9Marx Shuts Down Comments by Todd Wilhelm

[Note: The first article that Todd Wilhelm/Thou Art The Man blog wrote was in response to Jonathan D. Leeman’s article at 9 Marks about my 1-star review on Amazon of Mark Dever’s 9 Marks book and the horrible abuses, excommunications and shunnings – akin to the Salem Witch Trials that I saw practiced by the pastors/elders at my former church Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley. 9 Marks censored and deleted all comments from the article from other people, very good critiques of 9 Marks. Now 9 Marks has censored another article and deleted comments. So much for ‘adult discussions’ about serious topics. When the going gets tough, Mark Dever and Jonathan D. Leeman turn tail and run. – Velour/MtnShepherdess, Moderator/blogger]

 

Reblogged from Todd Wilhelm’s website Thou Art The Man ©.

naked-pastor-over-the-wall

Yesterday I wrote an article titled “Jonathan Leeman: Parsing Words and Deleting Comments.”  The subject of the article was the removal of all comments on an article published on the 9Marks website and Leeman’s lame and dishonest reasons given for doing so. The article, written by Jonathan Leeman, Editorial Director of 9Marks, is titled “Don’t Be a 9Marxist!”

Yesterday I was alerted to the fact that Leeman also removed all comments from another article on the 9Marks blog titled “The Abuse of Authority in Prosperity Gospel Churches.”

The article, written by D.A. Horton, began by stating the following”

http://thouarttheman.org/2016/09/25/9marx-shuts-comments/

A Gospel Coalition Church, Agape Bible Church, Covers Up a Pastor’s Teen Sex Abuse. Why? —

TGC and BFFs may be contributing to ongoing child sex abuse problems in TGC churches.

via A Gospel Coalition Church, Agape Bible Church, Covers Up a Pastor’s Teen Sex Abuse. Why? —

9th Circuit Court of Appeals (federal court) Ruled Businesses Can’t Sue YELP Over Bad Reviews

Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley scrubs the internet of all negative reviews about their authoritarianism and spiritual abuse of church members. Negative reviews by former church members are repeatedly taken down. My negative YELP reviews (logical) have been taken down. Here is a good ruling from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals that was just released today on 9/12/16. 

9th’s Ruling is here14-35487

Businesses can’t sue Yelp over bad reviews, 9th Cir. rules.

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Here is my YELP review which was taken down, because GBF doesn’t like the truth. [I have added some resource links to the review since it is now published on my blog.] Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley scrubs the internet of all negative reviews. From YELP to Google to Amazon* and anywhere else.(*Note: After writing a negative review on Amazon beneath Cliff McManis’ book, and describing the abusive church he leads, the church had Amazon revoke ALL of my customer reviewing privileges, which I have given mostly 4-5 stars for other products, been a customer of Amazon’s for years, and have ordered many products for myself and as gifts for other people. I wrote the CEO of Amazon, Jeff Bezos, about the problems with GBFSV, the excommunications and shunnings, the Megan’s List sex offender. Jeff Bezos RESTORED my customer reviewing priviledges. And I just started this blog because I refuse to see that level of abuse that goes on at GBFSV, be subjected to it like they did to me, and turn around and be silent.)

“It was very disturbing to be a member of this church and to see the level of mistreatment shown by the GBF pastors/elders to adult Christians, an iron-fisted authoritarian control over adult Christians’ lives and demands for ‘obedience’.There were excommunications and shunnings ordered of dear Christians for any independent thought.

Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley is one of the growing number ofauthoritarian, NeoCalvinist churches spreading across the U.S. and it’s not *Biblical*.

http://www.wadeburleson.org/2012/01/our-problem-is-authoritarianism-and-not.html

*Heavy Shepherding.  GBFpractices the 1970’s heavy-Shepherding movement’s un-Biblical control of Christians’ lives by the pastors/elders. The Florida founders repented for its abuses and un-Biblicalness. The GBF leaders have not repented and the damage is growing in the lives at GBF.  GBF copies Mark Dever’s (Capitol Hill Baptist, Washington, D.C.) 9Marks organization. It is a heavily criticized model, including by conservatives, who have said that there is only ONE Biblical mark of a healthy church: Love. The other 9Marks are un-Biblical and it’s the Heavy Shepherding Movement all over again.

