— 24 —
Why do so many churches have splits
and problems getting along?

The reality is, every church experiences a measure of conflict in some way or another. Churches are made up of people, and anywhere people are involved in anything, there's the potential for disagreement and conflict. Sadly, some congregations have experienced great setbacks or splits due to such unresolved discord, while other churches have learned how to head off or resolve such issues.

Church conflict frequently has to do with "power struggles" within the congregation. That is, a contention for influence or control. Sometimes this struggle for control comes from a self-serving lust for power and prominence. At other times, perhaps well-intended persons strive to gain influence to assert their own set of ideas and opinions. In any case, power struggles are unethical and cause irreparable harm to the body of Christ. God's Word tells us to pray for, respect and cooperate with those authorized spiritual leaders of our church (Heb. 13:17, 1 Thes. 5:12-13). Insurrection is nowhere sanctioned in scripture.

Sometimes church conflict is caused by angry, troubled people who redirect their personal unhappiness toward the church or its leaders. Those who have discontent in their marriage, their jobs or any number of problems, may lash out against other people — they may be especially quick to find fault with the church, or make mountains out of molehills. In addition, statistics say that one out of every five persons in the average church struggles with emotional/mental problems. These persons do not see reality the same way as others do. Their view of life is distorted and twisted. Exaggerations and misunderstandings are a common occurrence which can stir up turmoil and strife in the body.

One thing is dreadfully clear, those who become the source of problems of this kind will only bring trouble upon themselves. "A worthless person, a wicked man, walks with a perverse mouth; he winks with his eyes, he shuffles his feet, he points with his fingers; perversity is in his heart, he devises evil continually, he sows discord. Therefore his calamity shall come suddenly; suddenly he shall be broken without remedy" (Prov. 6:12-15).

According to Apostle Paul, the general root for strife and division is spiritual immaturity and carnality. "...for you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men?" (1 Cor. 3:3). The cure for this is to repent for the sin of strife, and seek to grow and mature in the Lord.

This article (CB-24) is from the book, What People Ask About the Church, authored and copyrighted © by Dr. Dale A. Robbins, 1990-2015, and is a publication of Victorious Publications, Grass Valley, CA - Nashville, TN. Unless otherwise stated, all scripture references were taken from The New King James Bible, © Thomas Nelson Inc., 1982. You may download this article for personal use as long as you retain credit to the author. Obtain permission before reproducing copies for any reason, by filling out our simple permission form. Many of our writings are also available as free pdf tri-fold pamphlets, which can be downloaded for reproduction from our Online Catalog. For media reproduction rights, or to obtain quantities of this title in other formats, email us.