Author Archives: holynewsdaily

The Hunt for Butchering Devil Worshipers

Devil worshipers are being hunted after a dead badger and a deer’s head were put near a school, in Totton, Hampshire.

The badger’s spreadeagled corpse was found inside a five-pointed satanic star.

Three days earlier a deer’s head was also discovered in a busy underpass at Spicers Hill.

It follows cases of New Forest sheep being killed in 2019 and 2020 – in those instances, they were stabbed, mutilated and daubed with so-called satanic symbols.

At the time, police also received reports of a cow being injured, while a church was covered in satanic graffiti, including the numbers 666 sprayed on the door.

One appalled resident, who asked not to be named, said: “The discovery of the badger, placed on a pentagram surrounded by leaves and consequently blood, shocked many students.

“This isn’t the only incident of this satanic ritual. A mutilated deer head was discovered in similar circumstances. Is this quiet neighborhood having deals with the devil?

“And the lingering question running through all students’ heads – who is doing this? And what’s next?”

The gruesome badger discovery was made in an underpass outside Hounsdown School. Totton councilor David Harrison said: “The people doing this are doing so to cause a bit of a public outrage.

“It is completely devoid of any care for children who might witness what is an unpleasant sight as they walk to school.

“It is very immature, thoughtless, and likely that it is nothing whatever to do with any satanic ritual.”

Sergeant James Blachford of the local constabulary added: “There is nothing to suggest at this time that the animals were killed deliberately, nor any evidence at the scene that a ritual had taken place.”

The Cherokee Worshiped the God of the Bible?

The American Cherokee Indians worship the Supreme Being, Ye ho waah or Yo ho wah, which is very similar to the Hebrew name of God (Yahweh or Yahoveh).

The Cherokee Indians believe in one Supreme Being–the Creator– and have surprising connections to Christianity.

Ancient Cherokee Indians believed before 1750 that God was going to appear on Earth as a man and they called this person by five different Old Testament (Hebrew) names for Jesus.

The Cherokees have three actual cities of refuge, they have the stories of the great flood, and many other Old Testament stories.

They also adhere to the prohibitions found within the Ten Commandments.

Cherokees keep one day without work for prayer.

The name for Cherokee People is “A ni yun wi yah”, which in English means “The Principle People” or akin to “The People of God.” The devotion of the Cherokee people was to the Supreme Holy Spirit who could not be looked upon and whose energy was the fire of all creation and the fire of all life and who resided in the heavens and on earth through purified people. They were rigidly non idolaters and neither would they observe any religious images among them or keep idolatrous religious ceremonies. Instead the Cherokee people adored the one Great Spirit, God, who they described as “the only Giver and Taker of life.” They were devoted to a higher principled way of living according to their ancient religious beliefs of the one benevolent God.

The Cherokees believed this sole Author of creation was with them and they with God by His blessing of mankind with animals and all plant and vegetable life. Their religious worship very closely paralleled the Mosiac institution in the Old Testament of the Bible. They were not pagans and were warned each year by their priests, just as the Old Testament warned about “…giving heed to seducing spirits, and doctrines of devils; speaking lies in hypocrisy; having their conscience seared with a hot iron” (1 Timothy 4:1,2).

When we look as far back as the 1600s, there still existed one minority sect of the Cherokee people who declared there existed three entities above, who were always joined together in action and spirit, and were of the same mind. It was said that these three entities were always one in sentiment, in thought and action. They created all things and governed all things. The three entities sat on white seats above and all prayers were to be directed toward them. They had helpers and messengers known as angels who came to earth to help attend to the affairs of men. The Cherokees believed that in the beginning this trinity of entities created all creatures and creation to be harmless, as in Eden


The Cherokee people were obedient to Ye ho waah (Jehovah God) and assembled for worship at the structures they were commanded to erect. They met early in the morning. When the people were all seated and silent, the priest known as U ku wi a hi (Uku), would commence his speech. The Uku would command the Cherokees to obey Ye ho waah in every respect, telling people they must do all that He directed them to do and to never disobey Him secretly because they were never alone because Ye ho waah was with them. They were never to indulge in idle or vain conversation, or call anyone wicked names. They were to abstain from all lewdness and polygamy. Children were to be hardworking and obedient to their parents

This and many more fascinating facts about the history of the Cherokee people can be found at this link.

