More Information
ISBN: 9781839735721
Imprint: Langham Academic
Format: Paperback
Dimensions (mm): 229 x 152 x 10
Publication Date: 14/05/2022
Pages: 182
Series: Studies in Missiology
Language: English

A Cry For Help

A Missiological Reflection on Violent Response to Religious Tension in Northern Nigeria


The gospel of Christ is a gospel of peace, yet Christianity has not escaped the specter of religious violence. The legacy of the church has not only been one of patient suffering and forgiving love but also of brutal bloodshed. With tensions between Christians and non-Christians on the rise in many areas of the world, the question of how the church is to respond to religious violence is a pressing one, encompassing issues of ecclesiology, theology, and missiology.

Dr. Mipo E. Dadang explores the contextual realities that have led some believers in Northern Nigeria to embrace violence as a justifiable response to persecution. Drawing on extensive interviews, he provides an overview of the history of the church in the region, the impact of local theologies and traditions on mindsets and behaviors, and the insight of local believers into the catalysts, and solutions, to violent conflict. Alongside this phenomenological study, he provides a powerful biblical and theological foundation for understanding bloodshed as a violation of God’s created order. He weaves together biblical teachings, the example of the early church, and the theology of Martin Luther to demonstrate that the people of God are called to reject, prevent, and eliminate violence, replacing it with creative alternatives. This deeply powerful book has implications for every Christian seeking to live out the gospel of Christ in peaceful co-existence with their neighbors.

Author Bios

Mipo E. Dadang

MIPO E. DADANG has a PhD in Theology and Missiology from Concordia Theological Seminary, Indiana, USA. Over the past forty years, he has served in multiple pastoral, teaching, and administrative roles, including lecturing at ECWA Theological Seminary, Nigeria, and serving as ECWA general secretary. The first African to be appointed director of Community Bible Study in West Africa, he has also served as country coordinator for Africa Services International and as a member of the Africa host team for the Third Lausanne Congress, Cape Town, South Africa.


Dadang’s thoughtful research drives home the point that God is sovereign over the affairs of humanity, and his children can respond supernaturally to suffering because of their trust in him. I strongly encourage every believer to read this book.

Marc Wooten, PhD
Asia Biblical Theological Seminary, Philippines

This book is one of a kind when it comes to addressing religious violence in Nigeria. The author grapples with both literature and personal experience to describe the reality of religious violence in Nigeria and gives theologically grounded ideas for practice that will build up the church in Northern Nigeria amidst violent persecution.

Nathan H. Chiroma, PhD
Pan Africa Christian University, Nairobi, Kenya

Dadang helps Christians in Nigeria and beyond to grasp not only the importance of paying attention to Christ’s nonviolent teaching, but also how violent conflicts negatively shape, influence, and reform Christians in contexts of religious violence. The message of this book needs to be popularized and brought home to all Christian faiths and denominations.

Sunday Bobai Agang, PhD
ECWA Theological Seminary, Jos, Nigeria

This book grapples with violence as a missiological problem and offers solutions that will benefit not only those directly affected in northern Nigeria, but all Christians everywhere.

John G. Nordling, PhD
Concordia Theological Seminary, Fort Wayne, USA

Table of Contents

  1. Abbreviations
  2. Acknowledgments
  3. Abstract
  4. Chapter One Violence as a Missiological Problem
    1. Historical Background of Nigeria
      1. Religious Worldviews
      2. History of Mission Work in Nigeria
      3. Background of Northern Nigeria
    2. Purpose of the Research
    3. Rationale for the Research Problem
    4. Religious Violence
    5. Research Concern Over Time
    6. Brief Picture of the Research Design and Method
    7. Statement of the Research Questions
      1. Introduction to the Literature
  5. Chapter Two Biblical Literature and Luther’s Works
    1. Old Testament Literature
      1. Human Violence (Gen 4:6–10; 6:6–7)
      2. Worth and Dignity of Human Life
      3. Confession for God’s Deliverance
      4. Prophecy of a Coming Peaceful Kingdom
    2. New Testament Literature
      1. Jesus’s Teaching on Revenge (Matt 5:38–42)
      2. Jesus’s Teaching on Love (Matt 5:43–48)
      3. Buy a Sword (Luke 22:35–38)
      4. His Kingdom Is Not of This World (John 18:36)
      5. Do Not Murder (Matt 5:21–23)
      6. Faithful in the Face of Violence (Matt 10:28)
      7. Response to Violence (Matt 5:9)
    3. Martin Luther’s Works
      1. God, the Creator, the Believer, and Law
      2. Law and Gospel
      3. On Faith and Works of Love to the Neighbor
      4. Conclusion
      5. The Worldly Regiment and the Political Use of the Law
      6. The Civil Realm and Christian Duty
      7. Conscientious Objection and Mercenary Service
      8. Conclusion
  6. Chapter Three Essential Contributing Literature
    1. Early Christian Pacifism
    2. First-Century Response
    3. Second- and Third-Century Response
    4. Fourth-Century Response
    5. Current Literature
    6. Violent Response
    7. Nonviolent Response
    8. Observation
  7. Chapter Four Research Design and Method
    1. Limitations
    2. Delimitations
    3. Research Questions and Operational Questions
    4. Introduction to the Field Research Findings
    5. Description of the Participants Respondents
  8. Chapter Five Research Findings and Analysis
    1. Research Question One: Social and Religious Context
      1. Operational Question 1: Previous Social Context
      2. Operational Question 2: Previous Religious Context
    2. Research Question Two: How Do Christians in Northern Nigeria Describe What the Christian Message Means to Them?
      1. Operational Question 1: Religious Loyalty Prior to Conversion to Christianity
      2. Operational Question 2: Experience Prior to Conversion
      3. Operational Question 3: Details of Conversion to Christianity
      4. Operational Question 4: Analyses of Conversion Experience
    3. Research Question Three: Causes of Religious Violence
      1. Operational Question 1: Cause(s) of Religious Violence
      2. Operational Question 2: Impact of Religious Violence
      3. Operational Question 3: Personal Experience of Religious Violence
      4. Operational Question 4: Impact of Religious Violence on the Church
    4. Research Question Four: Solutions to the Problem of Religious Violence in Northern Nigeria
      1. Operational Question 1: Relating Biblical Response to Violence
      2. Operational Question 2: Solutions to Religious Violence
    5. Conclusions
  9. Chapter Six Research Conclusions, Implications, and Recommendations for Further Research
    1. Introduction
    2. Findings from Field Research
    3. Research Findings and Implications
      1. Despair, Desperation, and Uncertainty
      2. Pitfalls in Worldviews
      3. Pentecostal Influence on Young ECWA Pastors in Nigeria
      4. Problem of Growth in Numbers
      5. Lack of Love
      6. Lack of Forgiveness and Reconciliation
      7. Adopting Self-Defense
    4. Missiological Contribution of the Response to Violence
    5. Recommendations for Further Research
      1. The Problem of Religious Violence in Northern Nigeria
      2. Response to Pentecostal Theological Teaching on Suffering
      3. Research on Forgiveness and Reconciliation in the Context of Religious Violence
      4. Research on Proper Responses to Nominal Christians
      5. Impact of Missiology and Missio Dei on Response to Religious Violence
  10. Epilogue
  11. Appendix One Interview Protocol
  12. Appendix Two The Transmittal Letter
  13. Appendix Three The Demographic Questionnaire
  14. Appendix Four Field Research Coding System
  15. Appendix Five Incidents of Provocations against Christians
  16. Bibliography