For wisdom is a defense, even as money is a defense; but the excellency of knowledge is, that wisdom preserves the life of him that has it. Ecclesiastes 7:12
I chose this scripture to open this new area of critique! And believe me you need knowledge and wisdom to do book reviews. Why? Because there is a lot of smoke and mirrors in many of the books written on Biblical subjects! I for one cannot stand an author that insults my intelligence by making unsubstantiated statements where the Bible is concerned! I believe this to be a severe form of intellectual abuse! I remember what the Apostle Peter said in 2 Peter 3:15
And account that the long-suffering of our Master is salvation; even as our beloved brother Paul also, according to the wisdom given to him, wrote to you; as also in all his epistles, speaking in them of these things; wherein are some things hard to be understood, which the ignorant and unstedfast wrest, as they do also the other scriptures, to their own destruction
I the Preacher was king over Israel in Jerusalem. And I applied my heart to seek and to search out by wisdom concerning all that is done under heaven: it is a sore travail that Elohim has given to the sons of men to be exercised therewith. I have seen all the works that are done under the sun; and, behold, all is vanity and a striving after wind. That which is crooked cannot be made straight; and that which is wanting cannot be numbered. I communed with mine own heart, saying, Lo, I have gotten me great wisdom above all that were before me in Jerusalem; yes, my heart has had great experience of wisdom and knowledge. And I applied my heart to know wisdom, and to know madness and folly: I perceived that this also was a striving after wind. For in much wisdom is much grief; and he that increases knowledge increases sorrow. Ecclesiastes 1:12-18
And furthermore, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh. Ecclesiastes 12:12
Yes! The religious world is full of books on Biblical subjects. The subject material appears inexhaustible. Everything you would ever consider about the Bible, its main Author, the characters, the roles they played, and the whole host of authors' interpretation about it all, have been written! You will find that most books have agendas. Some are direct in their agendas, while some are subtler in their approach. I have an extensive library on various Biblical subject materials. I try hard to be selective when choosing to either read or buy any book period! I do not want my mind cluttered with quasi-intellectual drivel!
Historical books can be a real asset, providing the author is well-researched on the subject material! Biblical language books are necessary for a deeper understanding of the Biblical words used; either in the original language or in a good translation from the original languages. Brown-Driver-Briggs' Hebrew Definitions is good for the Hebrew meaning of words for an example. Thayer’s Greek Definitions is another good language resource. I believe you understand what I am trying to convey to you!
It is sad to say: so many authors suffer from intellectual vanity! They really believe they are the experts on the ideas and views expressed in their books. Perhaps they started off in humble fashion (I am trying to give them the benefit of the doubt) but ended in the arrogance of pseudo intellectualism.
Your heart was lifted up because of your beauty; you have corrupted your wisdom by reason of your brightness: I have cast you to the ground; I have laid you before kings, that they may behold you. Ezekiel 28:17
There are two books I would like to review at this time! I will start with the book entitled:
"The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse"
David Johnson & Jeff VanVonderen
In their introduction both of these men claim to be educated and accredited in theological training. In the following pages we come to Introduction "Messages From the Heart" by David Johnson. Co-Author Johnson then begins with a case history as an example and introduction to his diagnosis. This is where the term spiritual abuse is implied with the following statement, "Her abuse was spiritual." The condition of the woman Johnson describes, seems frail. Perhaps the woman had failed in her attempt to be a "good Chr--tian" and was trying to find solace with Pastor Johnson. Johnson does not state in exact detail what she failed at or what she was accused of failing at in this evaluation; and ultimately labeled her condition a case of spiritual abuse.
Many times you do not have to proceed any farther then the preface and introduction to evaluate a book. Sometimes I use the Evelyn Wood Speed Reading technique to rapidly review the book and see if it's worthy to buy. In this case my eye caught the passage Matthew 23. Oh! Oh! I thought! What does he have to say about this passage? Most Chr--tian Ministers do not have a clue as to the meaning of this particular passage! Well, it seems that Johnson was preaching on this passage and applied it to this particular case! Quote "What I see in this I cannot ignore. I see the symptoms of a disease for which I finally found a name: spiritual abuse."
Now this guy is a medical Doctor? Is he a licensed Psychiatrist? Oh Please!
