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Recognizing Spiritual Abuse/the Religious Spirit

Discussion in 'Spiritual Discussions' started by Gina, Oct 15, 2015.

  1. Gina

    Gina Guest

    Recognizing Spiritual Abuse/The Religious Spirit

    Definition: Spiritual or religious abuse and the operating spirit behind it is described as "a kind of abuse which damages the central core of who we are. It leaves us spiritually discouraged and emotionally cut off from the healing love of God." Another definition of spiritual abuse is "the mistreatment of a person who is in need of help, support or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining, or decreasing that person's spiritual empowerment."

    taken from: http://www.micsem.org/pubs/counselor/frames/spiritabuse.htm

    • Religious spirits feed on pride-- there is often a sense of you are very special and needed there--you may be told you are highly gifted with the underlying motive to have you do more for the organization which is actually flattery or manipulation. In a religious environment there is a sense that the group is uniquely called and set apart for a purpose but translates into believing they are better than others who also have a similar calling.
    • There may be very little equipping/training/spiritual food supplied for an individual's gifting--instead you are encouraged to fill the needs of the organization or structure which results in the structure benefiting but the individuals starving spiritually. (Ezekiel 34)
    • Approval is given from performance and working hard rather than for who you are as a person. There is a lack of revelation about right standing with Creator from His finished work on the cross. There is a drivenness to perform works to please Him rather than right relationship with Creator through what Jesus has already done. This is in violation of His word which says we are saved by grace--it is a free gift so no man can boast. (Eph. 2: 8,9)
    • Works are done with the wrong motive and attitudes of heart. (Example of Saul vs. David 1 Samuel 15: 24) Often works are done to look better in the eyes of others.
    • Individuals are judged by their outward appearance. Those with tattoos, piercings, or casually dressed are not treated with acceptance unless they change their appearance and conform to the group's standards. There is an absence of true personal identity. "Sameness" is encouraged not individuality and diversity.
    • There is often lots of "christianese" or special words and phrases where you have to be on the inside to understand what is being said. For more information on how to replace religious language with everyday words see Doug Addison's booklet, "No More Christianese", www.dougaddison.com
    • There is an overemphasis on titles, mantles. What an individual does becomes their identity (An example would be a pastor or prophet who expects to be called "Pastor Joe" or "Prophet Joe". His identity is mistakingly in how he functions and not who he is in Christ.
    • A spirit of nepotism may be evident: the practice among those with power or influence of favoring relatives or friends, especially by giving them positions within the organization. Positions are not given by seeking the mind of Creator and with the counsel of Godly elders but by the corporate head which is often the CEO/pastor.
    • Creativity is markedly absent in the gifts. For example, the same old songs being sung from 50 years ago with no new songs encouraged to bring worship to the Lord.
    • There is a lack of the simplicity of the gospel of Christ being preached replaced by deep theology, doctrines and intellectualism. The listener may be impressed by the feeling that the sermon contains "deep" messages but they are often lacking any life giving power or anointing. (2 Tim 3: 5)
    • In a religious environment rules and protocols are valued above relationships. It is marked by codes of conduct and strict adherence to laws and order with little flexibility. "That's just the way we do things here."
    • There is a higher value to maintain order rather than to see the Holy Spirit have lordship. It looks like protection but it boils down to control and an unwillingness to yield to the unpredictability and creativity of God bringing the "new" and fresh things from His heart. If it can't be found spelled out in the Bible than it can't be God--there is little room for God to do a "new thing". In actuality there is very little about church meetings that are really found in the Bible. For example, Sunday school, the use of pulpits, worship leaders, etc. The letter of the word is valued and followed more in these structures rather than the Spirit behind them.
    • There is an absence of love. " The religious spirit exposes weakness, unpacks our vulnerabilities, assumes the worst, trusts nobody, and looks for evil in every suitcase." from blog by Kris Vallotton--The Keystone Cops and the Religious Spirit". 1 John 4: 20 says, "If anyone says, “I love God,” and hates his brother, he is a liar; for he who does not love his brother whom he has seen cannot love God whom he has not seen."
    • Gossip, slander, and malicious talking are common in a religious structure and may even be allowed with the false belief that knowing more dirty laundry about a person will result in being able to pray for them more effectively.
    • There is a sense of pressure and control by authority figures toward the victim to be overly obedient not biblical submissive--there is no mutual submission just hierarchal leadership similar to a military structure or business corporation. If authority is questioned in a religious environment, the victim is often accused of being a rebel or of being insubordinate maintaining the cycle of abuse.
    • The victim may feel an inner need to attach oneself to an authority figure to feel "safe". Dependence upon the authority is encouraged (not on God) so that the authority figure (not the Holy Spirit) can help with blind spots. Fear is often used in this system to keep those involved in line. To maintain this mindset the leadership emphasizes the sinner's fallen nature in control and not the individual's amazing power from the risen Christ with His Holy Spirit to live from their new nature.
    • The victim often has feelings of heaviness/oppression; lacking in joy. (The best example would be domestic abuse--very similar to religious abuse in that there is no sense of joy in a place that is supposed to protect but actually abuses.
    • Victims of religious abuse may exhibit signs and symptoms of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder or PTSD. Symptoms may include: confusion, difficulty making decisions or lack of direction, an underdeveloped sense of self, anxieties, fears of damnation, guilt, thoughts of suicide, difficulty expressing emotions, sleep and eating disorders, loss of social network due to the fear of being shunned and possible loss of family relationships, difficulty enjoying pleasurable experiences, perfectionism, grief, despair, bitterness, loneliness, anger, thoughts of retaliation against any religious structures/persons, and many others. Symptoms may be as severe as those who experience SRA or Satanic Ritual Abuse including Dissociative Identity Disorder more commonly occurring when the abuse occurs in early child development years.
    • Strong individuals wired by Creator to be Protectors are not nurtured/fed/equipped so they become those who kill the prophetic.
    • "Prophetic" words have the tone of someone speaking downwards, the word feels like a lot of information but lacks any element that is life-giving; there may be a sense of disapproval or sense of shame attached.
    • If a correcting word is given, it lacks a sense of hope.
    • The victim often feels smaller or minimized after prophetic words; confused, doubting that he/she will ever "make it", there may be a sense of failure like they are disappointing God.
    • Victims of religion often feel God is angry or is shunning them when they sin.
    • Those who are wounded emotionally are treated like second class citizens in need of discipline. The wounded usually come out from these structures more broken due to the punitive environment.
    • Prayer/intercession characterized by getting God to do something. It may look like a shopping "to do" list rather than partnering with Creator to discover His mind and His heart to bring His Kingdom to earth. It could even be characterized by "witchcrafty"-type prayers: praying your own will of what you want to see God accomplish rather than His Holy Spirit leading and revealing His will.
    Life Giving Prophecy
    1 Cor 14: 3 (Voice Translation)
    "But a person who has the gift of prophecy teaches in a way that builds up the community, draws them near, and comforts them."


