‘Every time he wanted me to do something, he would quote scripture... I couldn’t argue with scripture, it was like arguing with God.’ The term ‘spiritual abuse’ is widely used across the Christian community. But what is it? Sometimes spiritual abuse involves leaders misusing their position, but ministers can also be the victims. Common factors include control through misuse of scripture, claims to divine authority, pressure to conform, and enforced accountability. Individuals may be isolated, and compelled to secrecy and silence. Drawing on a combination of extensive research, individual testimonies, and years of hands-on experience, Lisa Oakley and Justin Humphreys describe clearly the nature of spiritual abuse, and the best ways of countering it. Recovery is possible. But – how do we prevent spiritual abuse in the first place? What can leaders do to create safer places? Is there a link between theological ideas and harmful behaviours? How can leaders create opportunities for spiritual and emotional flourishing? Dr Lisa Oakley has researched spiritual abuse in the Christian faith in the UK since 2003. Justin Humphreys is chief executive of the safeguarding charity thirtyone: eight.
“We are at the forefront of a new reformation.” So declares Elaine Heath in Trauma-Informed Evangelism, aiming to recover the God of love from the structures of hate that pervade Christian communities in America today. In their new guide, she and Charles Kiser work toward bringing this reformation to fruition through ministering specifically to the spiritually traumatized. Over the course of their study, Kiser and Heath amplify the voices of those who suffered misogynistic, racist, or homophobic abuse at the hands of the church. While carefully listening to these stories, Kiser and Heath bring them into conversation with the passion and resurrection of Jesus. Engaging with womanist and liberation theology, they see in the crucifixion a God who does not valorize suffering but shares the experience of the traumatized. Ultimately, this theodicy leads them to propose a new evangelism—one based not on fear and coercion but on witnessing the unconditional love of God. Timely, theologically informed, and eminently practical, Trauma-Informed Evangelism will serve as a formative guide for church leaders and students seeking to aid trauma survivors in their communities. Discussion questions conclude each chapter.
Are churches looking for the wrong kind of leaders? The last decade has witnessed a rising number of churches wrecked by spiritual abuse--harsh, heavy-handed, domineering behavior from those in a position of spiritual authority. And high-profile cases are only a small portion of this widespread problem. Behind the scenes are many more cases of spiritual abuse that we will never hear about. Victims suffer in silence, not knowing where to turn. Of course, most pastors and leaders are godly, wonderful people who don't abuse their sheep. They shepherd their flocks gently and patiently. But we can't ignore the growing number who do not. We have tolerated and even celebrated the kind of leaders Jesus warned us against. We need gentle shepherds now more than ever, and in Bully Pulpit, seminary president and biblical scholar Michael J. Kruger offers a unique perspective for both church leaders and church members on the problem of spiritual abuse, how to spot it, and how to handle it in the church. "Every Christian from pulpit to pew needs to read this wise and timely work." - Karen Swallow Prior "Both urgent and timely." - Sam Storms "Thoughtful, wise, and biblical." - Mark Vroegop
No church founder or planter likely intends to start a church with the stated goal of allowing abuse or abusing those within it. Yet sadly and too often, even in the best of churches abuse does occur. The bitter fruit of abuse does not appear from nowhere. Its origins, the soil in which it grows, and the structures that support it need be understood if we are to eradicate this fruit from within our churches and Christian organizations. Bitter Fruit: Dysfunction and Abuse in the Local Church describes those psychologies, social psychologies, and inadequate theologies that are frequently true in churches that enable abuse, regardless of the form the abuse may take. It is vital that you understand these things if you are a pastor, leader, or lay person seeking to maintain a healthy church environment.
Given their rhetoric on safeguarding, the response of religious organisations to abuse by the clergy - sexual, physical and spiritual - has been inept, thoughtless, mean, and without any sense of urgency. Sex, Power, Control explores the underlying reasons for the mishandling of recent abuse cases. Using psychoanalytical and sociological insights, and including her own experiences as shown in the BBC documentary Exposed: The Church's Darkest Secret, Gardner asks why the Churches find themselves in such a crisis, and how issues of power and control have contributed to secrecy, deception and heartache. Drawing on survivor accounts and delving into the psychology of clergy abusers, she reveals a culture of avoidance and denial, while an examination of power dynamics highlights institutional narcissism and a hierarchical structure based on deference, with defensive assumptions linked to sex, gender and class. Sex, Power, Control is an invaluable resource for all those in the church or similar institutions, and for anyone concerned about child abuse.
