'If leaders constantly root their authority in an office rather than in servanthood, if they do everything for show, if they demand special privilege or titles, if they use words deceitfully, if they major on minors to the neglect of real pastoral needs, and if this behavior tears people down rather than builds them up, then such leaders must be confronted and changed-- or abandoned.
He (a former spiritual abuser himself) explained how in his first church he quickly gathered about him those parishioners who met his needs, those who supported him uncritically. "In time," he said, "I established a class system, with my supporters at the top and those who posed a threat to my leadership at the bottom. This system aided me in the delusion that I was doing the right things."
The second classic type of spiritual abuser is the heroic, grandiose or messianic narcissist who is obsessed by a desire to be someone great or to do something unprecedented for God. Carrying out this fantasy requires the cooperation of others and access to their money. Like the first type, this leader may not consciously wish to hurt anyone; but other are hurt as they are used for the leader's and God's "higher purposes."
In order to achieve the public support he needs, these leaders make extraordinary claims for themselves or have others make them in their behalf. Such claims may include a special anointing, unusual personal sacrifice, unprecedented encounters with God, unique training, a singular teaching or leadership gift, a revelation of truth that is not available to others, or secret knowledge of God's end-times purposes. These and other claims imply that God has a special calling on this leader, and so it is the "unspecial" people's duty to admire and follow him, which they often do in droves.
A most effective means of control for a messianic leader is to convince his followers that they are on an extraordinary mission with him. If a leader successfully convinces his followers that he is the unique instrument of God, that makes them unique by virtue of their support of him. This group may say or imply such things as "We are a special move of God," "We are the only group proclaiming truth," "We are the faithful remnant," "We are God's cutting edge for this generation," or "We are in training for God's end-times army.".
Once this attitude is rooted in a group, the combination of pride and fear keeps followers in formation. Everyone wants to feel special, and some get hooked on the exhilaration of being part of an elite. Others fear leaving lest they miss God's will and be accused of deserting his special calling.'
So that is a recent Facebook quote from a former member of The Crossing Church, validating her experience of spiritual abuse there. She quotes the book and is basically saying, "This is what The Crossing is really all about". Her testimony and the testimony of others from the Back Door Ministries Support Group are clear warning signs to those who are devoted to Eric Dykstra and his delusional mission.
People involved at The Crossing would probably say the Back Door group have a grudge and are lying, but just from visiting their Facebook page you can tell that they have experienced some awful things because of The Crossing. Dykstra's cunning deceptions are obviously destroying precious relationships, hurting people, and causing deep emotional wounds. The sad part is, Eric Dykstra does not give a RIP about the people he has hurt, because if he did, then he would repent of what he is doing and ask forgiveness from those he has hurt!
I especially like what the author of the book said in the first paragraph.
'If leaders constantly root their authority in an office rather than in servanthood, if they do everything for show, if they demand special privilege or titles, if they use words deceitfully, if they major on minors to the neglect of real pastoral needs, and if this behavior tears people down rather than builds them up, then such leaders must be confronted and changed-- or abandoned.'(emphasis added)
SPIRITUAL LESSON AND APPLICATION FROM THE PIXAR MOVIE, "A BUG'S LIFE"
I don't know if you have seen this cute Pixar animated story. If you haven't then you should watch it because it's a fun movie and there is actually a great message in this story. I'll give you a little synopsis....
Flik is one of countless ants who lives on "Ant Island", a small piece of grassy land jutting up from the barren landscape. Every year Ant Island is invaded by a marauding band of thug grasshoppers; the leader is aptly named "Hopper".
Hopper is an especially cruel and heartless taskmaster who demands that the ants in the colony collect an "offering" for Hopper and his thugs to gather and eat. The grasshopper gang then takes the offering from Ant Island and all other ant colonies under their oppressive rule and head to a warm place for the winter. They store the food in a giant bottle with a little tube sticking out.
If the grasshoppers ever come to the colony and the offering isn't there, Hopper vows to inflict harm upon the citizens of the colony; so the ants live in great fear of the menacing and sociopathic Hopper. The ants of the colony gather seeds and grain to get them through the winter, but they also must collect seeds and grain for the offering.
