As theological debates on sexuality and marriage become more and more central, many Christian denominations are being asked to clarify their views.
The “Guide for the prevention of spiritual abuse”, released by the AEE, “wants to analyse the situation and give tools to the church, so that they can prevent the abuse.”
It is an informative, didactic, and practical work, which approaches the difficult issue of abuse in religious environments, tackling a problem that affects the church worldwide.
For several months, the AEE has been deeply examining this issue. As a result of that, they organised a conference about theology and pastoral psychology that was a great success.
“We realized the need of dealing with spiritual abuse, in a time when there are many doctrines, like the prosperity theology, that demand a a lot of submission to the leaders”, Marcos Zapata, pastor and therapist, who has coordinated the guide, explains.
This guide “wants to analyse the situation and give tools to the church, so that they can prevent the abuse, as well as to protect people from a religious system that can oppress them.”
“AGAINST THE GOSPEL´S ESSENCE”
According to Zapata, spiritual abuse happens when “ a person abuses other person, in the name of faith, God , or the church.”
“It implies psychological abuse, words that hurt and humiliate, control of other people´s lives, intimidation, and even control over decisions”, Zapata adds.
When this happens in Christians environments, it is against the gospel´s essence: “the gospel always aims to make people freer, not slaves”, the pastor and therapist affirms.
THE ABUSERS AND HOW TO AVOID THEM
The guide is divided in two chapters: in the first one, doctor Pablo Martinez Vila analyses how the abuser is, where the abuse could take place, and the danger of certain practices. He also explains why the abusers behave like that.
The second chapter, written by Marcos Zapata, gives parameters to avoid spiritual abuse, and tools for leaders, so that the pastor could regulate himself and not becoming an abuser.
READY TO BE DOWNLOADED
This material is available to download in the Spanish Evangelical Alliance web for free, but they encourage anyone who download it to make a volunteer donation, in order to cover the production costs, and to support those organisations which are working with refugees.
You can download the guide here (in Spanish).