Now you tell me what do you see wrong with this diagnosis and assertion? Plenty I tell you! Define disease! Define spiritual abuse! Notice this is not something he found in the Bible! This is something HE discovered! He named! HE diagnosed as a disease! And then! To top this all off, he uses Matthew 23 as one of his references in Chapter 2 "Spiritual Abuse Is Not New!" What does Matthew 23 say? What did Yahshua say in Matthew 23? Who were the participants in Matthew 23? Let's look at Matthew 23 up close! Shall we?
Then spoke Yahshua to the multitudes and to his disciples, saying, The scribes and the Pharisees sit on Moses seat: all things therefore whatsoever they bid you, these do and observe: but do not you after their works; for they say, and do not.
First see the article on this web site Moses' Seat for more information on this subject. Also, there are other articles on Truth On The Net Dot Com concerning Scriptural Government. However, notice the first fact! Yahshua said to do and observe whatever the Scribes and Pharisees bid you to do! The *scribes were responsible for every letter of the Torah scrolls. They had to be exact in their copying and Torah scroll repair!
*Scribes: They were the copiers of the law ( a branch of the Pharisees.) They were responsible for safeguarding and copying the Torah. They wrote mainly on parchment which consisted of dried up and polished skins of calves and sheep rolled up into scrolls. They had a meticulous job of cross-checking all letters for any mistakes. They would count all the words and letters (Matthew 5:18) to see if there were any mistakes. If they found an error the scroll was completely destroyed. They had memorized enormous portions of the Torah scrolls and often were engaged in arguments with Yahshua on Torah meaning and interpretation.
The Pharisees were responsible for teaching from the Torah scrolls. Therefore Yahshua told the multitudes and his disciples to follow their teachings where Torah was concerned. But! They were not following the exact teachings from the Torah themselves, John 7:19!
Yes, they bind heavy burdens and grievous to be borne, and lay them on men’s shoulders; but they themselves will not move them with their finger.
The Pharisees laid restriction upon the people such as: And this list in not comprehensive by any means!
You could not heal on the Sabbath Day. Mark 3:2, Luke 6:7 Luke 13:14
You could not pluck grain from the fields to feed yourself. Matthew 12:2
You could bear no burden on the Sabbath. John 5:10
You had to bathe before eating. Mark 7:3 Luke 11:38
But all their works they do to be seen of men: for they make broad their phylacteries, and enlarge the borders of their garments, and love the chief place at feasts, and the chief seats in the synagogues, and the salutations in the marketplaces, and to be called of men, Rabbi. But be you not called Rabbi: for one is your teacher, and all you are brethren.
The Pharisees were righteous in their own eyes. Job 32:1
The Pharisees loved positions. John 11:48
And when the Pharisee saw it, he marveled that he had not first bathed himself before dinner. And the Teacher said to him, Now you the Pharisees cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter; but your inward part is full of extortion and wickedness. You foolish ones, did not he that made the outside make the inside also? But give for alms those things which are within; and behold, all things are clean to you.
But woe to you Pharisees! for you tithe mint and rue and every herb, and pass over justice and the love of Yahweh: but these ought you to have done, and not to leave the other undone. Woe to you Pharisees! for you love the chief seats in the synagogues, and the salutations in the marketplaces. Luke 11:38-43
Yes! The Pharisees were teachers of the law! But! They were inconsistent in their understanding and interpretation of the meaning of the law. The law was supposed to bring the people to Yahweh, not alienate and drive them away!
And call no man your father on the earth: for one is your Father, even he who is in heaven. Neither be you called masters: for one is your master, even the Messiah. But he that is greatest among you shall be your servant. And whosoever shall exalt himself shall be humbled; and whosoever shall humble himself shall be exalted.
But woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! because you shut the kingdom of heaven against men: for you enter not in yourselves, neither suffer you them that are entering in to enter. (They did now allow the use of the Sacred Name Yahweh! Luke 11:52) Looking For Truth Part 3
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you devour widows’ houses, even while for a pretence you make long prayers: therefore you shall receive greater condemnation.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you compass sea and land to make one proselyte; and when he is become so, you make him twofold more a son of Gehenna than yourselves.
Woe to you, you blind guides, that say, Whosoever shall swear by the temple, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gold of the temple, he is a debtor. You fools and blind: for which is greater, the gold, or the temple that has sanctifies the gold? And, Whosoever shall swear by the altar, it is nothing; but whosoever shall swear by the gift that is upon it, he is a debtor. Your blind: for which is greater, the gift, or the altar that sanctifies the gift? He therefore that swears by the altar, swears by it, and by all things upon it. And he that swears by the temple, swears by it, and by him that dwells therein. And he that swears by the heaven, swears by the throne of Elohim, and by him that sits on it.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you tithe mint and anise and cumin, and have left undone the weightier matters of the law, justice, and mercy, and faith: but these you ought to have done, and not to have left the other undone. You blind guides, that strain out the gnat, and swallow the camel!
