The Problem of Division in the Corinthians Church

  • : Ms Word, Ms Word Format
  • : 70 Pages
  • : ₦3000
  • : 1-5 Chapters
  • Click to DOWNLOAD Materials

The Problem of Division in the Corinthians Church



1.1   General introduction

 This chapter presents background of the study, problem statement, objectives of the study, research questions, scope of the study, significance of the study and conceptual frame work, review of related literature, methodology, research constraints and definitions of terms.

Origins of Church of God

 Church of God (also known as Pentecostal Church) entered Ikeja in 1981. It maintained this name until 1993 when the pioneer leaders were voted out. It was on this ground that the divisionism arose. Those voted out accused the Church that, they were voted out due to their poor education background. The election was according to Act 6:3 “Choose men of good reputation, they must be full of wisdom and spirit”.

In 1993, the name Church of God of Ikeja was given to the church. This name was not welcome by some church members who did not want the change in the name of the Church and maintained the old name (Church of God).

In 2013, the church members collided over church properties. The case went up to higher local authority offices such as Local councils and Resident District Commissioner’s office (RDC). And it was ruled that, there is freedom of worship, therefore those who want to maintain the name Church of God should remain and those who want to be called Church of God of Ikeja should move away to a new place. The church properties should be shared between the two Churches depending on the number of the people leaving the Church, (if they are few, then they will take less properties and vise-versa). This gave rise to the Church of God of Ikeja resulting into divisionism between the two Churches. It is against this background that this study was conducted to assess the divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja in Ikeja.

1.2   Background to the Study

 The study assessed the effect of divisionism in the Pentecostal Churches with a case study of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja in Ikeja. Church of God entered Ikeja in 1981, it maintained it’s name till 1993 when it was divided into two fashions.

The early 1970s Pentecostal Christianity has become a growing force across the world, especially in Latin America and in Africa. Nigeria has been the site of Pentecostalism’s greatest explosion on the African continent, and the movement’s extraordinary growth shows no signs of slowing. He further noted that Pentecostal activities have raised concerns in most societies and among academics. “The various manifestation of Pentecostal explosion in Africa and elsewhere in the world, have attracted the attention of scholars from different academic disciplines”1.

In Africa, the proliferation of churches is gradually becoming a social problem and this has been linked to a host of factors such as divisionism situations in these churches and to other socio- economic/political factors associated with religious freedom and poor governance. Pentecostal churches are found in all manner of questionable places like ‘in cinema halls, and also in night clubs, hotels, and all such places previously demonized as abodes of sin by classical Pentecostals’. One apparently covert cause of Pentecostal church proliferation, which has not Marshall, R.. Political Spiritualities: The Pentecostal Revolution in Nigeria. The University of Chicago Press, USA, 2009, 1. been critically explored and evaluated, is the role of intra-church in Pentecostal church proliferation2.

Understanding Divisionism in church

 Divisionism has been endemic in Christian religious institutions and the Pentecostal church, in some communities, the Pentecostal churches have a bad reputation due to incessant intra-church divisionism 3.

Divisionism is a state of opposition, antagonism, discord, clash and collision. Divisionism arises when forces relevant to two or more goals were of equal strength4. Divisionism occurs when two related parties-individuals, groups, communities, or nation-states find themselves divided by perceived incompatible goals or interest or in competition for control of scarce resources5.  Schlee argues that with this Avurich bridges the gap between approaches to understanding divisionism: one based on the idea of scarcity and the other related to perception and/belief. Controversies, hostilities, resentments, hatred, aggressiveness, rancor and bickering are originally tied to divisionism situations. Divisionism is often explained in terms of the interest of groups involved, since, what people are fighting for is fundamental in divisionism analysis, it is also pertinent in identifying who is fighting whom and why6. Divisionism is not new; it is as old

  • A Church in a Cinema Hall?Pentecostal Appropriation of Public Space in Nigeria. Journal of Religion in Africa, 2012, p. 145-171.
  • Martins, R. D. Church Conflicts: How Do You Settle Church Conflicts? A Radio Bible Class Publication, USA, 1986, 12.
  • Ogunbameru, O. A. Sociological Theory. Penthouse Publications, Ibadan, 2008, p.
  • Kadende-Kaiser, M. and Kaiser. Phases of Conflicts in Africa. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 2003, p. 2-3. 6 Schlee, G. Taking Sides and Constructing Identities: Reflection on Conflict Theory. Marx Planc Institute for Social Anthropology, Halle/Saalle, 2004, p. 76.

as the world. To Ogunbameru, the first divisionism occurred in heaven when Lucifer rebelled against God7. This rebellion has continued in various socio-religious institutions as humans in them are in constant interaction. Thus, interaction is the verge of divisionism. It is glaring that, one of the myriad intractable problems facing Uganda today is religious divisionism. Every leader once in a while finds one’s self directly or indirectly in some form of divisionism.

Divisionism refers to a condition in which one identifiable group of human beings in an environment (whether tribal, ethnic, linguistic, cultural, religious, socio-economic or political among others) is engaged in conscious opposition to one or more identifiable human group(s) because these groups are pursuing what appear to be incompatible goals8. According to Kreutz, most social theorists believe that divisionism plays certain positive functions and as such not always dangerous as often assumed9. Critically however, divisionism is known to be potentially dangerous. Thus, improper handling of divisionism destroys institutions, communities, marriages, and corporations may stir up chaos. This may cause the end or downfall of great leaders as well as fragmentation of their organizations. The ability to tame hostilities depends on the type of divisionism resolution technique employed. Divisionism resolution is therefore, the systematic techniques, procedures, and strategies employed by skilled mediators and interventionist, in the quest to ameliorate, reduce, or eliminate divisionism in all human Revelation 12: 3-10

8 Olabode, A. D. and Ajibade, L. T. Environment Induced Conflict and Sustainable Development: A Case of Fulani-Farmers’ Conflict in Oke-Ero LGAs, Kwara State, Nigeria, 2010, p. 259

