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Encyclopedia > Spiritual abuse

The term Spiritual abuse was coined in the late twentieth century to refer to abusive or aberrational practices identified in the behavior and teachings of some churches, spiritual and religious organizations and groups.[citation needed] The term tends to be used by Christian counselors and theologians, apologists in the Christian countercult movement, and former members of those churches or groups that are alleged to be abusive.[citation needed] Secular critics usually use more generic terms such as psychological or emotional abuse.[citation needed] Image File history File links Emblem-important. ... Image File history File links Unbalanced_scales. ... Shortcut: WP:NPOVD Articles that have been linked to this page are the subject of an NPOV dispute (NPOV stands for Neutral Point Of View; see below). ... (19th century - 20th century - 21st century - more centuries) Decades: 1900s 1910s 1920s 1930s 1940s 1950s 1960s 1970s 1980s 1990s The 20th century lasted from 1901 to 2000 in the Gregorian calendar (often from (1900 to 1999 in common usage). ... For other uses, see Christian (disambiguation). ... The Christian countercult movement, also known as discernment ministries is the collective designation for many mostly unrelated ministries and individual Christians who oppose non-mainstream Christian and non-Christian religious groups, which they often call cults. ... This article concerns secularity, that is, being secular, in various senses. ... Psychological abuse refers to the humiliation or intimidation of another person, but is also used to refer to the long-term effects of emotional shock. ... Emotional abuse refers to a long-term situation in which one person uses his or her power or influence to adversely affect the mental well-being of another. ...


Characteristics of Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual abuse can be characterised in two forms.

Individual and/or Collective

Both individually and collectively, spiritual abuse can be identified when following certain criteria related to their interpersonal relations to others. Some writers conceptualize a set of discernible characteristics of spiritual abuse. Ronald Enroth in Churches That Abuse identifies five categories: Ronald M. Enroth (born October 28, 1938) is Professor of Sociology at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California, and a prominent evangelical Christian author of books concerning cults and new religious movements. ... Churches That Abuse, first published in 1991, is a best-selling sociologically-oriented book written by Dr. Ronald Enroth about Christian churches and organizations he perceives as spiritually abusive and the effects these groups can have on their members. ...

  1. Authority and Power - abusive groups misuse and distort the concept of spiritual authority. Abuse arises when leaders of a group arrogate to themselves power and authority that lacks the dynamics of open accountability and the capacity to question or challenge decisions made by leaders. The shift entails moving from general respect for an office bearer to one where members loyally submit without any right to dissent.
  2. Manipulation and Control - abusive groups are characterized by social dynamics where fear, guilt, and threats are routinely used to produce unquestioning obedience, group conformity, and stringent tests of loyalty to the leaders are demonstrated before the group. Biblical concepts of the leader-disciple relationship tend to develop into a hierarchy where the leader's decisions control and usurp the disciple's right or capacity to make choices on spiritual matters or even in daily routines of what form of employment, form of diet and clothing are permitted.
  3. Elitism and Persecution - abusive groups depict themselves as unique and have a strong organizational tendency to be separate from other bodies and institutions. The social dynamism of the group involves being independent or separate, with diminishing possibilities for internal correction and reflection. Outside criticism and evaluation is dismissed as the disruptive efforts of evil people seeking to hinder or thwart.
  4. Life-style and Experience - abusive groups foster rigidity in behavior and in belief that requires unswerving conformity to the group's ideals and social mores.
  5. Dissent and Discipline - abusive groups tend to suppress any kind of internal challenges and dissent concerning decisions made by leaders. Acts of discipline may involve emotional and physical humiliation, physical violence or deprivation, acute and intense acts of punishment for dissent and disobedience.

Agnes and John Lawless argue in The Drift into Deception that there are eight characteristics of spiritual abuse, and some of these clearly overlap with Enroth's criteria. They list the eight marks of spiritual abuse as comprising:

  1. charisma and pride,
  2. anger and intimidation,
  3. greed and fraud,
  4. immorality,
  5. Enslaving authoritarian structure,
  6. Exclusivity,
  7. Demanding loyalty and honor,
  8. New revelation.

