Spiritual abuse is a term that involves misusing someone for our own benefit or protection OR we do nothing to protect someone when we have the ability to do so. It often involves the misuser of our influence, our words and our relational capacity in a way that damages others.
We have found that spiritual abuse can take place from leaders to followers, but very few talk about the abuse that comes from followers towards leadership. We want to engage all levels of relationship abuse that take place in the church in unhealthy manner, while carving out some healthy references for what healing can look like.
Although we use the term “abuse” very carefully, we cannot ignore the fact that this issue carries on in many fellowships. It’s important that we give room for people to heal and create new and safe references for us to do church life together in a way that is transformational and safe. But it will not happen unless we make heart health a priority in the body of Christ.
In this episode, Melissa and I discuss the following issues regarding spiritual abuse:
- What are the manifestations that show someone has been under spiritual abuse?
- What are the underlying issues that foster abusive environments in the church?
- What are the top signs of a spiritually abusive church leadership?
- What are the top signs that followers are spiritually abusive?
- How to begin the healing process coming out of spiritual abuse.
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Resources Involved in Research:
- Toxic Faith by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton
- Breaking Free!: Rescuing Families from the Clutches of Legalism by David R. Miller
- Faith That Hurts, Faith That Heals: Understanding the Fine Line Between Healthy Faith and Spiritual Abuse by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton
- Churches that Abuse by Ronald M. Enroth
- The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church by David Johnson
- Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience by Ken M. Blue
- 10 Ways to Spot Spiritual Abuse by Mary DeMuth
- Spiritual Abuse Profile by Watchman Fellowship
- 6 Warning Signs of Spiritual Abuse by Charisma Magazine
- Leah Remini: Scientology and the Aftermath on A&E
- Troublemaker: Surviving Hollywood and Scientology by Leah Remini
- Barna Study: among unchurched adults shows that nearly four out of every ten non-churchgoing Americans (37%) said they avoid churches because of negative past experiences in churches or with church people. (Click for Source Page)
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