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106 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gateway out of a lifetime of spiritual bondage.
Ken Blue interweaves simple, down-to-earth definitions of spiritual abuse with examples from the experiences of real people. Having grown up in an abusive church, I found it difficult even to give myself permission to pick up this book and start reading. His style was disarming, and the accounts of people's experiences were chillingly compelling. After the first few...
Published on November 20, 1998

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Okay read....no healing found
Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience does not help the healing. Testimonials and extreme abuse some self-inflected is found in this text. Good read for a first book on healing....but it will only scratch the surface for healing. Sometimes you might be able to stay at the same church and slowly help the abusers to see their wicked ways and...
Published 12 months ago by Michael M


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106 of 107 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A gateway out of a lifetime of spiritual bondage., November 20, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience (Paperback)
Ken Blue interweaves simple, down-to-earth definitions of spiritual abuse with examples from the experiences of real people. Having grown up in an abusive church, I found it difficult even to give myself permission to pick up this book and start reading. His style was disarming, and the accounts of people's experiences were chillingly compelling. After the first few chapters, I was able for the first time in my life to use the word abuse in connection with that church.
Near the end, the author includes a checklist of characteristics of a "Significantly Abberant Christian Oraganization." Honestly scoring my church on that list is what precipitated my escape, for it gave me compelling, common-sense reasons for breaking off contact with that organization.
Walking away from spiritual abuse is a slow, painful process. My journey to healing didn't start, or end, with this book. But it was essential to one of the most significant steps I had to take in leaving the abusive environment behind.
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48 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Awesome Book, October 18, 2000
By 
Dubs70 "dubs70" (Washington, DC United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience (Paperback)
Ken Blue disucssed not only the abused side of spiritual abuse, but also covered the abuser. This was a balanced look at where spiritual abuse comes from, and steps to take to be healed from it. It had an awesome emphasis on the grace of God. All those who have been feeling like the church has done more harm than help to them should read this book. There is a firm biblical foundation in all that is written. It was an awesome book to read to get a better understanding of what is really going on whith the church, and how people are able to abuse church goers so easily. I would recommend it to all people who are in the church, be they part of the church staff or occasional church goers.
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32 of 32 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars An challenge to abusive churches, a comfort to the abused., May 15, 1998
By 
This review is from: Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience (Paperback)
This book reflects the passion of the author, Ken Blue, whose theological life is focused on helping wounded church goers while being a source of correction and challenge to the status quo within Christianity. A good read for any casual or serious churchgoer, this book crosses demoninational boundries. Care and concern are expressed not only to the abused, but to the abuser as well. Any member of the clergy would be well advised to have a copy of this on hand in their library.
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21 of 21 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Six stars, April 21, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience (Paperback)
Most books I've read on this subject focus mainly on extreme spiritual abuses. This book covers the more subtle, gray shades of abuse that are so much more common--and does so by cutting to the sources of errant teaching on authority/submission. I needed this one badly.
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17 of 17 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars it's pretty good, September 11, 2003
By A Customer
This review is from: Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience (Paperback)
It'd help me identify that my church was similar as the one identified in the book. I thought it was literally talking about my church which used high degree of authority, controlling our lives, and losing our freedom. I went to this church as a new Christian not really knowing what it is like to be in a body of Christ. This book helped me identify that i wasn't alone in this kind of abuse. Although it did that it does not help when it coems to bringing healing from it. it does a very good job of identifying it and describing the ones who inflict spiritual abuse upon the persons and identifythe types of victims, however it doesn't help bring solutions in healing. I kind of got really discouraged considering, although I had been out of that church a half a year ago, my Christian walk is suffering out of confusion. I wish he'd do more of how to be healed and after being in a spiritual abuse which i think most people would find it helpful.
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11 of 11 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars What a Blessing!, March 30, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience (Paperback)
I highly recommend this book for anyone who is hurting from having been put down, abused, hurt, shamed or just plain bulled by their "spiritual" leader(s). Ken does an excellent job of showing what Scripture actually says about leaders and their role in the body. And he shows you just what your responsibility to the body is and where that responsibility ends. Many well meaning pastors today cross that line and Ken shows you Biblically where it is.
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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Should Be Required Reading for every Religious person, May 21, 1998
By A Customer
This review is from: Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience (Paperback)
This book is very helpful in relationships, especially pastoral to congregation relationships, but is very effective in protecting the integrity of interpersonal relationships as well. Though written from a Christian perspective, it can be helpful to every religiously oriented individual. This is because, with religion being so focused on right from wrong, it is easy to overstep onto someone, and accuse them or treat them as if they have done something morally or ethically wrong, when in fact they have not. This is the general them of the book, and it is written with a sensitivity to both the abused, who need healing, and to the abuses, who also need healing and correct information. Written in clear, straight forward English, it was a pleasure to read.
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17 of 20 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the Top 3 titles on this subject, May 27, 2005
By 
Ronald M. Henzel (Cape Coral, FL USA) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience (Paperback)
Along with Ronald Enroth's "Churches That Abuse" and Harold L. Busséll's "Unholy Devotion," this book shares the highest place on my list of books that helped me overcome a 5-1/2 year experience (1987-1992) of intense spiritual abuse, and thus I believe it will also help others. The first chapter is "An Invitation to Freedom," and chapters 2 through 6 focus on the characteristics of spiritually abusive leadership. The brief treatment in chapter 7 of "Who Gets Hooked and Why" supplements Busséll's book (which is subtitled "Why Cults Lure Christians"), and the final three chapters ("Healed by Grace," "Healthy Church Leadership," and "Healthy Church Discipline") contain much that will help victims pursue the path of recovery.

