Along with the rise of Islamic Jihad in the world, we are witnessing an increase in ecclesiastical terrorism. There are those Christians who see it as their calling to sabotage the support bases of others, to launch sneak attacks like ecclesiastical Pearl Harbors, to destroy missionary towers, assassinate characters, hijack ministries and blow up bridges of relationships. These ecclesiastical terrorists seek to intimidate and to sow seeds of fear and doubt.
There are those who have a ministry of criticism and a gift of discouragement. All too many dedicated Christian workers have fallen victim to ecclesiastical bullies and those with a ministry of backstabbing. Pride, jealousy and covetousness, dysfunctional churches and dysfunctional members collectively present a serious threat to the fulfillment of the Great Commission in our generation.
There is a desperate need to expose the increasing threat of pathological antagonists and abusive churches. In order to encourage and empower those involved in missions and ministry who are being targeted and undermined, this book attempts to both expose the problem and to provide practical and Biblical solutions. For this purpose the light of Scripture and experience is shone on the dark dealings of those relentless critics who prefer to shoot from the shadows.
"Look, the wicked bend their bows, they set their arrows against the strings to shoot from the shadows at the upright in heart." Psalm 11:2
The goal of this book is to be constructive, to encourage those under attack, to provide a tool with which to expose the tactics and strategies of character assassins, and to enable ministers and missionaries to educate their elders and deacons as to the reality of this problem and the Biblical solutions.
As Dr. Guy Greenfield has observed in his book "The Wounded Minister - Healing From and Preventing Personal Attacks", every church and ministry has to deal with personality conflicts and intermittent discord. That is normal. However, what we are facing is the "growing phenomenon", "major problem approaching crisis proportions" of "pathological antagonists", and their allies and sympathizers, who launch systematic and sustained attacks on the leaders of a church or ministry.
G. Lloyd-Rediger describes these antagonists as "clergy killers", who have as their one major objective to abuse or hurt the ministers to the degree that they will leave the ministry. Rediger notes that this abuse is "increasing in epidemic proportions.it is a phenomenon that is verified by both research and experience."
However, because this phenomenon is little understood and seldom recognised, these genuine candidates for church discipline generally escape Biblical accountability and continue to cause divisions - to their own spiritual detriment and to the harm of others. The indecisiveness and procrastination of many church leaders, even when such trouble makers are recognised, makes resolution difficult. However, while many church leaders will shrink from confronting ecclesiastical tyrants, terrorists and traitors, some can be manipulated and bullied into condemning various dedicated and effective servants of God.
Most church members would be shocked to learn how pathological antagonists can manufacture evidence and presumption of guilt, organize trials in abstentia, when no defence is allowed and no appeal is possible, and arrange a guilty verdict as a foregone conclusion.
The ex-Rhodesian Prime Minister, Mr. Ian Smith, in his book The Great Betrayal states: "We were never beaten by our enemies - we were betrayed by our friends." This has been the sad experience of all too many ministers and missionaries as well.