Tag: abusive churches
Many people who have been subjected to spiritual abuse wonder, in looking back, why they stayed in an abusive church for so long.
Often it turns out that the church in question grew more and more cult-like gradually.
After all, most abusive churches do not start out that way.
This checklist will help you to honestly evaluate your church, its leaders, and your church experience.
Chapter 1 of the book, "Churches That Abuse," by Ronald M. Enroth.
An introduction to the problem of abusive churches and spiritual abuse.
The entire bestselling book is available here, courtesy of the author.
Many Christians unwittingly get caught up in abusive churches -- or relationships -- in which they are subjected to spiritual abuse.
Stephen Martin's book The Heresy of Mind Control helps Christians recognize the warning signs that a group and its leader are dangerous.
Many themes and issues have emerged from these stories of people recovering from churches that abuse. These are often more implicit than explicit.
Thinking through these issues in the following terms may be helpful to victims of abuse and those who seek to counsel them.
The testimony of Recovering From Churches That Abuse is that battered believers can recover. But is rehabilitation possible for churches that abuse? Can a spiritually abusive system be changed? The answer is yes, even though in reality many churches do not experience significant change.
But some do answer these calls, and as evidence Dr. Ronald Enroth cites two groups described in Churches That Abuse.
The message of this book is that "mending" is possible! There is hope. You can trust again.
However, it is important to understand that although there are some common aspects to the process of recovery and healing, the route is different and can be more tortuous for some than for others according to their personalities and the special problems they encountered in the church.
"When a member leaves an abusive church or is forced to leave, he walks out with virtually nothing. He leaves a part of himself behind; the years he has invested are gone. You need to deal with loss and bereavement, confusion and anger, and finally, acceptance of. that loss.
Many fail to accept it and move on. They need to understand that their significance is not in what they had, but it is in their relationship with Christ. They have lost a few years, but they have not lost their soul."
Breaking away from an abusive religious group is a process that usually hinges on a turning point, a decisive event that compels a member to move from doubt to action.
Dr. Ebaugh has identified four major stages in the role-exit process, regardless of what that role is.
I Can't Hear God Anymore: Life in a Dallas cult is the true story of the author's experience in a Bible-based cult in Dallas, Texas.
Recovering From Churches That Abuse: "The most important thing in my recovery has been the need to get the proper balance between the heart and the head. In the Christian life, the mind is not something to be subjected to the heart.
It is false to say you cannot know or understand the Word of God unless you have the proper inner attitude, or unless you surrender and submit, and that only when you get to that place will God break through and show you the way."
Many of the people Ron Enroth interviewed for his books, Churches That Abuse and Recovering From Churches That Abuse were undecided whether to leave an abusive situation or stay in the hope that their presence might make a difference.
But by remaining in an unhealthy environment for whatever reason people help perpetuate a system they have experienced as destrucive. Those who are contemplating leaving an abusive situation need to make a complete break and flee.
Our collection of research resources on abusive churches and spiritual abuse is one of the most-visited pages at Apologetics Index. We have now updated the links, cleaned up the page and increased the font-size.
Plus, in this entry we quote Ken Blue's observations about why otherwise sensible and intelligent people submit to spiritual abuse.
Colleen's story will help us to understand two concomitants to spiritual abuse.
First, like many members of abusive churches, Colleen had a personal history that predisposed her toward victimization.
Second, her experience demonstrates the essential need for help from competent counseling and caring Christians in the process of recovery.
The problem of not being understood is common among victims of spiritual abuse. As a result, the victims feel guilty, misunderstood, and even rejected.
Christians who want to be helpful to those who have come out of abusive experiences must be sensitive, nonjudgmental, and accepting-even if they find it difficult to understand how something so bizarre could happen to another Christian.
What aspects of authoritarian churches are hurtful? What happens to members when they decide to leave or are dismissed? Are they likely to end up in another abusive situation, or are they able to find a "normal" church? What about those who find it impossible to return to church, any church? Is it possible to break the cycle of spiritual abuse? Can people find true freedom in Christ after years of bondage in performance-based lifestyles?
These are some of the questions addresses in Chapter One of his book, Recovering From Churches That Abuse.