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David and Solomon: Two Sides of Conflict

Politicians are satisfied with 51 percent of the constituency behind them. Pastors, however, feel the pain when even one critic in a hundred raises his voice.
—Marshall Shelley

Conflict in the church is unavoidable. It's been that way from the beginning. The church began with a remarkable blend of close community and simmering conflict.

The Book of Acts describes a peaceful atmosphere: "All the believers were together and had every thing in common.…. Every day they continued to meet together in the temple courts. They broke bread in their homes and ate together with glad and sincere hearts, praising God and enjoying the favor of all the people. And the Lord added to their number daily those who were being saved" (Acts 2:44-47).

Only a couple of pages later, however, the situation has changed. Not only is the church threatened by outside enemies, but the extraordinary unity within was apparently short-lived.

Complaints arose about the way the church was caring for widows. Later, the church ...

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