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Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experiences [Paperback]

Our Price $ 13.60  
Retail Value $ 16.00  
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Item Number 48563  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   166
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.25" Width: 5.45" Height: 0.52"
Weight:   0.45 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 10, 1993
Publisher   IVP-InterVarsity Press
ISBN  0830816607  
EAN  9780830816606  


Availability  0 units.


Item Description...
Overview
* Are you discouraged from questioning the decisions or teachings church leaders make? * If you do little or no volunteer work for the church, do you feel like a second-class Christian? * Does your pastor insist on being addressed by a title such as "Dr." or "Pastor"? * Do you hear many broad, vague appeals to "surrender fully," yield completely" or "lay it all on the altar"? * Are public reports about various ministry activities sometimes exaggerated? * Do church members feel safe talking only about past victories, not present struggles? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may he a victim of spiritual abuse. Many of us have gone through bad church experiences that have left us feeling like failures. Blaming ourselves, we asked for God's forgiveness, but still felt distant from the church and sometimes from God too. Often, however, the fault is not ours but that of Christian leaders who abuse spiritually. How can we recognize the signs of spiritual abuse? What can we do to gain healing from the wounds we have experienced? With clarity and refreshing honesty, Ken Blue answers these questions and offers hope and healing to the victims of spiritual abuse. In addition he shows Christian leaders how to avoid abusive patterns and instead offer Christ's gospel of grace to every casualty of bad church experiences.

Publishers Description
Are you a victim of Spiritual Abuse? Are you discouraged from questioning the decisions or teachings church leaders make? If you do little or no volunteer work for the church, do you feel like a second-class Christian? Does your pastor insist on being addressed by a title such as "Dr." or "Pastor"? Do you hear many broad, vague appeals to "surrender fully," "yield completely" or "lay it all on the altar"? Are public reports about various ministry activities sometimes exaggerated? Do church members feel safe talking only about past victories, not present struggles? If you answered yes to any of these questions, you may be a victim of spiritual abuse. Many of us have gone through bad church experiences that have left us feeling like failures. Blaming ourselves, we asked for God's forgiveness, but felt distant from the church and sometimes from God too. Often, however, the fault is not ours but that of Christian leaders who abuse spiritually. How can we recognize the signs of spiritual abuse? What can we do to gain healing from the wounds we have experienced? With clarity and refreshing honesty, Ken Blue answers these questions and offers hope and healing to the victims of spiritual abuse. In addition he shows Christian leaders how to avoid abusive patterns and instead offer Christ's gospel of grace to every casualty of bad church experiences.

Buy Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experiences by Ken Blue, Robert K. Winters, Ph.D., Kobi Sharabi, John David Pleins, Astrid B. Beck, Jeff Parker, Jeff St. Charles & Scott Silsby from our Christian Books store - isbn: 9780830816606 & 0830816607

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More About Ken Blue, Robert K. Winters, Ph.D., Kobi Sharabi, John David Pleins, Astrid B. Beck, Jeff Parker, Jeff St. Charles & Scott Silsby

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
Genuine Spiritual Leadership: What it looks like.  Jan 31, 2007
This book is not perfect.

That said, I do recommend it especially to those struggling with abuse in their local church. I think that is the target audience.

For me, the most useful part of the book is where the author speaks plainly of what real spiritual leadership looks like. You know, people, there may be a reason why Jesus' last "lesson" for his disciples, on the night before he died, involved taking a towel and cloth and washing their feet.

The author reiterates this when he exposes the truth that the more likely a leader in a church looks like a servant--indeed like the slave in charge of washing guests' feet-- the more right he or she has to be followed.

Do your church's leaders meet this standard?
 
Get a whiff of true freedom...  Jul 18, 2006
This is a powerful exposition of Matthew 23 as it pertains to legalism in today's church. It is done from a loving but honest heart for the redemption and restoration of both the abused and the abuser. Those who've been hit over the head with manipulative tactics will likely find help identifying many of those tactics and then seeing a way forward for overcoming the damage done. I particularly appreciated the treatment of false authority, e.g., leaders quoting Hebrews 13:17 to demand the obedience of the local body versus true authority that comes from loving and serving others according to their needs (Matt 20:25, Mark 10:42, Luke 22:25, 2 Cor 1:24, 1 Pet 5:3, 1 Cor 11:1, John 13:3-5). Abusers caught in a pattern out of good intentions might begin to see their folly and impact on others in the light of grace and no condemnation, and possibly begin to find a change of heart and behavior. We're all capable of being legalistic and judgemental, being both an abuser as well as abused. Ken Blue's answer is beautiful and true: receive God's scandalous grace yourself and then share more of that grace with others.
 
