Wednesday, May 29, 2013

Abusing Christians and using Bible verses to back it up!?!

"For Thou, Lord, are good, and ready to forgive,
 and abundant in lovingkindness to all who call upon Thee."
Psalm 86:5

"Hold fast the faithful word.....for there are many rebellious men, empty talkers and deceivers, especially those of the circumcision, who must be silenced because they are upsetting whole families,
teaching things they should not teach, for the sake of sordid gain."
Titus 1: 9-11

"This passage opens to us the additional problem of placing heavy performance weights upon struggling people by means of misusing or abusing Scripture.
Instead of using the Word as a sword to pierce through to he thoughts and motives of their own hearts, many spiritual leaders have used it as a stick to drive others, for a variety of reasons:
  • to keep others from holding them accountable
  • to protect their image
  • to uphold a doctrine they have based a whole ministry upon
  • to keep funds coming in
  • to build religious kingdoms in order to bolster their own spiritual self-esteem
In other words, it's possible that some leaders teach the Word for personal gain, not to heal and to free."

According to David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen in their book The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse, there are 3 factors that set the stage for using scripture to abuse with scripture.

1.  Mindset
"In a spiritually abusive system, the mindset of the people is that they have little or no capacity to discern God's Word themselves.  Their view of Scripture is that of a book of rules, designed to cause behaviors that are pleasing to God, or designed to elicit a desired respond from God.  In other words, for them, the Bible is not a book that guides us into character transformation so we can be transformed into the likeness of Christ;  it is a book about techniques for performing right so that we can get corresponding blessing out of God.  Spirituality is replaced by manipulation.
As a result, these people view their leaders as those who have the last word on the meaning and purpose of God's Word because the leaders have (or say they have) success at doing and receiving.  The mindset of the leaders - about themselves, Scripture, and their followers - is that they have 'broken through' to some higher level of spiritual achievement, so they have 'earned' the right to lead."

2.  Motive
"In a spiritually abusive system, leaders "power posture" through the use of Scripture.  The motive is to cause religious performance on the part of the people in order to meet the needs of the leaders, to "prove" that they and their theology are right.  Again, the motive is not to "feed" the souls of the flock, nor to assist God in achieving whatever He wants in a person's life.
In addition to burning people out, pressuring people to "live up to" Scripture leads to a distorted perception of God.  He becomes one who is created in the image of the leaders.  This is not about helping people gain a deeper understanding of God through the Word, in all its multi-faceted beauty.  In fact, a deeper understanding of Scripture on the part of the people would probably expose the whole abusive situation."

3.  Method
"In a spiritually abusive system, Scripture is employed to prove or bolster the agenda of the person using it.  This is called 'proof-texting.'  Proof-texting occurs when someone has a point he wants to prove.  So he finds a verse to do so, even if it means stretching or ignoring the original issue about which he verse was written or the context in which the verse is found.
Because this is the method the leaders use, it is the method the followers learn to use.  Consequently, there is little if any opportunity to become capable of 'rightly dividing the word of truth.' "

"God did not give the Law so that people could become right with Him based upon their lawful behaviors.  Neither are lawful behaviors the way to remain right with God.
Right relationship with God is a settled gift because of what God did through Christ.  
You can't earn it.
You can only have it for free."

"For by grace are you saved through faith,
and that not of yourselves.
It is the gift of God.
Not of works,
lest any man should boast."
Ephesians 2: 8,9

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