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  • Writer's pictureChristy Schuette

Cool, Calm and Collected

June 15


I Kings 15-16

Psalm 72:8-11

Proverbs 15:31-33

Acts 11

Cool, Calm and Collected

 

“Peter began to explain to them in an orderly sequence…. When they heard this, they became silent.  Then they glorified God, saying, ‘So God has granted repentance resulting in life even to the Gentiles.’”

 Acts 11:4, 18 HCSB

 

Peter gives us an excellent example here of how to deal with conflict within the Body of Christ.  This could have easily been one of those things that caused a church to split.  Peter was changing how they did things.  This was radical.  It wasn’t just changing the color of the women’s restroom.  Up until this time, the only people who could receive God’s forgiveness and follow Jesus were the Jews.  If someone who was not a Jew wanted to accept Christ, they had to follow the rules and be circumcised just like the Jews.  There were rules that had to be followed and if they weren’t followed exactly, salvation was not available to them.  When the Jews in Jerusalem heard that Peter was baptizing Gentiles who had not been circumcised, they were furious.  They thought that he was in biblical error.  These were not the Pharisees and the Sadducees; these were Christian Jews who were responsible for starting the early church.  They knew that they had to get it right.  They had to follow God’s plan for redemption.  They had a great responsibility.  Emotions were probably high.  Opinions were set and it was Peter’s responsibility to explain to them why he did what he did and to help them understand what God had revealed to him.  He did not become defensive.  He did not get cocky and tell them he was in charge, and they had to do what he said.  Instead, he calmly explained to them in an orderly sequence what God had revealed to him in a vision and what it meant.  Their reaction was equally appropriate.  Instead of insisting on doing things the way they were used to, they listened to reason, and they were overjoyed that God had granted repentance to the Gentiles.  This is how it should be done.

 

 There are definite issues of major importance that churches must deal with. That is true today, just like it was true then.  Thankfully, today we have God’s Word to guide us.  They did not have the benefit of the New Testament to guide their steps and had to rely on the leading of the Holy Spirit.  When approaching matters of conflict, it is essential that we rely completely on biblical truth.  Many areas of debate are dealt with directly in scripture.  If the Bible addresses them, there should be no conflict.  We cannot dismiss the truths found in scripture for personal preference or cultural norms.  However, there are many issues that are not directly addressed in Scripture.  In those instances, we cannot be dogmatic.  There is room for variation in practice. Unfortunately, too often we find churches getting into huge conflict and splitting over matters that do not matter.  People put personal preference and “how we’ve always done things” above biblical truth.  They get caught up in making sure they get their way and forget to ask God what lines up with His plan.  Situations of conflict must be approached calmly and in an orderly way with much prayer and humility. 


 

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