Identifying Spiritual Abuse
Definition: A leadership that is not accountable to anyone.
This church - the egoistical church has a large sense of self importance, is
self -seeking, has an obsessive preoccupation with its own work for the kingdom,
is devoted to it's own interests, for it's own advancement, running entirely
by it's own set of rules and standards, all in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ.
Scary isn't it?
Let's make it clear right from the beginning, I am not talking
about any one particular church but what I am addressing is the spirit, the
negative spirit that is carried within such a church. The spirit which is
commonly under the guise of "for the good of the Kingdom" but in actuality
is only there to further their own agenda.
Man's agenda or God's agenda, can we tell the difference as
a mere congregate or saint of God? Should we even question within our hearts
the motives and the will of those ministers we now serve within the body?
It must be rebellion to even think this way. Nonsense! When you became a Christian,
you didn't check your brain in at the door? Man is not perfect.
Yes, it is the leadership that God holds accountable. Yes,
it is the leadership that is called to gently guide as a shepherd guides his
sheep. A shepherd does not plunder his sheep. He does not cut them so close
to the skin that they bleed either. He is called to shepherd not to lord.
Shepherds are not to own the sheep in a possessive and controlling way. There
should be no treating you (the sheep) like a beast of burden. Beasts of burden
are donkeys, jackasses, mules, and pack animals. These animals work to carry
the load. These animals work hard for us. When we work them to hard, we drive
them into the ground. We beat and striking them repeatedly to make them work
faster. Or better yet if we want to break them, we pound the blows repeatedly,
to defeat or subdue their will so we can be superior or surpass them. Riding
them and driving them until they break. We will work the beast of the field
until they drop dead of exhaustion, dying of thirst and hunger. This is what
happens in this type of church.
This is what leadership will do (even when challenged) to
the saints of God, to the volunteers and to those that wish to serve God with
all their heart. It all boils down to the abuse of the sheep, mentally, emotionally
and spiritually. I think it's safe to say that this is not the will of God.
In the last days, even my elect shall be deceived! Are we
deceived? Well, let's take a look and then you decide. Is it worth the cost,
this abusive church? The cost being lives, of course. The cost being broken
individuals who come in from the world shattered and beaten to the shelter
of the Most High God full of love and acceptance. An experience like never
before or experiencing more of the world they just left.
Do we even have the eyes to see through the fog and to see
that it is not the Agenda of God but the agenda of man? It looks right and
it sounds right until you get down stairs and hear what is said behind closed
doors. Then, you begin to see through the veneer of what is propagated and
what is the actual truth.
We as Christians want to be part of a church that is, beyond
reproach, has the utmost integrity and is healthy and prosperous. To be part
of a church that we are proud of.
Are we so busy working for God, that we literally forgot the
revelation of God and His purposes? Here's a question? Is it that what we
are connected to is much greater than we are, or is it that what we are involved
in is so big - because of us. Danger, Danger, Danger Will Robinson!
Once you know something is wrong and you stay you are just
as guilty of corruption as the ministry its self. Why you may ask? Well I
am going to tell you. You are helping to propagate wrong behavior for a wrong
cause. For the cause of your kingdom, instead of God's. Is it the cause of
Christ or is it the cause of man under the guise of Christ? Is God's kingdom
being built or is it man's little erection of self worth on the earth, that
is be built instead.
Spiritual manipulation, controlling the sheep, Cultish tendencies,
and spiritual propaganda. All of these things are detrimental to ones spiritual
and emotional health. Too many stable & well-balanced Christians, with a tremendous
thirst to serve God, are walking time bombs because of the ministries they
serve. Oh, the ministry would like you to believe and has probably told you
that those people are in rebellion, their hearts are not right, they bought
a lie, they're not submitted to authority, they need to get right with God,
there must be sin in their life, the devil got in or they were unstable to
begin with, not dying to self will, they are not mature enough. Have you ever
heard that? Any of this sounds familiar. Well, in most cases that's the lie.
Ask God don't believe me. He will guide you "into all truth".
Setting these saints of God up to be devoured by church hurts,
and commitment phobias along with not just dented armor but broken apart armor
vowing never to serve God again. Not because they don't love God but these
bruised reeds can not or will not trust man, again. There needs to be a tremendous
amount of healing that has to take place. Allot of these same saints have
had nervous breakdowns and are now living on Prozac and other anti-depressants.
There is nothing in this life that even remotely resembles victory.
If you feel oppressed by your church, or religious organization
chances are that you are being abused.
Now that I have put in my two cents let's here what other
professional Christians have to say about it.
Cultish behavior or tendencies lend itself to a spiritually
abusive church. Here are some of the characteristics.
