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Division: Why can’t Christians get along? 

Gary Googe Oct 08

We all typically want to run from where there’s conflict. We all know that it usually doesn’t draw people to want to be a part of it. It is quite understandable to see unbelievers in conflict, but what about professed Christians? What about the conflict that is often seen in local churches? You’ll find that many “new” churches represent a people who broke off from another church due to conflict.  Sometimes it is over doctrinal issues, but it can even be over the color of the carpet selected by the building committee.  But whatever it is, conflict is not new among God’s people.  The apostle Paul was constantly dealing with it in his day.

1 Corinthians 3:1-4

1 And I, brethren, could not speak unto you as unto spiritual, but as unto carnal, even as unto babes in Christ.

2 I have fed you with milk, and not with meat: for hitherto ye were not able to bear it, neither yet now are ye able.

3 For ye are yet carnal [dominated by the desires of your sinful nature]: for whereas there is among you envying, and strife, and divisions, are ye not carnal, and walk as men [meaning that they acted much like unbelievers]?

Then he points out the nature of the conflict as well as the cause.

4 For while one saith, I am of Paul; and another, I am of Apollos; are ye not carnal? [Emphasis added]

Unfortunately, it has been because of situations like this that new churches have popped up.  Then the ones that split may start competing with each other for growth, accounting for a lot of the “evangelism” that goes on there. Such a shame it all is! But in the next verses of that same passage the apostle Paul points out some things people on both sides of that conflict needed to understand.

1 Corinthians 3:5-11

5 Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers [DIAKONOS = ministers, servants or attendants], by whom ye believed, even as the Lord gave [the opportunity] to every man?

6 I have planted, Apollos watered; but God gave the increase.

7 So then neither is he that planteth any thing, neither he that watereth; but God that giveth the increase.

8 Now he that planteth and he that watereth are one: and every man shall receive his own reward [MISTHOS = reward or wages] according to his own labour.

God will reward us for our faithful application of His Word.  You can find more information about that in my article— 

Rewards: For what will God wish to reward you in eternity?

9 For we are labourers together with God: ye are God’s husbandry [GEORGION = field for cultivation], ye are God’s building.

All our work in service to our Lord needs to be a team effort.

10 According to the grace of God which is given unto me, as a wise masterbuilder [ARCHITEKTON = architect], I have laid the foundation [for this present age of grace], and another buildeth thereon. But let every man take heed how he buildeth thereupon.

11 For other foundation can no man lay than that is laid, which is Jesus Christ. [Emphasis added]

Almost all the doctrinal division that exists in the churches of today stems from a misunderstanding of the role of the apostle Paul. It is because of this one thing more than anything else that we have denominational Christianity today.  So many people refuse to understand or accept Paul’s role and his authority as the apostle to the Gentiles.

Romans 11:13

13 For I speak to you Gentiles, inasmuch as I am the apostle of the Gentiles, I magnify mine office: [Emphasis added]

Please see my articles— 

Paul: What’s so special about his teaching?

Paul: Do we make too much of him?

Peter is never said to be the apostle to the Gentiles.  On the contrary, his ministry and that of the other eleven was to Israel. The twelve were all apostles to the lost sheep of the house of Israel.  This magnification of Paul’s office is to do with his role, his formal position as our apostle for today.  It was through this man [much as God gave The Law to Israel through Moses] that God unveiled what Paul spoke of as a mystery, that is, a secret that had been held in the mind of God until then. It was Paul who was the chosen vessel through whom all this information would first flow.

Acts 9:15

15 But the Lord said unto him [Ananias], Go thy way: for he [Paul] is a chosen vessel unto me, to bear my name before the Gentiles, and kings, and the children of Israel: [Emphasis added]

But as we should expect, Paul was met with constant opposition then as he is even now.  Satan’s objective is to blind people to Paul’s gospel message.

2 Corinthians 4:3-4

3 But if our gospel be hid, it is hid to them that are lost:

4 In whom the god of this world [Satan] hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God, should shine unto them. [Emphasis added]

Most people have no idea that Paul and Peter’s gospel message is not the same. Please see my article about this.

Gospels: Did Peter and Paul preach the same gospel?

The apostle Paul makes a clear statement about this that is so often overlooked or distorted even in Bible translations.

Galatians 2:7

7 But contrariwise, when they saw that the gospel of the uncircumcision was committed unto me [Paul], as the gospel of the circumcision was unto Peter; [Emphasis added]

There are Bible translations that don’t even present that verse as it is in the Greek text or even as it is correctly translated in the King James Version of the Bible.  It is on doctrinal issues such as this that the church is divided today into a variety of denominations.


Getting along with people begins with a desire to get along.  Then there needs to be a meeting of the minds on a variety of issues.  It has always been man’s sin that has been the great divider.  Beginning in the Garden of Eden, sin divided people from God and then it divided them from one another.  The more people have in common, the better they’ll tend to get along.  This becomes especially important with Scripture and the teachings of the Bible.  Spiritual compatibility is the most important form of compatibility.  There are many areas of life where people can have compatibility and unity, but it is this that is by far the most important.  And the very first thing in that area that people need to understand is the principle of grace.  None of us can ever do anything to earn the blessing of God.  That, of course, includes this which is called salvation.

Ephesians 2:8-9

8 For by grace are ye saved through faith; and that not of yourselves: it is the gift of God:

9 Not of works, lest any man should boast. [Emphasis added]

The sole object of one’s faith must be what Christ accomplished for us through His death, burial, and resurrection.

2 Corinthians 5:21

21 For he hath made him [Jesus Christ] to be sin for us, who knew no sin; that we might be made the righteousness of God in him. [Emphasis added]

However, if people don’t have a clear understanding of the principle of right division there will always be some degree of division.  They may get along on many things, but it is unity on this one issue that can do the most to create a fabulous longstanding bond between people.

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