Barthel and Edling, Redeeming Church Conflicts


Tara Klena Barthel and David W. Edling, Redeeming Church Conflicts: Turning Crisis into Compassion and Care. Baker Books, 2012.

Referenced in: Summary

Few organizations have done as much to equip churches and church leaders to respond to conflict biblically than Peacemaker Ministries. In this book, Peacemaker educators and experienced mediators Barthel and Edling lay out a hopeful model for conflict redemption based on Acts 15. They see Acts 15 as the first time the church faced a major conflict issue, and extract from this experience four universal principles:

  • Eternal Perspective
  • Discernment
  • Shepherd Leadership
  • Biblical Response

These create not a formula, but a set of broad directives that are applicable to most situations, no matter how complex. The authors have used these principles in numerous church interventions, and have witnessed the Holy Spirit change the lives of individuals and congregations.

Those familiar with other Peacemaker resources for interpersonal conflict resolution will find the same themes - the inevitability of conflict, seeing conflict redpemtively, grasping conflict opportunities for growth in Christlikeness, experiencing and extending God’s grace and forgiveness, maintaing the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace, and many others. The difference here is the congregational focus, blended with the stories and practical wisdom characteristic of all Peacemaker materials.

I highly recommend this book as a first read to gain a biblical vision and strategy for reconciliation.

**For a summary, click here for the Kindle Version, go to right column, and download the free sample. If you don’t have a free Kindle Reader on your computer, there’s a link for that too.

Publisher’s Description

Turn church conflict into an opportunity for grace.

Every church will experience conflicts. If properly approached, church conflicts can be used for spiritual growth for both individuals and entire churches. Redeeming church conflicts—making something glorious out of something painful—provides evidence to a watching world that the gospel is real and powerful.

In this hope-filled and practical book, two church conflict resolution experts take you through the Acts 15 model of approaching conflict in order to provide a clear, godly way forward into redemptive reconciliation.

About the Author

Tara Klena Barthel is a former attorney and director of the Institute for Christian Conciliation, a division of Peacemaker Ministries. Currently, she serves her family as a homemaker while occasionally accepting cases as a mediator, arbitrator, and conflicted church intervention team member. Tara is an instructor and Certified Christian Conciliator with Peacemaker Ministries and a consultant to businesses and Christian ministries resolving conflict. Tara and her family live in Montana.

David V. Edling is a former attorney and director at Peacemaker Ministries. He has taught at several seminaries and served his country with distinction in both the US Navy and US Coast Guard officer corps, including multiple tours of duty in combat zones. He serves in the private practice of Christian conciliation through his church’s reconciliation ministry. He and his wife, Pat, live in Colorado.

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