Search Results for: spiritual abuse

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage – Part 3

"How are you doing?" There's a lot of different ways in which those words can be voiced ranging from a casual aside with no desire for an answer to the way the pastor of the church we'd attended for a year and a half asked it of me. It sounded as though he really wanted to know because he really cared about the state of my soul.I hesitated for a moment. Could I trust him? I'd worked hard with the help of the Holy Spirit using the gfits and training of an excellent counselor to unpack some of … [Read more...]

Unpacking Spiritual Baggage: Part 2

If you attended a church service this weekend, you may have been sitting in a roomful of suitcases. There's no way to tell what percentage of people in a given congregation are schlepping baggage from a previous negative church experience, but I suspect the numbers would startle even veteran church leaders. Bad baggage is often eagerly recycled by leaders. This may serve the needs of the organization. It may even be called good pastoral care by some leaders, who rationalize that putting hurting … [Read more...]

He kissed the secret of his childhood sexual abuse goodbye

Earlier this week, Pastor Josh Harris, pastor of Covenant Life Church in Gaithersburg, MD, disclosed that he'd been a victim of sexual abuse when he was a child. The timing and context for this confession has something to tell us about the long-lasting effects of abuse in a victim's life.Harris' church was "mother ship" of the network of 80 or so churches churches of Sovereign Grace Ministries, though the congregation left the SGM family a few months ago. SGM was recently the focus of a l … [Read more...]

Back To Church?

I’ve been blogging for more than a decade,and I’ve written often about spiritual abuse by church leaders – sharing both my own experience and referencing the struggles of others. I’m just one voice in a large crowd: there are numerous blogs, books, and worthwhile organizations telling the stories of spiritual and/or clergy sexual abuse survivors. The internet has been a tool for good in this struggle as it has facilitated connection between survivors. In a few high profile cases, the networking o … [Read more...]

Can Two-Dimensional Non-Community Be Church?

In a world where many large Protestant churches livestream their services online, where both Catholic and Evangelicals/Charismatics have their own basic cable networks, why show up in person at a local church when you can watch a much slicker version of church on your computer or TV? Why show up at a local church when the "quality" of the worship service may seem like a low-budget version of old school TV talent show Ted Mack's Amateur Hour and the group dynamics scream middle school instead of … [Read more...]

Review: Strange Fire, Holy Fire

I wish I could give a copy of Michael J. Klassen's Strange Fire, Holy Fire: Exploring the Highs and Lows of Your Charismatic Experience (Bethany House Publishers, 2009) to every person I've ever met in the various Pentecostal, Charismatic, and Third Wave/Vineyard congregations of which we've been a part. Whether they're still a part of one of these congregations, have jumped to a different stream within the Church, or have chosen to hang out the "Done" sign on any formal church involvement, … [Read more...]

Follow Me, don’t follow me, me or me

In the last week alone, a fairly well-known Bible teacher in the Messianic community, Ligonier Ministries head RC Sproul, Jr., and the President of Southern Baptist-affiliated North Greenville University each stepped down from their leadership positions after violating their marriage vows. In the case of at least two of them, they were forced to confess after they were caught via Ashley Madison or irrefutable video evidence. Let's face it - when you confess only after you've been caught, your … [Read more...]