8 Kreutz, J. How and when armed conflicts end: providing UCDP Conflict Termination Dataset. Journal of peace research, 2010, p. 243-250.

relationships or interactions10. Particular divisionism management strategies have their advent ages and disadvantages and are more or less effective depending on the type of divisionism and the situation or context in which the divisionism occurs11. When developing strategies to resolving divisionism such as crafting and implementation of peace agreements, it is necessary to assess and respond to short, medium and long term self-interests of the parties to the divisionism

Thus, if divisionisms are not resolved promptly in marriages, churches, communities and nations, informal groups may develop to handle the situation, which may escalate the crises to the extent that the institution may be adversely affected. The result of church crisis is break-ups and proliferations which sometimes metamorphose to societal nuisance12. In view of the above facts, it is important to undertake in-depth study on divisionism in Nebbi community which was expected to provide further insight on the effects of division.

1.3   Problem Statement


Religious practices and beliefs are meant to unite the followers and educate them about religious tolerance and non-discrimination. However, divisionism has led to social and religious disunity among it’s adherents. The Church of God started in Ikeja way back in 1981 under one leadership until 1993 when it broke into two factions known as Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja. This came after voting out church leaders who do not have the required

  • Onyima, N. Conflict Resolution in Pentecostal Churches: A Case Study of Pentecostal Churches in Ibadan. An Unpublished project at the Department of Archaeology and Anthropology, University of Ibadan, 2007, p. 62.
  • Brockman, J. L., Antonio, A. N., & Archana, B. Effectiveness of a Conflict Resolution Training Program in Changing


Graduate Students Style of Managing Conflict with their Faculty Advisors. Innov. High Educ. 2010, p. 277–293.


  • Kadende-Kaiser, R. M. and Kaiser, P. J. Phases of Conflicts in Africa. Journal of Asian and African Studies, 2003, p. 2-3.


academic papers resulting into breakaway, hatred, quarrel and fight over property. The newly elected educated leaders remain in the Church of God while the uneducated leaders who were voted out started the Church of God of Ikeja. If this problem of divisionism is not resolved, it could affect the unity that existed in the Pentecostal Church. There is need, therefore to establish the causes, effect and possible solutions of divisionism between the adherents of the Church of God and church of God of Ikeja in order to resolve the problem in Ikeja.

1.4   General Objectives


The general objective of the study was to find out the causes and effect of divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja in Ikeja.

1.4.1    Specific Objectives


The specific objectives of the study were to:


  1. determine out the causes of divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja.
  2. assess out the effect of divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja.
  3. analyse the strategies the church has to addressing divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja.

1.5   Research Questions


The study was guided by the following research questions:


  1. What are the causes of divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja?


  1. How does divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja effect on community?
  2. What strategies does the church have to addressing divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja?

1.6   Scope of the Study


The scope of the study includes its geographical, content and time aspects.


1.6.1    Geographical Scope


The study was conducted in Ikeja. The district is in Northern Uganda. It is bordered by Arua District to the north, Amuru District to the northeast, Nwoya District to the east, BulisaDistrict to the southeast, the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC) to the south and ZomboDistrict to the west. Nebbi, where the district headquarters are located approximately 77 kilometres (48 mi), by road, southeast of Arua, the largest town in the sub-region. The coordinates of the district are: 02 27N, 31 15E (Latitude: 2.4500; Longitude: 31.2500) and it population is 2,091,734 people. Ikeja was chosen because it is one of the districts with divisionism among Pentecostal Churches.

1.6.2    Content scope

 The study was restricted to the effects of divisionism on the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja such as power struggle, corruption and hatred. The scope also looked at the effect and possible solutions to divisionism.

  • Time Scope

 The study covered a time from 1981-2016. This included the time when the church started. This was adequate enough to give us the required information.

1.7. Limitations of the study

As with any research there are study limitations that should be acknowledged for the benefit of future research efforts.

There was a challenge of gaining entry to the organisation targeted. The organisational leaders explained that as a policy, they expected any person aiming to conduct the research in their organisation to make an application in advance in a period of four months prior to the survey. This was not achievable since at the Faculty, introductory letters are only given after submission of the proposal for review. However, the leaders understood the researcher’s explanation and allowed him to conduct the research.

Another challenge that was faced was that some respondents were not interested in answering the questionnaires since it was as if it was none of their business and some wanted to be given some money as a way of interesting them to give answers. But with the help of the church leaders, the researcher was able to explain to them how the research is not for business purposes but purely academic and they cooperated.

Money was needed to facilitate the researcher during the study. The researcher had to borrow money from relatives and friends in order to facilitate him during this research study.

Some respondents hide information from the researcher because of fear or some were expecting to be paid money for the information they are giving. The researcher presented an introductory letter to the respondents and informs them that this study is for the academic purpose and the result will be treated with the highest level of confidentiality.

1.7   Significance of the study

This includes both practical and theoretical significance

  • Practical significance

 The study findings are expected to help government in formulating policy that can be used to regulate the different religious groups in the country. This will help in reducing the rampant divisionism among the churches.

The findings of the study are expected to help churches by outlining the factors leading the disunity among Pentecostal churches and this can act as a guide for them to follow and do the right thing.

This study is expected to guide the community in Ikeja about the causes of disunity among Pentecostal churches and how to mitigate them in order for them to live in harmony.

  • Theoretical Significance

Theoretically this study is expected to be used as a reference by other researchers who may want to conduct a similar study.

1.8   Theoretical Framework

Theories and models

The psycho-cultural theory of conflict. Psycho-cultural conflict theory emphasizes the role of culture, shared, profound oppositions, the conceptualization of enemies and deep-seated dispositions about human action stemming from earliest developments13. The psychological conflict theory postulates that the behavior and beliefs of groups is based on the past where myths, the origins of different groups, the nature of their relationships and their place in the social structure are presented.