Although some of these points form aspects of a strong and healthy society (e.g. respect for proper authority, loyalty and honor), the basis of spiritual abuse is when these characteristics are overstretched to achieve a desired goal that is neither supported by spiritual reality nor by the human conscience. For other uses, see Charisma (disambiguation). ... Pride is the name of an emotion which refers to a strong sense of self-respect, a refusal to be humiliated as well as joy in the accomplishments of oneself or a person, group, nation or object that one identifies with. ... This article is about the emotion. ... Intimidation is generally used in the meaning of criminal threatening. ... For other uses, see Greed (disambiguation). ... Morality is a complex of principles based on cultural, religious, and philosophical concepts and beliefs, by which an individual determines whether his or her actions are right or wrong. ... The term authoritarian is used to describe an organization or a state which enforces strong and sometimes oppressive measures against the population, generally without attempts at gaining the consent of the population. ...

Spiritual abuse usually involves control, manipulation and deception by leaders, but is often supported by members. Spiritual abuse is not necessarily deliberate, but may be the outcome of an over-emphasis on a particular doctrine (e.g. the teaching that everyone outside the group will go to hell) or the genuine belief that the will of God is being followed. NOTE: the previous example is not to propose an error in the doctrine of eternal perdition, but to identify using such doctrine to abuse and mentally manipulate members into not adhering to abusive delegated authority or to group conformity. This article does not cite any references or sources. ... The Inferno redirects here. ... // For the racing driver, see Will Power. ... This article discusses the term God in the context of monotheism and henotheism. ...

Research and Documented Examples

Flavil Yeakley's team of researchers conducted field-tests with members of the Boston Church of Christ (International Churches of Christ) using the Myers-Briggs Type Indicator. In The Discipling Dilemma Yeakley reports that the members tested "showed a high level of change in psychological type scores", with a "clear pattern of convergence in a single type".[1] The results indicated that those tested had shifted in their personality type with the tendency that all members were evidencing the same personality type. Nickname: City on the Hill, Beantown, The Hub (of the Universe)1, Athens of America, The Cradle of Revolution, Puritan City, Americas Walking City Location in Massachusetts, USA Counties Suffolk County Mayor Thomas M. Menino(D) Area    - City 232. ... Alternate meanings: see Church of Christ (disambiguation). ...

Yeakley's research was not isolated to the Boston Church. The same tests were conducted on five mainline denominations and with six groups that are popularly labeled as cults or manipulative sects. Yeakley's test results showed that the pattern in the Boston Church "was not found among other churches of Christ or among members of five mainline denominations, but that it was found in studies of six manipulative sects."[2] The research did not show that the Boston Church was "attracting people with a psychological need for high levels of control", but Yeakley concluded that "they are producing conformity in psychological type" which he deemed to be "unnatural, unhealthy, and dangerous."[3] Look up denomination in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... This article does not discuss cult in its original meaning. ... This article is about religious groups. ...

Both Enroth and Agnes and John Lawless indicate that spiritual abuse often occurs and goes unquestioned as high respect is vested in the leaders' knowledge and ability to interpret passages in the Bible. Evangelical authorities on cults, like James Sire (Scripture Twisting, InterVarsity Press, 1980) and H. Wayne House (Doctrine Twisting, InterVarsity Press, 2003) indicate that there are a variety of technical errors when Biblical passages are read out of context, misread, and misinterpreted. The sorts of errors in interpretation that Sire and House adduce sometimes occur in groups that are deemed by critics to be spiritually abusive. It is important to note that both of these authors are from conservative backgrounds and fundamentalist themselves. Today, fundamentalist scholars have risen and will twist what they hear as troubling news to their understanding of the texts from the liberal arts scholars, and they will use the information against liberal arts scholars and theologians. So, while the books may offer some great insights and research, they will also include a twist on the information found by liberal arts background scholars and theologians who use scientific method to make their arguments about the ancient texts. This Gutenberg Bible is displayed by the United States Library. ... This article does not discuss cult in its original meaning. ... InterVarsity Press (IVP) is the name of two publishers of evangelical Christian books. ...

