ACTS | Church Conflict

Acts 14: 24 – 15:21 | Church Conflict | May 24, 2015

Due to technical difficulties at BridgeCity Church Mill Creek, we are unable to post the video from May 24th.  Our sincerest apologies.  Below is a summary of the message.


Acts 15 shows us the first church-wide conflict and how the early church leaders handled that conflict.  Scripture tells us that “some men” from Jerusalem travelled to Antioch and began teaching a different gospel; a distorted misunderstanding of the gospel. Paul and Barnabas immediately engage in refuting and debating this false teaching with conviction and passion. It quickly becomes clear that conflict resolution was not likely. Therefore, the church appealed to their authority to help resolve the conflict.

Conflict is neither negative nor is it positive. Conflict is neutral.  It is how we handle ourselves within conflict, that is either negative or positive.  Conflict, if handled in a God-honoring way, can produce better communication, clarity in direction, and solidarity in mission.  Even within seasons of conflict, the primary purpose for the church does not change; love Jesus; preach his gospel to those far from Him, and make disciples; teaching with words and actions and investing in the growing process of those following Jesus. This is the mission of the church. Conflict has the tendency to derail our missional focus.

This was not the case in Acts 15 where we see two responses to church-wide conflict:

  • Appealing to authority with all unresolved conflict. When resolution is unattainable they appeal to their authority. For the early church it was the Apostles & church elders in Jerusalem. In our day, the authority and teaching of the Apostles is held in Scripture which is to be modeled, taught, and administered through the church elders.
  • Trusting leaders judgement.  The Christian leaders derive their authority from Scripture.  Christian leaders are commanded to be submitted to the authority of scripture and lead in a manner that honors the Lord and advances the gospel.  If these elements of Godly leadership exist, then the community is called to trust the leaders God has placed in positions of authority and responsibility to lead or guide the community through the conflict to resolution.

Conflict can produce good, God-honoring results if handled in the manner God has described in scripture as shown in Acts 15.