One of the Top 3 titles on this subject  May 27, 2005
Along with Ronald Enroth's "Churches That Abuse" and Harold L. Bussýll's "Unholy Devotion," this book shares the highest place on my list of books that helped me overcome a 5-1/2 year experience (1987-1992) of intense spiritual abuse, and thus I believe it will also help others. The first chapter is "An Invitation to Freedom," and chapters 2 through 6 focus on the characteristics of spiritually abusive leadership. The brief treatment in chapter 7 of "Who Gets Hooked and Why" supplements Bussýll's book (which is subtitled "Why Cults Lure Christians"), and the final three chapters ("Healed by Grace," "Healthy Church Leadership," and "Healthy Church Discipline") contain much that will help victims pursue the path of recovery.

I don't understand why the reviewer from Heidelberg came to such negative conclusions about this book. Perhaps some of its points do not translate perfectly across cultures, or into her culture in particular. Perhaps spiritual abuse manifests itself with different issues in other countries than it does in the United States. It doesn't seem she ever gave her friends with the heavy-handed pastor a chance to profit from it, and that's a shame because their response may have altered her view.

In any case, it seems clear to me that she misread the author's intention on the points where she criticized him. Nowhere did he indicate that "any time a church develops some commonalities, this is a 'danger sign' for spiritual abuse to those who come in from the outside." Instead he was addressing the issue of being "preoccupied with a desire for uniformity among believers" (p. 76), and making too much of "external signs of devotion," (p. 77), as did the Pharisees of Jesus' time.

Nor is the author against referring to our leaders as "pastors." Rather, as the context on page 79 shows, he opposes leaders who *demand* titles of honor.

As for the reviewer's claim, "After reading how the author describes everything that is supposedly spiritual abuse, I cannot put together a picture of what a healthy church would look like at all," it makes me wonder if she read chapters 9 and 10 on "Healthy Church Leadership" and "Healthy Church Discipline." Her remark, "He does state 'all churches are abusive to some degree' (p. 95)," is from chapter 6.

My guess is that she read the book too hurriedly, perhaps out of a laudable concern to find the appropriate help for her friends as quickly as possible. But you can take my word for it: anyone who has truly suffered from spiritual abuse will not try to make this book a fast read, but may even read it a second and third time.
 
For the Love of God  May 2, 2004
The book deals effectively (though sometimes too expansively) with narcissistic and messianic leaders of churches and congregations. Priests, leaders of the congregation, preachers, evangelists, cultists, politicians, intellectuals - all derive authority from their allegedly privileged relationship with God.

Religious authority allows the narcissist to indulge his sadistic urges and to exercise his misogynism freely and openly. Such a narcissist is likely to taunt and torment his followers, hector and chastise them, humiliate and berate them, abuse them spiritually, or even sexually. The narcissist whose source of authority is religious is looking for obedient and unquestioning slaves upon whom to exercise his capricious and wicked mastery. The narcissist transforms even the most innocuous and pure religious sentiments into a cultish ritual and a virulent hierarchy. He preys on the gullible. His flock become his hostages.

Religious authority also secures the narcissist's Narcissistic Supply. His coreligionists, members of his congregation, his parish, his constituency, his audience - are transformed into loyal and stable Sources of Narcissistic Supply. They obey his commands, heed his admonitions, follow his creed, admire his personality, applaud his personal traits, satisfy his needs (sometimes even his carnal desires), revere and idolize him. Sam Vaknin, author of "Malignant Self Love - Narcissism Revisited".

 
Most irrational book I've read in a long time  Feb 25, 2004
I have some friends whose pastor seems very heavy-handed and they are starting to get bitter towards church. I was looking for a book to help them sort through these experiences and offer ways to deal with them. This book is not it.
To the author, it is already a "danger sign" when people in church all have "the big black Bible of the proper version, dog-eared and marked up" or all wear "suit and tie" or "jeans and t-shirt" (p.77). In other words, any time a church develops some commonalities, this is a "danger sign" for spiritual abuse to those who come in from the outside.
Also, "we all have to rethink how we address our leaders" (p. 79), because already calling the pastor "pastor" is potentially abusive.
After reading how the author describes everything that is supposedly spiritual abuse, I cannot put together a picture of what a healthy church would look like at all. [He does state "all churches are abusive to some degree" (p. 95).]
If I could give -5 I would.
 

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