Brief Introduction Spiritual abuse is similar to emotional abuse and occurs when the leaders of a church or religious organization use their power and position to manipulate, control and/or coerce their congregation/followers/members, whether on purpose or with good intentions.
Spiritual abuse often occurs subtly for seemingly the “right” reasons, but it can also be blatant for outright selfish financial, emotional or physical gain.
Spiritual abuse includes, but is not limited to mind-control, thought reform, coercion, manipulation, deception, legalism, authoritarianism, guilt trips, judgementalism/”Phariseeism”, holier-than-though attitude, and a “we are right and everyone else is wrong” attitude.
The trouble with spiritual abuse is that the perpetrator often has been deceived him/herself into thinking that they are helping when in actuality they are doing more harm than good.
Spritual Abuse has turned Christianity into ‘Churchianity’ where the church and it’s particular traditions have become more important than or at least equal to, the Word.
‘Denominationalism’ and ‘traditionalism’ find their way into the teachings and become enmeshed so that no one can tell where Christianity begins and the traditions end.
describe spiritual abuse well when he said: “It’s possible to become so determined to defend a spiritual place of authority, a doctrine or a way of doing things that you wound and abuse anyone who questions, or disagrees, or doesn’t ‘behave’ spiritually the way you want them to.
When your words and actions tear down another, or attack or weaken a person’s standing as a Christian- to gratify you, your position or your beliefs while at the same time weakening or harming another- that is spiritual abuse.” One of the biggest problems with spiritual abuse is that it is VERY subtle. Pastors and other spiritual leaders become adept at using spcipture to back up their subtle manipulation and control.
Leaders often find ways to control, not only what happens in their churches, but also what happens in Your personal life.
For example, leaders in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination would frequently communicate the need for us to consult with them (or your discipler) before making decisions especially major decisions.
Leadership brings guilt on members for going on vacation especially of that person hasn’t paid the correct amount of tithe.
Fratranizing with people who have left the church is strictly forbidden.