Canada Listed On Christian Oppression Watch-list?

This week, the Ohio House of Representatives passed a resolution asking the US Commission on International Religious Freedom to add Canada to your watch list from countries where religious freedoms are threatened.

State Representative Tim Ginter introduced the legislation, saying Canadian lawmakers mishandled COVID-19 lockdown restrictions and targeted churches, Faithwire Reports. In one case, Alberta officers arrested and jailed James Coates, the pastor of GraceLife Church in Edmonton. He was jailed for more than 30 days for holding in-person worship services in violation of government lockdown restrictions.

“This resolution is not the result of a single incident or even a handful of incidents,” Ginter said in a statement. according to WKSU-TV. “It is a persistent pattern of religious rights violations that has brought us to this point,” she added.

Ohio State Representative Reggie Stoltzfus also said Coates’ treatment was unacceptable.

“While Ohio has upheld religious freedom and protected the right to attend religious services, it is clear that Canada has not done the same,” Stoltzfus said, describing the nation’s mandates as “very similar to what we see in the Communist controlled China. ”

In an interview with CBN’s Faithwire, Coates also said the restrictions felt like the beginning of “totalitarian” measures.

“I think this is going to continue to happen; there will still be battles,” he explained, calling his experience a “practical illustration of what taking a bold stand on God’s Word looks like.”

In another case, Alberta pastor Artur Pawlowski was arrested and spent two months in solitary confinement for inciting “mischief” when he participated in the “Freedom Convoy” along the U.S. border. United and Canada. The Freedom Convoy was a rally led by truck drivers against pandemic restrictions.

Meanwhile, Democratic leaders in Ohio say the resolution isn’t necessary.

“We should be addressing the issues our constituents are asking for, like tougher gun policies, legislation to protect women’s rights, and reforming our rigged criminal justice system,” said State Rep. Latyna Humphrey (D). “Right now, we are focusing on matters that are not even within our jurisdiction.”

Prayer Alert: At least 50 killed in Church Shooting

As attackers opened fire on worshippers inside a Catholic church in southwestern Nigeria, other gunmen waited outside to kill those who tried to flee, church officials and witnesses said Monday.

At least 50 people including children were killed in the attack, according to a state lawmaker from the area.

Worshippers had just arrived for Pentecost Sunday Mass when gunfire erupted at the St. Francis Catholic Church in Ondo state, said Bishop Jude Arogundade of the Ondo Catholic Diocese.

Steven Omotayo, who lives near the church, rushed to the scene upon hearing the gunshots.

“I saw a lot of dead bodies — both young and old, even children,” he said. “The people came in and started shooting from the gate.”

He said the church has three entrances and the main entrance was said to have been locked, making it difficult for many to escape.

“They were just shooting. If they see anyone trying to escape or stand up, they will just shoot the person,” he said. “Everybody standing was bombarded with bullets.”

It was not immediately known who was behind the church massacre and authorities said the gunmen managed to flee the scene. While northern Nigeria has battled an Islamic insurgency for more than 13 years, Ondo state has long been considered one of the most peaceful states in the country.

Hospital workers struggled to treat scores of wounded following the attack. The Nigeria Medical Association in Ondo state directed all available doctors to head to the hospitals to offer any help to dozens of critically wounded.

“At a stage, even the blood got exhausted at our blood bank and we had to be pleading for blood,” said a doctor at the Federal Medical Center in Owo who spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to journalists.

“Even as a physician, I have attended to a good number of casualties but what I saw yesterday was far beyond whatever I have seen before in my life and in the practice.”

Brooklyn Church Looted and Vandalized

In a crime Catholic Church officials in Brooklyn are calling brazen, hateful and disrespectful, the New York City Police Department is investigating after thieves decapitated angel statues and ripped a centuries-old solid gold tabernacle worth $2 million from the altar of a local church.

In a statement Friday, the Roman Catholic Diocese of Brooklyn announced the theft at St. Augustine Catholic Church, located at 116 6th Ave. in the Park Slope section of Brooklyn.