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you cleanse the outside of the cup and of the platter, but within they are full from extortion and excess. You blind Pharisee, cleanse first the inside of the cup and of the platter, that the outside thereof may become clean also.
It was all about outward appearances! However, Yahweh does not see as man sees!
But Yahweh said to Samuel, Look not on his countenance, or on the height of his stature; because I have rejected him: for Yahweh sees not as man sees; for man looks on the outward appearance, but Yahweh looks on the heart
1 Samuel 16:7
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you are like to whited sepulchers, which outwardly appear beautiful, but inwardly are full of dead men’s bones, and of all uncleanness. Even so you also outwardly appear righteous to men, but inwardly you are full of hypocrisy and iniquity.
Woe to you, scribes and Pharisees, hypocrites! for you build the sepulchers of the prophets, and garnish the tombs of the righteous, and say, If we had been in the days of our fathers, we should not have been partakers with them in the blood of the prophets. Wherefore you witness to yourselves, that you are sons of them that killed the prophets. Fill you up then the measure of your fathers. You serpents, you offspring of vipers, how shall you escape the judgment of Gehenna? Therefore, behold, I send to you prophets, and wise men, and scribes: some of them shall you kill and impale; and some of them shall you scourge in your synagogues, and persecute from city to city: that upon you may come all the righteous blood shed on the earth, from the blood of Abel the righteous to the blood of Zechariah son of Barachiah, whom you slew between the sanctuary and the altar. Verily I say to you, All these things shall come upon this generation.
O Jerusalem, Jerusalem, that kills the prophets, and stones them that are sent to her! how often would I have gathered your children together, even as a hen gathers her chickens under her wings, and you would not! Behold, your house is left to you desolate. For I say to you, You shall not see me henceforth, till you shall say, Blessed is he that comes in the name of the Yahweh.
Now! Please notice! Never once did Yahshua the Messiah accuse the scribes or the Pharisees of "Spiritual Abuse!" He did not even imply such a term! Show me exactly where he says they "Spiritually Abused" the people! Can you?
The Pharisees were guilty of teaching traditions for law among other things!
They were guilty of hiding the Name of Yahweh from the people!
Then there come to Yahshua from Jerusalem Pharisees and scribes, saying, Why do thy disciples transgress the tradition of the elders? for they wash not their hands when they eat bread. And he answered and said to them, Why do you also transgress the commandment of Yahweh because of your tradition? For Yahweh said, Honor your father and your mother: and, He that speaks evil of father or mother, let him die the death. But you say, whosoever shall say to his father or his mother, That with which you might have been profited by me is given to Yahweh; he shall not honor his father. And you have made void the word of Yahweh because of your tradition. You hypocrites, well did Isaiah prophesy of you, saying,
This people honors me with their lips;
But their heart is far from me.
But in vain do they worship me,
Teaching as their doctrines the precepts of men. Isaiah 29:13
The Pharisees had added to Yahweh's law by inserting traditions as laws!
You shall not add to the word which I command you, neither shall you diminish from it, that you may keep the commandments of Yahweh your Elohim which I command you. Deuteronomy 4:2
I testify unto every man that hears the words of the prophecy of this book, if any man shall add to them, Yahweh shall add to him the plagues which are written in this book: Revelation 22:18
Now to return to the book review:
In the chapter "Help Me..." We find the following quote:
What Is Spiritual Abuse?
Witnessing the spiritual anguish caused by dynamics like these time after time is what led us to coin the term spiritual abuse. Having illustrated it with a case study, now let's define and apply the term:
"Spiritual abuse is the mistreatment of a person who is in need of help, support or greater spiritual empowerment, with the result of weakening, undermining or decreasing that person's spiritual empowerment."
Notice the highlighted areas! What led them to coin the term "Spiritual Abuse." Let's define and apply the term: When I first read this I thought perhaps they wanted an insertion into a dictionary or some reference or something along those lines! Perhaps some notoriety of sorts?
Now this is where I get off! There is no need to proceed any farther in this book! When these two invent terms that are not in compliance with Yahweh's Holy Word, I must take note! Yahshua never ever indicated anything like this in his dissertation with the scribes and Pharisees! He pointed out where they were in error and tried to correct them! He also came to call them to repentance as well!
