One of the most evil and successful tactics of the evil one against the Church is ‘divide and conquer.’ He understands that
biblical unity is a powerful force that can be successfully employed against him; therefore, he works hard to separate
Christians from one another and to divide the Church into factions in an effort to weaken this threat. This demonic ploy is used
against marriages, against families, and corporately against local church families. Satan will use this weapon anytime he finds
the opportunity especially to weaken the Body of Christ and position him to effectively work against the will and plan of God.
This thing called the ‘church split’ has perhaps inflicted as much damage on the Body of Christ as any sinister tool in the devil’
s bag of tricks. The history of the Church is fraught with division and factions. In fact, the majority of churches you see on
street corners in any town have their roots in division. Some were warranted; most were not. The same is true of entire
denominations. The result is a weakened Church that lives beneath the will of God and is far less capable of carrying out the
commission given to it by Jesus.
Research reveals this shocking fact about church splits: most of these tragic events are not the work of those from outside
the church nor does it generate from the rank and file of the saints who occupy the pews. These serious problems arise from
other leaders within the local church who are called to operate under the authority of God’s appointed shepherd. But for one
reason or another, these leaders rise up in spiritual rebellion against divinely established authority. The sad fact is that
because of their influence as a leader people in the church easily follow them in their act of insurrection. In this we see the
tactic of divide and conquer. The effectiveness of the church family is diminished, the strength of the family is eroded, and the
public at large sees yet another reason to avoid the Church altogether and come against it.
My admonition to shepherds in local churches is to take adequate measures against the evil one so as to avoid a church split
in your church. How do you do this? I suggest taking the following steps:
1. SPIRITUAL WARFARE. Daily defeat the forces of evil assigned to your church. Pre-emptive spiritual warfare is to attack before
you are attacked. This offensive maneuver is an effective strategy. (Matthew 18:18) Engage the enemy on your terms, not on
his. Devils have specializations just as angels do; therefore, it is important to identify the ones that create rebellion against
authority. There may be others besides these but certainly go after these: rebellion, vain ambitions, pride, jealousy, arrogance,
2. SELECTION OF LEADERS. Who is it that labors alongside you? This is of utmost importance to you and to your church. When
you are careful to obey the leading of the Holy Spirit you will not appoint men and women whose hearts are not right before
God regardless of their resume, credentials, or past successes. Jesus is the Head of your church and He alone decides who
stands in positions of authority; He will not lead you into trouble.
3. RELATIONSHIPS WITH LEADERS. There is no better model for a good working relationship than what we see between Paul
and Timothy. There is a father / son relationship that is strong and lasting. So it must be with you and those who lead under
you. There is a high level of mutual love and respect which goes along ways in smoothing out the bumps in the road that will
invariably happen. The strength of your relationships with your leadership corps will help to determine the likelihood of some
sort of rebellious act against you. Take the time to develop genuine and strong bonds. I recommend this to be one of the
highest priorities on your pastoral things to do list. True friends will not attack friends.
4. PROPER TEACHING. Whatever you desire to see in your church will only come about as a result of proper biblical teaching.
Instruction is the means Jesus has chosen to establish knowledge in His church and thus create a firm foundation of truth
upon which every doctrine of our faith rests. To know is to be equipped. When your leaders truly understand the spiritual
doctrine of authority, its source, its benefits, how it operates, the results of disobedience against it, etc., the peace in their
lives and in yours and in your church will increase greatly. And when they understand the awesome results of unity, a spirit of
covenant oneness will increase. May it be so. Instruction in righteousness is your job description, so teach, teach, teach.
5. LEAD BY EXAMPLE. The truth is that oftentimes more is caught than is taught. In many instances of spiritual insurrection the
actual cause can be laid at the feet of the shepherd who is the blunt of the attack. When under-shepherds see a cavalier
attitude in their shepherd toward others in authority seeds are planted that ultimately yield a harvest of rebellion. For example,
the shepherd dishonors or challenges those in authority over him (his apostle, denominational hierarchy, etc.) or even when
he fails to respect and honor the authority in the leaders beneath him. Seeds will always yield after their kind, so shepherd, be
6. LET LOVE PREVAIL. Love is a powerful force. In an atmosphere of godly love it is very hard for evil to proliferate. So if you
create and maintain love in your church, things are far more likely to go well for you. This topic should be taught regularly both
from the pulpit as well as in leadership training sessions so your people at all levels can receive a divine impartation of the
love of God. Again, I challenge you as the shepherd of the sheep to demonstrate to your flock what it means to walk in love
and practice the admonitions of I Corinthians 13.