Saturday, May 3, 2008

First Documented Occurance of Thought Reform, "Loaded Language" and Spiritual Abuse

On the “thatmom” website under the May 2, 2008 Podcast (#3 of 5 on Spiritual Abuse), someone wrote:
I am going to have to process this deeply. I have really gotten convicted about the loaded language and how much I have allowed it to define the debate.”

This followed a comment where the same dear sister of mine wrote
Cindy, I would love to see you expand upon the use of words to redefine people’s beliefs. This is becoming more and more clear to me. I can see how just using the word ‘feminists’ redefines the conversation. All of a sudden one feels compelled to prove they are not a feminists and before they know it, they have aligned themselves with their views.”

Of course, this follows from the patriocentric teachings that those women who do not agree with all of their teachings are, in fact, feminists or “white washed feminists” who reject their concepts of “Biblical teachings regarding gender.” It is my contention that these teachings are taken out of context and mixed with both social and pagan concepts about gender and family, even though the “Biblical patriarchy” package claims to be entirely and expressly Biblical.

I thought I would offer my response on that blog here also, offering a description of the very first documented occurrence of thought reform…


I think also about the speech of the serpent in Eden as well. James says that temptation draws us away through lust and enticement, and I think that as God’s creatures, we also lust after lovely words and language. What is a very obvious thing that sets us apart from animals? We speak with our mouths in complex and beautiful tones and complex words, just like God did when he formed the earth from nothing. We are creative beings, and we pursue that, painting with words like a painter creating a masterpiece, like our Creator did when He spoke something beyond our comprehension with His Word and His Power from nothing. That is truly something to stand in awe over, especially considering that we will give an account for every idle word of our own. Not to say that I’m advocating some weird, metaphysical nonsense or anything, but I think there is power in words that represents spiritual power. I mean, Jesus is called the Word, is He not? I think that we run roughshod over the whole marvelous gift that we’ve been given to articulate our ideas and communicate. If it were not a powerful thing, why the Tower of Babel and the events that followed?

So consider the events of original sin and the idea that “Loading the Language” was part of the temptation and the “drawing away” of Adam and Eve “by their own lusts and enticed.” Genesis 3:1 says that the serpent was more cunning than all the other animals, and Matthew 10 says that we should be as wise as the serpent. So the aspect of cunning/crafty/clever/(Amplified Bible: subtle and crafty). It takes subtle cleverness to draw us away. That is what this process of spiritual abuse is all about – catching you off your guard. So without going any further into the Scriptures, what can we say then? Jesus Himself called Christians to be as subtly crafty and cunning as the serpent was in the Garden of Eden – who SPOKE. Ecclesiastes and Proverbs likens the tongue and bite of a serpent to words. I really took this to heart a few years ago, and I studied the behavior of snakes with an old professor (PhD physiologist) of mine who used to have some as pets. I also visited some pet stores with very friendly snake keepers. In one of the Minreth Meyer books on recovery from the late ‘80s/early 90’s, they talk about this as well. Observe the snake’s craftiness. I actually spent several months in informal study with a PhD physiologist professor, learning about snake behavior because I only ever wanted to be like the innocent dove.

What does the serpent say and do? “Can it REALLY be that God has said…?” God told Eve and Eve understood that touching it and eating of the tree meant that she would die. “Lest ye die.” The serpent twists that and says “You shall NOT SURELY die.” It is the direct opposite of what God has said with “SURELY” thrown in there. (At this point I think of how “non-normative” is used. It is understood connotatively and emotionally to be sin, yet those who overuse it so extensively can deny that they have used the word as sin as they have not SURELY said it meant sin.)

Then the snake confabulates a story that cannot be SURELY derived from what God has absolutely and definitively said to Eve. All we know is that touching and eating of the tree brings death. What kind of death and to what extent that death is, we know not and can only take God at His direct and clear statement. So the serpent is starting to paint God out to be a deceiver and one who is holding back information from his creation. Was God being deceptive or protective or anything else from what the Word tells us at this point? No. All we know is what He said directly. The rest is pointless conjecture and subtle craftiness. My condensed version of the next serpent statement: “Your eyes will be opened, you will be like God, knowing the difference from good and evil and from blessing and calamity.”

The serpent painted a false dichotomy. What was he saying? “God is holding out on you and He’s keeping you in the dark. He’s hiding information from you that will help you transcend your current state, holding back your ‘personal growth.’ I know something that you don’t because I have special, inside knowledge about this situation, and here’s how you can transcend this predicament. You’re a smart person and any smart person would want to be able to see the blatant difference between good and evil because, though you might think you are being blessed right now, you may actually be suffering calamity.” Consider also how the fruit itself looked, something to which the snake drew her attention: it was good/suitable/pleasant for food (pragmatism). It was delightful to look at (lust of the eyes). It had the potential to make one wise (something God desires us to love and pursue). Based on what the serpent said, it made good sense to her as she was drawn away from God’s plain and clear communication by what? First, through twisted words. Second, by her human need for food. Eve tells God that the serpent beguiled/cheated/outwitted/deceived her. And then the serpent is said to one day bruise the heel of Jesus and, later, is said to bite the heels of horses.

