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Spiritually abusive churches and their buzz words
Accountable:  Church members are told to be "accountable" to the pastor or elders, and get "godly counsel" on all personal and family decisions even when those issues are: 1) none of their business and 2) the pastor or elders have zero competence in the area involved.

Angry:  What a person is judged to be when they tell the truth about something that has happened.  Because you are "angry" and have a "bitter spirit," your legitimate concerns and issues can be written off and ignored.  After all, "you are the one with the problem", not the actual offender, especially if the offender is a pastor or elder.

Apostate:  A scornful and disdainful comment deliberately made about anyone who will not swallow the party-line hook, line and sinker.  Often used when speaking of those who have left the church, describing the supposed “uncertain fate” of those that left and never returned, and the horrors of the many and “mysterious dangers” lurking beyond the institutional walls.  This word is to be said in a manner and tone that conveys fear to anyone who even thinks of switching to another church. 

Backslider:  1) A person who has left the church.  2) Someone who finds it impossible to keep all the man-made rules and traditions peculiar to the church.

Bad Attitude:  1) If you don’t agree with the pastor or church policy, you are classified as having a bad attitude.  If you don’t repent and agree with the church elders, you would be barred from all church activities and officially shunned by other members.  2) People who have left the church because they had a "bad attitude" and were "troublemakers".

"Because I'm the pastor, that's why!":    "How dare you doubt me!" "Are you questioning my authority?" "Don't be a troublemaker."  "Submit to your elders."  This type of thinking is a symptom of living under leadership that legislates and demands obedience to their authority.  It rests upon a false basis for authority. The sole basis on which they grasped this authority was because of their so-called rank.  In other words, their authority was NOT founded on the fact that they were wise, discerning and true.  It was based solely in the fact that they were in charge.

Bitter spirit:  1) The charge made against a person because that person still stands by what they first said.  2) Former members who say anything negative about the church are charged with having "a bitter spirit," so what they say is not given any credibility and ignored even though it is factually true.  3) Said to shame, usually in a very public venue and/or in front of other people. 

Black sheep: see Apostate

Congregationalist: "Congregationalism" is the thing in which you are guilty of in an elder-ruled church when you try to hold an elder (or elders) accountable for how they are lording it over and abusing the sheep.  For you to be labeled a "Congregationalist" means that the elders can ignore and dismiss your legitimate concerns regarding how they are ruling the church.

Disaffected What a church member is labeled for believing and following God’s words instead of man’s words.  See also: Divisive.

Disobedience:  Disobedience set forth in your divine role model - your church constitution or made-made creed is disobedience to God Himself.  It equates your system, your books, and your creed with the words inspired by the Holy Spirit Himself.  It makes popes out of church leaders and dummies out of those who follow them.

Dissident:  A term for someone who is against the church; the old "them against us" attitude.

Divisive:  1) What a person is called because some people actually realized what that person said was the truth so the church is split.  2) A term used of someone who refuses to imbibe everything that is said from the pulpit.

Duly-Authorized:  A term where there are no checks and balances over the leadership. You are “duly 
authorized” by God and are answerable to no one else.  The pastor is the Bishop of your soul; rules even over your conscience, and is accountable to God for your well being.  He has the “awesome responsibility to God” to “guide” (control) your life.  Of course, it’s always for “your own good.”  You are duty bound to obey God’s “duly authorized authority” even if he is wrong, and God will “reward your obedience.”  Such a system is nothing but Roman popery.

A Family Matter:  1) When the church leadership doesn't want the embarrassment of public disclosure in the community at large regarding a scandal in the church, that scandal becomes a "family matter" and is not to be discussed with people outside of the church; even when the matter involves sexual misconduct, a suspicious death, etc.  2) In such cases the primary reason for something to be "a family matter" is so the leadership can "save face".  3)  Used many times to “cover” for a pastor and to keep him “in office.” 

Heretic:  A label used to instill fear in a church member if they dared to speak against a particular and well-favored church doctrine.  The word “heretic” will keep you silent, for everyone knows the result: not a burning at the stake, but the principles and the plotting and the trickery are so similar.