13 M.H.Ross, Psycho-Cultural Interpretations, Theory and Peace-Making in Ethnic Conflicts, Journal of Political Psychology, Blackwell, Cambridge. 1995, Vol.16, No.3, pp 523-544.

Psycho-cultural conflict theory emphasizes the role of culture, shared profound “we they” oppositions, how enemies are conceptualized, the deep-seated dispositions about human actions that stems from earliest developments. According to this theory communities that feel discriminated against or deprived of satisfaction of their basic human needs on the basis of their communal identity will develop conflictual tendencies. They will strive for the physical security, political and economic participation as well as recognition and protection of their identity.

The theory recognizes the role of identity because it is important in the escalation, duration and intensity of the conflict. Identity forms an important aspect in the evolution of psychological processes that ultimately creates psycho-cultural dispositions that cause ethnic groups to enter into violent interactions.

According to the theory, practitioners and peace builders should be involved in unearthing the individual perceptions and behavior in an environment of discrimination. By so doing, it aims at altering the mind set and embracing diversity of cultural differences. Ethnic conflicts as a whole is not a linear process but dynamic which cover a long period of time escalate, explode, de- escalate, and re-escalate.

The above concepts revealed that division starts from a few member of the church and escalates to other members of the church and also to other churches. The theoretical concepts further revealed how divisionism can be minimized among the Churches like that of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja in Ikeja.

1.9   The Conceptual Framework

Independent Variables                                                                                   Dependent Variables

 The conceptual framework below is diagrammatical illustration indicating factors leading to the divisionism between the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikejan in Ikeja. These factors include education factors like academic qualifications and professional training of the Church leaders. Economic factors such as personal gain, source of livelihood and poverty. Social factors such as prestige, popularity and ignorance among others. Presence of these factors in the Church of God and Church of God of Ikejan causes divisionism. Proper action on these factors reduces divisionism. The researcher also identified some intervening variables, which may lead to divisionism. These include; church leadership and values and norms. If these variables are not controlled, they may interfere with the results of the study.

1.10    Definition of terms

Roles are specific tasks or duties that members are expected to complete. They are specific activities or obligations for which they are held accountable when they assume or a signed to.

Christians are the follower of Jesus Christ. They believe that Jesus Christ is he Messiah, sent by God.

Churches are public worship of God or a religious service in such a building

Divisionism is splitting into two or more groups.

Divisionism is a fight, battle, struggle, especially prolonged struggle; strive between people or groups.

Adherents is sticking or being faithful to.

Assess is to make judgment about something.

Cause is a person or thing that gives rise to an action, phenomenon or condition.

Effect refers to a physical force like a collision, an influence (bad role model or a hero) or a strong effect.

Ethnicity refers to culturally traits that are shared by a category of people such as language, religion, or national origin.

Evangelism refers to the spreading of the Christian gospel by public preaching or person witness.

Pentecostal refers to relating to or denominating of a number of Christian movement and individuals emphasizing baptism in the Holy Spirit, evidenced by speaking in tongue, prophecy and exorcism.


The main objective of this chapter is to review related literature by different scholars who conducted similar studies on divisionism in Pentecostal churches. On the basis of literature review the chapter aims at establishing linkage between causes, effects and how problems of divisionism can be addressed.

1.11.1    Causes of Divisionism

The factors which cause divisionism according to Lokko are ethnicity, tribalism, poor leadership, mediocrity, lack of accountability, exploitation of national resources by nationals and foreigners without giving back to the society what they deserved, looting of national coffers and asserts. This has led to the destruction of human life and property as well as natural resources14. He further indicates that the conflict endangers mental calmness and harmonious existence of law, order and well-being in all relationships in life which brings development and prosperity to humanity. The researcher agrees with Lokko. This thesis, however, looked more at the issue of religious conflict as the cause of divisionism in Ikeja.

The various conflicts in Ghana include religious conflicts15. They deal with a religious conflict which has been much reported and debated. That is the one that occurred between the traditional religious authorities of the Ga Traditional state and Christian churches in several suburbs of the capital Accra. The annual ban on drumming and dancing which precedes the Homowo festival of

  • Lokko, F.O & Lokko, C.N.M. Choose this Day: Peace, Development, Politic, Crude Oil, service or conflicts. Takoradi: Successful Life Guide foundation, 2012, p.78.
  • Tsikat, and Seini, W. Identities, Inequalities and Conflicts in Ghana. CRISE Working Pepper 5. University of Oxford,

Queen Elizabeth house, 2004, p.27-31.

the Ga people is the point of divisionism as several Christian Churches have refused to observe the ban and have been attacked by organised unofficial enforcers of the ban.

In his work, Religious Conflict in Nigeria: Implications on Socio-Economic and Psychological Perception on Muslims in Igboland, Uchedu16 states that religious conflict is based on the psycho-cultural theory of conflict. The theory shows that psychological, religious, and other cultural contradictions are the basis of divisionism. In this kind of conflict, passion for the protection of one‘s identity, religion and culture overwhelms reason and inflames conflict behaviour. Events which threaten to remove the feeling of safety that are tied to different forms of identity usually lead to defensive reactions, which aimed at avoiding such spiritual or physical exposures. It is in the cause of such defensive and offensive reactions based on the protection of faith that religious onslaughts are carried out, which creates socio-cultural, economic and psychological implications for the adherents of the faiths involved in the conflict.