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2009/04/09/the-shepherding-movement-%E2%80%93-reformed-revamped-reee-diculous/

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2011/01/28/the-legacy-of-derek-prince/

*Membership Covenants. Members are told to sign them because they’re *Biblical* and back to a Biblical basic. In point of fact they aren’t Biblical and are used to exert authoritarian control over members’ lives. Jesus required people to sign how many pages to follow Him? Correct answer: 0 pages. (Don’t sign!)

http://www.wadeburleson.org/2015/05/five-reasons-to-say-no-to-church.html

https://timfall.wordpress.com/2015/05/27/covenant-with-god-not-church/

*Congregational vote.  GBF wants your money but doesn’t believe in a true Biblical church honoring the Holy Spirit’s work in Christians lives and giftedness.  It is more authoritarian control exerted by a few yes-men over the Body of Christ, hobbling the power of the Holy Spirit to truly work.  I will never go to a church again that is run like GBF. I will never give money to one again.

*Women. GBF pastors/elders promote Complementarian/Patriarchy doctrine that women are to “obey” and to “submit” and be 2nd class citizens. At GBF they live under the old Covenant and not the new one in Christ. GBF pastors espouse the Council on Biblical Manhood Womanhood which teaches a Semi-Arian Heresy by Bruce Ware and Wayne Grudem called the Eternal [a lie] Subordination of the Son to justify the subordination of women. It is untrue and is trinatarian heresy. GBF has put this man-made doctrine on par with The Gospel. If you reject Comp you reject The Gospel. Nonsense. Read: Wartburg Watch blog for more info. [Additional Note. 9/6/2016. Former church members who have a Complementarian marriage and are Calvinists pointed out to me today that despite their conservative views that they don’t support the practices of the GBFSV pastors/elders and the mistreatment of the flock, that it has nothing to do with Comp or Calvinism but with these GBFSV pastors/elders choices to harm the flock. They have said that Cliff McManis is into other people ‘obeying’ and ‘submitting’ and his ‘authority’. Chauvinism as well. That’s not what this nice,conservative Christian couple believes or practices. Fair enough. Duly noted.]

http://www.wadeburleson.org/2008/09/growing-semi-arianism-in-sbc-and.html

http://thewartburgwatch.com/category/eternal-subordination/

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2016/06/03/a-reformed-theologian-and-a-reformed-blogger-take-on-the-eternal-subordination-of-the-son-as-it-relates-to-complementarianism/comment-page-1/

*Teaching. GBFSV does not permit Godly women to teach the Word of God. They base this on the writing of the Apostle Paul. Paul wrote Timothy about one woman — original text in Greek said “the woman” — teaching one man error. Paul wanted her to learn correctly first. The issue wasn’t her being a woman, the issue was error – and that would be true if it was a man in error. Manipulative anti-woman Bible translators conveniently changed the text to something Paul never wrote to prohibit all Christian women for all time from teaching. Paul never wrote that.

http://www.wadeburleson.org/2012/09/the-woman-of-error-in-i-timothy-212.html

http://www.wadeburleson.org/2007/01/strange-belief-that-woman-cannot-teach_19.html

*Nouthetic Counseling.  GBF leaders believe that Bible is sufficient counsel for everything. They have no training and licensing, do not follow Cal. law, and frequently cross over the line into the Unauthorized Practice of Medicine (a crime in California that can be prosecuted as a misdemeanor or a felony).  This bogus form of non-counseling comes from the un-trained Jay Adams and his books. It is malpractice.  GBF pastors/elders did not get an older woman alcoholic to the care of a physician to supervise her treatment and spent months with members discussing “gossip” and drawing pictures on the blackboard.  In the end this woman, her adult children, and church members were harmed. [Note: According to the U.S. Department of Education the “college” where senior pastor Cliff McManis claims he earned his “Ph.D.” from and another advanced degree IS a diploma mill (Faith Bible College) in Independence, Missouri. Its only “accrediting agency”, not a bona fide one recognized by the U.S. Department of Education, was brought up on fraud charges by the Missouri Attorney General and banned from doing business in Missouri. The “accrediting agency” simply moved to near by Arkansas, renamed their business, and has done the same thing in Missouri again. I recently advised the Missouri Attorney General that the group was back in Missouri and to “go get them”. A real Ph.D. from an accredited university takes about eight years of hard work to earn.]

https://cryingoutforjustice.com/2014/12/27/the-biblical-counseling-movement-a-series-by-april-kelsey-at-revolutionary-faith/

http://www.shouselaw.com/unauthorized-medicine.htmlhttp://www.shouselaw.com/unauthorized-medicine.html

Additionally, the GBFSV pastors/elders held me responsible for the genetically inherited brain disorder – Dyslexia – of a woman church member who refuses medical care.  She can’t remember entire events and accuses other people like me of lying. Dyslexia isn’t just a reading problem but a memory problem.

Excommunications/Shunnings/Stalking. A godly woman left GBF for a saner church and was harassed by church members on the orders of the GBF pastors/elders. A godly doctor was excommunicated for dissenting in private. I was excommunicated because the GBF pastors/elders blamed me for someone’s memory problems. A bizarre church!!!

http://thewartburgwatch.com/2015/07/06/jonathan-leeman-and-9-marks-abusive-church-discipline-and-the-problem-with-matthew-18/

*Credentials. Snr pstr’s *Ph.D*. is from a MO. diploma mill.

http://faithcollege.org/

GETTING OUT: Don’t tell them. Send a certified/return receipt letter & resign, no details. Call 911 and contact an attorney if they bother you. Read: Wartburg Watch blog for details.

DOMESTIC VIOLENCE: Women – call domestic violence shelters/support groups for help getting out. Call 9-1-1. Read: A Cry For Justice blog by pastor/cop.

https://cryingoutforjustice.com/contact-about-us/

http://www.thehotline.org/

http://www.nextdoor.org/

Child Endangerment in California:

BOOK: Churches That Abuse, Dr. Ron Enroth (FREE online).

http://www.reveal.org/development/Churches_that_Abuse.pdfhttp://www.reveal.org/development/Churches_that_Abuse.pdf

Recovering From Churches that Abuse, Dr. Ron Enroth (FREE below). [Note: I started reading this book first and I read Dr. Enroth’s other book second.]

http://www.reveal.org/development/Recovering_from_Churches_that_Abuse.pdf

SEARCH TERMS: Spiritual Abuse, Membership Covenants, Authoritarianism, NeoCalvinism, Homeschoolers Anonymous, Wartburg Watch, Spiritual Sounding Board,Steve Hassan. [See links on the Blog Roll on the right side of this page.]

Steve Hassan. Psychologist/author/Thought Reform expert: https://www.freedomofmind.com/Info/BITE/bitemodel.php

Brad/FuturistGuy (Christian blogger/researcher) article about Dr. Robert Jay Lifton, psychiatrist at Yale, former Air Force psychiatrist, researcher, studied Communist Chinese Thought Reform, which is also how other authoritarian groups work:

https://futuristguy.wordpress.com/2012/05/16/the-hunger-games-trilogy-5a/

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I learned that I know more than I thought I did & I will never listen to authoritarian men again!”

Five Reasons to Say “No” to a Church Covenant by Wade Burleson

Note: Wade Burleson, pastor of Emmanuel Enid church in Enid, Oklahoma, a Baptist church. Wade has succinctly explained why Christians should say ‘no’ to signing Membership Covenants.

http://www.wadeburleson.org/2015/05/five-reasons-to-say-no-to-church.html

Five Reasons to Say “No” to a Church Covenantby Wade Burleson ©

“But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all … All you need to say is
simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.”
Jesus
Village Church in Dallas, Texas recently placed a member named Karen Root  under church disciplinebecause she annulled her marriage with a confessed child pornographer.  A letter Village Church elders sent to members last Saturday (May 23, 2015) gave their logic for placing Karen under church discipline. The elders believed they had no choice because Karen violated the church covenant that she signed when she joined Village Church. Specifically, Karen violated the covenant by not getting church leaders’ permission to file for an annulment. The elders wrote:

“…Karen filed for an immediate annulment of her marriage to Jordan apart from the counsel of the church… (by) signing the Membership Covenant, a member agrees … to receive our care…”

Karen had respectfully requested withdrawal of membership from Village Church, but the elders wouldn’t allow it because she had not sought their counsel. She refused to come “under their care,” so they put Karen under discipline. No Village Church member under discipline, wrote Village church authorities, can “withdraw” from membership. Therefore, Village pastors/elders “refused to accept” Karen’s request to withdraw from Village membership.

