Saturday, March 19, 2011

Conflict: Part 1 - Introduction

**This series originated as an assignment for my studies at Liberty Baptist Theological Seminary**


The topic at hand is something close to the heart of the author. Having been party to a significant conflict that is still fresh in this seminarian’s memory, it seemed a topic in need of a thorough examination. The opportunity to do so academically employing previous education along with the lessons learned in the current class is counted as a blessing.

Even the closest of friends have disagreements from time to time. Generally these are small things that are worked through. Then there are the larger things that create a great deal of anguish. Such things occur in life be it personal, secular, or within the church. Simply put, conflict is a part of life. There is no shortage of things about which there is conflict in the world. A brief time spent with the local, national, or international news quickly reveals the conflict swirling around us each day.

Here conflict will be discussed from two perspectives; conflict in the secular world and conflict in Christian faith communities which will be referred to as church world. In doing so, the similarities and differences can be compared and contrasted. A key strength of this approach will be to leverage the things that the church can learn from those in the secular community who study conflict academically. Much like conflict itself, there is no shortage of definitions for conflict.[1] Several of these will be considered before arriving at a definition that will be used throughout when considering conflict in church world.

Different types of conflict will be briefly considered before moving on to resolving conflict. Again, the way conflict is resolved in the secular world will be considered and then how conflict in the church should be addressed biblically including the use of church discipline. It comes as no surprise that the Bible has much to say on this topic. Leaders must approach conflict with humility, in and through prayer, and in a biblical way. Doing so will not resolve all conflict to the satisfaction of those involved but it will be pleasing to the Lord.

[1] Robbins, Stephen P. Organizational Behavior 9th Ed. (Saddle River, NJ: Prentice Hall, 2001), 383.

No comments: