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Evil abuse by good people in authority in prison and church

Descriptive Psychology

        Believe psychology is of the devil? Don’t want to hear about it? Think again ... I’m discussing two articles that have to do with the psychology of abuse. I’ve chosen these articles because they are descriptive of human behavior, not prescriptive. That is to say, they are a result of having observed human behavior, not predicting human behavior. So read on in confidence, and don’t fear the devil and his crowd.

Want Pity And Sympathy Or Truth?

        If you don’t want to be free of manipulative and intimidating tactics used by “church leaders” to control you, your time and your money, then skip this article and find some place where you can find collaborative stories of injustices endured under that hierarchical authority system so you can continue to complain and commiserate with others in the same situation. It won’t solve anything for you or them, but you may gain some little bit of attention and pity and sympathy as you exchange your horror stories. Isn’t that what you really want, rather than to identify the source of your problems and make a determined effort to get out of and away from such dysfunctional abuse?
        What you want is a band-aid and a loving caress from someone so you can get attention. Your philosophy is to avoid the needed surgery because, after all, it is painful, isn’t it? But it’s the only thing that will really cure you. Deep down inside you really know that, don’t you? And you will eventually heal and become spiritually healthy.
        How long will it take before you come to understand that the institutional “church” system you think you love so much is killing you? You’re a church-aholic and there are psychological and emotional reasons why you got that way. Like the chocolate-aholic who just loves to eat chocolate, but knows the stuff is loaded with sugar and calories and has a negative nutritional value and is causing diseases and painful symptoms and will eventually kill them, but who just can’t get over their cravings. Ditto the alcoholic. You’re in that same class and your spiritual malnourishment and addictive symptoms are killing you and the effects are being seen in your body by those who are spiritually healthy and happy.
        Do yourself a favor and force yourself to read this entire article. You won’t like it because you’ll see yourself in it. And you won’t like what you see. But it is truth and you need it to get cured of what ails you.
        Before you send me a nasty e-mail about how bitter and hurt I am please read the article “God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Bible have taught the truth.”
        Now read on and do something about your situation.

Breeding Grounds For Abuse

Stanford Prison Experiment

        On August 14, 1971 the Office of Naval Research sponsored a study of human behavior within a mock prison environment. Known today as the Stanford Prison Experiment it’s famous as a classic case study in behavioral psychology.
        The following quotes are excerpted from “Reflections on the Stanford Prison Experiment: Genesis, Transformations, Consequences,” Philip. G. Zimbardo, Cristina Maslach, & Craig Haney, (2000). Philip G. Zimbardo is Professor Emeritus of Psychology, Stanford University
        “These college students had answered an ad in the local newspaper inviting volunteers for a study of prison life that would run up to 2 weeks for the pay of $15 a day. They were students from all over the United States, most of whom had just completed summer school courses at Stanford or the University of California, Berkeley. Seventy of those who had called our office were invited to take a battery of psychological tests (the California Personality Inventory) and engage in interviews conducted by Craig Haney and Curtis Banks, who were graduate students at that time. We were assisted by David Jaffe, an undergraduate who played the role of prison warden. I played the role of prison superintendent, in addition to being the principal investigator, which would later prove to be a serious error in judgment.”
        “Two dozen of those judged most normal, average, and healthy on all dimensions we assessed were selected to be the participants in our experiment. They were randomly assigned to the two treatments of mock prisoner and mock guard. Thus there were no systematic differences between them initially nor systematic preferences for role assignments.”
        “... we were studying both guard and prisoner behavior, so neither group was given any instructions on how to behave.”
        “We had to call off the experiment and close down our prison after only 6 days of what might have been a 2-week long study of the psychological dynamics of prison life. We had to do so because too many normal young men were behaving pathologically as powerless prisoners or as sadistic, all-powerful guards. Recall that we had spent much time and effort in a selection process that chose only the most normal, healthy, well-adjusted college students as our sample of research participants. At the beginning of the study there were no differences between those assigned randomly to guard and prisoner roles. In less than a week, there were no similarities among them; they had become totally different creatures. Guard behavior varied from being fully sadistic to occasionally acting so to being a tough guard who “went by the book” and, for a few, to being “good guards” by default. That is, they did not degrade or harass the prisoners, and even did small favors for them from time to time, but never, not once, did any of the so-called good guards ever contest an order by a sadistic guard, intervene to stop or prevent despicable behavior by another guard, or come to work late or leave early. In a real sense, it was the good guards who most kept the prisoners in line because the prisoners wanted their approval and feared things would get worse if those good guards quit or ever took a dislike to them.”
        “In the Stanford Prison Experiment, we focused on the power of roles, rules, symbols, group identity, and situational validation of ordinarily ego-alien behaviors and behavioral styles. We were influenced here by earlier reports of “brainwashing” and “milieu control” coming out of accounts of the Korean War and Chinese Communist indoctrination methods (Schein, 1956).”
        “From another perspective, the Stanford Prison Experiment does not tell us anything new about prisons that sociologists and narratives of prisoners have not already revealed about the evils of prison life. What is different is that by virtue of the experimental protocol, we put selected good people, randomly assigned to be either guard or prisoner, and observed the ways in which they were changed for the worse by their daily experiences in the evil place.”
        “It is reasonable to conclude that there is something about this little experiment that has enduring value not only among social psychologists but also among the general public. I now believe that special something is the dramatic transformation of human nature, not by Jekyll-Hyde chemicals but rather by the power of the situation.”
        “...the value of the Stanford Prison Experiment resides in demonstrating the evil that good people can be readily induced into doing to other good people within the context of socially approved roles, rules, and norms, a legitimizing ideology, and institutional support that transcends individual agency.”
        “Lesson 5. Good people can be induced, seduced, initiated into behaving in evil (irrational, stupid, self-destructive, antisocial) ways by immersion in “total situations” that can transform human nature in ways that challenge our sense of the stability and consistency of individual personality, character, and morality (Lifton, 1969). It is a lesson seen in the Nazi concentration camp guards; among destructive cults, such as Jim Jones’ People’s Temple or more recently the Japanese Aum cult; and in the atrocities committed in Bosnia, Kosovo, Rwanda, and Burundi, among others. Thus any deed that any human being has ever done, however horrible, is possible for any of us to do — under the right or wrong situational pressures. That knowledge does not excuse evil; rather, it democratizes it, shares its blame among ordinary participants, rather than demonizes it. Recently, a program at the U.S. Air Force Academy (code named SERE) that was designed to train cadets for survival and escape from enemy capture had to be terminated early because it got out of control. As part of a “sexual exploitation scenario,” women cadets were beaten repeatedly, degraded, humiliated, put in solitary confinement, deprived of sleep, and made to wear hoods over their heads — all much like the Stanford Prison Experiment. But in addition, the women cadets in this course were subjected to simulated rapes by interrogators that were realistic enough to cause posttraumatic stress disorder. These “rapes” were videotaped and also watched by other cadets, none of whom ever intervened. The grandfather of one abused female cadet, himself a World War II hero, said, “I can’t believe that all these men, these elite boys, could stand around and watch a young woman get degraded and not one had enough guts to stop it” (Palmer, 1995, p. 24). After watching our “good guards” be similarly immobilized when witnessing Stanford Prison Experiment abuses, I can now understand how that could happen.”