    Characteristics of true Christianity or a Life-giving environment full of the Spirit
    • Titles are not emphasized because an individuals gifting are just how they function and not where they receive their identity.
    • There is an emphasis on family relationships and a strong sense of community. Relationships are mutually beneficial in building each other up but not parasitic or codependent in nature.
    • The family is more inclusive that exclusive. It is free of elitism recognizing that Creator's heart is that the individual parts of the body are all necessary but uniquely designed to need each other like the human body.
    • Individuals are embraced and not shunned based on the affiliation or lack of affiliation with the body. (An example of this would be: if I stopped attending the meetings would friendships within the group cease to exist?)
    • The leadership encourages creativity and a life-style of living "outside the box". There is an expectancy that God is always the same but He often likes to do new things. There is no methodology. There is a mentality that we may not know what we are doing at any giving moment, but the Holy Spirit does and we are eager to follow Him. In this environment, past experiences with Creator does not hinder growth or stop revival. We don't have it all figured out because we know that His ways are higher than ours, His thoughts are not our thoughts. He seems to enjoy dismantling any human tendency of putting him in a box or methodology.
    • The body is mutually submissive one to another. There is oversight but not hierarchical authority. It is marked by humility in that the the leadership is quick to admit when they are wrong and correct their position. The leadership models servant-style leadership rather than a military-style leadership recognizing that the "boss" is the Holy Spirit.
    • Joy and a sense of freedom are evident in the atmosphere--there is no atmosphere of heaviness/oppression. We enjoy God together--what a concept! There is an atmosphere of expectancy that Creator just may do something off the hook today.
    • There is a good percentage of children and youth and they look happy and are friendly. This is often a key because an oppressive or over-controlling environment can even be evident on children's faces.
    • The church functions like an organism rather than an organization; the organism is the family of God. There is a spirit of sonship and sense of identity evident in the members of the family. Individuality and diversity are encouraged as it is in a healthy family.
    • Each individual is encouraged to discover their gifting and are equipped and fed in a way that allows them to function and to be released in what they are called to do. They are in a safe environment to "practice" their skills without the fear of rebuke or punishment. (The best example would be a toddler learning to walk) There is a spirit of gentleness when leadership is mentoring those who are spiritually young to grow and mature.
    • Those who are "older" listen to the "younger" spiritually recognizing that the young do not have a "junior" Holy Spirit. In this they honor the Spirit by seeing that He often uses those who simply trust and believe like a child.
    • Works are evident empowered by passionate love for Creator not obligation or duty. The leadership encourages all to be empowered and motivated always by love.
    • Evidence of outreach to the community and to the poor.
    • The wounded are restored and reconciled to relationship with their Creator in the way a patient would expect to be treated in a hospital whose mission is to bring people into wholeness not to just take their money. (Mat. 12: 20)
    • Corrective words are not punitive. They are given honoring the individuals like a gentle father encouraging their own son or daughter to live to their highest potential.
    • The individual's are functioning in the meetings and not just the pastor. This shows that he is not a "one man show". He has equipped those he has fathered spiritually for the works of ministry and gladly releases them even if/when they leave the "nest" demonstrating trust in their maturity and gifting.
    Characteristics of Life-giving Prophetic words:
    • The receiver feels encouraged, supported, a sense of destiny calling;
    • The receiver's spirit engages and is strengthened; sometimes with a sense of the nearness of Creator as the words are spoken.
    • There is hope attached and a sense that God is smiling upon His daughter/son with a "Way to go!"
    • The word is given with humility, grace and honor. There is fruit of the Holy Spirit evident in a life that thrives in this environment: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control. (Gal. 5: 22)
    • There is no flattery and no sense of being overpowered or manipulated by the deliverer of the message.
    • There is a sense of being unique in gifting but not a sense of eliteness.
    • Individuals are embraced that look "different" recognizing that man judges by the outward appearance but God judges the heart. (1 Sam. 16: 7) This is not to say that modesty is not encouraged as it needs to be but a person is not judged by how they dress or by their appearance.
    • A sense of motivation often follows to take steps of faith that the receiver would otherwise be hesitant to take.
    • The receiver may even feel more energize to do what God has called them to do because life spoken over them. His words are life.
    • There is a sense of belonging to Creator.--"I am His and He is mine".
    Some of the ideas and thoughts above were inspired by the following readings and teachings:
    Elitism and the Spirit of Control by Kathie Walters,
    www.goodnews.netministries.org
    Overcoming the Dark Side (2 Cd set) by Larry Randolph,
    www.larryrandolph.com
    http://jubileeresources.org/?page_id=620

