This song goes out to all my friends, former Gospel for Asia staff I worked with at Gospel for Asia, and current staff. As we process and recover from spiritual abuses, know that there is healing in Lord Jesus. Spend time with Jesus, knowing that He and He alone is the author and finisher of your faith. Christ is our all in all. Christ brings clarity and shines the light in dark places.
Spiritual Abuse is Subtle
Spiritual abuse is a very subtle thing that is hard to easily explain. The subtle nature of spiritual abuses take on many different forms. Some of the most prevalent types of abuses occur from those given positions of authority. Often times that authority given is over-stepped, or wielded in a fleshly manner. If that pattern is repeated over and over, there will be people caught in the crossfire of this abuse. The carnage is not so much hurt feelings, as it is a hurt soul, or a damaged spirit.
When you look at scripture, who did Christ talk the harshest to? It wasn’t sinners, or those addicted, it was to the scribes and Pharisees. Those who were in a position of authority who abused this authority. Read the scriptures for yourself.
Once a leader is in place for a long time, and there is no accountability, bad things can happen. Couple that with a close group of disciples that do not question the authority figure, those disciples take on the same pattern of their leader, if they chose to stay in that environment.
There are countless stories of individuals who fell victim to various spiritual abuses at Gospel for Asia over the years. Friends that I worked with for 12 years while at GFA have shared their stories, many times as they were caught in a state of fear, they would not share them. If these stories never see the light of day, that helps no one, victim included.
Telling Your Story
People need to process through what they have gone through, in order to heal and move on. Some have chosen to tell their story. There is a group of former Gospel for Asia staff called the Diaspora, numbering over 100. If you want to read some of their testimonies, you can read them here. Some have chosen to tell part of their story, others have not. I do not know all of these people, but I do know many of them. Some of them I worked with over the years, saw their kids grow up and served in the ministry with them.
The Good, the Bad and the Godly
One could not sum up Gospel for Asia as all bad, even though these bad things happened to these staff. You might talk to some staff that never had personal encounters as prevalent as others with senior leadership, they may have never experienced quite the same encounters. Thus the subtle nature of spiritual abuse. You have to look at the bigger picture of all this. There have been many incidents of spiritual abuse over a 30 year period. If you were to stop by the current GFA campus today, you may not see anything wrong, you may see an idyllic environment on the outside as you pass through on an afternoon, or visit one prayer meeting. Yet serve there for 30 years, like the former head of IT, who left in 2015 with many other department leaders and many staff, and ask them if it was idyllic.
Common Issues, Uncommon Frequency
Yes, it is true, you will have issues in every ministry, in this lifetime we are human with many frailties. Though there is a significant difference between dealing with our commom issues versus a legacy of frequent abusive patterns that have caused many pain.
GFA Staff Leaving
If you were to talk to the staff that have left and a number of School of Discipleship students who have left, you will hear a different side of the story. The testimonies you will read on the Diaspora web site are from staff who predominantly left prior to 2015. There are well over 30+ staff who have left in just 2015 alone who haven’t told their story, yet.
My hope is as you read these things you will pray for leaders at Gospel for Asia, pray for current staff and pray for healing in former staff who are struggling with past spiritual abuses.
Ultimately, we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.