How Some Church Leaders Get Away With Abuse

"Just the Messenger" cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

“Just the Messenger” cartoon by nakedpastor David Hayward

I read an interesting article on the brilliance of the rhetorical devices that Trump uses. The one that interested me the most is called “paralipsis”, where the speaker or writer brings up a subject by denying it or accrediting it to someone else.

I’ve been listening to Trump and his interviews, and he absolutely does use it. A lot! For example, when he’s accused of Tweeting something untrue about someone, he says something like, “I didn’t say it. I just retweeted it. I found it interesting and just retweeted it. I didn’t say it!” Or when he suggested that Mrs. Kahn wasn’t allowed to speak and said that a lot of people were saying it. Or when he connected Cruz’s father with Harvey Lee Oswald by just relating that he saw it on the cover of The National Enquirer. He didn’t say it, but he did say it. Brilliant!

There are parallels, I claim, with church authority. You would be hard pressed to find any pastor in the world who would admit to being abusive. Most pastors function under levels of authority, including their God, the Bible, the Church, and the authority structure or power position of “pastor”, as in “the pastoral office”.

I’ve actually seen it in operation where pastors, when accused of abuse, deflect attention to these authorities they minister under. They’re not doing it. It’s God working through them. It’s the Bible directing them. It’s the Church commissioning them. It’s the demands of the office of pastor.

It looks like this: “I’m not telling you you’re going to burn in Hell forever for being gay. That’s what God teaches in the Bible!” Or, “I’m not saying you’re struggling financially because you don’t tithe. That’s just God’s law.” Or, “It’s not me who’s excommunicating you from the church because of your sin. This is what the Bible teaches and what the office of pastor requires.”

So even though the pastor is abusing you, he doesn’t think he is.

But he is.

How many of us you have been victims of this tactic?

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2 Responses

  1. Caryn LeMur says:

    Good insight! Good parallel reasoning (from that candidate to pastors in general).

    I came to believe that so long as pastors/leaders do not understand ‘The Law of Christ’ (to come alongside of someone), that they will continue to think they are just the instrument, and not responsible for the evil they do.

    Argue. Say ‘the word of God is salt and stings!’. Say those things about avoiding, isolating, and excommunicating. Bully the other religions.

    The church is known for its doctrine and the enforcement thereof.

    They are so seldom known for being like Jesus.

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