I appeal to you, brothers, to watch out for those who cause divisions and create obstacles contrary to the doctrine that you have been taught; avoid them. For such persons do not serve our Lord Christ, but their own appetites, and by smooth talk and flattery they deceive the hearts of the naive. For your obedience is known to all, so that I rejoice over you, but I want you to be wise as to what is good and innocent as to what is evil. The God of peace will soon crush Satan under your feet. The grace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you. Timothy, my fellow worker, greets you; so do Lucius and Jason and Sosipater, my kinsmen. I Tertius, who wrote this letter, greet you in the Lord. Gaius, who is host to me and to the whole church, greets you. Erastus, the city treasurer, and our brother Quartus, greet you. Romans 16:17-23
Divisiveness in a church is like a cancer. At best it will make the church ineffective and at worst cause seekers to turn away. If left to fester it will slowly destroy a church. Too often the church leadership ignores the problem of division at first and by the time the body gets around to dealing with it sides have already been chosen. Then a protracted state of dueling Bible verses begins as each side tries to show how God is really on their side and against what the other side believes.
What can we do? First, reject the temptation to take sides. Don’t spread gossip or fan the flames. Determine if the issue is unfaithfulness to the Gospel or just preference in worship style or practice. So many divisions arise because of minor difference in worship style, a misunderstanding or a disagreement in some minor and often technical difference in doctrine which has nothing to do with salvation. Two that I have personally witnessed was the cessation of continuation of some spiritual gifts and whether to raise one’s hands during worship.
Once the issue has been identified then one should to go to the parties involved and seek to bring about reconciliation. If that does not work then two or more need to intercede. Sometimes things get out of hand so fast there is nothing we can do but place it in God’s hands and pray for the best outcome. After all He is the only one who can heal the body. If we would all turn these distractions over to God rather than dwell on them we would find the body would be stronger and we would concentrate on why we come together as one body rather than the superficial differences we have.
Have a blessed day,