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Christian Counseling:
Spiritual Abuse

Absolute Power and Authority is assumed by the Leader

Power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely. The Pastor or leader of the organization that assumes absolute power will lead to abuse. One pastor I was under preached that he was as if God were here speaking to you. What he says goes. You could not question his judgment. One pastor made the congregation clap when he came on stage to the pulpit. It seemed to me that many of these pastors were on an ego trip. A number of them seemed to come from broken or dysfunctional families. It seems that the way they were raised is the way they will treat their congregation. Their emotional needs were not met so the congregation must fulfill them.

Absolute Control is needed!

The pastor or leader will want absolute control. He will not tolerate objections. He will try to manipulate you to do what he wants (usually put in terms of what God wants, for what the Pastor wants and God wants are assumed to be the same). One pastor would visit each church member to figure up their bill that they owed the church. The pastor would call where they worked and ask how much they made so they could not lie about it. One church has your tithe automatically deducted from your checking account.

Absolute Rules are given!

Strict laws are set down. Legalism settles in. Usually you have to dress a certain way. One example, women are not allowed to wear pants. A long list of do's and don'ts. This is what makes them special and different from the world.

Absolute Rules are enforced!

Most abusive churches will publicly ridicule and humiliate you. One service I was at there was a shocking excommunication of a member. Usually the pastor (or his family) can not keep all the rules, but will demand that his followers do.

Absolutely No one leaves!

I knew one family that left an abusive church. They were publicly preached against, and no one was allowed to have contact with them. If you leave, you are apostate and will burn in hell!

Satanic Ritual Abuse?

Many stories are told at church meetings of many children who are kidnapped for Satanic ritual abuse, but these stories are false. Most disappearances are a result of custody fights, or runawys from abusive homes. Mike Warnkie had told many false stories. For more details see Satanic Ritual Abuse (SRA).

Faith Healing

God can heal, but he does not need faith healers. Research done shows that faith healers are phony. The power of suggestion can make you feel better, and a positive attitude can speed healing.


Churches that Abuse Breaking Free
Enroth, Ronald M. Churches that Abuse. (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992). This is an excellent book with many examples of what has happened in abusive churches. Miller, David. Breaking Free: Rescuing Families from the
Clutches of Legalism.
(Grand Rapids: Baker Book House, 1992. This is an excellent book on legalism and its affects on the family.
Combatting Cult Mind Control Hassan, Steven. Combating Cult Mind Control. (Rochester, Vermont: Park Street Press, 1988). This is an excellent book about cult mind control.