1971—Rapid Progression To An Abusive Mindset In Normal, Well-Adjusted People

        Comment:
        The young men in the Stanford Prison Experiment were normal, average, healthy, well-adjusted and randomly assigned to the two roles of mock prisoner and mock guard. Both guard and prisoner behavior were studied so neither group was given any instructions on how to behave.
        After 6 days, these normal young men were behaving pathologically as powerless prisoners or as sadistic, all-powerful guards. In less than a week, there were no similarities among them as they had become totally different creatures. In fact after just 36 hours, one young man, a mock prisoner, suffered a severe emotional breakdown. On the third day another mock prisoner had to be released for the same reason. On the fourth day a standby mock prisoner was introduced into the bizarre scenario. When he became aware of the excessive brutality, he went on a hunger strike and was immediately labeled as a troublemaker by the other mock prisoners! Here is Professor Zimbardo’s account of this “bad prisoner:” “... what I found was a boy sobbing uncontrollably while in the background his fellow prisoners were yelling that he was a bad prisoner. No longer was the chanting disorganized and full of fun, as it had been on the first [i.e., previous] day. Now it was marked by utter conformity and compliance, as if a single voice was saying, “#819 is bad.” ... “At that point I said, “Listen, you are not #819. You are [his name], and my name is Dr. Zimbardo. I am a psychologist, not a prison superintendent, and this is not a real prison. This is just an experiment, and those are students, not prisoners, just like you. Let’s go.”
        “He stopped crying suddenly, looked up at me like a small child awakened from a nightmare, and replied, “Okay, let’s go.””
         On the fifth day another mock prisoner had to be released from the psychological stress. As the experiment progressed the mock guards became more aggressive in their sadistic and inhumane abuse of the mock prisoners.
        It was also observed that during those periods of time when the mock guards thought they were off-camera during the midnight shift (the whole process was video-taped) that their abuse of the mock prisoners became much worse. They degraded, harassed, and woke the prisoners repeatedly every night, and at times hit them and locked them in isolation
        Even Professor Zimbardo lost himself in the mock role of prison superintendent, which fact he later acknowledged. In fact, everyone involved and others not involved, such as family’s, friends, a chaplain and an attorney were thoroughly immersed in the situation as a reality rather than as an experiment from which those involved could, arguably, simply walk away. Also observed was the fact that the prisoners always identified themselves by their assigned mock prison number, rather than their actual names.
        Everyone involved in the Stanford Prison Experiment constantly continued to work within the artificially contrived and counterfeit prison system given to them, and they let the reality that surrounded them fade into obscurity. In effect they exchanged the truth for a lie and never considered terminating the experiment.
        The Stanford Prison Experiment was only terminated early because on the fifth day Professor Cristina Maslach, who was not involved at the inception and was a late entrant into the situation, came onto the scenario to help with interviewing the participants and realized how out of control it was. She “... said something like, “What you are doing to those boys is a terrible thing!” This provoked a long argument after which Professor Zimbardo acknowledged the truth of her statement and “realized what had been gradually happening to him and everyone else in the study: that they had all internalized a set of destructive prison values that distanced them from their own humanitarian values. And at that point, he owned up to his responsibility as creator of this prison and made the decision to call the experiment to a halt.”
        The mock guards expressed their disappointment with the cancellation. “They had to work long, hard shifts for a small wage of less than $2 an hour and were given minimal direction on how to play the role of guard, but they had to sustain the role consistently over days whenever they were in uniform, on the yard, or in the presence of others, whether prisoners, parents, or other visitors.”
        “... we ended the study earlier than planned, ended it against the wishes of the guards, who felt they finally had the situation under their control and that there would be no more disturbance or challenge by the prisoners.”
        The mock guards had put in many overtime hours without pay, were never late to work and never left early. They were by then enjoying themselves in their power role. Disappointment at termination of the experiment was not because of the loss of money, it was because of their loss of power over the mock prisoners.
        The focus on this experiment was on the power of roles, rules, symbols, group identity, and situational validation of ordinarily ego-alien behaviors and behavioral styles.
        While this experiment revealed nothing new about the evils of prison life it determined by virtue of the experimental protocol that selected normal good people, randomly assigned to be either guard or prisoner, changed for the worse by their daily experiences in the evil place.
        Professor Zimbardo has stated: “I now believe that special something is the dramatic transformation of human nature, not by Jekyll-Hyde chemicals but rather by the power of the situation.” He further states: “...the value of the Stanford Prison Experiment resides in demonstrating the evil that good people can be readily induced into doing to other good people within the context of socially approved roles, rules, and norms, a legitimizing ideology, and institutional support that transcends individual agency.”
        Of the “10 Lessons Learned From the Stanford Prison Experiment,” Lesson 5 is most revealing: “Good people can be induced, seduced, initiated into behaving in evil (irrational, stupid, self-destructive, antisocial) ways by immersion in “total situations” that can transform human nature in ways that challenge our sense of the stability and consistency of individual personality, character, and morality (Lifton, 1969).”
        In similar abuse in an Air Force experimental scenario along the same lines Professor Zimbardo has said: “After watching our “good guards” be similarly immobilized when witnessing Stanford Prison Experiment abuses, I can now understand how that could happen.”

