The conflict dynamics and themes in Paul’s letter to Philemon
Why doesn’t Paul just come out directly and tell Philemon what he should do in regards to Onesimus — that seems so simple? Down through the ages, since its composition, many have provided various explanations for Paul’s vagueness in this regard. By exploring the conflict dynamics and themes of Philemon, this research demonstrates that Paul’s ambiguity was due to the nature of the conflict and the resolution that Paul proposed to Philemon to resolve the conflict with Onesimus. Predicating this proposal is a view of conflict where it is seen as an opportunity for growth (despite the uncomfortableness of the struggle that it creates) rather than as inherently evil or sinful. It is the assertion of this study that when conflict is viewed properly, the message of the book of Philemon becomes a blessing and resource for believers to learn how to respond to conflict appropriately. Since conflict is so prevalent in our lives, and since it is addressed in Scripture, believers would further benefit by exploring the development of a biblical theology of conflict.
- Theology