I don't understand why the reviewer from Heidelberg came to such negative conclusions about this book. Perhaps some of its points do not translate perfectly across cultures, or into her culture in particular. Perhaps spiritual abuse manifests itself with different issues in other countries than it does in the United States. It doesn't seem she ever gave her friends with the heavy-handed pastor a chance to profit from it, and that's a shame because their response may have altered her view.

In any case, it seems clear to me that she misread the author's intention on the points where she criticized him. Nowhere did he indicate that "any time a church develops some commonalities, this is a 'danger sign' for spiritual abuse to those who come in from the outside." Instead he was addressing the issue of being "preoccupied with a desire for uniformity among believers" (p. 76), and making too much of "external signs of devotion," (p. 77), as did the Pharisees of Jesus' time.

Nor is the author against referring to our leaders as "pastors." Rather, as the context on page 79 shows, he opposes leaders who *demand* titles of honor.

As for the reviewer's claim, "After reading how the author describes everything that is supposedly spiritual abuse, I cannot put together a picture of what a healthy church would look like at all," it makes me wonder if she read chapters 9 and 10 on "Healthy Church Leadership" and "Healthy Church Discipline." Her remark, "He does state 'all churches are abusive to some degree' (p. 95)," is from chapter 6.

My guess is that she read the book too hurriedly, perhaps out of a laudable concern to find the appropriate help for her friends as quickly as possible. But you can take my word for it: anyone who has truly suffered from spiritual abuse will not try to make this book a fast read, but may even read it a second and third time.
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9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Important book, May 26, 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience (Paperback)
This was one of the most important books I have ever read. I read it on the heels of coming out of an abusive group called Jews for Jesus. This book kept me from losing my faith in God after it had been eclipsed by over-controlling leaders. This book is a must read for anyone who wants to know if the leadership in their church or synagogue is using their authority in ways in line with the Bible. It could also help a person know what to look for when searching for a congregation.
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6 of 7 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Get a whiff of true freedom..., July 18, 2006
By 
Ed (Colorado) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience (Paperback)
This is a powerful exposition of Matthew 23 as it pertains to legalism in today's church. It is done from a loving but honest heart for the redemption and restoration of both the abused and the abuser. Those who've been hit over the head with manipulative tactics will likely find help identifying many of those tactics and then seeing a way forward for overcoming the damage done. I particularly appreciated the treatment of false authority, e.g., leaders quoting Hebrews 13:17 to demand the obedience of the local body versus true authority that comes from loving and serving others according to their needs (Matt 20:25, Mark 10:42, Luke 22:25, 2 Cor 1:24, 1 Pet 5:3, 1 Cor 11:1, John 13:3-5). Abusers caught in a pattern out of good intentions might begin to see their folly and impact on others in the light of grace and no condemnation, and possibly begin to find a change of heart and behavior. We're all capable of being legalistic and judgemental, being both an abuser as well as abused. Ken Blue's answer is beautiful and true: receive God's scandalous grace yourself and then share more of that grace with others.
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Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience
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