Tosu in his abridged version of his book evangelized that in 1990 there had emerged the beginnings of a gigantic split in the entire Evangelical Presbyterian (E.P.) Church17. This  resulted in a sizeable section of the church, led by some pastors, breaking off to form the Evangelical Presbyterian (E.P.) Church of Ghana with headquarters in Accra. The parent church is Evangelical Presbyterian (E.P.) Church and the breakaway church had been for many years

  • 14Uched, E. Religious Conflicts in Nigeria: Implications on Socio-Economic and Psychosocial Perception of Muslim in Igbo Land, 2010, p.
  • Tosu, L. Evangelical Presbyterian Church: Anyako (Bremen Mission) 1857-2007. Accra. E.P Publishing Press, 2007. P. 90- 94.

Evangelical Presbyterian (E. P.) Church of Ghana which was renamed Global Evangelical Church in 2003, after protracted litigation about the name. He stated that the split started as a disagreement about some light doctrinal issues, especially on the move by some break-away members to introduce Pentecostal charismatic modes of worship into the church which were gaining ground throughout the country. Eventually, the disagreement developed into a dispute on whether to allow the incumbent Moderator, Dzobo to be re-elected for a third four-year term as moderator. The researcher found out whether the causes of church conflict stated by Tosu are applicable in Nebbi situation.

Awedoba in his work Ethnographic study argues that conflicts do not happen without cause18. The sources are many, some remote and some immediate. There are conflicts based on ideological differences, religious beliefs and practices hence making the issue doctrinal. The researcher is in agreement with Awedoba views. Church split (division) that lead to church splits are said all too common occurrence in the body of Christ. The effect of church split, regardless  of the cause, can be divesting, church splits distress and dismay mature believers delusion new believers, cause have in the lives of Pastors and their families and bring reproach upon the name of Christ. But there hope, churches that split can experience healing and restoration ebid19.

Churches are like hospitals, full of the wounded and sick people, but in the church the sickness is sin and the wounds are those who inflict upon us and one another because of sin. One sin that cause multiple problems is a lack of forgiveness. No Christian is perfect and no pastor or elder,

  • Awedoba, A. K. An Ethnographic Study of Northern Ghanaian Conflcts: Towards A Sustainable Peace. Accra: Sub-Saharan Publishers, 2009, p. 12-16.
  • Ephesians 4:32, Corinthian 3:13 Christian

deacon is perfect. When all these imperfect people get together disagreements, hard feelings and misunderstanding are inevitable. If our expectations of others are too high disappointment is inevitable and can cause further feeling of heart resentment. Our response to one another should be to forgive one another in kindness and compassion20, love which covers a multitude of sins, followed by an increase commitment to serve one another Peter19. Once we are committed forgiving, loving and serving one another we will see each other’s differences in a new light. Pont if we react to differences of opinion by taking sides and gossiping the split will widen and more harm will be done to the church members and our message to the world will be further compromised. Thus, would reduce divisionism in churches.

According to James a Church split may happen when someone seek to manipulate people and /or events for his own ends, it may be that there is pride in rule – keeping and those who do not keep the same rule are ill-treated, it may be that a pet interpretation of doctrine is emphasized and used as a litmus test for belonging to the “in” group or, it could be that one wants to wrest leadership from the pastor or elders and rallies a group of people around himself to accomplish a cop- detach, sadly, difference of opinion regarding music and worship style is also a frequent cause of division in the church ibid21. The above was found to be a cause of church conflict among Pentecostal churches in Ikeja.

Ultimately the church is only as strong as its individual members when Paul admonishes the church in Rome to have decently “not in orgies an drunkenness, not in sexual immorality and

20 Peter 4:8-11

21 James: 4:1-3)

debauchery, not in dissension and jealousy Rom22. Church members are influenced daily on immoral culture, and one hour a week in church is wholly inadequate to counter the culture. Thus, these cultures can be a cause of divisionism in churches because the church is influenced by secular culture that we think, talk and act in its image instead of in the image of our head the Lord Jesus the world standard is one of self-promotion, self-esteem, and self-worship, and other people have value only insofar as they are willing to gossiping idolize us the way we idolize ourselves such an attitude always lead to dissension and jealousy. This causes members in churches to be divided because everyone is driven by his or her own motive.

The cure is found in Titus23 for the erase of God that brings salvation has appeared to all men, it teaches us to say “No” to un worldliness and worldly passions, and to his self-controlled, upright and godly lives in this present age while we wait for the blessed hope the glorious appearing of our great God and savior, Jesus Christ God’s grace shed upon those who belong to Him through faith in Christ, enable us to bring worldly passion, put away immorality and live in Godly humility consider others better than yourself Philippine24.

The apostle Paul uses the analogy of body to describe the church in ebid25. He calls the church the body of Christ. We are to be the body which does the will of the Head Jesus Christ. If everyone is the body focused on doing the will of God and on worshiping Jesus Christ in love and humility, there may be disagreement, but the disagreement will worked out in a loving and appropriate manner.

22 22Romans 13:13)

23 Titus 2:11-13

  • 24Philippine 2:3

This section deals with the effect of divisionism in Pentecostal churches. The factors discussed below include: – doctrines, dressing code, church authority, finances and lack of training of leaders. Conflict according to Ayanga, is a reality in, but not limited to the Pentecostal churches in Africa. Other 18 institutions like the family and governments in and out of Africa suffer conflict too. The conflicts affect the religious and spiritual lives thus disrupting harmony in the society.

Vahakangas and Kyomo25 indicate that there are numerous conflicts encountered by Pentecostal churches. Some of the factors that cause conflict include the dress code. Some Pentecostal churches emphasize the covering of the head by women who, further, should wear long dresses. This becomes their identity that distances them from their fellow Pentecostal believers. Such a group of believers operate on their own and have no relations with other churches. Divisions also occur due to the dressing codes of the clergy. While some Pentecostal pastors put on robes or other outer garments during pastoral services, others do not.

For example the Church of God does not ascribe to any dressing code. In some churches, pastors cannot preside over ceremonies without outfits designed for those occasions. In others, pastors and other members of the clergy are at liberty to wear ordinary clothes while conducting weddings or funeral services. This disparity in dressing by both lay members and clergy cause frequent arguments and counter-accusations within Pentecostal churches. Thus, leads to divisionism in churches.