    http://www.openheaven.com/forums/printer_friendly_posts.asp?TID=17973

    If you feel you've been a victim of religious/spiritual abuse and are looking for inner healing, listed below are some resources that may help:

    http://heartsyncministries.org
    http://www.rcm-usa.org
    http://www.immanuelapproach.com
    http://www.bethelsozo.com
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2015
    Del likes this.
  2. bornnzion

    bornnzion Member

    Gina! This article is well written, well researched and I love that the tone of it is so positive & Life-focused! Way to GO sistah!
     
    Michael likes this.
  3. Del

    Del Site Liaison Associate

    Love it! So much of this is also evident in an abusive marriage where the husband uses his religious beliefs to "lord over" his wife. I actually have spiritual abuse as a category for my list of "verbal and emotional" abuses. So many similarities between this list and what you'd see in an abusive relationship. I would garner to say that a pastor who practices shepherding is probably abusive to his wife. It's all about control...
     
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  4. Gina

    Gina Guest

    I had a good friend that told me a story about her the church she attended since she was a child. Actually, her parents also attended the same church and they too had attended the same church all their life so her church was like her extended family. She told me the leaders were controlling and somehow always manipulated her into doing "more" for them. She frequently felt "shamed", powerless, angry and resentful after they repetitively treated her like a child. The women who should have been supportive of her gossiped about her often, displayed jealousy, and belittled her accomplishments--competing with her in ministry. The pastoral staff frequently pointed out her shortcomings, flaws, and mistakes causing her to feel like she was displeasing to God. Feeling "used" and resentful caused her more shame and guilt and for that she felt like a 'bad' Christian. One day, I said to her, "That's horrible what they are doing to you. You sound like a battered wife."

