“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new” (2 Corinthians 5:17, KJV).
In African Pentecostal circles, a lively and contentious debate about the meaning and ramifications of this passage persists. While there is general consensus on the spiritual renovation that a new member of the body of Christ is expected to undergo, understandings of and attitudes toward the ‘old’ traditions and ways of life vary. How should a ‘born-again’ dress, for instance? What kinds of places, or even food and drinks, must she avoid? What should be the attitude of the Christian towards non-Christians? Finally, how should a born-again Christian negotiate the ‘old’ cultural regimen to which Christianity is supposed to stand in normative opposition? In reality, the Nigerian Christian (and this is particularly true of the Yoruba Christian) is in continual negotiation with the two worlds, creatively balancing the desiderata of Christianity with the strictures of oro ile, or ‘traditional’ ritual.