You may also like...

50 Responses

  1. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    Adam, Israels first king?

    I read Genesis and I see Christ – I do like to identify Adam & Eve as the first church.

  2. Rob says:

    About spiritual abuse…. Spiritual abuse occurs when you give authority for yourself over to someone else. Period. Final.

    Just don’t do it!

  3. Dan from Georgia says:

    Bravo on calling Charisma what they are…CON ARTISTS! They are now posting a viral photo of cloud iridescence and claiming it to be a sign of his coming (his with small H on purpose). Bunch of phonies and now they are scientifically ignorant!

    Also, bravo for posting a piece calling out Doug Wilson. Dare not post on his site as his nearly-cultist following will surely claim Doug as all-wise and never wrong.

  4. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Rob, the axiom “looks” great as words but how about applying it to parenting in the real world?

  5. Jean says:

    Adam: Israel’s first king

    I do appreciate the focus of the article on the meaning of “subdue it, and have dominion over….” This dimension of the human vocation is often downplayed or ignored altogether in theological discussions, whereas “it was very good” is often the overplayed and equated with paradise and perfection.

    The Genesis 1-3 narratives are often read not so much for what they say, but what the reader wants them to say to support other theological priorities.

  6. Em says:

    after reading the link i still don’t know how immigration has shaped the U.S…. but it did get me thinking about God’s purpose in scattering the peoples… thinking about God’s definition of peace versus man’s definition… not sure they are the same
    always something to think about when i visit the PhxP

  7. filbertz says:

    can’t link it, but John Oliver on Last Week Tonight (HBO) had an interesting segment on immigration, particularly the crisis in Europe/Syria, and its potential impacts on nations that take them in.

  8. Em says:

    i know tomorrow is remember Saeed day, but we need daily prayer for these people – it makes no sense (except to God, who sees and will reward all men according to their deeds)

    most here probably know this is happening now, but…

    a little out of context, perhaps… Romans 2:5-6

  9. The Dude says:

    Last year a spent time on line reading up on Doug Wilson. The guy is pretty creepy. The rebuttal to the piece of trash article he wrote was appropriate.

  10. Jim says:

    “But I suspect the reduction of non-Christian women to whores or lesbians says more about the psychology of the writer than it does about my mother. And maybe other mothers too?”


  11. Steve Wright says:

    WtH…maybe I missed a key point in an article or something..

    Why did you ask about parenting in the context of spiritual abuse?

    By legal definition, a minor child can’t give consent, so could not violate Rob’s axiom. And by law a parent must assume control (and responsibility) for their minor children.

    Obviously, when a parent abuses a child, in any fashion, the parent is 100% responsible.

  12. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Rob presented an axiom that only works on paper on #2. It’s easy to say “don’t do it” about submitting to spiritual authority but in the parent-child relationship all sorts of spiritually abusive behaviors can happen.

  13. Today is the Feast of St. Michael and All Angels. Did everyone party appropriately? 😉

  14. richard says:

    please, it sounds as if you are blaming spiritual abuse on the abused, or one who allows themselves to be “under authority”. it is ok to submit. it is not ok for the one in authority to “lord it over” those under them.

  15. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Trueman’s piece … wow … and Wilson’s responses … it’s impossible to not observe iN Doug Wilson’s glib and gadflyish tone a prototype for Driscoll, particularly Driscoll at his peak in 2012.

  16. Steve Wright says:

    Still seems quite a reach given the context of the article and what just about everyone still thinks of and understands when they say ‘spiritual abuse’ – apples to oranges at minimum but thanks for replying.

    I would not call parental abuse, spiritual abuse. It is far too much a problem in our day to conflate the two things…in my opinion.

    A pastor sees a congregant how much a week? Compared to a child in his/her own home with no place to go or hide short of running away.

  17. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Steve, my point about Rob’s axiom is, well, let’s revisit the axiom first.

    Spiritual abuse occurs when you give authority for yourself over to someone else. Period. Final.

    Categorical, no qualification. I was saying earlier this is the kind of axiom that only seems smart on paper. This is not an axiom that actually makes sense or works in the real world and it’s precisely because of things like the parent-child dynamic. Not every relationship you’re in is one where the authority someone has over you is predicated on your voluntary actions. What makes abuse abuse is frequently that an otherwise legitimate authority relationship is misused for the harm rather than the help of the abused. Rob’s axiom basically makes a blanket statement that abuse is what happens if you ever end up in a relationship where you give authority for yourself over to someone else. as Richard was saying, this can look like blaming the victim.

