Canon Fodder

The problem with this misconception, however, is the way it frames the issue. It is suggestive that our default position should be a posture of suspicion toward the victims—as if the norm is that people lie about their pastors and the accuser is probably yet another person who just hates the church.

“In my research for my forthcoming book, [Bully Pulpit: Confronting the Problem of Spiritual Abuse in the Church (Zondervan, 2022)] I was a bit surprised to discover how many people think that the harm caused by spiritual abuse is a distant second (or even third) to other kinds of abuse (whether physical or sexual). “Indeed, […]

“We come now to #3 in the series: “Spiritual abuse is not in the Bible or church history—it’s just a modern psychological construct.” “A number of folks may balk at the idea of spiritual abuse solely on the grounds that the terminology itself is relatively modern. If it does not appear in the Bible (or […]

Across the board, folks regularly expressed the idea that authoritarian, domineering pastors must be linked to a church polity that is either non-existent or underdeveloped. Thus, independent churches, it is thought, must be the prime breeding ground for bully pastors. But the reality on the ground doesn’t bear this out.

When it comes to the issue of abuse, it’s been a rough stretch for the church. While we might hope for the church to respond like Nehemiah (Neh 1:6-7), strangely, there’s also been another reaction afoot.

The great nineteenth century Baptist preacher, C.H. Spurgeon, once confessed: “On a sudden, the thought crossed my mind—which I abhorred but could not conquer—that there was no God, no Christ, no heaven, no hell, and that all my prayers were but a farce, and that I might as well have whistled to the winds or spoken to the howling waves.”

If you asked the average Christian to define legalism, the answers may not come so quickly. What exactly counts as legalism? How do we know it when we see it? The confusion is exacerbated by the fact that the term can be used in different ways. People can use the same word but infuse it with very different meanings.

“Since we live in a culture that is obsessed with gender identity and gender issues, it is not surprising to find Christianity on the receiving end of serious criticisms regarding its view of women. Christianity–particularly if it embraces a complementarian theology–is viewed by many in our culture as oppressive and harmful to women. It does […]

“So, what do we make of the fact that early Christianity was mocked for being pro-women? Well, it certainly turns the tables on the over-used criticism in the modern world that early Christianity was a patriarchal, misogynistic religion that was hostile to women. While that claim is repeated over and over, it is hard to […]