    Apparently, she left this church shortly thereafter and found a new healthy church with her husband and family and never looked back. She said God used what I said to get her attention. She didn't want to see her kids become the victims of abuse too. She and her husband started seeing a counselor to "deprogram" them both from the years of spiritual and emotional abuse they endured. Thank God they got help and recovered!
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 16, 2015
    Michael and Seneca like this.
  5. Cheri

    Cheri Member Weekly Reader

    This is great so far! I'm going to add my own two cents worth since I came out of an abusive church a few years ago. The list above is very good and I agree with almost all of it. What gets really tricky is when you are in a church with a leader who is extremely anointed. And sometimes the abuse is only mildly there at first. With our church, the abuse skyrocketed after our pastor had a car accident and resulting brain concussion. He became more and more controlling. I also think some doors were opened along the way, but that is another topic.

    When you have such an extremely anointed pastor, it can be very deceiving. We'd have services where the anointing would be so strong we'd be willingly in church for hours and hours. No one would want to leave. Creator's presence was so tangible and real that everyone there knew Creator was there. There were healings (many, many major miracles confirmed by doctors), no set agenda's (worship would go on forever), and you'd come away super charged. We also had the visible glory cloud. At one season, we had laughing in the spirit that hit the sanctuary and all the kid's classes. No one wanted to miss church for those. When it's like that, everyone wants to be there and stay forever...our pastor couldn't even get us all to go home. Our church also really grew to one of the largest in the area. Everyone involved in the church wanted to be a part of things and what was going on. It was very easy to help out where ever needed.

    But, things went to our Pastor's head (I'll put it that way to be kind) and got very controlling. We basically ended up with a church that had half good things and half bad things. And, then it got worse. But, everyone hung in there hoping revival would come and we'd have the anointing again and more of it. The dream for that anointing and revival is what made everyone serve the abusive leadership. It was like they wanted it no matter what the cost, and it became very dangerous.

    In other words, you can be apart of a church that for the most part seems safe. And, if there is an anointing, people will put up with anything, just to be around the anointing. There were signs my husband and I should have noticed long ago (such as when Greg & I got in trouble for witnessing to all the 100 kids we brought to VBS in our bus ministry and we got most of them saved...we got told "our church doesn't do that witnessing"). We should have left the church then and not looked back. But, we reasoned that no church was perfect and we prayed for them to change their viewpoint. In hinds sight, we should have left.

    Also, our church fully preached salvation by grace and not by works. Everyone knew full well that salvation didn't come by serving the church, pastor, or any religious organization. That was very clear. What was taught was that if you didn't serve, you wouldn't be used in the coming revival. And, there would be tons of people to take your place immediately if you were not ready to serve and lay down your life for the pastor's beck and call. What dangerously went along with this was if you didn't serve, you were being rebellious and Creator couldn't use rebellious people. You'd be forever marked or cursed, and you would get cancer and die. But, you would NOT loose your salvation or rewards in heaven. You'd just loose out on what Creator had for you in revival down here on earth. This would be backed up by stories from the past of rebellious people who got sick and died. And some legitimate stories from other ministries along the same lines.

    This is such a great discussion to have. Many people are devastated by these places. It helps to know what to look out for, and to know that your situation isn't the only one. And, for those who haven't been in an abusive church, it really helps to have an idea of what people go through and why they stay as long as they do. If you can see things from their perspective, with love you can sometimes help them to get out.
     
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  6. Seneca

    Seneca Member

    Interesting...
     
  7. Cheri

    Cheri Member Weekly Reader

    This is basically true.

    We were trained, but it was only after we showed we were 100% supportive of our pastor. We even got to do a prayer ministry/house group fellowship in our house for 10 years. We were the only ones allowed to do this. We completely led it and did whatever we wanted. And, we had some pretty fantastic, and cool times. Also we both (my husband & I) had the opportunity to actually minister/preach and work the altars in church (with the anointing). To this day, I don't know why we had the favor and training, except that Creator wanted us to learn this stuff and he snuck us in.

    But, we also were probably the only ones who ever contradicted our pastor. If we didn't agree with something, we let him know it. We just did it kindly and respectfully. Things didn't get really bad until the end, then they got really bad. Beyond bad.

    We always wondered why no one with any backbone was ever on the deacon board or close to pastor. Why everyone seemed to be yes men. That is, everyone but us.
     
