| Is it wrong to speak out against church abuse?|
| 2006/3/3 8:48||Profile|
| Re: Is it wrong to speak out against church abuse?|
The Word says not to recieve an accusation against an elder. I supose in offenses the best model is the cross carrying Christ and a strong prayer life. Ask God for wisdom, it might just be a character building experience.
As to you illustration on rape. I want to caution you on doing as the world does. They take a cause, place a spin init like some kind of remote 1 in a million setting, an example would be the lawsuit placed by an aids victim who was fired by an employer because of the discovery of a gay lifestyle, and they build thier arguement from there. They get sympathy from the gerenal public for thier underlying cause by making the hero the one and the bad guy the other. Don't do that.
I would probably seek out mature christian believers who you can pray with and possiblly a christian (I hate to use the term) counsilor.
| 2006/3/3 9:09||Profile|
Paul commended the Bereans because they study the scriptures everyday to see if what they were being taught was true. We have that responsibility in our lives as well. We should not just accept everything we hear in the pulpit. But today most Christians hardly read their Bibles, not mention study them. So most believers wouldnt know error if they heard it, much less challenge the pastor intelligently.
I have been in churches where spiritual abuse has happened. But it didnt happen to me (tho they tried) because I was able to discern what was happening, and we just simply left. I hate to put it like this, but I think most who are spiritually abused allow themselves to be because they do not know the scriptures. They are not students of the Word.
Thats not to be taken as a blanket statement, as I am sure there are exceptions. But if your personal walk with God is as it should be... you should be able to avoid these pitfalls.
As for making public statements... I think warnings are fair, BUT you better be sure of what you're talking about. And be sure that you have taken the Biblical approach to dealing with those who have sinned against you in the church.
| 2006/3/3 9:41|
| Re: Dealing with Spiritual Abuse|
Is it wrong to speak out against church abuse?
The answer to this question is "yes", and "no". Not only that, there are many different ways that we can address it - good ways and bad ways. There are a lot of considerations.
Control, manipulation, and domination are always wrong, and we need to learn to recognize it.
God has never called any of us to defend a sick, abusive system, or protect the unrepentant spirual leader. Doing so only enables this sin to continue and harm many others. We must learn to recognize our own part of this problem and take appropriate measures. Also, we need to be aware of our own tendencies to assert ourselves over others - try to control them. It is a very subtle thing that most of us are not even aware of.
The prophets, Jesus, and also the apostles spoke against spiritual abuse. However, as you know, there were serious repercussions for them all.
Before addressing it, I'd suggest that you gain a good understanding of it.
Here are some websites:
[url=http://www.spiritualabuse.org/introduction.html]Spiritual Abuse: An Introduction[/url]
[url=http://www.spiritualabuse.com/]Spriitual Abuse: Recovery Resources[/url]
I recommend you read Jeff VanVonderan" book, "The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse"
There is a cost to healing, as Scripture reveals - the old system wants to "spit" you out. However, the rewards are eternal, and well worth it - it is the path to Christ's FREEDOM. And God will use you to help many others be set free.
May God bless you as you seek him for guidance and strength in the days ahead.
| 2006/3/3 9:58||Profile|
The last post addressed spiritual (church) abuse in general. Here are some more specific answers to your specific questions
you, your family and many others you know were seriously hurt by an abusive church is it a sin to say anything publicly because that would damage their reputation?
The reason for this law is sinful in itself a cover-up attempt. However, that doesnt mean that speaking out is totally to be condoned. The Bible gives procedures: one at a time, then with two, then publicly... many other factors to consider.
Quote: Actually, quite the opposite: it is unhealthy!
If you were to hear someone speaking about these issues, do you believe it is healthy to force the person expressing themselves to separate the pain of the experience from the experience?
what would you think of the person who criticized a rape victim for crying while they testified against the person who did it?
A calloused person
Quote: The assumption in this request is that crying implies the lack of objectivity. That is a false judgment. If there were NO feelings, that could be a lack of objectivity - think of sociopaths. They have no feeling.
Would they be right for asking the person to be more objective?
If not why do we offer people who are suffering from spiritual rape less compassion? It's like the first thing you're told is "get over it. and dont say anything until you do." Why is that?
Again, a very calloused answer. I think fear may be an issue here fear of having to empathize with such depth of pain... Fear of experiencing ones own hidden pain via the victim. Also, through years of exposure, something doesn't feel wrong anymore. So, being violated spiritually is no big deal. The conscience gets dead to these things after a while, and feelings go away. The bible calls this "seering" of the consceince. Empathy is gone. The hardened heart can no longer can "weep with those who are weeping, and rejoice with those who rejoice" Rom. 12:
Quote: Always, but that doesnt give a subordinate the freedom to say what they think. There are many factors. Consider the importance of EARNING the right to speak, building trust.
Also, do you believe that truth outweighs position?
. ..a brand new member has the authority to rebuke a pastor if the pastor is clearly in Sciptural error?