And the word of Yahweh increased; and the number of the disciples multiplied in Jerusalem exceedingly; and a great company of the priests were obedient to the faith. Acts 6:7
Truth On The Net Dot Com will never agree with mistreating anyone who comes to believe in the Bible in wrong fashion. The Ministers were never to rule over the flocks as tyrants or despots!
The elders among you I exhort, who am a fellow-elder, and a witness of the sufferings of Messiah, who am also a partaker of the glory that shall be revealed: Tend the flock of Yahweh which is among you, exercising the oversight, not of constraint, but willingly, according to the will of Yahweh; nor yet for filthy lucre, but of a ready mind; neither as despots over the charge allotted to you, but making yourselves ensamples to the flock. 1 Peter 5:1-3
These two authors begin by making a case for their spiritual abuse invention and argument. They are subtle and lead you to their conclusions with carefully crafted arguments! This is what you must beware of! By taking you on a careful pre-determined course, your way of thinking will become as theirs. They carefully present their arguments with "A case study." They want to share their discovery with you just in case something like this has happened to you or someone you might know! By the end of the book they hope you will agree with their diagnosis! By then your mind will have changed and perhaps you won't even realize it!
A classic example of leading the American Public to a conclusion using subtlety like this, is before us right now in the Senate of the United States of America. They are presenting arguments over the need for a marriage amendment to the Constitution. Why has this argument become necessary? Because the definition of the term marriage is being challenged. Should this only be between a man and woman? Or! Should you include any kind of couple in this definition? Perhaps two men? Perhaps two women? Perhaps a man and his cow? Perhaps a woman and her dog? Do you see what I mean by terms and definitions? To invent and coin terms can be dangerous! This can open a Pandora's box, so to speak! What happens is this: Your mind is constantly being assaulted to accept things that are just not normal! Murder is not normal! But, you hear so much about it! You see so much about it! Your mind becomes de-sensitized eventually by the continual onslaught via various media outlets! Your resistance is broken down and you accept murder as normal! The homosexual lobby wants the American Public to accept their deviant way as just another lifestyle! Is it? See The series:
The Bible on Homosexuality!
And so it is with this book and others like them. They have an agenda! The congregants problems usually appear because of sin. The Bible teaches commandment keeping. When commandment observance fails, weakness sets in, the person is now in a spiritually weakened condition. This also makes them vulnerable to suggestions. A true Bible believer turns to Yahweh and reads, and prays, and studies themselves into a righteous way of thinking. If you enable these weakened people (as does a wife who puts up with and tolerates an alcoholic husband who beats her when he is drunk) then you are no better! Far worse! She should get away from this harmful situation! And such is the case for anyone who teaches falsely from the Word of Almighty Yahweh! Get away from these false Ministers (Prophets) when you see they are teaching things that cannot be found in the Bible! Get Away!
Yes! Ministers should be there to help! Not writing more books to coin words, make esoteric diagnoses, then manufacturing definitions regarding their theoretical discoveries! You need the Bible to counsel you; and any Minister that provides counseling should be using this as his MAJOR reference book!
Personally! I would not buy this book if I were you! I purchased this book and one other like it which I will critique next! I only purchased these books to answer this so-called abuse issue. This "spiritual abuse" issue has now become an escape clause for so many individuals who no longer desire to keep the law of Yahweh. But they now want to define law keeping as a form of "Spiritual Abuse." This book seeks to shift the blame onto something other then the real cause or causes! Consider Genesis 2:12-13! Need I say more? The real cause for their expulsion from Eden was SIN! Not the scribes and Pharisees. Not some errant Minister! I suffered Intellectual Abuse by even reading some of this book! This books insults my intelligence!
P.S. I was going to do a review on Authority Abusers by George Bloomer. But, as I begin to read this book I deemed it a total waste of time. I thought because of his background in controlled substance and alcohol abuse he might have some experiences to share. He really doesn't get to the real point of needed authority until Chapter Eight. This is at the end of his diatribe against authority. It should have been placed at the beginning to show the necessity for authority, especially in dealing with the human race. He confesses to being a domestic tyrant over his wife. While many have abused their spouses either male of female I sense that he still has issues that he is yet to deal with.
Personally, I will not recommend this book as worthy of reading. He still has a problem with authority no matter what he says!
Yours in Messiah, Hawke
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