2004—Behavior influenced by authority figures, peer pressure, other social interactions and psychology of the individual

        That was in 1971. Let’s jump forward now to 2004 and see what the psychology community today has to say about this type of abuse.

Could Abu Ghraib happen again?

        News from PRINCETON UNIVERSITY
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        Embargoed for release: 2 p.m., Nov. 25, 2004
        Media contact: Steven Schultz, (609) 258-5729, sschultz@princeton.edu
        Could Abu Ghraib happen again?
        Psychologists call for greater attention to role of peers and superiors in prison scandal
        PRINCETON, N.J. — When news broke about the abuse of prisoners at Abu Ghraib in Iraq, many people questioned: Who could do such a thing? According to Princeton psychologists who reviewed decades worth of studies, the answer is: Anyone.
        Writing in the Nov. 26 issue of Science, Professor Susan Fiske and graduate students Lasana Harris and Amy Cuddy contend that many forms of behavior, including acts of great evil, are influenced as much by authority figures, peer pressure and other social interactions as by the psychology of the individual.
        “Could any average 18-year-old have tortured these prisoners?” said Fiske. “I would have to answer, ‘Yes, just about anyone could have — unfortunately.’”
        Fiske and colleagues drew their conclusions from 25,000 studies involving 8 million participants, which explain how factors, ranging from the stress of war to the expectations of superiors, can combine to cause ordinary people to commit seemingly inexplicable acts.
        “Ordinary people can engage in incredibly destructive behavior if so ordered by legitimate authority,” the researchers wrote, referring particularly to landmark studies conducted by Stanley Milgram in the early 1970s. Milgram showed that normal volunteers would deliver what they understood to be lethal electric shocks to other people when they were told that it was a necessary part of carrying out an experiment. “Subordinates not only do what they are ordered to do, but what they think their superiors would order them to do, given their understanding of the authority’s overall goals,” the researchers wrote.
        When discussing the Milgram experiment in classes, Fiske said, students swear they would never behave the way the study subjects did. “But when they are put in similar experiments, they do,” said Fiske.
        Fiske noted that there are cases of isolated individuals who torture other people. However, it is more likely that the abusers at Abu Ghraib were conforming to the culture and expectations of their environment than violating them, she said. The incidents occurred within a very hierarchical organization; the abusers had no particular background to suggest they would behave outrageously; and the abusers asserted they were following orders and documented what they did.
        “Society holds individuals responsible for their actions, as the military court martial recognizes, but social psychology suggests we should also hold responsible peers and superiors who control the social context,” the researchers wrote.
        The reasons for abuse go beyond simple adherence to authority. “The situation of the 800th Military Police Brigade guarding Abu Ghraib prisoners fits all the social conditions known to cause aggression,” the researchers wrote. “The soldiers were certainly provoked and stressed, at war, in constant danger, taunted and harassed by some of the very citizens they were sent to save, and their comrades were dying daily and unpredictably. Their morale suffered, they were untrained for the job, their command climate was lax, their return home was a year overdue, their identity as disciplined soldiers was gone and their own amenities were scant. Heat and discomfort also doubtless contributed.”
        At the same time, the Iraqi prisoners were part of a different societal group that was seen by Americans as threatening cherished values. The more that people see others as “interchangeable members” of a different group, rather than as unique individuals, the more their behavior is influenced by parts of the brain associated with alarm and disgust, the researchers wrote. Fiske and colleagues recently conducted their own surveys showing that similar feelings arise in less extreme situations: U.S. citizens surveyed, on average, “viewed Muslims and Arabs as not sharing their interests and stereotyped them as not especially sincere, honest, friendly or warm.”
        The point of looking at the complex social and psychological forces behind the Abu Ghraib abuse is not to excuse people from responsibility for their actions, but to develop a scientific understanding of what causes evil actions so they can be better prevented, the researchers said. “People’s hunches are to look at the individual for the reasons, but as a society we can’t afford to do that,” said Fiske. “People who are in charge of other people on a large scale, whether CEOs or military officers, need to know the conditions that produce evil behavior. The conditions are not that complicated. And if they can be understood, then they can be prevented in large part.”
        One of the most effective ways to prevent abuse is for members of different groups to have positive contact with each other, which is one reason why it is important for Iraqi soldiers to train and fight with Americans, Fiske said.
        Another step, Fiske said, would be for the military to ensure that soldiers have alternate means of communication, such as military chaplains or other semi-independent figures, so they can voice deep concerns without violating the chain of command. The goal is not to eliminate obedience and conformity, which can spur acts of heroism as well as evil. The researchers wrote that firefighters who rushed into the World Trade Center were obeying orders and conforming to the culture of their organization in addition to displaying individual bravery and self sacrifice. The conduct of war itself requires obedience and conformity, Fiske noted.
        Indeed, authority and social pressure can be tools for combating abuse. Fiske said that her experience in consulting with industry on racial and gender discrimination suggests that leadership is critical for good behavior throughout an organization. “I do think the CEOs are responsible for the atmosphere in the company,” she said. “If the CEOs say, ‘It’s really important that we do things a certain way,’ they can have a real impact.” However, focusing blame on a “few bad apples” will hinder the social and cultural changes necessary to prevent further abuses, Fiske said.

