* Denotes the writing is directly posted to this site.

Recovery from and consequences of spiritual abuse
Collections of articles from former UPCI members
Touch not mine anointed and questioning in the church
Abuse of authority in church leadership
Spiritual abuse and its signs, plus identifying a cult
Psychology, healthy faith/church and examining Scripture
General articles on cults and mind control/thought reform
Leaving & how to help someone involved in a cult
Articles on grace and legalism
Articles on the law
Bible Versions

Collections of articles from former UPCI members

* The Writings of Lois E. Gibson- The writings of Lois E. Gibson, a former United Pentecostal Church minister.

* The Writings of Jason Young- The writings of Jason Young, a former United Pentecostal Church member and owner of

* The Writings of E.L. Anglin- The writings of E.L. Anglin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister and employee at World Evangelism Center.

* The Writings of Buddy Martin- The writings of Buddy Martin, a former United Pentecostal Church minister. (Two different links.)

* The Writings of Lynne Yohnk- The writings of Lynne Yohnk, a former United Pentecostal Church pastor's wife.

* The Writings of Jason Pound- The writings of Jason Pound, a former United Pentecostal Church minister and assistant pastor.


Recovery from and consequences of spiritual abuse

*Let Nothing Be Wasted- An article by Susan. "During a conversation with a minister who has an Apologetics site online, I told him that I had been in the UPCI for over 35 years. He said in his loud booming voice, "35 YEARS? WOW! JUST THINK OF ALL THOSE WASTED YEARS!" I didn't say anything to him at the time, but it was one of those comments that just kind of cuts into a tender spot."

*Fear Of Losing My Identity- An article by Susan. "These three areas are what formed my identity. They weren't just what I believed in, they had become who I was. And to an extent still am. So my fear was a fear of loosing my identity. This is what defined me for the last 35 years. It set me apart from all the others. And for most of that time I was proud of that apartness (I hate having to say that). I was afraid if these beliefs were no longer mine, I would no longer be me."

*(1 Corinthians 11:24-25 NASB) - Remembrance- Unfortunately some churches teach communion in a way which creates fear in the heart of the believer. Are they partaking unworthily? Will God strike them dead? Some avoid communion or wrestle greatly with this fear. Jim Ross, a former UPC member, brings out the truth that we partake in communion to remember our Lord. It should be a good time and not one of fear and dread.

Dispelling the Myths: The Psychological Consequences of Cultic Involvement- Paul Martin explains and evaluates some misconceptions about involvement in abusive groups and gives seven steps to recovery.

Psychological Recovery From Mental Abuse- Ruth Gordon briefly covers some issues which effect those who have left abusive groups.

*Recovery From Cult Involvement- Short piece by Jan Groenveld, listing some factors which may effect recovery.

*Stages in Recovery- Jan Groenveld lists three main stages in the recovery process, with a brief explanation of each.

*It Hurts- Former cult members describe how it felt when they finally left their group. Originally from the Cult Awareness & Information Centre web site.

Repairing The Soul After A Cult- From the AFF "Cult Observer" site, Janja Lalich tackles the issues one faces after leaving a cult. Personal insight.

Recovery from Spiritual Abuse: How You Can Help- by Sharon Hilderbrant as posted on the Darkness to Light web site. Discusses the recovery process, including trust, emotions, God, church, untwisting Scriptures, and more.

Picking Up the Pieces- by Craig Branch. "The extent of re-entry problems depends on the degree of controlling techniques in place in the group, how long the person has been in the group, and the emotional maturity of the person."

Counseling- by Paul R. Martin, founder of Wellspring. "Another problem is that the focus on the more visible cults can obscure the fact that there are thousands of small cults that never make media headlines, but are just as dangerous (often more so) as the major groups."


Touch not mine anointed and questioning in the church

Touch Not Mine Anointed?- Is there a special anointing on ministers, that we should not question them? John Anderson gives a short explanation.

Are "God's Anointed" Beyond Criticism?- Is criticizing your pastor equivalent to rejecting God? A more detailed look into not touching "God's anointed" by Hendrik Hanegraaff.

Christians Criticising Christians: Can It Be Biblical?- Bob & Gretchen Passantino discuss if it's right or wrong to publicly evaluate the teachings of a pastor or expose the immorality of a Christian leader.

