ADVERTISING
 
Saturday, September 23   Sign in or Register
 
Evangelical Focus
 
Flecha
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
FOLLOW US ON
  • Twitter
  • Facebook
  • Google +
  • Instagram
  • Soundcloud
 

Newsletter
Newsletter, sign up to receive all our News by email.
 
 

POLL
Nature
Is creation care seen as a priority in your church?




SEE MORE POLLS
 

 
TOP 10 MOST VIEWED



#TopSummer
 

“Abuse is a detour to one self, to our own benefit”

Dr Pablo Martinez explains the causes of spiritual abuse from a biblical perspective and recommends steps to take action.

SOURCES Protestante Digital AUTHOR Daniel Hofkamp TRANSLATOR Belén Díaz BARCELONA 29 AUGUST 2016 10:44 h GMT+1
sea, net, Photo: David Grandmougin (Unsplash, CC)

Spiritual abuse is something humanity has faced throughout the history. That is why the prophets, Jesus, and the Apostles denounced it.



The “Pastoral Guide for the prevention of spiritual abuse” has been published by the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE in Spanish). It emphasises the dangers of these abuses within the church, and advocates for a shepherding that follows Jesus.



One of the authors, psychiatrist and well-known international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez, talked to Protestante Digital about spiritual abuse, the profiles of these abusers and the resources the church has to avoid it and heal its wounds.



 



Dr. Pablo Martínez.

Question. Is spiritual abuse a problem that the evangelical church has ignored or silenced?



Answer. Where there are human beings, the heart has a tendency to abuse. I think that whre there has been spiritual abuse, it was not consciously and intentionally hidden. As we start knowing about the problem, we realise it really happens around us. It is like depression: now that we know what depression is, we can diagnose it better. The same happens with spiritual abuse.



 



Q. In the guide, the first characteristic of the abuser mentioned is egotism. In modern Christianity there is an emphasis on the uniqueness of our relationship with God and also on leadership. Have we forgotten to be alert to this issue?



A. Undoubtedly. Egotism is one of the sins that go more unnoticed. Egotism is feeding yourself. That is what abuse means: a detour to one self, to our own benefit.



Egotism has always existed, but Paul described it very well when he talked about men who “love themselves”, and look for their own benefit and interest. It is related to a problem that affects society: individualism. Both things go together.



 



Q. How is the manipulation made by a spiritual abuser?



A. It not only happens within Christianity, it occurs in any religion which has an authoritative figure (like the gurus of Oriental religions). I summarize with three “Ps”, three things that go together. The abuser manipulates through power, privilege and pressure.



Regarding power, the abuser places himself at a superior level. He does not submit himslef to others, he subdues others. It is a diabolic -but not always conscious- perversion.



Privilege is a consequence of power. Abusers feel free, they do not have to do what they demand from others. Jesus describes it very well when he denounced the scribes and the Pharisees.



The third one is pressure. These people put a difficult yoke, a heavy burden upon people. Rules, obligations, an stifling legalism, which many times generate guilt. This is the way manipulators act.



 



Q. We can identify a spiritual abuser contrasting it to what the Bible teaches about the characteristics of a good pastor. What are those characteristics?



A. We could choose many different scriptures, but I choose 1 Peter 5:2-4. It mentions three characteristics:



An authentic vocation. Peter says: “not because you must, but because you are willing”. The shepherding cannot be just a job, it is also a vocation. The true calling comes from God, and it is crucial to avoid bad professionalism which could result in abuse.



A correct motivation. Peter says: “not pursuing dishonest gain”. The good pastor does not work for the salary. Of course, he deserves a decent salary, as Paul said. But the motivation is the love of Christ, he loves Christ, he loves Christ's flock. That is the big difference, because the abuser loves himself.



The third characteristic is a servant spirit. Peter says: “not lording it over those entrusted to you”. Humility is the key of a good pastor, he does not take over, but serves. Servant is a synonym of minister, which comes from the Latin term “minus”, which means “less.”



That is what Paul teaches us in Philippians, where we see Christ´s example, who became less to serve us.



 



Q. In the guide, you mention the opposite side, the “spiritual complaisant”. Today, when  discipline is a taboo, how can we avoid this negligence at church?



A. This only takes place in a “low calorie Christianity”. It is important to make clear that, when we talk about denouncing or fighting against abuse, we are not advocating for pastors with a weak personality. The Bible talks about pastors with a strong personality, so we do not stand for weak pastors.



We don’t advocate for a weak discipleship either, without effort and discipline, what we call “a Christian life in Disneyland.” Salvation is free, but discipleship is not on sale.



We did not stand for a “church club”, which is more a “social club” than a community of disciples of Jesus, who was radical in many things.



 



Q. Despite the dangers mentioned, the church has an answer for the spiritual abuse. Which spiritual resources do we have to avoid, abandon or be healed of abuse?



A. I like to summarise what we have with one word: edification. Church edification is the vaccine against abuse. It makes sense, because abuse brings destruction, and we fight against it with edification.



We see it, for example, in Paul's epistles, when he wrote to the church in Corinth, he mentioned the word “to edify” many times.



Edification leads us to growth, and that growth brings maturity in Christ. That is the goal of any shepherding: grow to be like God, that “Christ is formed in you”, as Paul says.



Therefore, our duty is to make everything to point to Christ, who is the good pastor par excellence. He must be our role model, and the one who qualify us for the work.



 



The guide is available to download in the Spanish Evangelical Alliance website for free.


