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

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Signs of a Toxic Movement

1.  The leader is always right and always in control.
2.  The leader never accepts blame for anything.
3.  Perfectionism.  “The fear of making a mistake, the fear of sinning, keeps the victim of perfectionism from experiencing the grace of God and traps that person in a toxic religious system.”
4.  “Don’t confuse me with reality, my mind is made up!”  Refusal to admit the truth.  “Pride often keeps people from being willing to admit they have been deceived.”
5.  Does not permit personal growth.  Members talk alike, dress alike, have same mannerisms.    Decisions are made for them.
6.  “Service with a smile.”  No matter what is going on in personal life, appearance is everything.  Everyone must see you as being happy.  No emotions allowed except that of happiness.
7.  Us versus them.  One must build the belief that the group vision  is on the edge of spiritual evolution and that all others are not as spiritual.  “Holiness is what we have but others do not.”
These signs are adapted from an article in Discernment Ministry International’s Truth Matters newsletter, August 2003.


EBenz said...

Wow, each one of these describes my experience with BSF down to the letter. Thanks for posting this, Glenn. Do you mind if I repost?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

I never mind people reposting my stuff. As I noted, this didn't even originate with me - I just fleshed out some ideas I read.

Marie said...

What is BSF, EBenz? Is that the same as the Bible study program for women?

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Marie,

That is Bible Study Fellowship. Started out as a pretty fundamental operation and I have friends in a local group. Check out Ebenz's posts and read about her group - EGAD!

Anonymous said...

Wow! I am experiencing these very characteristics in my church! Throughout the past year, each of these symptoms has been growing stronger. I was planning to leave my church the end of this month, and your article just reinforced my decision to do so. Thanks so much for the encouragement and your great blog!

Glenn E. Chatfield said...

Hi Anonymous,

A church? This is what you usually find with movements led by an individual. Sad to hear a church fellowship is this way. Don't let the door hit you on the way out!