Ordinary people engage in incredibly destructive behavior

        Noteworthy statements:
        ““Ordinary people can engage in incredibly destructive behavior if so ordered by legitimate authority,” the researchers wrote ...”
        ““Subordinates not only do what they are ordered to do, but what they think their superiors would order them to do, given their understanding of the authority’s overall goals,” the researchers wrote.”
        “The incidents occurred within a very hierarchical organization; the abusers had no particular background to suggest they would behave outrageously; and the abusers asserted they were following orders and documented what they did.”
        “The more that people see others as “interchangeable members” of a different group, rather than as unique individuals, the more their behavior is influenced by parts of the brain associated with alarm and disgust, the researchers wrote.”
        ““People who are in charge of other people on a large scale, whether CEOs or military officers, need to know the conditions that produce evil behavior. The conditions are not that complicated. And if they can be understood, then they can be prevented in large part.””
        ““I do think the CEOs are responsible for the atmosphere in the company,” she said. “If the CEOs say, ‘It’s really important that we do things a certain way,’ they can have a real impact.” However, focusing blame on a “few bad apples” will hinder the social and cultural changes necessary to prevent further abuses, Fiske said.”

Normal people perpetrate abuse, which originates from the hierarchical organization

        Comment:
        Both of these articles stress the “normalcy” of the perpetrators who abuse and place the origin of evil behavior of the people squarely upon hierarchical organization.
        The mention of CEO’s is interesting, as in today’s hierarchical organizations that is the same as being the “head” of the organization. “If the CEOs say, ‘It’s really important that we do things a certain way,’ they can have a real impact.”
        “However, focusing blame on a “few bad apples” will hinder the social and cultural changes necessary to prevent further abuses, Fiske said.”

Our true CEO and spiritual Head

        God is our Creator, our CEO and our One and Only spiritual Head. He knows what the effect of the fall, as recorded in Genesis, has done to us human beings. He knows that when we put other human beings into positions of hierarchical authority over other human beings that it will adversely affect our behavior towards those we deem to be lesser in authority. That’s why Jesus is our Shepherd, i.e., our Head. Only Jesus, not a man, or a group of men, or an organization.
        Yes, we have authority systems which God has put in place for the benefit of society as a whole. The historical foundational source for those authority systems is the Bible. Romans chapters 12-15 deal with the subject of our lifestyle and conduct before God, self, the rest of the body, all men, government, neighbors and the weak believer. This is the subject of the article “Government Authority And Power In America: Good Or Evil?” in which I discuss how government authority has biblically established power from legal procedures and processes that execute biblical justice by military, judges and a priestly leader.
        Quoting from the article “Free In Christ!:”

Edited excerpt from “Free In Christ!”