Authority Unlimited- Sample chapter from the book, "Twisted Scriptures", gives another look at "touch not my anointed."

Beyond Accountability- Another sample chapter from "Twisted Scriptures." In church, but feeling like you're in prison? Must we always obey and trust church leaders?

Truth and Consequences: Exposing Sin in the Church- Bob & Gretchen Passantino explain the need to expose sin in the church. "One would think that our outspoken faithfulness to truth telling would extend to telling the truth about sin within the Church. And yet at this point many Christians shrink from truth telling, instead hiding behind empty platitudes such as "don't judge;" "forgive and forget;" "don't shoot your own wounded;" "look at all the people who came to the Lord through this ministry;" etc."


Abuse of authority in church leadership & Healthy Leadership

*A One-Sided Culture of Honour - An article by an anonymous woman. "The idea of a culture of honour has in some extreme cases become a basis on which unhealthy church leaders are demanding excessive honour from their people and reprimanding those who fail to do so. It has also become a plumb line on which people are being judged by. They are scrutinized by whether or not they honouring or dishonouring the leader and treated accordingly."

*Domination And Control - An article by an anonymous woman. "A central feature of an unhealthy church is control-oriented leadership, with the expectation of people to come under their authority."

*The Issue Of Vulnerability - An article by an anonymous woman. "The concept of vulnerability opens the door for spiritual abuse. This can potentially happen when people open their hearts and then discover their deep heart issues have been discussed with other people, particularly leaders. Some unhealthy churches subtly use the idea of being vulnerable as a means to control their people. The information they have gathered from an open hearted person is sometimes used against them."

*The Desire For Family - An article by an anonymous woman. "In such a setting the leaders are calling themselves the Mama (Mother) or Papa (Father) of the 'house'. Interestingly, this is in violation to what Jesus clearly taught when he stated that in His family, no one should bear titles, one being 'father' (Matthew 23:9)."

*A Shepherd and His Flock - An article by Buddy Martin. "Keep these ideas in view --- gentleness, watchman, guardian, feeder, tenderness, not quarrelsome, kind to all, able to teach, and patient when wronged. All these ideas are incorporated into what a true Biblical pastor is to exhibit. Why is this? Because these are the spiritual traits in the Great Shepherd. They are communicated to each of His undershepherds by the Holy Spirit."

Abuse of Authority in the Church: A Biblical Perspective of Leadership - An article by Jason Young. "The Bible indeed gives a certain level of spiritual authority to church leadership, but all too often such authority is abused and misused, going well beyond what the scriptures allow."

A Healthy Church- An blog from setfree0408. Contrasts healthy church and unhealthy church signs.

Authoritarianism in The Church- From the Founder's Journal, written by Steve Martin, this article covers what the author perceives as some causes to the abuse of authority in the church. He also touches on where the 'sheep' err in perpetuating the problem.

The Thin Line of Leadership Part One- When does a minister/leader cross the line between leading and lording, discipling and dominating? Is it done intentionally? Steven Lambert gives his thoughts on the issue.

The Thin Line of Leadership Part Two- In part two, Steven Lambert gives his reasons how and why leaders cross the line. (I disagree with the implication that victims of abusive leaders are willing subjugates.)

The Language of Enslavement- Sample chapter from the book "Twisted Scriptures" discusses how leaders can distort words and Scripture to control members.


Spiritual abuse and its signs, plus identifying a cult

Children And Cults: A Practical Guide- A lengthy article by Susan Landa which covers basic information regarding cults, thought reform, the detrimental effects of cults, leaving, and information on children. Contains many footnotes.

Churches On The Fringe- An article by Ron Enroth, exploring what unhealthy churches have in common. He touches on control-oriented leadership, isolationist attitudes, spiritual elitism, lifestyle rigidity, discouragement of dissent and painful exit. This article touches on the now dissolved Community Chapel Church, an independent Oneness Pentecostal church that became unhealthy.

The Signs of Spiritual Abuse- Feeling like something just isn't right at your church? Has the joy of first becoming a Christian disappeared? Steven Lambert reveals some of the signs of an abusive church.

Elements of Spiritual Abuse- Watchman article discussing seven reasons why some people are caught up in abusive groups/relationships.

