(Description: People are bowing at the feet of a proud pastor and one says, "Dear Pastor, we know you would never hurt us!")
Have you seen a pastor absolutely adored?
I’ve not only seen them but been under their ministries.
I consider it potential for the subtlest of spiritual abuse.
The endgame of abuse is control. They do whatever it takes to force you to comply to their wishes and expectations.
Since the church should frown upon sexual, physical, and verbal abuse, it resorts to less obvious methods more difficult to discern or challenge.
I’ve seen pastors cultivate adoration from their people so that the people love them so much they would never dream of disappointing them. They trust them totally.
The pastors employ ideas that stress the untouchability of God’s anointed, the unchallengeable nature of spiritual leadership, and the unquestionable trust that’s to be placed in pastors whom God has appointed to the church.
“That sounds like a cult!” you say.
Yes, these are cult-like qualities that are legal and even normalized not only in the church but everywhere, including business and politics.
Before leaping to the common assumption and accusation that this only happens to the stupid and gullible, I want to defend that I’m an intelligent person, and the many people I know who’ve found themselves in such situations are also intelligent, well-adjusted people.
We don’t blame ourselves for wanting something we need: community.
So, what happens?
I claim, in a nutshell, this: good people plus a narcissistic leader, all who want community, morph into a toxic blend of systemic evil where everyone eventually loses themselves for the sake of that community, and the leader becomes the locus of its fulfillment.
A leader, some people, and an idea like “community”. That’s all it takes. And it can happen any time to anyone.