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Churches That Abuse Paperback – July, 1993

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 253 pages
  • Publisher: Zondervan (July 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0310532922
  • ISBN-13: 978-0310532927
  • Product Dimensions: 0.5 x 4.2 x 7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.6 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (19 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #311,469 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

69 of 71 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on May 23, 1999
Format: Paperback
There is a myth out there that unless the church is part of some far-out cult it is 100% safe.
The truth is there are churches that abuse, even in mainline and evangelical protestant denominations.
The book perpetuates the myth some as the examples are given from more cult-ish groups.
No, not every church abuses. Sometimes otherwise healthy, vibrant churches can have unhealth, abusive pockets or sub-groups in them due to the negative influence of one or two leaders. And emotionally abusive parents can visit spiritual abuse on their children even in an overall healthy church.
The outline of the chapters in the book gives an excellent guide for evaluating one's church experience and if it is abusive:
Ten characteristics of churches that abuse:
* Abusive churches use fear, guilt and threats:
1. Control-oriented leadership
2. Manipulation of members
* Abusive churches see themselves as special:
3. Spiritual elitism (e.g., dogmatism)
4. Perceived persecution
* Abusive churches foster rigidity:
5. Lifestyle rigidity (e.g., legalism, performance oriented)
6. Emphasis on experience (e.g., experience of leaders is key source of truth)
* Abusive churches discourage questions:
7. Suppression of dissent (e.g., dogmatism--only our view is right; "trust and obey")
8. Harsh discipline (e.g., legalism, shunning, control of dating & family relationships, etc.)
* Abusive churches make leaving painful:
9. Denunciation of other churches (e.g. salvation is only through us, our brand of faith)
10. A painful exit process (shunning, humiliation, starting over in relationships and/or financially)
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful By Charity Johnson on November 24, 2007
Format: Paperback
There are extreme forms of church abuse and subtle forms. As we grow as individuals we need to learn how to use our wisdom to prevent us from getting involved in abusive situations like church cults. I really didn't need to read much of this book to know the author's motivation for writing it. I was a member the church that ultimately inspired Mr. Enroth to write this book. Fortunately for me, I was not easily controlled, but there were still things that I went along with simply to appease people I assumed were my friends. Unfortunately, there were members who were not a strong willed and this led to broken homes, severed relationships, and suicide attempts among many other things that left me questioning my own sanity for being involved in something that so obviously had nothing at all to do with God. Read this book if you or someone you know is involved in a religious cult because it might very well save a life or at the very least save someone's sanity.
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26 of 28 people found the following review helpful By M. White on December 17, 1999
Format: Paperback
This book is a must-read for those who have suffered spiritual abuse, and for those who work with them. Mr. Enroth gives many real life stories of persons who became involved in harmful churches and groups. He shares what happened to these individuals, and then describes the patterns of abuse so that the reader can recognize signs of abuse or potential abuse. The reader will be able to see the similarities among various groups. The psychological and sociological ramifications are described. An extremely important contribution; this book will enlighten, warn, instruct, and maybe even shock you.
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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By J. Smith on May 28, 2006
Format: Paperback
In a world of "mega-churches" and cults of personality, it more important to arm oneself with the truth, and not someone else's version of it. While the examples in the book are taken from the late 1980's, and back about a century, there are many examples everyday of the devastating consequenses of spiritual abuse. Whether it is David Koresh and the Branch-Davidians, Jim Jones and Jonestown, or even Andrea Yates (who's mental illness was only worsened by her husband's minister) the results are tragic. Bad churches happen when good people don't step up and say anything. Read this book and recognise the patterns.
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25 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 17, 2001
Format: Paperback
This book was instrumental in revealing to me things that were wrong in the church I was attending when I read the book.
It helped me know I wasn't "crazy" or rebellious or misunderstanding things. I was being abused and God used the truths in this book to set me free.
"Who the Son sets free is free indeed..."
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19 of 21 people found the following review helpful By arover2 on November 30, 2004
Format: Paperback
This is a excellant book. Not only for active Christians to read and study, but also for those who have been hurt in life, by Churches that have abused them.

This book came too late for me. I was a convert to a well known "church" denomination, that is a thriving cult in itself.

We were required as faithful members to attend special rituals, that were considered secret and "sacred". Along with this holy ritual we were sworn to secrecy with secret handshakes, signs, tokens and symbols. These things not to be shown to the outside world, or even to fellow Christians.

Coming out of this "church", and breaking away from it, was a mind wrenching experience. And taking it's toll on emotions was devistating.

This book should be read by even those in pastoral seminaries and bible schools also, as to how a Church should not be conducted by those in power.

Church counselors, and those in mental health professions could do well reading this book.
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