Who gave these churches the right to change the way God set up the church? Back then, as a newbie, I tried to make excuses, such as, “Well, they’re doing some things right”…and, “these are different times we’re living in now, and after all it looks like they do love the LORD”.
When I first came out of the spiritually abusive church, I felt I must surely be the only one in the world that had ever experienced such abuse and betrayal in the “house of God”. Some day soon, I hope to get around to posting about what happened there in the “full, unedited version”. But not just yet, …at this time I just feel led to tell a few incidents that happened during that time period, as a new believer, I realize I was being groomed to be conformed…not into the image of the Beloved, Jesus Christ, but being groomed to be conformed into a counterfeit, an apostate, a Pharisee.
There’s a lot to tell from the very beginning that should have been warning signals. Yes, I do believe very early on the Holy Spirit was showing me in the Word,…….that the church I was involved in at that time, was controlling, biblically “off”, legalistic, and trying to get me to conform to their system, their “ways” of doing church, and it was a controlling man made system full of man made doctrines and traditions of men that really had little to do with the pure worship of God.
I had gone into this church as a new spirit-filled believer, wanting to serve Jesus with all my heart and ability. I was studying the Word of God, and was like a sponge to learn more. I started wondering why this church didn’t bear any resemblance to the early church in the bible in the book of Acts.
As you can see, those are the excuses a novice might come up with who has little or no experience in how things work in the apostate, organized church system. Jesus doesn’t change by the whims and times of man, He, is the same, yesterday, today and forever. That’s one of the awesome things to admire, thank and love Jesus for, He’s not capricious.
Anyway, after the initial love bombing was over at this small church I had joined, the grooming and subtle controlling began. You know it’s amazing….no matter how small the church, there seems to be a set of unspoken “rules” that as if by magic, become operable. You can count on it……
With me, I was in this to be real, to love and serve the LORD, but I had a lot to learn about the way the “church did church” and expected its members to “do church”. Meanwhile, I was getting little memo’s in my study time in the bible from the Holy Spirit, concerning these issues in the church. For example, this one…
12As many as desire to make a fair shew in the flesh, they constrain you to be circumcised; only lest they should suffer persecution for the cross of Christ. 13For neither they themselves who are circumcised keep the law; but desire to have you circumcised, that they may glory in your flesh. 14But God forbid that I should glory, save in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world is crucified unto me, and I unto the world. 15For in Christ Jesus neither circumcision availeth any thing, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature. 16And as many as walk according to this rule, peace be on them, and mercy, and upon the Israel of God.”Galatians 6
Now, see, it’s pretty plain- in the context of what the Spirit was showing me, that even modern-day churches don’t demand their congregants to get physically circumcised, but they do try to bring them back under the law, and into the bondage and conformity to legalism. They want you to conform to their pattern, so “they can GLORY IN YOUR FLESH”. So, that in your outward appearance, you’ll look and act JUST LIKE THEM! The problem here is that it’s all superficial, like Jesus accused the Pharisees, of looking like whitened sepulchres, only inside they were full of dead mens bones.
Something else the Holy Spirit was showing me in the Word of God about that time was this, that went along the same lines and was confirming the other scripture………..
14But their minds were blinded: for until this day remains the same veil not taken away in the reading of the old covenant; which veil is done away in Christ.
15But even unto this day, when Moses is read, the veil is upon their hearts.
16Nevertheless when one shall turn to the Lord, the veil shall be taken away.
17Now the Lord is that Spirit: and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty.
18But we all, with unveiled face beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2nd Corinthians 3.
Legalism! Being practiced in the household of God! And the LORD was trying to show me in His Word that this was not His way…that I was free in Him and showing me not to allow myself to be brought under the bondage of their system. You see, if “your veil is taken away”, you be able to see clearly, and have the “eyes to see, and ears to hear” that Jesus has provided for those who love and obey Him and His Word.
You would be surprised how many churches are doing this in one form or another, and believe me, they will not take kindly to a new member who comes in expecting to remain uncontaminated by their system and doctrines.
If you’ve come to this page, I’m assuming that you may be in a church situation that doesn’t seem right, and in fact may be an abusive church. You see, what I’ve described IS spiritual abuse, but inevitably, if a new member doesn’t conform, it’s not going to be a matter of if, but when, the spiritual abuse becomes very up front and personal, and directed toward you. That’s when decisions have to be made…and you either succumb to the manipulation and fear, or…you leave.
I pray for each and every person who comes here with such a burden on your heart, that you will be set free and healed from all legalistic, man-made bondages. Jesus loves you and wants you to be FREE to love and serve Him in the Spirit, free of the shackles of Nicolaitanism.
As I said before, when I came out of the apostate church I felt so alone, and like there was no one in the world to talk to that understood. Just know that here, you will find brothers and sisters that care, and you CAN talk to and share your experiences, and you will not be ostracized, or condemned. Talking, sharing, and praying together about the spiritual abuse we’ve suffered is very cathartic and healing, and this is basically what this blog is all about.
May Jesus bless you~