“This is devastating, as the Tabernacle is the central focus of our church outside of worship, holding the Body of Christ, the Eucharist, which is delivered to the sick and homebound,” the church’s priest, Father Frank Tumino, said in a statement. “To know that a burglar entered the most sacred space of our beautiful Church and took great pains to cut into a security system is a heinous act of disrespect.”

Diocese officials said that the tabernacle, which dates back to when the church was built in the late 1800s, “is irreplaceable due to its historical and artistic value.”

John Quaglione, the diocese’s deputy press secretary, told The Christian Post Tuesday that no motive has yet been established for the robbery.

The parish has been buoyed by an outpouring of support from across the country.

“The faithful of the Church are shocked and greatly upset by what has happened, and are turning to prayer. There is a sense of sorrow among the people of St. Augustine,” Quaglione wrote in an email.

“People throughout the United States have been calling and contacting the parish and also expressing their prayerful intentions for the return of the Tabernacle. There continues to be a sense of hope that as the story has received so much attention, something as distinctive as this Tabernacle may possibly be returned.”

Police suspect the theft of the 18-karat gold tabernacle occurred sometime between 6:30 p.m. Thursday and 4 p.m. Saturday, according to CNN. The thieves likely used power tools to “forcefully cut open” the altar to get to the tabernacle, according to the New York City Police Department.

Thieves decapitated angels flanking the tabernacle and scattered the Holy Eucharist at the altar.

Father Tumino, who discovered the theft, detailed in his sermon Sunday how the robbery made him think about quitting his assignment at the church momentarily.

“I noticed the doors of St. Augustine were slightly ajar, and if you listen to the news this morning, you’ll know that someone very organized and quite violently took the tabernacle from St. Augustine. They cut the doors open,” he said.

“As I was cleaning after the police left, Eucharist was strewn all over the altar. And as I was cleaning, I felt so abandoned. I was thinking to myself, why am I assigned here? This is not a good assignment. This is nothing but trouble after trouble after trouble.”

“I was thinking to myself, you know how easy it would be to just say ‘it’s time to go,'” he said, waving goodbye. “As I was cleaning, I started getting into this place where I said, ‘look at this.’ No one from the diocese even called me, and then I got into an even deeper depth. I said, ‘Look at this. You do all the right things and you don’t get any type of reaction.'”

Tumino said he rejected the despair that crept upon him once he checked his messages and found that everyone he had called in “administration” about the robbery had called him back from different parts of the world to assure him that “things would be OK.”

He remembered one profound conversation with a friend who said, “you are so lucky that you’re safe.”

“I said, ‘What are you talking about?’ And he said, ‘I’ve known you for so many years, and I know that when you walk past your church and you see lights on, you go in,'” Tumino recalled. “And how lucky you are and how lucky the many people that go in and out of St. Augustine Church … that no one was there and they caught them in the act.”

Tumino said he is grateful for that perspective.

The priests said some might wonder why the church kept such an expensive tabernacle.

“People might tell us, ‘Why does the church have something that expensive? That should be sold,'” he said.

“That’s a gift to us as part of our patrimony of those who have gone before us,” he continued. “Those, who like us, waited for the return of Jesus.”

Man Throws Molotov Cocktail into Church

A man investigators say was caught on video hurling Molotov cocktails at two churches in North Carolina has been arrested.

Cumberland County Sheriff Ennis Wright announced on Facebook Monday that 57-year-old Terry Wayne Raeford of Fayetteville was arrested in connection with the vandalism of the two churches.

In a Facebook post Sunday, Wright noted that sheriff’s investigators initially responded to the first incident at Grays Creek Church in Hope Mills just after 10:30 a.m. A half-hour later, New Calvary Missionary Baptist Church in Fayetteville reported a similar incident, Wright said.

Arson investigators obtained video footage from both churches, which showed a black male in his 50s pull a gray sedan with tinted windows into a parking lot. No injuries were reported in either incident. Security cameras captured the suspect’s vehicle at both locations, enabling them to identify Raeford as the man in the video.

