I have seen this defined as follows...
"Spiritual abuse is that which uses God's name to control others and get them to obey a set of rules which God himself does not specify as a requirement"
Our salvation is by faith in Jesus' completed work for us on the cross....it does not require additional input such as church membership, tithing, attendance and service in the local church!
Our relationship is with GOD directly (Heb 8:11) and NOT through our 'pastor'
Spiritual abuse takes laws or 'principles' from the OLD Testament and subtly makes them a requirement for believers to be blessed, healed, anointed, or sometimes even to retain salvation.
Such abuse brethren is from the PIT OF HELL...
2 Cor 11:3-4
3 But I fear, lest somehow, as the serpent deceived Eve by his craftiness, so your minds may be corrupted from the simplicity that is in Christ. 4 For if he who comes preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or if you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted — you may well put up with it! NKJV
I marvel that you are turning away so soon from Him who called you in the grace of Christ, to a different gospel, 7 which is not another; but there are some who trouble you and want to pervert the gospel of Christ. 8 But even if we, or an angel from heaven, preach any other gospel to you than what we have preached to you, let him be accursed. 9 As we have said before, so now I say again, if anyone preaches any other gospel to you than what you have received, let him be accursed. NKJV
Deceivers WILL rightly face the wrath of the Father ...in whose name they have perpetrated these deceptions.
28 Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. 29 Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. 30 For My yoke is easy and My burden is light." NKJV
In very few churches worldwide are christians living in the fullness of this promise....have you ever wondered why?
Churches today have in many places become the source of abuse and control rather than a place of healing and liberty!
A key indicator is when there is an almost unwritten rule that people cannot talk about or question what is said from the pulpit ........ and must not show any signs of dissent.
The problem is also demonstrated when leadership describe those who ask questions as being un-submissive, rebellious, divisive or offended or having an 'orphan heart'.
It emphasises 'submission' over TRUTH!
It empasises 'authority' over SERVANTHOOD!
It rejects leaderships accountablity to the body....usually by saying that they are only accountable to a select group of their peers! (usually self selected)
O foolish Galatians! Who has bewitched you that you should not obey the truth, before whose eyes Jesus Christ was clearly portrayed among you as crucified? NKJV
WITCHCRAFT is not when the children of GOD know that a deception is being preached (1John 2:21 & 27) ) ) and REFUSE to accept it. It is when PREACHERS go beyond what the scripture is saying ...and ADD requirements to the gospel....and then demand it be accepted.
I will not submit to deception....will you?
I will not submit to those who seek to 'lord it over' others....or exercise authority over the brethren....will you?
I will not stand by as others are deceived and manipulated and suffer extortion....and that in God's name.....will you?
"Lord, do You want us to command fire to come down from heaven and consume them, just as Elijah did?"
55 But He turned and rebuked them, and said, "You do not know what manner of spirit you are of. 56 For the Son of Man did not come to destroy men's lives but to save them." NKJV
Leaders today are still calling down fire on God's children.....when they do not conform to their preferred profile and behavior!
We have all probably heard preachers warning that "God will get those who oppose them"....hinting at Ananias and Sapphira....and Achan type scenarios.
Or they ask them to leave...putting them out of the church
3 John 9-10
I wrote to the church, but Diotrephes, who loves to have the preeminence among them, does not receive us. 10 Therefore, if I come, I will call to mind his deeds which he does, prating against us with malicious words. And not content with that, he himself does not receive the brethren, and forbids those who wish to, putting them out of the church. NKJV
"You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and those who are great exercise authority over them. 26 Yet it shall not be so among you; but whoever desires to become great among you, let him be your servant. 27 And whoever desires to be first among you, let him be your slave — 28 just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give His life a ransom for many." NKJV
Very few leaders today are serving but rather 'lording it over'...and most are asserting their authority over their brethren.
8 But you, do not be called 'Rabbi'; for One is your Teacher, the Christ, and you are all brethren NKJV
Servants do not stand behind pulpits and rant and rave at God's children....they come beside them and HELP them.....lifting them up and setting them on the right path.
Biblical leaders go before the people and show them by their godly walk and example how they too can follow JESUS and fulfill their God given destiny.
1 Peter 5:2-4
2 Shepherd the flock of God which is among you, serving as overseers, not by compulsion but willingly, not for dishonest gain but eagerly; 3 nor as being lords over those entrusted to you, but being examples to the flock; NKJV
"Lord why do so many of your 'servants' not hear your heart? Why are they behaving in such an UN-Christlike manner?"
2 Cor 11:20
20 For you put up with it if one brings you into bondage, if one devours you, if one takes from you, if one exalts himself, if one strikes you on the face. NKJV
Children of God ...abuse can only continue if we do NOT challenge it....do NOT 'put up with it'!
33 I have coveted no one's silver or gold or apparel. 34 Yes, you yourselves know that these hands have provided for my necessities, and for those who were with me. 35 I have shown you in every way, by laboring like this, that you must support the weak. And remember the words of the Lord Jesus, that He said, 'It is more blessed to give than to receive.'" NKJV
2 Cor 12:14
And I will not be burdensome to you; for I do not seek yours, but you. For the children ought not to lay up for the parents, but the parents for the children. NKJV
Leaders today in the main ARE financial takers and not givers!...Amazing how 'MUST' and 'ought not to'...and even Jesus words are ignored?
Freely you have received, freely give. NKJV
Very few worldwide will FREELY give FIRST .....and then rely on that which is FREELY given in response.
They seek to DICTATE falsely what God 'requires'.....and want it 'first'
The pulpit has become a platform for deception and control.....rather than a source of truth and service.
(Is it any wonder that more people are leaving 'church' via the back door...burnt out and sad...than are coming in thru the front door?)
Children of God stand up and walk in your God given liberty
"Stand fast therefore in the liberty by which Christ has made us free, and do not be entangled again with a yoke of bondage" NKJV
(2 Cor 3:17)... (2 Cor 3:17)... 2 Cor 2 "Where the Spirit of the Lord is there is LIBERTY" NKJV (NOT bondage)
18 "The Spirit of the LORD is upon Me,
Because He has anointed Me
To preach the gospel to the poor;
He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted,
To proclaim liberty to the captives
And recovery of sight to the blind,
To set at liberty those who are oppressed;
19 To proclaim the acceptable year of the LORD." NKJV
Brethren this is referring to freedom from RELIGIOUS bondage......which is sadly rampant in MANY churches today!