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The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church Paperback – October 1, 2005
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About the Author
David Johnson has been the senior pastor at Church of the Open Door in Maple Grove, Minnesota, since 1980. During this time, the church has grown from a congregation of 160 to 3,000 people. A much sought-after speaker, he is a graduate of Bethel College and received his theological training at Bethel Seminary and Trinity Evangelical Divinity School. His Growing in Grace radio broadcast is syndicated internationally. David and his family live in Minnesota.
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I don't "love it" as my 5-star rating would indicate. What I appreciate is that it was written... and that it was written to pour light on a very dark subject.
The material in this book was instrumental in freeing someone very special to me as they were going through much about which the book warns.
If you're feeling that your position in the Messiah is based on "how well you're doing" in your works -- especially when the checklist is being mandated by someone in an authority position, please read this book. Experience that your position is secure in His work and not your own.
If you feel conviction, though, internally -- from the still, small voice, THAT is what you heed... and He will give you the strength to become more refined.
As C.S. Lewis says, "Of all bad men, religious bad men are the worst." This book will help be a guide to help you heal from those who wounded, those that spiritually manipulated and mistreated you.
This book is for leaders in the church to continue to learn healthy leadership. It is for the one who has been abused or the abuser to seek healing and change. Grateful for this book.
Thanks so much, David and Jeff, for writing this book,this has helped me to realize that i have NOT lost my mind, which seems to be what the leaders want to happen. The flock comes under mind control and complete brainwashing by not having any understanding of what is written in this book. This book exposes so many nuances one would ordinarily not pay any attention to. Anyone who asks questions to the leadership about Doctrine or anything, including finances, is shunned by leadership. Then, if you leave the group setting, you are labeled 'divisive' aka, a division maker or in rebellion. Perhaps you will be ''marked and avoided" as disobedient to God because you are questioning God's Anointed Leaders who "'know so much more than you".. Perhaps you will be accused of losing your salvation or that you will lose your salvation, because you've not removed enough sin from your life. I know Jesus is grieved at the heirlings in the Church. Jesus Christ did not give us a spirit of fear, or condemnation, yet, many are walking around in just that.
For it is written, in the end times, even the very elect will be deceived, and that there will be wolves in sheep's clothing.....This book is for everyone who is suspicious or just wants to learn what to watch out for in a Church, the warning signs, and the red flags. If there is no accountability for pastors, where is a sheep to turn? Does your church or group use the "Don't Talk Rule", secrecy, and yes, even financial secrets where no one is to ask any questions, which is very dangerous.. Does your 'group' have accountability to another ministry or godly counsel? Do you get donation emails and requests at each service? Are you asked to give more volunteer hours than you ever expected? Are you completely exhausted and just feel you must keep serving and serving, because it's for God? Please get this book, it may save your life! This book will provide you with tools to strengthen your discernment and know when to walk away.
Any group that has nothing to hide will have a budget for the attendees to see freely, discussions about church business, and the like.(Right?) Or, is this reserved for 'behind closed doors' only available to the leadership? Do your church leaders preach the Truth, and, then, do they walk in it, to the best of their ability? Does some of the Doctrine come from commentaries of extra-Biblical material that other men wrote? When there are guests visiting, do they receive preferential treatment? Are your leaders working out their issues, as they help you work out your issues? IS THERE GOD'S LOVE present, or is that only for certain 'in' groups; If your leaders are not loving the flock, as The Father and Jesus Christ love their Beloved, I think that sitting under this can cause much confusion, and we know that God is NOT the author of confusion. Are there only certain 'anointed' ones? Perhaps this Scripture (and others) have been used to frighten you, that says, TOUCH NOT mine anointed, and do my prophets no harm. There are many churches using this Scripture to intimidate the sheep. The Holy Bible says that we are ALL God's anointed!
I recommend this book to anyone who is in any kind of religious group, or thinking about becoming part of a group; the authors point out the signs and warnings to heed. God does not hold us to impossible standards, when we repent, HE is Faithful to forgive us. Saints, we must be sure to stay in forgiveness and then we can pray for the leaders and release them to God. Then, the atrocities committed and not repented for are between the leaders and God.
This little book explains all about the power the leaders have over the flock, and the employees; do the leaders serve the flock??? or only a 'special inner circle?' Are the attendees expected to give and give and 'keep in line' and not ask questions, and to serve the pastors? Even the sheep become deceived because we looked to leaders as:"safe'"people. This, my friends, we have realized, is Idolatry, and we have had to repent to God for that.
Do people of the body just quit calling you, because they were told not to speak with you? Perhaps they are told not to ask you why you have left, as obviously, if others 'knew' the truth, it would blow the group's 'cover'. We had to separate ourselves completely remembering we have freedom of thought.
The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse poses other questions, such as, do the leaders still talk about people who left years ago in a very unkind way? Could the leaders still have extreme Bitterness to the core, that keeps them bound to "WE ARE RIGHT, THEY ARE WRONG?' It is written, when bitterness comes it defiles everyone around. Do your pastor or pastors tell you who you can talk with, who you can have Bible study with, do they tell you, don't visit other ministries, because we are the only ones that are pure and Biblical? What would you think if the leaders position is, they don't believe in birth control for any family? Having multiple children have put people in poverty and then making it very difficult to leave the group.
Perhaps some of the sheep work there, and there are another set of rules for them. Because there is no disclosure of financial information, do you find a single mom with several children working there for minimum wage and having to get food stamps? Are there rules and regulations and 'protocols' that seem impossible to achieve? These are some of the many subtle things you might see; and much more.
We don't know how long healing will take, but thanks for prayers that God would send the right people into all our lives, and that we can trust that The Holy Spirit will reveal God's Word to us! It will be for God's Glory when we Overcome this spiritual abuse, and become stronger despite the wounding and broken hearts that we Trust God to Heal.
It is written, WOE UNTO THE PASTORS AND SHEPHERDS THAT SCATTER THEIR SHEEP, for GOD ALMIGHTY is on The Throne, and NOT any man or woman. (See Jeremiah 23 and Ezekial 34). and continue to pray for these people who have deceived themselves, in Jesus Name. Thanks for your prayers and draw closer to God,
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It is literally like the writers were looking into my old home church, took notes and wrote a book.Read more
those who teach or preach the Word.