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  8. Gina

    Gina Guest

    What you are saying is so true, Cheri. Soooo much still needs to shift. I left the Church and left God for 20 years because of all the trauma inflicted upon me as a child in religious environments. What you are talking about above is trauma from "fear bonds" in relationships. It's sadly pretty common in religious environments. People are kept captive by fear. I think people stay because that's all they know--it's familiar maybe because maybe they were brought up that way by strongly over-authoritarian parental figures. There's probably lots of other reasons. Maybe there is some brainwashing going on too--they are promised security and protection from the big, bad world out there. I had years of prayer ministry and therapy to overcome the damage that was done. It's taken years for me to realize that God really does want me to get a life--a full and satisfying one, a life more abundant. I believe we can only thrive in a place where there are love bonds that strengthen us, not fear bonds.

    Here's a helpful book to understand fear bonds for anyone who is interested: "Living From The Heart Jesus Gave You" by Shepherd's House Inc. www.lifemodel.org
    http://www.amazon.com/Living-From-Heart-Jesus-Gave/dp/193562914X

    Here is something interesting to ponder. What if "church" was more like a healthy family?

    Here is a set of bylaws from a group of believers I know... I'm not putting a plug in for them, I'm just saying...the model of church as we know it has to change and I believe it is. (This is just one example) The reason for this transition into the new is that our Creator is committed to seeing a bride come forth without spot or wrinkle (Eph. 5: 27) and the gates of hell will not be able to prevail against her. (Mat. 16: 17-19) Nations will stream to her (Is. 2: 1-4) We are living in an exciting time where "change" is in the air and people are leaving the traditional structure to find life-giving places/people that are willing to follow the Holy Spirit with abandon and leave behind the fear-based, controlling atmosphere of religion.

    Here's an example:

    CONSTITUTION & BYLAWS OF ___
    As followers of Jesus, we have come to the understanding that He is our Chief Shepherd, His Father is ours too, and that The Holy Spirit is the administrator, director, and leader of His Church.”

    We fully embrace the notion that The Holy Spirit is fully aware of the direction and decisions that need to be made, capable of leading and directing in those decisions, and we are willing to abide by His leadership even when we are not fully cognizant of that direction.

    We purposefully have chosen to remain dependent on His complete intervention in the affairs of ______ and our individual lives, believing that if He is leading, He is not looking to abdicate that role and release it to a lesser authority with human frailty, discernment, and judgment.

    We choose to abide by the notion and highest principle of love that brings us to humility, teachability, and service to one another and the purposes of Heaven on the earth.

    We are fully aware that we, as humans, are desperate for, and dependent on, His revelation, His Word, and His leading in all affairs of our personal and in the community of believers that are known as ___Family.

    We gladly acknowledge the fact that we are not fully aware of all the parameters of practice, order, purpose, and parameters of His leading, and have chosen to remain submissive to Him in all our ways and practices.

    We have come to know that although His ways and thoughts are perfectly correct, because of our human frailty and imperfect perception, we sometimes find His works, ways, and directions places us in an awkward, yet Holy place. We are grateful for this Holy awkward lifestyle that keeps us childlike in His Presence.

    We have chosen to pursue and remain in a place where our gatherings and our lives together reflect Him and if there is no direction, we will remain at peace with that desperate place of waiting for His direction until it occurs.

    Basically it means this in two very simple bylaws:
    1. We don’t know what we are doing (but He does know what HE IS DOING!)
    2. We are going to pursue that notion in our gatherings!

    "And you, beloved, are the light of the world. A city built on a hilltop cannot be hidden. Similarly it would be silly to light a lamp and then hide it under a bowl. When someone lights a lamp, she puts it on a table or a desk or a chair, and the light illumines the entire house. You are like that illuminating light. Let your light shine everywhere you go, that you may illumine creation, so men and women everywhere may see your good actions, may see creation at its fullest, may see you devotion to Me, and may turn and praise your Father in heaven because of it. Mat. 5: 14-16 The Voice

    This "ancient text" speaks to me of light that draws others and points to our Creator. we become a bright light, unrestricted and unobstructed (by religious trappings) by which others can see creation "at its fullest" and then turn to see a heavenly Creator full of Love for them. We become the hands and feet of Creator fulfilling His mission statement: to bring good news to the poor, proclaim freedom for the prisoners...see the oppressed set free. (Luke 4: 18) When the anointing is used for His mission and not to build our own personal ministries, organizations and structures, feed our pocket books, then our lamp is full of light.

    for more information about the group with the above bylaws:
    https://www.themountain.org/about-us
     
    Last edited by a moderator: Oct 18, 2015
    Cheri likes this.
  9. Gina

    Gina Guest

    Really good example, Del! It is all about control.
    It made me think of this scripture:
    "As a fellow elder, I appeal to you: 2 Care for the flock that God has entrusted to you. Watch over it willingly, not grudgingly—not for what you will get out of it, but because you are eager to serve God. 3 Don’t lord it over the people assigned to your care, but lead them by your own good example. 4 And when the Great Shepherd appears, you will receive a crown of never-ending glory and honor.” 1 Pet. 5: 1-4
     
    Del likes this.
  10. Cheri

    Cheri Member Weekly Reader

    While this is true, in churches like I was in, they are more held captive by all the supernatural services.

