INTRA-CHURCH DIALOGUE AND ETHNIC CONFLICT RESOLUTION: AN EVALUATION OF ACTS 6:1-7 TOWARDS PEACEBUILDING IN AFRICA
The conflicts in Africa have triggered the worst humanitarian crisis since after the independence, and if not checked, will continue to rise. Population and values displacements are increasing and an entire generation of children has and is being exposed to war and violence, increasingly deprived of basic services, education and protection. The study is premised on the assumption that the body of Christ is today plagued by numerous intra church conflicts resulting in breakaways or divisions because the appropriate church conflict resolution and management mechanisms are not used to manage and resolve them when they do occur. Hence peace search based solely on secular values will probably not be sustainable. The objective of this study is to expose these frictions and to ask how we can deal with this intra church conflict and how we can think with a text such as Acts 6:1-7 in addressing the conflict of ethnic discrimination and leadership crisis. The paper adopted the critical historical exegetical method and Biblical passage of Acts 6:1-7 and theories. The major findings of the research indicate that the early Christians in Jerusalem witnessed a case of ethnic or cultural discrimination that nearly rocked the unity of the church and the Jerusalem church at this point numbered in the thousands and likely worshipped in home gathering in three languages (Hebrew, Aramaic, and Greek), the Widows’ needs taxed the distribution network beyond the capacity of the apostles to oversee it directly. It was also confirmed that the major causes of conflicts in the church (Acts 6:1-7) include discrimination, negligence of the ministry of the word and prayer, poor communication skills, poor administrative structures. The paper aims at recommending intra-church dialogue as expressed in the Acts 6:1-7. The paper concludes that the disciples thus demonstrated the willingness to take a deliberate and decisive decision on certain issues in order to maintain peace and unity of the church.