15 thoughts on “New Calvinist Procedure For Controlling Parishioners”

  1. We left a church like this. We received a letter from the pastor in which he says, “Good riddance.”


  2. oh my word, this describes SGM to a tee… except, the overemphasis on love. It was all about “sound doctrine” and acting “biblically” . If you emphasized God’s love too much, you were in danger of having incorrect theology and too soft a view on the doctrine of sin.

    And there would be an additional box next to church discipline for those not under discipline but who willingly leave, who are subsequently presented to the church as in sin -> proceed to box on discipline


  3. Maybe we can have Paul do up a SGM revised version and a Calvary Chapel revised version and a BGBC revised version and an IFB revised version and a Mars Hill revised version . . . . . . . . . . .


  4. Even in “church” organizations where members are not required to sign a so called covenant, which is actually intended as a legally binding contract, there will likely be by-laws. As with a signed covenant, by-laws are intended to be binding, both legally and before God. While I suppose there are always exceptions, covenants and by-laws are intended to be instruments of manipulation and control. They are used as shields against spiritual and legal accountability. If one has agreed to be disciplined, or even discipled, it is much more difficult to address abusive practices, either according to Biblical principles or in a court of law.

    As a lawyer, I can testify that these documents tend to have the look, feel and smell of having been drafted by lawyers. Beware. Never, ever, joint a “church” organization without reading and understanding the covenants, by-lays or other such controlling documents. Prayerfully exercise Godly wisdom. If there is any hint of a possibility of being subjected to a claim of human authority that is contrary to Scripture, do not join. If you have already joined, get out. Now. Resist the temptation to accept bondage, or even the possibility of bondage, in exchange for hoped for friendship, fellowship, a sense of belonging and purpose, etc.


  5. And, do not make any additional visits to a church who will not graciously and willingly provide you with a copy of the latest version of any covenant and bylaws or other “membership” agreement or commitment prior to joining. “We are thinking about joining and would like to see all of the covenant and bylaw type documents.” Sometimes that will get you disinvited.


  6. Has anyone compared this flowchart with those of known dictatorships of the last century? As in Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Ayatollah Khomeini, Mullah Omar, and the fictional regimes of 1984 and Hunger Games?


  7. A couple of the words in this chart really resonated with me. The “discipleship” to bring people in line to their way of thinking, which never worked with my husband. We did the yearly visits, and we were passed off to younger and less experienced elders. We did have a church covenant, but at the time I signed it, all these errors were not apparent. It wasn’t until my husband was baptized that the differences became glaring. We wrote two letters about the reasons for our departure. One was a friendly letter to the entire congregation that said we were leaving for “doctrinal differences”. That letter was never circulated, so the congregation still thinks I left for shallow reasons. The second letter for the leadership detailed the doctrinal differences. Other families had left the small church, we were never told why. We weren’t considered part of the in crowd I guess so it wasn’t important enough to discuss.


  8. Julie Anne, that would be perfect to have a separate flow chart for each abusive system. Or maybe a comprehensive one that has color-coded off shoots of each box depending on which denomination/system you are focusing on, that shows how many colors lead to the same end.

    Headless Unicorn Guy- I recently read the Hunger Games trilogy and re-read Animal Farm. Both were disturbingly closer to reality than hyperbole of the things discussed on this blog…Lord, help us to recognize totalitarianism in its sneakiest forms.


  9. @ Headless Unicorn Guy. “Has anyone compared this flowchart with those of known dictatorships of the last century? As in Hitler, Stalin, Pol Pot, Ayatollah Khomeini, Mullah Omar, and the fictional regimes of 1984 and Hunger Games?”

    As a matter of fact, yes. I have, sort of. It’s in a book that hopefully will be out later in 2013. I look at systems of abuse through authoritarian regimes in societies and in church ministries – abusive leaders, their activist henchmen, their silent enablers; survivors, their out-front advocates, their behind-the-scenes supporters. I also look at the tactics of individuals in perpetrating such abuse or perpetuating it. I use examples from Orwell’s 1984, The Hunger Games trilogy, control by charisma and chaos in Maoist China, control by conformity and compliance in post-Stalinist USSR, and other factual and fictional accounts of abusive relationships, personal transformation, and social transformation (e.g., movies like Gaslight, Fahrenheit 451, To Kill a Mockingbird, Absence of Malice). These all illustrate different aspects of those specific tactics, or in some cases, approximate the entire system. My goal is to highlight the elements of the system to help people who are interested use print and media to get the concepts on their spiritual radar and apply them to storylines in the media. If they/we can’t see them in films while in a safe environment to learn, what makes us think we can see them in our churches when it may not be safe?

    But once we have the core profiles and principles down, we’ll likely see the elements far more quickly and be able to move eventually from INTERVENTION when it’s already been happening, to INTERCEPTION when abuse is at risk of happening, to PREVENTION before it happens and to equip people so it doesn’t happen. That’s what I hope happens in the long run as a result of things like the BGBC Defamation Lawsuit Archive, and discussions here and at The Wartburg Watch and other survivor blogs, and campaigns like those to prod accountability by the silent enablers of Sovereign Grace Ministries …

    In case interested, the general outline for this book is here, mostly in the second half of this training course on how to deconstruct spiritually abusive situations. (That’s course #1. Course #2 deals with constructing spiritual growth environments that are safe, healthy, and prevent abuse. I’m hoping to finish editing the introductory book this month. Pray, pray, pray …!)



Thanks for participating in the SSB community. Please be sure to leave a name/pseudonym (not "Anonymous"). Thx :)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s