    Our former pastor had an anointing that I have yet to see in any other pastor, anywhere. There are some out there who travel who have anointings similar to his, but very few pastors are like this. I do think he was called to travel, but because of his behavior (I'm putting it nicely), he'll be limited to running a church in a metropolitan area and that's it. He still has an anointing because the gifts and callings are irrevocable, but it isn't as strong as it was in the past. He also won't be traveling, and he won't be used in "revival" until things in his life change.

    But, people are captivated by the supernatural experiences in the services, that is the sole reason they come and stay in his church. They kind-of have this attitude that someone this anointed has to be in right standing with Creator. It's very, very dangerous.

    To give you an idea of our Pastor's anointing (he's not our pastor any more, but it's the only way I can think of referring to him), our Pastor has ministered for Benny Hinn in his services. And yes, he has pulled people out of wheelchairs, and healed paralyzed people and had these and similar miracles medically documented in our church and elsewhere. There was also a cut off limb reconnected. This is just a sampling of the healing miracles. He also is/was the best friend of John Bevere and he walks in those circles. And, he knows the pastor of the Brownsville revival. It's been said by many ministerial people that my former pastor had a much stronger anointing than what was seen at Brownsville and what Benny Hinn walks in (Cho from South Korea said that one). And, in defense of the Brownsville people and these other ministers, they don't know what went on in our church. They only know he never went anywhere in ministry. They have probably guessed by now that things are not right.

    But, with someone with an anointing like this, we had services where the power of Creator was so strong...nobody in the entire auditorium could stand. At other times we all saw the glory cloud. There have also been many, many times 20 or 30 rows of people would all go down at once under the anointing. You can't make this stuff up. And, unless you've been in services with this stuff, it's very hard to explain. But, the supernatural experiences and power (which was of Creator) is very real and it draws people. That is the sole reason people stay. Without it, no one would be there. The fear aspect only comes in after you've been there for a long while and want to be a part of ministering, which everyone wants to do. You also are completely aware of the fact that no church anywhere around even comes close to having this kind of anointing. So, once you realize what's going on behind the scenes you have a choice....do I leave knowing full well I will never be apart of an anointing like this? or do I stay and put up with abuse? We left.

    I agree with all the abuse stuff, but I also very strongly think there is an avenue many people miss...the anointing and supernatural experiences draw people like magnets. Everyone wants to go to the cool services and experience things. Even now, every single time I hear of someone going to a conference or being in a worship service, its always gauged by the supernatural experiences everyone did or didn't have. And everyone flocks to the services where things happen. In the wrong hands, it is very dangerous.
     
    Michael likes this.
  11. Gina

    Gina Guest

    Very insightful, Cheri. It must have been very difficult to leave. One of the hardest things to do is to walk away in a situation such as you are describing. Unfortunately, I have seen first-hand what you are describing. You are correct, many people go nuts over manifestations, miracles, signs and wonders. Signs are just supposed to point to --Someone. Jesus went about doing good and healing ALL who came to Him. That's a pretty powerful anointing. He healed ALL who came to Him but the difference was He was humble. He was very connected to His Father--very intimate with Him. He was also motivated by love.

    I find it very weird when people think that because you have a strong gift of healing or any powerful anointing you must be intimate with God. Mat 7 says "20 Yes, just as you can identify a tree by its fruit, so you can identify people by their actions.
    21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws." This word, "knew" is the Strong's word: 1097ginṓskō – properly, to know, especially through personal experience (first-hand acquaintance). Obviously we can carry the "goods" and people can think we are tight with God and think well of us. Seems worse if we get all the way through this life deceiving ourselves and miss out on a beautiful intimate relationship with our God settling for just the stuff He does to demonstrate He is good to us.

