why abusive pastors like Standridge will always find pulpits

Trigger warning: this 5 minutes video is spiritual abuse at its finest:

First of all… yes, this is abuse.

  1. He shames people publicly.
  2. He exalts himself over the other person.
  3. He enlists God as justification for what he does.
  4. He says he loves you while hurting you.
  5. He threatens if we don’t agree that he loves us.
  6. He points his finger at you and yells.
  7. He commands obedience.
  8. He uses physical touch to augment what he’s saying.
  9. He jokes about you to other people as if you’re not there.
  10. He threatens not to do something for you.
  11. He insults you.
  12. He demeans your value and depreciates your worth to you and others.
  13. He uses stares to intimidate.
  14. He calls you names.
  15. He verbally establishes his own higher value and power over you.
  16. He says that you won’t get anything better and so this is your only option.
  17. He threatens to leave if you fight him.
  18. He threatens to give himself to someone else who wants him.
  19. He frightens you into worrying about losing your own children.
  20. He mocks you to your face and in front of others.
  21. He isolates you by threatening those who love you to leave you alone.
  22. He divides family members against one another.
  23. He annihilates all threats of competition.
  24. He tells you to prove your love to him by giving him what he wants.
  25. He demands unquestioning submission.
  26. He expresses relief once his anger and frustration has been unleashed.
  27. He prays when he’s finished and asks you to join him.

Jim Standridge will always find a pulpit and he knows it. Because he knows that there are enough Christians who want this kind of relationship because they feel they deserve it. The way Standridge acts is the way God acts. God is angry. They repent. God forgives. On and on this goes, reaffirming that there is at least some kind of working relationship between them and God.

Believe me, some of these people might leave his church, but more will come. The word will get out there that Pastor Standridge preaches it like it is! He preaches the truth! He won’t stand for sin in the church, so look out!

I appreciate this short clip so much because this pastor says what many pastors and the church think and feel. There is a lot of anger and frustration with the people. People are a disappointment. They frustrate the program. They get in the way of the vision. They undermine the churches agenda. Their sin pollutes the purity of the church and prevents the Spirit from fully moving.

If you want to meet others who have been through this stuff and left it, I invite you to join The Lasting Supper.

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  • I guess if you go to one of his sermons and don’t get picked on and abused, then you win. Kind-of-like Russian roulette. There are better games to play and ways to spend your time.

  • Al Cruise

    These people know nothing about Jesus or his message. Jesus did not create his Church to give power to the status quo or the self appointed religious elite, he created his Church to give hope to people who don’t have any.

  • Joy

    He strikes me as someone who feels threatened. I wonder who he feels is threatening his position?

    It’s interesting to note that the other congregation members that are not being spoken about never turn their heads to make eye contact with him. They’re all scared of him…and with good reason I’d say!

    This video makes me physically ill.

  • klhayes

    To be honest, this is like a slave and a slave owner….sick.

  • I like when he says, “You can’t get this in any other church in town.” How sadly ironic.

  • Alice

    It’s been a while since I saw that many WTF moments jam-packed into such a short video. I don’t even know where to start.

  • Gary

    Wow – I don’t even know how to respond to such unGodly abuse. The man is a shocking disgrace.

  • Shary Hauber

    Wow in less than five minutes, he made himself god, and everyone must serve him. This happens in a lot of other churches but many are a little slower at getting to this point. Why do people want this?

  • Jerry Lynch

    Someone like myself who grew up feeling “dirty, bad, and unworthy” and was introverted in temperament, would have worshipped such a man. Freud called this sick relationship between the authoritarian abuser and one entrusted to that person “idealization of the father.” Essentially, the abused justifies the abuse as being necessary because they are no good and an act of love by the abuser to straighten him or her out. Only someone who deeply cared would bother devoting their time and energy for such a worm like me. I have no doubt that this man, Standridge, is well-aware of this dynamic. Every characteristic you mentioned is a conscious act of manipulation. I knew a master like him: the Roman Catholic education system of the 50s and 60s, and its welltrained proxy, my father.

    The giving and taking of love. The giving and taking approval. The giving and taking of intimacy. The raising up and putting down. All calculated to maintain a position of control and stroke the ego.

  • Carol

    This is what happens when theological formation is centered on Original Sin (the story of the Fall) rather than Original Blessing (the Creation Story).

    If Jesus is fully human and also without sin, then sin does not define what it means to be human. It is an aberration, a betrayal of our true humanity.

    We are social animals who tend to live up to [or down to] opinions others project of us. Nietzsche was correct in observing that the all too common “Christian” resolution to find the world ugly and bad has made the world ugly and bad.

    Many of us whose intuitive faith has been theologically informed by the Trinitarian and Christological Mysteries have found that the spiritual practices of other religious Traditions are often a more faithful expression of our theological beliefs than those taught in many of our “Christian” Churches.


