Making peace is a collection of real stories, actual people and churches that conflicted, sharing lessons and experiences gained over time in the path of conflict reconciliation. Making peace examines guidelines for the application of scriptural procedures in resolving conflict. However, making peace does not centre on conflict alone. But how God desires his people to become persons with a contrite and broken spirit. The author in Van Yperen has an experience of over a decade in church conflict, together with his wife, they founded the Metanoia ministry (Van Yperen 11). The ministry guides not only churches in conflict resolution but also pastors. Besides, he has served as an interim pastor for five churches in deep conflict.With the goal of guidance for healing, reconciliation and systemic change. His ministry involvement is in assessing congregations in extreme conflict. Through this ministry, he has conducted comprehensive evaluations of eleven churches. Comprising of a different denomination from weeks to two years.Below you will find complete review of Making peace:A guide to overcome church conflict.
The primary thesis of making peace is in conflict resolution through biblical guided principles
Making peace focuses on the primary premise that reconciliation is not just a set of principles for guidelines but a way of life. Making peace has three sections (Yperen,115).
The first section, that is, chapter one to four is critical in understanding theological and eschatological foundations for resolving church conflict. It explores the leading causes of conflict and the theological basis for the church as a tool for reconciliation. Also investigates how spiritual leadership will be as if spiritual principles guide a church.
The focus of the second section of making peace is on what is wrong. It brings in the argument that church leadership and conflict are intertwined, effective leadership is by the ability to resolve conflict. The biblical view of conflict is embraced as being part of God’s redemptive purpose, a calling to the ministry of reconciliation. Jim Van examines the four common response styles as a result of going through life disagreements and struggles. These responses are known to elicit a negative response, namely; passive, evasive, defensive and aggressive res-ponders. It is only by identifying a kind of response style that we can realize change. Still, on the cause of conflict, he examines triangulation and the disparity between the real and counterfeit peace.
The third section that is chapter ten, all through thirteen focuses on how to make things right where it explores submission and its importance in the church. Further describes how being real in communication opens the way for reconciliation by using the biblical principle of speaking the truth in love, this foster peace. Then speaks of confession and forgiveness and its contribution to building authentic, redemptive communities. After which, he examines how discipline and restitution is key to the restoration of the sinner. Making peace conclusion is a call for repentance in the seven critical areas of the church. Its emphasis is on the scripture promise that God of providing a solution in the event of a conflict.
(1)Critical evaluation:the strengths in Making peace
The author uses actual illustrations in supporting the premise, such as the use of Tim as a leader of the second church. This church was marred with symptoms of a conflicted church. These symptoms include; resignation of associate pastors and two elders without explanation, the low church attendance. High level of grumbling. Through this, the illustration Van Jim, reveals that reconciliation is response dependant in dealing with conflict (Van Yperen 110).
In the end, conflict reveals faith and character, and no matter the circumstance, the principle of reconciliation remains the same. Conflict in the church is often theological, not relational. The causes of church conflict could be cultural, spiritual and cultural factors (29).
Secondly, the determinants of enough conflict resolution in the church are by examining the state of character leadership and the community. Conflict presents as an opportunity to have faith in Gods more significant benefit of making peace. For a conflict to prevail, its often motivated by the kind of negative response given.
Despite this apostle, Paul gave him the most challenging assignments. These were by sending him to the church in Corinth and Ephesus (Vam Yperen 117). Also, Ezekiel outlines the role of a leader to account on what they hear and see, as a result, warn people of it. Failure to do so attracts responsibility for their sin (Van Yperen 114). For these reasons, leaders must trust and be faithful.
Also, evasive responders are those that tend to escape from conflict by avoiding confrontation at all cost. Evasiveness is motivated by the loss of trust and fear of rejection. For change to happen, the individual must accept (Van Yperen 125). Then, ask God to reveal their issues with boldness and courage.
(2)Critical evaluation:the strengths in Making peace
On the other hand, defensive responders tend to justify themselves in criticism of attack or failure (Van Yperen 136). Their goal is to guard their reputation and position and will even use scripture for self-protection or personal gain. The change will involve engagement and honest input of others and a halt in defending self as they allow God to be the Lord.
The aggressive responders are always eager to fight, argue and attack. They can use spiritual force in order to defeat their enemy. Their primary need is to be in control in order to change aggressive responders could benefit from the study of humility and brokenness. Still on the cause of conflict, triangulation can cause conflict and division in the church if not addressed (Van Yperen 168).
This happens when, a believer in conflict with another, diverts and talk to a third party instead of talking directly to the culprit. Mathew, 18:15 states that when a brother knows offence against another, he should go and address the person in question about it but not by first talking about it to another person (Van Yperen 72).
Critical analysis; the weakness in Making peace
Even though Jim Van successfully in the examination, the different types of world peace that is short of Jesus reconciling peace. He fails to offer a comparative study of how worldly peace has not been useful in solving church conflict. Jim is biased in his argument as it only centres on the different types of world peace in scripture perspective (Van Yperen 170). That includes agreeing to disagree, whereby believers reach a compromise rather than reconciliation.
Secondly, forgiving and forgetting, as an evasive strategy hoping that conflict will turn away, the basis of the argument is on Paul in Philippians 3:3-14, that addresses forgetting what is past and forging forward.
Thirdly, personal peace, which emphasis is on peace as a possession.
Fourthly, peacekeeping, a passive and reactive strategy of passive responders, they ignore sin to make the problem go away.
Notably, the bible peace is active and life-giving, and Lastly, détente, which is by relaxing the tension between rivals following a negotiation or agreement (Van Yperen 173). Détente seeks to negotiate compromise without settling the fundamental issues. Churches use détente when there is a division of traditional and contemporary forms of worship; the emphasis is that worship is personal.
Author perspective and success of the book Making peace
Van approaches the subject objectively by pointing out that self-examining begins with our truth. He portrays Jesus and Paul teaching as centres the reciprocal nature of reconciliation as compared to other books that have a generalized approach in conflict resolution, making peace is specific.
Making peace achieves its goals of addressing the conflict from the point of personal responsibility as a leader which in turn translates to overall church conflict resolution. Self-redemption should start with a spiritual examination (Van Yperen, 214). While self-examining self-address conflicts first to know the truth, then every leader should accept responsibility of contributing to the conflict.
Making peace is a valuable tool in my research. Its emphasis is the use of biblical guidelines when confronting sin as long as we do not prosecute or defend. The overall achievement is to invite believers into the process of reconciliation, marked with humility and submission (Van Yperen 215). Van can add improvements to the book by giving an account of the achievements of the Metanoia ministry in conflict management in church after the initial assessments.
Van addresses the need for a redemptive community, based on scriptures we are all sinners. We have fallen short; all include the leaders. The distinction between God’s people is that they have been given the grace to right their wrongs. The church has the role of assisting individuals in confession and restoration, and there is spiritual blessing accompanied by submission. According to the scriptures, submission is unconditional and is related to the heart, thus by fearing the Lord, it becomes easier to submit to authority, and biblical reconciliation requires a genuine community. Reconciliation entails a way of unearthing sin and bringing a sinner to God. In this case, the church should shun the extremism relativism and legalism. That is not to expose sin for punishment or fear of heart or to keep us away from confrontation.
Van Yperen, Jim. Making peace: A guide to overcoming church conflict. Moody Publishers.2008. Print
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