The Catholic Biblical Association of Nigeria (CABAN) held its 7th annual convention from 21-24 October 2014 at the Catechetical and Leadership Training Institute at St John Vianney’s Seminary, Ogobia, Benue State, on the theme, “The Family in the Bible”. The convention was hosted by his Excellency Most Rev Dr. Michael Akpochi. Not less than fifty members attended the convention from different parts of Nigeria; from the Seminaries, Theological Institutions and Universities. The interest in the “Family”, the theme of the convention was timely; much is happening and discussed both in the society and in the Church on the family. CABAN members share the view of Benedict XVI who said “the family is under threat from those who seek to banish God from our lives” (Africae Munus 7).
In light of this, CABAN members committed themselves to search and discover possible solutions to some of the problems surrounding the family by taking a close look at what the Bible says about the family. Not less than twenty researched papers were presented at the convention. The papers covered a variety of topics from select biblical passages from both the OT and the NT which address diverse issues in the convention theme. Among the topics treated were controversial issues in modern society, such as same-sex union, divorce, re-marriage, single parenthood, abortion, homosexual in the Bible, and more positively Jesus’ family in the New Testament.
The researches revealed that God not only created the family, but remains the origin of the human family. Therefore, any discussions on and innovations in understanding the human family must refer back to the Bible to discover what God intends the human family to be, especially in the teaching of Jesus, God Word Incarnate, who gives ultimate unity and meaning to the Bible.
Call to Action
Based on their finding in Bible, CABAN members call on the hierarchy of the Church and all people of good will to take note of the following issues:
- All need to become aware of the threat that the family faces in our time. The church hierarchy needs to be aware of the address the seriousness of this matter and learn from other ecclesial experiences. The Anglican Communion, for instance, is split primarily because of some issues that border on the family life.
- Recent and hotly debated issues such as same sex-union and homo-sexuality are no longer issues for the secular society alone; but they have penetrated the church. To effectively address these issues, the church leadership needs to return to our biblical roots to rediscover the biblical message on the family in both the OT and NT, especially in Jesus’ affirmation of the original intention of marriage and the human family.
- Children need to be taken good care of in these turbulent times. The church leadership and all men and women of good will are called upon to protect children and teach them values of true and good Christian life, beginning from the family which is the first school for children.
- The church needs to be at the forefront in the fight against the degradation, subjugation and ill-treatment of women in our society. Jesus who gives the fullest and true interpretation of the Scriptures taught and demonstrated this in his relationship with women.
- The church leadership also needs to be at the forefront in the fight against those cultural structures that dehumanize women in the society. This type of situation destabilizes the human family where the role of women is very vital.
- Jesus the unique head of the church swam against the current to liberate people and restructure the human family. The church needs be at the forefront in restructuring the human family thereby giving people hope and life as Jesus did.