    Not doubting Rob’s axiom was given with good intent, it’s just too useless and universal an assertion. If voluntary submission is the real problem then no one should get married, seeing as the Bible talks about how husbands and wives have occasions where they are urged to be mutually submissive to one another. Again, not doubting Rob’s intent, just pointing out the axiom is impossible to implement in the real world on its own terms. We have to trust too many people to get through life.

  18. This is probably still the best 5 min presentation before Congress by a Christian. It took him only 30 sec to preach the gospel.

  19. Steve Wright says:

    Not every relationship you’re in is one where the authority someone has over you is predicated on your voluntary actions.
    Of course not. But those other relationships (like the husband wife you mention) also are not relevant to the term spiritual abuse as commonly understood (and written about)

    Now, I suppose if one has been convinced their particular church is the only true church, they may feel they are not their voluntarily (if they want to stay in relationship with God). So I am not saying there is not a hole or two in that axiom but there is a whole lot of truth in it if you ask me.

    MLD….Naghmeh Abedini has also done a terrific job on more than one occasion with limited time to get the gospel out in her remarks, even as she is speaking in hopes of influencing the release of her husband.

  20. Josh the Beloved says:

    I don’t see how Adam would be the Israel’s first King. Adam was a gentile not even a Jew. The sign of circumcision was given first to Abraham not Adam.

  21. Josh the Baptist says:

    Has anybody ever given an actual definition of spiritual abuse?

  22. Steve Wright says:

    The spiritual abuse article is titled why it is on the rise but two of the three reasons do not support an increase per se but rather the increase in reporting and distribution of abuse and scandal stories.

    So the only real argument as to why more abuse is happening is blamed on the rise of independent churches.

    The author however, is cited in internet archives as the associate pastor of Torch Church, which by their website looks exactly like the current, independent, evangelical, young (as Xenia says “hip” 🙂 ) church.

    Except she is not shown as on staff presently, and nothing online shows a connection to that church for over a year. I searched in vain for the author’s current church (maybe a return to a more traditional mainline church for example) but I see nothing. Her bio for that article mentions no church affiliation though her blog has more than one article where she tells us of God’s call on her life to leadership.

    For what its worth….

  23. Steve Wright says:

    To clarify…I am sure the author is a wonderful lady, sister in the Lord, and a blessing to the friends in her life. My hope is that she actively joins and participates in a local church, SOME local church, which I am sure would be blessed by her membership and service.

  24. WenatcheeTheHatchet says:

    Rod Dreher was thinking of Moscow, ID as a potential case study for what some are calling the Benedict Option … or at least he WAS.

    “All of this gets to me in part because of my well-known history of dealing with the sexual abuse of children and minors within the Roman Catholic Church. Very little makes me angrier than seeing church authorities (and congregations) mistreat victims and then try to blame others for their failures. This one is particularly troubling to me, personally, because despite Doug Wilson’s (and Toby Sumpter’s) reputation for “grenade-throwing,” their Moscow, Idaho, community was on my short list of places I was considering profiling as a Reformed example of the Benedict Option. The way that community handled the sexual abuse of minors within it, and the way Doug Wilson, who knowingly married a young woman to a convicted pedophile, is proudly trashing his critics, and refusing to admit error in any respect, is deeply discouraging, to put it in the mildest possible terms.”

  25. Josh the Baptist says:

    “I would define spiritual abuse as a misuse of spiritual authority (including, but not limited to, misinterpretation of the Scriptures), in a way that causes harm to someone’s soul – but I honestly don’t think it always happens intentionally”

    That is the author’s definition. How do you figure out if harm has been caused to a soul?

  26. charles says:

    Spiritual abuse can be defined by the millions of homeless in the world, with the wave a of pen the church (all denominations) could solve the plight of millions. But instead just do this or that to make sure they fall under the non-profit category.

    Spiritual abuse can also be defined by being judged by our brothers and sister because we don’t live our life the way THEY want us to.

    Dirty looks because I choose not to lift my hands during worship, back talking about me because someone saw me at Applebee’s lifting a glass. Kids excluded from the youth group because their hair was spiked or a little longer than the others.

    We are no a mold we are a piece of clay ladies and gentlemen. God doesn’t want to pour us into a plastic mold and make us all the same, He wants to ply us and knead us and form us into HIS image in HIS time.

    Its time the church and the people in charge of running us sinners grow up and look a little deeper at their own sins and their own shortcomings before throwing us in the fire.

    Wait on the Lord

  27. Steve Wright says:

    charles makes the point that spiritual abuse is defined any way one wants to.