        Scripture emphasizes a plurality of elders in established ekklesia’s (Acts 14:21-23). The leadership functions and ability of these elders (presbuteros, indicates the character of the person’s maturity and spiritual experience) were evidenced by their performance.
        In Acts 20:17 Paul called the elders [presbuteros], of the church. In verse 28 Paul tells them “... the Holy Ghost hath made you overseers ...” “Overseers” is episkopos, literally, an overseer. Paul then tells these elders/overseers “...to feed the church of God ...” The word “feed” is “poimaino” (from poimen, a shepherd) in the original text, which means to tend as a shepherd.
        In Ephesians 4:11 the term “pastors” is also poimen, a shepherd.
        In Titus 1:5, Paul mentions elders then in verse 7 refers to these same elders as “bishops,” (episkopos), i.e., overseers, the same word being variously translated as overseer or bishop.
        The elders/overseers/shepherds/pastors/bishops are mentioned again in Philippians 1:1 and there called “bishops” (episkopos), the same word.
        In 1 Timothy 5:17, the “elders that rule well” are mentioned. Paul instructed Titus to “ordain elders in every city, as I had appointed thee” (Titus 1:5; 1 Peter 5:1-5). James stresses the plurality by stating “... let him call for the elders of the church ...” (James 5:14).
        We may conclude that the elders (presbuteros) have the oversight (episkopeo, literally, to look upon), as overseers, or bishops (episkopos). They shepherd (poimen), or pastor, the local ekklesias.
        The true ekklesia of God is a family, a family within a community, a community which is a subset of a society, and acts like a family towards other members of the family. The elders/overseers/shepherds/pastors/bishops ( all one and the same) are simply older members of the spiritual family whose track record indicates that they are trustworthy and usually, but not always, give good solid practical and spiritual advice to the younger members, especially those younger deacons [read: “workers,” i.e., those who have youth on their side for the energy to do the things needed to maintain a family] in order to help guide their lives on the right spiritual track. That’s why there is always a plurality of elders—there is safety in a number of counsellors.
        Jesus is our only Shepherd. Period. The “elder/shepherd/pastor/overseer/bishop” that we have recognized as such are really only under-shepherds. They are recognized by the majority in the group, by the corporate giftings of the individual members. They are not self-appointed. That’s where their “authority” comes from. What they have to say is “authority” only so long as those in the group accept their collective mature outlook and wisdom.
        If they fail to display maturity and wisdom in some matter, then the group will simply not acknowledge what they have to say about it. If you have a problem with that then study the life of Paul the apostle. His authority as an apostle was accepted as such only by those who accepted him as truly being sent by God. There were quite a few in the New Testament that did not accept his alleged “apostolic authority,” because they didn’t accept him as being sent by God to them. They had that freedom to reject him because in their twisted theological devices they thought that Paul did not state biblical values! We have that same freedom but we exercise that freedom to accept or reject the wisdom and advice of elders if they don’t adhere to and reflect biblical values!
        1 Corinthians 14:26: “How is it then, brethren? when ye come together, every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.”
        “When” is hotan in the Greek. Strong’s Definition is: “whenever (implying hypothesis or more or less uncertainty); also caus. (conjunctionally) inasmuch as. Thayer’s Definition of hotan: “when, whenever, as long as, as soon as.” The phrase “ye come together” is one word in the Greek, sunerchomai. Strong’s defines it as: “to convene, depart in company with, associate with, or (specifically) cohabit (conjugally).”
        Paul is saying to the Corinthians that on those occasions whenever you happen to meet together, then “every one of you hath a psalm, hath a doctrine, hath a tongue, hath a revelation, hath an interpretation. Let all things be done unto edifying.”
        There is no planned meeting at a certain time, on a certain day, for a certain reason. He is saying that whenever you happen to meet together, that the charisma descension gifts of the Holy Spirit will become operative in the lives of those believers who are in attendance.
        That could easily be those two or three who happen to meet at a restaurant, or at a mall, or drop by to say hello, or any number of places.
        When Paul stated this he was describing the result, i.e., the effect of the cause, the cause being the Holy Spirit. We humans, in our attempts to control God, instead want to make what Paul said the cause in order to produce some type of feel good, chill bump, warm fuzzies experience.
        Home ekklesia’s are simply families meeting together as a family. When it comes to God’s people meeting together as a family the only plan is that there is no plan. As Christian couples—or families, if you still have children or relatives at home—meet and encounter each other in different social settings, that’s “church!”
        Unfortunately, most saints leave the institutional churches for the wrong reasons and their idea of a home church is to start a mini-institutional church in their living rooms. Which is simply compounding the error of the past 1,700 years.
        When those who love God decide to assemble themselves together for the purpose of ministering to each other, then God will move among them. Our response to the moving of the Holy Spirit will automatically trigger praise and worship of our God and Saviour, Jesus Christ. Please note what I’m saying and not saying.
        I am saying that we are assembled together with the motive of focusing on one another and offering to those among us true fellowship (Greek, koinonia), which encompasses three aspects: sharing, socializing and supporting. This includes those times of chance meeting, as discussed, and also those times when we assemble together on purpose to minister to “one another.”
        I am not saying that we are assembled together in order to have some type of programmed “worship service” where we have some of the people play musical instruments, while another “leads” us in singing songs, using either printed sheets of words, or a screen using an overhead projector.
        No, when we assemble and focus on true biblical fellowship with one another, then worship of our Lord and Saviour, Master, Creator and Redeemer will come spontaneously as the Holy Spirit leads us. Just as Paul said in 1 Corinthians 14:26. Glory!
        The plurality of those present who are recognized as an elder/shepherd/pastor/overseer/bishop are there, blending in the background and usually only speak up when there is some question to be resolved, or specifically called upon for some valid scriptural reasons. Ditto the deacons [read: workers], i.e., younger people who have the muscle to get the things done that require it.
        While it’s good to schedule occasional meeting times around a family meal, if it becomes a ritual then you have created another idol, haven’t you? And if you then attempt to create some type of procedure, or program or set ways of doing things, you reinforce the idolatry. Isn’t that what the institutional church system does? And isn’t that what we’re trying to get free from?
        Families meeting as families is the key to true home ekklesia. If you get a whole city meeting in homes and according to scriptural precedents of sharing, socializing and supporting those in need you will be the salt and light Jesus mentioned and will attract a lot of favorable attention. That’s 24 hour a day lifestyle effective evangelizing!
        As disciples of Jesus Christ, i.e., learners, followers, supporters and imitators of Him, we have to be the salt and light of the world. The institutional church thinks the way to do that is by doing things. But God wants us to “be” a disciple of Jesus, not continue to attempt to “do.”
        We will “be” a true disciple of Christ by His example to us. He did nothing without the Father telling Him! The Father told Jesus what to say, what to do and where to go. So if we want to be a disciple of Jesus, we await the instructions of our Father. That’s how we become the ekklesia of God, the called out assembly. We assemble together to minister to each other, as Christ did to His disciples and to the masses of people He encountered. And we seek the Father for His will, not ours, not stepping out prematurely on some “whim” we think is God speaking to us.
        You wanna follow human traditions and some human person? Then stay in or join an institutional church!
        “Ordinary people can engage in incredibly destructive behavior if so ordered by legitimate authority,” the researchers wrote. Listen, you are a mock prisoner. You are [say your name] and the person behind the pulpit or otherwise attempting to convey to you that they are a legitimate spiritual authority is not really a spiritual authority because only God is and Jesus Christ is your only true spiritual authority and you are to recognize Him as your CEO and spiritual Head, and no other. You are in a bad cultural and social experiment whose foundations are based upon the shifting sands of human desires and emotions and errant traditions, and those others who also name the name of Christ as their Lord and Saviour are in reality your brothers and sisters in the Lord and are just like you. So would you please stop crying about the abuse you continue to suffer in this nightmarish situation and say “OK, let’s get out of that situation and obey God and His Christ and meet together as Christian families meeting together as a Christian family.”
        However, because of (1) badly translated biblical texts and badly twisted and perverted teachings based upon those bad translations, (2) the use of collapsed verses (verses lifted arbitrarily from their contextual setting and strung together to make a fallacious and erroneous point) to weave personal and subjectively based doctrinal statements, and (3) centuries of human traditions and practices based upon flawed understanding of the concept of the ekklesia of God, we have today what is known as the institutional church system. Like it or not, everything in Protestant-land (and yes, that includes Pentecostal/charismatic bodies of believers along with Baptist, Presbyterian, Methodist and etc.) — everything in Protestant-land is based upon the Roman Catholic system of religion. They have one pope, Protestants have a pope behind every pulpit. They have their own translation of the Bible which no translator or publisher dares to change to reflect what the original manuscripts really say. If they do they will incur the wrath of the Roman Catholic church which will then “condemn” that particular Bible publically, and the publisher won’t sell enough of that Bible to provide them with a profit. Protestants have, basically, the same “traditional” translation, which continues to enforce the myth of a Godly authoritarian hierarchy within the institutional church system. Like the Roman Catholic Church, they are also agreed that they don’t want the truth to be published for the masses of people to read.
        In an article in Charisma Magazine describing the current trend of people leaving institutional churches and learning to enjoy their relationship with God without the restraints of hierarchical control systems, one alleged “Christian leader” had the unmitigated gall to say, in his biblical ignorance:
        “It’s a huge problem in the fulfillment of the Great Commission because God is the one who established the local church as His primary method of discipling people. So we lose the united prayer support, the financial strength, the missionary efforts,” he warned.
        Is this person so blind as to what the Bible says, and so without understanding of the heart of God the Father?
        The fulfillment of the Great Commission is the duty of each and every saint of God and will be accomplished by obeying Jesus:
        Matthew 28:18-20 (see also Mark 16:14-16; Luke 24:36-48; Acts 1:6-9):
        18 And Jesus came and spake unto them, saying, All power is given unto me in heaven and in earth.
        19 Go ye therefore, and teach all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost:
        20 Teaching them to observe all things whatsoever I have commanded you: and, lo, I am with you alway, even unto the end of the world. Amen.
        The Good News of the kingdom of God and His Christ will be preached through the whole world by the biblical pattern that God has established for us to follow: multiple local assemblies, i.e., ekklesia’s, representing the corporate body of Christ.
        Jesus said “Teaching them to observe all things...” We’ve been doing that for centuries, just observing what Jesus said. However, the word “observing” in Greek means “... to guard (from loss or injury, properly, by keeping the eye upon) ...” according to Strong’s Dictionary. Vine’s Expository Dictionary says this about the word: “to watch over, preserve, keep, watch.”
        The meaning of this passage is to teach all nations to guard the things that Jesus commanded, or ordered His disciples to do from loss or injury by keeping watch over them and preserving them.
        Instead, we have a variety of opinions, conjectures, guesses, traditions, personal experiences, heretical teachings and doctrines of demons flooding our minds from every conceivable source. Like the statement of the alleged “Christian leader.”
        The local institutional church of which this person spoke is not, absolutely, not God’s “primary method of discipling people.”