Evidence of Abuse

Evidence of Abuse - With Spiritual abuse it is often very difficult to find any evidence of abuse as victims often fail to realize what is happening due to peer pressure or the use of guilt feelings in relation to obedience towards the leaders of a church/group/fellowship or cult etc which can be masked as obedience towards God. [citation needed]

As cited by Ronald Enroth in Churches That Abuse, control-oriented leadership is at the core of all such religious groups. For example, in the Local churches specific teachings exist that impose leaders as "God's deputy authority on the earth today" as well as "all members of the congregation must be one with deputy authority, whether it is right or wrong" - although the second phrase was not taught by or can be found in any of the writings of either Watchman Nee or Witness Lee. This arrogates the presumptous opinion that to disagree with or not wholeheartedly support leading ones in any cirucumstance is to oppose God Himself directly.[citation needed] Ronald M. Enroth (born October 28, 1938) is Professor of Sociology at Westmont College, Santa Barbara, California, and a prominent evangelical Christian author of books concerning cults and new religious movements. ... Churches That Abuse, first published in 1991, is a best-selling sociologically-oriented book written by Dr. Ronald Enroth about Christian churches and organizations he perceives as spiritually abusive and the effects these groups can have on their members. ... This article is about the local churches movement associated with the teachings of Watchman Nee and Witness Lee, not about the common use of the term to refer to any collection of Christian congregations in a local area. ...

Additionally, as interpersonal relations in "spiritual government" environments are considered above the "worldly" need of documented accountability, rarely are conversations or spiritually abusive situations recorded for historical reference and archiving. The usual attitude of delegated "or deputy" authority in a spiritually abusive environment is such that the abusive one(s) consider their speaking to be absolute - without any need for scrutiny or historical accountability.[citation needed]

Generally, the attitude exists that if anyone has concerns or uneasy feelings about spiritually abusive activities, they are accused of not being in submission to authority and could even suffer from extreme character assination (both privately and publicly) in order to diminish the effect of any desire of clarification that could liberate themselves and/or others from a spiritually abusive person/situation. [citation needed]

Disengagement from Spiritual Abuse

Leaving an Abusive Church - Is normally a process which can take a few months or even years. It can also be extremely painful both emotionally and psychologically. Many times an individual who feels spiritually abused will have to leave immediate family and friends behind and be rejected by them. Its important to get help such as counseling from "outsiders" of the group such as officially non-fundamentalist Christians and neutral psychologists without a religious affiliation that effects their work. They also need support from new peers because of the effects of Spiritual Abuse that will continue to effect them. The person needs to learn a new way of looking at the world so this process literally turns their world up-side-down; it would be impossible to walk this path alone.[citation needed] It has been suggested that this article or section be merged with Religious belief. ...

Classes of Spiritual Abuse

Fundamentalist Abuse

Spiritual abuse is practiced in fundamental religious ideologies prominent in conservative religious people and can happen in any religion - Christianity, Islam, Hinduism etc.. (Fundamentalist means the individual/group does exactly what they think the text reads, including holding the idea that outsiders to their beliefs are damned to an eternal "hell", as in Christianity, Islam and Mormonism.

Fundamentalists put their interpretation of an ancient holy book above any other group's interpretation of the same book and/or outsider's/nonbeliever's way of viewing the world including all areas of science and culture that is different from their own.) What characterizes spiritual abuse is the instilling of fear upon individuals, especially from childhood, that if they do not follow the set rules of the group their assumed eternal soul is eternally damned to a treacherous existence for eternity after they die. People are so afraid of disobeying or breaking the rules that all outside information is rejected, even scientific discoveries. This kind of teaching effects the wellbeing of the individuals taught this because it restricts their understanding of the world to fear and punishment. It also harms society because groups exclude themselves from others by deeming themselves above the outsiders.