 

 


0
COMMENTS

    If you want to comment, or

 



 
 
YOUR ARE AT: - - “Abuse is a detour to one self, to our own benefit”
 
ADVERTISING
 
 
 
AUDIOS Audios
 
Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe Michael Schluter: Relationships are the key to build Europe

The economist summarises the manifesto “Confederal Europe: Strong Nations, Strong Union” and explains why personal relationships should be at the centre of our economy, education and democracy. 

 
Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation Gary Wilkerson: The Bible, the Holy Spirit and the Reformation

Pastor Gary Wilkerson talks about what all evangelical Christians can learn from the Protestant Reformation and underlines the need for more churches with both a sound doctrine and obedience to the Holy Spirit.

 
Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe Lindsay Brown: Islam and the Gospel in Europe

Is the arrival of thousands of Muslims to Europe a threat to Christianity? What is the growth of evangelical churches in Eastern and Southern Europe? An interview with theologian and Lausanne Movement representative Lindsay Brown.

 
Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues Efraim Tendero: Relationship with Roman Catholicism and other current issues

The World Evangelical Alliance Secretary General participated in the Italian Evangelical Alliance assembly (Rome, 8-9 April). In this interview with Evangelical Focus, Bp Tendero talks about the need to listen to local churches and to face challenges like the refugee crisis and climate change. 

 
Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission Evi Rodemann: Youth and mission

“We want to see the youth not just being equipped, but also being multipliers”, Evi Rodemann director of Mission-Net. The European Congress took place in Germany from December 28 to January 2.

 
Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum Greg Pritchard: European Leadership Forum

Pritchard explains the vision of ELF, comments on the 2015 event in Poland and reflects on what it means to have an "evangelical identity".

 
Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch Pablo Martinez comments on Evangelical Focus’ launch

Author and international speaker Dr Pablo Martínez discusses the main challenges in Europe nowadays and hopes Evangelical Focus will be a useful tool to help build bridges between churches and society.

 
PICTURES Pictures
 
I am not on sale I am not on sale

Young Christians gathered at Madrid’s central square Sol to denounce human trafficking. A flashmob highlighted the work of three evangelical NGOs which support women who escape sexual slavery in Spain.

 
Stamps to commemorate the Reformation Stamps to commemorate the Reformation

Poland, Lithuania, Namibia and Brazil are some of the countries that have issued special stamps on the 500th anniversary of Martin Luther’s 95 theses.

 
‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country ‘Reconciliation’ in the Basque Country

Bilbao hosted the Spanish Evangelical Alliance's annual meeting (assembly). Politicians, professors and evangelical representatives shared views on social reconciliation. The theme was also analysed from a theological perspective and in workshops. 

 
WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues WPF17: A look at the world’s current issues

A selection of pictures of World Press Photo 2017.

 
The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible The Progress of Europe, deeply connected to Bible

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi spoke about how the biblical worldview shaped the West. 300 professionals attended annual GBG meeting on faith and work in Cullera (Spain). Photos: J.P. Serrano, S. Vera.

 
Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016 Impressions of Lausanne's #ylg2016

Around 1,000 young Christian leaders from 150 countries are participating in the 2016 Lausanne Younger Leaders Gathering, to reflect on global mission.

 
“Spain, we pray for you” “Spain, we pray for you”

Hundreds of evangelical Christians from many denominations marched in Madrid (Spain) to pray for their city, the authorities and asking God to bring hope to its society. Many gathered in other cities on June, 11.

 
VIDEO Video
 
“It is inconsistent to say we love the Creator while we destroy His creation” “It is inconsistent to say we love the Creator while we destroy His creation”

In creation care, “we need more people who lead by example”, says well-known Brazilian politician and activist Marina Silva. 

 
Human traffickers recruit girls and boys online Human traffickers recruit girls and boys online

The new video of the European Freedom Network addresses the dangers of social media. 

 
“Remember you are dust” “Remember you are dust”

Vaughan Roberts speaks from 25 years of ministry experience to share four lessons on staying the course as a Christian, despite ongoing battles with the world, the flesh, and the devil.

 
Walk Walk

A two-minute video on the meaning of Jude 24.

 
Playmobil animation on Luther’s life Playmobil animation on Luther’s life

British video platform GoChatter uses 4,000 individual photos to create stop motion video on Martin Luther's life.

 
Individualism: from the Protestant Reformation to 21st century capitalism Individualism: from the Protestant Reformation to 21st century capitalism

Indian author Vishal Mangalwadi on how the Protestant Reformation underlined individualism as a means to please God, and how secular Europe corrupted it.

 
Students in Europe: “We are present” Students in Europe: “We are present”

A summary video of the IFES Europe conference which brought together 1,700 students from many countries in Aschaffenburg (Germany) to reflect on God's mission in society.

 
Philip Yancey interview Philip Yancey interview

An 8-minute interview with Philip Yancey on the role of Christians in a secularised society. Recorded in Madrid, September 2016.

 
An interview with Prof. John Lennox An interview with Prof. John Lennox

New atheism, the definition of "faith", Christianity in Europe, the role of the Bible in mission, and the need to listen more. An exclusive interview recorded at "Forum Apologética" (Tarragona, Spain) in May 2016.

 
 
Follow us on Soundcloud
Follow us on YouTube
 
 
WE RECOMMEND
 
PARTNERS
 

 
AEE
EVANGELICAL FOCUS belongs to Areópago Protestante, linked to the Spanish Evangelical Alliance (AEE). AEE is member of the European
Evangelical Alliance and World Evangelical Alliance.
 

Opinions expressed are those of their respective contributors and do not necessarily represent the views of Evangelical Focus.