When Your Pastor Speaks Humility, but Shows Pride Instead

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Spiritual abusers are often self-absorbed, preaching humility, but exhibiting pride.  Pastors who draw attention to themselves and their accomplishments and self-importance are not servant leaders.

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Being familiar with a pastor’s personality and charm can sometimes conceal warning signs which might seem obvious to outsiders.

For example, take a look at these tweets from my former pastor.   He had just attended a conference in California and raced home to Oregon, driving through the night, to make it in time for Sunday’s service to preach.

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Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 10.28.17 PM

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This brings a number of thoughts to my mind:

  • Where are the elders or other men in the church that they cannot preach on a Sunday?
  • If there are no men qualified to preach, why is that?  He’s been at this church well over a decade, why have men not been trained?
  • The world does not know how he dressed and shaved in order to preach.  It is normal for pastors to dress appropriately and shave before preaching.
  • Where’s the next tweet that says he showered and brushed his teeth?
  • Note that not only did he preach at the service, he also taught Sunday School (again – – is there no one else trained to do this?)  I can name quite a few men who have been there for years and could easily assume this responsibility.
  • O’Neal says he preached with clarity and passion:  it’s always better to let someone else toot your horn.
But O’Neal wouldn’t see the tweets as proud.  He would see them as humble:

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Pastors Preach Humility, but Show Pride

You see, in the earlier tweets, he is showing you how HE is humble and dies to self as he races home on no sleep in order to get back to church on time and “serve” his flock.  There seems to be a pattern with pastors who have reputations of pride, yet preach a lot on humility, even write books on humility.

The obvious question is:  what kind of pastor behaves like this?  Here is your answer.  This guy is very talented.  Listen to a few lines:

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It’s all about ME
Oh Mesus.
Know this is for me, for my comfort & my vain.
It’s not about YOU as if I should do things YOUR way.
You alone are God, but I surrender to no one.
Mesus, lover of myself
All consumerism is in my gaze
Mesus, I want thee to know, I will please myself all of my days.
No one else in history has been like the USA
History itself would be puzzled with us.
And our comforts and our spending we have lost so much.
Will we keep seeking our own faith?
It’s all about ME, Mesus
All of this is for me, for my comfort and my vain.
It’s not about YOU as if I should do things Your way.
You alone are God but I surrender to no one.

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The pride of your heart has deceived you,

you who live in the clefts of the rocks and make your home on the heights,

you who say to yourself,

‘Who can bring me down to the ground?’  

Obadiah 1:3

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Pride:  A Warning Sign of Spiritual Abuse

We can laugh about how blinded some of these pastors are, but it is a serious issue when it’s in the church.  If a pastor cannot see his own pride, why is that?  He is lying to himself.  What other character flaws is he missing?   Narcissists exhibit behavior like this and are said to be the most challenging people to help because they believe their own lies.

The following was written for church leaders and takes a look at some warning signs.  It is excellent.

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So, how do we as spiritual leaders identify traits in ourselves that may lead to spiritual abuse? Here is a list of indications that you may have abusive tendencies:

I have a grandiose sense of self-importance, and tend to exaggerate my talents and achievements.

I am preoccupied with fantasies of unlimited success.

I see myself as someone “special” who can only be understood by other “special” or high-status people.

I require excessive admiration and feel entitled to special treatment.

Others are expected to automatically comply with my expectations.

I take advantage of others to achieve my own goals.

I am preoccupied with unjustified doubts about the loyalty or trustworthiness of friends and associates.

I fear confiding in people since they may maliciously use any information I give them to do me harm.

I read demeaning or threatening meanings into innocent remarks.

I bear grudges and am unforgiving of others I feel have harmed me.

I am quick to perceive attacks on my character or reputation that are not apparent to others and react angrily or counterattack.

I am deceitful and seduce others for my own profit or pleasure.

I am impulsive in my actions and fail to plan ahead.

I may be excessively devoted to work to the exclusion of leisure activities and friendships.I lack compassion, and am unwilling to identify with the feelings and needs of others.

I am arrogant and haughty.

I am inflexible, stubborn and controlling, insisting that others submit exactly to my way of doing things.

I unreasonably criticize and scorn other ministers and people in positions of authority in the church.

I am uncomfortable in situations where I am not the center of attention.

I believe I am doing a much better job than others think I am doing.

Each of us needs to engage in the kind of conscientious ongoing self-examination that will keep us sensitive to the slightest indication of any characteristics of spiritual abuse in our own ministries. If you recognize a number of these traits in your ministry reach out for help.  (Source:  Thugs in the Pulpit)

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78 comments on “When Your Pastor Speaks Humility, but Shows Pride Instead

  1. Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, 2 then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind. 3 Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves, 4 not looking to your own interests but each of you to the interests of the others.

    5 In your relationships with one another, have the same mindset as Christ Jesus:

    6 Who, being in very nature[a] God,
    did not consider equality with God something to be used to his own advantage;
    7 rather, he made himself nothing
    by taking the very nature[b] of a servant,
    being made in human likeness.
    8 And being found in appearance as a man,
    he humbled himself
    by becoming obedient to death—
    even death on a cross!

    Makes me wonder if this passage is missing from their bibles. Make yourself nothing boys, value others above yourself, do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, take the very nature if a servant, humble yourselves, and for goodness gracious don’t sue the sheep.
    MESUS- That just cracks me up.

    Like

  2. “If there are no men qualified to preach, why is that?….I can name quite a few men who have been there for years and could easily assume this responsibility.”

