Fear, Control, and “Cultic” Tactics

March 7, 2008 in Sovereign Grace Ministries

We’ve had some fascinating discussions taking place over at the previous post, “Fear and Loathing in my ‘In’ Box.”  But the “comments” section there is nearing 500 responses and is probably a pain to load for those working without a high-speed connection.  So I decided we could continue the discussion here.

Feel free to share anything here that you wish, but some topics to consider addressing might be:

  • Why do so many Sovereign Grace Ministries ex-members still express fear when discussing their SGM experiences?  After all, what could they possibly have to be afraid of?
  • As our commenter “Freeda Think” said, it might be interesting to discuss SGM’s use of fear and control.  Do you think these are tactics deliberately employed?  Perhaps some of you might want to do a little research and share what you discover.  How would a Christian ministry reach a point where its people are afraid of leaving said ministry?  Is fear ever a mark of a healthy or “normal” ministry?
  • Speaking of “normal” ministries…something that came up in our last discussion was the use of the “C” word (“CULT”) as it applies to Sovereign Grace Ministries.  Quite some time ago, in this post, I asked people to weigh in on what makes a cult.  Can a ministry proclaim the God and the Gospel of the Bible and yet still become a “cult” through their use of spiritual abuse and “cult-like methodologies”?  [As a personal disclaimer here, I have an exceedingly difficult time with the use of this term for SGM!  At the root of my discomfort is how I feel about the many dear Sovereign Grace people I know.  I simply cannot think of them – individually – as “cult members”!]  Yet several ex-SGM folks who post regularly here, and who have come across as very thoughtful, well-balanced, and educated, have in recent days suggested that in their opinions, SGM is indeed a “cult.”  So perhaps we could discuss whether this term (“cult”) is simply too inflammatory, too pejorative, and too condemning to use for a “family of churches” that preach the Word of God.

All right, people.  It’s time to get to work.  Please join me in the discussion by posting a comment below.