Independent:  Church leaders manipulate their followers into thinking that they can’t make decisions on their own.  They are being continually encouraged to not think independently or make their own decisions.  They become dependent on their "leader" or his underlings as their parent.  The more dependent they are, the more controlled they are.  It would be a terrible thing to be labeled “independent.”

Installation Service:  A service that is necessary for turning men into church leaders.  Before the special service takes place they were not in any way a Pastor/Elder/Overseer.  They were just mere men like the rest of us.  But with the special installation service, they are exalted and lifted up to an official position over us!  Before the installation, they were on an "equality" with the rest of us.  But now, with the installation service, these men are transformed "above us” and they are now “over us” as rulers and lords.

Isolationist You become an isolationist when you refuse to bow the knee to the pronouncements of men.  You have “isolated” yourself from the majority and have fallen into the minority, which has gone over the deep end.  

A Jezebel Spirit:  1) A term used specifically to describe someone who is "unteachable".  2) Also used to describe a woman in the congregation who has the audacity to seek to publicly expose the unwanted and unasked for sexual harassment she received from the pastor. 

Love Gifts:  A term used by church leaders to get you to prove how "spiritual" you really are, and support "the work" by giving those "love gifts".

Means of Grace:  What the church is all about and the only people “duly authorized” to dispense that grace are your church leaders. 

Nondenominational church:  Used to discredit other churches that don't dot the “I” and cross the “T” like you do.  Of course only your church has it all together and has the "full truth".

Open and transparent 1) Be sure you tell the pastors and elders what you're thinking or struggling with so that they can now administer their “godly counsel” and berate you for not "measuring up."  2) What the leaders publicly berate the congregation about while at the same time withholding from the congregation relevant information regarding church matters or problems in the personal lives of the pastor with family problems that would actually disqualify said leader from his leadership position.

Pastoral Visitation:  (Oversight) A meeting where an elder or elders come to your home and ask you personal and intimate questions about things that are not really any of their business in the first place.  This so-called visitation is also used as a time for incompetent pastors or elders to give incompetent and bad advice that causes disruptions in family relationships, most often between spouses, but also parent-child relationships, and extended family relationships.  Refusal to engage in pastoral visitations is to have a negative attitude regarding "oversight" and is a sign of being "rebellious", and an indication of "backsliding" and "unsubmissiveness", and may lead to "apostasy".

Rebellious:  1) When a young person in the congregation asks the pastor an honest question about the justification for a particular practice in church, and the pastor is unable to answer the young person's question with an open Bible, then that young person has a "rebellious spirit" or heart.  2) Also used as another term for anyone who is "unsubmissive."  3) What a person is when they are "unwilling to reconcile".  4)  Anyone who doesn't get with "the program".

Shunning:  1) A term used of someone who is very close, if not already has proven their “lost” condition.  Only those who are still attached to “the true church” are safe.  2) A death sentence used by pastors and elders to hang over the heads of those who don’t agree and obey them.  3) What in some churches is called "excommunication" or “disfellowshipping.”

Singleness:  1) An undesirable state, not conducive to church fellowship.  2) The state of a person after they see so many unhappy marriages in the church that were instigated and aggravated by the corrupt counseling of wicked shepherds, whose struggles in their own marriages was carefully hidden from the congregation.

Slander:  To say anything negative about the church to anyone inside or outside the church. 

Stated Meetings:  Mandatory meetings where attendance is strictly recorded and the peculiar doctrines held by the church are repeated numerous times.  Usually addressed as follows: "Anyone who is a member of this congregation is expected to attend the stated meetings of the church unless you are providentially hindered."  To miss one of these meetings is a grave sin and indicates that you may be "apostate."

Teachable:  You are "teachable" when you passively accept what you are being taught without asking questions or studying for yourself.

The Eldership:  When “guidance” and “example”  through elders turns itself into “Rule By Elders.”  
“The Eldership” is the sure result when the false teachings exposed on this website are assumed to be true.

The True Church:  We are the only people that really believe and follow all that the New Testament Scriptures teach about the Church.  Once this attitude is imbedded in the heart and mind, it does not take long to reason therefore we are “The True New Testament Church.”

