Exposing Spiritual Abuse Chat February 8 Fritzpw_Admin says, Hello everyone! I’m so glad you could join me tonight. Some of us have experienced spiritual abuse and were able to shrug it off yet untold numbers have suffered under this attack and still bear the scars. Perhaps you are a victim of spiritual abuse or know someone who is. What are the warning signs? How does one begin to heal after being victimized in this manner? Fritzpw_Admin says, Tonight we have with this Pastor Mike Fehlauer who has written a book on this topic titled, “Exposing Spiritual Abuse.” Please feel free to ask him your questions. But first allow me to introduce the volunteers for tonight’s event. Helping me on stage we have Clare_Host, Daisyhost, angelmuffin, and GileadHost. And now our special guest… Pastor Mike. madchatter asks, What is Spiritual Abuse? Pastor_Mike says, spiritual abuse is when one in authority goes beyond the boundaries of the scriptures resulting in heavy-handed authority. madchatter asks, What are some examples in Scripture of spiritual abuse? Pastor_Mike says, The best examples of spiritual abuse would be what Jesus said about the Pharisees. Also, in Jeremiah 6:13-14 we see The Lord speaking against the abuse of spiritual leaders. happyanne asks, Does the abuse show up in any particular denomination? Pastor_Mike says, no, I think that it has been evenly expressed throughout madchatter asks, You mention there are warning signs… what are they? Pastor_Mike says, power positioning, unquestioned authority, an atmosphere of secrecy, an elitist attitude, performance emphasis,, fear motivation, and painful exit process. tsmcmill asks, Is pressure to do things for the church considered spiritual abuse? Pastor_Mike says, not exactly… It can be… It depends on the attitude and motive. bottledwater asks, Where do you think the scriptures define the authority of ministers, and their boundaries? Pastor_Mike says, in 1 Peter 5:1-4 is a great description of the authority of the pastor and his boundaries happyanne asks, If we see churches that manipulate their congregation…should we stay to help point out abuses or just wave good-bye? Pastor_Mike says, just leave – wave goodbye. Don’t try to rescue others. Just pray. As they hear the voice of their Good Shepherd they will begin to ask questions. Then you can answer them honestly avoiding igniting unforgiveness and bitterness. madchatter asks, Can one be a Christian and be a spiritual abuser? Pastor_Mike says, yes tsmcmill asks, Do the abuse fall on any particular age group? Pastor_Mike says, not really because we are all human no matter what the age – we can be susceptible to abuse chatmaster shouts, Are you now or have you ever been stuck in a spiritually abusive church? Learn the warning signs and how you can heal from the ordeal in our Exposing Spiritual Abuse Chat going on NOW in the Auditorium. There will be some prizes!” chatmaster shouts, Congratulations to mr_angeltree who has just been selected to receive a FREE copy of Pastor Mike’s book, “Exposing Spiritual Abuse“, courtesy of Mike Fehlauer and your friends at Crosswalk.com. Order your own copy here“ ibtrying2 asks, I have a sister-in-law who has completely closed her family off from the world and is part of a small group that refuses to go to any church because no one else is correct…how can I talk with her to help her open her eyes? Pastor_Mike says, if she is closed to any kind of honest communication then the only thing you can do is pray for her. bottledwater asks, What about the congregation? Can they spiritually abuse the church leadership? Pastor_Mike says, good question. It depends on who has the authority. Only the one who has authority can abuse. In some churches the congregation has authority over the pastor… They can fire him etc. In that case it would be possible. If the pastor has authority, then it is impossible to abuse him. If he thinks he is being abused then he needs to understand the dynamics of leadership. backspace1 asks, does spiritual abuse include advising against proper medical care? Pastor_Mike says, yes, but that is for the person to decide. A responsible pastor – leader… A person should never be talked out of proper medical care. guest967 asks, is there never a time to stand up and fight the abuse? Pastor_Mike says, Yes, personally. The way we do that is by simply leaving. yadah_host asks, What about just going back to the apostolic covering the way it was in Acts with house churches? Can you comment on that please? Pastor_Mike says, it is a misnomer that in the book of Acts that they were only house churches. Actually they met in homes as well as corporately – many in large stadiums. bottledwater asks, What about if the congregation is trying