I have been speaking to a few people lately and it seems that only a few people (like myself) are saying what a lot of people are thinking. I have seen the effects of an abusive church and I have seen the casualties along the way. So below are some signs to look out for which may indicate that you in an abusive church.

Taken from the Church Mafia website

  • There is strong, control-oriented leadership. (Authoritarianism)
  • The use of guilt, fear, and intimidation by the leadership to manipulate members and keep them in line.
  • Followers led to think that there is no other church quite like theirs, and that God has singled them out for a special purpose.
  • Other, more traditional churches are put down as being less “holy” or “religious”. Self-righteous, Arrogant, Prideful attitudes are common (Elitism)
  • Subjective experience, especially public or group testimonials (sometimes coached), are encouraged and emphasized.
  • Many areas of members’ lives are subject to scrutiny, and the church standards established are usually based upon the life-style adopted by the leader.
  • Rules and legalism abound.
  • Members not following rules established by the leadership (or threatening exposure of the manipulation and abuse) are often labeled “Reprobates”, “Dupes of Satan”, “Jezebel” or “Bastard Ministries” and are dealt with harshly. They are often talked about in a negative light from the pulpit. Ostracism of former members and excommunication of dissenters are common.
  • For members choosing to leave a spiritually abusive church, returning to the realm of normalcy is difficult.
  • Oftentimes a spouse will show more loyalty to the church/pastor than to their spouse.
  • Oftentimes members of an abusive church will see what is wrong, but “turn the other cheek” out of fear.

Related Posts:

The Church Mafia – Spiritual abuse in our churches

The Church Mafia – Spiritual abuse in our churches – A Testimony

Spiritual Abuse – Don’t Suffer in Silence

A victim of the Church Mafia needs help

Thankyou from Tara and from me

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Comments
  1. mamaciku says:

    I have come to know the effects of spiritual abuse through a terribly wounding and hurtful experience of my own. I attended a Pentecostal church for 14 yrs. and saw many people leave for reasons that always pointed back to the Pastor and his wife, yet somehow, I felt an unusual obligation or spiritual responsibility to stay there myself. About 5 or 6 yrs into it, I realized that I would never want to bring any of my friends to that church because they would only end up being hurt somehow and would probably not stay. After a while, I wondered, what’s wrong with me? This church isn’t good enough for my friends, so why is it good enough for me? Why am I here?
    Furthermore, I know of a certainty that God has called me to missions and I faithfully served in that church, teaching Sunday School, preaching (and never so much as received a love offering for it), cleaning the building, maintaining a library, teaching home Bible studies, and on and on, in addition to completing the Master’s Degree Program from the denomination’s Bible College. Somehow, after all of that, I was continually told that I can’t hear the voice of God, I can’t discern the will and timing of God, it is not my season, blah, blah, blah…
    Then, my husband and I decided to leave and begin attending another church of like faith. That’s when things really turned ugly with the former pastor and his wife telling lies about us, railing on our family, and trying to pit our children against us. They actually were responsible for having us ejected from the new church. They have essentially destroyed our reputation in Pentecost and any future ministry ops I could have had. How someone can do these things and believe they are right with God is beyond me. These people are controlling, domineering, and downright abusive in every way. They use manipulation and intimidation and I told them so, but have never received an apology or seen any evidence of Christ-like behavior toward us from them. They have failed to take ownership of what they have done and have badmouthed us to the church members and cut off friendships we had with people. This experience has been so incredibly painful, it is beyond words.

  2. tumininu taiwo says:

    Hi Allan,
    nice blog.
    However one issue that seems unanswered is the issue of love in contending for the faith.
    Also,it appears that the average odm seems to forgo the reaching of the unsaved,but does a major on false teachers.
    Pauls letters wasnt majoring on these.
    anyway…u are doing a gr8 job

  3. Lathaniel says:

    Hi, I know how you feel, I am currently going thru spiritual abuse, but mines is alot complicated cos I decided to leave the church since I had fallen into sin and i wanted to see if I was really saved (in short, re-examine my life) and I began upon reading some authors who write the meat and truth of God’s word to see that not everything taught in my church was right, there seemed to be a mixture of flesh and spirit and also I felt different presences like divine, I don’t know if they are demonic or what but my head and heart are confused. The dangerous thing about these churches, especially the charismatic ones is that you can never be really certain if God (the “rea” Jesus Christ) is speaking to these pastors or of He does, why do they neevr grow Christ-like??/ know what I mean? then on top of it, you feel that maybe your going mad in your mind ad just may, JUST maybe, you are wrong or being too critical or analytical?? Do i HAVE to really go church, I’m just tired of getting in there and not being myself, I have to put religious make-up on, I have to do this and that am just pissed off! Its not so much doing as it is being in Christ!

  4. A good book on spiritual abuse is “The Church of Jezebel, Hijacking the Gospel”

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