Institutional church system attendees feel afraid, control, manipulation and abuse

        Questions I asked these alleged “leaders” in the article “Church people feel afraid, control, manipulation and abuse” are:

Excerpts from “Church people feel afraid, control, manipulation and abuse”

        •Why do you make people commit their loyalty, time, money and talents to you and your organization by “joining your church” and then make them feel guilty if they later change their mind?
        •Why do you manipulate the people at your church by utilizing the practice of offering what appears to be a favor or a concession to them to get them to return equal or greater favors or concessions?
        •Why do you act one way when in public view and encourage others to model their behavior after your public presentations of yourself and then you are a totally different person in your private life?
        •Why do you pro-actively court the attractive people, the moneyed people and the influential people to win their friendship and support and then hold them up as exemplary models of the “Christian life” when you know you didn’t pick them out to showcase their Christianity, and that it was their good looks, their money and their influence that you are publicly recognizing because you want their continued friendship and the support of their money and influence?
        •Why do you consciously select symbols of authority such as expensive homes, expensive automobiles, expensive clothing and self-imposed titles and claim for yourself characteristics such as Godly supernatural knowledge withheld from others, supernatural power and a “special” calling from God to impress the people at your church with the fact that you are a “spiritual authority figure” in some counterfeit authoritarian structure?
        •Why do you promote your church as being the only one that has God’s true message to mankind and without the exclusivity of being a member of your church those who aren’t members or members who leave are condemned as being less of a Christian than those that stay?
        •How can you make people disciples of Jesus Christ when you only preach at them in a one-way communication system for an hour or so every week?
        •Do you really think that your unbiblical “altar call” makes disciples of Jesus Christ out of people?
        •What will you tell Jesus on that day when you stand before Him about the money you conned and cheated people out of by a pseudo-tithe—money that did not go to the fatherless, widows, travelers in the land and those who are truly called, chosen, gifted and anointed by God to speak, practice and teach His mind and counsel and eternal purpose?
        •Why don’t you follow Paul’s example as a tentmaker, and get a real job to support yourself and your family?
        •What makes you so special that people are going to pay you for allegedly “representing Jesus” to them?
        •Why do you usurp Jesus Christ’s role as mediator between God and man?
        •Do you know that in the Greek the word “anti” means both “in place of” and “against” and that in attempting to take the place of Christ you are actually antichrist?
        •Why are you afraid to exchange meaningful dialog with the people at your church?
        •Are you afraid that they’ll find out that you don’t know it all, and that you, also, are a frail, flawed and imperfect human being, just like the rest of us?
        •A last question: What are you going to do about it now?