So our very first example of loaded language comes from the serpent. He put on a sales presentation. He made the product sound like it would solve all the problems of the buyer who bought not only a fruit but an ideology that appealed to her human need for food (a very motivating factor for a person who feels hunger), her desire to grow in knowledge and wisdom (a worthy and righteous pursuit of a creature with a dynamic mind made in God’s likeness), her appreciation for beauty (something God clearly advocates) and her nature (after God’s image) to be safe and dutiful by making sound decisions. She was sold a lie, and the serpent took advantage of her best and highest and most admirable qualities that were created and fashioned after God’s own image. Her goodness was exploited, something that Jesus would finally condemn in His own flesh (Rom 8). How is this any different from the sale of any other thing wherein we are given a “presentation” of a product, particularly in this day and age of postmodern advertising.

How is this different from some of these homeschooling paradigms? “We have a product to sell to you, be it a book or a curriculum or hand grenades (see VF) or dolls or frocks or our Family First edition of the Bible with family oriented study helps. But what are you buying with your buck and what can I do to make you deeply satisfied with your choice so that you will want to come back and buy more? Ah. I will show you how my homeschooling oriented product meets a very basic and vitally important need for you. I will show you how beautiful my product is. I will show you how my product will help you grow in knowledge and wisdom so that you can be more godly and know better that you could possibly know on your own. (See I know more about these things than you do, as what God has clearly and directly said, AND for whatever reason – be it my beauty or seemingly knowledgeable position of authority on this subject – I know things that you are unable to elucidate with my special wisdom. What God has given you plainly is inadequate for you to do the BEST job. And you are made in God’s image, so you like to be safe, dutiful and make sound decisions. Those who are safe, dutiful and make sound decisions buy my product. Let me help you meet your own goals and your own needs.”

This stuff has been around since Eden. The sheepskins might change, but the foot prints and the bite marks all look the same. Satan has been selling things the same way he always has – by a multi-faceted assault on our human needs, our gifts, our strengths and our weaknesses all at once. It’s just sorely disappointing that Satan can deceive the elect and those who believe they are elect into doing his dirty work for him. Pray that those who do will wake up before it is too late for them to repent. Forget the fire of hell – what of the burning, awesome undoing of the present holiness of God before His Holy Throne? That’s more to be feared than is hellfire.

All we really need is to know exactly what God said through diligent study and stick to that in obedience. We are all taught twists on things as a consequence of growing up from young babes without giving ear to the seeming wisdom of men that is not clearly and obviously and simply written in the Word which we know is sufficient. But does that not come to all who seek the Truth of the Word of God at some point? My life has been typified by deep questions of meaning and what God’s will and intent has been from the first. I even sought theophanies and lusted after truth. I LUSTED for truth because I’d been taught to believe lies.

We need to be masters of our own lusts through the help of the Holy Spirit, a guide and helper that Eve didn’t have in the way that we have as believers. We need to learn how to think, to consider what the serpent says and bring it under the authority of the Word of God, something Eve did not know how to do, yet we are now sufficiently prepared through the Wisdom of the Word, the guidance of the Holy Spirit and new life in Christ that has liberated us from the law’s curse and written the law on our very hearts through the Spirit’s miracle. We need to celebrate beauty that glorifies God and not just the things that man finds significant. We need to guard our hearts, our minds and our actions, and if we feel and recognize and identify that one of these elements is being pulled off course in a way that is not clear and plain from the Word of God, we need to respond by repenting and turning back to the clear, simple terms of Scripture, not what men tell us that certain, isolated Scriptures mean. We need to resist their outward appearances and the beauty of the fruit and the messenger and listen to the heart of the message in the light of the Word. We need to resist following the crowd without soberly considering what the crowd does and why. We need to insist on seeing the product before we trust the package, based only on the outward appearance or the “lovely family” photo on the box. The church today has a strong lust of the eyes, and we need to have the wisdom that is greater than the serpent’s to know exactly what that means and what it means in EVERY venue, especially in religious ones. We need to be very aware of the lusts of our flesh – in the form of making our job easier, as some jobs, per God’s own declaration, are hard no matter what. We need to know exactly what that lust of the flesh means in every area of our lives with wisdom that exceeds that of the serpent. And we need to have wisdom exceeding the serpent and leviathan concerning the pride of life. There is no shortcut. There is no fast-track route through fear, trembling and mortification, and we have an opportunity to do this whenever we entertain any “sales” proposition, especially those that are packaged as “teachings.”