Month: August 2008
People have always struggled with the same needs-to be accepted by their friends and family, to find their way to God, and to make a contribution to their world. Humanity's fear of loneliness and hope of salvation were no less real to people in the previous century than they are to us today. Unfortunately, there have also always been charismatic figures ready to take advantage of those most afraid and most hopeful.
One nineteenth-century religious community, in particular, has many similarities to modern manifestations. There are other examples of authoritarian abuse but, perhaps, none as intriguing. It is not representative of all turn-of-the-century Protestant sects, but it is a good example of an extremist community based on the near worship of a single man. Frank Sandford's community at Shiloh offers insights into an abusive fringe church from its conception in the late nineteenth century to its "scattering" in 1920.
Brothers of White Warriors: white supremacist prison gang.
Todd Bentley's so-called 'revival' was controversial from the start. Stories about angelic encounters, unverifiable 'miracles,' violent behavior, and false teachings accompanied the 'Outpouring.'
Then came the news that Bentley was separating from his wife. Three days later more information emerges.
Research resources on Todd Bentley, Fresh Fire Ministries, and the Lakeland/Florida 'revival.'
It has been said that commitment without careful reflection is fanaticism in action.
In Chapter 2 of his book Churches That Abuse, Dr. Ronald Enroth describes a church where people -- thinking that they were placing their allegiance in the Word of God -- were actually placing their allegiance in a man and his interpretation of the Word of God. That is crucial to understanding why people were so easily deceived.
They thought that they were really obeying the Word of God.
Research resources on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints (Mormon Church, LDS).
Research resources on the teachings of Eckhart Tolle
When does a church cross the line between conventional church status and fringe status? What is the nature of the process by which any given group devolves into a fringe church or movement? What are some of the signs or indicators that a given group is becoming abusive of its members and is headed for the margins? When should a member consider bailing out?
Churches That Abuse answers these and other important questions about abusive churches and spiritual abuse.
Important notice regarding the content and formatting of the online version of Churches That Abuse
Information about the printed edition of Churches That Abuse, by Ronald M. Enroth
"This has been a difficult book to write because it is a book that is critical of other Christians. One always runs the risk of being misunderstood and labeled "judgmental" or arrogant when you make evaluative statements regarding Christian believers and organizations outside your own immediate circle. The book is about churches and other Christian organizations that inflict psychological and spiritual abuse upon members through the use of fear, guilt, and intimidation."
Research resources on The Bible. Is the Bible inspired by God? What's up with all those different Bible versions? What is the best way to study the Bible?
Research resources on religious cults, sect, and religions in Russia