Spiritual abuse also carries over into physical society when ancient holy texts are used to restrict or oppress a specific race, sex or group from participating in various aspects of society. Because this is the case spiritual abuse could be considered as severe, if not more, than physical abuse since it is the cause of all sorts of social problems and inequalities. It is a mental abuse because it debilitates a persons reasoning and logic skills and restricts them to their groups understanding of the world effecting their relationships with others who are not a part of the group.[citation needed]

The proofs of spiritual abuse are: the testimony of the people who have experienced this and come out of it, and scholars and theologians from liberal arts backgrounds who objectively look at the scriptures of a particular religion and work out the meaning and uses of the texts. The New Interpreters Study Bible is an example of a Bible with notes and essays that report the findings of scholars who have studied and compiled information for their whole lives. Fundamentalist religion devotees, who are most times not educated in mainstream, liberal arts colleges and universities or seminaries [citation needed], will reject such findings in favor of unscientific information and what they call "literal" interpretation of the texts. [citation needed]

Religious discrimination
and persecution
By victimized group:

African religions · Atheists
Bahá'ís · Buddhists · Cathars
Religion in China · Christians
Hellenistic religions · Hindus · Jews
Mormons · Muslims · Neopagans
Rastafari · Sikhs · Zoroastrians Religious discrimination is valuing or treating a person or group differently because of what they do or do not believe. ... Religious persecution is systematic mistreatment of an individual or group due to their religious affiliation. ... Contrary to popular belief, the Africans enslaved to build the economic foundation of America were not Christians. ... Many atheists have experienced persecution, mainly from Christians and Muslims. ... The persecution of Baháís refers to the religious persecution of Baháís in various countries, especially in Iran, the nation of origin of the Baháí Faith, Irans largest religious minority and the location of one of the largest Baháí populations in the world. ... Many Buddhists have experienced persecution from non-Buddhists during the history of Buddhism. ... Cathars being expelled from Carcassonne in 1209. ... Chinese monk lighting incense in a temple in Beijing. ... Spanish Leftists during the Red Terror Shoot at a statue of Christ The persecution of Christians is religious persecution that Christians sometimes undergo as a consequence of professing their faith, both historically and in the current era. ... The Hellenistic religion at the time of the Constantinian shift consisted mainly of two main currents, the official Roman imperial cult various Mystery religions Christianity grew gradually in Rome and the Roman empire. ... Persecution of Hindus refers to the religious persecution inflicted upon Hindus. ... An anti-Mormon political cartoon from the late nineteenth century. ... Conflicts between Muslims and non-Muslims made the persecution of both Muslims and non-Muslims a recurring phenomenon during the history of Islam. ... Religious discrimination against adherents of various neopagan denominations. ... Persecution of members of the Rastafari movement, a group founded in Jamaica in the early 1930s and who worship Haile Selassie I of Ethiopia as Almighty God, has been fairly continuous since the movement began but nowadays is particularly concerning their spiritual use of cannabis, an illegal drug almost... A Sikh man wearing a turban The adherents of Sikhism are called Sikhs. ... The persecution of Zoroastrians has been common since the fall of the Sassanid Empire and the rule of Umayyad Arab empire that replaced it. ...

