Tuesday, March 31, 2015


In order to fully comprehend some of the points made in the article on Abusive Leadership, it is necessary to reveal exactly what transpired that led to my dismissal.

My Wife, Gracie, and I had both been teaching regularly at this particular church. The pastor had asked us to do so. So, in some sense of the word, we had already been ‘approved’ to handle the Word of God among this flock.

Gracie had led a 13-week study with the ladies of the church on Wednesday evenings, while I led the men in a different study.

When this was over, people began asking when we would lead another study.

By this time we had already become aware of the pastor’s need to control everything, so we couldn’t just launch out on our own without causing turmoil within the church.

We began to discuss options that presented themselves. This went on for a number of weeks.

At one point, I went to the pastor and asked if we could do a Bible study on Sunday evenings at the fellowship hall of the church. I knew he was not in favor of home groups, but I was not aware at the time of how much he despised them.

He answered, “Not now. I have some plans for Sunday nights.” (this quote becomes critical later on)
Okay. No problem.

A few more weeks passed, and we continued from time to time to discuss options for spending time in the Word with other believers.

We finally decided that maybe we could just do an exploratory type of meeting to find out how much interest there actually was. It could be, we reasoned, just our desire based on a couple of comments from others.

Then, I was asked—sort of on the spur of the moment—to handle the Wednesday night meeting. The pastor was unavoidably delayed from returning from out of town. I was glad to 
fill in for him.

Before beginning the lesson, announcements had to be made. I included this announcement: “There will be a meeting this Thursday night to discuss the possibility of having a Bible study in addition to the regular meetings of the church. Of course, I will have to clear it with Brother Frank first.” (I was referring to the Bible study, not the exploratory meeting.)

According to testimony later, someone got up right then and called the pastor to tell him about the announcement.

We had the meeting Thursday night with three others in attendance. We found out later that there were others who had wanted to come, but either forgot or had other obligations. Each of those, however, later expressed gratitude that they did not show up.

A brother called me Friday to tell me of his encounter with the pastor. He said the pastor was angry and asked if that brother had attended the meeting, which he had. He then told me that the pastor said, “I’ll have to talk to Dale about this.” (this also becomes critical in the aftermath)

Then comes Sunday morning. He hadn’t called me, sent me a text, or in any other manner tried to contact me.
Okay. Maybe later.

He began His message rather strangely, telling us that the power of the Holy Spirit “must be harnessed.” The whole tenor of his message was negative.

He said that he had talked with his presbytery asking them to not let him preach this message, but they said that it must be preached. (I found out later that this was patently false when I called one of the members of the presbytery to talk about the way things had been handled.)

Then he went off into how home groups are so dangerous because it is the pastor who will be sued if someone is counselled incorrectly. He also alluded to home groups being festering grounds for wife-swapping and fungus within the church.

When he said, “And to make an announcement without your pastor’s permission…” I stood up and cut him off, because it was then that I knew for certain why he was being so negative.

I said, “Brother, please stop beating these people.”

He shouted, “This is error! Sit down. You are out of order. This is not a business meeting. If you want to rebuke me, you can do it later in private.”

I said, “I don’t want to rebuke you. I just want you to quit beating these people for something I did.”

He said something else, and I turned to the congregation and said, “I apologize for this. What is happening to you this morning is my fault,” and sat down.

I went to him afterwards to talk about what had occurred.

He said, “What part of ‘not now’ don’t you understand?”

I tried to explain that he had said, “Not now. I have plans for Sunday nights,” and in my linear way of thinking, that meant not on Sunday. There is no way I could have interpreted that to mean not ever. Someone else may have, but I couldn’t.

He said, “That won’t wash with me.”
This occurred twice in the conversation.

He also said, (with that kind of knowing grin people get when they want you to know that they are perceptive) “(that brother) called you right after I talked with him, didn’t he?”

I did not respond nor react.

He also said more than once, “I can’t work with you.”
Also, "I'll give you chairs and a microphone so you can go start your own church."

A month later when I tried once again to attain reconciliation, he said, “I don’t know how to deal with you.”

Anyone who is only vaguely familiar with scripture will recognize that the way this whole thing was handled is contrary to the Word. (Matt. 18:15)

Essentially, my great sin was that I violated an unspoken rule—which is one of the characteristics of a controlling personality.

This was a momentarily devastating experience for me. I had given myself to this church, and desired nothing more than to see the pastor’s vision fulfilled. I was willing to help in any way that I could. At the time, he had me working on the curriculum design for a Bible College he envisioned.

However, after the smoke cleared and the dust settled, many things became painfully apparent.

I have had this sort of experience other times in my life. This time I came out less beat up than usual.

I began to see how all my experiences were at the hands of abusers. As I went back over sermons this pastor had given over the past year, I saw how he continually twisted the Scriptures to suit whatever it was that he wanted talk about. Others have since voiced this concern to us, but they remain within the church.

As a result, the Lord has opened the Word to me concerning discernment and deception, which I wrote about on this blog. These four articles on spiritual abuse are the basis for my quest.

Hopefully, I am now done with this particular aspect of my thinking.

For more insight on the subject of spiritual abuse, read the book

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church

DISCLAIMER: If you order through the above link I may receive compensation for the order.

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  1. He threw away a wonderful gift - you!

    1. Thanks, Noella.
      I had told him more than once that I was sent there to help him fulfill his vision.


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