Spiritual Abuse (Part 2) – reblog

Reformed “Spotlight”: What is Spiritual Abuse?

In my first post on spiritual abuse, I said I would provide a definition that would help in subsequent discussions. I’d welcome your input on this so that we can develop a clear and comprehensive definition, but here’s my suggestion to start the conversation, followed by my “exposition”:

Spiritual abuse is a sinful use of spiritual authority by Christian leaders to promote, protect, or enrich a person or a Christian institution regardless of the spiritual damage done to innocent parties and the cause of Christ.

First, the term “spiritual abuse“indicates that unlike physical or sexual abuse, the primary pain is felt in the soul. Calling it “spiritual” also highlights that it is more difficult to detect because its primary weapons are usually more psychological, mental, emotional, relational, and, well, spiritual.

Second, notice the use of the word, “sinful.”There is good and proper ecclesiastical authority. God has ordained officers in his church to administer his kingdom on earth. We must not let the abuse of this by some push us to the extreme of rejecting all pastors, elders, deacons, membership standards, discipline, etc.

Some of the sinful tools used by spiritual abusers include injustice, misrepresentation, intimidation, exclusion, isolation, humiliation, manipulation, authoritarianism, demands for unconditional loyalty and obedience, shame, legalism, false accusation, self-pity, suppression of dissent and criticism, use of rules to silence, inability to admit wrong, covering up and minimizing leaders’ sins, and so on.

Third, “spiritual authority”refers to any office, role, or responsibility in Christian churches, para-church organizations, charities, conferences, seminaries, etc. It is not confined to ecclesiastical office or church courts. Spiritual abuse can take place wherever someone is given any degree of spiritual responsibility or spiritual authority over others.

Fourth, the term “Christian leaders” (plural) underlines that although there is often one person who is the primary abuser, there are usually others who cooperate with him due to fear, desire to please, personal gain, or pragmatism.

Fifth, the aim of the Christian leaders is no longer the good of souls and the glory of God but the promotion, protection, and enrichment of a person or an institution.” The leader, the church, or the organization’s existence, reputation, and wealth becomes the over-riding concern.

Sixth, this is all done “regardless of the spiritual damage”suffered by the victims, such as false guilt, shame, inability to trust spiritual leaders, draining of self-confidence, disillusionment with the church and with Christians, serious distortions in their view of God,

Seventh, damage is also done to the “cause of Christ.”The abuser’s church or organization may continue and spiritual abusers may still occupy positions of influence and popularity. But the cause of Christ as a whole is damaged, as people see the hypocrisy, the double standards, the self-centeredness.

Spiritual abuse is a sinful use of spiritual authority by Christian leaders to promote, protect, or enrich a person or a Christian institution regardless of the spiritual damage done to innocent parties and the cause of Christ.

So that’s my definition. I’m very open to correction and other suggestions.


(Reblogged from HeadHeartHand)

About Grace2Grow

Leah holds a Bachelor's degree in Philosophy, and considers herself a forever-student at heart, especially of the Word of God. The last few years have included a 160+ lbs weightloss, and a complete re-working of her "inner man" as she has had to journey from merely what she "knew" to putting that into "ACTION" .. a transformation that so rocked her core, she believes God's calling in her life includes a sense of "urgency," as the body of Christ is fully - knowingly or unknowingly - entrenched in These Last Days, just as Jesus prophesied. She has worked in various forms of professional Customer Service for nearly 20 years, from Mortgages and Banking to Automotive Plastics, and values most the opportunity to mediate and problem-solve. Leah has served over the years in varying roles, from Women's Bible Study Leader to Choir Director to Worship Leading to teaching Sunday School to working faithfully in the Nursery. She loves being a Wife and Aunt and Sister and Daughter and Friend, and loves to read just about anything she can put her hands on. She is always re-learning putting feet and muscle to these things, but she has learned there is incalculable value in "working the plan," and "being faithful with LITTLE so as to be entrusted with MUCH." And she is trusting her beloved God and Savior for the "much" yet to come. You can find more of her musings on her blogs at http://grace2grow.com and http://grace2grow.blogspot.com/, or follow her on Twitter at https://twitter.com/grace2grow

Posted on April 19, 2016, in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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