As I stated in the last post, I am completely convinced that evangelical orthodoxy is really very cult-like. It has many of the characteristics of a cult and most people involved in it are brainwashed by the group. It has additional force because those who are in this situation are convinced that God is the one in charge. That could not be further from the truth. The truth is that humans, many times humans with a thirst for power are in charge. Even though many are sincere and actually believe that they are doing God a service it is no less sinister. It breaks my heart that there are so many individuals who love God and want to please at all cost; that are totally burned out, steeped in fear, and on a metaphorical treadmill striving endlessly to please, but always falling short of any real rest and assurance. It is to those individuals that I have dedicated my use of this blog.
Recovery is not easy because of how deeply ingrained the brain washing is within in their psyche. It will take a lot of effort to journey out of the cult mentality to the freedom that Jesus provides each and every one. Mostly, it will be a process of re-education… that is… learning afresh the great truths of the gospel. I really think that it is truly worth the effort and to this end I will present an overview of the twelve steps to true recovery. Over time I will present each one in greater depth.
Twelve steps to recovery from evangelical bondage:
- Recognize and admit that there is a problem. Admit that you are burned out and totally dissatisfied striving to please God when you know down deep in your heart that the reality is you are on a treadmill striving to please some human… it may be a pastor, a family member or a group… but it is sucking the life and love out of you, and at some level you know I am right.
- Begin to look at the scripture with fresh eyes. Realize that it is not a legal constitutional document that explains the way for you to escape eternal punishment and alienation from God, and begin to see it as the story of redemption… a story that assures and demonstrates God’s great love for you, and the lengths he is willing to go to prove that to you. In other words, see it as Jesus saw it and not like the Pharisees.
- Realize that the word of God is the gospel, and Jesus the living gospel, and that the scripture is the inspired words of God, God’s inspired story, but not in and of itself God’s Word.
- Understand and internalize that you cannot out sin grace no matter what.
- Begin to rid yourself of your shame and guilt… in other words, begin to forgive yourself, and realize that up until this point you have been your own worst enemy; your own worst critic.
- Reaffirm daily your belief in God’s unconditional love for you, and allow his unconditional love for you to foster an incredible love for him, realizing that he wants you to project that love to others in genuine ways.
- Realize beyond doubt that no matter what may come or be you are always in God’s presence. This is whether or not you feel it. It is not dependent on your feelings, but rather it is totally dependent on his promise. God is with you always.
- Understand that the Holy Spirit will only speak to you things that bring the fruit of the Spirit… that is… things that promote love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, gentleness, goodness and self-control. If it does not produce the fruit of the Spirit it is NOT from the Spirit.
- Believe that Hebrews 10:25 does not mean that you should be in a church service each time the door is open, and further *you must believe* that the sole reason for assembly is to encourage one another in the gospel and tend to one another’s needs.
- Stop trying to please people… do not allow others to judge you in anything and quit trying to be someone else’s judge.
- When possible seek out others who have believed this way and fellowship with them for encouragement.
- Allow God’s love, demonstrated in Christ Jesus’ death, burial and resurrection to produce in you a supernatural love for God that will begin to transform you into a being of love… and begin to pass love, joy, peace, gentleness, meekness, goodness and self-control on to others.
As the weeks go on I will be developing a forum to allow these steps to be worked out. If you have questions or suggestions let me know. Feel free to contact me at email@example.com