wheaton, IL: Tyndale House Publishers, 1986), 125.

[59] Titus 3:8 (NRSV): “I desire that you insist on these things, so that those who have come to believe in God may be careful to devote themselves to good works; these things are excellent and profitable to everyone.”

[60] Critics tag this gospel that attests to God’s power to provide and his willingness to display the same grace towards its people as the prosperity gospel. They consider it as a mono-directional exportation of North American Christian-oriented movements. Moreover, to the critics, it is a post-war or Cold War Pentecostal reinvention that originated within the Pentecostal faith particularly of United States descent, with a tendency towards materialistic orientation. See more in Stephen Hunt, “‘Winning Ways’: Globalisation and the Impact of the Health and Wealth Gospel,” Journal of Contemporary Religion 15, no. 3 (2000): 331; see also Andreas Heuser, “Religio-Scapes of the Prosperity Gospel: An Introduction,” in Pastures of Plenty: Tracing Religio-Scapes of the Prosperity Gospel in Africa and Beyond, ed. Andreas Heuser (Frankfurt: Peter Lang, 2015), 21; Eric Z.M. Gbote and Selaeo T. Kgatla, “Prosperity Gospel: A Missiological Assessment,” HTS Teologiese Studies/Theological Studies 70, no. 1 (2014): 6.

[61] Ayegboyin and Ishola argue that this is one of the rationales for the emergence of AICs, a desire to make Christianity speak to African world view and concerns. See in Deji Ayegboyin and Ademola S. Ishola, African Indigenous Churches: An Historical Perspective (Bukuru, Nigeria: African Christian Textbooks, 2013), 14, 21–22.

[62] Tactical use of òrò certainly includes the awareness of key elements of rhetorical theories in communication as identified by Aristotle, the Greek philosopher. There is the Logos, which refers to the logic or rationality of the message. Ethos concerns the credibility of the speaker, while Pathos refers to the state of the listeners – their psychological state, language, mood and others. See more in “Aristotle’s Rhetoric,” in The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, ed. Edward N. Zalta (Stanford University: Center for the Study of Language and Information, 2002). https://plato.stanford.edu/.

[63] John 3:16 (NRSV). Emphasis mine.