Raeford was charged with “two counts of Manufacture, Assembly, Possession, Storage, Transportation, Sale, Purchase, Delivery, or Acquisition of Weapon of Mass Death and Destruction; Exceptions, and two counts of Malicious Damage of Occupied Property by Use of Explosive or Incendiary; Punishment.” 

Wright indicated that Raeford, who is being held at the Cumberland County Detention Center on a $200,000 bond, is cooperating with the investigation. He made his first appearance in court Tuesday afternoon.

The social media pages for both churches appeared to show predominantly black congregations. The motive for the vandalism remains unclear and it is unknown whether any hate crime charges would be filed.

The attack against the North Carolina churches marks the most recent acts of vandalism against places of worship.

The nondenominational Axis Church in Nashville reported a similar attack involving a Molotov cocktail last September. Federal investigators offered a financial reward for any information on who may have been responsible for the attack. Two months after the incident, church leaders were still working to repair the damage, which forced them to “strip everything down to studs” and rebuild.

New York City police are investigating after thieves decapitated angel statues and ripped a centuries-old solid gold tabernacle worth $2 million from the altar of a local Catholic church.

Last month, pro-abortion vandals targeted two separate churches in Colorado with graffiti messages like “Abortion Saves Lives” and “My Body My Choice.” Windows were broken and church statues were defaced as well.

The vandalism occurred days after Politico published the contents of a leaked draft majority opinion that indicated the U.S. Supreme Court may overturn the Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide in the coming weeks.

Since the publication of the draft opinion, reports of vandalism and other damage have been reported at churches and pro-life pregnancy centers across the U.S., including in Maryland, Michigan, Mississippi, Oregon, Texas, Virginia, Washington and Wisconsin.

Did Scientists Find Hell?

“Imagine if Earth were much, much closer to the Sun. So close that an entire year lasts only a few hours. So close that gravity has locked one hemisphere in permanent searing daylight and the other in endless darkness. So close that the oceans boil away, rocks begin to melt, and the clouds rain lava.”

This is how NASA describes 55 Cancri e, a planet fifty light-years away from us. In the coming weeks, the James Webb Space Telescope is expected to give scientists their first look at this fiery world.

However, you don’t have to turn to the skies to find a planet filled with hellish behavior.

There has been another mass shooting, this one in Tulsa, Oklahoma, where at least four people were killed on a hospital campus. Several others were injured; the gunman apparently then took his own life. In other news, the man accused in the mass shooting in Buffalo, New York, has been indicted on more than two dozen charges. And the victims in Uvalde are being remembered and honored as burials continue this week. I could go on.

But even in our fallen and broken world, there is a pathway to peace available to each of us today.

Why temptation is spiritual dopamine

In The Life We’re Looking For: Reclaiming Relationship in a Technological World, Andy Crouch explains addiction in a way I had not understood before. He cites Cambridge neuroscientist Wolfram Schultz, who reported that “drugs of addiction” such as cocaine, amphetamine, nicotine, and alcohol “generate, hijack, and amplify the dopamine reward signal.” However, Crouch notes that “the real power of these drugs goes beyond their ability to generate rewards.”

According to Crouch, Schultz and his collaborators discovered that “not only do these drugs unleash floods of rewarding dopamine, but they prevent us from learning that their rewards are fleeting. By interfering with ‘reward prediction,’ the most powerful hijackers of the dopamine pathway create the sensation, at a primal level of our brains, that their rewards are ever new and ever worth pursuing—even as our own self-awareness and reflection tell us they are damaging and degrading.”

Crouch warns that “everything from gambling to social media can grant us the same superpower sensation—and create the same learning-resistant illusion.”

Temptation works in the same way. Satan assures us that we can get away with whatever we are being tempted to do, that the benefits will outweigh the costs. Otherwise, we would not commit the sins we are being tempted to commit.

But Jesus warned us that Satan is “a liar and the father of lies” (John 8:44). As I often warn, sin will always take us further than we wanted to go, keep us longer than we wanted to stay, and cost us more than we wanted to pay.

In a culture filled with conflict and confusion, what is the path to the peace our souls long to experience?

