A passage that describes spiritual abuse

BreakFree
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A passage that describes spiritual abuse

Post by BreakFree »

This is a passage straight from Ezekiel.

I feel it describes the situation of the leaders in CF perfectly, the refugees who have left, and those who blindly follow and stay put.

Ezekiel 34 - The Lord Will Be Israel’s Shepherd

The word of the Lord came to me: 2 “Son of man, prophesy against the shepherds of Israel; prophesy and say to them: ‘This is what the Sovereign Lord says: Woe to you shepherds of Israel who only take care of yourselves! Should not shepherds take care of the flock? 3 You eat the curds, clothe yourselves with the wool and slaughter the choice animals, but you do not take care of the flock. 4 You have not strengthened the weak or healed the sick or bound up the injured. You have not brought back the strays or searched for the lost. You have ruled them harshly and brutally. 5 So they were scattered because there was no shepherd, and when they were scattered they became food for all the wild animals. 6 My sheep wandered over all the mountains and on every high hill. They were scattered over the whole earth, and no one searched or looked for them.

7 “‘Therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 8 As surely as I live, declares the Sovereign Lord, because my flock lacks a shepherd and so has been plundered and has become food for all the wild animals, and because my shepherds did not search for my flock but cared for themselves rather than for my flock, 9 therefore, you shepherds, hear the word of the Lord: 10 This is what the Sovereign Lord says: I am against the shepherds and will hold them accountable for my flock. I will remove them from tending the flock so that the shepherds can no longer feed themselves. I will rescue my flock from their mouths, and it will no longer be food for them.

11 “‘For this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I myself will search for my sheep and look after them. 12 As a shepherd looks after his scattered flock when he is with them, so will I look after my sheep. I will rescue them from all the places where they were scattered on a day of clouds and darkness. 13 I will bring them out from the nations and gather them from the countries, and I will bring them into their own land. I will pasture them on the mountains of Israel, in the ravines and in all the settlements in the land. 14 I will tend them in a good pasture, and the mountain heights of Israel will be their grazing land. There they will lie down in good grazing land, and there they will feed in a rich pasture on the mountains of Israel. 15 I myself will tend my sheep and have them lie down, declares the Sovereign Lord. 16 I will search for the lost and bring back the strays. I will bind up the injured and strengthen the weak, but the sleek and the strong I will destroy. I will shepherd the flock with justice.

17 “‘As for you, my flock, this is what the Sovereign Lord says: I will judge between one sheep and another, and between rams and goats. 18 Is it not enough for you to feed on the good pasture? Must you also trample the rest of your pasture with your feet? Is it not enough for you to drink clear water? Must you also muddy the rest with your feet? 19 Must my flock feed on what you have trampled and drink what you have muddied with your feet?

20 “‘Therefore this is what the Sovereign Lord says to them: See, I myself will judge between the fat sheep and the lean sheep. 21 Because you shove with flank and shoulder, butting all the weak sheep with your horns until you have driven them away, 22 I will save my flock, and they will no longer be plundered. I will judge between one sheep and another. 23 I will place over them one shepherd, my servant David, and he will tend them; he will tend them and be their shepherd. 24 I the Lord will be their God, and my servant David will be prince among them. I the Lord have spoken.

25 “‘I will make a covenant of peace with them and rid the land of savage beasts so that they may live in the wilderness and sleep in the forests in safety. 26 I will make them and the places surrounding my hill a blessing.[a] I will send down showers in season; there will be showers of blessing. 27 The trees will yield their fruit and the ground will yield its crops; the people will be secure in their land. They will know that I am the Lord, when I break the bars of their yoke and rescue them from the hands of those who enslaved them. 28 They will no longer be plundered by the nations, nor will wild animals devour them. They will live in safety, and no one will make them afraid. 29 I will provide for them a land renowned for its crops, and they will no longer be victims of famine in the land or bear the scorn of the nations. 30 Then they will know that I, the Lord their God, am with them and that they, the Israelites, are my people, declares the Sovereign Lord. 31 You are my sheep, the sheep of my pasture, and I am your God, declares the Sovereign Lord.’”
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Re: A passage that describes spiritual abuse