    As you suggest, Julie Anne, Chuck may be wanting to hog all the teachin’ and preachin’ to himself, and has convinced himself that no one else can do it better than he can. On the other hand, given his unbearably creepy behaviour, maybe all those qualified men you remember have all left for greener pastures, stiller waters, and saner lives.

    At least, that’s what I hope it means. That “pastor” Chuck really is becoming Admiral of his own rowboat. The fewer people under his care, the better.

    Like

  3. Grammar Nazi alert:

    The title should read “When Your Pastor “Speaks” Humility….” (with an “s” on the word “speak”).

    Great article. 🙂

    Like

  4. Julie Anne

    Your post mentions…
    “So, how do we as **spiritual leaders**
    identify traits in ourselves that may lead to spiritual abuse?”

    Well, who are these “Spiritual Leaders?” – According to the Bible?
    And – Who determines – who is my “Spirtual Leader?”

    In the past – It was someone who had the “Title” – pastor/leader/reverend – That told me they were my “Spiritual Leaders” and I was to submit to them. And I believed them. Ouch!!!

    NOPE – It did NOT go well for me – Trusting Mere Fallible Humans….
    I do NOT think I will believe, or Trust them again. 😉

    Because – In the Bible…
    I can NOT find the term “Spiritual Leader.”
    I can NOT fine one of His Disciples calling themself a “Spiritual Leader.”

    But – I can find Jesus telling His Disciples NOT to be called “Leader.”
    For ther is “ONE” Leader – Jesus. Mat 23:10 NASB

    So – In My Experience – *Anyone* – All –
    Who takes the “Position” of, or tells others they’re a “Spiritual Leader” has…

    1 – “a grandiose sense of self-importance,”
    2 – “preoccupied with fantasies”
    3 – “see’s (themself) as someone “special” (“Spiritual Leader”)
    who can only be understood by other “special” or high-status people.

    NO thanks – think I’ll tick with Jesus as the “ONE” Leader.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  5. “So when you see the abomination of desolation spoken of by the prophet Daniel, standing in the holy place (let the reader understand), then let those who are in Judea flee to the mountains. Let the one who is on the housetop not go down to take what is in his house, and let the one who is in the field not turn back to take his cloak.” (Matthew 24:15-18, ESV)

    What is the holy place? Presumably the Temple, but what is the Temple?

    Or do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy Spirit within you, whom you have from God? (1 Corinthians 6:19a, ESV)

    We are the temple both individually and corporately:

    Now you are the body of Christ and individually members of it. (1 Corinthians 12:27, ESV)

    What is meant by abomination?

    And he said to them, “You are those who justify yourselves before men, but God knows your hearts. For what is exalted among men is an abomination in the sight of God. (Luke 16:15, ESV)

    Whether the immediate application of the Matthew 24 passage is to the destruction of the Temple in 70 A.D., to the end times, or to both, Jesus counsels flight. He does not counsel resistance. He does not counsel intervention. He does not counsel any attempt to correct, discipline, reconcile, reform, or any such thing. He counsels flight. I submit, therefore, that the correct response whenever a so-called pastor elevates himself, to whatever degree, the Author of Wisdom calls us to flight. Those who elect to stay risk their own destruction, if only as collateral casualties, when our Sovereign Lord humbles the “pastor” who stands forth as an abomination that causes desolation in the assembly of believers, which is the body and temple of God.

    Then I heard another voice from heaven saying, “Come out of her, my people, lest you take part in her sins, lest you share in her plagues;” (Revelation 18:4, ESV)

    Like

  6. Hi Gail

    Just hit the “Like Button” 😉

    “Makes me wonder if this passage is missing from their bibles. Make yourself nothing boys, value others above yourself, do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit, take the very nature if a servant, humble yourselves, and for goodness gracious don’t sue the sheep.”

    Yup – Jesus, As Man – Humbled Himself, made Himself of NO Reputation,
    And took on the form of a “Servant.” Phil 2:7-8.

    Like

  7. Yes Gary!!!

    I cannot tell you how many people say they are going to stay and be a “light” in such a place. or they say there is no perfect church and there is ‘good’ there. Yes, well, there is ‘good’ everywhere. That is not our standard. “Pure”, “truth”, etc is our standard as believers. That does not mean perfection, either.

    They don’t get it. They are actually enabling evil thinking they are doing good. The must get out and warn others.

    Like

  8. It is like my dad used to say, If you are a leader you don’t have to tell people you are a leader. Same with humility. You don’t have to keep bragging about your sin to make people think you are humble. They will know simply by knowing you over time.

    The problem is, no one really knows these guys on a stage so they believes words instead of looking at actions over time.

    Like

  9. I wonder if CON and Miano, who are “#RealChurchMen” remember the story in Matthew 9 when Jesus was eating with tax collectors and sinners. The Pharisees asked the disciples why Jesus wasn’t following the law (which #RealChurchMen love) by eating with such a crowd. Jesus answered that he desired mercy, not sacrifice.

    CON seems to think that he has the sacrifice part down. And, he seems to know the law (and apparently the gospel too). Does he even understand what mercy means?

    Like

  10. Sometimes people suffering from Antisocial Personality Disorder (Sociopath) also tend to suffer from another mental disorder known as Narcissistic Personality Disorder. Such people are often called narcissistic sociopaths or sociopaths with narcissistic traits and such a situation is a dangerous one, as these people do not want to be helped. Such people often tend to be highly manipulative and without any shred of remorse for their actions, even if their actions have harmed others who are close to them or their family members. There is nothing that can stop a narcissistic sociopath from achieving his goals. He makes use of all his charm which is highly superficial and intellect in order to attain his goals by any means possible. Such people often think that they are above all and they do not really care if anyone disagrees with them.