'Read this book, and then rethink everything else.' Danielle Strickland 'A feast of insight and reflection on what just leadership should look like.' The Rt Reverend Dr Jonathan Gibbs 'This book will change the way you lead.' The Rt Reverend Dr Emma Ineson, Bishop of Penrith 'A book that should be on the shelves of every leader today.' The Reverend Will van der Hart From #MeToo scandals to revelations of spiritual abuse atrocities in the Church, we've watched too many leaders let us down. What went wrong for these leaders? And more importantly, how can we get it right? Just Leadership offers advice and guidance to empower leaders everywhere to make a difference and answer the call for a fairer, more transparent, more equal society. Drawing on their combined decades of experience in leadership and safeguarding, Justin Humphreys and Simon Barrington explore what it means for a leader to be just, and provide practical ways improve your leadership skills and create a just and open environment. Across the world, there is a heart cry for justice - but often the fight is too focused on the wider cause, bypassing conversations about individual leaders across our churches, organisations, charities and communities. Just Leadership is for every leader - whether you are in Church or other Christian leadership, business or professional leadership or even a leader within your local community - who wants to build their skills and start leading the way to a better future.
This is the first book on this issue by an Indian author. English is very simple and easy to understand by anyone not having English as their first language. In “Understanding Narcissistic Abuse”, I have imparted experience and wisdom gained from five years of book and research articles reading, observing behavioural patterns of narcissistic people around me, academic studies through my psychology graduation and writing career as a relationship and mental health blogger on my website www.theexhaustedsouls.com. I aim to clear the emotional and irrational fog covering the cognition and reveal the narcissistic relationship dynamics that are hard to understand, even by the victims who are directly involved and abused on a daily basis by the narcissists in their life.
Good preaching depends on being attentive – to God, to the Bible, to the congregation, to the context, to what influences and shapes the preacher. This practical, confidence-building guide is for all who want to develop their preaching by homing in on that which points to God in the now. Encouraging preachers in the ways that will make authentic connections with others, it demonstrates that preaching in today’s culture requires preachers to ‘show up and be present, in person’ rather than speak 'in role' or act as religious spokespersons who take no responsibility for their message. Based on the authors’ own training of ordinands, it offers: • Insights on how to develop the habit of noticing God in the world; • Strategies for opening up and finding fresh meaning in familiar Bible texts; • Ways of understanding what influences your congregation and your own theology; • Sample sermons that embody these principles.
This book brings together research into, and experience of, the practicalities, benefits, limitations, and ways of thinking theologically and pedagogically about Reflective Practice Groups for Clergy, and advocates this as providing opportunity for enhancing well-being, theological development, pastoral supervision and spiritual formation in community.
This book takes a global approach to violence between husbands and wives in faith contexts. It focuses primarily on Christians, and uses anthropological, theological and historical methods, which intersect with, and are challenged by, lay and ordained women and men from sixteen countries. Focusing on marital violence, the book explores ways to understand how various churches, their priests, preachers, theologians and members, approach the topic, interpret the texts, and, with often thoughtless complicity, hide from the sin. Drawing on over a decade researching marital violence in Christian contexts across five continents, Elizabeth Koepping, an anthropologist and priest, presents testimonies from abused women, as well as theological and cultural justifications for spousal abuse employed by perpetrators and bystanders. She argues that if violence against the (female) spouse is understood as proper behaviour by manly men towards unruly wives, Christians may set aside the core text 'Men and women are made in the Image of God', enabling and silently colluding in abuse. The book shows that spousal abuse is an ecumenical phenomenon present all over the inhabited world, and therefore in all Christian churches and indeed other faith traditions.
Drawing on a wide diversity of sources, this volume constitutes an additional layer to the phenomenon of trauma by exemplifying its experience within the context of the church, specifically the worldwide Anglican Communion, a family of churches rooted in the English appropriation of the Reformation. As shown here, a wide variety of analytic techniques can be deployed to examine trauma in the context of the church. At an uncertain moment characterized by institutional breakup and decline in several Anglican churches, this volume addresses an urgent need in the literature of church history as constituencies both within the church and without come to terms with ongoing and wide-ranging experiences of trauma. The variety of traumas and the responses, official and otherwise, documented in this collection reflect the wide-ranging testimony of the contributors. Shedding light for the first time on significant traumatic episodes, these narratives examine a difficult and seemingly inexhaustible topic.