    Homelessness is now spiritual abuse…

    (In point of face the church wants to do far more for the homeless than the governments (city, state and federal) will allow. In my city the local ordinance cops have hindered the churches of this area from providing free food for the homeless…and I trust we know how quickly any of us would be shut down if we tried to provide a makeshift homeless shelter without the proper permits, zoning and insurance papers (and costs associated with all that red tape – and even jumping through all those hoops there is often a “no” at the finish line)

  28. Charles says:

    So what is the answer to homelessness besides prayer?

    If the city blocks us from feeding and they stepping up?
    Why isn’t homelessness an issue with the candidates?
    If the body can’t help then who can? Does God want them all to languish in the streets?
    I think not, but are there any solutions?

  29. Josh the Baptist says:

    Our world has watered down words until they mean nothing. Abuse is one of those words. We should only use it when it really means something. Then, it can be a call to action. As it is now, I see the word used so often, with so little concern, it’s like the boy who cried wolf.

  30. covered says:

    With due respect, doesn’t homelessness fall more into the category of social injustice rather than spiritual abuse?

  31. Paul A. Lytton says:

    Josh the Baptist @ # 25: “How do you figure out if harm has been caused to the soul?”

    By the spiritual “limp” (unbalance) being shown by “unusual” physical defiant actions towards Godliness.

    It is most important that the individual experiencing the damage them self is aware of a change being noticed by others. An outsider making a statement of the overall, what AND why, should be applied cautiously. It is usually difficult to determine the exact source of such damage done to others because those observing the result most often have no idea about the specific, accidental or intended, force applied and is usually accepted as mere speculated opinion.

    Sorry Josh, you probably are well aware of this and were not actually asking a question. I just wanted to state my own 2 cents.

  32. Steve Wright says:

    Well Charles, we have people at our church who continue to feed the homeless. Earning that right because both I and they made our voices heard at various council meetings, and requested and received other meetings privately with the mayor and other leaders. In fact, while this was happening several fines were issued to these Christians (later we were able to get them voided)

    Now, I did not see any atheists at these meetings. I did not see any big government, no religion types at these meetings….except for a couple who were OPPOSING us.

    And to repeat, we (and other churches) could do more except we aren’t going to get our entire church shutdown by the government for violating the zoning and permit laws I mentioned above.

  33. Josh the Baptist says:

    No, it was an honest question Paul. I’m glad you answered.

  34. Steve Wright says:

    Josh to your point @29.

    Another example cited above was getting dirty looks from people in church.

    So as a pastor, one who does not want to tolerate spiritual abuse in the church, what specifically is to be done when someone comes up to me and says “A week ago XYZ gave me a dirty look.”

    I do not ask hypothetically. We had a guy who over about six months came up to me about four different times with that exact complaint against the same two people. I asked about words that were said, but nothing, it was all about “the way he/she looked at me”

    This guy is not mentally ill. He is just a difficult guy in some ways and a kind guy in other ways. I’ve had lots of nice conversations with him. He left the church a few years ago…

    Now, my encouragement each time was for him to go to that person privately and express his concern and ask if they are upset at him for something and to talk it out. Each time as I followed up I was told there was no issue (I checked with the people too he accused – who I knew very well to be very nice people). He clearly was not satisfied when they said they had nothing against him and certainly did not mean to give him a “dirty look”

    This is the sort of thing on the other side of this discussion. The pastor’s perspective as it were. Talking to people in great needs, deaths in the family, cancers, lost loved ones, and somehow the pastor is to fix people who give subjective dirty looks based on the opinion of the same guy over and over….or we are cultivating a culture of spiritual abuse as it is shouted to the masses online

    (shakes head)

  35. charles says:

    It is good that you are going beyond your borders to assist them, I pray that there will be results.

    Even Jesus himself spoke on the plight of poor and homeless Matthew 26:11.

    So are we just expected to have the poor and the homeless there to remind us of how good we got it?

  36. Andrew says:

    The first sign of spiritual abuse is “An overemphasis on obedience to authority”. I would say that this doesn’t apply just to spiritual abuse but also spousal abuse and child abuse. When I ran in to difficulty with my local CC franchise, the pastor demanded my obedience and demanded over and over again whether I would obey them. My only response was, do you love me which solicited another round of, will you obey me? Gosh, this isn’t rocket science guys. Abuse is on the rise and the arrogance has got to stop. This is the Moses Model revised at its worst. This is the kiss the ring of K.P. These vision casting prophets will do your soul harm.