How to find “perfect peace”

The prophet Isaiah testified, “You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you” (Isaiah 26:3). Keep translates a Hebrew word meaning to “watch, guard, protect.” Perfect peace translates shalom, which refers to “completeness, soundness, prosperity, being whole.” The mind refers to “forming a purpose through thought.” Stayed means to “support, lean on.” Trusts means to “be full of confidence.”

A literal translation of this assurance would therefore be: “You keep and protect in completeness and wholeness the person who forms his thoughts and purposes by depending on you, because he places his full confidence in you.”

Why should we trust God in this way? The text continues: “Trust in the LORD forever, for the LORD God is an everlasting rock” (v. 4). The prophet responded, “My soul yearns for you in the night; my spirit within me earnestly seeks you” (v. 9a). For this reason: “For when your judgments are in the earth, the inhabitants of the world learn righteousness” (v. 9b).

However, if we seek this peace from any source but God, he cannot bless such idolatry: “If favor is shown to the wicked, he does not learn righteousness; in the land of uprightness he deals corruptly and does not see the majesty of the LORD (v. 10). As we noted yesterday, God cannot encourage idolatry lest he participate in it and reward that which harms us.

By contrast, when we seek God, “O LORD, you will ordain peace for us, for you have indeed done for us all our works” (v. 12).

We may have committed such idolatry in the past, but it is not too late to repent: “O LORD our God, other lords besides you have ruled over us, but your name alone we bring to remembrance” (v. 13). If we do not, judgment is inevitable: “Behold, the LORD is coming out from his place to punish the inhabitants of the earth for their iniquity, and the earth will disclose the blood shed on it, and will no more cover its slain” (v. 21).

“How can we be a blessing in this neighborhood?”

Let’s respond to this remarkable text in two ways.

One: Seek divine peace today.

Ask the Spirit to bring to mind any ways in which you are trusting someone or something other than the Lord for your peace. Then confess what comes to your thoughts, claim his forgiving grace (1 John 1:9), and make the intentional decision to rely on his peace and power.

Two: Extend the peace of Christ to others.

A church in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, asked its neighbors, “How can we be a blessing in this neighborhood?” Their response: “Help us close Rebels Bar,” a “nuisance bar” that had been used for prostitution, drug sales, and other criminal activity for decades. So the church bought the bar. Since that time, new businesses and restaurants have moved into the area. And the church has brought the peace of Christ into its community.

“Let that loving voice be my guide”

Let’s close with a prayer by Henri Nouwen that seeks the peace our Lord offers:

Dear God,

Speak gently in my silence.

When the loud outer noises of my surroundings

and the loud inner noises of my fears

keep pulling me away from you,

help me to trust that you are still there

even when I am unable to hear you.

Give me ears to listen to your small, soft voice saying:

“Come to me, you who are overburdened, and I will give you rest

for I am gentle and humble of heart.” Let that loving voice be my guide.


Do Christians Need Government?

Government was instituted by God to bring His laws to people and to carry out His will and purposes. In the Old Testament, government maintained the place of worship, provided judges to decide civil cases between the people, restrained and punished lawbreakers, and mobilized the nation for action against external enemies.

The first government was a theocracy, where God dealt directly with the people. When God was in charge of things, no other government was necessary.

He worked through the family, clan, or tribe. The father or patriarch acted as the agent of God for the rest of the family.

During the period of the judges the people became rebellious, and clear direction from God was lacking. Both religious and civil life became confused, and “everyone did what was right in his own eyes” (Judges 17:6, Judges 21:25).

At the close of the period of the judges, God raised up Samuel, who was both a prophet and a judge. At that time, the formal religious life of the country was under the direction of the high priest. During Samuel’s administration, the people asked for a king, and God gave them a monarchy which rose to its height during the reign of David and his son Solomon (1 Samuel 8:4-5, 1 Samuel 19-20, 1 Kings 9:3-5, 1 Kings 10:23).

When the perfect government is established during the Millennium, Jesus Christ will combine in Himself the offices of prophet, priest, and king.

This will be a perfect theocracy, made possible because the perfect law of God will be universally accepted by all mankind, and “the earth shall be full of knowledge of the Lord as the waters cover the sea” (Isaiah 11:9). Perfect government comes from God and is controlled by God.

