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Transforming Church Conflict: A Review



This review, by Dr. Nicholson, has been provided courtesy of Desert Bible Institute http://www.desertbibleinstitute.com.

Deborah Van Deusen Hunsinger and Theresa F. Latini address an important issue in their book Transforming Church Conflict. They look at what it means to work with people and to deal with the predictable conflict that comes about on a daily basis. This book has a great number of useful points that readers should consider. For instance, church leaders should always attempt to transform conflict into something useful rather than transfer it onto someone else. Additionally, I agree with their position that we should try to understand another person’s position before attempting to correct the problem. They explain how to do this all with great sensitivity and compassion. That said, I think that this would be an excellent book for leaders of a women’s group, provided they weren’t operating in a church.

The book seems to rely heavily on modern psychotherapy principles (not to be confused with true psychological principles). There then seems to be a smattering of spiritualism, Eastern philosophy, and emerging church approaches that make this book suspect at best. While there is certainly the occasional verse thrown in giving the book a Christian feel, most of these references seem to be more thematic than illustrative in nature. Additionally, some of the examples seem to be, if not out of context, slanted to prove the point the authors are trying to make in that section of the book.

In the end, the book comes across as well-meaning and gentle-spirited, but its theology, and therefore its basis, seems either convoluted or manipulated. The writers are clearly literate and well-educated women that have an honest and heart-felt concern for the women around them, but this book needs a little less C.G. Jung and Siddhartha and a lot more C.S. Lewis and Saul of Tarsus. In a world where the popular theory is to just “coexist”, this book is a solid example of social “tolerance” and compromise; but then again, we saw what Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego thought about compromise.

Trent Nicholson, Ph.D., D.Min.
Desert Bible Institute, President

Dr. Nicholson reviews academic, Christian living, and fiction books for a variety of publishers in an array of formats. He is never paid for any of his reviews. He writes these strictly as a courtesy to his students at Desert Bible Institute and for any other readers that might find his insights valuable. For more reviews or information, visit Dr. Nicholson’s blog at drtnicholson.wordpress.com.

The book for this review was provided free of charge by Westminster John Knox Press through NetGalley.com. This book was provided without the expectation or requirement of a positive response. Thank you to both the publisher and NetGalley.com for the opportunity to both read your advanced copy and to  provide this unpaid evaluation. All opinions in this review reflect the views of the author and not DBI, NetGalley.com, or the publisher.


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