By method:

Anti-clericalism · Censorship
Genocide · Forced conversion · Pogrom
War · Discrimination · Fascism
Intolerance · Police · Terrorism
Segregation · Violence · Abuse
State atheism · State religion Anti-clericalism is a historical movement that opposes religious (generally Catholic) institutional power and influence in all aspects of public and political life, and the encroachment of religion in the everyday life of the citizen. ... Censorship by religion is a form of censorship where freedom of expression is controlled or limited using religious authority or on the basis of the teachings of the religion. ... For other uses, see Genocide (disambiguation). ... A forced conversion occurs when someone adopts a religion or philosophy under the threat that a refusal would result in negative non-spiritual consequences. ... Pogrom (from Russian: ; from громить IPA: - to wreak havoc, to demolish violently) is a form of riot directed against a particular group, whether ethnic, religious or other, and characterized by destruction of their homes, businesses and religious centres. ... For other uses of the term, see Holy War. ... Religious discrimination is valuing or treating a person or group differently because of what they do or do not believe. ... Religion and neo-fascism refers to the relationship between neo-fascism and religion. ... Religious intolerance is either intolerance motivated by ones own religious beliefs or intolerance against anothers religious beliefs or practices. ... Religious terrorism refers to terrorism justified or motivated by religion and is a form of religious violence. ... Religious segregation involves the separation of people on the basis of religion. ... Religious violence Throughout history, religious beliefs have provoked some believers into violence. ... State atheism is the official rejection of religion in all forms by a government in favor of atheism. ... South America Europe Middle East Africa Asia Oceania Demography of religions by country Full list of articles on religion by country Religion Portal         Nations with state religions:  Buddhism  Islam  Shia Islam  Sunni Islam  Orthodox Christianity  Protestantism  Roman Catholic Church A state religion (also called an official religion, established church...

Historical events

Dechristianisation in the French Revolution
Revolt in the Vendee · Cristero War
Red Terror · Red Terror in Spain
Cultural Revolution · Reign of Terror
Inquisition · French Wars of Religion
St. Bartholomew's Day Massacre
Khmer Rouge · Pontic tragedy · Kulturkampf
Armenian Genocide · Assyrian Genocide
The Dechristianisation of France during the French Revolution is a conventional description of the results of a number of separate policies, conducted by various governments of France between the start of the French Revolution in 1789 and the Concordat of 1801. ... During the French Revolution, the 1793-1796 uprising in the Vendée, variously known as the Uprising, Insurrection, Revolt, or Wars in the Vendée, was the largest internal counter-revolution to the new Republic. ... The struggle between church and state in Mexico broke out in armed conflict during the Cristero War (also known as the Cristiada) of 1926 to 1929. ... For other uses, see Red Terror (disambiguation). ... The Red Terror in Spain is the name given to the atrocities committed by the Republicans during the Spanish Civil War of the 1930s, when many of the Republican forces were violently anti-clerical anarchists and Communists, whose assaults included sacking and burning monasteries and churches and killing 6,832... The Great Proletarian Cultural Revolution [1] in the Peoples Republic of China was a struggle for power within the Communist Party of China that manifested into wide-scale social, political, and economic chaos, which grew to include large sections of Chinese society and eventually brought the entire country to... For other uses of terror, see Terror. ... This article is about the Inquisition by the Roman Catholic Church. ... The French Wars of Religion were a series of conflicts fought between Catholics and Huguenots (Protestants) from the middle of the sixteenth century to the Edict of Nantes in 1598, including civil infighting as well as military operations. ... Painting by François Dubois (born about 1529, Amiens, Picardy) The St. ... Flag of Democratic Kampuchea Photos of genocide victims on display at the Tuol Sleng Genocide Museum The Khmer Rouge (Khmer: ) was the ruling political party of Cambodia -- which it renamed to Democratic Kampuchea -- from 1975 to 1979. ... The historical Pontus region New York Times headlines which observes that the entire Christian population of Trabzon was wiped out. More relevant headlines[1] Ethnic groups in the Balkans and Asia Minor as of the early 20th Century (William R. Shepherd, Historical Atlas, 1911). ... The German term Kulturkampf (literally, culture struggle) refers to German policies in relation to secularity and the influence of the Roman Catholic Church, enacted from 1871 to 1878 by the Chancellor of the German Empire, Otto von Bismarck. ... Armenian Genocide photo. ... Bodies of Christians who perished during the Assyrian Genocide 40 Christians dying a day say Assyrian refugees - The Syracuse Herald, 1915. ... For other uses, see Holocaust (disambiguation) and Shoah (disambiguation). ...