to manipulate the pastor? Would this not be spiritual abuse? Pastor_Mike says, you and I can only manipulated to the extent we allow that manipulation. Again it goes back to who has the place of authority – good question. ibtrying2 asks, Why do you feel that it isn’t appropriate to confront an abusive leader? Pastor_Mike says, I think that we can confront them personally. Sorry I may have misunderstood the previous question. I don’t think it is proper to try to confront the abuser through the congregation… I.e. Rally a bunch of people to go against him. tsmcmill asks, Can abuse cause a person to fall from their relationship from God? Pastor_Mike says, depends on what you mean by relationship with God – saved and then unsaved? Clare_Host says, what if they are saved…but lose interest in church and religious things Pastor_Mike says, yes guest967 asks, Do you think that spiritual abuse is on the rise? Pastor_Mike says, not really. Unfortunately it has been I think the same for generations. backspace1 asks, pastor, what do you find to be the most common forms of such abuse? Pastor_Mike says, extreme control in personal lives… Tough question but good. Cursing people who leave the church without the pastor’s permission, needing the pastor’s permission to leave the church or marry a person or buy a house, etc. warmsoul asks, There is a fine line between being obedient to the Word of God and submission to Godly leaders and the extreme of abuse you are citing here. What standard should be utilized by a leader to ensure he/she does not cross the line? Pastor_Mike says, obviously the scriptures are our guideline. For example… Our involvement in people’s personal lives, trying to control their choices, etc holybarbarian asks, Pastor Mike, would you say that spiritual abuse in general has lead to many/most congregations splitting into offshoot churches? Pastor_Mike says, good question… It would be very difficult to determine that. I think that abuse probably has resulted in church splits but so has carnality and immaturity on the part of people in the congregation. chatmaster shouts, Are you now or have you ever been stuck in a spiritually abusive church? Learn the warning signs and how you can heal from the ordeal in our Exposing Spiritual Abuse Chat going on NOW in the Auditorium. There will be some prizes!” chatmaster shouts, Congratulations to bottledwater who has just been selected to receive a FREE copy of Pastor Mike’s book, “Exposing Spiritual Abuse“, courtesy of Mike Fehlauer and your friends at Crosswalk.com. Order your own copy here.” bottledwater asks, Christ tells us that we should talk privately with those that sin. Then with 2 or 3 others, should they be found living in sin. Why should we not do this with those who are being spiritually abusive? Pastor_Mike says, those scriptures refer to our interpersonal relationships and not confrontation of spiritual leaders or pastors. There would not be anything positive that would result in that. There would be those who have not seen the abuse… Maybe they have been at the church for a few weeks. It would result in more damage than good. Usually abusive churches end up sabotaging themselves. Plus, often people become defensive if they perceive their pastor is being attacked. queen_of_hearts asks, Can the congregation abuse one another this way as well? Pastor_Mike says, yes Clare_Host says, can you elaborate? Pastor_Mike says, of course anyone who has influence over another person can use that influence to manipulate or control that person. ibtrying2 asks, Do you believe that there is a strong chance that a spiritually abusive church can move into becoming a cult? Pastor_Mike says, absolutely. We have examples of that through out history. guest973 asks, How does one who is spiritually abused begin the healing process? Pastor_Mike says, great question. First of all by going through the process of taking responsibility for the control and manipulation. For example… Jesus was never manipulated when He was here. The reason why is that He never gave anyone that place in His life where they had that kind of influence and control. Understanding that when we are abused, we allowed it to happen to some degree. guest967 asks, are there any resources that you would recommend to those that have been through spiritual abuse? Pastor_Mike says, yes, my book. *smiles* “Exposing Spiritual Abuse.” The “Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse” is another great book as well as the book, “Churches that Abuse”. And most importantly… The Bible. guest967 asks, Pastor Mike, what has been your experience, if any, in and abusive church? Pastor_Mike says, I did come from what I believe was an abusive situation. I hesitated writing about