The "Work" 1) Backing the church and its leadership with our tithes, offerings and time.  We are to sacrifice to keep the "The Work" going; Acquiescing to special sermons geared to increase your offerings for a special “work.”  You are asked to sacrifice even more for “The Work.”   2) Usually, a covert scheme used by the pastor or elders to advance their own agenda in making a name for themselves in a particular movement or association.  If you do not wholeheartedly support “The Work," then you are being "carnally minded" and lack "spiritual maturity."

The World: The classic them against us attitude.  Anything outside of their church system, including other denominations, is of the world; used to keep you on an endless performance of jumping through the hoops in order to work out your own salvation.  You never measure up, which is the cause of depression in many, and in rare cases suicide.  Fear of “going over the deep end” is dominant. 

This Ministry:  Another loaded buzz word; similar to "the work."  Members are constantly being warned about the consequences of our failure to live up to the light God has given to us in "this ministry."  "This ministry" is to be humbly received without questioning. Those who dared to challenge this ministry would be forced to repent
of their sin or be driven out and ruined.  Beyond the walls of this ministry, the green pastures beckon, but...BUT
they  must not go forth!  “Church authorities” have done everything to insure that this ministry” is forever emblazoned in the hearts of church members.

Consequently, they will be regularly reminded of the meetings and the stories told, like urban legends told around a campfire, of the supposed “uncertain fate” of those that left "this ministryand never returned, and the horrors of the many and “mysterious dangers” lurking beyond the walls of "this ministry."  Warned of the rebellion of feeding outside the confines of "this ministry," and handed yet another stale “Pastoral” biscuit to chew on, they withdraw back and languish away, somehow convinced it is their duty to do so.  

Troublemaker 1) Someone who has the audacity to think the elders should be effectively accountable to the congregation.  2) Anyone who had the nerve to see through the pastor's theatrical performance, and as a result refuse to accept the pastor's interpretation and application.  3) People who have left the church.  They were just "troublemakers" so we don't have to give any serious thought or care as to why they left.  4) Anyone in a business meeting who asked critical questions the elders didn't really want to have to deal with even though the questions were very relevant to the issue at hand.  5) Anyone who voted "no" on a matter the elders favored.  6) Anyone who said anything that was in any way negative about the church. 

Unteachable 1) You are "unteachable" when you have the audacity to go home and study an issue for yourself from the Bible, and come to a different conclusion than what you were taught.  The sin in doing this is you are exposing the teacher’s ineptness.  2) Someone who is "unteachable" is on the road to apostasy; they have committed the highest offense a Christian can commit.  3) Also used to describe those who visit the church for a period of time, but then cease coming and go to another church.

Unsubmissive:  1) When you follow your own conscience in the light of your own understanding of Scripture instead of doing what the pastors or elders told you to do, you are "unsubmissive". 

Unwilling to reconcile:  What a person is when they will not accept the pastor's non-negotiable version of what took place and agree to back his version.

Work Ethic  A concept twisted by corrupt church leaders; Used to keep church members living on the edge; working so much that you have no time for family or private study.  You are dependent on your church leaders for all of your spiritual nourishment.  Teaching you to work till you drop gives the church and its leaders control over every aspect of your spiritual life.  The name of the game is control; by forcing you and your family to become perpetual spiritual babes and in so doing, you have become their slaves.  In this condition, you will be easily pacified, distracted from biblical reality, controlled by your church rulers and easily manipulated by heretical teachings.  It’s all by design.  

Your Elders/ "Your Pastors":  A phrase that is deliberately and diabolically repeated numerous times over and over again, week in and week out; year in and year out, until your brain is numb with the phrase and you are thoroughly convinced that “the Elders” are Your Elders - "Your Pastors" who now have the right to control every facet of your life.  To now view them as NOT "YOUR ELDERS"  - "YOUR PASTORS" indicates a serious malfunction in your character.  You have now lost the ability to think and function for yourself. 

 Ken Cascio 

 You might also be interested in:   

1)    Spiritual Abuse Survey
2)    The Naked Truth
Buzz Words Used In 
Spiritually Abusive Churches
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