The Divisive Christian

Some folks aren’t so much mean or clueless as they are intent on creating controversy. They may actually be quite charming and agreeable while causing confusion and creating factions within the church.  Not all divisions within the Body of Christ are caused by divisive people.  Sometimes people just naturally cannot agree on issues such as doctrine, goals, and style.  For the purposes of this post, I am thinking of the person who deliberately fans the flames of hurt and jealousy between people for the purpose of creating controversy. This person thrives on the manipulation of people in order to divide an otherwise harmonious body of Christ.

Dealing with a divisive Christian

I am reminded of James 3:5-6, which says,” Likewise the tongue is a small part of the body, but it makes great boasts. Consider what a great forest is set on fire by a small spark. The tongue also is a fire, a world of evil among the parts of the body. It corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire, and is itself set on fire by hell.” In some ways the divisive person is far more dangerous than either the clueless or the obviously mean person. He or she can cause extensive damage to a church or organization through gossip and suspicion before anyone in leadership is aware that a situation exists. This type of person must be dealt with immediately by appropriate leaders.  Titus 3:9-11 gives us direction on handling divisive people.  According to, first they should be spoken to privately.  If they continue to cause dissension, they should be confronted graciously by two or more people,  If that fails, they must be dealt with by the church or their official representatives.

In other posts in this series, we look at mean people, agenda-driven people, clueless people, and others who cause conflict.

Michael Bogart, EdD