PEOPLE IN PRINT

Constructive Church Conflict

Preaching about Conflict in the Local Church by William H. Willimon, Westminster, $8.95

Reviewed by Roger Thompson, pastor, Trinity Baptist Church, Wheat Ridge, Colorado

William H. Willimon has some good news and bad news. The bad news is that churches will always have problems, and conflict is one of them. The good news is that the active energy of a congregation in conflict is far superior to death. "While conflict may not always be pleasant," he writes, "the alternatives are rather stark."

Recognizing that "few of us pastors entered the ministry out of a love of conflict," Willimon seeks to detoxify the atmosphere in which most of us live. "If we didn't really care about one another and the faith, there would be no conflict. The person who wonders why the meetings of his or her book club are more placid than those of the branch office of the kingdom of God need only measure what is at stake to understand why church fights are so fierce."

Although the book's ...

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