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People who don't follow the texts in the same way the fundamentalists do also interpret the texts literally, but with extensive information about the context of the texts - period, history of use, linguistics etc. These people recognize that it is impossible to understand texts written 2,000+ years ago in completely different cultures, political circumstances, philosophical traditions, economic conditions and geographic areas than they are used in today. Fundamentalists will say that their scriptures can be understood with the pastors and leaders help, through sermons and bible studies, and the peoples own reading, without any outsider/nonbeliever's assistance. Scholars and theologians from liberal arts backgrounds refer to fundamentalist Christians as Bible worshipers because they worship this book, the Bible, that was written and brought down to us by men, as a god itself rather than applying the contextual facts to their interpretations and realizing it in the world as it truly exists. ELCA Lutheran, Methodist and Presbyterian Church USA theologians and pastors are examples of Christians who interpret the Bible as saying that the very judgments made by fundamentalists in their interpretations are anti-biblical. These denominations require that individuals wishing to enter into seminary must first complete a BA/BS etc.. from an accredited educational institution with a strong liberal arts program.[citation needed]

Atheist Abuse

Spiritual abuse can also be attributed to people and groups associating themselves as “atheist”. Efforts to denounce or deny the existence of God often takes form of accusing people of faith as being narrow-minded, bigoted and “spiritually abusive”. Efforts to introduce methods of suppression of public display of faith via public media or government legislation are based upon ridicule and intolerance.

Cultural and Nationalistic Abuse

In Christianity, spiritual abuse is most prevalent in churches utilizing fundamentalism, such as very conservative evangelicalism and Baptists and in some of the churches in the charismatic movement or Pentecostalism. But also, the Catholic tradition can be considered fundamentalist because its leaders claim they are the only way to salvation and whoever falls out of the sacraments and penances of the Catholic church and the prescriptions its priests, looses salvation of their assumed eternal soul. [citation needed] Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Christianity is... Look up fundamentalism in Wiktionary, the free dictionary. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Pope · Archbishop of Canterbury Patriarch of Constantinople Christianity Portal This box:      The word evangelicalism often refers to... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Baptist is... For a description of the personality trait, see Charismatic authority. ... Topics in Christianity Movements · Denominations · Other religions Ecumenism · Preaching · Prayer Music · Liturgy · Calendar Symbols · Art · Criticism Important figures Apostle Paul · Church Fathers Constantine · Athanasius · Augustine Anselm · Aquinas · Palamas · Luther Calvin · Wesley Arius · Marcion of Sinope Archbishop of Canterbury · Catholic Pope Coptic Pope · Ecumenical Patriarch Christianity Portal This box:      Pentecostal can... In Christian belief and practice, a sacrament is a rite that mediates divine grace, constituting a sacred mystery. ... For other uses, see Penance (disambiguation). ...

In Islamic countries spiritual abuse is carried out in society more than in Christian ones. This is due to the nature of the Christian faith through the teachings of Jesus that encourage tolerance and brotherly love. Western civilizaton has adopted this influence even in the evolution of human government. An example being the American constitution that prevents a human religious organisation from legally ordering society to their system. It should be noted that the United States of America is the ultimate product of the protestant reformation in Europe. Americans have rights to speak out and take part in movements to change things and the freedom to be any religion they want to or not, according to their choice. The objective of the founders of the U.S.A was to insure protection from persecution, and not to remove faith from society. This influence has progressively passed into western culture. Reformation redirects here. ...