Short of that, the next best government is a limited democracy in which the people acknowledge rights given by God but voluntarily grant government limited power to do those things the people cannot do individually. Contrast these forms of government with Communism, which maintains that the dictatorship of the proletariat is supreme and an essential evolution of history; that God does not exist; and that citizens have only those privileges granted by the state.

Local Clergy Speaks out on Uvalde School Shooting

I remember being 10. I had just discovered a passion for soccer and watched the entire World Cup for the first time alongside my father and my brother.

I embarked on my first mission trip with my church that year to the sierras of Chihuahua, Mexico, where I was fascinated by the idea of one day doing ministry full-time.

I remember being 18. I had graduated high school a semester earlier and had moved to Alabama for a few months before starting college in the fall. My family was no longer together, and my mother had to work all the time because she was now a single parent of two kids.

I knew I wanted to leave those difficult experiences behind and study college away from home. Today I can tell you that I did not know much more at 18 than I knew at 10.

As a journalist and minister who has found a home in Texas, I’ve reflected on these stages of my life as I’ve mourned the tragedy currently crushing the Latino community—an additional chapter to our often painful history. As we so dreadfully now know, on Tuesday, 19 children, ages 9, 10, and 11, were murdered by one who had reached 18 a little more than a week earlier.

The victims loved their moms, celebrated first Communions, and made honor roll. They were children who, just like me years ago, might have watched their first World Cup with their dads and brothers later this very year.

The person who murdered these children was a man barely on the other side of childhood—one who, as Brennan Manning writes, was “broken on the wheels of living.” We know only the surface of what Salvador Ramos’s life was like: a parent struggling with drug addiction, bullying that targeted his speech impediment, violence that intensified as he grew older.

As we grieve these outrageous deaths, we know that Christ was not indifferent to children. Matthew 18 and 19 reveal that Jesus, the very embodiment of God, loves and sees them.

These passages show that as we mature in Christ, we are expected not only to become more like children—as the disciples learned when they asked who would be the greatest in God’s kingdom—but also to protect and look after them.

While we struggle to seek solutions to an infuriatingly intractable problem, perhaps one area the church should take care to not neglect is the care and stewardship of the youngest and most vulnerable members of our society.

A little child shall lead them

Matthew 18:1–5

At that time the disciples came to Jesus and asked, “Who, then, is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven?”

He called a little child to him, and placed the child among them. And he said: “Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Therefore, whoever takes the lowly position of this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven. And whoever welcomes one such child in my name welcomes me.

Our culture understands greatness not unlike the culture that Jesus was born into. Wealth. Power. Markers of status that people devote their entire lives to seeking. But Jesus has a different model for those who want to make it in his kingdom: children.

To make his point, Jesus beckons to a child and brings him or her into the circle of disciples. He wants them to consider the child’s smallness, fragility, dependence, humanity and to emulate it. In contrast to his own culture, Jesus’ words and actions tell us that children not only are people but are also the most important members of the eternal and holy kingdom of heaven.

But children are not a prop that Jesus wants to use as an object lesson. Our interactions with them are our interactions with God. Welcoming a child, Jesus says, is welcoming God. Shaping a culture that will hurt children, tear them to the ground, ignore their loneliness, and violate their vulnerability suggests something about how we worship the Lord.

Why is Abuse So Common in the Church?

This morning, I had a headline pop up on my phone:

“Bombshell 400-page report finds Southern Baptist leaders routinely silenced sexual abuse survivors”

I clicked on the link out of curiosity as to what this secular news agency had to say, knowing that there’s often a bias against Christianity. However, like most of you, I know there has been sexual abuse in the Southern Baptist Convention (SBC) and all religious denominations.

How do I know? Because I’ve experienced it. Within my own marriage. To a Southern Baptist pastor. My experience is slightly different, but it is still abuse. He used scripture to manipulate me. He had an adulterous relationship (think about it–adultery IS a form of abuse).

