Candidacy for Spiritual Abuse: Don’t Develop Your Independent Thinking Skills
In my family’s personal story at BGBC, after the abrupt firing of a staff employee, the pastor had a church meeting and mentioned that if anyone had questions, he and the elders would be available to answer questions. My husband and I set an appointment because we had huge concerns with the handling of that firing and other issues. We had 11 hours worth of meetings that week. Tough questions were asked. Some of the questions were regarding the firing of the staff employee, but there were other questions as well.
A few days after those meetings, we were told we were no longer welcome at BGBC. Not only that, it was brought to our attention that the church body was told that we were in church discipline and they were not have no contact with us whatsoever. (See member Stephanie’s review where she publicly posts that we are currently in church discipline.) When I later saw members at Costco and a grocery store parking lot, they turned the other way and even sped away in their vehicle. I tried calling someone and they said they couldn’t talk and hung up. Several years of relationships – relationships I had with fellow moms were abruptly stopped. Relationships my children had with other children ended – some that had several years of history prior to coming to this church – all down the drain. My daughter was in the midst of a high school biology class that met in our home with the child of a member. That particular high school child was not allowed to continue the class and my daughter was left to continue her biology schoolwork by herself.
There was no love demonstrated here. It seemed like a clear attempt by the pastor to control information to protect his image. He knew that the information that we had about him was a threat to his position because we had witnesses. In order to keep things under wraps, he was forced to fabricate a lie that we were under church discipline. Sadly, the sheep submitted to his orders of shunning. Most likely they submitted so they wouldn’t have to endure the shunning treatment that they had seen so many other families endure. This is a great article on authoritarianism in the church by Wayne Burleson. Here is an excerpt:
How does one know if the Christian community or church to which he or she belongs is following Christ’s teachings on leadership or is reflection of the pagan’s understanding of authority? What are the signs imperial authoritarianism in the church? The following are ten indicators:
(1). There is never any freedom to question the leader.
(2). The leader often makes claims of having special insights from God, insights that the laity are unable to possess.
(3). Disagreement with the leader is deemed a sign of the devil’s influence in one’s life.
(4). Events are designed to bring attention and praise to the leader rather than equipping others to do the work of the ministry.
(5). Any concept of equality is immediately labeled rebellion or the end result of a “liberal” denial of the Bible.
(6) Authoritarian leaders are only comfortable around like-minded leaders; thus, there is an unofficial ‘speaking tour’ where only imperial, authoritarian leaders share the platform with each other.
(7). The measure of success becomes the number of people who follow the leader “It must be of God! Look at how many come to hear me speak!“)
(8). If a person leaves the community or church, the problem is always in the person who leaves, not the leadership.
(9). Leaders who wrongly perceive themselves as those “with authority” insulate their lives by demanding absolute loyalty through giving large financial benefits to their closest ‘advisors.’
(10). The ultimate end of this kind of Christian leadership is always more; more money, more power, more followers, more publicity, more, more, more…
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