As we journey through this Life, we encounter many people, places and things. However, as Christians we will meet and befriend other Christians and other Churches besides having to deal with the secular world. Sadly, people of the Church are much like the unsaved – rude, indignant, haughty, vain and arrogant; precious few Christians, it seems, are loving and giving like the Scriptures purport what we are to be…‘Christ-like’.
When you read the Gospels, look at how Jesus walked with everyone. He never wavered on His belief or faith; He became our example of how Believers are supposed to walk, talk and work on this earth until He comes back. While Jesus was here, there were no ‘churches’ – Believers instead met and congregated to pray, serve and worship. It didn’t take long for fakes to arise to pull Christians from Jesus and focus on another gospel, another Spirit, another ‘Jesus’:
“And Jesus answered and said to them: “Take heed that no one deceives you. For many will come in My name, saying, ‘I am the Christ,’ and will deceive many.” Matthew 24:4-5
And the Apostle Paul said:
“I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed.” Galatians 1:6-9
How many churches and/or ministries does the average Christian belong to and give to in their lifetime? How many churches does a person ‘visit’ before selecting one that satisfies what they want in a church? The true Church is harder to find than you think. Real born-again Christ-centered Christians want to go to a church that loves and shows love, is bible-believing and charitable. You would think that should be easy.
Look at this survey by ChurchAbuse.com:
- Does your church tightly control the flow of information within its ranks?
- Does your [church/staff] spiritual leader use public shaming as a method to gain the compliance of followers?
- Is your [church/staff] spiritual leader intolerant of questions or critical inquiry?
- Is your [church/staff] spiritual leader the exclusive means of knowing “truth” or receiving validation?
- Does your [church/staff] spiritual leader have unreasonable fears about the outside world such as evil conspiracies or persecutions?
- Are you discouraged to associate with former members, being warned that they are “evil” or “defiling”?
- Is leaving your group to join another church equal to leaving God?
- Does the surrounding community view your church as a cult?
- Does your [church/staff] spiritual leader consider it evil persecution when criticized or questioned?
- Do the goals of your [church/staff] spiritual leader seem to supersede any personal goals or individual interests?
- Do you fear being rebuked, shunned, or ignored for expressing a different opinion?
- Do former members often relate the same stories of abuse and reflect a similar pattern of grievances?
Worse yet is a congregation that mimics what it sees and calls it normal. Church members get ostracized and spoken of in tight-knit groups as if we’re still in middle school. Making another Christian to stumble is outlined in the Book of Mark:
“…But whoever causes one of these little ones [new Christians] who believe in Me to stumble, it would be better for him if a millstone were hung around his neck, and he were thrown into the sea.”Mark 9:42
Any church or ministry that has spiritually abused a member of their congregation or organization is preaching another gospel, another Spirit, another Jesus. Spiritual abuse causes those that suffer from it to be paranoid, immobile, untrusting, angry, physically sick, indifferent and worst of all, without a church and perhaps eventual apostasy.