Contentiousness. To be contentious.
Webster’s Unabridged Dictionary, 1828 – contention
CONTENTION, n. [L. See Contend.]
1. Strife; struggle; a violent effort to obtain something, or to resist a person, claim or injury; contest; quarrel.
Multitudes lost their lives in a tumult raised by contention among the partizans of the several colors.
2. Strife in words or debate; quarrel; angry contest; controversy.
Avoid foolish questions, and genealogies, and contentions, and strivings about the law. Titus 3.
A fools lips enter into contention. Prov 18.
3. Strife or endeavor to excel; emulation.
4. Eagerness; zeal; ardor; vehemence of endeavor.
This is an end worthy of our utmost contention to obtain.
The Bible labels two causes of contention – pride and anger/hatred.
“Only by pride cometh contention: But with the well advised is wisdom.” (Proverbs 13:10, KJV)
“Hatred stirreth up strifes: But love covereth all sins.” (Proverbs 10:12, KJV)
How to stop being contentious? Now that you know the roots of it, it’s a simple matter to apply the remedy! Humility is the first step.
Understand that the Pastor is answerable to Jesus Christ – if he’s teaching something that flatly contradicts the word of God, go to him in humility and peace, and explain you’re concerned. If it reaches a point where you feel you have to pray about leaving, then that’s the choice. But you shouldn’t really be going around speaking to the congregation about the issue. That is sowing discord.
“These six things doth the LORD hate: Yea, seven are an abomination unto him: A proud look, a lying tongue, And hands that shed innocent blood, An heart that deviseth wicked imaginations, Feet that be swift in running to mischief, A false witness that speaketh lies, And he that soweth discord among brethren.” (Proverbs 6:16–19, KJV)
If the problem is not the pastor or someone in the ministry, usually its members of the congregation. You can address someone gently (after getting godly counsel from others) – but understand, this probably should be addressed by the Pastor. Again, if this is something the Pastor is not taking care of, then leave it in God’s hands. I worked years ago for a man who told me that “the bad ones always weed themselves out.” Well, it’s not quite true, or the churches would be empty.
But the worst usually leave. THe ones that don’t, tend to become deacons.
The point is to recognize contention and its source. Once you know that, then you can – a step at a time – fix things.