it until I felt that I could with compassion and truthfulness and honesty. Not only concerning the abuse but also the areas in my life that left me vulnerable to that kind of abuse. kimmie_pw asks, I believe we are seeing more spiritual abuse than ever…how can one minister to another who has been abused in this fashion? how can we help those people? Pastor_Mike says, it depends first on where they are in the process. Once they have realized the abuse then we can begin to bring them back to the love of God. That will help them find their worth again in Him as well as find the grace to trust again. sue9898 asks, Is it an abuse if the pastor keeps on preaching about giving, giving and more giving towards the church building fund? Pastor_Mike says, good question. It depends again on how often and with what motive… I.e. Being threatened into giving or it never being enough when people give etc. tsmcmill asks, Is it possible that some of the leaders are abusive while others are not and it still be considered spiritual abuse? Pastor_Mike says, yes it is possible. Regardless of where it is coming from abuse is abuse. If the senior pastor is innocent then he must be made aware of the abuse so he can protect the flock, which is his responsibility. chatmaster shouts, Are you now or have you ever been stuck in a spiritually abusive church? Learn the warning signs and how you can heal from the ordeal in our Exposing Spiritual Abuse Chat going on NOW in the Auditorium. There will be some prizes!” chatmaster shouts, Congratulations to pickle who has just been selected to receive a FREE copy of Pastor Mike’s book, “Exposing Spiritual Abuse“, courtesy of Mike Fehlauer and your friends at Crosswalk.com. Order your own copy here guest967 asks, are there things that some label spiritual abuse that are actually not spiritual abuse? Pastor_Mike says, good question. Yes, you bet. Clare_Host says, Can you give us some examples? Pastor_Mike says, yes. If the pastor must address issues within the church (sin issues) or strife or prejudice if boundaries within the staff are crossed, staff members must be let go etc. guest972 asks, Is it abuse from the congregation when some always have an issue that they want to debate over w/ the leadership? i.e. tithing, head covering, church covenant…when does leadership step up and say ENOUGH!!! Pastor_Mike says, if someone is always in the office complaining to the pastor then he can set the boundaries and refuse to continue in unending discussions. guest952 asks, When evaluating a church before becoming a member, do you have a checklist of points for a new comer to observe and look for to indicate the spiritual health of that church? Pastor_Mike says, sure, look for buzzwords that demonstrate an attitude of elitism like “this is the only church,” if the subject of sermons is mostly on submission and loyalty… That is a red flag, if the pastor is often talking about others who have left in a negative way (almost all the time I mean)… That is a red flag. walker_the_darkuncle asks, what can one do to NOT be vulnerable to spiritual abuse? Pastor_Mike says, be sure to find your worth and value in the love of God then you will not be looking for that from the acceptance of your pastor. It is when we get into that, that we open ourselves up to abuse. backspace1 asks, is there scripture especially pertinent to spiritual abuse? Pastor_Mike says, sure, Jeremiah 5:30-31 as well as Matthew 23:4. guest1048 asks, What’s the healing process like for someone recovering from spiritual abuse? Pastor_Mike says, many times they go through confusion… Fear… Mistrust… These are some of the emotions they can go through. Fritzpw_Admin says, Thank you for joining us tonight Pastor Mike. Do you have anything you would like to say in closing? Pastor_Mike says, bye everyone. Thank you for your questions and interest. Please check out our web site if you like… http://treeoflifechurch.org. Pastor_Mike says, blessings and thank you crosswalk.com Fritzpw_Admin says, shout What is spiritual abuse? What are the warning signs? Order your copy of Mike Fehlauer’s book, “Exposing Spiritual Abuse.” Fritzpw_Admin says, shout Millions watched as teams competed in challenges as they sped around the World. The winner would be awarded $1 million. What many didn’t know was that one of the winners is a committed Christian. Join us for our Chat with Brennan Swain as Survivor and Amazing Race once again start their competitions. Thursday, Mar. 7 at 9 p.m. ET Fritzpw_Admin says, Thanks again for coming everyone. Don’t miss our next chat with Amazing Race winner, Brennan Swain, on Thursday, Mar. 7 at 9 p.m. ET. http://chat.crosswalk.com/events Fritzpw_Admin says, Night! Fritzpw_Admin waves at everyone.