The Church

Water Ripples


Life is like dropping a pebble into a pool of water. At birth, all ripples are concentrated in the center. As a person matures, the rings of social interaction and influence circle outward. For the Christian advantage to be truly advantageous, every ring must be advanced by the values of the Christian life.

It is the purpose of this page to focus on one of the outer center rings. Is there a Christian advantage for the church?

Consider this sample answer to one of the questions addressed on this topic.

What is the best way to deal with church conflict?

Matthew 18:15-17 “If your brother sins against you, go and show him his fault, just between the two of you.  If he listens to you, you have won your brother over.  But if he will not listen, take one or two others along, so that every matter may be established by the testimony of two or three witnesses.  If he refuses to listen to them, tell it to the church; and if he refuses to listen even to the church, treat him as you would a pagan or a tax collector.”

Here Christ outlines a simple four-step plan for conflict resolution between family members.

  1. Family members should meet privately and, in love, attempt to resolve the disagreement. (vs 15)
  2. Should their private meeting not be effective, two or three other loving members of the family should be brought in to establish the testimony and perhaps offer advice from a more objective perspective. (vs 16)
  3. If the matter is still unresolved, the entire family is to be asked to lovingly attempt to mediate a solution. (vs 17)
  4. If,after this lengthy, love-filled process, the guilty party is still unrepentant, the family is to withdraw its fellowship from him, hoping to thus pull him back into the unit. Consider the following illustration.

Cindy and I have learned a lot from God’s plan for discipline within a congregation and we try to implement its wisdom in our own physical family.  Because Cindy is with our sons the most during the day, she is responsible for much of the conflict resolution.  Following the advice of Jesus in Matthew 18, I have on occasion seen Cindy pull one of the boys aside and privately correct him for something he has done.  

If, after her numerous attempts to correct the problem, Bryson and/or Gabriel continue to persist, Dad is called upon to help resolve the issue.  

Occasionally, Dad is not even successful and a family meeting has to be called. Together, Cindy and I try to lovingly explain to our child/children why their actions are inappropriate.  Almost always, by this point, Bryson and/or Gabriel have seen the benefits of conforming to family standards and decide to change their behavior. 

Q&A

On those occasions when they continue to stubbornly disobey, they are taken aside and told to remain apart from the family until they are ready to repent. Although neither of the boys ever have to remain alone for very long, this brief isolation from the rest of the family is almost always enough to remind them of the need to live within the standards of the family.

Understanding and practicing these biblical steps to conflict resolution is an essential part of God’s plan for church growth.  

Still got questions? Take a look at the closing chapters of the book “These are the Days of Jeremiah” by Sonny Childs

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