Abusive Church Behaviors

None of these by itself is enough to really be sure, but any one is probably enough to raise questions.

1. People ask you who your “covering” is. Or they brag about who theirs is, and how it’s ok for them to do what they do because they’re “covered.” Sometimes couched in the language of “sending out” too, although that on its own is probably ok.

2. People talk about who their discipler is, or their personal pastor. They meet with them weekly and submit their life decisions to them. Feedback from the personal pastor is more important than it should be. Usually that personal pastor has a personal pastor too, and so forth until it gets to the senior pastor/apostle.

3. “Making disciples” is stressed as not just getting people saved but accumulating people for you to pastor.  Continue reading


Shepherding Movement Churches

The Shepherding Movement was a movement back in the 1970’s which arose in response to the cultural disintegration of the 1960’s.  In place of rebellion, it emphasized authority. With time, however, this emphasis on authority became a recipe for control for many.

Many of the worst shepherding churches and abuses disintegrated in the 1980’s but the influence of shepherding ideas and doctrine is still around in many places.  Some of the Church networks which have had difficulty due to their shepherding heritage are listed here.

Inclusion on this list does not mean that the church is a cult, but most of those here have had issues with control of some kind and if you are affiliated, we encourage you to look more closely at what is going on at your church.  Continue reading


Submission and Abuse

Abuse is a horrible violation of God’s law and character. One only has to read a testimony of an abused child to know that this is the case. We know that while we are in the days of mercy toward sinners, such crimes will not go unpunished forever, and those who commit them and do not repent will encounter divine and eternal justice. The most horrible thing about abuse is not even the act, however, it is what the abuse does to the abusee psychologically. It warps their views of good and evil, their view of authority, and a lot of other things at the core of their identity. This is why the unthinkable happens — the abusee becomes an abuser.

Often part of the abuse is to designed to convince you of the rightness of what is being done to you, and many abusees begin to believe it. When you believe it, you become either a permanent abusee, or a future abuser, or both. In many more cases than we would like to admit, the abusee actually has some degree of choice to exit the cycle. When participating in the abuse this choice does not really seem real, or it would be excercised. There tremendous fear of some kind placed on the person to keep them from excercising it. In abusive religious systems, it’s usually associated with the loss of one’s salvation. With children it’s especially bad because they have no sense of personal autonomy or choice. In terror, and for seeming lack of options, people submit to abuse.  Continue reading