A pastor friend who has had to face the kind of church situation I write about in my Controlling Personalities in the Church series shares his wise advice for others who think they may be facing this too common problem.
Advice When Facing Spiritual Authority Abuse
by the Rev. Reed DePace, PCA
I found myself in an impossible position. A man in spiritual leadership, a man I looked up to for his wisdom, commitment and integrity, was asking me to defend him.
Now, I've defended people before. I recognize that in appropriate circumstances, such is the proper response for those who love the Lord and His righteousness. At times, a shepherd is responsible to defend sheep from attacks. Yet this time ...
This time I didn't agree that this man had been attacked. In fact, I thought he was the one doing the attacking. His idea of defending him was to join him in spreading innuendo laden comments about others who confronted him. To defend my friend, I was being told I needed to participate in slanderous gossip about others.
My friend was telling me that the right thing, the godly thing for me to do was to defend him against those who would call him on his sin. He made it clear, If I didn't do this I would prove myself to be one of those unjust, evil men who were wickedly going after him.
Of course I couldn't do this. And when I went to him, to urge a friend to consider his ways, I was attacked.
The pressure I felt, the confusion, the self-doubt, the hurt and anguish. And through it all, the still, small voice of the Spirit whispering through the Bible continued calling me rest in my Redeemer.
I did. I lost my friend. I was attacked. I was drawn closer by Christ to His side. I was taught to rejoice while I wept. I was blessed.
I still love my friend. I still long for the Spirit to convict him that he might be restored. I also learned how to face such circumstances next time in greater faith and confidence.
Maybe what I learned can help you.