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Do you have an antagonist spirit? Can you recognize an antagonistic spirit operating in
your life or in your fellowship group?
e need to know how to recognize church antagonists, because they are either for you or
against you and you do not know which until they are on you. Whether it’s one
antagonist, or a group of antagonists, their bite is not realized until they either expose
their purpose, or are exposed by others. Most of the time, the antagonist’s plan is not realized
until they begin to bite.
Ants work nonstop when building their beds or searching for food. If you observe ants, you
will see them form a line to building their bed. Each ant carries in its pincers, one piece of dirt.
After much effort, evidence of their ant bed building begins to show on the surface of your lawn.
The result is a nice little home where they live, hidden away, and are only brought to the surface
when their cozy little ant bed is disturbed.
An antagonist is just like that ant, constantly in motion to build a bed of destruction. They go
from person to person seeking tidbits of news they can use to build a bed of destruction. Their
motive remains hidden until they have collected enough pieces to begin to “bite” and bring hurt
and pain to those they have targeted. Those targeted often do not know what is happening until
they suffer the bite!
An antagonistic spirit is one of the many characteristics of the Jezebel spirit. They move
around with a motive known only to them. Their goal is to control those in leadership positions.
The Jezebel is the queen in the ant bed who sends out her worker ants to bring about destruction,
or to gain control.
From here I will be referring to an antagonist as an ant.
“Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions and offences
contrary to the doctrine which ye have learned; and avoid them. For they that are
such serve not our Lord Jesus Christ, but their own belly; and by good words and
fair speeches deceive the hearts of the simple” (Roman 16:17-18).
Ants are individuals who work on poor evidence of any situation. They go out of their way to
make impossible demands, usually attacking the person or performance of others. In the body of
Christ, they even attack the ministry to which a person has been called.
Their attacks are aggressive in nature and selfish. They tear down rather than build up,
typically directed against those in leadership. They have a tremendous potential to destroy a
church and its vision, leaving behind discouraged, broken and apathetic people. They go out of
their way to initiate trouble and are highly sensitive. Their hypersensitivity can cause them to
take anything as a personal attack. The aim of their attacks is to gain control, regardless of the
cost to others.
The ant does not reflect or represent anyone. They are a law unto themselves. Their purpose is
to tear down, rip up and destroy. Ants never draw people together; they divide and conquer.
They can be one person or work in a group of people.
THREE MAJOR CATAGORIES OF CHURCH ANTS
1. Hardcore ants (industrial strength ants)
2. Major ants
3. Moderate ants
Hardcore and Major ants will go out of their way to cause problems.
They are seriously disturbed people, out of touch with reality. They have a root of bitterness
described in Hebrews, “Looking diligently lest any man fail of the grace of God; lest any
root of bitterness springing up trouble you, and thereby many be defiled” (Hebrews 12:15).
They drive the simple things out of the church and have incredible venom and poison. They are
blind to right and wrong, and they have an incredible persistence. Their whole objective is to
destroy you, the ministry Christ established you in, your marriage, family, and children.
“Take heed therefore unto yourselves, and to all the flock, over the which the Holy
Ghost hath made you overseers, to feed the church of God, which he hath
purchased with his own blood. For I know this, that after my departing shall
grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock. Also of your own selves
shall men arise, speaking perverse things, to draw away disciples after them” (Acts
These ants can be reasoned with, but they do not desire reason or understanding. They carry a
big load of hostility and have serious demonic issues coupled with a great drive for power. They
carry very little guilt and have no desire to change. Their hunger for power overrides everything
and makes them blind to most truths.
These ants lack self-starting power. They follow the hardcore and major ants. They will not
go out of their way to cause problems.
Ants are different from activists in that ants are oriented to destroy people while REAL
activists are about change. Activists are genuinely concerned about the issues of all people. It is
vital to know which you are dealing with, ant or activist. Problems come when we misjudge
between the two. When dealing with ants and activists, you need tremendous discernment.
Ant activities happen in a church because of the following:
The nature of an ant is that, wherever they go, they cause problems. It does not matter
whether it is a social gathering, social or professional organization, church, workplace,
or political position.
They need the support of other people in order to operate effectively. If they cannot
gain the support of those around them, they will lose steam.
Why people follow ants:
They mistake ants for activists.
For them, the truth is less exciting than half-truths and lies.
They are gullible.
They are intimidated by the ants.
To express their own feelings.
The ants validate their feelings causing them to feel important. The ant may have even
promised them a position of authority and ministry they aren’t even authorized to give.
