The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse — Part 3

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff Van Vonderen

Read Part 1 here and Part 2 here

Part 3: Post-Abuse Recovery

Chapter 17: How to Escape a Spiritual Trap

• It’s easy to get into a spiritually abusive system, but it’s very hard to get out. The further we move away from normal the more trapped we are in our thinking. We can become delusional about the situation and at some point even addicted to religion.

Chapter 18: Renewing the Mind & Chapter 19: Recovering the Right Focus

• To begin seeing the abusive system clearly and not through the unhealthy lens that the abusive system wants you to look through you must return to the true gospel, not the performance gospel an abusive system can preach, but a gospel where there is freedom in Christ, where there is rest and hope and love.

Chapter 20: One Response: Flight

• Here are some questions the authors ask when thinking about whether or not to leave or to stay: Does grace really have a chance? Are you supporting what you hate? Do you need to be right? Can you stay, and stay healthy, both at the same time? Can you decide your own limits and stick with them? Do you believe God cares more about the church than you do? Is it possible the system might need to die? Are you trying to help the system even though you are exhausted? Are you able to listen to the voice of sanity? Do you really know where to sow? If you came today for the first time, knowing what you know now about the system, would you stay?

Chapter 19: One Response: Fight

• The authors give some helpful advice for those who choose to fight the spiritually abusive system. Decide whom you serve, whether Christ or yourself. Be ready for resistance. Keep telling the truth. Know who your enemy is. Satan is the enemy, our battle is not against flesh and blood. Hang on to the Shepherd. Know how a healthy spiritual system functions. 

The book ends with a message to perpetrators of spiritual abuse.

An interview with one of the authors here.

Another review here.

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