In Islamic countries movements and speaking out in a way that insults the Koran, Islam, Mohammad, Allah, or the leaders of the country are illegal as well as irrelevant since Muslims would not go outside the boundaries of their religious convictions because the penalties are not only accrued in the afterlife - people are killed for altering their beliefs, conversion to another way of thinking is a capital offense.[citation needed]

Differences between scholars, theologians and fundamentalists

The difference between liberal arts scholars and theologians, and fundamentalists: Liberal arts scientists discover and uncover information and interpret the ancient texts based on the information found and research conducted in the areas of history, religious studies, sociology, anthropology, art history, and archeology, as will as many more possible areas. Fundamentalists have ideology first and form the information they are presented with around their ideas because they are afraid of their spiritual wellbeing simply because they are taught this by others. They fit the information and research they are presented with into their ideas, rejecting what doesn't fit and adjusting what may fit to their ideology about the texts.[citation needed]


  • Ken Blue, Healing Spiritual Abuse, (Downers Grove: InterVarsity Press, 1993). ISBN 0-8308-1660-7
  • Ron & Vicki Burks, Damaged Disciples: Casualties of Authoritarian Churches and the Shepherding Movement (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992). ISBN 0-310-57611-3
  • Ronald M. Enroth, Churches That Abuse (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1992). ISBN 0-310-53290-6
  • Ronald M. Enroth, Recovering from Churches That Abuse (Grand Rapids: Zondervan, 1994). ISBN 0-310-39877-0
  • David Johnson & Jeff VanVonderen, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse (Minneapolis: Bethany House, 1991). ISBN 1-55661-160-9
  • Agnes C. Lawless and John W. Lawless, The Drift into Deception: The Eight Characteristics of Abusive Christianity (Grand Rapids: Kregel, 1995). ISBN 0-8254-3163-8
  • Flavil Yeakley (ed.), The Discipling Dilemma (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1988). ISBN 0-89225-311-8

Churches That Abuse, first published in 1991, is a best-selling sociologically-oriented book written by Dr. Ronald Enroth about Christian churches and organizations he perceives as spiritually abusive and the effects these groups can have on their members. ...

See also

This article is in need of attention. ... Soka Gakkai International (International Value-Creation Society; also, SGI) is the international umbrella organization for Soka Gakkai-affiliated lay organizations in over 190 countries. ...


  1. ^ Flavil Yeakley (ed.), The Discipling Dilemma (Nashville: Gospel Advocate, 1988), p. 39.available online
  2. ^ Yeakley, Discipling Dilemma, p. 39.
  3. ^ Yeakley, Discipling Dilemma, pp. 44, 46-47.

External links

  • Resources for Spiritual Abuse Recovery
  • Spiritual Abuse
  • Christian-Koinonia Support Group, online support group for former and current apostolics.
  • Departing UPC, Online support group for United Pentecostal Church members who have questions about doctrines taught by that organization, and/or who are considering leaving the UPC.
  • The Association of Former Pentecostals A nonprofit organization uniting former Pentecostals and Charismatics worldwide.
  • Ex-Church of Christ Information and online support group for people who have left or are considering leaving the Church of Christ (non instrumental)
  • S.O.S.A. —Survivors of Spiritual Abuse
  • Spiritual Abuse Recovery Resources
  • The Awareness Center: Jewish Survivors of Spiritual Abuse
  • Spiritual Abuse - An Unsafe Safe Place (Spring 2005) Article explaining various aspects of Spiritual Abuse.
  • Safe In Church A UK based website designed to help people who have been hurt by church experiences or have experienced spiritual abuse or abusive church leadership.
  • The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse The book by David Johnson & Jeff VanVonderen
  • Healing Stories about the Abuse of Power Book by Judith Barr

  Results from FactBites:
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Abuse of Authority in the Church: A Biblical Perspective of Leadership - An article by Jason Young.
Spiritual Pride: The Danger of Religious Flesh in the Christian Life- by Richard Lovelace "Spiritual pride is very apt to suspect others; whereas an humble saint is most jealous of himself, he is so suspicious of nothing in the world as he is of his own heart.
Fighting Spiritual Abuse- Casey Bordovsky, a former UPC member, shares her thoughts on how we can combat spiritual abuse on a spiritual level.
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