  • Vahakangas, M. and Kyomo, A.A. eds (2003). Charismatic Renewal in Africa. Nairobi: Acton Publishers

Some Pentecostal churches according to Harrison26, forbid women from participating in church activities like preaching or praying. They believe that it is only men who are supposed to lead in worship and preaching. The members of such churches have open disagreements with other Pentecostals who allow women believers to participate in church services. He further notes that another major doctrine which divides the Pentecostal believers is the gift of speaking in tongues. Some insist that all believers should speak in tongues, while others disagree. Those who oppose this belief argue that, all spiritual gifts are equal and are all meant to edify the body of Christ (Church). Some Pentecostal believers overemphasize on the gift of prophesy at the expense of other gifts. The gift of prophesy is used to pair up marriage partners, decide on levels of education and even personal careers. This becomes another divisive doctrine in the Pentecostal churches.

The use of anointing oil has also been identified as another major cause of conflict in Pentecostal churches. Adeyemo27, for instance argues that some Pentecostal Christians drink the anointing oil or apply it on their residential homes to protect themselves from evil. Others use it in different ways. The interpretation and application of these varying doctrines have caused many Pentecostal believers to differ leading to splits. For example some members of the Winners Chapel Church (WCC) decamped and joined other churches because they were dissatisfied by the ritualistic use of anointing oil.

26 Harrison, W. L. (1989). Effective Church Leadership. Minnesota: Augsberg Minneapolis Publishers.

27 Adeyemo, T. (2006). Africa Bible Commentary, A one volume Commentary written by 70 African scholars. Nairobi: World Alive Publishers

Sanders and Kamau28 observe that the expulsion of some members, who do not follow set policies by church leadership, becomes another cause of conflicts. When such people are expelled, they usually start their own Pentecostal denominations. An example of such a church is the People`s Church in Kerugoya. The founder of this church according to Joseph Kiiru, one of the respondents, is Francis Wanderi who was initially the bishop of Christian Church International Kirinyaga diocese. Wanderi is said to have had disagreements with the Christian Church International presiding bishop over the appointment of some pastors under his jurisdiction. These disagreements led to Wanderi’s separation from Christian Church International.

Gichaga et al29 observe that debate on the celebration of the Holy Communion is  another divisive factor in Pentecostal churches. There are those churches that regularly observe this rite on a weekly basis (every Sunday). Some of them take a longer period, even years without partaking sacraments. As a result, this brings divisions because the attitudes attached to them are varied. He also identifies the teachings on eschatology (study of end times) as another cause of division among Pentecostal churches. Some of these churches give false eschatological teachings which make their followers to behave in unnatural ways.

In fact some Christians have died under mysterious circumstances due to such teachings. The Apostolic Faith Church is a good example where some of their members in Baringo County locked themselves for forty days of prayer and fasting. At the end of this session some of them 28 Sanders, J. O. (1994). Spiritual Leadership. Chicago: Moody Press

29 Gichaga, S. et al (2004). Secondary Christian Religious Education. Student book three, Chapter two. Nairobi:  Kenya Literature Bureau died due to starvation. Some Christians encourage others to sell their property, stop working and even commit suicide in order to get to heaven.

Gichaga et al, also observe that baptism is a major cause of conflict in Pentecostal churches. Although most Pentecostals believe in immersion, differences occur due to the controversy on whether a new believer should be baptized immediately after conversion or later. Differences also occur due to beliefs and teachings on the subject of resurrection. There are those who hold the belief that believers will resurrect in their present form when Christ returns. Others hold that all believers will be given new spiritual bodies and will become new personalities. These diversities in beliefs, doctrines and teachings create sharp differences and conflicts among Pentecostal churches. These findings guided the study to have an in-depth understanding of the teachings, beliefs and practices that may have led to conflicts in Christian Church International Kirinyaga.

Wanjau, S. N.30 points that Pentecostals differ and split due to features they display. These include the use of healing symbols such as holy water and handkerchiefs, among others. Barthel,

  1. K. and Dable, J.,31 observes that, some Pentecostal preachers encourage their followers to buy

“holy water”, anointing oil and handkerchiefs for protection against evil. Other Pentecostal churches for example the Winners Chapel encourage followers to literally drink olive oil for protection. Some Pentecostal Churches such as PEFA strongly condemn such practices. This therefore, brings conflict in Pentecostal churches.

30 Wanjau, S. N. (2014). Pastors and Church Elders Training Manuals. Maana Bible College. Nairobi: Kenya

31 Barthel, T. K. and Dable, J. (2005). Peacemaking Women: Biblical Hope for Resolving Conflict. Grand Rapids Michigan: Baker Books Publishers.

Conflict and divisions according to Burges32, occur due to the powers given to the church leaders especially the pastors by the appointing authorities. In some instances, these leaders treat the churches like private property, exclusively co-owned and managed by spouses, close family members and friends. Such leaders exercise a lot of authority, in effect jeopardizing the purpose of the church organs.

Church boards and councils are relegated to simple means of legitimizing the will of the leaders. As a result, the created autocratic leaders choose leadership styles that benefit them. Those dissatisfied with the happenings are forced to quit and go to other churches or start their own. Thus, the way power is executed in some Pentecostal churches also becomes the cause of the numerous wrangles and divisions. The above observations therefore guided the researcher as indicators of some of the factors which may have caused conflict in Christian Church International Kirinyaga.

He observes that, competition among Pentecostal churches also leads to divisions and splits. He points out that, some of the Pentecostal preachers claim to have power to perform miracles. This makes the believers to move from one church to another looking for a place that may satisfy their quest for spiritual deliverance. This movement from one church to the other has left many believers confused and frustrated. Related to competition are the names given to some of these Pentecostal churches. Some preachers brand their churches with attractive names, such as “House of Harvest`, “Mountain of Fire”, “Prayer Palace”, “Miracle Centre” and “Helicopter of

  • Burges, S. M. (Ed) (2002). The New International Dictionary of Pentecostal Charismatic Movements. Michigan: Zondervan Publishers.

