Tag Archive | Spiritual abuse

How to Deal with Personality Disorders among Church Leaders (Part 5 of 5)

I am not a clinician and this is not a prescription. This is my attempt to start a conversation which is long overdue. I welcome the input of Christian brothers and sisters whose education and experience better fit them to tackle this topic. Thankfully, you don’t need a psychology degree to start to construct a […]

Personality Disorders in the Church: Paranoid Personality Disorder (Part 4 of 5)

In my research on cults—and in my own experience as a former cult member—I have learned that many cult leaders evidence traits of undiagnosed personality disorders. What is a personality disorder? According to the Mayo Clinic: “A personality disorder is a type of mental illness in which you have trouble perceiving and relating to situations […]

“The Other Half of My Brain is My Grandmother”: Why Christians Must Learn to Think

I grew up in a Bible cult full of intelligent, sincere people. Many were college graduates. But when it came to studying the Bible, for the most part we rolled over and accepted whatever our pastor said. He was a Princeton grad and had attended seminary. He knew Greek and Hebrew. He had a commanding […]

Brother’s Keeper or Big Brother? 15 Signs of Surveillance in Your Church

We’re back to our series entitled “Frankenstein Faith” about scriptural distortions in the church and how to correct them. [You can see other posts in this series at the end of this post] In George Orwell’s famous dystopian book, 1984, the main character is ever aware of the presence of “Big Brother” looking on. In […]

To Train Up A Child… Abuser (Part 1)

Michael and Debi Pearl are the authors of To Train Up a Child: Turning the Hearts of the Fathers to the Children. The title of the book comes from Proverbs 22:6, which says “Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it.” The […]

Christian Leaders and the “Don’t Talk” Rule

Since I come out of a Bible cult background, I know something about unwritten rules. In cults and spiritually abusive churches there is something called a “Don’t Talk” rule, an unwritten, unspoken rule which says that you are not allowed to criticize or question the leader because they are God’s man or woman. To say […]

Only Baptists Go to Heaven

When I lived in Maine, I once saw a man leaning off the side of a railroad trestle, ready to jump. It was winter time and I knew if he plunged into the frigid water he would die. I ran over and said, “Don’t do it!” He looked at me plaintively and said, “Nobody loves me. […]

Grace-Based vs. Shame-Based Families and Churches

I have to confess that in my mission to confront spiritual abuse with grace and truth, I often write blog posts against aberrant doctrine or practices, rather than casting a vision for what God calls us to. Is it true that the purest form of Christianity is to define ourselves by what we are not? […]

How to Rescue Someone from a Cult

Okay, it’s not that simple. You usually can’t just rescue someone from a cult. Put aside images of white horses, commando raids, or black bulletproof sedans. While a few cult converts may walk away shortly after entering a spiritually abusive group, for most it is a longer process. It can take months or years. And […]

Frankenstein Faith: Vestigial Organs in the Body? Natural Family vs. Spiritual Family (Part 3 of 10)

As a four-year-old, I knew enough to realize that my sister was very sick. There was a blur of fluorescent lights in the Emergency Room, the cool swish of long white coats, a beeping of monitors, the smell of rubbing alcohol. I heard a whispered word: “tonsillitis.” Two days later my sister lay recovering at […]