ABUSERS IN THE CHURCH -
David and Kathie Walters
Abusive spirits in the Church
Many of you know that in her meetings Kathie sometimes shares about how many of God's people get beaten up every time they go to church. They accept it as part of their "Christian" lot in life.
They have been taught that God is trying to show them something, or He is fine tuning them to make them more spiritual. They receive scolding after scolding for not living up the standards required. For not being faithful in attending every service or meeting. For not tithing or giving enough etc. They are discouraged and not allowed to give their input, because they are deemed as unqualified. The religious system is that all ministry is done from the platform and they are just spectators. The only time they are active is when they stand up to listen to the worship team and come forward for prayer at the end.
The sad thing is that they keep returning. Some come just out of habit and are so used to being beaten up they always come back for more. When Kathie asks, "Why don’t you get out of that church and go somewhere else?" They often make excuses, such as, “They need me,” or “I have been going there for so long where else could I go?” or “God wants me to be faithful here and maybe things will get better soon.”
Occassioanlly they have a good service. “I didn’t get beaten up last week so I’m hanging on, because I think things will change.” Unfortunately many people end up spiritually devastated, continually limping back week after week thinking there must be something wrong with them and they somehow deserve their weekly scolding.
Christians who commit to these kinds of churches are putting themselves under a controlling and legalistic spirit. False Shepherds love to abuse the sheep and rob them of their birthright. They intimidate their church members by keeping them prisoners. Fortunately not all churches operate this way, but many do, otherwise Kathie would not have to set so many hundreds of beaten down saints free.
If the sheep are taught, or it’s inferred, that they are just rotten sinners saved by grace then it gives them an impression in their minds that they have only been saved by the skin of their teeth. The truth is that we were sinners saved by grace but, now we are saints, children of God, (God’s kids) Royalty, with a new divine nature and a heavenly inheritance. "A new heart and a right spirit I will put within you" is a new Covenant promise.
In this old legalistic realm people are told, “unless you keep up your religion, support the church and please the leadership you could easily fall back into chaos and come under the judgment of God.” To disobey those that have the rule over you is taught as a very serious sin. Unless it's repented of, there is little or no hope. If people try and leave they are often told, "We are not responsible for you" implying that now something bad will happen and the devil will get you somehow. That's just plain old witchcraft folks.
Even when they are shown that what has been taught to them is false, wrong and destructive, many Christians still find it hard to break away and free themselves from religious bondage. It's like an abused spouse who never breaks free.
The true church is not like that at all; First it is organic, rather than political or ecclesiastical. It's spiritual life dwells in a living Body, not in church buildings, denominations, programs, man made empires and the elitist’s spirit. It is not to be run by “Kingdom Builders,” men or women who want to build their own religious kingdom rather than participating in building the as true servants. It is not controlled by a hierarchy of bishops or elders, prophets, pastors or Popes, but by the spirit of God.
The elders who give oversight are called to be servants. The office of Apostles, Prophets, Pastors, Evangelists and Teachers, are not given to control the saints or to become a group of special elitists, but to equip the saints for the work of the ministry. To lift up and to encourage. To help bring forth the gifts and callings in everyone.
Which also means they are to encourage and assist the saints to fulfill their spiritual destinies. Although oversight is important and needed, every member is important and has much to contribute if they are allowed and have been equipped, to be free to minister in their their spiritual gifts. The idea that they are just babies who need to be spoon fed and have their diapers changed every Sunday morning, keeps them bound to the leadership.
Controlling the people and keeping them bound to men is contrary to the teaching of Jesus and the .
"Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock:" (1.Pet:5.2-3.)
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to be great among you, let him be your servant. And whosever desires to be the first among you let him be your slave - just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve and to give His life a ransom for many." (Matt: 20.25-28)
I mentioned briefly that these Christians are similar to abused spouses. The other day we were discussing this situation over a meal with some Christian friends. I remembered a program on TV I had seen recently, about abused women. Many of the husbands are so jealous that their wives or men’s girl friends are not allowed a life of their own. They cannot function, see their friends, or parents, or go out, without their husband or boyfriend being present. Some are cut off from any of their old friends and even their parents.
Does this seem to you like some church leaders reacting against the parents or friends of their church members who have a different view point that them? Religous spirits in leadership often have an "ownership" quality.
Many women are beaten up verbally, physically, mentally, by their husbands or boy friends. Some are in danger of losing their lives. When they are advised the leave the abuser, they begin to make excuses. “I must stay with him for the sake of the children.” “He said he was sorry and he will do better,” “How many times has he beaten you and said he was sorry in the past?” you ask. “Countless times, but I know he really means it this time and he said he would change. ” “I can’t leave him, he needs me.”
“It was my fault I keep provoking him.” “It’s not his fault, he has a drinking problem.” Excuses! Excuses! Many of these poor women who have such a low image of themselves and who have no longer any self esteem never get out of these situations, until they are taken out in a casket.
In bondage for years, till death is the only release. Of course this also covers men. Henpecked and abused husbands who have wives who continuously nag at them for every little thing and telling them that they are losers. And some of those women who have bodies like a tank and faces like a battle axe have the ability to threaten and beat up their husbands or boyfriends also.
Do you see a parallel here? What is true in the natural can also come into the religious realm. Keeping the flock bound in religious straight jackets. Take for example a typical Sunday morning church service. Many members are handed a weekly program a printed, “Order of Service.” It has been rehearsed and prepackaged for that Sunday. The Pastor and the worship team feel they have heard from God for the people, like Moses going up the mountain.
If someone from the congregation stood up to prophesy, or give an exhortation, or start a song, they would be told to sit down because they were “out of order,” ( that's not God's order by the way)
Many prophets today say, “People cannot hear for themselves, so God has raised us up to show them His purpose for their lives.”
Back to the “out of order.” Let me show you how this response is unbiblical and religious. When Nicodemus came to Jesus by night saying, “Rabbi we know you came from God…” Jesus ignored what Nicodemus said and told him he must be born again. After explaining to Nicodemus Jesus went on the say, “The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound or it, but cannot tell where it’s comes from or where it is goes. So is everyone who is born of the Spirit.” (John.3:8)
This means that true born again Christians are supposed to be like the wind. “Unpredictable” They are not living in a rut. They never know what the Lord has in store for them. Every day is an adventure. Of course that doesn't mean they unreliable and flaky. They must fulfill their commitments, but to attend legalistic canned services which restrict the congregation is unbiblical. If Christians are to be like the wind in their personal lives, then when they gather together corporately it should also be like the wind. When you gather together everyone of you have something to give. “…… Whenever you come together each of you has a psalm, has a teaching, has a tongue, has a revelation, has an interpretation, Let all thing be done for edification.” (1.Cor.14:26) “Exhorting one another.” (Heb.3: 13)
It's not supposed to be one leader or pastor doing all the exhorting as it is in 90% of all churches. Imagine going to a meeting and you’re excited, because anything is likely to happen, because the has control. How refreshing! We lived in that awesome anointing
The same spirit that operates in abusive husbands and boy friends and sometimes wives can also operate in religious leaders. So don’t let your self esteem be destroyed. Remember you are special! You are one of God’s children and you deserve better! You are called to royalty, children of the King of Kings. You were not created to be beaten up by religious demons. You were not created to have your inheritance stolen from you. So go where you will be appreciated and loved. Find that body of believers who will encourage you to operate in your gifts and fulfill your potential.
David Walters. firstname.lastname@example.org