In this review, Alastair McKay begins by identifying what he means by “conflict,” why it tends to be viewed negatively, and how we can describe different levels of conflict intensity. Then he explores some of the negative attitudes and patterns that contribute to conflict being poorly dealt with in the church, as well as factors that are particular to church conflict, before articulating the need for a change in the culture of how conflict is handled, if we are to be able to make church conflicts “Christian.”
He points to some of the practicalities involved in bringing about this sort of change in culture, then reviews what insights are offered by existing research into church conflict. This research sheds light on some of the sources of church conflict, into a distinction between “within-frame” and “between-frame” conflicts, and into the relationship between conflict and changes in church life.
He concludes by affirming the significance of the church in God’s purposes for the world, and thus the importance of how the church lives out its witness in the world.