This is an ugly situation all the way around. Village Church leaders–regardless of the vocal criticism they receive–believe they are men of integrity. They are, in their minds, fulfilling their pastoral role and abiding by the church covenant they demanded everyone sign before they became members. Some who are not members of Village are blaming Karen for signing a church covenant. Nobody should blame Karen. She, like other evangelicals, probably had no idea of the ultimate consequences of signing church covenants. The guilt lies with church authorities who demanded signatures from prospective members that turned their spiritual formation and maturation over to mere men instead of the Holy Spirit.

Read Village’s Church Covenant. It’s chilling when it comes to the authority of elders and church leaders. Here are some of the phrases that the prospective member must read and then sign, vowing their allegiance to obey:

  • I understand the importance of submission to church leadership
  • I will submit to the elders and other appointed leaders of the church
  • I will agree to walk through the steps of marriage reconciliation at The Village Church before pursuing divorce from my spouse

I’ve written several articles stating that the major problem in modern evangelical Christianity is theauthoritarianism of evangelical leaders. I have sought to explain how pastors/elders “twist the Scriptures” and demand “obedience and submission” to this alleged authority. Jesus tells us that that true ‘spiritual leaders’ are only servants, never masters. Yet, evangelical leaders seem not to be listening to Jesus.

With this in mind, I would like to give you five reasons why I would never sign a church membership covenant in order to become a member.

(1). A church covenant makes the Holy Spirit irrelevant in my life.

We are called in Scripture to be led “by the Spirit.” Though there is counsel in the wisdom of many, when I sign a church covenant I abdicate my right to hear from the Spirit myself. When Karen Root resigned her membership from Village, she stated“I have sought the Lord diligently and several godly people I trust…”That wasn’t good enough for Village elders; Karen didn’t seek them out. A church covenant fetters one’s ability to seek the Spirit’s wisdom and advice from godly people other than the elders and pastors of the church that demanded you to sign.
(2). A church covenant replaces my one true Mediator with inferior mediators.
I have only One High Priest who stands between me and God – Jesus, the Son of God – and anyone whocomes between me and Jesus as I walk by His counsel and His wisdom is a detriment to my growth. A true servant in the Kingdom will only and always point me  to Jesus Christ for my marching orders, and willnever demand that I accept their orders as from God. When I sign a church covenant I’m in essence handing over the authority of Jesus Christ in my life to mere men.
(3). A church covenant makes the institutional church equivalent to the Kingdom of God.
 A 501c-3 non-profit institutional church plays an important role in the Kingdom of God, but the local church is not the kingdom of God.  Anyone who knows history understands that institutional churches who demand spiritual authority over individual believers have wrongly placed their institution on par with God’s Kingdom. For example, the great 17th century Baptist hymn writer and theologian Benjamin Keach decided to write a book for children containing evangelical truth. Authorities of the Church of England sought to execute him for writing that infant baptism was not biblical. On what basis could the Church of England kill Benjamin Keach? Answer: The same basis Village Church can consign Karen Root to church discipline. Leaders of the 17th century Church of England and the 21st century Village Church both believe their institution is equivalent to the Kingdom of God. Their leaders falsely believe that they hold the keys of life and death and of heaven and hell. It isn’t so. Don’t sign a covenant and perpetuate this dangerous lie.
(4). A church covenant by its nature is designed to protect an authoritarian structure.
When a Christian signs a church covenant that demands submission to elders/pastors, he or she is enabling that institutional church to maintain an authoritarian structure. Rather than the weak and wounded sheep being the focus of attention within the church, most modern covenants are written with phrases that seem intent on bringing church members into “submission to church authorities.” Quickly scan any church covenant, If “submission to church elders” is anywhere found, then know the covenant is designed to keep control of members and maintain the authority of the leaders. Paul Burleson points out that any institutional church more concerned with supporting their authoritarian system of control than healing their wounded members is sending signals of weak spiritual leadership. Jesus said that the world uses titles, positions of honor, and seeks to “exercise authority over those they rule,” but “this should never be the caseamong His followers (Mark 10:35-45).
(5). A church covenant requires something more than a simple “Yes” or “No.”
Jesus said that anything you have to do that goes beyond your simple words of “Yes” and “No” is from the “evil one” (Matthew 5:37).  When I join a church, I will forever refuse to sign any document, whether it be a “tithing card,” or “a membership covenant,” or any other document that requires a vow from me regarding my future performance or activity. In fact, if I ever attend a church that requires such a thing, I will refuse to join on the basis of principle. I will live freely, speak with integrity, and rest in the simplicity of following Jesus and living by the Spirit. I will not be fettered by written vows to a church that is seeking to protect their authority over me.
I need no covenant to guarantee that God will finish the work He’s begun in me.
<a href="http://youtu.be/Zio2Ml0IrV0">Wade Burleson, President</a>