Post by Boundary Rider »

Well done Break Free!!! ;)

You have done something which Vic and his stooges are incapable of doing!!! You have quoted an entire chapter of Ezekiel without chopping it up into "proof text" confetti. Better than that you have put it against an appropriate context (Restoration Fellowships International --- RFI) which fits Ezekiel's warning like a glove. :D ;)

BR
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Re: A passage that describes spiritual abuse

Post by guest »

Such a great passage. Thanks for sharing. It makes me meditate on the words of Jesus in John 10:7-18.
[7] So Jesus again said to them, “Truly, truly, I say to you, I am the door of the sheep. [8] All who came before me are thieves and robbers, but the sheep did not listen to them. [9] I am the door. If anyone enters by me, he will be saved and will go in and out and find pasture. [10] The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly. [11] I am the good shepherd. The good shepherd lays down his life for the sheep. [12] He who is a hired hand and not a shepherd, who does not own the sheep, sees the wolf coming and leaves the sheep and flees, and the wolf snatches them and scatters them. [13] He flees because he is a hired hand and cares nothing for the sheep. [14] I am the good shepherd. I know my own and my own know me, [15] just as the Father knows me and I know the Father; and I lay down my life for the sheep. [16] And I have other sheep that are not of this fold. I must bring them also, and they will listen to my voice. So there will be one flock, one shepherd. [17] For this reason the Father loves me, because I lay down my life that I may take it up again. [18] No one takes it from me, but I lay it down of my own accord. I have authority to lay it down, and I have authority to take it up again. This charge I have received from my Father.”
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Re: A passage that describes spiritual abuse

Post by guest »

BreakFree....right on!! I would like to add the first chapter of Titus. Let's see how Vic and his puppets stack up against the word:

Greeting
Tit 1:1  Paul, a servant of God and an apostle of Jesus Christ, according to the faith of the elect of God and the acknowledging of the truth, which is according to godliness: 
Tit 1:2  Unto the hope of life everlasting, which God, who lieth not, hath promised before the times of the world: 
Tit 1:3  But hath in due times manifested his word in preaching, which is committed to me according to the commandment of God our Saviour: 
Tit 1:4  To Titus, my beloved son according to the common faith, grace and peace, from God the Father and from Christ Jesus our Saviour. 
Qualifications for Elders
Tit 1:5  For this cause I left thee in Crete: that thou shouldest set in order the things that are wanting and shouldest ordain priests in every city, as I also appointed thee: 
Tit 1:6  If any be without crime, the husband of one wife. having faithful children, not accused of riot or unruly. 
Tit 1:7  For a bishop must be without crime, as the steward of God: not proud, not subject to anger, nor given to wine, no striker, not greedy of filthy lucre: 
Tit 1:8  But given to hospitality, gentle, sober, just, holy, continent: 
Tit 1:9  Embracing that faithful word which is according to doctrine, that he may be able to exhort in sound doctrine and to convince the gainsayers. 
Tit 1:10  For there are also many disobedient, vain talkers and seducers: especially they who are of the circumcision. 
Tit 1:11  Who must be reproved, who subvert whole houses, teaching things which they ought not, for filthy lucre's sake. 
Tit 1:12  One of them a prophet of their own, said: The Cretans are always liars, evil beasts, slothful bellies. 
Tit 1:13  This testimony is true. Wherefore, rebuke them sharply, that they may be sound in the faith: 
Tit 1:14  Not giving heed to Jewish fables and commandments of men who turn themselves away from the truth. 
Tit 1:15  All things are clean to the clean: but to them that are defiled and to unbelievers, nothing is clean: but both their mind and their conscience are defiled. 
Tit 1:16  They profess that they know God: but in their works they deny him: being abominable and incredulous and to every good work reprobate. 
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Re: A passage that describes spiritual abuse

Post by Lillith »

Here’s quite a lengthy article, one which I found describes some of the subtle mechanisms the writer experienced in her six month intensive commitment to the ywam training program.
There are so many similar mechanisms used in the CF churches.
(Please note, I’m not meaning this post to be centered on criticizing ywam.)

