13 red flags identifying antagonists

  • “…watch out for those who cause divisions and put obstacles in your way that are contrary to the teaching you have learned.” (Romans 16:17)
  • “God hates the person who stirs up conflict in the community”? (Proverbs 6:16-19).

These individuals use a variety of deceitful tactics to separate and alienate people from each other. They take twisted pleasure in dividing people, especially if it draws a following for themselves.

They use subtle innuendo, ask questions with raised eyebrows, and resort to flattery. But they often couch their attacks as concerns — even godly concerns.

  • Jude described such people as, “grumblers and faultfinders; ..who… flatter others for their own advantage” (v. 16).

Watch out – wolves in sheep clothing

Although they conceal their identity behind veneers of concern and displays of godliness, this person is a wolf in sheep’s clothing.

  • He especially targets leaders in a Church or an organization.
  • He has inordinate desires for attention and control. He sows seeds of distrust to turn people against each other.
  • He drives wedges between friends, neighbors, relatives and even church members.
  • Like Absalom, sometimes he does this to win the loyalties of others to himself and his agenda. Or, it he simply takes perverted pleasure in separating people.

Whatever the motivation, God hates the person who engages in this evil behavior (see: Proverbs 6:16-19).

Consider 13 red flags that warn us of potential antagonists.


2c80b-newyear2013goalsandresolutionsThe 13 red flags below provide training material for equipping Church leaders and members in discerning the presence of antagonistic people.

This material is from the book, “Antagonists in the Church” by Kenneth C. Haugk. He suggests that the presence of one or more red flags does not guarantee that you are dealing with an antagonist. But it will give you fair warning to exercise caution.

  1. THE PREVIOUS TRACK RECORD FLAG – Some antagonists will wave a red flag announcing: “See how antagonistically I behaved before!” They could have played the role of antagonist earlier in the present congregation, or they might have done so in another congregation. Do not ignore this clear flag or say, “It won’t happen to me.” The data indicates that those with antagonistic track records tend not to reform.
  2. THE PARALLEL TRACK RECORD FLAG – Individuals who behave antagonistically in other arenas of life…

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Just another worker in God's field.
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