Item description for Toxic Faith: Experiencing Healing Over Painful Spiritual Abuse by Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton...
Overview Most of us began our journey into faith with trusting hearts. Yet incidents of abuse, media accounts of perverted religion, personal disappointments, loss, betrayal and even unrealistic expectations of God can cause us to develop a warped or damaged view of faith. Too often, what began as an authentic relationship with God deteriorates into a defective faith with an incomplete or poisoned view of God - one that allows the religion, not the relationship with God, to control our life. Let this volume help you:
Heal your distorted view of God as weak, distant, and uncaring. Find release from your striving to earn God's love Break free from an unhealthy dependency on religion. Learn how you can once again grow in the grace and knowledge of God. Learn how you can rediscover the reality of true faith in a loving God as you move beyond the suffocating limits of your own toxic faith.
Publishers Description Experiencing Healing from Painful Spiritual Abuse
When religion becomes a means to avoid or control life, it becomes toxic. Those who possess a toxic faith have stepped across the line from a balanced perspective of God to an unbalanced faith in a weak, powerless or uncaring God. They seek a God to fix every mess, prevent every hurt, and mend every conflict. Toxic Faith distinguishes between a healthy faith and a misguided religiosity that traps believers in an addictive practice of religion. It shows how unbalanced ministries, misguided churches, and unscrupulous leaders can lead their followers away from God and into a desolate experience of religion that drives many to despair. Toxic Faith shows readers how to find hope for a return to genuine, healthy faith that can add meaning to life. In the words of the author, “I want to help you throw out that toxic faith and bring you back to the real thing.” Stephen Arterburn is the founder and chairman of New Life Clinics, which provide Christian counseling and treatment throughout the United States. He is the host of the daily "New Life Live!" national radio program and the creator of the Women of Faith conferences. Jack Felton is a licensed therapist and an ordained minister at New Hope Christian Counseling Center and is president and founder of Compassion Move Ministries.
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Studio: Shaw Books
Est. Packaging Dimensions: Length: 0.5" Width: 6" Height: 9" Weight: 0.85 lbs.
Release Date Feb 20, 2001
Publisher Shaw Books
ISBN 0877888256 ISBN13 9780877888253
Reviews - What do customers think about Toxic Faith: Experiencing Healing Over Painful Spiritual Abuse?
Toxic Faith Mar 14, 2007
Every Christian needs to read this book. The last church I attended was toxic but when I was in it I didn't fully realize it. I kept making excuses for the pastor's behavior (and the church leadership's behavior). Leaving that church was like coming out of a fog. Reading Toxic Faith was like reading a play that the church had been acting out. The book explains that in a toxic faith system, there are various roles that each person plays: a persecutor, co-conspirator, enabler, victim and an outcast. In order to keep this system going each person remains in their roles (as in an emotionally unhealthy family). But toxic faith doesn't just begin in a church. Toxic faith begins in our personal lives (usually from childhood) in some way and transfers into our faith system. The book tells the characteristics of a toxic church vs a healthy church. It talks about religious addiction vs a relationship with God. It toook a minute for me to get into the book because right away I was hoping to hear about the bad church system I'd just left, but first the book talked about how toxic faith begins (with us). This book isn't filled with a lot of Bible Scripture, but it's filled with knowledge from two guys extremely gifted by God in their insight and keen discernment. The book helped further my healing after leaving a toxic faith system. Just because a church is big, popular, located all over the world, teaches the Bible extremely well (this is was what fooled me with my church), and started out with good intentions in its early days doesn't mean it's immune to toxicity! I highly recommend this book.
Very Insightful, but part cheesy self-help Dec 11, 2006
This book is really good at pulling out and clarifying ways that religion can go horribly wrong with the best intentions. In seeking God, a person could act based on something else, or could decieve themself and intend to build a healthy biblical community, but really go very wrong, and even trick themself as to who God is. This book identifies flaws that can develope in church leadership for what ever reason - people's childhoods, personalities clashing, perfectionism and a need for control, etc. It is organized around types of situations and traits in a group that might feel wrong, and this really helps to hone in on the portions that are most applicable.
I'm mixed about how I feel about scripture here. The book seems biblically sound, but also draws on worldly wisdom and people's personal experiences which are told in short case studies throughout. Scripture isn't quoted so often, but when it is quoted it is very effective. There would be long gaps with no scripture, and then just as I was starting to feel iffy - bam, some really on topic scripture, to the point where I can still remember the point it was illustrating.
The biggest flaw with the book is that it seems that the authors are running a toxic faith rehab/treatment thing and there would be occasional paragraphs that were all rhetoric about getting into these treatment progams and how toxic faith treatment can help a person break away from their past. These read like gibberish, not so much like ads or something crass. I wasn't reading this book as part of a toxic faith rehab plan, so I just didn't get the labels and specialized rehab vocabulary. These happen pretty regularly and I could skip over them, but they make the book much longer and weaker than it could be.
This is an excellent book to peruse. It is very good at identifying ways that people can twist faith into something very unhealthy. I recommend most Chiristians to check it out, not so that you can be paranoid about your church, but just because it is so clear on identifying common problems that can develope and, as the book illustrates in case studies, can get very bad. Whether or not you are in a bad situation right now it can help to see how to avoid the devil's traps and keep the church healthier.
Been There Nov 9, 2006
Many, maybe even most of us, have been in situations that are not healthy. At some point we realize that the person/group we are with are controlling, manipulative, and/or deceitful. Christianity is supposed to be a place where we have the ultimate amount of freedom inside the structure of personal responsibility and individual responsibility and obedience to God. Because this is a hurting world with many hurting people, many who call themselves Christians are also injured and wounded. When these wounded people become leaders in the church they impart the rigid structures that enable them to feel OK about themselves as truth. It is at this point it becomes a religion instead of a relationship with God. It is also the point that the Christian religion begins to become sick.
This book discusses the injuries sick church leaders do to their followers. It discusses how to identify the characteristics and parameters of a sick church group. In so doing, it frees the reader to identify the sickness and liberates them to leave these types of groups. This is a very well done and unfortunately needed book. I found it very validating and healing to read.
Grace filled and very insightful Nov 6, 2006
I am basically reiterating most of the other reviews posted for this book, yet I felt it was an important book to review because there are few books on this subject out there.
This is an awesome book for anyone being healed of a legalistic mindset. I also strongly recommend this book for anyone leaving a cultish religious group or if you are helping people you know that are involved in one.
For someone breaking free from a legalism, control, or hyper- religiousness; this book does highlight the need for healthy balance and a true revelation of Grace.
As a person who was involved with an unhealthy movement, I found this book helped me to see more clearly and realize I wasn't the only one. It has a list of the signs of toxic faith, "10 rules of a toxic faith system" that proved helpful.
I believe many Christians would benefit from checking this book out because anyone can fall into unhealthy faith.
I highly reccomend this book Sep 26, 2004
The entire book was descriptive to the experience I had in the International Churches of Christ, where I was a member for 12 years. There were several parts of the book that moved me to tears, it was very validating. The "10 rules of a toxic faith system" as well as the "5 roles in a toxic faith system" very accurately describe the church I was apart of. The authors have done an excellent job of describing toxic faith (even as it is sometimes masked in seemingly spiritual acts).