The structure of some churches tends to placate ants. Churches tolerate behavior that other
organizations would not. Whereas other organizations (offices, businesses) would order an ant
out of the situation or place.
The congregational form of church government or one-man rule is susceptible to attacks, as
are home groups, new members classes, care groups, prayer meetings, and so on.
Activists are loud people with compassion toward a cause. They strive to build up a group or
community. Their motives are pure and rooted in truth and stability. A true activist will never
tear down another group or cause to gain footing for their cause. They will never take advantage
of individuals, groups, governments, and churches to further their cause.
RED FLAGS OF CHURCH ANTS
Church Track Record: They tend to repeat their behavior at successive churches. They are
“Mr.Vocal” about everything. Do not be quick to believe you can reform them.
Parallel Track Record: They are antagonistic in the other areas of their life (work, social, etc.)
The Nameless Others: When someone offers you a word of criticism and adds, “There are
‘X’ number of people that feel the same way.” You need to give them the litmus test by
asking them, “Who are they and what are their names?” If they give names, they may not be
an ant. But if they say, “Well! They came to me in the strictest of confidence, and I cannot
betray their confidence.” RED FLAG!
The Predecessor Downer: Beware of when they criticize their previous pastor and praise you
at the same time.
An Instant Buddy: New people who are overly friendly. Familiarity breeds contempt: They
overpower you to get on your good side, pump you for information, want to know every
detail about everything. They will not need you after contempt sets in. They will toss you like
Gushing Praise: Gushing praise soon breeds criticism. Those who are overly generous with
their praise will often be overly generous with their criticism later. Unrealistic expectations
cause the shift from praise to criticism. If your reaction does not line up to their expectation,
the shift will occur.
A Church Hopper: People who move from church to church because they have not liked any
Pastor. You will not be an exception unless you let them run roughshod over you. The ant
will not settle in a church until she finds a pastor she can control.
A Different Drummer: They resist established policy and insist on their own way. You will
hear them make such statements as, “Don’t give me oversight! I am my own man! I hear God
for myself! Rules are for other people so don’t apply the rule to me!” A “man on his own
The Situational Loser: Dissention creates sides and some ants do not lose well. Ants avoid
LEARN TO GET A FEEL FOR ANTS
After some flags drop, you will notice the following four early warning signs of an ant.
A chill in relationship: A distant coolness will occur where there once was warmth. They
avoid being alone with you and will challenge and confront you in a group.
The New Concerns: They go outside of their measure of rule by meddling in other people’s
affairs instead of their own concerns. They will address you with a “letter of concern” or
visit, which translates to, “I’m mad!” Their other actions will follow based on your reaction.
To defuse, go straight to the elders and department heads.
Meddling: Interested in areas outside their measure of rule. Will sniff out a problem or
potential weakness and exploit it by sending you a “letter of concern.”
Resistance and Independence: They withdraw from activities and ministry. They will resist
approving anything in committees or board meetings.
A letter of concern is a list of implied notions the ant will use against you. These notions are
the tidbits they will use to build their bed of destruction. If you react to the letter of concern by
being upset, the ant knows he has hit a sore spot and will cause more trouble by getting others to
rally around him.
SIX LATER WARNING SIGNS
Sloganeering: Using emotional slogans to spread troublesome dissention.
Accusing: They can approach this in one or more of these ways: sex, money, or power.
They may accuse you of some sex sin which is not true. A pastor or any male staff
member should never counsel a troubled woman alone. One scream from her could
cause a ministry untold misery, if not ruin it. His wife or a mature female should be
They may accuse you of misusing church funds for yourself.
They may accuse you of “taking over” when you are merely following the Lord’s
Distorting: Distorts incidents, leaving grains of truth to maintain credibility.
Judas Kissing: A common greeting in the bible was a slight kiss on the neck as an act of
endearment. Judas distorted this in an act of betrayal toward Jesus. An ant will use this act
and make such statements such as, “I’m your friend, but I have to do this.” They will
proclaim they love you, yet will step on you. They will distort, accuse, and sloganeer and will
do it all in the name of the Lord.
Pretense: Often portrays self as a friend of the underdog. He sides with the hurting minority.
People will cheer either for the underdog or for the cause.
Lobbying: Out to get power, followers, and credibility. They lobby interests with home
groups, prayer groups, and vulnerable new members.
If the church has properly addressed the ants behavior, yet they persist, they must be asked to
leave the church. Their unrepentant nature is the evidence that follows them and shows they are
intent on causing dissention.
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