Tuesday, April 3, 2012

Does Scripture Address the Star Chamber Itself?

I believe that it does. Consider also the Scriptures that discuss Spiritual Abuse as well.

As previously stated repeatedly at this point, I think that the greatest disadvantage that people have when walking into these meetings involves a naïve and very optimistic view which lends itself to some unrealistic expectations. I also understand, on the other hand, how they are needful for some people who believe that they have a duty to say certain things directly to their ministers, and I respect that. In fact, I've done it myself on many occasions. Sometimes such meetings seem needful because they serve as the moment of realization that the group is truly abusive, emotionally and spiritually.

I hope that the information on my blog will help you realize what I did not and will help you to anticipate what you will be facing. I didn't have much of that, and though my own resolve protected me, I remained dreadfully unprepared for some of it, particularly the curses of demise which I found to be very harmful. I didn't believe them, but because of the nature of the relationship and because I was habituated to trusting these men, I found the experience to be deeply troubling. I wish that I had prior knowledge about what to expect. I had none of that in terms of the specific curses of harm that they claimed would befall me and my family for leaving against their wishes.

But if you have some idea about what your leaders are capable, and if you have the opportunity to prepare, don't walk into those meetings “flat footed.” Love hopes and believes all good things, and love believes in the and expects the best about others, innocent as a dove. But as Matthew Chapter 10 relates, I believe that the wisdom of a serpent is called for. In fact, in that chapter, we have a description of a believer who does go before a council for evaluation, much like the star chamber experience. In fact, that particular chapter in concert with Romans Chapter 14 gave me the full liberty to leave. (Nothing about attending there anymore felt anything like righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit! It suddenly all became legalism.)

“Now whatever city or town you enter, inquire who in it is worthy, and stay there till you go out. And when you go into a household, greet it.  If the household is worthy, let your peace come upon it. But if it is not worthy, let your peace return to you.  And whoever will not receive you nor hear your words, when you depart from that house or city, shake off the dust from your feet.  Assuredly, I say to you, it will be more tolerable for the land of Sodom and Gomorrah in the day of judgment than for that city!  
“Behold, I send you out as sheep in the midst of wolves. Therefore be wise as serpents and harmless as doves.  But beware of men, for they will deliver you up to councils and scourge you in their synagogues.  You will be brought before governors and kings for My sake, as a testimony to them and to the Gentiles.  But when they deliver you up, do not worry about how or what you should speak. For it will be given to you in that hour what you should speak;  for it is not you who speak, but the Spirit of your Father who speaks in you.

I know and am convinced by the Lord Jesus that there is nothing unclean of itself; but to him who considers anything to be unclean, to him it is unclean. Yet if your brother is grieved because of your food, you are no longer walking in love. Do not destroy with your food the one for whom Christ died. Therefore do not let your good be spoken of as evil; for the kingdom of God is not eating and drinking, but righteousness and peace and joy in the Holy Spirit.  For he who serves Christ in these things is acceptable to God and approved by men.

I've stated previously that my husband felt that he had not duty to tell our pastor that we were leaving the church, nor did he feel obligated to confront them about their spiritually abusive practices. To a great extent, I made my concerns known directly to the pastor informally, and on one occasion near the end of our time there, I wrote a formal letter. I was then called to a mini-star chamber with only the pastor and a couple of elders – not the full complement of them.

Though I wish I had prior knowledge about thought reform and the extent of their submission doctrinewhich I really did not fully understand until later, I did take these specific verses into consideration during my last year at the church. Given the abuse that others in the church were faced with and the leadership's toleration of this abuse, the Matthew 10 passage became increasingly relevant. If I had any prior doubts, when they stopped serving red grape juice for communion and switched to white to preserve the new carpet, in addition to the toleration of wife beating and confinement, found it completely applicable. (I was apparently the very first of many who would later ask to have the practice reversed, and I heard that they went back to Welch's red.)

Depending at what point you are in the process of the spiritual abuse mill, every Scripture concerning the Pharisee applies. In fact, I believe it behooves everyone to be familiar with all of the verses that deal with spiritual abuse. Read them here.

More to come about the proper use and the unfortunate abuse
of Matthew, Chapter 18.