Does the Bible address the issue of cliques, such as in local churches?
Yes, the apostle Paul, in his first letter to the church in Corinth, mentioned the divisions among the believers there (1 Corinthians 1:10–15). The word “divisions” could mean “cliques” or “parties.” Paul pointed out that the root of such divisions is carnality and spiritual immaturity. Cliques can form over many things; in the Corinthian church it was over who the best preacher was.
Further; the Bible covers problems that often come out of cliques: favoritism, jealousies, bossiness, quenching the Spirit. Sadly, partiality has turned off—and away—many people from the fellowship of believers. Poor people are especially vulnerable, as James noted in James 2:1–13.
This is not to say that a Christian cannot have a special friend within the Body of Christ. A Christian family need not feel guilty if they have another family from the church over for dinner. Legitimate situations such as these need not be construed as “cliquish.” But we must be careful to treat everyone alike and to be fair with others, as much as possible.
Do you have feedback or a Bible question to submit? Send to firstname.lastname@example.org or mail to Norman A. Olson in care of the Baptist Bulletin, 1300 N. Meacham Rd., Schaumburg, IL 60173-4806.