    Read more http://depressiond.com/sociopath-sociopathic-personality-disorder/

    Like

  11. I don’t tweet. Are all tweets public for everyone to see?
    My husband and I joke about Facebook.
    Do we really need to know what someone else is doing 24/7?
    When did we start caring about others personal hygiene, what kind of coffee they drink (Starbucks dark roast vs. Dunkin Donuts), and how many times per day they went to the potty ,and whether they need more fiber in their diet? 😉

    Like

  12. Yes, Hannah, the tweets are completely public. That’s why I bring them here to show.

    Right here on this post you see a pastor and prominent street evangelist’s public behavior. I think one tweet is a screen shot. The others are embedded tweets and you can actually click on hyperlinks. If you click on O’Neal’s name, you can see how he tweets (you can see he posted a picture of John MacArthur signing his daughter’s bible – a MacArthur Bible maybe?)

    Like

  13. Julie Anne

    You write a very illuminating statement – This has also been my experience…
    “Pastors Preach Humility, but Show Pride”

    And a very realistic observation…
    “You see, in the earlier tweets, he (CON) is showing you how **HE is humble and dies to self** as he races home on no sleep in order to get back to church on time and “serve” his flock.”

    “ There seems to be a pattern with pastors
    who have **reputations of pride**, yet preach a lot on humility,”

    Jesus, says this about those who speak about themselves.

    John 7:18 He that speaketh of himself seeketh **his own glory:**
    John 8:50 And I seek NOT mine own glory…

    Glory – Strongs #1391 doxa – honour, praise, worship…
    KJV – glory 145, glorious 10, honour 6, praise 4, dignity 2, worship 1; 168

    Now – I am someone who is very humble – I am so humble…
    My “church” noticed – and gave me “a medal” for being humble…
    But – They took it away from me – When I wore it… 😉

    Me thinks – If you have to tell someone you’re full of humility – You Ain’t.
    You’re Full of something else… 😉

    Like

  14. I have 2 Macarthur study Bibles. One NKJ(Got it as a gift for getting his monthly CD’s) and then his NASB. I have been following posts about his conference. I began listening to his teachings about 8 years ago and felt that I was finally being taught the Bible properly. When I left my CC 8 yrs ago I considered him my Pastor in many ways. He selflessly had a lending library free of charge and I would get cassettes sent home.(before CD’s) Not one other ministry had that. He also lets you burn his sermons free. I know off topic….I have to catch up with his latest conference. I am surprised at the backlash since he has always said that many Charismatics are acting on the flesh but never excluded them from being believers.

    Re:Tweets-That kind of public display can lend much to ego I guess. When youy know the whole world can be reading. Such a wide audience. Not much privacy,and nothing left to the imagination.

    Like

  15. “Lots and lots of compliments, not to be confused with complements :)”

    And the compliments are complemented by the compliments which are a complement to the compliments previously complimented.

    My brain hurts…

    Like

  16. “Me thinks – If you have to tell someone you’re full of humility – You Ain’t.”

    That’s right, Amos – – you do not use yourself as an example of humility when teaching humility.

    Like

  17. wing,

    narcissists and those with various degrees of sociopathy are attracted to ministry as a career choice. Where else can you get instant respect and a following using Jesus Christ as a cover?

    Like

  18. Hannah, You might benefit from reading “Brenda’s Testimony” that someone linked to here on another thread. I do not have a link to it on this computer but someone reading might. It was very instructive and JMAC figures into the testimoney. I cannot even remember the name of the site right now.

    Anyone remember?

    Like

  19. Wait4trumpet,
    The unfortunate thing is that these narcissists seem to be breeding like rabbits.
    What to do??

    the thing is that these preachers know that if they “come out with the ‘humility’ spiel they can wrap these people around their little finger”…… “But my preacher SAID that he wants to serve the flock; that he LOVES us”!!!

    Sayin’ is a little different then actually doin’………… just sayin’.

    Like

  20. Keep doing what you’re doing. Raise awareness. Expose these wolves for what they truly are. Sound the trumpet alarm to warn potential flocks to flee from these impostors. Show them an alternative way to worship and to search the scriptures for themselves.

    Like

  21. Blogger Nazi alert:

    RMR wrote:

    Grammar Nazi alert

    Just a detail here, but, if I’m not mistaken, changing the title of a blog post after you’ve already posted it changes the name of the link, so that anybody linking to it before the change will get a dead link. I should know, I’m the world’s foremost humble Blogger Nazi! (You could look it up) Ah, the double edged sword of blogging. Now excuse me while I go rescue other bloggers in trouble. I may surf all night. 😉 🙂

    Like

  22. You know, Steve, I think that may be true on Blogger, but I just checked where I still have that glaring typo on the SSB Facebook page and the link works. The link still has the typo in it. Maybe Blogger automatically changes the link. WP doesn’t. I wonder what will happen if I change the link manually with WP. hmm

    Like

  23. We live in a disposable society. It started with our disposable incomes and here we are at disposable theology. People have more money than brains. Men get some discretionary income and they start building their little kingdoms. Their wives are their first test dummies. I’d better shut up.

    Like

  24. If a ‘church’ cannot manage to meet without depending on the presence of one particular man, there is something seriously wrong. But then there is something seriously wrong with having a clergy/laity division in the first place, whether they are called pastor, reverend, father or whatever. Matthew 23!