*Identifying A Cult - Lists several definitions of a cult, identification marks, and some results of the abuse. Originally from the Cult Awareness & Information Centre web site.

Eleven Marks of Perverted Authority- Warning signs to watch for, indicating the possibility of an authoritarian group.

What Do Churches and Cults Have in Common?- Are just non-Christian abusive groups a cult, or do some Bible-based churches fall into this category? Are any of these cult characteristics found in churches? Clete Hux explores this question.

How to Determine if a Group is a Destructive Cult- An article from the Factnet site, describing three sets of criteria one can use to determine if a group may be harmful.

How to Recognize if You're in a Cult Group- An article from "Let Us Reason" ministries. Covers some things to watch for, what to do when confronted to join, the rights you have, and where the people in cults come from.

The Bible and Spiritual Abuse-  A well written lengthy article from Ron Henzel (Rest Ministries) discussing real abuse from "abuse fad." Is 'spiritual abuse' "a sham label to be slapped on any Christian brother or sister with whom we have an axe to grind? Or is it a real danger to the Christian church?" What is the biblical evidence for this subject?

*Is Your Church Free From Cultic Tendencies- A good checklist of questions to answer in regard to a group.

*Characteristics of Abusive Churches- Lists signs of abusive churches based on Ron Enroth's books.

Are You The Victim of Mind Control?- A Christian perspective.

Milieu Control- Examples of mind control from several groups, including Boston Church and Jehovah's Witnesses.

What is a Cult?- Eleven signs to watch for in identifying a cult.

Introduction to the Cults- More signs to watch for, such as the group doing all your thinking for you.

Patterns in the Cults- "However, just because you are a believer, do not ever think that you could never be led astray and begin adopting some of these patterns in your own life. Remember, these patterns are presented in a very subtle fashion using Christian terminology and the Bible as a springboard!" From Watchman Fellowship.

Scripture Twisting Methods- Learn how abusive groups distort Scripture by inaccurately quoting verses, twisting them, ignoring the context, and more.


Psychology, healthy faith/church and examining Scripture

*The Narcissistic Church - An article by Debra. "Narcissists will do anything to protect their false self and the narcissistic church is no different. You do not question doctrine. Period. It cannot be wrong because it justifies the narcissistic churches sense of being special, superior and above everyone else. Narcissists will destroy and tear down anyone who questions them and they may employ other individuals to act in their defense. Ditto with the narcissistic church."

*What Improvements Are Needed in Today's Church?- Written by Gary Schooley. Gary brings up some tough questions on what we allow as Christians and how we need to find biblical precedent for what we believe.

*What Improvements Are Needed in Today's Church? Part II- Gary Schooley's second article covering the present debate on the validity of being 'slain in the spirit'.

*Social Psychology And Group Dynamics- Jan Groenveld covers psychological areas such as cognitive dissonance and mind control.

*Healthy Faith Vs Unhealthy Faith- Unhealthy faith is a destructive, dangerous relationship that allows something else, not the relationship with God, to control a person's life. Originally from the Cult Awareness & Information Centre web site.

The Bereans- Christians should examine what they are taught, to see if it is biblical. Truth shouldn't fear the scrutiny of man. From the Berean Research Society site.

*Critical Thought- An article by Martin Hunt, examining ways to think critically. Giving more secular examples than religious, it should still help those who simply accept what is told them as truth. We need to search for ourselves!

Controlling Behavior: Public Enemy Number One- Kurt Howland, from the Apostolic Faith Ministry, discusses why people feel the need to control others, how it is accomplished and how to stop. Though not dealing directly with spiritual abuse, it is somewhat relevant to our subject.

Spiritual Pride: The Danger of Religious Flesh in the Christian Life- by Richard Lovelace "Spiritual pride is very apt to suspect others; whereas an humble saint is most jealous of himself, he is so suspicious of nothing in the world as he is of his own heart. The spiritually proud person is apt to find fault with other saints, that they are low in grace; ...and being quick to discern and take notice of their deficiencies."


General articles on cults and mind control/thought reform

Clinical Update on Cults- Michael Langone, in an article published in 1996, writes about who joins a cult and why, what happens to them, what the therapist's role is, and exit-counseling.