    This reminds me of a story I heard about a friend of mine that has personally seen the dead raised many times. Yes, that's a powerful anointing! He was in a service where jewels were falling down from heaven so there was some powerful manifestations going on. Lots of miracles too. People were in awe of the "stuff" happening. He did not look up when people called to him to look at what was happening. He refused to be distracted by all of that. He humbly kept worshipping His Jesus and was having a wonderful intimate time with Him and knew that the manifestations were just signs of Him being present but He knew better than to mistake that for the most important thing--spending time with Jesus Himself.
     
    Michael likes this.
  12. Cheri

    Cheri Member Weekly Reader

    I agree 100%. Sadly, people I know fall into this category. The deception can be very strong. It's almost like a drug.

    And once you are out of it, you realize what those in it are still going through. We are currently praying for several that we know that are still in this "bad" ministry. It's like a blindfold is over them.
     
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  13. Del

    Del Site Liaison Associate

    Been there... done that... bought the T-Shirt... wore it. :banghead: Not doing it again. Lesson learned (y)
     
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  14. Gina

    Gina Guest

    Here is a great website that carefully dissects the "who is your covering" theology:

    http://coveringandauthority.com

    It also discusses the model of a good shepherd which is helpful when trying to understand biblical authority vs. false authority.
     
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  15. Del

    Del Site Liaison Associate

    Great article! In a nutshell, you see exactly what this doctrine teaches.
     
  16. Michael

    Michael Associate

    I can truly identify with your friend. I'm praying that Holy Soirif heals me of the same.
     
  17. Michael

    Michael Associate

    Very resonating story. I can relate. Thanx for sharing Cheri!
     
  18. Michael

    Michael Associate

    So my experience. I was seen as prideful and arrogant when I objected in any kind of way.
     
  19. Michael

    Michael Associate

    I almost cried reading the article and comments. I never knew that so many people went through what I went through.
     
  20. Cheri

    Cheri Member Weekly Reader

    It's been unreal what we went through, oh about 7 years ago now. So, you've been there too. I have tears in my eyes reading this!:cry: wow. Ya, we've been called about everything in the book during various those church services, all because we refused to go along with stuff that was wrong.
     
    Michael likes this.
  21. Michael

    Michael Associate

    I still talk to a few friends who still go to that church. Very few! Ones who were friends before I actually joined. And as I was talking to one of them yesterday, another member was in the car with him. I told my friend to tell the church member I said hi. And he didn't reply Back :(. But he spoke everyday when I was in the church. He's close to the pastor so I know there has been a conversation about me. My mom still goes there and is now experiencing the very thing I went through. But she keeps getting suckered back in with the guilt trip. It's like a bad relationship! My pastor had tried everything in her power to get my mom to look at me in a bad light and demonize me. Like I am the worse person ever! And she supposedly had loved me. Ha! I love the church the ministry and my pastor but I've moved on. After I left it created a door for many others to step out to leave. Many others! I just couldn't take it anymore. Being considered the under dog, when I tried my hardest to serve. It just wasn't enough. I was miserable in church service. And even got called out and yelled at by pastor because I wouldn't get up and dance like everybody else was. And her scapegoat was always that she did it because she loved me. Ha! But in the next breathe called me arrogant. It hurts just taking about it. But however. I never want to go through that again. To try to prove myself to man that I am loved and favored by God like they are. I see better days ahead of me though :)
     
    Melody likes this.
  22. Michael

    Michael Associate

    The church that I went to was non denomination. But like any non denomination church, 9/10 times the church will still look like it's parent church/affiliation. Same culture, worship style, etc. my church came from a Pentecostal holiness church. That denomination was founded out of a backlash of male superiority in the church structure. Woman begun to step out and start there own ministries separate from men to escape the spiritual suppression and oppression/abuse they were facing. The idea behind the movement was good but one of the stones that laid the foundation of the movement, of not allowing woman pastors, was bitterness toward godly men. It reminded them of the suppression. So whenever they seen a gifted man, instead of embracing him they returned the treatment. And also emasculated the men in the church because they were intimidated by their masculinity. Why not when it was there masculinity that reminded them of their, "don't speak in church" doctrine. I was a victim of this Pentecostal curse. All the men who were emasculated and controlled their gifting and masculinity was elevated and loved. But I who valued my masculinity, as much as I valued the femininity of a woman, was seen as arrogant and untamable.