Book Recommendation – Fraudulent Authority by Wade Burleson

Used with permission.

A wonderful book that I bought and would recommend. – Velour

“Nowhere in the New Testament does it say that a Christian leader, because of title or position, has moral authority over another Christian. Pagans will seek offices that grant them power and authority in order to exert their leadership (lordship) over others. Jesus said that His people were not to seek to rule over others, but to serve others selflessly and love others unconditionally. When a church or home gives in to Fraudulent Authority, the people of Christ become more pagan in practice than Christian. Fraudulent Authority teaches you how to recognize this dangerous practice of Christians seeking to exert power and authority over people in evangelical churches and homes and what you can do about it.”

From the Author

“I’ve written this book for two groups of people. First, this book is for those conscientious Christians who are caught in the vicious trap of spiritual abuse perpetrated by authoritarian pastors who “rule over” their congregations, subtly suggesting that disobedience to “the church” and to those in “spiritual authority” is disobedience to God. Second, I’ve written this book for fellow Christians who love their pastor and church, but have not yet considered the consequences of signing a church covenant, handing over their spiritual formation and accountability to men rather than to Christ.  It’s my belief that authoritarianism in the church is the greatest problem facing evangelicals in the 21st century. Fraudulent Authority gives you a set of biblical principles whereby you can be aware of and stay away from churches and pastors that demand submission to their authority.”

Fraudulent Authority: Pastors Who Seek to Rule Over Others by [Burleson, Wade]

 

From Amazon: “Biography

Wade Burleson is a pastor, writer and historian who lives in Enid, Oklahoma. He is a native Oklahoman, born in 1961 in Oklahoma City, but he spent his early years in Texas. His wife, Rachelle, DNP, APN-CNS, serves as a Professor of Nursing at the University of Central Oklahoma in Edmond. Wade has served as Lead Pastor of Emmanuel Enid since 1992.

Wade has written over 2000 articles on theology, history and current events, many of which have been published in professional periodicals. He is an expert on the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, and is working on a team assisting Booth’s descendants in attempting to obtain DNA from the “body in the barn” the government identified as John Wilkes Booth. He writes on theology as part of his career, but enjoys writing narratives of history as a hobby.

Wade also gives multi-media talks to civic, genealogical, and charitable organizations. His most requested multi-media presentations include (1). White Gold: Thomas Jefferson and the Great Salt Plains; (2). A Transient Abode: Abraham Lincoln, John Wilkes Booth, and Boston Corbett; (3). The Greatest Game Ever Played: Carlisle and Army and the Origins of the NFL; and (4). Red Earth Courage: The First Secret Mission of the Civil War.

A student of history and genealogy, Wade has written extensively for his immediate family on the lives of their ancestors. On the maternal side of his family, Wade is the direct grandson (16x) of Geoffrey Chaucer (AD c. 1343 – 1400), the father of English literature. His maternal great-great grandfather, Charles T. Cherry (1801 – 1893), immigrated to America from London, England in 1831 as a missionary to pioneer Sunday Schools in the Mississippi Valley. Charles later worked as an agent for the American Sunday School Union and became an author of several Christian books written for children. Wade’s paternal ancestors, the Burlesons, also immigrated to America from England, settling in the Carolinas during the early 1700’s. Wade’s great-grandfather (7x), John Crawford Burleson (1729-1776) served under George Washington and died in the Battle of Trenton in December 1776. Wade is a cousin to Rufus Columbus Burleson (1823-1901), President of Baylor University and Pastor of FBC Houston, and to General Edward Burleson (1798-1851), former Vice-President of the Republic of Texas. Wade’s maternal grandfather, F.T.D. Cherry (1912-1970), was an All-Conference tight end and track star for the University of Oklahoma and became a Christian evangelist. Wade’s father, Paul Burleson, served as pastor of eight churches in Oklahoma and Texas from 1950-2007, including the influential Southcliff Baptist Church in Fort Worth, Texas from 1976-1982. Wade’s mother, Mary Burleson, is a retired Senior Editor for Random House.

