Unhealthy Church Environments

05 Jan
Cover of "The Subtle Power of Spiritual A...

Cover of The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse

Authors and researchers have attempted to describe unhealthy church patterns which speaks directly to the leaders who create them. One of the major points for concern involves the critical issue of honest communication.
Charactered and trustworthy leaders advocate  transparent and straight forward communication throughout the ministry.They promote a culture of accountability by inviting any and all questions relating to personal, ministerial and leadership integrity. These will be responded to with “straight up” answers while purposefully affirming the congregants asking the questions. Anything less than this should give every member pause about the health of the church and the trustworthiness of it’s leadership.

After reviewing several of the more prominent writings on the subject, I have extracted some of their substantive comments on the subject so as to will help  identify if we are in an unhealthy environment.


>”Communications are ambiguous, events are “spun” the way the leadership wants to present them”

 >”Pertinent information is hidden from members. Straight answers are not given; different people may be told different things.”
>>”Finances may be kept secret, with misleading financial statements that hide where
the money really goes.”
 >”Frankly, there is so much dishonesty in unhealthy churches that people may not
even know they are being dishonest. The ability to “spin” things to make the system
look better or to get people to conform becomes a second language….”

>”People who identify problems are viewed as a threat. They are marginalized,
stigmatized and cast out of the system”

>”Thought Control….simple answers to complex questions, and using “loaded language”
to shunt the thinking process”

>” Their communication is not straight. Their speech becomes especially vague and
confusing when they are defending themselves”

>”Information Control- information enables people to make decisions; hiding
information prevents sound decision making and leads to manipulation”

>”Secretive– when you see people…being secretive– watch out. People don’t hide
what is appropriate; they hide what is inappropriate”

Ken Blue
Healing Spiritual Abuse

David Johnson, Jeff VanVonderen
The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse

 Steven Hassan
Combatting Cult Mind Control

1 Comment

Posted by on January 5, 2011 in character, finance


One response to “Unhealthy Church Environments

  1. Ronicia Gump

    January 5, 2011 at 3:24 pm

    Unfortunately, Mr. Hanner, I was deeply involved in a church like this and it almost destroyed my family. After this experience, we had to relearn a lot of things. Thank God that we had always been in the word for ourselves. Many did not make it and now they have a deep root of bitterness in them that is choking out the word.
    This kind of church is emotionally and spiritually abusive. They control through psychology. They prey on the weakest among us. They need to be reminded that when they have done this unto the “least” of these, they have done it unto Jesus! They mark you as being rebellious if you ask any questions, at all! Then to beat it all, when you decide to leave their “fellowship of mental slaughter”, they teach the people to ostracize you. So you see someone in Walmart and they ignore you at all cost. It is very unhealthy to say the least. It is abusive! I reminded them that even if I were Judas Iscariot, Jesus would wash my feet. Selah!
    I now can thank God for this experience because it revealed to me how insecure that I was and how much I needed to learn. I am now a servant of God and “NOT” of man! This kind of dysfunctional cult needs to be exposed and the doors closed. My prayer is that the word of God would have free course, among the believers, in these “Unhealthy Churches”, so that the eyes of their understanding would be enlightened. Lord, let the truth of your word be revealed to these deceived people!


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