Scripture, Conflict and Church
Every living, vibrant church experiences conflict. Conflict is a sign of life, of passion and of growth. We know this from the Scriptures: the law, the histories, Psalms and prophets all witness to a people experiencing conflict. In the New Testament the living churches in Corinth, Galatia, Jerusalem and Philippi were marked by arguments and even division. Jesus himself experienced conflict within his own community as well as with the authorities of his time.
The history of the Church is also riddled with conflict. The Anglican Communion has signs of conflict within. We talk of some being ‘high church’ and ‘low church.’ We have those who believe that Scripture supports the ordination of women and those who believe Scripture prohibits women in leadership over men.
Conflict can result in the death of the church unless there are processes for its transformation. The Scriptures offer models for creating the space for conflict to be resolved.
Ultimately this resolution is in Christ alone who gave himself so all might be reconciled. As a church we are called to live out that hope and seek reconciliation within our own church, between churches and in the world.
The Scriptures speak of how conflict is resolved through the stories of the people of Israel, in the accounts of the life of Jesus, and in the story of the early church in the book of Acts and in the letters.
A number of resources written for Continuing Indaba Hubs explore this theme.