Pastors of abusive systems twist Scripture. They are often men of 'revelation', whose unorthodox ideas are loosely hinged on Scripture taken out of context. Verses are used to condemn, to manipulate and to control. When a pastor is losing his grip and trying desperately hard to insulate himself from correction he will invariably use Scripture incorrectly to support his case. Often such pastors have little idea of how to interpret the Bible and their lack of accountability results in error which becomes ever more extreme.
A common tactic is to allegorize or spiritualize old testament stories to promote an un-Godly agenda.
Here is a selection of quotes from our ex-pastor in their 'Scriptural' context.
We were required to 'Amen' these publicly, on pain of being labelled disobedient, unbelieving and rebellious!
Justification that despite discomfort about the doctrine/practice about to be introduced, God is behind it:
Moses went into the desert because he was hungry for holiness. God met him in the burning bush.
"God is asking me, 'Are you willing to take the church into the desert so we can experience God?'”
Justification that 'concern bringing is wrong:
Numbers 12:1 Miriam and Aaron began to talk against Moses because of his Cushite wife, for he had married a Cushite. 2 “Has the Lord spoken only through Moses?” they asked. “Hasn’t he also spoken through us?” And the Lord heard this...
"Miriam was struck with leprosy because she dared criticise Moses. It is a fearful thing to criticize your leaders. Not even God corrects me. The Holy Spirit intercedes for me"
Matt 16:23 Jesus turned and said to Peter, "Get behind me, Satan! You are a stumbling block to me; you do not have in mind the concerns of God, but merely human concerns."
Note also common reference to the stories of Ananias and Sapphira and Daniel's critics, who were thrown to the lions.
Justification that criticism / correction should be ignored:
"When Jesus encountered Zacchaeus, he was surrounded by the church critics, the gossips, the educated. What did he do? He ignored them. He turned his attention to the one who was crying out to him. What are you crying out for? If you want to challenge me, bring it on. I assure you I will not respond."
"If anyone criticizes you, walk away.
If anyone calls me a bully, I refuse to hear.
That language comes from the accuser.
It is a horrendous thing to say.
It is wordly, sensual.
Have nothing to do with anyone who says they are being bullied."
Allusion (paranoid) that some in the church want to destroy 'the man of God':
“I wonder if all the leaders of the church who wanted Steven to be stoned were amongst this lot?
I wonder - because they criticized and complained - if they got disqualified at the end of the road.
It's quite a scary thought. Learn to practise to be a citizen here. If we are not allowed to complain here on Earth, you are definitely not allowed to complain there.”
“Paul didn't talk about the next beating, or the next deception that was going to come from his brothers and sisters.”
“I have been slandered since Christmas - but I don’t retaliate”
Justification that failure to sing extemporarily / shout loudly incurs God's displeasure:
Rev 7:10 and crying out with a loud voice, "Salvation belongs to our God who sits on the throne, and to the Lamb!"
"This is here to educate you how you should behave when you are in Heaven and while you are here. Wouldn't it be tragic if in Heaven a yellow bus turns up for you. And you have to go to special classes because of the horrendousness of your disobedience."
"if you are not shouting you don't believe the King is in you."
"There are no bystanders in Heaven. There should be a roar coming from within you.
If there isn’t, you are grieving the Holy Spirit."
Eph 5:19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord
"If I struggle to get you to sing in the spirit then there is a problem - you are either in unbelief or you are in rebellion. We are neglecting a gift from Christ. And there is a deliberateness about it."
"Soldiers are willing to sacrifice their lives in Afghanistan - and God has a problem squeezing a shout out of us.
There's something wrong!"
On the inferiority / unspirituality of those who do not sing extemporarily:
"It was never God's intention that we do what we do (sing from acetates off the wall)
His intention is that YOU are the instrument.
Paul said there has to a volunteering spirit to step out of traditions into the divine and the supernatural
And understand that people won’t like it and leave.
Well bless them.
God can only take them so far."
1 Thess 5:16-18 Rejoice always, 17 pray continually, 18 give thanks in all circumstances; for this is God’s will for you in Christ Jesus.
"If you have lost your joy, it is because you are disobedient."
"If you say you are struggling, it is a sign you are not where you should be in God"
Justification that disobeying the pastor is an act of rebellion
Heb 13:17 Obey your leaders and submit to them, for they keep watch over your souls as those who will give an account. Let them do this with joy and not with grief, for this would be unprofitable for you.
"If you don’t amen the person who is leading, you are in rebellion."
False dichotomies are also employed to manipulate obedience to the will of the Pastor:
“Are you going to open your mouth, or are you going to stay in rebellion?”
“Invite the correction and discipline of the Spirit - or are you so self-righteous you don’t need it’”
"There is division here, Right now. Are you going to come to prayer meetings and pray with your brothers and sisters, or are you going to stay on the division side?"
And a twisted perspective on the Pastor's role:
"It's the Pastor's role to goad the sheep."
"It's my job to pull you up by your boot laces"
Justification that failing to attend meetings separates you from Christ:
Heb 10:25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as ye see the Day approaching.
"You can tell the ones who are in rebellion, they are not at this meeting"
Matt 25:45 “He will reply, ‘Truly I tell you, whatever you did not do for one of the least of these, you did not do for me.
"If you don't turn up to meetings you are spacing out on your brothers and sisters. And Jesus tells us that spacing out on your brothers and sisters is spacing out on Him. You are separating yourself from Christ"
Justification that leaving the Church takes you out of God's protection and that the enemy will get you:
1 Cor 5:5 "Hand this man over to Satan for the destruction of the flesh, so that his spirit may be saved on the day of the Lord."
" All sin is equal and that although this verse is addressed to a man involved in sexual sin, it applies to all sin, including knowing the right thing to do and not doing it. Those who separate themselves from the security of the body of Christ fall prey to Satan and will be destroyed in their pride. When you know you are sinning, you don't want to be with others. You don't want to come to meetings. You are prey to Satan"
Ex 12:22 And you shall take a bunch of hyssop, and dip it in the blood that is in the basin, and strike the lintel and the two side posts with the blood that is in the basin; and none of you shall go out at the door of his house until the morning.
Josh 2:19 If any of them go outside your house into the street, their blood will be on their own heads; we will not be responsible.
Acts 27: “Then Paul said to the centurion and the soldiers, “Unless these men stay with the ship, they cannot be saved.”
While we have no comment to make about the ministry and teaching of Colin Urquhart in general, this dangerous teaching was frequently referenced. Its effect was to lay blame at the feet of those subordinate to the pastor, to absolve the man at the top of guilt, to accuse us of involvement with an evil spirit, to manipulate the church against us, to reinforce the message that we should be shunned, to scare the congregation into acquiescence, impose submission and immunize the pastor from all attempts at raising godly concerns:
(It is interesting to note the self-refuting nature of this teaching. In reality it applies just as much to itself and its proponents as it does to the 'rank and file' church member at whom it is addressed. And it is characterized by the very kind of twists and deceptions it seeks to expose.)