Few churches, pastors, and ministry leaders have a strong or complete picture of what those who have experienced spiritual abuse go through. Unfortunately it is one of those experiences in life that it is hard to understand unless you have walked through it yourself. Jeff VanVonderen has become a strong voice in trying to educate others about Spiritual Abuse and its affects. These two lists help point out some of what abused and wounded Christians have to walk through.

Johnson and VanVonderen list ten characteristics of abused Christians in their book The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse:

  1. a distorted image of God
  2. preoccupied with spiritual performance
  3. distorted self-identity as a Christian
  4. problems in relating to spiritual authority
  5. have a difficulty with grace
  6. problems with death to self teachings
  7. difficulty with personal responsibility
  8. a lack of living skills
  9. difficulty admitting abuse
  10. difficulty with trust

Jeff VanVonderen lists the following characteristics of wounded Christians in his book When God’s People Let You Down:

  • avoiding getting close
  • enjoying doing anything in church that does not involve deep interpersonal interaction
  • running from commitment
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