It struck me how group think / peer pressure / inability to question / obedience to leadership / the pressure to be of one spirit / being in a bubble / critical thinking not allowed etc
are all there and are all mechanisms of coercive control.
She notes that there are those who say their experience was great - who report nothing negative (read - those who have no critical thinking, thus no issue complying without question).

I felt it may be easier for some people to see the wrong perpetrated in the CFs, by looking at another group rather than their own.
The light bulb might then go off that these same abuses are being committed in the CFs. It can be very subtle, especially when you’re constantly told that everyone else is finding life in the wonderful “word” preached, so you’re the one with the problem!
When you’re so keen to be close to God, you can easily blame and shame yourself, and believe what they say about you.
Fortunately for her this girl found allies and was able to run.

www.spiritualabuseresources.com/article ... ce-in-ywam
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Dexter
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Re: A passage that describes spiritual abuse

Post by Dexter »

I’ll be very interested to read that article, Lillith. I had some post-xCF friends who went through YWAM and loved it. They did try to persuade me to join as well when my life was a bit directionless but I balked at the cost of entry. Perhaps I was subconsciously picking up cult vibes too? I’d say my friends were lovely, good-hearted, hard-working, and genuine Christians with a sincere heart for God, and I still hold them in very high esteem… but maybe it’s true that they lacked some of the incisive, Berean-like critical thinking that we should all desire, and were just happy to go with the flow.

Edit: okay, I just started reading the article and came across the phrase, “YWAM's Discipleship Training School (DTS)”. I remember now that that was another red flag for me (besides the cost). At the time, it sounded too similar to whatever BCF had called their discipleship training program for young people. Does anyone remember what it was called at BCF etc? Was it the same name? It sounds eerily familiar. I guess I couldn’t bear the thought of going through another “discipleship training” experience given my catastrophic failure in the xCF system.
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Re: A passage that describes spiritual abuse

Post by Dexter »

Here’s a tasty quote from the article:
Evangelical scholar Ronald Enroth agrees that "The cultic pattern downplays the mind,” while “the biblical pattern values understanding and knowledge. The Bible not only respects the mind as an important part of the image of God in which man was created, but regards rational thought as a virtual gateway to salvation. Satan's strategy is to subvert the mind and subdue the will into passivity, thus opening the door to spirits of deception."[18]
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Re: A passage that describes spiritual abuse

Post by Lillith »

Yes Dexter that passage stood out to me too!
Also the need to give a parting salvo to the one who’s leaving is something “gifted” to most of us. In her case it was milder than what many of us experienced - “Well at least God never quits on us!”

I’m glad you brought up the point about your friends who loved their experience with that organisation.
Firstly, I do want to express regret for making the presumptuous, judgemental, black and white comment about those who enjoyed their experience there necessarily lacking critical thinking.

Secondly, I am not here to make blanket criticisms about other organizations which I don’t know so well personally (so I apologise that it may very well have come across that way).

It nevertheless brings up the question of whether abusive practices are systemic in an organisation, or occasional words or acts stemming out of immaturity, which may be later regretted and apologized for.

We know that there are also so many sincere, lovely Christians in the CFs- it’s a mixture. Unfortunately tho, their commitment there blinds them to recognize the abuses committed on others, nor the control exerted over themselves.
Our mutual experience in this group is that although there is a spectrum of bad experiences in the CFs, abusive practices are indeed systemic and part of the cultural fabric there.
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Re: A passage that describes spiritual abuse

Post by guest »

This is a very helpful thread.

Thank you.
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Re: A passage that describes spiritual abuse

Post by guest »

There’s an Introduction in the Book of Amos (maybe ‘The Message’ version) that describes spiritual abuse quite powerfully.

I’ve tried to fine it but haven’t been able to. Maybe someone could help with this resource.
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