Posted January 6th, 2012 at 08:21 AM by Lois
"I swear on my soul, that if these men are speaking for God, I would rather spend eternity in hell than serve him. How are you supposed to love the God they represent? Unconditional Love? yet contradicted... Grace? yet contradicted..."
"Because all of that junk had completely clouded my view of Jesus, and I didn't even know who he was anymore. Was he the harsh judge that was just waiting for me to show I wasn't "holy" enough so he could smite me? Was he the one that demanded absolute perfection? The one for whom nothing was ever enough?"
These are the feelings of two people who left their separate churches. Some find it hard to break from the erroneous view of God that they encountered while in an unhealthy church. Every time they see someone from their former group write about the group's beliefs or they read Bible passages that were distorted in their church, they wrestle with trying to break away from the harsh taskmaster they came to know. But this isn't the same Jesus portrayed in the Bible, but rather a false view of Jesus that arises from erroneous teachings and how these are taught and applied.
Erroneous teachings can indeed cloud your view of God. They can give one a very different and distorted view of God. The tragic aspect of this, and one I have seen all too often, are people who can see the error of at least some of the teachings and yet have not yet been able to break from this distorted view of God.
This is what happens in a performance based church and while things vary from one unhealthy church to another, the teachings lead to performance based religion. While many will not say, for instance, that following outward standards is salvational, they will believe one is lost or at the least backslid if they don't adhere. So this actually makes them matters of salvation, whether or not it is specifically stated as such.
This is an excerpt of an email I received from a visitor to the spiritualabuse.org website. They are UPC and wrote: "WE strive to live Christ. Do we error? YES! But we try. There are some Pastor's who goes over board, but for the majority, it is just about trying to make heaven our home. Yes, some things seem extreme, but in comparison to eternity, it is the least we can do. Our dress and appearance is simple a safety protocol we take to assure our success in making heaven our home. I hope you give this some thought."
Take note of what was actually said. It's about trying to make it to heaven. It's about safety measures. It is not at all about trusting in the finished work at Calvary. I don't know how many posts I've read through the years where someone has written something like, "I'd rather be safe than sorry" concerning a teaching. And remember hearing church testimonies that said something like, "Pray for me that I will make it in?"...