This is a review of this article by Pat on Leaderu.com on Abusive Churches
Manipulation of Members
Rigid, Legalistic Lifestyle
Frequent Changing of Group/Church Name
Denouncing all other churches
Targeting Young Adults
Read the entire articl at LeaderU.com. It is not that long.
Online book The Heresy of Mind Control: Recognizing Con Artists in Leadership, Stephen Martin, M.Div,, online book. Written by Dr. Paul Martin’s brother, this 169-page e-book shows how “wolves in sheeps’ clothing” use Lifton’s 8 elements of mind control to create Christian totalism.
Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experiences, Ken Blue, 1993. There is a great chapter on “Healed By Grace”. He says, “When we see that we are completely accepted by God solely through the life, death and resurrection of Jesus, all religious law loses its manipulative power over us.”
A review on this book is here…
In Healing Spiritual Abuse, Ken Blue offers a well-researched and insightful analysis of the dynamics of spiritual abuse. Books of this genre often focus on practical, behavioral aspects of abuse, and Blue definitely addresses this. For example, Blue offers this list of characteristics of an abusive church:
1. Abusive leaders base their spiritual authority on their position or office rather than on their service to the group. Their style of leadership is authoritarian.
2. Leaders in abusive churches often say one thing but do another. Their words and deeds do not match.
3. They manipulate people by making them feel guilty for not measuring up spiritually. They lay heavy religious loads on people and make no effort to lift those loads. You know you are in an abusive church if the loads just keep getting heavier.
4. Abusive leaders are preoccupied with looking good. They labor to keep up appearance. They stifle any criticism that puts them in a bad light.
5. They seek honorific titles and special privileges that elevate them above the group. They promote a class system with themselves at the top.
6. Their communication is not straight. Their speech becomes especially vague and confusing when they are defending themselves.
7. They major on minor issues to the neglect of the truly important ones. They are conscientious about religious details but neglect God’s larger agendas.
Exposing Spiritual Abuse: How to Rediscover God’s Love When the Church Has Let You Down, Mike Fehlauer. The chapter on “Toxic Love” is about the excessive devotion of people looking for a father-figure. There are two good chapters on positive and negative characteristics to look for in a pastor. Warning Signs of an Unhealthy Church – Part 1, Part 2, Part 3 are excerpts from the book.
Note that this book is a recommended reference work on apologeticsindex.org website, see the review of Fehlauer’s work – Exposing Spiritual Abuse on spiritualabuse.org.
Exposing Spiritual Abuse by Mike Fehlauer- From a review on Amazon: “To all those who love God but who do not want to be abused in God’s name by their church leaders, you’ll love this book. If you’ve ever felt you’ve given your best and
didn’t run at the first sign of trouble in a church, but mere came a point when you had been stripped of so much inside mat you had to go, yet you were talked about from the pulpit as if you had given up on God, mis book is for you! …For those who
would try to tell you mat mis book is not from God, remember this—David had a submissive attitude to Saul, when he was in Saul’s house and afterwards. But when Saul tried to kill David because of his own emotional demons, DAVID and
GOD BACKED DAVID! So don’t let church leaders tell you that you’re wrong to leave a church in which abuse is being justified in God’s name.”
In this post I want to give my views of Methodism, and John Wesley. Let me say that I am kind of unique in some of my views, and I have read a lot in some of these different denominations and groups. But I have also studied cults and religious sects, and I am keenly interested in separating biblical Christianity from man’s creations.
I know Methodists, and let me state my position from the beginning. I am not a Methodist by choice. I have studied it enough to know that I do not agree with some of the foundational tenets. Over the course of my ministry, I have seen where Methodism and the foundation laid in Methodism by Wesley, and I do not agree with where that takes you.
But on the other hand, I do not agree with Calvinism either, and their foundations are just as equally opposed to Scripture that I know. Of the two, each has certain beneficial aspects of their movement. Calvinists study Scripture intensely, maybe too intensely because they are trying to justify their unbiblical position. But the good thing about Calvinists is that they do exposit Scripture (as a habit), and they rely heavily on Scripture to make their arguments. Their downside (besides jumping to unbiblical conclusions in election and other things) is that they are a bunch of “cold fish”. Calvinists have a hard time getting any passion raised about prayer, preaching, or soul-winning. I see that passion in Jesus, the apostles, Paul, etc. That tradition or primitive church element is just lost on modern Calvinists.
The good thing about Methodists is that they are a passionate bunch of people that will move your soul if you will allow yourself to be carried along in their stream for a while. Works like those by Andrew Murray, E.M. Bounds, and others of similar vein that were born and worked in the Methodist structure are great works to get your soul fired up. The downside of Methodists though (besides their unbiblical position on a second work of grace) is that they rely way too heavily on experiences and emotions, and the modern Tongues and Charismatic movements are greatly off-base scripturally because of this foundation from their background. I would also say that Methodists in general have a great desire to love Jesus (emotionally), and they put a lot of emphasis on holiness and piety. As I meet Calvinists that are conceited in their own personal “election” and live like devils, I greatly appreciate the Methodists as a contrast.
It would be great if we could take the best of each, and avoid their disadvantages.
Damaged Disciples: Casualties of Authoritarian Churches and the Shepherding Movement, Ron and Vicki Burks, 1992. Ron was taught to subject himself totally to his disciplers in the shepherding movement. Vicki was taught to submit to her husband. This is their story of struggling to break free and rebuild their lives. For Vicki, it is the story of rescuing her “self” from non-being. Ron later earned his PhD. in counseling and was on staff at Wellspring. Here is his dissertation, Cognitive Impairment In Thought Reform Environments.
Soul Repair: Rebuilding Your Spiritual Life, Jeff VanVonderen, Dale and Juanita Ryan. The authors don’t pretend to have a silver bullet for spiritual malaise, but they give a lot of tools to use to rebuild a relationship with God – very thought provoking. This book is must-read if you are recovering from spiritual abuse!
This is a recommendation of Vanvonderen-Ryan’s work on Soul Repair. This book explains how to recapture spiritual health after a cult.
Twisted Scriptures: A Path to Freedom from Abusive Churches, Mary Alice Chrnalogar, 1997. By wielding distorted Scripture, controlling groups keep earnest believers struggling under the terrible tyranny of oppression, guilt, and fear. The author says, “This book will take you into the inner workings of abusive and controlling groups to show you how they control their members. I will make clear the mind games that many of the major destructively controlling groups have in common.” Checklists at the end of each chapter offer good topics for discussion. Ms. Chrnalogar is herself a former member of an aberrational Christian group.
What is the Churchs Purpose?
What is the Churchs Purpose?
By Pastor David Cox
Before I begin, some personal background. I am a missionary, and I started visiting churches presenting my ministry in Mexico to churches back in 1983. I have probably visited some 700-800 churches in my lifetime. While a goodly number of churches I have little to no idea of how they function, and what the thinking of their pastors really is, a lot of them I do see into their philosophy from talking at length with the pastors, and seeing them function on a Sunday in their services. Let me also say that over time, a missionary can discern a lot about a church from the details that are readily visible.
Questions for Calvinists
Questions for Calvinists
By David Cox
This post is simply good deep questions for Calvinists, that if they meditate on these questions, they will question their Calvinism. Continue reading
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