The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church In a breakthrough book first published in the authors address the dynamics in churches that can ensnare people in legalism guilt and begrudging service keeping them from the grace and joy of

  • Title: The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church
  • Author: David R. Johnson Jeff VanVonderen
  • ISBN: 9780764201370
  • Page: 114
  • Format: Paperback
  • In a breakthrough book first published in 1991, the authors address the dynamics in churches that can ensnare people in legalism, guilt, and begrudging service, keeping them from the grace and joy of God s kingdom.Written for both those who feel abused and those who may be causing it, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse shows how people get hooked into abusive systems, theIn a breakthrough book first published in 1991, the authors address the dynamics in churches that can ensnare people in legalism, guilt, and begrudging service, keeping them from the grace and joy of God s kingdom.Written for both those who feel abused and those who may be causing it, The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse shows how people get hooked into abusive systems, the impact of controlling leadership on a congregation, and how the abused believer can find rest and recovery.

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      Posted by:David R. Johnson Jeff VanVonderen
      Published :2019-02-05T01:12:30+00:00

    1 thought on “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church”

    1. I read this book several years ago. Literally it saved our family! The title may scare some people away. As Christians, we don't want to think that abuse happens in the church, but it is alive and well. We think any book that speaks of psychology must be wrong; therefore, many won't read this book. This book is gracious. The authors realize they are dealing with wounded people. "The results of spiritual abuse are usually the same: The individual is left bearing a weight of guilt , judgement or c [...]

    2. Spiritual manipulation, control and abuse is indeed a very deceptively and intricately woven web designed for entrapment. It is amazing how subtle this type of manipulation, control and abuse can be, how difficult to spot and even more difficult to break away from or get others to recognize it fow what it is - abuse of power in a spiritual leader. Reading this book can be like installing a Spiritual Carbon Monoxide Detector in your heart and mind. You may not need it, buy boy are you glad you in [...]

    3. If all churches required their Sunday school teachers, elders, deacons, pastors, assistant pastors and congregations to read this, just think of the pain and damage that would be avoided.As a youngster, I was in a church where the pastor used brow-beating as his whip of choice. Coming from a household where yelling and anger was common, this subtlety caused corrosion that lasted well into my adult years.Sadly, even when the church this particular pastor 'ran' slowly rotted and died, he just move [...]

    4. I highly recommend this book for those who have been wounded by the church and who need God's healing, and also for those in any position of leadership. (Although I don't know that manipulators will recognize their behavior, because so often they have the best of intentions and sincerely believe that their way is the right way.) This book covers warning signs such as: authoritarianism, lack of accountability, an us-versus-them mentality, an attitude of group superiority, and labeling those who d [...]

    5. Reading this book has confirmed to me that the ministry which sponsored the Christian high school that I attended qualifies as spiritually abusive. Reading this book has also made me doubly thankful for the grace of God.Aside from some light criticisms I have regarding sloppy copy editing, my only other critique is that there are a few points which could have been fleshed out. It seemed in some places that differing points of view were not taken into account. On the whole, however, this book is [...]

    6. Spiritual Abuse--the manipulation of a religious seeker by one in spiritual authority--is a force in modern Christianity to be reckoned with. Few religious figures have discussed it. It's a bit of a skeleton in the closet, or a family shame. But tens of thousands have fallen prey to the subtle power of spiritual manipulation and abuse, whether financially (think Jim Bakker in the '80's), sexually (FLDS Compound), emotionally (Jimmy Swaggart's tearful plea for his throne) or physically (Waco, Tex [...]

    7. This book was personally very helpful and healing. However, its application and writing deals with more than just spiritual abuse. I fear that some types of people will be turned away from the title: 1)people who don’t believe there is such a thing as “spiritual abuse,” 2) people who believe spiritual abuse exists, but don’t think they’re in a context where it would come up, and 3) people who may think this is only a book written only for lay people. Realistically, though, this is a he [...]

    8. I found this book to be so personally helpful that I've already been recommending it to family members. Before I started reading, I was uncomfortable with the use of the word "abuse," but the book illuminated the complexities of this issue that make "abuse" a legitimate term. As with any problem area, there are, of course, differing levels of abuse, ranging from words and insinuations to full out physical abuse. With my background of extremely conservative fundamentalism, the book was most eye-o [...]

    9. The title of this book turned me off but it was recommended on a list of top ten favorite books of folks I respect. That being said I like how one reviewer wrote the following pretty much sums it up"The book talks about churches having inverted values. They focus a lot of energy on smaller issues while ignoring larger ones. Spiritual relationships should bring peace, not shame. That isn't to say that everyone will always get along and there will never be conflict. It becomes abusive when you are [...]

    10. I grew up in a spiritually abusive church, with a pastor who was on a "mission" to save souls. He was not there for his congregation, he was there for himself. (Much like the people who continue to knock at my front door to this very day.) It was not until years later that I understood no man can "save" anyone's soul. This book touched me very deeply; I would have to say in a most profound way, as it spoke directly to me about my own situation vis-a-vis organized religion in general, and the Eva [...]

