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Church splits, what does God think?

By Dean Honeycutt

Mitchell Countydean and pam honeycutt

I am writing about Church splits, what are they, and who do they affect? This is a touching issue right now because of a recent church split. Do I have any right or obligation to write about church splits? Absolutely, because all the early New Testament leaders (Apostles and pastors) were involved with issues concerning the churches. That is why the Jerusalem council (Acts 15) met to discuss the exclusion of circumcision and salvation. Over the years the church and its leaders have come together to decide doctrinal issues. From the earliest of times second century ad., the Apostles Creed, to more recent meetings 1742 The Philadelphian Confession.

A church split is when two groups of people disagree about something in a church. The disagreement becomes so divisive that one group leaves the church. Who is in the right? The people who leave or the people who stay. Thom S. Rainer, a thirty-year veteran in ministry, author, and founder of Church Answers cites four reasons a church may split. Churches tend to split because of a power struggle within the church that involves deacons and pastors, church members who sow seeds of discord, financial problems, and doctrinal issues. (Nine Thoughts on Church Splits; Thom S. Rainer) I have never been associated with a church split, however every church I have known to split was because of a power struggle within the church.

God is not happy when a church splits. Church splits do not demonstrate the love of Christ. Church splits are a terrible testimony to the Body of Christ. Church splits do not send a Christian message to an unbelieving community. A church is to be unified and in harmony with one another. It is a shame when our sin and pride divide the body of Christ. What are we going to do when we get to heaven and see the very people we argued with? Or those who are so divisive may not go to heaven. God is not the author of confusion. Satan wants to divide and deceive.

A person may have a leadership position and they are in control and are unwilling to humble themselves and relinquish control for the benefit of the church. No one benefits from a church split. People may say things that can never be taken back.

Churches who are experiencing problems want to resolve these issues internally and do not reach out for help to a council of pastors. I understand churches like their autonomy, but are we accountable to God and the Bible, and would it not be helpful to seek Godly counsel from Godly pastors who could help guide churches through potential problems that lead to a split?

The Apostle Paul spoke of divisions in the Corinthian Church. 1 Corinthians 1:10 “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that ye all speak the same thing, and that there be no divisions among you; but that ye be perfectly joined together in the same mind and in the same judgment.” 1 Corinthians 12:25 “That there should be no schism in the body; but that the members should have the same care one for another.”

What is the right response to church division? Pray for wisdom and guidance. Understand what the Bible says about unity. Philippians 2:3 “Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves.” If you are not part of the solution, then you are part of the problem. Ask what the best for the church is. What would Jesus do in this situation? Is it better for the church if I resign? What does the Bible say about this doctrine? Who can I go to and ask for forgiveness? How can we resolve this problem before we split? Make every effort to avoid a church split.

Dave was rescued from an island he had been stranded on for twenty years. He was the only living person on the remote island. He showed his rescuers all the buildings he had built while on the island. One person noticed two churches. They asked Dave why there were two churches. Dave replied, “We had an argument at the first church, so I left and went to the second church”.

Love in Christ,

Pastor Dean Honeycutt


Pastor Dean Honeycutt shepherds Snow Hill Baptist Church in Bakersville, NC. He may be reached at 828-385-0213,, or visit their website at

You can read more good Christian news from Dean HERE.