A Primary Handbook for Understanding Churches that Abuse

Galatians 4:17 ESV  They make much of you, but for no good purpose. They want to shut you out, that you may make much of them.

I am convinced that the most pertinent book in the Bible when it comes to dealing with churches and church leaders that abuse the abused is Paul’s letter to the Galatians. This letter ought to be a primary study textbook for us. Here we learn what God thinks of these people, identifies who they are and the tactics they use.

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A Short Post Consisting of Just one Question

I have one question for pastors, counselors, and anyone else who wants to “counsel” a domestic abuse victim. Actually I have several questions such as “can you tell me what domestic abuse is?” Or, “Tell me how a domestic abuse case differs from other types of marriage counseling cases.”

But here is the one I have in mind right now. It’s really a request:

Please write out a list for me of the books that you have read on the subject of domestic abuse, particularly domestic abuse by people who claim to be Christians. And then tell me what you learned.

Guess what? I know the answer.  Crickets. With very, very rare exceptions they haven’t read anything written by people who really understand this evil, but worse – they still insist that they are “competent to counsel.”

I guess a followup question as I held their blank list in my hand would be, then don’t you think it would be wise to stop telling victims what to do until you know what you are talking about? 

But they won’t. They won’t listen. They will just keep right on practicing medicine without ever going to med school or being an intern.

Lessons from Laodicea

Compare these two churches –

1. Laodicea

Revelation 3:14-17, “And to the angel of the church in Laodicea write: ‘The words of the Amen, the faithful and true witness, the beginning of God’s creation. (15) “‘I know your works: you are neither cold nor hot. Would that you were either cold or hot! (16) So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. (17) For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked.”

2.  Smyrna:

Revelation 2:8-10, “And to the angel of the church in Smyrna write: ‘The words of the first and the last, who died and came to life. (9) “‘I know your tribulation and your poverty (but you are rich) and the slander of those who say that they are Jews and are not, but are a synagogue of Satan. (10) Do not fear what you are about to suffer. Behold, the devil is about to throw some of you into prison, that you may be tested, and for ten days you will have tribulation. Be faithful unto death, and I will give you the crown of life.”

Things are rarely as they seem to be.  By all outward appearances, the Laodicean church had God’s blessing upon it.   Just look at all of its finery.  They probably were well thought of in their community.  They didn’t upset anyone.  They stuck to a definite middle-of-the-road Christianity.  And Smyrna?  Well, those people had a problem.  They weren’t growing in size or finances.  They were hated not only by their community, but especially by the other “faith communities” in their town. They were radical and stirred up trouble.  They brought all of their troubles upon themselves.  Outward appearances, you see.

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