Paul David Tripp called Mars Hill Church, “the most abusive, coercive ministry culture I’ve ever been involved with” and person after person has come forward to say the same. Once held back by fear (and in some cases, nondisclosure agreements), these former pastors and church members are sharing stories of decades of pervasive bullying, shaming, abuse of power, and mismanagement of funds. Questions were routinely treated as threats and stomped out. Challenges to authority were met with public shaming. Disagreements were dismissed as “gossip” and a “threat to Christian unity.”
To those educated in the dynamics of spiritual abuse, Mars Hill Church has been setting off alarm bells for years, and yet for the many good, godly people involved in the church, the problems went unaddressed until recently. So why didn’t more people recognize these unhealthy, abusive dynamics? Why didn’t they address them sooner?
Well, I think it’s because far too many Christians just don’t know how to spot and respond to the signs of abuse—be it spiritual abuse, abuse of authority, or even the physical/emotional/sexual abuse of women and children. And I believe the impetus is on denominational leaders and on the media (religious and mainstream) to better educate the Christian public on these matters and to better hold church leaders accountable when they abuse.
For those new to the topic, a really good place to start is The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen, a book I wish I could mail to every churchgoer in the world. Evangelicals may want to check out the fantastic organization G.R.A.C.E. (Godly Response to Abuse in the Christian Environment) and Catholics, S.N.A.P. (Survivors Network of Those Abused By Priests). We did a series here on the blog on abuse in the Church called “Into the Light,” which also includes a long list of additional resources, and we will continue to address this important issue in the future…” Read more>>
Source : Rachel Held Evans
Note : I have to mention that I do not agree with in all opinions of this author.