    In many Eastern cultures, people greet each other with a bow, which can be anything from a slight inclination of the head to a full prostration. The gesture implies that the Divine Spark/Holy Spirit in me greets the Divine Spark/Holy Spirit in you. In our Western cultures we often greet each other with a handshake, which began as a custom to prove that there was no dagger hidden in our sleeve.

    ‘Nuff said.

  • Gary

    Nuff said…but well said Carol.

  • mteston1

    Exactly Carol, exactly.

  • mteston1

    WOW! HOLY CRAP! and I can’t come up with enough expletives . . .

  • NeverAgainV

    omfg this guy is the perfect text book example of spiritual abuse! He’s disgusting!!

  • toniace2

    Hey, do not bash my Church because of your own personal experiences: that is extremely bigoted of you. I would not bash all members of this faith community because of this poor excuse for a pastor, and you shouldn’t do the same with my Church either. I’m totally sick of comments like this.

  • toniace2

    “OMFG” really??? Are you even Christian?? Lord have mercy!

  • NeverAgainV

    hmmm let me think, the bible has no problem advocating rape, slavery, mass murder, misogyny, cruelty, deception and all kinds of atrocities…and I don’t see christians behaving any differently than the rest of humanity, sometimes worse…
    there’s your answer. 😉

  • gimpi1

    How did he bash your church, Toniace2? He’s talking about his own experience. As I understand it, he’s referring to his experiences in the 1950s and 60s with his church and his father. It’s not about you unless there is some reason you think it’s about you.

  • Gary

    This is a really odd comment.

  • Gary

    Hey toniace2…would you feel more righteous indignation if he had simply said OH MY FUCKING GOD? You are in the wrong place if you think your huge chip on your shoulder and scathing rebukes are going to make anyone give a shit!

  • I was so disturbed by this that I emailed the local newspaper of that town and provided the link of the YouTube video. I have seen people destroyed by spiritual abuse. I do hope the newspaper follows up.

  • I don’t think they do. But, like any abusive relationship they become totally reliant upon the abuser. Notice what he does – he berates, belittles, points them out all the while making himself feel important – then he tells them he loves them. Not only that, he ASKS them if they KNOW he still loves them. This is very much like the person that beats the crap out of their partner, then holds them after telling them how much they are loved. It’s sick. If anything, this man needs help. He has a serious mental health issue that he is refusing to admit. The only way those parishioners can get out, IMO, is if the get to the place where they recognize that they themselves need help to leave.

  • Al Cruise

    I think we are starting to see that the beast {fundamentalism} is dying, and it is starting to scream out in agony.

  • Jodi Tallis

    I am a pastor – NO one should listen to this sick man except a psychiatrist.

  • Carolyn Garcia

    And this differs from cults like the branch davidians how again?

  • NeverAgainV

    Thanks Gary. 🙂

  • Jeannie

    I didn’t watch the tape because I took mind of the trigger warning. This stuff is too rampant.

  • 4thegloryofgod

    Depressing how many people say they have had this kind of experience. Encouraging that I have never in 39 years of attending church I have never seen anything like this kind of abuse. Where were the elders? Why didn’t they stop in mid sentence? This guy needs help.

  • Hazel May Lebrun

    I’ve never heard of this man, but he wouldn’t get 5 minutes with me. I’d get up and walk out and if he dared to say a word, I’d ask him if he wants to meet Jesus… today.

  • Brigitte Mueller
  • Seamus King

    Oh no you didn’t!!!! Burn. Seriously, that was good. It makes me think of the bad guy dying at the end of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?

  • Seamus King

    That’s a serverely over simplistic perspective on the bible and its “intent,” could a book with so many authors over so many centuries truly have an intent. People might attempt to use it to justify such things, but, in the end, it’s just another ancient text whose interpretation is up to the reader.

    However, I would agree that your assessment of how the most powerful among those calling themselves Christians have historically used it, up to today. John Piper is still on the throne…

  • Seamus King

    Wow, your response to Jerry’s comment was incredibly insensitive and totally uncalled for. You are seeing things in those words that are not there. I won’t guess why, but you need to step back and quit looking for a fight.

  • Seamus King

    Thank you for sharing your experience. I hope you find healing and hope in it.

  • Seamus King

    Wow, David. Just wow. Where do you find these jokers? I bet he pissed off Mr. Cox in the video booth and he decided to post it to Youtube 😉 Because, apparently, conversing with your friends is equal to establishing your own kingdom in the A/V booth…

  • NeverAgainV

    of course it’s simplistic, my point is I don’t believe the bible is any holy book by a good, holy or righteous “god”. It’s stories were written by primitive and I might add cruel men who obviously had some serious issues.

    I could never worship bible god again. I was guilted, coerced and manipulated into it once, never again.

  • Well said

  • Jerry Lynch

    Thank you, Seamus, I eventually did find healing and hope…after about twenty years hiding in a bottle. AA nursed me back to a wonderful relationship with Christ and others. I also appreciate the others here whose understanding words are a blessing but feel an apology to Toniace is actually in order. It was the times and my temperament, not RCC policy, as well as my expeience at home that warped my perception. I stayed the victim long after change was possible. Sorry, Toniace, for any hurt I helped to cause.