  37. Em says:

    there are many causes for homelessness these days, are there not? something is definitely wrong with the infrastructure in the U.S… many folks who work and could pay rent don’t have a first, last and damage deposit ($2,100+) that would give them a place to live..
    also, are there rooming houses and boarding houses anymore? where do honest, but low wage earners live now? even tho i believe the sub-culture of tent dwellers we see today is a result of the aging flower child movement, it isn’t just alcohol and drugs and mental problems that put people on the streets, is it?

  38. Em says:

    speaking of spiritual abuse and the generation that produced the flower children, it also produced a disrespect for and denial of authority… the good advice to question authority was misapplied and resulted in a mental lawlessness of a sort… and an inability by many to know HOW to question, leaving them vulnerable to the type of “abuse” being discussed above … dunno, but that’s how it looks to me today

  39. Andrew says:

    Em, I’m too young to be part of this generation that produced the flower children but I agree there was a disrespect for authority and its ironic that the very folks that were part of this generation demand our authority blindly. Also the advent of the mega church added a lot to the spiritual abuse dynamic in my opinion.

  40. Martin Luther's Disciple says:

    In an unscientific way, I find great numbers of folks are homeless because they have burned their bridges with all family and friends (their own personal safety net) over prior life choices. The homelessness is more a result of prior consequences and not just current circumstances.

  41. Josh the Baptist says:

    Years ago, I saw numbers that suggesting the overwhelming majority of homeless people are addicts, and mentally ill. To the tune of 90% or more. In my work, I’ve found this to be mostly true. The family that lost it all and is living on the streets is exceedingly rare.

  42. Here is one excellent solution to help with homeless families, inspired by the chef’s mama…

  43. Em says:

    MLD, exactly right… “home is where when you go there, they have to take you in” to quote Robert Frost … but the “American Dream” says that you’ve failed if you “go home” … i think it used to be considered circling the wagons and all pulling together (interesting picture) 🙂 and isn’t this what the undocumented are doing now?

    i do remember when the ACLU went to work “on behalf” of all the incarcerated incompetents in the mental institutions – to get folks freed from the places that we thought we’d set up to protect them and society – of course there were abuses in those places, but where did the ACLU think these folk were going to go? Did they think that sleeping in doorways and behind bushes was a better life for them?

  44. Em says:

    this is bringing back memories… when i was growing up we lived in a quiet residential area with an alley… every once in a while, there’d be a knock on the back door of the service porch… Grandmother would speak to them thru the screen door and tell the man – it was always a male – to go sit on the steps and she’d bring them something to eat – usually a nice hefty sandwich

  45. Paul A. Lytton says:


    God bless your grandmother.

    When I was a child, I asked my mother to help a bum (as they were called back then) he approached me in front of my house and asked for something to eat. She made a paper bag lunch (sandwich and a banana) and I gave it to him. At that time (I was maybe 5 or 6) I thought he was an angel sent to test me.

  46. brian says:


    from the Prayer
    “The only two nations to have a relationship with God is Isreal and the United States”
    Double Barf

  47. I agree with brian – barf. We know that the statement is false because Israel can’t have a relationship with God since they are Christ rejecters no different than the folks over in Iran … and we know they have no relationship with God … well at least the true God.

    And what is with that one guys title – a Jewish Jesus Rabbi???

  48. passing throgh says:

    So, I guess it’s not: for God so loved the world…

    But God so loved…Israel and the U.S.?

  49. Disillusioned says:

    It seems no one here has so far experienced spiritual abuse themselves, so let me give my story, very briefly:
    My pastor made a decision that contradicted many things he preaches regularly. On several different levels. When I questioned it, I was told, “Oh, I was hoping the devil wouldn’t get in there,” meaning my heart. For asking a question to try to understand this behavior.
    I was subsequently asked to leave the church and shunned and slandered and libeled, all in the service of the Pastor’s decision and lies that followed it.
    THAT, my friends, is spiritual abuse.

  50. Andrew says:

    Its those that refuse to acknowledge the abuse exists and over emphasize obedience to their self proclaimed authority are the ones to watch out for. Also if they are self proclaimed prophets and vision caster, run for the hills because you can never reason with a pastor who claims direct revelation from God and claims you are touching their anointed if you challenge them. They are self proclaimed kings and self proclaimed Moses and self proclaimed prophets. They are drawing disciples after themselves instead of towards Jesus. That’s abuse in the rawest sense but what choice do we have but to tell them they are liars, ask them to repent and then leave if they don’t.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Discover more from Phoenix Preacher

Subscribe now to keep reading and get access to the full archive.

Continue reading