Recognising ‘spiritual abuse’ is a dangerous hostage to fortune

Mar 12, 2018 by

from Archbishop Cranmer:

[…]  But the problem with spiritual abuse is that it’s in the eye of the beholder: if a parishioner asks for prayer over a matter, and the vicar uses a ‘wrong’ word – such a one as could cause offence – might the parishioner not cry ‘spiritual abuse’? And what of vicars who refuse to officiate over blessings for same-sex couples (about to come before Synod yet again)? Isn’t such hate simply a manifestation of bigotry shrouded by religious conservatism? Doesn’t that constitute spiritual abuse? Is it spiritual abuse to preach about the evil of abortion, for fear that a woman in the congregation might have had one? Is it spiritual abuse to forbid divorce? Is it spiritual abuse to disciple believers along the narrow path that leads to heaven? When exactly does holy therapy become spiritual abuse?

Is it spiritual abuse of non-believers to preach that salvation is found through Christ alone?

According to the Telegraph, ‘More than 1,000 churchgoers complain of spiritual abuse’, which they say “usually involves members invoking God’s will or religious texts in order to punish or control and coerce a worshipper”.

Isn’t invoking Scripture to effect punishment supposed to induce repentance and so restoration to the community of Christ? Isn’t invoking God’s will by searching the scriptures supposed to control the conduct of believers and lead to the renewing of hearts and minds? Isn’t Christianity intrinsically coercive to the extent that certain actions, expressions and dispositions are demanded of believers?

The Evangelical Alliance Theology Advisory Group has issued a booklet warning of the dangers and unintended consequences, which have been summarised by the Rev’d Dr David Hilborn, the Group’s Chairman:

Read here


Related Posts


Share This