Spiritual Abuse


Spiritual Abuse
by David Cox

See Related Posts below for some books on Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse is a concept which has been around from time in memorial, but has only been sharply focused on in recent years (most accutely in the 50s-80s in the United States with the great proliferation of Christian cults and sects). The idea before this was basically limited to specific abuse in a specific group by “bad” ministers, such as clergy abuse of minors or women in Roman Catholicism. With the flourishing of Christian cults in the 50s and following, these cults were identified as “abusive” and their tactics were closely analyzed and revealed (so as to protect the innocent).

Later, the same concept was applied in general to many “mainline” churches that used the same tactics to control and spoil their members. Today the concept is basically used of any church, cult or mainline, which manipulates its members in “unacceptable” ways or methods, or for “unacceptable” ends.

I also have a number of excellent tracts (see www.coxtracts.com) that should help you in discerning wolves in sheep’s clothing, and in understanding God’s rules on this mess so often found in our churches.

General Articles on Spiritual Abuse

(all of these are by David Cox)
Identifying Cults Leadership
7 Signs of abusive Leaders
Biblical Definition of Spiritual Abuse
The difference between Abuse and mistakes – coming
Spiritual Abuse and Why Are Toxic Leaders Allowed to Remain in Power So Long? – coming

This index page is for articles related to Spiritual Abuse. Note that there is a fine line to no difference at all between churches (“good churches”) that are abusive and an all out cult.

Articles on Spiritual Abuse

Studies on Pastoral Abuse

Spiritual Abuse Reference Works

The posts here are recommended reading of these books on Spiritual Abuse

Fehlauer, M. – Exposing Spiritual Abuse
Friesen, G. – Decision Making and the Will of God
VanVonderen-Ryan – Soul Repair
Chrnalogar, M.A. – Twisted Scriptures
Ferguson, S. – Discovering God’s Will
VanVonderen, J. – Families where Grace is in Place
Lloyd-Jones, M. – Spiritual Depression: Its Causes and Its Cure
Hession – We would see Jesus
Enroth, R. – Recovering from Churches that Abuse
Cloud-Townsend – Boundaries
Bussell, H. – By Hook or By Crook
Tucker, R.A. – Another Gospel
Martin, P.R. – Cult Proofing your Kids
Arterburn, S. – Faith that Hurts, Faith that Heals
Cloud-Townsend – Safe People
Johnson-VanVonderen – Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse
Burks, R. – Damaged Disciples



Dagg Manual of Theology
(and links to this work in various other formats).
Dagg Manual of Theology (MySword for Android)
Dagg Manual of Theology (theWord Bible Format)
Dagg Manual of Theology (esword format)
Dagg Manual of Theology (PDF Format)

3 Responses to Spiritual Abuse

  1. Greetings David,

    Glad for your post about spiritual abuse. Thanks for joining with others to raise the awareness about spiritual abuse in the church today.

    You might be interested in my doctoral research. My book is entitled: ‘Spiritual Abuse Recovery: Dynamic Research on Finding a Place of Wholeness’ and is now available. The research findings from this study, along with biblical teaching, make it a welcome resource.

    I would be delighted if you could add my book to your recommended book list–many of these books are found in my bibliography.

    My book gives voice to those who have experienced spiritual abuse in their home church and how they recovered from this devastating experience. It gives insights into this complex and sensitive church ministry issue. This book considers the issue of church leaving. It is a resource for caring church leaders, instructors, denominational advisors, and church consultants.

    My book has been reviewed at Dallas Theological Seminary and is posted on their Book Blog: http://dtsbookcenter.wordpress.com/2010/09/24/498/

    Information about my book can be found on my website: http://www.churchexiters.com.

    We have also launched a new website around the issues of abuse: http://www.AbuseResourceNetwork.com.

    Barb Orlowski, D.Min.

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