Controversy simply means public discussion and argument about something that many people strongly disagree about, disapprove of, or are shocked by: according to the Oxford Advanced Learner’s Dictionary. So we can say that another name for controversy is argument.
INSIGHTS INTO SOME OF THE CONTROVERSY OF THE EARLY CHURCH OR CHRISTIANS
a. In Acts 15:1-29; The Gentile Christians and the Jews questioned about circumcision saying, “Unless you are circumcised according to the custom of Moses, you cannot be saved.” This brings dispute or argument in the midst of the brethren at Jerusalem. But James answered that question saying, “…that you abstain from things offered to idols, from blood, from things strangled, and from sexual immorality.” In order to appeased them from sedition. This is a fulfilment that circumcision is no more compulsorily necessary for converted Christians; rather the circumcision that is now required is that of accepting Christ and abstains from sin.
b. It also happened that the early Christians argue on foods and meat unclean; saying that the Gentiles should abstain from unclean meats. But Christ has answered this question saying, “Not what goes into the mouth defiles a man. But what comes out of the heart of man; this defiles a man, for out of the heart of man proceeds evil thought (Matt. 15:11).
In other words we can state the above theme as, “The Result of Controversy on a Church” therefore the effects of controversy on a church which I think are:
i. Division: In a church where everybody do not accept a particular statement or doctrine or ruler-ship known as government of that church; there may be division among them because they cannot change the pattern or the administration of that church occupants. Therefore their solution will depend on opening another church and worship there.
ii. Enemy: Between the two parties having this controversy; they may live as enemies to one another, even when peace has reigned.
iii. Death: If a particular argument is very strong. It might cause death between the two parties involved, because they may begin to hunt each other to death because of the little misunderstanding they had between them.
iv. Conflict: People or members of the church having this controversy may fight themselves in other to gain right in the church.
v. Sorcery and Witchcraft: Controversy can make some members of the church to practice Sorcery and Witchcraft against their opponent in and within the church.
vi. Disrespect: Controversy causes disrespect, because the Elders will have no regard for the Pastor and the younger members of the church will likewise have no regard for the Elders of the church. So you will not know the different between the eldest and youngest members of the church, because both will argue as if they were mates.
vii. Backslide: Many who are not strong Christians may backslide due to controversy. On the ground that they will make a vow that they will never go to church ever again. Some even quotes, “I am better than those going to the church.” But once was a Christian, seeing the character of mare fellow humans, decides to backslide due to controversy.
viii. Confusion: Controversy can bring confusion into the midst of the brethren. God is not the author of confusion (1st cor. 14:33). In a church where is confusion, it is possible that the brethren of that church will scatter abroad.
ix. Idolatry: It is possible that controversy may live some people with people with no choice than to worship idols. In our society nowadays lies many, who are idol worshipers but once was a Christian.
x. Bad-luck: Controversy may bring bad-luck to a church. In a church of argument, there is no progress because their continual practice of controversy will be a stumbling-block to them.
The above are some of the results or effects of which controversy can bring upon a church.
A WAY OUT
The only answer to this question which I know is ‘LOVE’. There is nothing as strong and as powerful as the power of love. If a church that have love for one another; I think that there is nothing that can bring an argument or controversy among them. Paul once quotes, “Owe no one anything except to love one another, for he who loves another has fulfilled the law. For the commandments, ‘you shall not commit adultery,’ ‘you shall not murder,’ ‘you shall not steal,’ ‘you shall not bear false witness,’ ‘you shall not covet,’ and if there is any other commandment, are all summed up in this saying, namely, ‘you shall love your neighbour as yourself,’ Love does no harm to a neighbour; therefore LOVE is the fulfilment of the law (Rom.13:8-10 NKJV).”