Rebuke can mean a lot of things. It may mean simply setting a good example. Have you ever felt rebuked by someone elses good example. (ex: you think, wow!, Im sure not that loving , and I should be) Consider the need for applying truth in love.
What Scriptures would you use to support your point of view on any of these topics.
There are many scriptures that speak of our relationships with others, and authorities our patience, etc
Consider 1 Corithians 13: The Love Chapter.
A good study: Give to Ceaser what is Caesars and to God what is Gods.
In other words, give to any leader what is rightfully theirs (our respect, service, etc) but NOT our hearts, our trust that belongs to God.
Knowing the difference is a challenge.
| 2006/3/3 11:08||Profile|
My pastor once told me a story about an evangelist that was visiting a particular church for a long series revival (roughly a month long). One of the older ladies in that church discerned quickly the man wasn't much when it came to prayer, and she asked him to join the women praying at midnight in the sancturary, and there he would truly learn to pray. So, they got him nice and saturated in prayer, and he indeed drew closer to God than he had ever been in his entire life.
The next day when he stood up in the pulpit, God had him start talking about the story of Natahn and David after David had killed Uriah and taken his wife. He was telling the story of how Nathan came and told David a parable which moved David to anger. And when David was moved to anger, Nathan blurted out "Thou art that man!"
Then the evangelist through a word of knowledge went walking down the isle and said, "God has shown me that there is somebody in this church that is running the place like he is a CEO and this is his business. God says that this is his church and you will no longer manipulate his people any longer." He came to place in the isle, stoped, and pointed to one of the elders and said, "thou art that man!" The elder got angry and went to attack the preacher, and immediately the Spirit of God came on that man and flattened him to the ground. The man tried to get up, but was unable to. God really convicted him, and the man crawled all the way from his seat up to the altar and cried out, "OH GOd, have mercy on me a sinner!"
And it is reported at that time a powerful move of God broke out right there in the congregation.
Nobody is above rebuke and correction. There is a biblical way of doing things, and we must follow that. However, not even leaders are above rebuke from the "layity." There are times when this process however, is not heeded by the congregation out of a sense of timidity, or where secret sins are done. In such times, God sends his Nathan's into the church to expose those in error. E.g. Peter with Ananias and Saphira.
| 2006/3/3 11:14||Profile|
I have been in churches where spiritual abuse has happened. But it didnt happen to me (tho they tried) because I was able to discern what was happening, and we just simply left. I hate to put it like this, but I think most who are spiritually abused allow themselves to be because they do not know the scriptures. They are not students of the Word
I like what Krispy is saying here.
It is my experience that most 'spiritual abuse" is passive aggressive...that is they don't conquer you by physical force. Instead, spiritual authority can often create a cult-like atmosphere of control through flattery at first, and then bargains of extra power for extra loyalty and obedience, or conversely...effective condemnation for disloyalty. (I realize am grossly generalizing...)
More often then not, it is our celebrity worship of pastors and prophets that gets us, and them, into trouble.
When I realized I had allowed myself to be subjugated in an unhealthy manner, I had to admit that I became snared through some character fault of my own...these experiences can be painful learning lessons about my own immaturity, spiritual ambition, and idolatry. The bottom line is that, in a socitey that offers many choices for church, the only way a pastor can have abusive power over his people is if they want him to.
Note that I am commenting about subtle emotional (and financial) control specifically. I do realize that emotional control can sometimes be a prelude to physical or sexual seduction. If there is physical force or sexual activity involved, the matter becomes much more black and white in my perspective. There is simply too much sexual wickedness being protected in church boardrooms at the expense of little sheep that need a safe place to graze.
When I think about these issues, I realize how difficult it is to be a really good elder or pastor, or teacher. Church leadership requires mature men and women who are examples to the flock
an inspiration who does not inspire cult-worship. I am so very thankful to God for good men and women who fill leadership roles, yet I realize that they are also fragile vessels that need my faithful prayer!
| 2006/3/3 11:17||Profile|
| 2006/3/3 11:45||Profile|
| 2006/3/3 11:46||Profile|
Not that spiritual abuse cant happen in House Churches, but one of the main contributing factors in spiritual abuse is that what we are used to seeing as the "church" is hardly the way the real church in the 1st century looked.
We [b]dont[/b] share all things, we [b]dont[/b] sacrifice for each other, we [b]dont[/b] have true times of fellowship. We [b]dont[/b] sit down at the table together...
We give the bare minimum... there are rich folks in the same church with people who can barely afford the gas to get to church. When was the last time you truly sacrificed for someone in your church?
Fellowship? Ha! Looking at the back of someone's head for an hour is not fellowship.
Sitting down at the the table? What? Once a month over pot-luck? Thats a start! The 1st century Christians practically lived together... they broke bread together every day!
They didnt sit and listen to the preacher and call that fellowship. They had preaching, sure... but they lived and breathed together! It was intimate.
If we had more of that today, and less of the corporate chain of command that we do have (which is hardly Biblical), then I think spiritual abuse would be less of a problem.
| 2006/3/3 12:54|