So in the beginning of the movie (below is part one of seven on you tube) the ants are scrambling to collect the seeds and grain for the offering before Hopper and his gang arrives. This happens in the first four minutes of the video...
And then an inventive ant named Flik comes along with his new invention, a grain harvester, which malfunctions causing all of the offering to spill into a stream. Look for this starting at about 7 minutes into this clip above.
Just after the offering is lost in the stream, the thug grasshoppers descend on Ant Island. When they discover that the offering isn't in it's usual place, Hopper and his minions descend into the the catacombs where the ants live and asks in a very loud voice, "Where's my food?" (Hopper is one very nasty, intimidating bug!)
When he finds out the offering was lost, he threateningly gives the ants until fall to collect the offering. The ants complain because there won't be enough food for them to get through the winter. But Hopper doesn't care. Then Hopper picks up a baby ant named Dot and terrorizes her. Flik stands up to Hopper and defends Dot. This segment starts about 11 minutes and goes all the way to the end.
After this, Flik is ostracized from the colony, but goes out to recruit a bunch of lowly bugs from a circus because he thinks that the bugs are mighty warriors able to fight off the marauding grasshoppers. The bugs, on the other hand, mistakingly think Flik is a talent agent, so they follow him back to Ant island. This really has nothing to do with the point I am trying to get across, so I'll just leave it at that.
Anyway, as the grasshoppers are partying away in their winter haunt, Hopper points out to the other grasshoppers a stark reality of the relationship between the grasshoppers and the ants. Below is part four of seven and you can see what happens starting 13 minutes into the video...
In the end scenes, the thug grasshoppers descend on Ant Island and the circus bug's launch a surprise attack using a fake bird to scare away the greedy grasshoppers. Unfortunately, their plan fails miserably and Hopper addresses all the multitude of ants in the colony. You can see how the movie ends starting at about five minutes into part 6 of 7. Actually, to see the full ending you have to watch part of the seventh installment. . It's not really necessary to watch in order to get my point across, unless you want to see the demise of the evil Hopper!
I know this may seem stupid, but there is an opportunity to learn something valuable from a dumb kid's movie! The basic principle of this movie, taking a stand against corruption and abuse, is actually biblical.
I want to appeal to those who attend The Crossing church, if you are skeptical of their beliefs and practices, and have been following this blog. You might be fearful to confront Dykstra or your campus pastors on your own. But like the colony of ants in the movie, you can join together and boldly (but with Christian love!) confront Eric Dykstra with some of the serious problems I will point out over the next few months.
So if you are fed up with the spiritual abuse that happens there under the guise of real Christianity, then you have to get honest with yourself. (because your pride will not want you to get honest with yourself) and LORD willing, confront Eric Dykstra with the truth, either alone or as an organized group of concerned people. It's not your fault for getting messed up in a cult, after all, is the moth at fault for flying into a spider's web? Or was it just not paying attention?
God is a friend to the oppressed and abused , and will give strength to those who need it, as long as they are reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ. I would encourage you to ask honestly yourself, "What is a Christian?, Am I a Christian? Or am I believing a false gospel and trusting in a false Christ?" There are plenty of resources on this blog that can help you answer those questions. God promises He will mete out perfect justice to those who deal harshly and deceptively with His people, unless of course, they too are reconciled to God through faith in Jesus Christ.
It is humbling to get honest with yourself, but the sooner you do, the better off you will be. Dykstra ought to be removed as pastor at The Crossing and replaced with a pastor who actually loves people, teaches the Bible, and preaches the Gospel and practices the practical aspects of the Gospel in everyday life. The Crossing needs some serious reformation; if that is not possible, then you should consider leaving and finding a new church home: It is not a safe place! Like I said, I'll provide the spiritual ammunition for you, you just have to fire when ready.
And by the way, I would like nothing better than God to do a miraculous work of regeneration in the heart of Eric Dykstra. I don't want Dykstra to go to Hell. He deserves Hell, but then so do I. The bottom line is, I am not a better person than Eric Dykstra because fundamentally we share the same wicked, vile heart. The only difference between a Christian and a non-Christian is that one is saved and the other is not.
Stay tuned into this blog, be informed and keep the Gospel central. God bless you, Casey