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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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Top Customer Reviews
The key to preventing spiritual abuse is balance. God has placed boundaries around ministers and laypeople alike which should not be crossed. When the "leaders" run roughshod over the church members' boundaries while misusing Scripture to protect themselves from legitimate criticism, something is wrong. Pastors cannot claim authority reserved solely for God or expect to control people in ways that only the Holy Spirit can do. God has rules for leaders to obey, and ways for laymen to confront leaders about sin.
I have to disagree very strongly with those who say that this book is anti-leadership or that this book causes problems in churches.
One of the examples used in the book is about a pastor whose congregation expected too much of him. Yes, some churches do place burdens on pastors that are too hard to bear; so this book is for wounded ministers as much as for wounded laypeople. Yes, we're guilty of expecting our pastors do do everything when God really gives ministries to every believer.
Van Vonderen and Johnson warn people who read the book not to use what they have learned as a weapon, but to take action only in the proper spirit. Of course, any time someone takes action in a church, real problems will become visible. My question in every case is: are those problems caused by those speaking out, or have they been there all along and are only now being exposed?Read more ›
This book is one of the top two or three on the topic, and I highly recommend it to others. It's insightful, timely, and has plenty of examples to help "shine the light" on bad situations. I know it's effective, too: we receive hundreds of messages every year from those who have read the book and now feel liberated to love God again.
In no way does the book encourge parishoners to villify their pastors, or go looking for occasions to "feel abused." It does, however, help expose an all-too-frequent phenomena of pastors who, in the name of God, abuse their authority to achieve their own destructive desires.
One person is discussing repressed memories. What does that have to do with this book? He also says it describes every church he has been in. We have a tendency to gravitate toward those churches with leadership that align with our dysfunctions.
Another person talked of how the book destroyed their church. The person said a few members led a mutiny with the book. How did a few people take over a church? Where was the leadership and the membership? It sounds like the person is really grieving the loss of their church and that is a sad thing. If those people were engaging in known sin (and just not what the pastor didn't like), then those people were wrong. The book doesn't condone that. The authors are not responsible for people's distortion of the truth.
One set of comments is really troubling. They both are from the same city, probably the same person.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I wasn't exactly sure what to expect when I picked up this book--all I had to do was read the title to know that I have been spiritually abused. Read morePublished 4 days ago by Angel Y.
I highly recommend this book to all members of the Church. I found it to be very illuminating on the origins and effects of my own self-talk.Published 6 days ago by Tracy L Middleton
Very helpful book, highly recommended. I was in a "denomination" dominated by spiritual abuse for forty years. Read morePublished 1 month ago by Bandersnoot
Great read, very helpful. A gentle but powerful aid for those who have had to endure legalism. Recommend highly to anyone even just as refresher of Gods grace.Published 3 months ago by N.S.S
I have not gone to a spiritually abusive church in some time, so it felt dated to me. However, I am going back to school to get a degree in theology. Read morePublished 5 months ago by Noah's mom
Excellent in identifying spiritual abuse and allowing one to feel the deep painful places in order to gain freedom.Published 5 months ago by Treasures of the Heart
Every person should be aware of what spiritual abuse is, looks like and how it functions. Too many people are being wounded and hurt by leaders and systems and often stay bound to... Read morePublished 6 months ago by Bree