But, let’s take it a step further. While the “other woman” made a conscious decision to have an affair with my then-husband, she could also be considered a victim of his abusive behavior. He took advantage of his position as a pastor to draw her in. She was enamored with his biblical knowledge, with his godliness, something she perceived her husband didn’t possess. How do I know? Because I read the emails and transcripts of their late-night chats. So much of it was her perception of who he was from his pulpit–not who he was behind closed doors. 

Why is abuse so rampant in the SBC? Why is abuse so rampant in the Church? While I am certain it is multi-factorial, I can share a few things that I have come to realize over the years.

1. We deal with fallible humans and not an infallible God.

I know many of us long to be like Jesus, but we simply are not. Our example was perfect in every way. He knew how to model grace and truth. He could read hearts and direct people. He could see the deceit in the hearts of men (Jeremiah 17:9) and direct them where He willed (Proverbs 21:1).

However, our earthly experiences are with sinful men, not our sinless Savior. Not one of us is without sin (Romans 3:23). And that includes the leaders who are supposed to be teaching us to be more like Christ Himself. They are sinners, and we can be certain that they will one day be judged more strictly (James 3:1). Even though we often put spiritual leaders on a pedestal, they are humans and sinners just like we are.

2. We are taught forgiveness and grace.

Our faith is one that emphasizes forgiveness and grace, which rightfully are key tenets of Christianity. We teach that women are to clothe themselves with gentleness, kindness, and patience (Colossians 3:11-13). These are good qualities, essential qualities.

The problem is that we fail to give any time to abuse and boundaries and toxicity. We fail to see that Jesus Himself wasn’t a doormat allowing others to walk on Him. When He faced the Pharisees, He recognized the toxicity in their hearts and called them out on it. His words were not kind and gentle but direct and truthful. He chose to put space between Himself and those who were toxic to Him and to His mission. 

We need to learn that boundaries and recognizing abusive, toxic behaviors are not contradictory to our faith. Instead, it can actually enhance our relationships with God.

3. Our love for God encourages us to always do the right thing.

We sincerely desire to walk in obedience to God, to bring glory and honor to Him. But sometimes, our desire to do right actually causes us to become entrapped in unhealthy situations. 

When my pastor-husband had an affair, I remember tearfully telling a friend my biggest concern was the damage that wehad inflicted on the name of Christ. The truth is that wehad not done anything to damage the name of Christ. Hehad done something to damage God’s name. But, I was connected to him. I was his wife. In my desire to do the right thing, I had forgiven and forgiven and forgiven again–and failed to stand up to my husband. I was so intent on staying in my marriage because it was the right thing that I failed to see how walking away could actually be God’s will.

So many of us are actually incredibly devoted to our faith, and we fear exposing our abusers will actually damage the name of Christ. It makes it so much harder to walk away.

4. Spiritual abuse includes twisting Scripture subtly to make it sound biblical.

Remember the serpent in Genesis? He didn’t come up with some outlandish claim to distract Eve. Instead, it was a subtle change to God’s words. “Did God really say…?” Genesis 3 

Abusive spiritual leaders often know scripture and are capable of subtly twisting it to make it seem sound and biblical. They have often already gained their victim’s trust through their charisma and the persona they portray. They usually have command of the scriptures. And, we rarely question or doubt their authority on the scripture. It makes it fairly easy for them to gently groom their victims and convince them their view of scripture is not fully correct.

Think about submission. How many times have we heard that a wife is to submit to her husband? The man who takes that scripture out of the greater context and uses it to control his wife is guilty of twisting scripture. The truly godly man will recognize that submission is a two-way street that must be tempered with all of the wonderful qualities of Christianity: forgiveness, grace, patience, and tender-hearted mercy. It’s not an opportunity for the man to exercise control but is instead an act of respect and putting others ahead of ourselves. 

Sadly, abuse in the SBC and the Church in general is real and damaging. It’s time we empower the faithful with the truth. The truth that people are sinners. The truth that our faith lends itself to missing toxic and abusive behaviors. The truth that we can get caught up in doing the right thing for God and failing to see how we are easily being led astray. 

We must learn that Jesus didn’t always offer grace. Sometimes He chose to walk away from those religious folks who were toxic and abusive.