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Those who do not follow the rules may be labeled, shunned, shamed, or removed from church positions or even excommunicated.
You may not be allowed to confront or question those in leadership as they are “God’s anointed”.
Spiritual abuse includes, but is not limited to mind-control, thought reform, coercion, manipulation, deception, legalism, authoritarianism, guilt trips, judgementalism/”Phariseeism”, holier-than-though attitude, and a “we are right and everyone else is wrong” attitude.
Spiritual abuse is often done in the name of proclaiming the ‘truth’.
The joy of a relationship with God is replaces with a fear of God the “Cosmic Killjoy”.
Churches that abuse often focus on the penalty for sin.
For example, leaders in the Independent Fundamental Baptist Denomination would frequently communicate the need for us to consult with them (or your discipler) before making decisions especially major decisions.
Leadership brings guilt on members for going on vacation especially of that person hasn’t paid the correct amount of tithe.
Spiritual abuse often occurs subtly for seemingly the “right” reasons, but it can also be blatant for outright selfish financial, emotional or physical gain.The leaders take advantage of this by preaching a sermon on how the authority of the leaders shouldn’t be questioned and the cycle of abuse continues as the person is reluctant to even consider that their intuition is correct.Thus the person is stuck at the abusive church, ensnared in the web of manipulation and lies.They communicate the Lord as a cosmic dictator or harsh taskmaster, eagerly waiting for you to make a mistake so that he can “chasten” you.A friend once told me that God was her “cosmic kill-joy”.