Christ” among others. These names create curiosity among the believers and increase movement across these churches due to their pronounced publicity.

In most cases, many Christians quit their churches to join other Pentecostal churches a trend that creates animosity among them. He observes that among the many causes of church conflicts, the major one is finances. The gospel of prosperity‟ has become the sermon of almost every Pentecostal preacher. This has influenced the Pentecostal Christians so much that they judge whether a preacher is anointed or not, depending on his/her material resources.

Majority of such preachers insist on generous giving “seed planting” from the congregation in return for the promise of good health, bountiful harvest or income, children for the barren and immense wealth. In other words, these preachers promise miracles to desperate victims in return for giving. Since the Christian faith is not all about material wealth, desperation comes in when some of these Christians do not realize their objectives. They become disappointed and start moving from one Pentecostal church to another seeking for fulfillment. This scenario causes conflict among these churches because in the process of the movement, believers talk ill of one another especially their former pastors. At the same time, some co-pastors defect from their churches as a sign of either disapproval or greed for material things. They pick up the same approach and start their own Pentecostal churches in an attempt to get rich.

Muturi, K. M. (2009). Pastors and Church Elders Training Manuals. Nairobi Pentecostal Bible College; Nairobi:Muturi33, point out that lack of education and theological training causes divisions in churches because when preachers are not trained, they may not be able to handle challenges that are found in their churches. This limitation has adversely affected their preaching, counseling and other general pastoral duties. He further observes that uneducated as well as untrained pastors will in

most cases preach an impoverished gospel that lacks perspective and retards the spiritual growth of their congregation. In most cases their teachings raise queries from listeners who become dissatisfied with some of their invalid arguments. Such a situation creates tension and conflict in a church. It also makes believers to move from one Pentecostal church to another in search of fellowship and spiritual satisfaction. Such movements cause tensions which create divisions in these churches.

Chacha34, observes that, problems emerge in the churches due to the fact that some church leaders assume positions of leadership that they themselves have not either qualified or been called to undertake. It is further noted that, conflicts in churches are accelerated by refusal of the clergy to hand over power after elections. This happens quite often where the incumbent declines to step aside in transitional leadership. This finally results in two or more different camps each with a leader and a claim for legitimate leadership.

This study made a critical look at these issues in its efforts to unearth causes of conflicts in Christian Church International Kirinyaga. The factors highlighted above seem to suggest that the conflicts and subsequent split in Christian Church International Kirinyaga can be explained by the greed for material wealth and hunger for power among those who rose into leadership echelons. However, after the research was conducted in Christian Church International Kirinyaga, other factors that cause conflict in Pentecostal churches were identified.

  • Chacha, B. (2007). Pastors or Bastards? The Dynamics of Religion and Politics in the 2007 General Elections. Nairobi: University of Nairobi

1.11.2    The effect of divisionism

Ansre records that there was division of the Evangelical Presbyterian Church35. This had led to the closure of church buildings or disruption of church service. The effects of the crisis have caused division in some families and property loss. Mahama quoting ethnic divisionism in Northern Ghana from Uhuru magazine by stating that the North is finished36. He maintained that divisionism has sent us several years back. The statement is said to be the lamentation of a Dagomba during the 1994 ethnic divisionism in Northern Ghana. He again quotes what the Ya- Na said of the effect of the war that the clock of progress and development has been set back several years and our status nationally as a depressed area economically has further been worsened. He makes it clear that the consequences of war [divisionism] , without doubt, are loss of life, personal injury, mental agony and loss of property, environmental degradation and a lasting acrimony between the combatants.

He says in 1994, the Nanumba gave details of their property losses in the war. 56 villages with 17,513 houses were burnt down as well as 34 Primary and Junior Secondary Schools were destroyed. One Senior Secondary School at Wulensi was vandalized. This material merely discussed the ethnic divisionism in the Northern part of Ghana. This study closed this gap by establishing the effects of divisionism in Uganda.

The other effect is that of drawing away members of the already existing churches. Since most of the new churches claim to be renewal movements by implication, their main targets are the membership of established churches. That is people who are already Christians, whom they

  • Cor 12 and Roman 12

36 Ansre, G. The Evangelical Prebyterian Church 150 Years of Evangelization and Development 1847-1997. Ho: E.P. Church Press, 1997, p.14-20 intend to renew. The new churches, therefore, draw away members of the established churches. He goes on to point out that economically, newer churches are able to raise more funds locally than the old churches. The researcher quite agrees with Dovlo in his assertion. The researcher used this document in the thesis to find out the situation in Ikeja.

Conkin37, asserts that, church conflicts bring despair and hopelessness to all those affected. Some start to wander from church to church, seeking a place they can identify with. Others become disappointed and finally lose their Christian faith. This scholar further asserts that, church conflicts create mistrust between leaders and their followers. This becomes more evident when some Christians start grouping themselves into rival factions thus giving loyalty to one leader and fighting their opponents. These are some of the challenges faced in Pentecostal churches today.

Mahoney, R.38 asserted that church conflicts lead to the mobility of members. People move back and forth from one church to the other seeking spiritual satisfaction and a place where they can belong. Thus, the congregation gets into a state of mobility and change. This mobility exposes Pentecostal Christians to abuse by church leaders who in most cases exploit them financially because they are desperate and are looking for identity. All this is because they are seeking for spiritual nourishment. Therefore, conflicts lead to psychological and emotional problems. ibid

These scholars further observe that many of these members may not know the source of the problem and often hope that such conflicts will be resolved. However, when the situation gets

  • Conkin, P. K. (2008). American Originals: Homemade Varieties of Christianity. Michigan: Zondervan
  • Mahoney, R. (1993) The Shepherds Staff. Burbank: World Map Publishers. MC Manners (1990). Oxford Illustrated History of Christianity; The Expansion of Christianity. New York: Franzen Publishers

worse to the extent of splitting or closing down a church, such Christians become emotionally unstable and may not trust any other church leader again. Guided by these findings, the researcher was able to identify the effects of conflicts.

