In the book of Jeremiah, God spoke against those who operated in their own authority while abusing the very people they were supposed to bless.
"An astonishing and horrible thing has been committed in the land: the prophets prophesy falsely, and the priests rule by their own power; and My people love to have it so. But what will you do in the end?" (Jeremiah 5:30-31)
Leaders were using their influence to convince people that their power was divine. Yet in reality, these false prophets and priests were merely wielding their self-imposed influence for personal gain, claiming they were speaking for God. The people bought the lies and believed all the promises that were made. This happened in the Old Testament and it's happening today. Don't let it happen to you!
Here is a list of some common characteristics of a controlling, abusive pastor.....
*Preoccupied with his own needs being met, while the needs of the people are ignored.
*Focuses on his own never-ending quest for personal fulfillment and happiness, while the real needs of the people are lost or forgotten.
*Expects the people to obey his every command without question.
*Preaches on his spiritual authority every week, constantly reminding everyone that he is in charge.
*Tries to take the place of Jesus in people's lives.
*Tells people they cannot leave the church with God's blessing unless he approves the decision.
*Uses scripture in order to gain biblical grounds to control people's lives.
*Instills a sense of obligation by reminding the people of everything he has done for them.
*Demands loyalty and honor from the people.
*Demands performance from people, not accepting them for who they are.
*Thinks the people in his congregation belong to him.
*Manipulates people into giving their money.
*Has an elitist attitude and says that no one else is preaching the gospel as good as he is.
*Overly concerned with appearances
*Has no respect for other churches or denominations.
*Is insecure, jealous, and cowardice
*Uses fear and intimidation to keep people from leaving his organization or church.
*This information is from the book "Toxic Faith," by Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton.