I would like to introduce this topic by presenting a counter-topic, how do we transmit or transfer morality (that supposedly we have accumulated through our spiritual life) to other? Be they our own kids, or family and friends, or just common people in our church? There should be some kind of standardized way this happens, and basically, it consists of our teaching the principles, then practicing that morality ourselves in our own lives, and then “helping” other people by guiding them in making decisions and setting good moral practices in their own lives.
While we can agree that this is really the way it should go, we get so “gun shy” about abusive churches that many people go off into a never try to morally teach other people anything because you might become abusive position. We need to train the upcoming generation what they need to know to do the work of God correctly. One needs to get over the “gun shy” attitude of not wanting to get involved in other people’s lives morally. You have to do it.
Victims of such brainwashing have lost their personal autonomy and in some cases are reduced to almost a zombie-like state! A person who goes to their church Sunday after Sunday, and hears basically the same underlying message repeatedly for a lifetime, has little hope of ever understanding TRUTH as it is revealed in all of the Scriptures.
But these people will refuse to learn anything different from what they have been indoctrinated in. Why is that?
The reasons are simple but very important to be aware of and understand — BRAINWASHING and FEAR.
I think the best way to guide us so that we don’t go off into a cult-like practice is simply to consider what a good parent would do for their child. A good parent doesn’t want to make all the decisions for their children but wants them “to grow up” and mature so that they can make good decisions on their own.
When I and my wife die, our two children should be able to function in life by themselves, or by themselves with their spouse. Maturity or being grown up is measured by the following (and maybe more I am not mentioning), but these are essential in my thinking:
(1) They work and support themselves.
(2) Whatever problems they have, they work out themselves.
(3) Whatever problems they cannot solve, they go somewhere to somebody more expert than they are, and they get help.
(4) They teach their children what is morally right (no lying, cheating, stealing, killing, etc.).
(5) They personally practice what they morally teach.
(6) They are able to take criticism from others, rationally consider it, and modify their own life if they are wrong.
(7) Whatever is lacking or wrong, they are able to recognize it and work on fixing it.
Eph 4:11 And he gave some, apostles; and some, prophets; and some, evangelists; and some, pastors and teachers; Eph 4:12 For the perfecting of the saints, for the work of the ministry, for the edifying of the body of Christ: Eph 4:13 Till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ:
The purpose behind God giving the gift of pastor-teacher is to that the saints will be equipped to do the work of the ministry themselves, i.e. that they be perfect Christians, not perfectly sinless, but mature Christians that are able to function on their own.
As a pastor, I am not to do the work of the ministry for my church and people, but my job is to equip or capacitate THEM to do it. Pastors reproduce pastors, and sheep reproduce sheep. Like a sheep, I should witness to others and “reproduce”. But the church as a whole has that same directive. and they should be the principal ones winning souls to Christ and encouraging new converts to stay the course in the way of Christ.
1) any method of controlled systematic indoctrination, especially one based on repetition or confusion;
2) inducing a person to modify their beliefs, attitudes, or behavior by conditioning through various forms of pressure;
3) the ability to apply procedures or methods so as to effect a radical change in the ideas and beliefs of a person.
Now consider why really morality transfer as the Bible presents it and brainwashing are different. “We” (good churches and leaders) indoctrinate our people with the truth of Scripture. That is a major contrast. But “everybody” says that, good and bad churches. How to tell the difference?
I think the difference can be discerned because what we should be doing is to indoctrinate our people with Scripture, correctly interpreted, and abundantly displayed by our own lives and practice. When we live the moral principles we teach, then that is a key. Also, it is extremely important to correctly interpret Scripture, and that forms the core teaching of what we use to indoctrinate our people. It HAS TO BE SCRIPTURE!
When I take a Jehovah’s Witness or Roman Catholic that has accepted the Lord “under my wing” and teach that person, there should be a radical change in doctrine, belief, and practice. Nothing else can be right.
When a leader or church indoctrinates people to their views that are “loosely” based on Scripture (no thorough exposition of the principles that they are trying to teach is used as a rule), then the group is abusive.
The difference between brainwashing and good Bible teaching is that the brainwasher uses repetition of arguments and catchphrases, and a good Bible teacher exposits Scripture and applies it opportunely as the highways and byways of life present opportunity. Brainwashers want to hobby horse the same points instead of giving a breath of teaching across Scripture. Also, expositors work the entire whole of Scripture, and they do not focus on only the parts that are convenient for them, for example, obey those who are over you is beaten a lot, but the requirements for a man of God hardly ever.
These comments come from reading an article http://www.wickedshepherds.com/BRAINWASHING.html