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|Mark Driscoll, Spiritual Abuse and Cultish Ministries
Spiritual abuse. I've endured it, so I know what it looks like.
As I've said in the past, spiritual abuse, cultish churches and controlling ministries are less often exposed than pastors who coerce teenaged boys and unsuspecting church secretaries to have sexual relations.
Mark Driscoll may pour out crude sermons about oral sex and sex toys in sermons—he's long been ultra-controversial—but the spiritual abuse allegations are most troubling. Jim Henderson, a Mars Hill watcher who took part in a demonstration to raise public awareness of the problems at the Seattle-based megachurch earlier
this month—before the Acts 29 network he co-founded disassociated itself with him and the church, and before LifeWay pulled his books off the shelves—described the way Driscoll runs the church like this:
"Malicious, it's spiritual abuse, it's damaging to people's lives, it's jeopardizing the reputations of Christians—it's already difficult in Seattle for people to take Christians seriously," TheStranger.com reports. "Now we have to contend with this guy."
What Is Spiritual Abuse?
I had never heard the words "spiritual abuse" until I escaped a
controlling ministry where the subtle practice ran rampant. Someone close to me who had observed the behavior in the church I attended recommended a book called The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse.
Jeff VanVonderen, co-author of the classic book, explains spiritual abuse this way: "Spiritual abuse occurs when someone in a position of spiritual authority ... misuses that authority placing themselves over God's people to control, coerce or manipulate them for seemingly godly purposes which are really their own." read more