Dear TPM Believers,
Please answer the following questions honestly and consider the health of your church.
Answer “yes” or “no” to the following questions to know how your church ranks:
- Does your church tightly control the flow of information within its ranks?
- Does the head of your church, along with the other “leaders”, use public shaming as a method to gain the compliance of followers?
- Does the head of your church and his “fellow elders” appear to be intolerant or consider it evil persecution when criticized or questioned?
- Are you discouraged from associating with former members? Are you being warned that they are “evil” or “defiling”; a “danger to your spiritual welfare”?
- Is leaving your church to join another church that “is not approved by your elders”equal to leaving God?
- Do you fear being rebuked, shunned, or ignored for expressing a different opinion?
- At church, is there a sense of control, rather than support?
- Is there a relentless obsession of reminding the sheep of “who’s in authority”?
- Are you told not to ask questions as to why others have left? Are you told to accept the statements that “your elders” give you?
- Are books, tapes and CD’s, speakers, music, etc., carefully controlled to keep only the belief structure of your church in your mind?
- Is there is a relentless campaign to keep you around the activities of your church, expecting you to be at all the stated meetings, except if providentially hindered? And if you are absent, is your spirituality and dedication sometimes questioned?
- Is the concept ever so subtly present that, “when you please the ‘pastor/saints/apostles’, God is pleased and when your ‘pastor’ is not pleased with you, God is not pleased with you?”
- Is there present, the breaking of even the closest family ties, to “guard” the flock?
- Is there the constant using of guilt and shame as tools of control?
- Is there present at your church the encouragement of the members to spy and report on each other, lest sin be found in the midst?
- Is there present at your church the dominant climate of fear in the group – fear of failing to keep one of the rules, and fear of being held up to public humiliation and rejection?
- At church, are the normal lines between what is private and what is public knowledge broken, and members confess the most personal, and the minor sins, as the conscience is being surrendered to the “leadership”?
- Are many (if not all) of the results from voting at “congregational business meetings”
announced as….. “it is unanimous!”?
- Is questioning condemned as “whispering, back- biting, vicious slander, gossip, nit-picking, signs of a proud rebellious spirit, being disaffected and divisive?”
- Are those who dissent publicly punished? Are their reputations murdered by veiled, or not so veiled “revelations” of “sins”; past and present, as confidentiality is broken for the benefit of the leaders?
- Is there a misplaced loyalty from Jesus and God onto the leadership, which is idolatry?
- Is there harsh preaching and full of condemnation for your failures and are you deliberately being kept wounded and off balance by the haranguing and condemnation from the pulpit?
- Is “Persevere or be damned” and “listen to YOUR elders; obey YOUR elders”; “submit to YOUR elders” preached over and over again?
- Is paranoia the “very air you breathe”? The paranoia of falling from grace; thinking for yourselves; breaking the many unspoken rules as well as the clearly spelled out expectations of the leader?
- Are you becoming paranoid – carefully watching your every word and even gesture, lest someone report your faults?
- Does a code of silence reign at your church? Is no one to divulge the business of the church or the faults of the leadership?
- Do the spiritual leaders at your church seem to give you the impression that either covertly or overtly, they have the right to tell you how you should manage your own family; presuming that they know your own family better than you know yourself?