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Toxic Faith Paperback – February 20, 2001


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Toxic Faith + The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church + Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Shaw Books; 1st Shaw ed edition (February 20, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0877888256
  • ISBN-13: 978-0877888253
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #161,771 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From the Inside Flap

Experiencing Healing from Painful Spiritual Abuse

When religion becomes a means to avoid or control life, it becomes toxic. Those who possess a toxic faith have stepped across the line from a balanced perspective of God to an unbalanced faith in a weak, powerless or uncaring God. They seek a God to fix every mess, prevent every hurt, and mend every conflict.

Toxic Faith
distinguishes between a healthy faith and a misguided religiosity that traps believers in an addictive practice of religion. It shows how unbalanced ministries, misguided churches, and unscrupulous leaders can lead their followers away from God and into a desolate experience of religion that drives many to despair. Toxic Faith shows readers how to find hope for a return to genuine, healthy faith that can add meaning to life. In the words of the author, ?I want to help you throw out that toxic faith and bring you back to the real thing.?

About the Author

Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Clinics, which provide Christian counseling and treatment throughout the United States. He is the host of the daily "New Life Live!" national radio program and the creator of the Women of Faith conferences. Jack Felton is a licensed therapist and an ordained minister at New Hope Christian Counseling Center and is president and founder of Compassion Move Ministries.

More About the Author

Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Ministries--the nation's largest faith-based broadcast, counseling, and treatment ministry--and is the host of the nationally syndicated "New Life Live!" daily radio program heard on over 180 radio stations nationwide. Steve is also the founder of the Women of Faith conferences, attended by over 3 million women.

Steve is a nationally known public speaker and has been featured in national media venues such as "Oprah," "Inside Edition," "Good Morning America," "CNN Live," the "New York Times," "USA Today," and "US News & World Report." In August 2000, Steve was inducted into the National Speakers Association's Hall of Fame. A best-selling author, Steve has written over 60 books, including the popular Every Man's series and his most recent book, "Healing Is a Choice." He has been nominated for numerous writing awards and has won four Gold Medallion Awards for writing excellence.

Steve has degrees from Baylor University and the University of North Texas as well as two honorary doctorate degrees. Steve resides with his family in Laguna Beach, California.

Customer Reviews

I recommend this book for anyone struggling with their faith!
Jeremy
If I can say there is something about its contents I did not like, it would be that reading it made take a good look at myself; to see others in a very different way.
Mary D. Willard
It is extremely difficult to extricate yourself from an abusive ministry and this book helps to identify the problems and give the reader a pathway to healing.
Adam Carswell

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

53 of 56 people found the following review helpful By A sojourner on November 14, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book exposes the beliefs, characteristics and rules of toxic faith. For the most part, these aren't practices we will stumble across and recognize. In fact, that's the problem: they come disguised as respectable and often successful, or as strong and effective leadership. Once exposed, however, many will recognize these experiences all too well.

In these settings, for example, you don't ask questions, you don't express your feelings, you don't do anything outside your role and you don't trust anyone (four of the ten rules of the toxic faith system).

These are religion systems that are often subtle yet abusive, significantly materialistic (money is viewed as an indicator of spiritual strength), manipulative and, at heart, mean.

The combination of naivete and the general desire of religious folks to serve their churches, schools and organizations have caused many to succumb and become innocent victims. Paradoxically, it may take faithful followers willing to commit "organizational suicide" and become "outcasts" of the system in order to force other religious addicts to face reality.

Religious addicts are experts at setting up "exclusive societies" of toxic faith believers. People prosper and succeed by supporting the beliefs and practices of the "persecuting leader(s)." Once inside, you may not be aware of a "destructive system," but you will likely notice that your guilt and anger only increases while your self-worth decreases.

Addictive, hateful, destructive religion in America seems to have exploded since the first publication of this book in 1991. Recovery, hope and freedom are available. "Overcoming" starts with "understanding" the truths contained in this book.
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28 of 28 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 6, 2004
Format: Paperback
This book helped me to see that any Christian can have unhealthy faith without realizing it! I really liked how Arterburn specifically explained each element of toxic faith. In addition, "Toxic Faith" helped me to understand the structure of an unhealthy system (i.e. a religious organization) and the role of all the players involved. This is a must-read for any Christian who wants to grow in his/her relationship with God. Also recommended for victims/former members of destructive religious cults.
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19 of 20 people found the following review helpful By Midwest Book Review on June 8, 2001
Format: Paperback
In Toxic Faith: Experiencing Healing From Painful Spiritual Abuse, Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton effectively collaborate to show how personal disappointments, loss, betrayal, distortion of religious concepts and scriptures, as well as unrealistic expectations of God, can damage faith. They then show how to heal distorted views of God as weak, distant, or uncaring; find release from striving to earn God's love; break free from an unhealthy dependency on religion at the expense of a personal relationship with God; and how to rediscover the reality of true faith in a loving God and move beyond the suffocating, distorting, spiritually impairing limits of a "toxic faith".
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Toxic sheep no more on August 28, 2009
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is such an important book- If I and my family had only been aware of this book's contents we might have `escaped' our toxic church prison twenty years earlier[...].

Arteburn and Felton cover the two extremes of what they have labeled as `toxic faith': Religion that promotes a God who loves you according to your performance level as opposed to a `Feel-Good' God who's only concern is our perfect happiness.

After twenty odd years in a hell-hole of a church that enslaved my mind, my body, my emotions, and most importantly my faith, I am researching with all my vim and vigor what enabled this demon church to survive.

Arteburn and Felton had an astute answer: me.
With my fear of God and His retribution for not following His `Voice From the Pulpit', I faithfully served my `Master'- my so-called `pastor'.

With the cunning of the cult leader that she is, she became my `Persecutor'.
Read more ›
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18 of 19 people found the following review helpful By mary willits on February 25, 2002
Format: Paperback
This book exposes how religion becomes unhealthy and addictive, and how it hinders our growth, faith, and perspective of God. It addresses both the believers, and the leaders. This book helped me gain valuable insight into my own personality, and what caused me to be attracted to cults and churches that were unhealthy, and also understanding of unhealthy leaders. It was very hard for me to understand how a leader could believe they were doing right, when in fact they were very far off base, and practices did not line up with scripture. My husband & I would often discuss whether leaders made a conscious effect to manipulate people and hurt people, or if they really thought they were doing right in God's eyes. This book answered a lot of puzzling questions, and helped me see what really happened. If a pastor was taught or believes he/she has to earn God's favor, and never grasped the concept of a healthy faith and grace in their own lives, they will project those same views to other believers and their congregations. This book gave me understanding. And understanding helped me to gain some empathy for those leaders who harmed us, and I was able to begin to overcome the resentment and anger I felt toward them. I find that Steven Arterburn and Jack Fenton's books are power packed with valuable insight, healthy balance, and key to helping people in recovery of any kind of addiction. I was truly blessed by their ministry, and found true fulfillment as a Christian believer, that was once tainted by spiritual abuse.
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