    The church that I went to was all woman elders and woman pastor. No male singers but me, temporarily of course. Ha. There was a rift between the men in the church and the women. The men was seen as jesters and jokers. And the woman was seen as gifted strong leaders. In there eyes, the men didn't have the capacity to lead. Therefore I couldn't stand a chance even though my giftedness was clearly seen. Sometime I played the advocate between the men and women in the church trying to bring them together to work, with no avail. The woman thought the men was inadequate and jesters. And the men seen the women as unmatcheable because nevertheless, they were the leaders of the church. The men were miserable!
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017
  23. Cheri

    Cheri Member Weekly Reader

    That would have been horrible to endure! I'll say this from reading all your dream interpretations and readings, you have a call and a gift to preach. It just seems to flow right out of you! They sure are the ones who lost out by not allowing you to do more.

    We went through so much that it took awhile to get over it all. I have learned that Creator can take all of it and use it to help me reach others who have been through things. We've had some cool things happen since then. Creator has taken us places we would never had dreamed of had we still been in that same church and with good favor there. There is so much we would not have learned. Dream interpretation is one.
     
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  24. Michael

    Michael Associate

    CW,

    Thank you so much for you kind words and encouragement. I always seen the church as a warehouse and couldn't be in there too long. People had just sat and did nothing with their gifts. But an interesting vision that God has given me before was me standing in front of a tall building. Now that I recall it was burgundy. I was standing in front of the building and preaching to it. Then Creator said, "I need you to preach to the institutions". He later explained that there are enough preachers preaching to people. The institutions of our nation need to be regenerated by the gospel as well. And than a month or so later I met melody and now I'm in NIT. teaching me on how to talk to the "buildings". They (who the buildings represent, to my limited knowledge of the revelation, are the teachers, school board officials, scientist, political figures, etc.) speak a different language than we do. And sometimes they won't talk back because concrete can't talk ha! So I can't expect to receive an amen or applause and people dancing over my word.

    Yes, I sing. Congratulations on your accomplishments!!! I got kicked off the worship team at my church because the worship leader was so many things but kind.

    But however. How do I know I am still seared in some places from the touch of religion. How do I know if I am still harboring ill feelings and how Do I become healed?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017
  25. Michael

    Michael Associate

    CW,

    Thank you so much for you kind words and encouragement. I always seen the church as a warehouse and couldn't be in there too long. People had just sat and did nothing with their gifts. But an interesting vision that God has given me before was me standing in front of a tall building. Now that I recall it was burgundy. I was standing in front of the building and preaching to it. Then Creator said, "I need you to preach to the institutions". He later explained that there are enough preachers preaching to people. The institutions of our nation need to be regenerated by the gospel as well. And than a month or so later I met melody and now I'm in NIT. teaching me on how to talk to the "buildings". They (who the buildings represent, to my limited knowledge of the revelation, are the teachers, school board officials, scientist, political figures, etc.) speak a different language than we do. And sometimes they won't talk back because concrete can't talk ha! So I can't expect to receive an amen or applause and people dancing over my word.

    Yes, I sing. Congratulations on your accomplishments!!! I got kicked off the worship team at my church because the worship leader was so many things but kind.

    But however. How do I know I am still seared in some places from the touch of religion. How do I know if I am still harboring ill feelings and how Do I become healed?
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2017
  26. Cheri

    Cheri Member Weekly Reader

    I can totally see you doing that-preaching to buildings and structures! I'll be cheering you on!

    As for the healing, it sometimes takes awhile. The cool thing with God is, it isn't a race. It is a process. He is there with you the entire way, encouraging each and every step. One thing you can do is write where you are right now in a journal and include some goals or things to overcome (regarding what all happened to you with the church). Then 6 months down the road or a year later look at them. You'll find you've come a long way, further than you've realized. I did this and I was shocked. A year after everything had happened to me, I was stunned to see how much I had grown. It was very encouraging. Another thing I did, and this was to help get rid of ill feelings towards others, was to every day write down 10 things I was grateful for, things that would not have happened had this situation at church not happened (like meeting Melody). After a few months I realized what cool things had happened and it made it easier to get over all that was done to me.
     
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  27. Michael

    Michael Associate

    Hmm...I like that word "preaching to STRUCTURES". It reminds me of when, according to ancient text, when created asked, "Could these dry bones live? [in a graveyard of ruins] And than He instructed the prophet to prophecy to the bones. That life giving ability. The ability by the creative word of Creator to rebuild structures and institutions, which are the main organs of our nation's body. Perhaps our nation may be failing because it's organs (institutions) are failing. Something to think about more.

    Thank you so much for you words of advice and encouragement. I definitely cherish every word and will put them into practice. It's not a mistake that I'm connected to such amazing and influential people. I can't wait to see me a year from now after receiving so much coaching from you guys!
     
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