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Short Talk

Resisting Spiritually Abusive Leadership: When Is Leadership Spiritually Abusive?


In the past couple of years, the evangelical church has tragically been engulfed by a number of appalling leadership scandals. These have included Bill Hybels, Mark Driscoll and Ravi Zacharias in the USA, and John Smyth, Jonathan Fletcher and Steve Timmis in the UK. Some of these scandals have included physical and sexual abuse, whereas others have been concerned with the misuse of power and authority in leadership. More and more victims of such ‘spiritual abuse’ are coming forwards, and there is an urgent need to revaluate leadership models that might facilitate such abuse. This talk examines the rapidly developing discourse on ‘spiritual abuse’ in churches. We consider what spiritual abuse is, why it happens, how we can guard against it, and how we care for victims who have experienced it. This helps us ensure that we lead healthy churches in a biblically healthy way. This is Part 3 of a 4-part series.