Thanks everyone for your comments on the last post. It was very helpful for me to get some perspective and reaction from others who have no investment in the situation.
As Jamie mentioned in his comment, this church should not necessarily be vilified. We were involved there for many years, and there are many people we care about who attend this church.
I ask myself how anyone can rationalize something like what was described in the last post as acceptable behavior for a church. How can something like this happen without anyone raising an eyebrow?
To explain, begin with a group of people who have been in community together for over twenty years. The real strength of this church is the love that the members have for one another. The strong relationships produced a desirable, yet difficult to penetrate social group.
Members conform to the requirements to maintain their inclusion. As the government of the church becomes more authoritarian, they are gradually conforming to an unhealthy system where diversity of opinions is no longer allowed. What will happen to those who are “unteachable” has been demonstrated.
Those who do question what is happening must weigh the price of leaving. Acceptance in the social group requires submission to the false teaching. Leaving would cost exclusion from the group.
This is not an evil church that most of you would run away from if you were to visit. It is actually a group of wonderful Christians who have gradually come under false teaching and authority. They do not see it yet, and they don’t want to hear that something is wrong at their church.
I have let go of worrying about when and how this will work out. It is not my responsibility. While I do care about the people that are there, I also believe it is their responsibility to discern and choose concerning their situation.
Most of my friends there will probably not be targeted like the person in the former post. They are the desirable people. It will be the difficult people who will experience the most blatant abuse. However, even if they are not targeted, desirable people will be affected by their submission to a false and toxic system.
Like all false teaching, the real danger is that it is cloaked in so much good.