Wade’s passion for reading has led him to become an antiquarian book collector. His favorite books of other centuries include Isaac Newton’s The Chronology of Ancient Kingdoms; John Gill’s God’s Everlasting Love to His Elect; and Edward Gibbon’s The Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire. Wade’s favorite modern books include Laura Hildebrand’s Unbroken, Paul Young’s Crossroads, and Eric Metaxes’ Dietrich Bonhoeffer: Pastor, Martyr, Prophet, Spy. Other than reading, Wade enjoys time spent with friends and family. He learned from his friend author of The Shack, Paul Young, a principle that guides his life: “There is no moment and no person more important than this moment and this person before whom I stand.”

Wade believes every person has a story, and his non-profit ministry Istoria is designed to intersect other persons’ stories with the Greatest Story ever told in order to develop a deep love and abiding love for His Story.”

Are The Claims of Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley Pastors/Elders That They Are Being ‘Persecuted’ Because They Are Being Held Accountable…’Biblical’?

"Stay Positive" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

As the pressure mounts on the Grace Bible Fellowship of Silicon Valley pastors/elders, instigated no less by all of their wrong decisions, bad decisions, and ultimately bad theology, they haven’t humbled themselves. They’ve dug in deeper. They’ve claimed in emails to church members that they are now ‘being persecuted’ and need ‘prayers’ for protection for the GBF Body.

Is it Biblical or just one of the manipulative antics of an abusive church? Read The Wartburg Watch article on the “9 Marks of An Abusive Church.”

Nine Marks of an Abusive Church

 

 “Be not deceived, Wormwood, our cause is never more in jeopardy than when a human, no longer desiring but still intending to do our Enemy’s will, looks round upon a universe in which every trace of Him seems to have vanished, and asks why he has been forsaken, and still obeys.“   CS Lewis-Screwtape Letters”

How can you spot an abusive church? Do you know the “red flags”? Dr. Ronald Enroth, is a leading scholar on cults and cultism, and his special perspectives have proven beneficial to both the secular and the religious society. Dr. Enroth is a professor of Sociology at Westmont College (Santa Barbara, California) where he has taught since 1965, beginning as a sociology instructor. In 1992 Enroth wrote Churches That Abuse, and it continues to be an important resource nearly two decades later.
Margaret Thaler Singer, a clinical psychologist and emeritus professor of the University of California, Berkeley, provided her hearty recommendation on the book’s jacket. Here is an excerpt:

“When does a church cross the line between conventional church status and fringe status? What is the nature of the process by which any given group devolves into a fringe church or movement? What are some of the signs or indicators that a given group is becoming abusive of its members and is headed for the margins? When should a member consider bailing out?

 

Churches That Abuse answers these and other important questions about abusive churches and groups that operate in this country – organizations and churches that are not necessarily characterized by doctrinal deviation but have particular traits that make them behavioral and sociological outsiders. It also helps readers identify and beware of abusive tendencies in more “normal” Christian churches.”
In his classic book Dr. Enroth identifies distinctive traits of abusive churches which should serve as “red flags”. Pat Zukeran, a research associate with Probe Ministries, has written an excellent review of Churches That Abuse, and we will be sharing excerpts from his article “Abusive Churches”, along with quotes from the book, to explain some of these identifying traits or “MARKS”.
….

‘(4) Perceived persecution

 

To explain this identifying mark, Zukeran writes: “Because abusive churches see themselves as elite, they expect persecution in the world and even feed on it. Criticism and exposure by the media are seen as proof that they are the true church being persecuted by Satan. However, the persecution received by abusive churches is different from the persecution received by Jesus and the Apostles.

Jesus and the Apostles were persecuted for preaching the truth. Abusive churches bring on much of their negative press because of their own actions. Yet, any criticism received, no matter what the source–whether Christian or secular–is always viewed as an attack from Satan, even if the criticisms are based on the Bible.”’