A Church Conflict Close to Home

Another church in Lansing, Michigan, has a conflict big enough to make newspaper headlines. The church – ironically named Friendship Baptist – is in the news again this week after one faction of the church allegedly locked the other faction out of the building they both still share. According to the Lansing State Journal, “The church has been split for years over disputes related to a 2007 update to the church’s constitution and where church funds should be deposited.” Each of the factions is led by a pastor, and the two groups were apparently sharing the building, holding services at different times, until one group accused the other of damaging the building, leading to the lockout.

Conflicts like these are what drove me into Christian conciliation. Christians are called to share the gospel of Jesus Christ, but we undermine our evangelism efforts when we have public disputes like this. What non-Christians would be attracted to this?

Another irony here is that the article says a leader in the mayor’s office has been mediating between the two groups for years. The Apostle Paul, in his first letter to the Corinthians, exhorted Christians to resolve their disputes within the church – i.e.., privately — , rather than in a public forum. We shouldn’t need the help of the mayor’s office—we ought to be ahead of the curve, setting an example to the rest of the world for how to live in peace.

I will be praying that my brothers and sisters at Friendship Baptist church re-discover the true head of their church, Jesus Christ, and call on His power to restore their friendship.

Note: More details on this conflict can be found in a Lansing State Journal article published June 21, 2014. As of September, the conflict is continuing.

 

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