Then the Lord said to Cain, “Where is Abel your brother?”
He said, “I do not know. Am I my brother’s keeper?”
And He said, “What have you done? The voice of your brother’s blood cries out to Me from the ground. ~Genesis 4:8-10 (NKJV)
I've been extremely fortunate to be able to spend time in the wilderness the last couple years. I call it "hermitizing", yes I made up that word, and yes, spell check pops up to tell me that it's not a real word.
But it was a real choice.
During my hermitism, (my new created word, I should put a copy-write on it) I've spend a lot of time asking God a lot of questions and being in a position where only He could answer them. I've grown spiritually closer to God more now than ever, but I'd never be here without a foundation of an amazing Christian family (my brothers) who helped me and my family understand and grow in the word...and I will be ending my hermitism shortly and rejoining them soon.
I've had conflict in the world and I've had conflict in the church. And I would 100% say that conflict in the church is deadly and harder than any worldly conflict I've ever been in. Worldly conflict is actually easy to resolve...you simply have to dig into the Word of God to figure out where you went wrong and follow the guidelines of repentance and restoration through Christ to fix it. Really it is that easy....but our flesh makes it complicated.
Church Conflict is the worst type of conflict. Everyone thinks they have God figured out and they fight viciously to prove it. Of course, "in the best Christian manner possible", though. Every religion does it and every person is capable of splitting up churches because they will fight each other to defend their own knowledge. I myself have done it a million times. I hear something in a service that I disagree with and I've condemned the entire religious title because of it. I am wrong in doing this. My brothers and sisters in Christ, are not perfect....Christ is.
God clearly teaches us in Ephesians 6:12 (NLT) For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.
Therefore, the advice of Gamaliel - may have the answer we all should be advised of when it comes to church conflict....probably the most profound revelation on the topic, and your probably asking me...who is Gamaliel, I've never heard of him.... But if you have ever been involved in Church conflict, you might want to get to know him.
His advice is found in Acts 5:34-39 Then one in the council stood up, a Pharisee named Gamaliel, a teacher of the law held in respect by all the people, and commanded them to put the apostles outside for a little while. And he said to them: “Men of Israel, take heed to yourselves what you intend to do regarding these men. For some time ago Theudas rose up, claiming to be somebody. A number of men, about four hundred, joined him. He was slain, and all who obeyed him were scattered and came to nothing. After this man, Judas of Galilee rose up in the days of the census, and drew away many people after him. He also perished, and all who obeyed him were dispersed. And now I say to you, keep away from these men and let them alone; for if this plan or this work is of men, it will come to nothing; but if it is of God, you cannot overthrow it—lest you even be found to fight against God.”
The answer is this...if you are focused on Christ and set like flint on His ways, determined to only preach Christ....Gamaliel's advice is a solid solution.
You might find it interesting to know that Gamaliel was also the teacher and mentor of "Saul" the killer of those who followed Jesus and not the church...who later had a conversion and became the apostle Paul after a revelation from Christ. From that point on Paul was one of the most influential Christ followers since, writing most of the New Testament.
How's that for church conflict....