United we stand, divided they’ll fall

        They don’t cut it, do they? It’s you and I, disciples of Jesus Christ, who, by our 24-hour a day, seven days a week lifestyles, will be the salt and light of which Jesus spoke.
        “So we lose the united prayer support ...”
        Say what? Welcome to planet earth, person, where there is a different church on every street corner, shouting out to the world that Christ is divided. Where you been, ace?
        “... the financial strength ...”
        What you mean is there goes your above average income. And the money to continue to maintain your very own personal religious empire. Money you need to continue to exercise power and control over the deaf, dumb and blind sheep who don’t have enough sense to read from the Bible for themselves and instead listen to what you read into the Bible.
        ““... the missionary efforts,” he warned.”
        Let me quote from the article “God by the Spirit of Jesus Christ will build an assembly:”

Excerpted from “God by the Spirit of Jesus Christ will build an assembly”

        Are we true disciples of Jesus, as a learner, imitator, supporter and follower of Him and Him alone? Allowing our salt and light to affect those around us? Are we preparing ourselves for full citizenship for all of eternity in the kingdom of God as His kings, priests and prophets? Is the world attracted to our salt and light and biblical example of our lifestyles? Is our lifestyle a built-in 24 hour a day, 7 day a week evangelistic tool?
        As the ekklesia of Jesus Christ — the natural and spiritual descendants of Abraham — do we meet in groups in order to be a partial, local expression of the totality of the corporate body of Christ? Are we filling ourselves with the word of God and knowledge of His Christ and allowing the Holy Spirit to teach us all things about the word and Christ? So we have some degree of fullness to minister to others? With each member being their part, exercising their gifts and anointings? And in so doing taking back territory from satan wherever our feet tread as we become a close-knit family of the seed of Abraham? A family that meets together as led by the Holy Spirit — meeting as natural families meet — and shares what they have with the other members of the family, and socializes on a regular basis, and supports those less fortunate among them. A family that is being overseen (bishops) by a plurality of the physically and spiritually mature among them (elders) who feed [read: teach] the family flock and protect them from the wolves that would devour them — both from the outside and the inside (shepherds).
        Are we a family that knows every members’ part, gifts and anointings are necessary in order to grow, mature and increase to become a series of multi-families that grows from local to world-wide groups?
        Are we a family of spiritual descendants of Abraham that is free from denominations, or institutional organizations that maintain a one-man rule by utilizing fear methods of manipulation and intimidation and misinterpretation of scriptural commands, principles and practices?
        The institutional church has no such results. Instead we constantly travel hundreds and thousands of miles away from our homes, spending our time and money in a vain attempt to chase after the latest “anointed” teaching or preacher. So we can learn to “minister,” or “hear God” or “activate our spiritual gifts,” or learn “spiritual warfare,” or how to “heal” according to somebody’s method. And so the “church” ignores its own household and its own neighborhoods. And Bible reading and time spent with God is neglected in favor of traveling.
        There is a tried and proven method detailed throughout the New Testament — God’s method. We work so hard to avoid it because it requires a lifestyle change that incorporates all of the changes and sacrifice and pain and inconvenience involved in family living.

Disciple of who?

        Is Jesus Christ your true spiritual CEO and Head? Have you confessed with your mouth the Lord Jesus and do you believe in your heart that God raised Him from the dead?
        Before you say “Yes and amen!” do you know that “confess” in the Greek is homologeo, which literally means “to speak the same thing?” What it doesn’t mean is to parrot teachings from other people who claim that they have some alleged “spiritual authority” over your life. It means that you are saying the same thing that Jesus said. Unless you read the Bible from cover to cover you will never know what Jesus said, because He is God and the Bible contains everything God said to us humans. God has chosen to reveal Himself to us humans through the Bible. In the Bible we have everything that God wants us to know about Him. Period. End. Finis. Finale. It doesn’t make any difference what some alleged “prophet” or “apostle” or “pastor” or any other idiot who thinks they are so special that God has chosen them to tell us what God forgot to tell us about Himself.
        Do you really understand that? Read the article “God, Creator of time, the universe, space, energy, matter and life.” If you can read, it will help you to get a better perspective of Who God really is, instead of some local version inspired by someone’s overactive imagination.
        Christianity is based upon what the Bible says ... not what man says. Didn’t you know that?
        Our CEO and spiritual Head — Jesus Himself — commented on the evil thoughts proceeding from the human heart, which is the subject of this discussion from the book “Growth In Goodness—The Heart Of Jesus.”

From the bottom of your heart ...

Excerpted from “Growth In Goodness—The Heart Of Jesus.”

