Common Roots: Ancient Evangelical Future Conference

Nigerian archbishop endorses muscular Christianity

A healthy body helps form a healthy soul — Archbishop Nicholas Okoh

A healthy body helps form a healthy soul, the Archbishop of Nigeria told women attending an Anglican sports fiesta in Abuja last week. The Most Rev. Nicholas Okoh urged the athletes to live out the precepts of muscular Christianity, saying physical strength and health as well as an active pursuit of Christian ideals in one’s personal and public life were essential for a good life. Popularized by Charles Kingsley and Thomas Hughes in the Nineteenth Century, “muscular Christianity” was brought to Nigeria by CMS missionaries along with Evangelical Anglicanism. The archbishop told reporters covering the church sponsored track meet that today’s races “should not be the end of their activities; they should maintain a habit that should make them fit all the time. In other words, they should train not only for spiritual things; they should equally train the body because the spirit and the body must cohabit for you to get a balanced person. …  Women should eat healthy food, train the body and inspire the children to adopt a healthy lifestyle,’’ he said, adding that the training regimen should continue after the games had concluded. Women “should try to walk out with their husbands at least once a week, jog, walk around or other forms of exercise to keep the body fit.” Mrs. Nkasiobi Okoh, the archbishop’s wife and president of the Mothers Union said the games were held as part of wider Mother’s Day celebrations.

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