For the past two years, Nigeria has ranked as the world's most corrupt place to do business, according to an independent survey of global business executives. But recently, thousands of church leaders gathered to take aim at the country's corruption problems and agreed to stop shifting blame to political leaders for society's problems.

"In Christian ethics, it is never wrong to do right and it is never right to do wrong," said James Ukaegbu, chair of the four-day Congress on Christian Ethics in Nigeria. More than 2,000 Nigerian Christian leaders have signed a new convenant recommitting themselves to biblical truth and ethics. The covenant reads in part: "We pledge to submit to the lordship of Christ, leadership of the Holy Spirit, and authority of God's word in every part of life."

GRACE WITHOUT REPENTANCE: "Although the church in Africa is experiencing tremendous numerical growth, it has failed to halt Africa's moral degeneration," said Goffried Osei-Mensah, deputy international team leader of African Enterprises. "The church has offered the grace of Christ to people without demanding thorough repentance. This has resulted in a lack of moral transformation."

"Covenant signers standing together is particularly important in view of the fact that many of the millions of strongly moral-minded Christians in Nigeria feel alone when it comes to open resistance to the massive extortion that surrounds us," said pastor Garry Maxey.

The covenant focuses on transforming society through Christian ethics. "We pledge to develop and maintain our families according to the principles of God's Word which prescribe marriage of one man to one woman for life," the document states. "We will practice faithfulness and fidelity by forsaking fornication, adultery, homosexuality, and all other forms of sexual abuse. We shall rear our children in the fear and admonition of the Lord."

The military government has taken notice of this movement. It has set October 1998 as its date for the return of civilian rule. Nigeria's Lt. Gen. Jeremiah Useni says the forum not only identified problems in the church and the country, but also promises to "realign this nation morally and spiritually."

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