Here you will find actual accounts of church leadership abuse and authoritarianism as submitted to us by our readers. (The most recent ones appear at the top.)
- Opening the Lockbox: On Breaking the Code of Silence by Kristen DeVoe
- Why We Left California by Steve Duplantis
- The Death of the "Goofy" Church by James Robert Kessler
- My Own Story by Gary Parsons
- The Journey Out by Mrs. John Austin
- My Faithful HERITAGE (Part 1) by Daniel Banks
- My Faithful HERITAGE (Part 2) by Daniel Banks
- Defence Against Power Abuse in God's Church (Part 1) by J and J Maring
- Defence Against Power Abuse in God's Church (Part 2) by J and J Maring
- Defence Against Power Abuse in God's Church (Part 3) by J and J Maring
- How Could This Happen in the PCA? (Part 1) by David Eyre
- How Could This Happen in the PCA? (Part 2) by David Eyre
- A Family Divided (Part 1) by M.J. McFalls
- A Family Divided (Part 2) by M.J. McFalls
- Leading or Lording? by Alan Allison
- My Story of Being a Battered Sheep by Mary McAllister
- Don't Depart from the Traditions of the Elders by Peter Chang
- My Experience with Jubilee Church by Brandan Kraft
- Futile Fellowship: A First Hand Account by Raymond Walker
- Cast Down, But Not Destroyed by Marriane Wright
- An Encounter With Authoritarianism by Paul Sue
- By His Grace, For His Glory by Paul Sue
- Leaving the HURT Behind by Bernhard Richards
- A Modern-Day Spirit of Diotrephes by Allan Mack
- Why I Left Our Way Church by Allan Mack
Paul's conversations were rich in stories. These stories characterized the gathering. The believers came together around Christ and his story. They also came with their own. They came to (re)connect their own stories to his, and to each others'. That was the gathering. They taught, prophesied, shared, ate, sang, and prayed their stories--their lives--together around Christ. The Spirit made the conversation possible. All the people shared the Spirit through whom they met God and one another face-to-face. They urged one another in conversation to grow into the full measure of their freedom and dignity.
New conversation requires bringing things to the light. It requires discussing the undiscussible. Conventions of status and control inevitably arise wherever a human system incorporates norms and expectations of authority, order and rectitude. Likewise, pride, insecurity and fear are always close at hand.
What kinds of new conversation do I envisage? ... At its heart are people wrestling with the Spirit and one another to know the truth, grace and freedom of Christ in all the particulars of who they are and what fills their lives. I think of them as grace-ful conversations. Conversations marked by grace. Conversations full of grace. Conversations that bring grace.
Mark Strom, Reframing Paul: Conversations in Grace & Community [IVP, 2000], p. 18, 19.
They sat there for a while, saying nothing. Then they said something I will never forget. They said it didn't matter what I said, there would be no deal. Because the Lord had shown them that I was a rebel, and they couldn't risk my being brought before a meeting of my peers lest I incite them to rebellion too. The only thing, they said, the Lord would have them do with a rebel like me was to excommunicate me. So they did--right there, right then--in the restaurant at the airport.
Dave Andrews, Christi-Anarchy, p. 21.
Note: Due to the sensitive subject matter being discussed, the names of certain authors and people involved have been changed to protect their identity. However, this does not diminish the serious nature of the adverse effects of authoritarianism in today's churches which have destroyed many relationships and tainted many lives. These stories serve only to highlight what can go wrong when authoritarianism runs amok, uncontrolled and without accountability. Its express purpose is to generate discussion, not to tear down people.