How Does Mind Control Work?: A Technical Overview of Mind Control Tactics- Factnet article. Coercive persuasion/thought reform is a behavioral change technology applied to cause the adoption of an ideology. How is it distinguished from other forms of teaching or even forced coercion? Can you be a victim and unaware of it? Read about these topics and seven main tactics used in coercive persuasion.

Mind Control and Religion- A short piece from Factnet. Coercive persuasion is a process that impairs rationality and is not a religious practice.

Overcoming the Bondage of Victimization: A Critical Evaluation of Cult Mind Control Theories Bob and Gretchen Passatino give their views that mind control theories are flawed. They present what they feel will disprove "the cult mind control model and instead affirms the importance of informed, biblically based religious commitment." Lengthy.


Leaving & how to help someone involved in a cult

*The Tale of Four Poplars- An article by Buddy Martin. "Now take all of what I have shared and see if it applies to a transitional time in your life. When God's people find themselves looking for another church, this does not mean that they are church hoppers. In more cases than not, this is a work of the Holy Spirit. The Spirit is at work in the transplanting business. The child of God will be placed where he or she can grow the best."

What To Do If A Friend Or Loved-One Joins A Cult- Someone you know is involved in a cult or is considering joining one. What can you do? How do you approach them? Martin Poulter gives his views.

*Ten Things To Do If You Have A Cult Victim In Your Family- Short list from the web site of the Cult Awareness & Information Centre.

*Fighting Spiritual Abuse- Casey Bordovsky, a former UPC member, shares her thoughts on how we can combat spiritual abuse on a spiritual level.

Cults: What To Say When the Tacks Are Brass- Eric Pement gives some pointers on how to speak with a person involved in a cult. He brings out a very good point for us to remember and that is this: "We do need to pray against and witness against false doctrine; we do not need to witness against people, other than to expose their false teachings."

They Told Me That If I Left...- Ron Henzel examines the tactics some leaders use to keep members in their group. Will something terrible happen if you leave? Will you go to hell? Will you backslide?

The 'Do's and The Don'ts'- A brief list of things to consider when someone you know is involved in a questionable group.

What to do if Your Friend or Loved One is Recruited into a Cult- Practical Help and Advice for Winning Them Back- From the Spotlight web site, written from a Christian point of view, it covers if the group really is a cult, marks of a cult, and being informed.

Starting an Ex-Cult Support Group by Sharon Hilderbrant.

You may also wish to check of the area on exit-counseling on my other page.


Articles on grace and legalism

Grace and Works- Craig Branch talks about how cults pervert the Gospel, using the examples of three different religious groups.

"Judge Not..."- Well written article from the Darkness to Light web site. Discusses judging verses proclaiming, with sections on adding to God's commands, abiding by our own standards, and being patient and not so quick to judge our fellow Christians.

Anti-Intellectualism, Legalism, and the Cults- Another Darkness to Light article. "Whether a Christian engages in questionable activities should be based on his or her own walk with the Lord and understanding of Scriptures (Romans 14). Advice should be sought from others and the Scriptures studied extensively; but the final decision should rest with the individual and not with the leader or leaders of some religious group..."

To Judge or Not to Judge: The Rights and Wrongs of Biblical Discernment- Article by G. Richard Fisher. The Bible mentions we are both to judge and not to judge, so what is the difference between the two? Has the church lost the ability to discern for fear of judging others?

There Ought to be a Law...Or Should There? The Old Testament Law and the New Testament Church G Richard Fisher states: "There are great misunderstandings and divisions among believers in the area of law and grace as they affect sanctification. How much law or just what laws do we need to obey to be sanctified? Arbitrarily imposing certain portions of the Old Testament on the Christian life seems, at best, inconstant, speculative and subjective."


Bible Versions

* Bible Translations - An article by Buddy Martin that gives an overall view of the various types of Bible translations. There is a lesson behind the lesson!


Articles on the law

*Dead to the Law- One of a series of articles by Mel Berglund, a current member of the UPC. Though this does not specifically deal with legalism/abuse, I feel it is relevant to include as Mel does a good job of showing from Scripture how and why we are dead to the law.

*The Letter of the Law- The second in a series of articles on the law by Mel Berglund. This one deals with trying to keep the detail of the law and missing the big picture.


Page Updated February 20, 2018


August 23, 1997
Copyright © 1997-present by Lois E. Gibson
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