Chacha further asserts that, when Christian leaders use the church as an instrument for gaining supremacy and power at the expense of other Christian virtues, it is destructive. He asserts that, conflicts and subsequent splits or church closures discourage and put off other would be Christians. These conflicts sometimes end up being reported in the media thus giving the church negative publicity. Such situations tarnish the image of the church thus repel many people from joining the Christian faith. This affects negatively the “Great Commission” in Matthew39, where believers have been commanded to evangelize and bring many people to the Christian faith. This study has identified the effects of conflicts in the Church. It has outlined both positive and negative effects of church conflict.

1.11.3    Dealing with divisionism in Christian churches

 De Gruchy and Martine in their book, Religion and the Reconstruction of Civil Society say there is the need to develop an approach to divisionism mediation and such a perspective is reflected in Assefa‘s definition: divisionism resolution and therefore peacemaking involves a restrict using of relationship, a transition from an order based on voluntarism from a relationship characterized by hierarchy to one marked by equality, participation, respect, mutual enrichment and growth40. Assefa pointed out that this restriction of human relationship is the process of reconciliation that 39 Matthew 28:19 40 De Gruchy, J.W & Martin, S. Religion and reconstruction of Civil Society. University of South Africa, 1994, p. 196-197.

is the one which creates a new community, a new social order. The social order is to be based on equal dignity, love, mutual respect, freedom and a radical sense of tolerance. He went on to say that one goal of divisionism mediation is to promote collective problems solving especially in strife torn communities. He reckoned that the restoration of broken relationship is incomplete if  it does not affirm the human rights agenda. Assefa was of the view that Christian communities have to embark on programme of dialogue to confront those issues that have created divisionism. Such dialogue should enable these communities to refocus on alternative theological visions. In other words, churches must embark on a re-educational process designed to re-visit certain tenets of the Christian faith. This researcher looked at issues raised above and applied the relevant ones in the work.

Horowitz and Borden in their work, Social Psychology, record some scholars who dealt with how divisionism could be resolved41. They indicated Rubin and Brown to have said that to solve divisionism through negotiation, the parties involved in a divisionism must be ready to exchange views, clarify their positions and propose solutions.

Each side presents its demands or proposals for evaluation by the other side, which in turn presents counter demands or counter proposals. By stating one of the functions of negotiation is to get the parties to communicate. This implied that if the parties to a divisionism can just start talking, they will be able to work out a solution42. The researcher quite agrees with Rubin and Brown‘s assertion but disagrees to some extent with Deutsch and Krauss on the ground that communication is not a guarantee that people are ready to bury their differences. These materials

41 Horowitz, A.I & Bordens, K.S. Social Psychology. London: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1995, p. 123.176.

  • Horowitz, I.A. & Bordens, K.S. Social Psychology. London: Mayfield Publishing Company, 1995, 401-543.

contributed greatly in enriching this work as the relevant portions were incorporated and discussed in the thesis. The work of Samwini entitled, Muslim resurgence in Ghana since 1950 records that anytime there is religious divisionism, it would be appropriate to seek settlement through dialogue over the matter so that the distorted relationship can be straightened43. The researcher is in agreement with Samwini views of divisionism resolution. The study revealed that the situation is the same in Ikeja.

Gedzi observed that divisionism are bound to occur where there is incompatibility of opinions, rules, or norms and others between people, groups or societies over a claim44. He added that there are many ways that disputes or divisionism can be resolved, depending on the type of the divisionism, and indicating that disputes differ in nature and scope. Conceivably, even within the same category of disputes, there may be apparent differences. It may be possible to explain these differences by acknowledging the issues and factors that can influence opposing parties. In this light, it is logical to say that one particular process of dispute resolution may not be applicable to all types of disputes.

1.11.4. Conclusion

The literature has been reviewed in relation to what other authors studied about divisionism in Pentecostal churches. The studies established the causes of divisionism, effect of divisionism and possible ways to deal with divisionism. However, these studies do not bring a clear situation as it

  • Samwini, N.I. The Muslim Resurgence in Ghana since 1950. New Bruswick: Transaction Publisher, 2006, 112-322.
  • Gedzi, V.S. Principles and Practices of Dispute Resolution in Ghana: Ewe and Akan Procedures Females’ Inheritance and Property Right: Shaker Publishing. B.V, 2009, 29-57. is in Pentecostal Churches in Ikeja thus, this study bridged this gap by established the real situation in Ikeja.


This chapter presents research methodology used in this study. Thus the main objective of the chapter is to provide an account of how data used in this study were obtained and interpreted and how the methodology was operationalized. The chapter begins by presenting the explanation of research design, the study area, study population, sampling method, sample size, data collection methods (tools), data quality control and data analyses methods.

1.12.1    Study Design

Specifically, the case study was used. A case study is an empirical enquiry that investigates a divisionism within its real-life context, especially when the boundaries between phenomenon and context are not clearly evident and it relies on multiples sources of evidence. The study used descriptive approach to explain in details the participant’s responses in an accurate way for example observations and recording of the participants. In this study, the researcher described  the causes, effect and the ways to deal with divisionism in Pentecostal churches. Besides the descriptive approach, a quantitative (statistical) approach has also been employed to show positive incentive in aspect of findings.

1.12.2    Area of the study

The study was conducted in Ikeja. The study was conducted in the two counties of Jonam and Padyere in Ikeja. This was because the two churches under study; the adherents of Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja are predominantly located in these counties. The study comprised of 30 churches taking at least 15 Churches from Church of God and 15 Churches from Church of God of Ikejan as presented in table 1. This brings unity in the community.

