Comments: Opinion - 7 February 2018

Excellent article by Andrew Lightbown on spiritual language and spiritual abuse.

I think some forms of spiritual abuse - particularly perhaps those which claim to speak directly for God - amount to a violation of the commandment 'thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain'. This is usually understood to forbid blasphemy, swearing and cursing. I'm no Hebrew scholar, but I have read, and I understand it to mean, that we should not claim that words or activities of ours are done in God's name when they are not.

In that context, I think Andrew is right to question the use of phrases like 'prayerful consideration' as a blind for our own fear, suspicion, cowardice, or prejudice. And we all do it - the Church abounds with such phrases and we use them glibly.

Andrew, thanks for the reminder.

Posted by Janet Fife at Wednesday, 7 February 2018 at 1:02pm GMT

Let me join Janet in expressing thanks to Andrew Lightbown for his discussion of "spiritual abuse". He has put into excellent words a disquiet I experienced as I read the critique offered by the Evangelical Alliance and others.
On the earlier thread on the subject of the case in Oxford, I was one who appreciated the finding that spiritual abuse had occurred, and that sanctions were appropriate.
Findings of this sort are likely to be pretty rare, in part because of the very difficulty of defining the term. But that did not prevent the committee in question coming up with a clear finding in such an egregious example.
And of course, I also agree with Andrew about "prayerful consideration".

Posted by Edward Prebble at Wednesday, 7 February 2018 at 8:10pm GMT
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