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The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse [Paperback]

By David Johnson (Author) & Jeff VanVonderen (Author)
Our Price $ 11.04  
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Item Number 14543  
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Item Specifications...

Pages   240
Est. Packaging Dimensions:   Length: 8.3" Width: 5.3" Height: 0.7"
Weight:   57 lbs.
Binding  Softcover
Release Date   Oct 1, 1991
Publisher   Bethany House Publishers
ISBN  1556611609  
EAN  9781556611605  

Availability  0 units.

Item Description...
"Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church"

Breaking the Silence on an Abuse Within the Church That Leaves Christians Feeling "Used," Manipulated and Shamed.

Churches are meant to be safe places where spiritual leaders help and equip the members for the work of service. There are some churches, however, where leaders use their spiritual authority to control and dominate others, attempting to meet their own needs for importance, power, intimacy or spiritual gratification. Through the subtle use of the right "spiritual" words, church members are manipulated or shamed into certain behaviors or performance that ensnares in legalism, guilt and begrudging service.

This is spiritual abuse, and the results can be shattering. Deeply ingrained spiritual codes of written and unwritten rules control and condemn, wounding believers¿ spirits and keeping them from the grace and joy of God¿s kingdom. Believers find themselves enslaved to a system, a leader, a standard of performance that saps true spiritual life.

This is a message for Christians who feel they are spiritually abused and for those who might be causing it. Authors VanVonderen and Johnson address these important themes and point the way toward freedom:

*What are the abusive spiritual dynamics that can develop in a
*How do people get hooked into these abusive systems?
*What are the marks of false spiritual leadership and their impact
on a congregation?

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More About David Johnson & Jeff VanVonderen

Register your artisan biography and upload your photo! Richard Danson Brown and David Johnson are Lecturers in Literature at the Open University.

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Product Categories
1Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Ministry   [4391  similar products]
2Books > Subjects > Religion & Spirituality > Christianity > Clergy > Pastoral Counseling   [1545  similar products]

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Reviews - What do our customers think?
This book was a great help to me.  Jul 31, 2005
The subtle power that spiritual abuse has on the church is everywhere. I love how the authors get the key points and show how leaders manipulate their sheep. If you have ever gone through performance based systems and if you want to get free in Christ, this book will show you how to do it. The real power lies in the grace of the Lord Jesus. I heartily recommend this book for anyone that desires a fresh and healthy walk with the Lord and the local church.
Exposing the Pink Elephant  Jul 14, 2004
I feel I must chime in to review this book. The authors define well the aspects of a dysfunctional system. The rules of don't talk, don't trust, and don't feel are conveyed with accuracy in an often unlooked setting, the church family. I highly recommend this book as not only to deal with dysfunction but to get a better feel of the grace of God. Jeff's other book, Families Where Grace is in Place, deals excellently with grace, how to look to God for all of your needs, and how to not control your children. This book is not a herald for mutiny but puts a face on the pink elephant in the room. Read the book and make your own judgement call. Do I agree with everything they say? No. Who does? As for the negative comments on this page, they trouble me. I am both angered and frustrated.

One person is discussing repressed memories. What does that have to do with this book? He also says it describes every church he has been in. We have a tendency to gravitate toward those churches with leadership that align with our dysfunctions.

Another person talked of how the book destroyed their church. The person said a few members led a mutiny with the book. How did a few people take over a church? Where was the leadership and the membership? It sounds like the person is really grieving the loss of their church and that is a sad thing. If those people were engaging in known sin (and just not what the pastor didn't like), then those people were wrong. The book doesn't condone that. The authors are not responsible for people's distortion of the truth.

One set of comments is really troubling. They both are from the same city, probably the same person. Insulting us from the beginning, the remarker suggests that only his translation is best and that because we don't agree with him we must not be looking at our Bibles (he mentions us dusting them off). He ends his comment by saying, "Folks, we need to grow up and start worrying about the lost rather than our own petty feelings." Dismissing feelings is one of the first signs of a dysfunctional family. The second round of comments is even more interesting. Using God's Annointed again (he like referring to himself as that in caps), he goes into a tirade about Christian psychologists. And he sums up with the don't talk aspects of a dysfunctional family by saying, "If he (a pastor) leads contrary to the Word of God, then you should quietly find a preacher that does."

I highly suggest you read this book. If it doesn't affect your life, then you have lost nothing. It could, though, set you free!

