Pastoring Chloe’s People: Pathology and Ministry Strategies for Conflicted Congregations.
While the global community struggles with the possible threat of bird flu, we in the Christian church are facing the reality of a pandemic already infecting congregations all around the world: congregational conflict. Such conflict knows no denominational, cultural, or national boundaries. American authors are using such terms as “clergy killers,” “pathological antagonist,” “abused clergy,” “collateral damage,” “firestorms,” and “the illusion of congregational happiness” to describe it. It is an old phenomenon that has escalated to major proportions. In Paul’s first and second letters to his Corinthian congregation we read about Chloe’s people reporting to her and to Paul the eruption of conflict in the church he had founded. Gordon D. Fee adds background on the church fight. (1) It seems that Chloe was a wealthy Asian woman whose business interests caused those who represented her to go between Ephesus and Corinth. Evidently some had become Christians and were members of the Ephesus church. So, while in Corinth on business, they visited there, and upon their return to Ephesus they had given Paul an earful as to the real situation (1 Cor 1:10-17)–quarreling in the church.