    Like

  25. Ruth

    There ya go – Being “Rebellious” – Using the Bible as your example. 😉
    Challenging the – Clergy/Laity division – and how it is “Seriously Wrong.”
    “whether they are called pastor, reverend, father or whatever”

    Just because – NO one in the Bible was called – Clergy – Pastor – Reverend.
    Cant cha just go along with the in crowd – And NOT make waves?

    Dont cha Know…
    In “Todays Religious System” – aka – “The Local Church” – aka…
    God’s Plan for, The hope of the world is – “The Local Church” – NOT Jesus…
    And, “The Local Church” will rise and fall on “Leadership?” – NOT Jesus…
    So, these guys need these “Titles” so they can be the “Leaders” – NOT Jesus…
    And set up “The Local Church” with pastors as the attraction – NOT Jesus…

    I mean, has a friend ever said – Come ona my church – my churcha come on.
    The Coffee, the picnics, sunday school, is great – The pastor – NOT so much…

    Seems “Todays Local Church” has much in common with the worlds system that uses “Titles” so you know who “the boss” is. So you know the Hierarchy, The pecking order.

    I mean – Just cause these guys…
    (pastors/leaders/reverends/clergy, who have been ordained by other, pastors/leaders/reverends/clergy, to keep the “Good Ole Boys Club” goin)…

    Was wondering – Anyone ordained – pastor/leader/reverend – in the Bible?
    Just how does that work – if it’s NOT in the Bible? Sorry – So many questions… 😉

    Oh well, that’s probably NOT important – And – Just cause these guys tell us sheepies we’re to use the Bible as our example – They do NOT really mean that. – And they do NOT really mean that they have to go by the Bible as their example either.

    Dont cha Know…
    That’s just a figure of speech. – “Be a Berean – Check it out in the Bible.”
    Self Anointed Church Leaders do NOT like sheepies reading the Bible…
    Because, then sheepies ask hard questions – And eventually will dis-agree…

    And see that – Todays – pastors/leaders/reverends/clergy – Are…
    Addin lots and lots of stuff, and “titles,” to the scriptures – NOT in the Bible…
    Doin, and havin authority over, lots and lots of stuff – NOT in the Bible…

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

    Like

  26. Good morning Amos,

    There you go again. Insisting that everything pass the test of Scripture. As if there were some sort of principle called something like, maybe, sola scriptura.

    Really, just who do you think you are? A member of some sort of priesthood or something? As if all believers are some sort of priest (or priestess)?

    Keep up the good work!

    Like

  27. Oh my! what would it do to the establishment if we all started being the Priesthood of Believers? Boy, I would love to see that.
    Oh, wait……we are already witnessing the beginnings of it right here!
    Keep up the good work guys!

    Like

  28. My ex-Pastor (I left two months ago) had a great little tool in his arsenal for sticking labels of rebellion, pride and unbelief on the flock. Once the label was attached, it became a reason why concerns should not be raised.

    The conversation might go like this:

    P: You are full of pride and rebellion

    A: No I am not.

    P: And there is your deception. We are *all* full of pride and rebellion. I am indeed the worst of sinners!

    A: Yes, it’s true we are all full of sin.

    P: So you see, it’s your pride and rebellion that causes you to criticize me.

    He was clearly a very humble man, acknowledging such sinfulness so candidly.

    Like

  29. P: So you see, it’s your pride and rebellion that causes you to criticize me.

    A: No, it’s your pride and rebellion that prompts me to constructively approach you as a fellow child of God.

    Like

  30. Gary W

    This was good @ OCTOBER 24, 2013 @ 7:24 AM…
    “He does not counsel resistance. He does not counsel intervention. He does not counsel any attempt to correct, discipline, reconcile, reform, or any such thing. He counsels flight. I submit, therefore, that the correct response whenever **a so-called pastor elevates himself**, to whatever degree, the Author of Wisdom calls us to flight.”

    This was a tough lesson for me to learn…
    Being such a “Spiritual Giant” and all – I thought I could fix things… 😉

    All I had to do was “Speak the Truth in Love” How could they resist? BUT…
    Those with the – Power – Profit – Prestige – seem to always win – for now…

    And – Today I even question “The Reformation” – Good? Or Evil?
    All the Re-formers did is RE-Form a “Corrupt Religious System”
    It’s just has a New Form – It’ still “Corrupt” and still a ‘Religious System.”

    Because – Jesus did NOT “RE-Form “The Religious System” of His Day…

    He Left It…

    As you exhort – “Wisdom calls us to flight” – And Jesus took flight.

    Jesus Left That System – And “Called out Ones – His Diciples – His Ekklesia,
    Out of that “Corrupt Religious System” – Into a relationship with Him… 😉

    And that was “the System” Jesus set up – those were His Priests – His Law…

    They were Oh so close – But – **Jesus did NOT intervene** – He could have tweaked it a bit – Said, That Lamb you’ve been killing all these years; that was pointing to me. It’s My Blood that cleanses you ALL from ALL your sin. Just put the Law aside, I’ve fulfilled the Law, and enjoy My Grace. My Love.

    But – Jesus, did NOT make **any attempt to correct, discipline, reconcile, reform, or any such thing.**

    Jesus just left…

    Like

  31. Gary

    “… constructively approach you as a fellow child of God”?

    P: What arrogance! What presumption! Look what happened when Peter dared to question Jesus. When Miriam stood up against Moses. We must not correct each other. Not even God corrects me – the Holy Spirit intercedes for me! Don’t you realize I have to give an account to God for your soul? That is an awesome responsibility. Whatever you do to others you do to Jesus. So If you fail to obey me, you are disobeying Jesus. If you criticize me, you are criticizing Jesus. It’s frightening!

