It took three years to learn about and understand what happened to me and my family at the church we left in 2017. Dr. Diane Langberg and her work helped give me the language to tell our story of spiritual abuse. Through her lectures, articles, and podcast interviews, for the first time in my life, I understood that every kind of abuse is ultimately an abuse of power. This abuse was why I and others left Giant Church Incorporated.
Dr. Langberg’s newest book, Redeeming Power: Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church, is a loud call to the church to remember that our power is derived from the only One who has all power, Jesus Christ. It’s a call back to Christ and his ways. She writes, “Humility is the mark of Christ. It is the way of power used rightly.”
In the Name of God
Almost daily we hear news stories about another politician, corporate leader, or celebrity misusing their power. Christian leaders are no exception. The leader of the largest Christian college in the world and a globally known Christian apologist have recently been in the news for abusing those in their care. They used their power to emotionally, financially, sexually, and spiritually abuse those who trusted them.
Even more recently, an author of a book written within the bounds of the confessions of her church, has been the target of harassment by elders, pastors, and other church leaders. Those who say they are shepherds are acting like wolves. They use their position of power to harm instead of bless, and they’re doing it in the name of Christ.
We All Have It
Dr. Langberg thoroughly defines power and emphasizes that each one of us has been given it. She teaches the ways in which deception and culture shape the way we use our power. Through her stories, we see the beauty of power used for good and the horror of it when used for evil. She doesn’t avoid the tough topics of racism, sexism, and spiritual authority. Through the ages, people were harmed in the name of God. Precious souls created in God’s image continue to be harmed by those abusing their power. She educates us on the many ways this happens in churches, Christian organizations, and other ministry contexts.
Giant Church Inc exercises its power to “drive ministry workers into the ground for the sake of the gospel.” The culture of Giant Church Inc is fast-paced, outcome oriented, do whatever it takes, bigger is better. People are merely units to be used for the purpose of making this kind of “ministry” happen.
“Using theological knowledge to manipulate people to achieve our own ends is a wrong use of power. Exploiting our position in the home or the church to get our own way, serve our owns ends, crush others, silence them, and frighten them is a wrong use of power. Using our influence or our reputation to get others to further our own ends is a wrong use of power.”
Dr. Langberg writes about another abuse of power: withholding or silence. “God asks us to use our verbal power to open our mouths for the mute, for those without such power. Complicity is a strangling of our God-given power meant to be active in this world on his behalf.”
Woven throughout the book are the words of Jesus, stories of his interactions with the least of these, and with those in powerful positions. And she reminds us of the way Jesus used his power. He came down to be with us. He became small, bent low, and died a cruel death. “Jesus used power not to rule but to influence, to invite, to welcome, and to transform,” she writes. We are to be like Jesus.
Dr. Langberg is a prophetic, yet tender voice to the church today. This book should be in the hands of every person who calls themselves a Christ follower.
To learn more about Dr. Langberg, her work, and to purchase the book, visit RedeemingPower.com.
Follow hard after Christ, not after Christendom, with its allure and promises. Christendom is not Jesus Christ. Seek for him to be the culture in which you live and move and have your being.Diane Langberg, Redeeming Power
As a launch team member I received an early digital copy of the book.