    11. A shockingly accurate description which takes the veil off of unrighteous leadership and makes it easier to recognize and address. A must read.

    12. "If the spiritual relationships you have in Jesus' name don't give you rest, but rather make you more tired as time goes on, then they aren't representing Jesus' purpose accurately. He came to lift from the backs of tired people the burden of trying hard to earn God's approval."This book was recommended to me at exactly the right time (thanks, Rachel!). My formative teenage years were spent being drawn into legalistic Christian systems, and my biggest church influences during that time were very [...]

    13. I do not agree with everything in this book (why do I feel the need to say that about spiritual books? You never agree with everything in a book, and that's ok!) But I thought it was an interesting look at how authority is wielded in churches, how it can hurt people, and what the Bible has to say about it. I think it would be a very worthwhile read for anyone in leadership or ministry.

    14. Wow. I don't think I realized how much I needed to read this. I found myself reading this book and looking back over my life and seeing how much all of it applied - both in the past and the present, in church situations and friend situations. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse is good. Really, really good.That is due to its purpose. More than anything else, this book is about the gospel, what Jesus has done for us in making us right with God. It is a breath of fresh air for anyone who is downtr [...]

    15. This was a very interesting book to me. One that I couldn't put down. There are 3 sections to the book-1 Spiritual abuse and it's victims2 Abusive leaders and why they are trapped3 Post-abuse recoveryThey gave many examples of spiritual abuse, some more severe than others. One was, it is not abuse for a church to hold certain dress standards but it becomes abuse when people are shamed when they do not hold to those same standards. The book talked about how some churches will have a couple of app [...]

    16. I have read and re-read this book over and over again. Excellent book that rings true today. I keep this book close by.

    17. This book, while dated, gives a fabulous exegesis on spiritually abusive systems. I highly recommend this to anyone who left a cult-ish background, or any PKs (Preacher's/Pastor's Kids) out there. There is a section on healing, as well, which has quite sound exegesis. Some of the stories aren't quite for every situation (the spiritual abuse I endured was much more subtle) but an excellent read even if you THINK you might have endured spiritual abuse.This book made me grateful for my parents (who [...]

    18. I'm very glad I stumbled across this book! It helped me to straighten out in my head some of the experiences I had growing up in church; and in a situation very similar to that of one of the authors. There was definitely a few lingering effects from growing up in an Independent Fundamental Baptist environment that I might not have identified otherwise. I have to thank God that I have been out of that situation for some time now and have found a good church! And, bonus, one of the authors is one [...]

    19. If you have ever had to deal with church people who are professional in guilt trips and manipulating you for the glory of God, so they would think, this book is an eye opener. Those Bible thumpers who can use the Bible to twist your arm and mess with your human conscience in order to get their agendas fulfilled. They are using something intimate to the heart such as spirituality and manipulating you. It happens all the time!

    20. This book is hit and miss. Some chapters are absolutely brilliant and apply to all religions. It is most valuable when it focuses on systems that are abusive, rather than born-again Christian theology.

    21. This was the book God used to help me understand some of the error that I was in. It is great for anyone coming out of a place of church or minstry wounding. I am re-reading it to write a paper on it for school.

    22. I thought this was a excellent book which thoughtfully addresses a problem which is so prevalent in many sudo-churches.

    23. Anyone who grew up in the church or has ever been felt scorned, hurt or embarrased by the church should read this book. Every leader in a church, in any position, should be required to read this.

    24. Having endured spiritual abuse myself I can honestly say this is an absolutely amazing book. For everybody in church; for church leaders; for the wounded and healed.

    25. I have mixed thoughts about this book. First, it is addressing an absolutely critical issue that needs to be addressed, for spiritual abuse is a very common issue in the church. Spiritual abuse often takes place when those in leadership manipulate and pressure others to be and do things outside the confines of Scripture. Spiritual abuse does go both ways, as many leaders will attest to the fact that they have experienced spiritual abuse at the hand of those in churches, and that doesn't seem to [...]

    26. The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse is an insightful book that describes spiritually abusive patterns where people are told that they have to perform and measure up in order to gain acceptance and love. The book describes the problem, then goes on to offer hope for leaving the system, and finding true rest in Christ and His salvation. Freedom from these entrapping mindsets and expectations can enable people to truly understand that they are valuable in God's sight, and yearn to develop their rel [...]

    27. Very Encouraging BookThis book was the most helpful book I’ve read on spiritual abuse. I plan to reread it and buy a hard copy for my library. I think this book would be helpful for anyone seeking healing from legalism. It is grace and faith filled. I feel better equipped to find a healthy church to be a part of.

    28. ExcellentI think this book is necessary for believers to read. There were some typos in the Kindle version I read that were a bit distracting, but aside from that this book is worth bumping to the top of your reading list.

    29. Excellent and timely read, considering the issues many churches are currently facing. Highly recommended for all, but especially for anyone in any church leadership role.

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