    Like

  32. P: . . . If you criticize me, you are criticizing Jesus.

    A: Ah, to criticize you is to criticize Jesus? I see. It was you of whom Jesus spoke when he said, “For many will come in my name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and they will lead many astray.”

    Like

  33. Indeed!

    I never quite got that far, leaving with “I cannot and will not stay in a church in which the Pastor preaches himself into a position beyond correction”

    Like

  34. Chris,

    It’s probably best that I not get involved in another institutional “church” setting. I might not be able to avoid the temptation to set up just the kind of conversation you’re portraying. No, no. Not productive at all. Too much fun, though only once you have figured out what’s going on. Unfortunately, most people get blindsided, and it’s extremely painful — especially when they have been putting their hearts into trying to live up to the expectations of the “pastor,” they have innocently thought to be a true minister.

    Like

  35. Reading your conversation has been funny, yet not funny, Chris and Gary W.

    I remember those days when I was in healthy churches, where my pastors were true shepherds and I trusted them to care for my soul. Now after BGBC and blogging and reading so many stories, I know too much of the “dark” side. It makes me sad.

    Like

  36. Julie Anne,

    In one of Chuck O’Neal’s above tweets he described bringing sinners to repentance & faith through the ministry of Law & Gospel.

    He may have been endoctrinated to focus more Law and Sin Centered rather Christ Centered. Which may mean he endured some spiritual abuse.

    I guess that could explain a few things. Can people who grow up with abuse become abusers?

    Like

  37. What a classic! I just came across this quote in my newsfeed:

    “Few things can breed insecurity faster than trying to maintain a position that we have gained by our own promotion or manipulation.”

    How insecure would you need to be to drive, fatigued, through the night (putting not just yourself, but others in danger!) just to maintain your position in an organisation?

    Like

  38. I guess that could explain a few things. Can people who grow up with abuse become abusers?

    Yes, absolutely they can. He was saved while in the military. I certainly don’t recall him mentioning any abuse.

    My understanding is that he was temporarily filling in while looking for a pastor. At the time, he was a student at Multnomah Bible and had not yet graduated. The church voted him in before he graduated. Think about a young guy having the responsibility of shepherding a church with no prior experience, no mentoring and absolutely no accountability. That is a recipe for disaster – – especially if one’s personality craves power and control.

    Like

  39. I’m not so sure one being indoctrinated in a Sin and Law Centered Ministry could be able to identify being in an abusive situation, if that is all they ever known.

    As for craving power and control, one has to wonder if the basis for that is fear of failing or could it be a combination of reckless indoctrination and a militaristic lights out at 1:00 a.m. and lights on at 5:00 a.m. with the floors scrubbed with a tooth brush while bouncing a marble off a tightly made bed and being able to catch it..
    (which would be fine if you were in a fox hole defending yourself from enemy attack).

    I think in my former Pastor’s case he carried a lot of baggage that made him bitter and full of un-forgiveness which only made him even more aggressive in his Law and Sin Centered ministry.

    Like

  40. Gary

    Yes, you describe me perfectly in your last sentence. It’s the spiritually keen that often end up most vulnerable! We have invested much trust and loyalty. Painful that this man, who I thought loved me so much, could invest so much energy and scheming deception in order to destroy me.

    Can people who grow up with abuse become abusers? Certainly. I believed naively that this man, having grown up in and rejected (aged 14) life in an authoritarian, separatist, puritanical, semi-christian commune in Paraguay’s jungle would know how to protect us all from overbearing religion. He was abused much. And yet he turned out (after many years) to mirror their behaviour exactly.

    Very sad.

    Thanks, Barb, Julie Anne, for your welcome!

    Like

  41. Chris:

    You are so right. In reading your last comment, I can sense you have really gone through a lot. It’s so hard when the abuse is from someone who is supposed to be in a position of trust. I’m sorry to hear that.

    The underlying common denominator with all abuse is control. It does make sense when you think about it – – if a child was the victim of abuse – – someone took away a child’s control – – that they would have a need to be in control later in life (first for their own protection). Not all who are abused will abuse, but it certainly happens.

    I remember when I was in junior high, there was a commercial on tv saying that 9 out of 10 victims of child abuse end up abusing (I don’t know if that statistic is still valid some 35 years later). I told myself that I would be that one who didn’t.

    Sadly, while I did not physically abuse, I did enable some abuse in our home. By aligning with certain parenting methods, spiritual groups, I enabled it. It has been through blogging that I have come to some of these conclusions. Ugh. I really want to be completely free from this.

    Like

  42. My own belief is that people who were abused as children tend to become abusers as adults. This blog is for people who have suffered spiritual abuse. Some here have suffered other forms of abuse. I suspect that the majority of the perpetrators of this abuse were themselves abused as children. This prompts me to wonder whether this circumstance should have any affect on how victims, and others, should view and deal with abusers.

    Some might say that prior victimization excuses the one who now abuses. Some might say that victims and their advocates should simply look the other way, ignore and submit to the abuse, take no action, and simply continue to receive the abuse as the cross God himself has given the victim bear. After all, Jesus taught us to turn the other cheek.

    If I try to place myself in a situation where I am actually struck on the cheek, it seems to me that the effect of turning the other cheek would be to defuse the immediate situation. It would be much in the same vein as a soft answer turning away wrath. Therefore, I submit that there is nothing to prevent walking away, there is nothing that requires us to stay in or return to an abusive situation. To do so would actually be detrimental to the abuser because it would enable them to continue in their sin.

