The church is probably the best place to successfully hide abuses...not only because many people can't believe that abuse could ever happen there (especially their own church), but because when we do something in the name of God...especially when there is enough truth added...people listen and submit.
It starts slowly, undetected. It could start with almost any doctrine...and then slowly it begins to distort that doctrine and then spreads like leaven in a lump of dough. Then it ultimately tears at the pure message of the Gospel.
The biggest hold SA (spiritual abuse) has is that people have not been grounded in even the basic truths of the gospel. For instance, if someone asked you if you like or have ever seen Foyo Persimmons before...and you answer that you've never had one before and don't even know what they look like. They got ya!! Because it would be pretty easy to fo-yo now, wouldn't it?
They could fool you fairly easily. They could tell you about anything if enough of it sounded like the truth...or is mixed with truth. So, they go on and tell you that they only grow in China during the winter months so it is hard to find them at any stores around you. They could make jams and pies out of something else and tell you they were Foyo jams and pies...and you would probably believe anything about them UNLESS you decided to get to know Foyo Persimmons for yourself.
So you go out and find some, eat them, learn about them and make some desserts from them...and learn that almost everything they said was false. But you would have never known it unless you found out the complete truth for yourself. (I hope you do, they are yummy when still crunchy!)
Eph. 5: 15 See then that you walk circumspectly, not as fools, but as wise,
Circumspectly: taking into consideration all possible circumstances and consequences before acting. Looking at all possible angles and perspectives. (Not just believing because it sounds good.)
So, what are the very basics of the gospel?? The word 'gospel' means Good News. Many people are preaching vehemently against sin...especially certain sins...with those sinners and their sins spread across a marque - while loudly lamenting how our country is going to hell for allowing these sins to go on...and call it the gospel. But I dare say that it is not.
Why is it not? Because Jesus was and is not fragmented. Meaning He is not going to say that He did not come to condemn the world, then turn around in another instance and act towards sinners as tho that is exactly why He came! His intents and His congruent actions were always directed at seeking people out for the purpose of showing God's profound love and salvation. Period. This IS why it was called the 'Good News'...because it WAS and is good news!
Luke 19:10 Indeed, the Son of Man has come to seek and to save people
who are lost."
John 3:17 For God did
not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world
This is also why His ministry included confronting the spiritual abusers of the day - the Pharisees, to name one group. They worked hard at promoting themselves and making God appear to be a burdensome God that is very hard to please.