  • Seamus King

    You’re mastering the high road and the good path, Jerry. Keep on fighting the good fight.

  • johnsawyer

    Woe unto those who establish their own kingdom in the video room.

    David’s list is an excellent summary of many of the psychological techniques used by fake Christians. The bottom line is that any decent religion is supposed to be about understanding people’s issues and trying to make them better people, without resorting to bullying, threats, excommunication, etc. for those times when it doesn’t hold, because people are human, not evil.

    Standridge resembles the “bad ape” who sometimes manages to bully his way into control of a group of other apes, but only for a year or two before his tactics cause him to be deposed by the smarter, younger apes, or by apes simply leaving the group to form their own. I hope the humans in his group are at least as smart as apes.

  • johnsawyer

    This also resembles how a lot of military drill sergeants treat their troops. These are techniques of manipulation carefully passed from one generation of authoritarians to the next.

  • May Palmer

    Many of the comments posted here is the very reason Jesus, Savior of sinners came….that is to save me and you by His Death, Burial and Resurrection due to our fallen, sinful nature. As sinful, rebellious beings against God, it’s just so natural for us to ‘tear each other apart’ since we are by nature inclined towards being ‘like God’ (this Pastor included I’m afraid). The Bible declares in Romans 3:23 that ‘All have sinned and fall short of the Glory of God”. Though God in His Justice could have enacted a rendering for that Justice from all of us, instead He sent His Son, born of a woman, born under the Law to save us. That is indeed ‘Good News’ in this sorry and sinful world! =)

  • Stewart MacDonald

    I know this experience all too well. I recently resigned from a faith-based rehabilitation program where the leader did just these things. He would use the same kind of threats and arrogance to humiliate people and set himself above others. He even walked around calling himself “God” of that facility and claimed that God was okay with it. The abuse that I saw towards myself and other staff as well as the individuals trying to get free of an addiction was heartbreaking and it’s a shame that so many people’s view of God doesn’t amount to much more than an angry individual who simply wants to scold everyone and point out their flaws in front of everyone.

  • Svein Magnussen

    God save us from pastors like this. Does he really know why Christ carried the cross to Golgata…alone…? He preaches the opposite of what Jusus preached..and I suppose he lives quite opposite too. So keep away from these abusive hteful pastors, they will never lead you to Christ. Taske care and listen to how he speaks, as if HE is GOD. Not as a humble servant. Take heed, he will destroy your soul.

  • Gary

    Are you a preacher Mary? Cause you sure have your preacher babble perfected.

  • Whadahao

    Guys, let’s just remember that we are looking at an exception, not the rule. A video of an abusive parent shocks and angers all of us, but we don’t throw parents and parenting in general under the bus, right? Most pastor – church relationships are not like this. It should not be used as a reason to throw organized religion as a whole out the door. And before anyone asks me where my extensive knowledge of every church in the world comes from – I am not every parent’s child, but I know enough around me to know that the vast majority of children are truly loved and treated well. If that were not the case, abuse of any kind (including this) wouldn’t be so shocking.

  • Al Cruise

    Our last 2 pastors were much worse than this guy, I live on the other side of the country. I finally left the Church after 25 years. It belongs to a well known evangelical conference, and the pastors both had degrees from well known colleges. You are wrong, this problem is wide spread and deep.

  • ptl

    It is time for Jim Standridge to Retire !!

  • Lawrence Mckechnie

    wow… “I feel good now” :s. This not the way Jesus did things: He connected with real people in their situations. EVERY person has a purpose in God’s eyes and we all have a ministry. This guy seems to be suggesting that he has it all worked out and doesn’t show a lot of humility; in his mind, he lives in a pharisiac bubble where he is lifted up above his audience. However, the last shall be first and the first shall be last. Feeling quite depressed after watching that 🙁

  • Lawrence Mckechnie

    It’s simple Christology: Jesus, as well as being fully divine, was also fully human. And God said that His creation was “very good”. The doctine of original sin is surely an aberration of what the bible really talks about and could be said be an example of “doctrine before people”; I guess Augustine was a child of his times in that sense. I think Athanaius and some other early church fathers viewed sin as corporate thing, as opposed to the individualistic understanding which has now developed. Our humanity is not defined by our sin but by God’s purpose in and through us. Our battle is not against flesh and blood but against the elements of the world. If we don’t see God’s work through Christ in this light, then we won’t get very far.

  • Mark

    Wow. But this is what happens when people spend all their lives being told they are depraved, and deserving of death and hell to begin with. Pretty soon he could have them begging for the kool aid.

  • Mark

    :P. Have you read “Rob Bell’s Bullshit?” http://www.patheos.com/blogs/nakedpastor/2013/06/rob-bells-bullshit/