Spiritual Covering: 'A Doctrine of Demons'

Spiritual Abuse

Spiritual Covering – A Doctrine of Demons

 

Like sequels to a lousy B-grade horror movie, bad ideas  often get recycled in the Body of Christ. It happened again for me this week in a painful phone conversation with a dear, damaged, soul.  The bad-penny doctrine I am referring to is the concept of absolute submission to an alleged “spiritual covering” as a necessity for your spiritual welfare and advance. The spiritual covering is allegedly embodied in your pastor/leader, etc. This issue has been hit hundreds if not thousands  of  times over the years by myself and other authors and bloggers. As confirmed by my phone conversation this week, like a zombie, it just won’t die.  For Jesus’ sake, and for the well being of His church, I am going to briefly hit it again here.

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What Judgment Would You Like on Your Tombstone?: 'Judgment Can Be a Risky Business'

Tombstone Judgment

Judgment Tombstone

In our sensationalist, foul, social media-driven culture, you can do 999 out of a 1,000 things well, but you will be judged,  identified, and labelled by the one stupid thing you might say or do! This happens in church-world all the time! Who among us would like our tombstone epitaph to be based on the judgment of the stupidest thing we ever said or did in our lives? Not me. Besides, there would be too much competition for top billing on my tombstone.

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Is Your God a Magician or a Trainer?

I have found that Magictrainermany Christians, especially those who come from a broadly defined charismatic background (like myself), can easily fall into a very unhealthy view of God. It is almost like He becomes a heavenly magician who exists to work for lazy and undisciplined believers, rather than a loving Father who empowers and trains us. We expect God to do things for us supernaturally and  “cathartically.” What He often intends, and designs, is a process of development in which He awakens and trains us to recognize the life-potential of the gift of the indwelling Spirit of Christ.

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Obedience: God’s Gift to Us, Not Our Gift to God

Beehive_geyserThe advice Job’s friends gave him typifies quid pro quo thinking: if you do well, you prosper; if you do evil, you suffer. If you are faithful to God and follow His precepts, only blessing follows; if you don’t follow His precepts, you are cursed—bad things happen to you. It is important to note that God personally appeared to rebuke Job’s counselors for thinking that way. Unfortunately, that is the way most teachers and preachers  (especially televangelists) present the gospel and the way most believers live it. It shows a deep lack of understanding of the realities or the new covenant.

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Hurt in Church? Get Past Your Past – Jesus Heals

SPiritual Abuse - How to Overcome It

Overcoming Spiritual Abuse

Folks with unhealed emotional damage from “church-world,'” will always view with suspicion the deep, healthy, and fulfilling mutual kingdom relationships others have one with another. They will see ill-motive, agenda, and dysfunction where none truly exists. They can’t get past their past. They assume that the present reality of others is the same as their past reality. It is unfortunate.

Perfectionistic, rationalistic, suspicious, skeptical, unbelief is not “discernment.” It is normally just people who have been badly hurt, trying to protect themselves from being hurt again, which is understandable, naturally speaking. Folks need space to process healing. Step-by step. You can’t rush someone past the stage of healing the Spirit is taking them through. But that does assume engagement in a process of healing, not bonding and forming an identity with one’s woundedness and eternally commiserating with those folks who are determined to not be healed.

If unhealed, that kind of person will end up in a church of one: themselves. Because, no one will ever be “right enough,” or no one “safe enough,” or no one “worthy enough” or “whole enough” for he/she to relationally invest in-LONG TERM. They will constantly separate, go from group to group, trying to find perfection only to live in cycles of chronic, reactionary, disappointment. Love involves risk, and risk involves the possibility of pain. Closed hearts cannot know love. Jesus is ready, willing, and able to do better than what we can do for ourselves by locking our selves down in a prison house of judgmental, isolationist, skepticism and calling it “safety” and “freedom from religion.” The only one we are fooling is ourselves.

God knows the unique circumstances of each of His children. There is no one-size-fits all “path” to healing. But healing is the prescription for us all.

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Copyright 2014,  Dr. Stephen R. Crosby, www.stevecrosby.org. Permission is granted to copy, forward, or distribute this article for non-commercial use only, as long as this copyright byline, in totality, is maintained in all duplications, copies, and link references.  For reprint permission for any commercial use, in any form of media, please contact stephrcrosby@gmail.com.

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“Dysfunction Junction” – Has No Unction!

beijingtibetGod is magnificently redemptive. None of us would have any hope if that were not the case. Yet we must not confuse His redemption for His approval. Many people abiding in or gathered in dysfunction, is not the kingdom Jesus died for. Our redemption includes the healing/reconfiguration of Adamic brokenness, not the normalization of it “under grace.”

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New Covenant Grace: 'Grace Does Not Need to be "Balanced"'

New covenant grace doesn’t need to be “balanced.”  There is no alternative to grace.

Grace Does Not Need to Be Balanced

Grace Does Not Need to Be Balanced

Have you ever noticed that for many, suffocating bondage and death producing legalism is tolerated, encouraged, and even celebrated?  Yet when grace is mentioned, people go apoplectic with warnings about “going too far,” the “dangers” of the “grace message,” or the “need for balance,” and so forth. Why the dire warnings about supposed “hyper-grace” but no equal alarm about “hyper-legalism?”

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Love Pirates!: 'Agape versus Eros'

Flying the Jolly roger of eros

Love Pirates

The following is an excerpt from our upcoming book: Money and the Church: A Better Way to Live and Give.

Greek is a far more precise language than English.  In English, love is a very obtuse term. I can love my wife, hot dogs, and my car. I hope there would be a difference, but our language doesn’t help the distinction!

In Greek there are four words commonly used for love: agape, phileo, eros and storge.   Eros refers to any love that is self-centered, not just the familiar sexual aspect. Eros is often quite clean and respectable. It presents itself as something that it’s not. Any love that under the surface has self-satisfaction and self-gratification as its motive is erotic. The Greek symbol for eros was a snake swallowing its own tail, consuming itself. Eros can be deeply set in the ethics of many faith communities.

We can believe we are ambassadors for the love of God, when in reality we are spiritual pirates. We run up the flag of love for others, but when people get close to us, they discover the Jolly Roger of eros:

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Equipper’s Survival Guide

PressureSpiritual abuse is like finding a coin in your backyard. There are two sides to it, and they are both dirty.

I certainly have no time for ambitious, authority-addled manipulators who use and abuse the ekklesia in the name of God to satisfy their own need for greatness: pimping the saints for their own needs, milking them of their time, talent, and treasure for ego-validating dreams and plans.

Yet, there are also thousands of humble, self-sacrificing, and faithful men and women who tirelessly serve the ekklesia in love, who struggle to keep their sanity as they face the onslaughts of the adversary, their own brokenness, and alas, miserable treatment by the ones they serve: being pimped for other’s needs and being told it is “serving the body.” Sacrifice for others? Yes. Pimping? No.

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What Does “Kingdom Government” Look Like?

Key to my heartKingdom government is not about authority and ruling. It is about restoring and replicating in humanity, the love the Father and Son have for, and in, each other. Where love is perfected, authority is not necessary. There is no hierarchy, government or “ruling over” in the Trinity. Just shared, interpenetrating, eternal, self-sacrificial love!

Do a word study some time on the “God is” statements of scripture. You will find things like: God is love, God is righteous, God is true, etc. What will be conspicuously absent is: “God is authority.” Why?

Where love is perfected, there is nothing to “rule!”

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