1.12.3    The study population and sample size

 Study population

 The study population included the church leaders, local leaders and the church members from Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja in Ikeja. Church leaders were selected due to conviction that they oversee the management of the Churches since they are the overall administrators. Local leaders were selected due to conviction that they always monitor and witness cases of divisionism of their areas of jurisdiction including; therefore they were aware of causes, effect of divisionism and can be relevant in providing relevant information for this study. Church members were selected due to conviction that they are the first to witness cases of divisionism in their Churches, therefore they know the conditions their churches go through. They were able to give relevant information about the study under investigation. Sample size

 Using Krejcie, R.V., & Morgan, D.W., (1970) table, the sample size was 270. This included 210 church members from the thirty churches that were selected for the study, taking at least 7 members from each. 30 church leaders taking at least 1 from each church and 30 Chairpersons of local council one (LCI), taking at least 1 from each ward where the selected churches for the study are located.

Table 1: Sample size


Category of respondents Sample size Sampling technique
Church leaders 30 Purposive
Local leaders 30 Purposive
Church members 210 Simple random
Total 270  

1.12.4    Sampling Procedure

 Purposive sampling method was used to select the church leaders and local leaders. This method was used for these groups because they are well versed in the subject being investigated and have the required information the study is looking for. This was done by identifying Church leaders from both Church of God and Church of God of Ikeja and local leaders who were located within the study area. Simple random sampling method was used to select Church member this was done to provide an equal opportunity for the entire Church member to be selected for the study. This method was used because it gives an equal chance for all the individuals from being selected from the total population, thus eliminating being biased.

1.12.5    Source of Data

 These are the means used to gather information which included both primary and secondary data.

  • Primary data

The researcher obtained the first hand data directly from the church members, local leaders and church leaders through questionnaires and interviews. One advantage of primary data is that it is gathered first hand on the causes of divisionism, its effect and the ways to deal with divisionism.

  • Secondary data

Secondary data was obtained from various records both at the churches and records of cases of divisionism at the local level council and written literatures from different libraries for examples records like list of properties destroyed during the divisionism.

1.12.6.    Data collection methods

 Questionnaire method

 For the purpose of this study, both open ended questionnaires were used to collect data. The method was used to collect data from church members who were given the questionnaire to be answered at their own convenient time after it was collected by the researcher upon notice of completion.

  • Interview guide

 This study used structured interview guide. The study used the interview guide to collect data from the church leaders and local leaders. Interview method helped in the collection of more data since it allowed the interaction of both the researcher and the respondents. Interview also increased mutual understanding and co-operation between the interviewer and the interviewee and helped to collect the fresh, new and primary information as needed.

1.12.7    Research instruments


 The questionnaire was used to collect primary data from the respondents. Questionnaire consisted open ended questions which were administered by the researcher. The questionnaires were used to collect data from church members.

  • Interview guides

 This method was use to collect data from the church leaders, church members and local leaders who could not sit down and answer the questions thus were used to supplement responses from the questionnaires. The interview was chosen because it allows great flexibility in the questioning process and probing for additional information through supplementary question is possible.

1.12.8    Quality control

 There are no scientific principles which would guarantee a valid and reliable research instrument, but there are ways in which this can be pursued. First, the items in the research instruments were based on prior research whenever possible. Due to this, in this study most of the questions were based on prior research. Secondly, the questionnaires were pre-tested.

  • Pre-testing of Study Tools

 After obtaining the permission from the Ikeja headquarters, the questionnaire were pre tested at one of the churches on five church members to ensure the reliability, ease of understanding and appropriateness. Thereafter adjustments and corrections were made to the tools after review following the pretest. Pre-test was done to ensure validity.

  • Training of Research Assistants

 Two research assistants were recruited and trained to assist the researcher in the data collection exercise. Their roles were to seek consent from selected respondents and proceed to carry out individual interviews. Their training included going through all study tools to ensure common understanding of all questions, questioning and probing techniques to help minimize loss of the intended meaning and how to fill in the questionnaires.

  • Field Editing of Data

 Interviewers and the interview process were supervised and monitored, respectively by the researcher. The researcher had to check for data accuracy, consistency and completeness. Anomalies that arose were corrected appropriately by contacting respondents by telephone and numbering and coding the questionnaires properly.

1.12.9    Data Analysis

 The researcher used both quantitative and qualitative data methods of analyzing data.

  • Quantitative Data Analysis

Quantitative data were analyzed using descriptive statistics. This method describes the basic features of the data in the study. They provided simple summaries about the sample and the measures. Together with simple graphics analysis, they form the basis of virtually every quantitative analysis of data.

  • Qualitative Data

This is where you describe and interpret information gathered verbally for example through the interview guides. The recorded data from interview guide in conversations forms, patterns of opinions and beliefs were listed using direct quotes and paraphrasing common ideas. All data that relate to the already classified patterns were identified and expounded on. Related patterns were combined into sub-themes thus creating meaningful categories to which codes were assigned. Themes were identified by bringing together components or fragments and subthemes of ideas as well as experiences, which were seen to be meaningless when, view alone.

1.12.10     Ethical Consideration

 The researcher collected an introductory letter from the Department of Religious Studies, Kyambogo University. He then presented the letter to the responsible authorities at Ikeja Local Government where he was given the permission to go ahead with the study. Before data collection, the researcher informed the respondents on the purpose of the study and its benefits. The study was conducted with the consent of the respondents; rules of research were strictly adhered to. Confidentiality and respect of the respondents was observed during the study where necessary names of the respondents were mentioned after his or her consent for example Joel Ongei, Mathias Rubanga among many others. Honesty was observed by acknowledging all the relevant sources of information.

The Problem of Division in the Corinthians Church

Sharing is caring!

Leave a Reply