Articles > Heal My Church! > Demons in the Sanctuary - How a church becomes demonized!
(Although George holds a Masters of Science degree in clinical psychology he is not a registered Psychologist. He practices as a counselor or therapist. )
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Demons in the Sanctuary
Demons in the Sanctuary - How a church becomes demonized
© George Hartwell, 2010, all rights reserved
I am blogging my reading of Demons in the Sanctuary in my blog on The New Church Landscape. Some of these posts are:
1. Masculine Tough and Feminine Soft (See blog entry)
In this entry I comment to the value of men who don't mince words. When they discern unacceptable behaviour in a man they don't make excuses - even if the man is his pastor. They lose respect if a man displays a lot of ungodly behavior and attitude.
The church needs men with backbone (and women) and who, as Paul says, know how to confront.
The church needs men who see through the show and get straight to the heart of the issue. If there is sin they confront it. They don't make excuses for sloppy character.
This sweb log entry focuses on mens need to be fathered. We need fathers who affirm that we are their beloved son. Without that fatherly affirmation we may immaturely seek to be the center of attention.
The Body of Christ needs servant leaders whose heart is not 'all about me.' If man lack affirming fathers we may get narcissistic pastors who are more interested in how they look than making others look good.
I use a Biblical term from the Revelation of Jesus Christ - the last book of the Bible. Jesus hates the Nicolaitans.
I take a stab at explaining what that means - a Roman army type hierarchical structure of one man rule over the church that oppresses the Bride of Christ.
Our usual forms of church are Nicolaitan. We built this church. It is a prison for the Holy Spirit. Jesus hates the Nicolaitan church - and we accept it as normal. It isn't!
See the blog entry (#3 above) for more information.
In this blog entry I look at God's call for our faithfulness - even being faithful in little things. I look at God's grace sustaining us so we can do what seemed impossible. Then I ask why do pastor neglect standard business practices and guidlines around finances?
In Demons in the Sanctuary Pastor Rutherford bends the financial rules and fails to display good pastor accountability with finances. Instead of financial wrongdoing why not faithfulness in small things?
We expect exemplary behavior and healthy loving attitudes from our pastors and ministerial staff. In Demons in the Sanctuary - which I am reading for the portrait it could give of Ralph Rutledge - we seem to get the opposite.
Staff and Board members exhibit care and concern for others. Pastor Rutherford (who must be our stand in for Rutledge) seems motivated by self-interest and filled with selfishness.
I point out that this is not the portrait of a man of God. This is not how the Holy Spirit acts. This is not love. Well then, I ask, what Spirit flows in this man? Who is this man?
Unity and real community is a gift of the Holy Spirit. A group that is willing to be open about their own faults and pray for one another may experience in inflow of the Holy Spirit.
When the Spirit comes in the room people act differently and wee others differently. Bellamy catches that moment for this Board when prayer leads to that shift toward genuine Christian community and the asociated shift in perspective. (A similar shifts happens after inner healing prayer.)
I am scared! As I read through Demons in the Sanctuary with my counsellor's heart, I find I am getting anxious.
Of course I am giving it careful and prayerful attention. I am making notes of Biblical principles. I am relating this to my knowledge of spiritual warfare, wolves in sheep's clothing, spiritual abuse, healthy confrontation, pastoral and Christian accountability and core emotional issues.
And, of course, I cannot forget that behind the story is a very real church, a very real Board and one very real pastor - 'Rev.' Ralph Rutledge (see Ralph Rutledge Scandal Updates) . The weight of these events on an inexperienced Board must have been crushing.
The reason this is scary is that Mira is discovering how effective Pastor Rutherford is at getting things done, changing people's minds, breaking people down, shaming people, dividing groups and intimidation.
Background control like this is a form of witchcraft because unhealthy control is like witchcraft but it also reminds us of Queen Jezebel - a woman from a nation that was not godly, who did not follow God's laws but did evil through behind the scenes manipulation.
All this background politicing by Pastor Rutherford turns people around and creates divisions. In a very unhealthy way she discovers he is a "force to be reckoned with."
8. Control the exits with threats (Chapter 7)
Pastors may us inappropriate means to keep their members. What this chapter reveals is how pastor Rutherford is prepared to suggest to a board member who is holding him accountable that those who oppose him suffer. I consider this a curse and a form of informal withcraft - predicting ill on others and speaking it out.
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