Spiritual Abuse – The Fallout Can Be Catastrophic *See updated at bottom*

abuseMy friend Karen posted a link to an article that captures the results of spiritual abuse. Hostility and opposition from those who hate Christians is one level of abuse. To have those you trusted with your soul and heart and mind, those who maybe even taught you what you should believe about God, to have them turn on you and discard you is a whole different thing. It makes you unable to believe any spiritual leader who says, “believe this”, or “this is who God is.”

I often see people linking to spiritual leaders on FB who have personally treated others worse than dog dirt. I think to myself, “They don’t know. I know who these people are screeching about worldview, etc. They are thugs. They lie. They destroy others without a conscience. They blame the victims and scapegoat rather than admit their own sin. They don’t care that they have destroyed souls. They just.don’t.care.

The Sola Sisters article accurately nails the fallout from such experiences.

Quotes from survivors of spiritual abuse express more clearly the effect of the experience.

•”I cannot express the deep anger this has left me with.”
•”This place is like a huge machine that sucks people in, chews them up and spits them out again.”
•”My husband finds ‘church’ impossible and has not been a regular attendee since last summer.”
•”This experience can damage the way we see God so that we distrust him as much as we distrust our pastors.”
•”I’m very cynical. But now, you see, I see a different side to people. I don’t trust people, I don’t trust people in authority.”

The long-term effects of spiritual abuse should not be minimized. In our experience the process of an individual coming to terms with what has happened can take years and there does seem to be a process to work through to come to some acceptance. It must be noted that for many individuals this does not happen and they remain angry. Their experiences invariably raise serious questions about God and the church. Many of these individuals will never attend church again.” (From Sola Sisters: Hope For the Spiritually Abused -Read the article here.

*A friend sent me this news story this morning. Dr. Warren Throckmorton has been covering the Mark Driscoll train wreck for a long time. He reports this morning that 21 former Mars Hill Church pastors have filed formal charges against Driscoll that surprised me not at all. The documentation from 21 former pastors pretty much spells it out. How did this kind of man end up in leadership? We spotted this 10 years ago, many of us. It was self-evident that Driscoll had no business in the ministry, period. Now he has left stacks of bodies behind. It took this long? Only in American Evangelicalism. 

4 thoughts on “Spiritual Abuse – The Fallout Can Be Catastrophic *See updated at bottom*

  1. Robert says:

    Seems as though some are seeking God in a human form. Only Jesus Christ is fully God and fully man. Matthew – Chapter 10 spells out the stumbling blocks of even our own family members when it comes to Jesus Christ. Also, substituting media ‘ministries’ for an assembly of believers is very foolish. I pray everyone finds a congregation where the pastor openly admits that he is a sinner, like the rest of us, so as to not get so disappointed when he does sin. True, in American Evangelicalism where one is taught to rely on their personal, fallen-human decision (sometimes multiple decisions) for salvation instead of God’s choosing, emotion is relied upon much more and therefore the hurt is sustained longer. Perhaps this so people will abandon such ‘ministries’ and seek the Truth. Ultimately, it is not about our hurt feelings or obtaining an emotional high; it is about service to the others whom God has placed in our lives. These bad situations can also be a way in which the hardening of hearts is confirmed, both in the corrupt leadership and in those who were attracted to the lies, leave and then state they “will never attend church again”. Only God knows for sure. Kicking the dust off one’s shoes and moving on is what the Lord instructs. If the Holy Spirit is guiding one to reconnect with the assembly of believers through another congregation, I hope that person will not reject the faith that is enabling this great reunion.

  2. Tim Cunningham says:

    As one who went through a spiritual abuse situation, I am praying for the people of Mars HIll. IF anyone here is going through SA or knows someone who is, I found Ken Blue’s book “Healing Spiritual Abuse” to be a very helpful resource.

  3. Carol says:

    Thank you for posting this very important subject. Being a victim of spiritual abuse myself, I can say that one needs to seek God’s face for wisdom, healing and discernment. Most people who have been spiritually abused, by a church or an organization that is supposed to be “religious” is due mainly for the lack of Christian love. I use the term “leaders” not only as the positions in churches of pastors, deacons, elders, bishops or whatever terms are used today, but teachers, leader of ministries that set a high standard of Christian living that even the Lord Himself did not set, but man-made by people who feel that they have arrived spiritually and others need to live up to their standards or else they are not as wise, mature or have sin issues they haven’t confessed, thus are not at their level. There is a lack of accountability by these leaders that they are the “leaders” and are the anointed that we are not to “touch”. But we are to test the spirits and we are to be accountable one to another. Just because someone stands in a pulpit, does not mean that we should never question their lives or things they may have said or done that needs to be questioned.
    If they truly walked in love, they would not lord over people, and they would use compassion towards those who are hurting and seeking a church home. Most of the abusers are in leadership positions of some sort and not likely realizing that their words and actions are hurtful to people. This is a horrible deception because they think they are doing the Lord’s Work, not seeing the people who are being hurt. If people would be more careful how they walked and treated others, this abuse would not be as bad as it is. But we are in the last days and the love has grown cold and people have become lovers of self. The world always was like this, but the Lord was speaking about those in the church.
    I could write my own book but leave it short for the sake of this post. But the Lord will call out His true saints and I think that many small home churches develop when those who have been abused start these little assemblies out of the trainwreck that has been called the “church”.

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