Personal Story: What Did the Church Teach You about Yourself?

Spiritual abuse, sex abuse, patriarchy, domestic violence, Sovereign Grace, Desiring God, CJ Mahaney, John Piper, Mental Health


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Part of recovery from abusive churches is coming to grips with what you were taught and how it affected you. Sometimes, and very appropriately, the ability to see this clearly results in anger. Jennifer Michelle posted about her experience on Facebook and gave me permission to share it. I think many of you will be able to relate to her experience. ~ja

What church doctrine taught me about myself:

Sin nature- all are born sinners. Children must be “trained,” and disciplined, and made to repent. Chastisement is sanctification. Suffering is holy. Anger is unholy- unless you’re a man in your home, a man behind a podium, or a white man in general. Sadness is selfish, a symptom of pride. Pride is to be avoided, as it is the ultimate sin, bad enough to bring down Lucifer. Free will is meaningless, because each and every instinct we have is sinful anyway, and should NOT be validated. Besides, what difference does free will make when God chose the “elect” before the foundations of the earth?

The law is our SCHOOLMASTER, but we will never “graduate” this side of heaven. We will NEVER be “sanctified” until we are “glorified” in death, in heaven.

Total depravity- nothing in us is innately good. We are putrid, vile, worthless, helpless sinners, and can ONLY be loved perfectly by a perfect GOD, and ONLY by His “mercy,” since we are all undeserving. Mercy is NOT something man can ever possess in the “flesh,” because the flesh is sinful. And we shouldn’t expect ANYONE to ever truly love us since we aren’t worthy of it, so we shouldn’t complain or be at all surprised when we are treated like shit, especially by our loved ones, and especially by authority figures, since God appoints them over us for our sanctification.

Nevertheless, God will send the Holy Spirit to live inside of you, should you “choose” to repent of your sins and invite Him in. But you can never be sure if He is guiding you, since you can never trust your instincts, and the Holy Spirit is a “still, small voice” that can easily be drowned out and “grieved.” Only by “renewing our minds” by telling ourselves bible “truths” over and over can we ever be “sure” we are doing, thinking, or living the right way. Even still, our minds are fallible, so we should seek “wise counsel” from more “spiritually mature” individuals who can interpret bible truths for us. But we can’t blame them if they are wrong, intentionally or otherwise, since they are also fallible. Also, remember that “the flesh” is constantly at war with “the spirit,” so just ignore the inner conflict you feel since we are called to be joyful in all circumstances. So be thankful for your pain, and don’t blame anyone. That would definitely be gossip.

Special thanks to Sovereign Grace Ministries, The Gospel Coalition, Desiring God Ministries, Living Waters, The Way Of The Master, Focus On The Family, and Grace To You. I want to send each of you my therapy bills.

Furthermore, why should my theology be informed by organizations who cover up child sexual abuse and lie about it? Organizations who oppress women and discriminate against minorities? Organizations who are fixated on “honoring God,” while excusing domestic violence? WHERE IS YOUR HONOR? These organizations do not wish to honor God, they wish to take the ROLE of God in their parishioners’ lives. Well, I’ve taken mine back.