    Abusers do need help. That will have to come from outside the abusive situation. It is not up to victims to “cure” their abusers. They cannot do so. Probably, for the most part, the most victims can accomplish where their immediate abusers are concerned is to FLEE and WARN. If laws have been broken, the crimes are best reported — not as a matter of retaliation or of vengeance, but in order to help keep others from being victimized. Entanglement with the law may even be the very thing an abuser requires to awaken him to his need for help.

    In the meantime, my heart is for victims. Abusers will have to apply to somebody else for sympathy and support. Unless and until an abuser acknowledges their sin and demonstrates true repentance, I will deal with them as a shepherd would deal with wolves. I submit that this is in keeping with our Lord’s example in His dealings with the religious leaders of his day.

    Like

  43. Julie

    That must be very tough, understanding that you were party to abusive parenting methods. Thankfully I think we avoided extremes with our own children – although I am not as rigid with our 4th and 5th as I was with the first three. Were you able to have conversations with your children about it?

    ‘The underlining common denominator is control’. Yes, it appears so. This man, as a child, was removed from his parents at a young age and placed with others in a ‘sister’ community miles away, because of his ‘rebellion’. He was dyslexic, a condition not understood by his teachers – and therefore mistreated by them. His educational vulnerability caused him, I think, to grasp at control in other areas and certainly left him with a detestation of not having it. Initially, in our church, that control was expressed benignly, in the sheer capacity he had for making others feel secure and protected ‘under his wing’. Nobody suspected an agenda.

    Gary

    Huge amount of sense in what you write. Your interpretation of the abomination of desolation had never occurred to me – but now it’s blindingly obvious. In such circumstances, the Author of Wisdom calls us to flight!

    Whether or not the Pastor can be excused for his actions due to his upbringing; whether or not he is aware of the extent of damage he is doing, may well be irrelevant questions, having no impact on the instruction to run. It is not for victims to play any further role in changing their abuser once at least some attempt at Matt 18 has been made – and failed.

    Like

  44. Chris, I have a wide spread of ages, 26 to 7. I have spoken with the older kids about this and limited discussion with the younger ones as my parenting has obviously changed as my awareness has changed.

    Like

  45. Ok. Not quite so wide here: 28 – 13,

    Hope nobody here minds if I have a quick vent for my own personal benefit.

    Woken up with a huge sense of the injustice of it all.

    Have given 27 years of my life and my family’s life to this church. Have loved and been loved. Trusted. Followed. Endorsed. Helped. Supported. Facilitated. Led the worship, led services, led music group. Taught (always asking Pastor if what I had brought was ok – after every session), Helped church become a charitable trust, served as chairman of trustees. Inner circle material!

    I don’t think there’s a malicious bone in my body – if I have any failings it is my tendency to be overly loyal. (Hence, I suppose, my position as chairman – others on trust board are all fiercely loyal co-dependents) My one fault was raising concerns with the Pastor privately last January.

    And now I am not only forced out of the church through systematic manipulation and fear, but my name is spoken against not only by my Pastor but by my closest friends, whom he has poisoned with his manipulative lies. I have no community and am now shunned. I’ve never spoken a word of any difficulties to my friends – and yet they refuse to talk to me.

    It’s not fair! It’s not right! It’s not just!

    There. Rant over. Quite mild really.
    Time to forgive again.

    Thanks for listening. I’m ok now ………

    Like

  46. Chris,

    Yep. That’s spiritual abuse alright. At least you’re no longer promoting the interests of a man who pretends to be one thing but who is really quite the opposite. You are no longer an unwitting narcissistic extension. Trouble is, no matter how much good you can find in your circumstances, the pain of betrayal is real and does not easily go away. The anger is real.

    We Christians can be afraid of anger. It can indeed lead us into sinful actions. The problem is that anger must eventually get expressed. It is said that, when it comes to anger, we repress to express. If we don’t express our anger, it will eventually come out sideways. What does not get expressed and resolved will actually harm our health.

    So, what to do? Well, I’m sure you do well to express your anger in safe, non-retaliatory ways, just as you have done here. For me though, this isn’t quite enough. For me, what is called for is action. I think it is from one of Rob Bell’s mini-videos that I got the idea that constructive action can play a large part in resolving anger.

    We might not be able to do anything to resolve the specific situation within which we were injured, but there will likely be ways we can address the kinds of injustice we have suffered. Each of us will doubtless find our own way, but I would not be surprised if our gracious and loving Lord begins to bring you into contact with others who you can help to carry through their own unjust suffering at the hands of supposedly Godly “pastors.”

    FWIW

    Like

  47. Chris

    Wow – What Grace-filled rant – You’re much nicer than I…

    I’m sorry for what you went thru – Sounds very familiar… Oy Vey!!! 😦

    Pretty much best friends with the pastor one day… .
    The next day – NOT so much…

    Went thru a lot together…
    But – Made the mistake of Questioning – Challenging – Debating…
    Some theology – Some personal weaknesses… ;-(
    Things can get ugly – Pretty fast…

    So – This is a little late – But – Next time – I’ll be preprepared… 😉

    ———-

    ***Danger – Danger – Warning – Warning***

    Questioning – Challenging – Having a different opinion from…

    Those with the Titles – Those with the – Power – Profit – Prestige

    Those who call themselves -” Spiritual Leaders” – “Spiritual Authority”

    ***Will be very dangerous to your “Spiritual Health”***

    ———–

    The Pain and Darkness is horrible…
    Being “Crucified by Christians” ain’t fun – Lost everything…
    BUT – Their appeared out of the Darkness – a benefit…
    I had NO place else to go – But – To Go To Jesus.

