- members marginalized, falsely accused, slandered, and falsely labeled by their pastor.
- a pastor micro-managing his leaders lives in every church service. They demand leaders sit in a certain place, dress a certain way, always smile and act happy, and controls who, where, and how they fellowship. He controls the books they read and requires strict attendance to every meeting.
- financial abuse and manipulation of scripture used to support a self-serving ministry and clergy lifestyle.
- the rampant use of fear as a tactic to control, "lord over", and dominate people in the pews.
- what you $$gave determined whether or not you got the pastors attention and/or a position in leadership. Legalistic tithing required for leadership.
- a brother rebuked for arriving late to a prayer service when his wife was going into labor contractions.
- an adulterous pastor committing MURDER, refusing to relinquish his position and control of church business management, and members who continued to submit to him while the affair continued.
- pastors managing a church like it was a family business (which it was), with questionable and possibly illegal financial practices that were never questioned by the elders.
- pastors often getting a free pass when it came to people abuse, financial mis-management, and teaching error.
2Corinthians 11: 18 And since others boast about their human achievements, I will, too.
"The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse" by David Johnson & Jeff Van Vonderen A book for many who have been hurt. Here are a few excerpts:
In this case, the unspoken rule is: Do not disagree with the church authorities —especially the pastor—or your loyalty will be suspect.
Rules like this remain unspoken, because examining them in the light of mature dialogue would instantly reveal how illogical, unhealthy and anti-Christian they are.
6. Misplaced Loyalty
This causes people to misplace their loyalty in a leader, a church or an organization.” (p.76)
God is going to withdraw His Spirit from you and your family.
God will destroy your business.
Without our protection, Satan will get your children. You and your family will come under a curse.
People are made public examples in order to send a message to those who remain. Others have phone campaigns launched against them, to warn their friends and others in the group about how ‘dangerous’ they are.” (p.76,77)
(end of quote)
Others will recognize the abusiveness of the church group they left behind.
Forgiveness may be a cross to bear, but we are given no choice:
"Then said Jesus unto his disciples, If any man would come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow me."
And bring us not into temptation, but deliver us from the evil one. (whose voice do you think reminds you of those hurts?)
For if ye forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you.
But if ye forgive not men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses."
In doing, we must “cast down imaginations (thoughts) and >> every thought << which exalts itself above God’s knowledge” (His knowledge as revealed in His Word).
1Corinthians 10:5 (NASB) renders this as:
We are destroying speculations and every lofty thing raised up against the knowledge of God, and we are taking every thought captive to the obedience of Christ..
Romans 8:17 New Living Translation
17 And since we are his children, we are his heirs. In fact, together with Christ we are heirs of God’s glory. But if we are to share his glory, we must also share his suffering.
And that is how we overcome spiritual abuse God’s Way.