An appraisal of reconciliation in Matt 5:21-26 to the understanding of conflict resolution in the baptist churches in Osogbo
The study identified and characterized Matt 5:21-26 in its original context. It addressed the impact of biblical principles of reconciliation highlighted in Matt 5:21- 26 on the teaching of Baptist Churches in Osogbo. It also examined the application of the teachings in Matt 5:21-26 to conflict resolution among the members of Baptist Churches in Osogbo. This was with a view to evaluating the success or otherwise of the application of the teaching to conflict resolution. The study employed both primary and secondary sources of data collection. The primary source included interviews which were conducted with 100 purposively selected church members; 10 each from 10 purposively selected Baptist Churches in Osogbo. Secondary source included books, journal articles, and the internet. The data collected were analyzed using exegetical and hermeneutical approaches. The result showed that the text of Matt 5:21-26 addressed five principles of reconciliation which involved taking the initiative by the offender, asking for clarification, asking for forgiveness, resolving not to repeat the offence and forgiveness. The study also found out that while the Baptist Churches in Osogbo usually applied the principles of reconciliation highlighted in Matt 5:21-26, they usually went an extra mile by referring cases of conflict either between individuals or between the Pastor or leaders and members to the Baptist Association, Conference and Convention. However, if the case could not be settled by any of these bodies, the Baptist Convention was empowered to dissociate or excommunicate such an erring member or local Baptist Church. The study further revealed that conflicts existed in Baptist Churches in Osogbo both among individuals and groups. It also discovered that causes of conflicts varied but power tussle, doctrinal disagreement, personality clashes, management/administration style and lack of trust were prominent causes of conflict in Baptist Churches in Osogbo. The study revealed that in 2012, 90% of conflict in the church, based on the application of the teachings of Mart 5:21-26 on conflict resolution, were resolved amicably. The study concluded that conflicts did occur in any human gathering and relationship and the church was not exempted. However, the application of the reconciliation principles as exemplified in Matt 5:21-26 could assist in their amicable resolution.