    And – I like Jesus… A Lot… 😉

    I have this “Rule of Thumb” now…

    Always Do what you know to be right – Have integrity – And…

    Expect to be asked to leave…
    After all – We can’t have two visions here. – That’s division…
    Now I beseech you, brethren, mark them which cause divisions…Ro 16:17

    Expect Pride to Protect the “Titles”- The Power – Profit – Prestige – Position…

    Expect Pride to Protect the – Tradition – Institution – Establishment…

    So it has always been…
    So shall it always be…

    In the “Organizations Built By Man.”

    What is popular is NOT always “Truth.”
    What is “Truth” is NOT always popular.

    Like

  48. But Amos! If we follow your advice, there will be no place for us!! There will be nowhere to turn except to Jesus!!!

    Like

  49. “But Amos! If we follow your advice, there will be no place for us!! There will be nowhere to turn except to Jesus!!!”

    Hee Hee! Some of us had to learn that the hard way!!!

    Like

  50. Which of us has not fallen into the trap of thinking that a so-called pastor would give us unconditional love? Well, if you want to know what unconditional love feels like, and if your relationship with Jesus still resides more in the abstract than in real life experience, get a dog.

    To experience human love it will often, if not always, be necessary to first extend love. To experience what returned love feels like, raise a kitten. If you want to experience the rewards of extending unconditional love, domesticate a feral cat. I have seen it done, and the rewards are great.

    I had best not comment on how this all relates to marriage.

    Like

  51. Gary W

    Your post-so true.
    We got a feral kitten at 3-4 mo’s old who’s feral mom got killedwhen the litter was very young.
    She has challenged me because I was so used to receiving affection from my former cats. With this one it is on her terms. She does not like to have her space invaded unless she comes to you. She does not like to be pet-but loves to play. She has a window of about an hour a day where she will come to you and sit near you, but mostly at least 3 feet away, though she likes to be near. Purring is infrequent though she rubs herself on you in the morning-For her food!
    I suspect she was not nurtured by mom- someone found 5 kittens and bottle fed them still they were old enough to be taken to adoption facility.

    So yes, I have had to experience giving love without the return I desire from a pet.
    It has taught me a lot.
    And helped me understand my own holding back of love.

    I for one would welcome more insights from you!

    Like

  52. Gary

    FWIW?

    More than you may realize! Simply to hear another reasoned voice of sanity brings a measure of healing and balance. Yes, I suspect that without some kind of constructive action, the experience could be wasted and personal benefit which accompanies helping others might be missed. Barb has made a suggestion or two which I might follow up. Indebted to her for quite lengthy email correspondence.

    Unconditional love to feral cats / marriage? Interesting thought!

    A. Amos Love – thank you!

    Like

  53. Hi Gary W – ALL

    Yeah – Wouldn’t that be horrible? – No place to go – But to Jesus…

    Wasn’t it Jesus who said in John 5:39-40…
    “Search the scriptures;
    for in them **ye think** ye have eternal life:
    and they are they which testify of me.
    **And ye will not come to me.**
    that ye might have life.

    And, “WE,” His Ekklesia, His Body, His church, have to fight through this battling battalion of human pastors, in order for “WE” to get to Jesus. The “ONE” Shepherd.

    Paid Professional Pastors, who taught “WE,” they are special, called of God, to “lead” “WE.” And “WE” are to Follow them, Obey them, and Pay them. And “WE” do. Trusting a man – When the Bible tells us – “Cursed is the man – Who trusts in man. And “WE” curse ourselves… Sheeesh. – And “WE” become disappointed in Mere Fallible Human pastors who can NOT Love, Forgive, Show Mercy, Lay down their life for “WE” sheepies – Agape style – Like Jesus – The “Good” Shepherd – The “ONE” Shepherd…

    I have this Theory – Just as the “Law” was given as a schoolmaster…
    To “Lead us” to Christ.

    So are human shepherds who – Lord it over – Exercise Authority – Abuse…
    Who cause us – Pain, To Cry, To Doubt, To Question, To Challenge…
    Who cause us to Study the Word for ourselves – To Find Truth – Find Jesus…
    Are given, just like the schoolmaster – In a painful way…

    To “Lead us” to Christ.

    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.
    John 10:16

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  54. Gary W – ALL

    And, I now see this verse, preached a lot by pastors, a little differently today.

    Jer 3:15
    And I will give you **pastors according to mine heart,**
    which shall feed you with *knowledge* and *understanding.*

    Well, “Understanding?”
    Is this what “WE” need? From human shepherds?
    Human “Understanding???” When “WE” are asked in Pro 3:5, – To…

    Trust in the Lord with all your heart.
    Lean NOT on your own “Understanding.” Hmmm?

    And – “Knowledge?” Doesn’t “Knowledge” puff up?
    Is this what “WE” need? From human shepherds?
    Human “Knowledge?” When “WE” are taught in 1 Cor 8:1…

    “we all have knowledge. “Knowledge puffeth up,” but LOVE edifies

    So, now, with “Understanding” and “Knowledge” NOT so beneficial…
    What about – **pastors according to mine heart,** who are feeding us…
    This “Understanding?” and “Knowledge?”

    When I’m full of “Understanding?” and “Knowledge?”
    Does that take me “Away” from God – Less dependant on Jesus?

    Are **pastors according to mine heart,** are NOT so beneficial?