3. Suppresses Criticism
7. Undermining of one's confidence
Effects of spiritual abuse are devastating. A very high level
of trust is often placed in spiritual leaders. It is, and ought to be, expected
that the trust will be honored and guarded. When such a trust is violated
the wound goes very deep. Sometimes the wound is so deep that the wounded
person cannot trust eve a legitimate spiritual authority again
An analogous situation exists with the victims of incest.
The emotional and psychological symptoms exhibited by victims of incest parallel
those of spiritual abuse to a remarkable degree. The main symptom is the inability
to relate normally to people who represent the source of their emotional injury.
If you think that you are possibly in a church that is Spiritually
Abusive then you need to ask yourself some questions. Here they are. Remember
be honest with yourself but don't try to but a round peg into a square hole.
Identifying a Dangerous Religious Group
1. IDEALISM. Is your church made up of the disappointed idealists
who have been burned or disappointed in traditional churches. They believe God
has raised them up to accomplish what others have failed to do.
2. AUTHORITY. Those who are looking for unambiguous directions, boundaries,
and security are drawn to the safety in structure that authoritarian leadership
3. ENTHUSIASM. People who have had a taste of dead orthodoxy will be especially
attracted to an enthusiastic spiritual experience. Few discoveries are more
attractive that finding a group excited about what it has even if it is wrong.
4. FAMILY. Within a dangerous church group there is often an intense sense of
identity and family. Family church members are viewed as brothers and sisters,
united against the outside world.
5. BIBLICAL EMPHASIS Many of these groups give much attention to Bible study.
But their learning is often carefully orchestrated by clever leaders who provide
their own interpretation of Scripture. Members are not encouraged or are warned
about reading authors outside their group of suggested readings.
6. SACRIFICE. The group believes in a sense of commitment and belief that cost
7. EXCLUSIVISM. Members often develop the belief that they alone have been entrusted
with the truth. The opportunity to be a part of a select group of God's chosen
servants is attractive.
Here are some of the repercussions of these beliefs.
* Dependence of gifted leaders, who by claiming to speak for
God put themselves above question.
* Misguided reaction to the excesses, compromises, and hypocrisy of traditional
* Withdrawal from society, in the conviction that "we alone" are making sacrifices
worthy of the Lord.
* Cutting off all outside sources of information and accountability.
* View of truth changes from what is honest to what is in the interest of the
* Self-justification based on the belief that outsiders are under the control
of Satan or humanistic beliefs.
* Loss of freedom as individual thoughts, feelings, and choices are increasingly
replaced by group thoughts, feelings and decisions..
* Adjustment of expectations from what was originally promised to what is received.
* Fear of leaving the group under the threat of loss of eternal life and/or
If you can't walk away. If you can't pick up and leave your
ministry and leave your church, then you have a problem. Those are the words
of thousands who were in an abusive covenant with a church.
Beware of isolation. One former member of an abusive church
said "They have you involved in groups and friendships. They isolate you in
their own little world with meeting 5 nights a week and tell you if you leave,
your life is going to fall apart and you're going to lose God in your Life."
" There is no place to go like this church. Where will I hear a man speak
like Pastor with all that revelation." There is no life outside the organization.
Another member was quoted as saying "I thought if I left the
church I would be leaving Jesus. I thought I would be leaving the work of
God. I thought God would forsake me. I thought I would step out of God's will
for my life. But now I know God is bigger than that. He is merciful and forgiving.
He has given me peace. He has given me a purpose for living."
If you find yourself questioning your own spirituality, then
let this be a warning sign. An author and advocate for the blind, Helen Keller
once said, "One can never consent to creep, when one feels the impulse to
soar". Then there also must be the opinion that when one who feels to soar,
they mustn't be made to creep.
Here are some signs of Spiritual Abuse and Rape as given to
us by Dr. George B. Kudolo Ph.D, FAIC, CPC. You may not agree with them all
but this Christian Psyciatrist feels that these are signs. Warning signs to
a Spiritually Abusive church. His foot notes are from Ken Blue in "Healing
Spiritual Abuse". InterVarsity Press, 1993
The form of enslavement to "church-organized" events leaving
no room for personal time outside the church. Leaders have little or no respect
for personal time outside the church.
When the church of which you have been a tithing member for
years cannot help you when you during you time of struggle.
This abuse invariably leads to misplaced loyalty. When a congregate
can say the founder or senior Pastor is called anything from Dad to the closest
thing to God I know. This is dangerous thinking.
No financial statements being made public or handed out to
It is spiritual abuse when preachers make you feel like you
don't have as much as they do because you don't have enough faith in God.
6/01/2007 by Covenantal Promotions