Thursday, January 30, 2014

Manipulative "God talk"

It is amazing how individuals can use spiritual language to manipulate others in the church with the implication that to disregard or defy their demands is to defy God himself. 

Phrases like "I've prayed about this and God is clearly telling us to do such and such." "If we continue to pursue such and such, the curses of .... will fall on us. We need to repent and move toward a new way."

As my friend Quintin Steiff remarks, "These prayer bullies assume extraordinary authority and view themselves as virtual pipelines of the direct revelation of God. Their pride is staggering, they are deadly serious and they are usually unteachable. They are not speaking about the divinity of Christ or the substitutionary atonement of which the Scriptures speak clearly. Rather, it's about some secondary matter or personal preference like a ministry program or policy decision or building program or style of worship. And they are promoting or rejecting some viewpoint."

This is not about being sensitivity to God's leading but rather about outright manipulation. Often such individuals see themselves as prophets whose job is to correct the wrong ways of a congregation or organization but essentially what they want is their own way. They fight for it unfairly with God talk which automatically shuts down dialogue. After all, how do you argue with God?

If someone's God talk sounds manipulative it probably is. Don't allow it. I have run up against a few of these who were essentially narcissists cloaked in spirituality - a deadly combination.


Anonymous said...

Playing the "God Card" by saying "God told me", ends any conversation. I figure they are crazy lunatics and it's a waste of time to argue with them, or they really have heard from the God of the Universe, and I will not question God. Either way, our conversation is over.

Kerry Doyal said...

Thank you, Tim.

Anonymous said...

This article really hit home with me. In my former local church the pastor used the "GOD TOLD ME" to manipulate a business meeting. Two months later he was found to be stealing all his sermons word for word off the internet. I thought of his "GOD TOLD ME" speech at the business meeting and wondered why he had to steal others work.