Conflict in the Church
Occasionally I will hear someone say, “I wish we could be like the church we read about in the book of Acts!” To which I usually say a quick “Amen!” with an even quicker follow up question. “What part of the early church do you particularly admire?” The unanimous response is the church as it is described in Acts 2:42-47.
"And they continued steadfastly in the apostles’ doctrine and fellowship, in the breaking of bread, and in prayers. Then fear came upon every soul, and many wonders and signs were done through the apostles. Now all who believed were together, and had all things in common, and sold their possessions and goods, and divided them among all, as anyone had need.
Since I am one who wants to make sure we are telling the “whole truth,” I usually remind them that it takes a lot of hard work to maintain a church as it is described in Acts 2. For example, we must be willing to lovingly and honestly confront difficult issues. Then I point out that the early church had to face conflicts. In fact, Acts records four major ones dealing with money, ministry, the message, and the messenger. I’m sure you’re not surprised that they are even alliterated
So, you can have a healthy church and you will still encounter conflict. But those conflicts must be handled in a biblical manner. Stay tuned for further insights from these early church conflicts in next week’s edition of Distilling Truth in Deeply Divided Times.
Mark Elliott, DoM
Retiring in April 2022, Mark R. Elliott served as a Director of Missions (Associational Mission Strategist) in Western Iowa and Eastern Nebraska for almost three decades. He is a strong advocate for obedience and Biblically based disciple making. As such, he knows that making healthy disciples requires Christian leaders to be constantly pursuing spiritual maturity—be lifelong learners. Because of the time constraints of ministry, most pastors focus their reading list on resources that assist them in teaching and preaching the Word of God. As such, books focusing on church health, leadership development, and church growth tend to find their way to the bottom of the stack. With that reality in mind, Mark has written discussion summaries on several books that have helped him to personally grow in Christ and that tend to find themselves on the bottom of most pastor’s stack. Many pastors have found them helpful as they are able to more quickly process great insights from other pastors and authors.
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