    Other then – getting “WE” so frustrated with Human pastors…
    That their foolishness – Their Abuse, Their Errors, Their falling short…
    Leads us to Christ?

    Why do “WE” want these Mere Fallible Human shepherds?

    Whe Jesus wants to be our “ONE” Shepherd?

    Jer 50:6
    “My people” hath been “lost sheep:”
    **their shepherds** have caused them to *go astray,*

    1 Pet 2:25
    For ye were as *sheep going astray;*
    BUT are now returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of your souls.

    I’m Blest… I’ve returned to the Shepherd and Bishop of my soul…

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  55. Hey all – feel free to continue this discussion here or on the new post. I’m trying to use better keywords/tags so that these important discussions can be found more readily when someone is searching. Chris’ topic is so important.

    Like

  56. Hannah,

    Though I have only been a spectator, I have with great amazement observed the domestication of adult feral cats. Lots of one-way love expended. No immediate reward. Absolutely NO pushing them. And lo and behold, after many months the day comes when these strictly outdoor feral cats both seek out and return the most amazing affection. It doesn’t always work out to this fullness of returned love, but it seems there is never complete failure. I rather suppose that’s how Jesus finds it is with us.

    Like

  57. “now I’m dying of curiosity what you mean about how it relates to marriage.”

    Not qualified to go there. Don’t want to go there. It would require that I get into how this domesticator of feral cats once domesticated a feral cad.

    Just kidding. Sort of.

    Like

  58. Julie Anne,

    Most churches like work places claim to have open door policies but few ever really embrace it.

    What they do in exchange when concerns or questions are raised is they retaliate.

    In Chris’s case (like many of us who asked questions) the retaliation is unrelenting and takes time to find an understanding why it happened.

    For me I needed to understand my former Pastor’s Methodology or Doctrine and that was enough to trigger deceitful retaliation against me, while purposely keeping his doctrine a mystery.
    But truthfully is was a handful of women that supported the Pastor that treated my wife the worse, even though I was the one scratching the surface.

    I’m a little curios if the kind of questions Chris was asking involved Doctrine or Methodology of the Pastor

    Like

  59. Mark

    This is the letter I read to him.
    I think it may answer your question.

    http://goo.gl/ATyWGq

    There in no mention of specific doctrines, exploration of legalism, structure of the church, or other disturbing elements at this stage.

    I wanted to avoid arguments over doctrine, focusing on one aspect of the unhealthy dynamics of this church.

    Like

  60. And, he added, “we do not need to have control of our rights taken away from us, to be forced to licence that in which we have invested at uneconomic prices, to simply allow huge tech firms to make even huger profits”. Yes, music companies needed tech companies just like tech companies need content, but “as someone who invests in music – and when I looked at the numbers a few years ago we had written off ??25 million in unrecouped advances to artists over the years – it makes me fume when politicians cosy up to the big techs at our cost and spout philosophically about the needs of the modern world, about us being dinosaurs, and about music’s irresistible urge to be liberated and free”.

    Like

  61. I wanted to share a video of last weds. night’s service at my church. Our pastor does this frequently about talking about where he came from in his life.

    Start the vdeo at the 48:30 mark until about 55:00

    It’s starting to get to me that he is being manipulative

    Like

  62. filledupwithdown

    I listened to some of the video and where you suggested…

    Can you be a little more specific?

    Why do you think Chris Morgan “is being manipulative?”

    Wether in the video or in your experience with him?

    Like

  63. This describes exactly how my pastor is. I hope he will read this link and repent.
    He is the most arrogant fellow I know and keeps preaching about humility.
    Can someone suggest a clever way I can make him read this without letting him know that I played a part in bringing it to his attention?

    Like

  64. Bill

    Thanks for asking – But…
    I doubt you, or anyone, can fix an arrogant pastor. 😦

    I’ve tried. So have others here. But those with the power usually win. For now.

    When confronting a pastor/leader/reverend, things can get ugly very fast.

    You might want to consider leaving… Ask Jesus what to do…

    My Sheep – Hear My Voice – I know them – and they Follow Me. John 10:27.

    xxxxxxxxxx

    Don’t know if you ever noticed, or checked, but…

    In the Bible…
    How many of His Disciples called them self pastor?
    Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?

    How many of His Disciples called another Disciple pastor?
    Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?

    In the Bible…
    How many of His Disciples mis-appropriated the “Title” pastor?
    Or shepherd? Or leader? Or reverend?

    In the Bible…
    How many of His Disciples became…
    Paid, Professional, Pastors, in Pulpits, Preaching, to people, in Pews?

    What did His Disciples know 2000 years ago???

    That your arrogant pastor “Ignores” and “Twists” and “Misses”** Today.

    John 10:16
    And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold:
    them also I must bring, and they shall “hear My voice; “
    and there shall be “ONE” fold, and “ONE” shepherd.

    One Voice – One Fold – One Shepherd – One Leader

    {{{{{{ Jesus }}}}}}

    Like

  65. My pastor is just like this, even worse at times. I go to church wanting to hear about Jesus and instead feel like all I’m really hearing is him tooting his own horn, under the guise of serving us, of course. He acts like our church is the only one doing ministry out there, always applauding our efforts as if everything we’ve done exceeded anything any other church is doing. It’s sickening to hear really.

    I’m learning to pray for him though, since he hardly takes any feedback from anyone, and I don’t see him handling criticism well. The only reason I haven’t left is because my family attends there and knows quite a few people in the church. Otherwise, I would’ve kindly dropped a note of explanation and constructive criticism in the offering plate and disappeared already. This both angers and disgusts me.

    Like

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