        In Matthew 15:19 Jesus told us: “For out of the heart proceed evil thoughts ...” The heart refers to the human spirit and soul of man. “Evil” here is poneros, meaning evil in influence and effect. It’s destructive, harmful and malignant. In the companion passage in Mark 7:21, He uses the word kakos for evil. This means evil in character ... worthless, shameful and disgraceful. “Thoughts” is dialogismos, inward reasonings and questionings. The character of fallen man is worthless, shameful and disgraceful. This comes from his inward reasonings and questionings. In influence and effect the exercise of man’s reason is destructive, harmful and malignant.
        Jesus said in Matthew 7:11: “If ye then being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him?” The word “being” is on, to be, the verb meaning ordinary existence. “Evil” is poneros, defined above as evil in influence and effect. It is destructive, harmful and malignant. In Luke 11:13, the parallel passage of the verse, He states “If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children: how much more shall your heavenly Father give the Holy Spirit to them that ask him?” Here, the word “being” is huparcho, which Vine’s Expository Dictionary defines as “to exist, which always involves a pre-existent state, prior to the fact referred to, and a continuance of the state after the fact.” “Evil” is the same word, poneros.
        We were “evil” (poneros) before Jesus stated the fact, when He spoke, and will continue to be “evil” in the future. We have been corrupted and imperfected by the terminal illness of sin. Many humanistic and spiritualistic efforts to repair, recondition or refurbish humanity come and go in society. These are simply trends by fallen man to disown his problem.
        As saved human beings we are still “evil.” By God’s love, grace, mercy, wisdom, judgment and divine justice we can become legally perfect in His sight. Our personal and individual acceptance of the sacrificial death of Jesus Christ makes us eligible for a brand new existence. Any other hope of change of our “evil” character and influence is a false hope.
        Characteristics of fish are scales, fins and living under the water. Of a bird feathers, wings and flying in the air. Characteristics of fallen man are worthless, shameful, disgraceful thoughts, resulting in destructive, harmful and malignant influences and effects.
        In Matthew 15:19 Jesus discussed thoughts, what’s in the spirit and soul of man. In the eighteenth verse He said, “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.” Paul tells us: “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; ...” (Galatians 5:19), and then lists them.
        We talk about, and then evidence evil thoughts from the heart in actions. Failure to engage in apostolic spiritual warfare gives us full verbal and physical expression of these evil thoughts. We see the outcome as Jesus enumerates them ...
        In Matthew 15:19 and Mark 7:22: Jesus discusses murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies, covetousness, wickedness, deceit, lasciviousness, evil eye, pride and foolishness. Every one of these evil thoughts is found in the current societies on this earth and in the church and are given full verbal and physical expression. I discuss these in-depth in the article “The Bible-Understanding God, His Kingdom, Jesus, The Holy Spirit”
        Jesus, our CEO and spiritual Head said: “But those things which proceed out of the mouth come forth from the heart; and they defile the man.”
        Does this give you understanding as to how the artificially contrived and counterfeit, illegitimate, paganized, Romanized, pope-modeled, traditional, man-made institutional church system by its unbiblical authoritarian hierarchy has also affected your life?
        Do you see how simply “focusing blame on a “few bad apples”” will hinder the social and cultural changes necessary to prevent further abuses?”
        Do you understand that you have to repent of believing and following the teachings and traditions of men and believe the gospel of Jesus Christ? And repent now—the accepted time—as the day of your salvation from being a powerless mock prisoner to the institutional church system’s sadistic, all-powerful mock guards of an illegitimate mock gospel?

Are you a powerless mock prisoner volunteer?

        I said in the article “Jezebel Spirit Controlling Institutional Church People:”

Excerpted from “Jezebel Spirit Controlling Institutional Church People”

        For those who don’t take the time to read the articles suggested above, you can stay in this system and simply accept the abuse you will continue to endure. You will also continue to be manipulated and intimidated by the psychological methods of the controlling spirits of Jezebel as noted under “Techniques used for control” that are listed (in the article). May I say, with love, that if you choose to do so, that you deserve it? Anyone who deliberately and consciously ignores scriptural truth and voluntarily submits themselves to a system that is the product of human wisdom, which James says is earthly, sensual and demonic, is in total disobedience to God and His will and His purpose for His ekklesia.
        While there are those who prefer to be dominated and controlled because of dysfunctional quirks, they may not realize that by so doing they have intentionally removed themselves from a place of God’s blessings to a place of God’s curses. If you are one of those who enjoy such a psychological climate of controlling spirits then you are not open to the truth being presented here. However, be assured that it will only get worse, not better, especially as you become the apostate church of which the Bible speaks.


Articles referenced in this article:
“God, Jesus Christ, Holy Spirit, Bible have taught the truth.”
“Government Authority And Power In America: Good Or Evil?”
“Free In Christ!”
“Church people feel afraid, control, manipulation and abuse”
“God by the Spirit of Jesus Christ will build an assembly”
“God, Creator of time, the universe, space, energy, matter and life.”
“Growth In Goodness—The Heart Of Jesus.”
“The Bible-Understanding God, His Kingdom, Jesus, The Holy Spirit”
“Jezebel Spirit Controlling Institutional Church People”

Related articles describing similar controlling and psychological abuse tactics:
“Tithe, Covering, Assembling, Obey Them That Have The Rule Over You”
“Love, Life and Liberty”
“Does Anybody Out There Hear Me?”
“Personal Power Of Christ Or Corporate Power?—An Open Letter To Those Who Name The Name Of Christ”
“Words Control Emotions, Thinking, People, Family And Church”

        There is a complete listing of articles written in an attempt to free the individual disciple of Jesus Christ from the bondage of the institutional church mindset on the Site Map page, under Articles Index, Church Articles.



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