Friday, June 12, 2009

People Who Leave Church - A New Study by Joel Black (and My Comment)

by Joel Black
(and my comment)

OK, so here is the post I talked about here.  [Angie's readers, see Blogpost (A) below.]  Church EXITers!  Dr. Barb Orlowski has recenty finished research on people who leave church.  Her work was done in British Columbia, Canada and you can read all about it here.  [Angie's readers, see Website (B) address below.]

It is no secret anymore that people are quitting church by the droves.   A simple cursory overview of recent headlines attest to this fact.  So, when I come across new research that helps us to look more deeply into the issue I am eager to see what conclusions are drawn as to how to address the issue.

While many people leave the church because they have felt there is something more to following Jesus than what they find in a local church setting, this particular study deals with people who have left church because of spiritual abuse.

(My comment:)

Angie B. Prince, M.Ed., Sr. L.P.E. says


I am a Christian psychotherapist who has researched the literature to help folks who are having to deal with the aftermaths of spiritual abuse. You might mention to Barb, and your readers might like to know there is an excellent book in helping victims of spiritual abuse to process some of their betrayal and understanding of what happened to them and the role of each person involved in the abuse including those in authority who should have brought accountability to bear.

The book is Toxic Faith by Stephen Arterburn, first printed in 1991 and again printed in 2001. Toxic Faith dissects the whole sick system of the church in which such abuse is perpetrated even down to the role of the healthy members that try to bring accountability to bear but then are treated by the unhealthy “perpetrator,” “co-conspirators,” and “enablers” as “outcasts” as if they themselves are the sick ones.

Also, there is a psychologist whom I greatly respect who works with abused parishioner(s) as well as the perpetrator(s) and the denominational leadership of the sick church system to begin to treat all of the brokenness rampant in such sick systems. Her name is Diane Langberg, Ph.D. Diane is a psychologist with over 25 years experience, counseling in private practice in the Philadelphia suburbs. She is also the current chair of the executive board of the American Association of Christian Counselors (AACC) headed up by Tim Clinton (president); AACC has a membership of over 50,000 members. Diane gave an excellent talk (which is available by CD through AACC) that explains the dynamics of many of our churches and the nature of their structure (hierarchies, expectations, etc.) that sets the pastor up for disaster. She also is engaged in speaking and lecturing on the realities of life in the ministry.

Thank you for printing this post Joel.

May God heal His abused lambs and cleanse the churches of “her officials within her (who) are like wolves tearing their prey.” (Ezekiel 22:27)

May God bless you,


Dear Readers of my blog,

There are many kinds of grief-- grief over the death of your child is the grief I mostly discuss on this blog.  But today, I came across an article about another kind of grief that I know is devastating to its victims, and that is grief from spiritual abuse within the church.  When a person in a position of authority (e.g., a boss, an attorney, a police officer, etc.) abuses a person , it is painful, but when the abuse is from a person in a position of authority who is also God's representative to you, such as a priest, or a pastor, it is painful, spiritually confusing, and potentially devastating.  So I wanted to include my response to this article in tonight's post so that if any of you are struggling with such grief, you would know of potential resources that may be of some help to you.


B) LinkedIn for Diane Langberg, Ph.D.


No comments:

Post a Comment