We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Abusive Churches


Digging through some files I came across a 3-fold tract made from one normal typing/copying sheet.  I don’t know where I got it, and there are no notations as to where it came from, where it was printed, author, etc.  I probably picked it up at either an apologetics conference or a biblical counselors’ conference — either way it is many years old.  

The tract is titled, “Religious Abuse, Addiction and Fanaticism.”  On the front fold are definitions for the words, “Fanatic,” “Religiosity,” “Addiction,” “Abuse,” and “Toxic Faith.” 

When you open the front fold you come to “Characteristics of Religious Addicts & Abusers,” which cover 2/3rds of the inside section.  The other 1/3d of the open page, and continuing on the reversed side of that fold, is the section I find most important for imparting to others, as I’ll cite below.  The last section is, “Suggestions for Intervention.”

Here is are the most important things to notice:

Rules of Abusive Churches

1.  Leadership is form the top down — replacing the need for God’s power and preventing any responsibility or accountability to others.

2.  When a problem arises, find a scapegoat.

3.  Mistakes are not allowed, acknowledged or repented.

4.  Ignore reality.  One must be happy and confident in the fellowship of fakes.

5.  Irrational drive to appear perfect.

6.  Questions, answers and opinions are not allowed.  Questions show lack of faith.

7.  No deviation allowed outside the boundaries of ones’ role of conformity.

8.  Trust the leaders, not ones’ self or anyone else.  Outsiders are lost, inspired by Satan.

9.  Nothing and no one is more important than the system.

10.  Faith in the system is more important than facts.  Contradictory information is of the devil.

11.  Members report on anyone who doesn’t fit in or who thinks independently.

12.  Members are monitored through testimonies, confessions, and by conformity to appearance code or rules.

13.  Members are discouraged from socializing outsiders.

14.  Members must act disinterested in outside influences and activities in order to appear holy.

15.  Members are afraid of outsiders and outside information.

16.  Scripture is overruled by leaders’ viewpoints and statements.  Members ignore scripture that contradicts the leaders.

17.  Strong anti-society and anti-Christian attitudes prevail.

18.  Too many questions are cause for excommunication.

19.  Leaders often act naive when presented with questions.

20.  Decisions and financial matters are handled secretly.

Roles Within Abusive Churches  

1.  Manipulative leaders live in fear of losing control and of being found out; must constantly manipulate and spin any information to appear righteous.  True “religious addicts.”

2.  Co-conspirators are the leaders’ “enablers” who live in fear of rejection by the leaders.  Must act as insulators with members and outsiders.

3.  Victims feel unworthy and fearful of rejection.

4.  The outcasts and rebels — live in confusion.

Results of Abusive Churches

1.  Victims become “Robots or Rebels.

2.  Lies must be protected by more lies.

3.  Nervous breakdowns.

4.  Stress related physical disorders.

5.  Divorces.

6.  Rejection of children or family members who leave the group or disobey the rules.

7.  Hidden immorality, sin, financial fraud, alcoholism, drug abuse, gambling problems.

Two Classes in Abusive Churches
1.  The deceivers.
2.  The deceived.

If you encounter these rules, roles, or results, do not stay with that church — and warn others to leave also!


UPDATE 10/4/16:  On of my readers searched out the origin of the tract, and it was written by Kathleen Lewis, who sent me her book, "The Church Without A Name."  Apparently it was in the package with the book.  Lewis has a wealth of information about the "2X2" cult.

6 comments:

Alec said...

Excellent summary from someone who seems to have "been there".

Thanks for saving it and sharing it.

Anonymous said...

Sadly, some of these tendencies can creep into sound churches. One of the most important red flags is when leadership silences or dismisses any "questioning", or starts ramming their "authority" down your face.

The bottom line is any of these type of systems are governed by a fear of man, not reverent fear of the Lord. That's why they are so focused on controlling people and protecting their "image".

-Carolyn


veritasdomain said...

Good list there

Minni Seymore said...

Wow you just described Lakeside bible church in Montgomery Texas ken ramey and elders... this is a flat out abusive church. Many have left devistated over the years. Ken Ramey, Mike Goins, tylor jacobs, Tom walters, there are more to name anyways they all beat to the same drum. They shun and shame members who are out of fellowship when those members ask questions. Some members are waking up

memama said...

I cannot tell you the heart ache the local conservative baptist church put my family, friends and congregation members thru when a new pastor and older pastrix started bringing on False Doctrines, insisting they heard audible Jesus, and promoted an ecumenical prayer circle of over 40 churches including a Roman Catholic church to "pray for the world"???
Between the KareeokkeeKristian Unendurable blasts of repetitious choruses! And mass dec-yikes-ble busting instruments/mass singers on stage swaying (over 40mins long) ALL STANDING!
To the Elder board members who started doing Dominion Theology. Whereby people were told to meet at 7am. Then marched around this Dedicated To Christ property site and Verbally With THEIR POWER WORDS..?? Force demons to leave..?? Nope. Not Found in Scripture. Sadly, questioning any of this has cause these false teachers to be Furious and angry. Thus people left.
Then so did the 2 "pastors". A new one has arrived. But the elder board is the same...

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

memama,

WOW, what a mess!!!