Cautious and tentative recommendation  Jun 13, 2004
Well written, this book addresses the issue of spiritual abuse in the church. Yeah, it is worth the read, but I can only give it a tentative recommendation. The authors take great care in defining what they mean by abuse so that ordinary issues of discipleship and church discipline can be exercised without the abuse epitaph being sounded. Yes, there are abusive and insensitive spiritual leaders in the church. Yes, there are pastors and church leaders who try to manipulate their congregations through intimidation and shame. Yes, there are church leaders, churches systems and denominations that are just plain toxic. Yes, I even learned that some of the children's songs we teach our little ones promote legalism and shame rather than freedom and grace.

Yet, with this said, I was very uncomfortable reading this book. Part of my discomfort was conviction that, on occasion, in the past, I as a pastor have used legalism and shame to motivate my people; part of it was shame and embarrassment at how some leaders abuse their congregations, but most of my discomfort comes from what I perceive as the unintended consequence of this book of spreading the victim mentality in another area of our lives. Let's take a look at chapter three where the authors describe the ten common areas of struggle for those who have been spiritually abused. As I read this chapter, I could not help but think it described every church that I have attended, ministered in or know of. For instance, what Christian or church does not have a distorted view of God? Can anyone really comprehend the infinite God? Human understanding and human reasoning can never comprehend the infinite God and fallen human nature tends to corrupt what little we do comprehend. Also, in every congregation you will find people who have problems in the area of personal boundaries, or who may have difficulties with personally accepting personal responsibility, does this mean they were spiritually abused? Or have they been abused outside of the church and brought their fragile victim mentality into the church? Or, could this just be a character flaw? Or perhaps, they are just human. But here is the clincher: The authors state that you may be spiritually abused if you have a hard time admitting the abuse or cannot remember it (repressed memories). Let me see if I got this right- If I admit I have been abused, I have been abused. If I cannot admit I have been abused, I have been abused. If I have no memory of being abused, I am abused. Hum.

Let me prove a point concerning repressed memories. If horrid abuse causes the victim to repress his or her memories, then, it would seen to me that victims of the holocaust would as a group be prone to have no memories of their abuse by the Nazis. Every holocaust survivor I have talked to remembers everything. Speaking of repressed memories, how about spiritual abuse by those who claim that they are fighting spiritual abuse? I am acquainted with a so-called Christian counselor who specializes in recovery of repressed memories. Guess what? Almost every client she has discovers that their parents in satanic rituals abused them. Whoa! Who would have known in our little town of 2500 had so many secret covens. Personally, I choose not to a victim, no matter how rude people are to me and no matter how bad people treat me.

I'm Free  May 13, 2003
I wanted to write a rebuttle to a review below, from Bjorn Candle, as well as a short review. I feel bad for the poster below who said her church was torn apart. I feel though that she has not read the book. The authors do not advocate destroying ministries, gossiping, slandering, talking behind people's backs..etc. In fact, it is against those things they are speaking. You are encouraged to speak the truth, not gossip behind closed doors. Either the readers of the book felt abused and went off in anger, or the church was incorrect in it's teachings and needed to end. Unfortunately, as this book points out, many times in a spiritually abusive situation, the real problems are not adressed and those who point out a problem are labelled the "problem" or troublemakers. I don't know what really happened in her church, but I would urge her to read the book before writing a review.

I've been abused in several different church settings. Many of the things this book points out have happened to me. This book was freeing. I do not feel compelled to go back and confront anyone in old church systems. I just feel like I now know who I am in Jesus and I can move forward in His freedom, not in the bondage of works and appearance.

Free at Last!  Mar 7, 2003
This book has literally been a tool in the Hand of God to set me free from the lies of satan, as exposed by this book. Jeff and David give a step by step breakdown of how and why we as Christians unsuspectingly sucumb to the tactics and control of those who are supposed to be there to protect and care for those referred to as sheep, in the very House of God. They systematically uncover the subtle methods and abuse of position through those who themselves are possibly unsuspecting perpetrators of evil.
Read this book and find out the truth according to God's Word that will set you free from the superimposed mindsets that have kept you bound. I have purchased many copies of this book to give to those who were as "stuck" as I was at one time. This book is a life ring to those sinking in despair of their failure to please "God." Find out what God says as explained by these two very estute men who have revelation insight into a very subtle power that equates to a spiritual form of abuse.

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