The 15 "Rs" of Recovery From Authoritarian Abuse

Charismatic Captivation -- Authoritarian Abuse & Psychological Enslavement in Neo-Pentecostal Churches, by Dr. Steven Lambert -- Available at:

Everything written in this book prior to this last chapter has been dedicated to the purpose of identifying erroneous hyper-authoritarian doctrines and practices being espoused and implemented within Charismatic and other Neo Pentecostal churches and groups. But, certainly, a work such as this would be wholly incomplete and deficient if it did not include instruction regarding how those caught up in the throes of such "charismatic captivation" can be set free and recover from it. This final chapter is devoted to that end.

Over nearly the entire course of my ministry, I have been studying this matter of hyper-authoritarianism, weighing it against Scripture, and ministering in various ways to many victims of authoritarian exploitation and abuse. Based on my experience and the understanding attained during that time, I have concluded there are fifteen primary actions that victims must take in order to break the fetters of predomination binding them and effect a full recovery from all the spiritual and psychological effects they have experienced. Though it is generally prudent to avoid improper dogmatism, there are some matters that require definitive actions in order to achieve a designated result. This, I believe, is one of those matters. Though I believe the steps I proffer here are critical and imperative, I would certainly allow that there could be other actions required to recover from authoritarian exploitation that I have not delineated. However, the ones I have enumerated here, I believe are absolutely necessary if effectual and comprehensive recovery is to be realized.

Although the effects of authoritarian abuse are profound, the actions necessary to break its bondage and to bring recovery are comparatively simple; not simplistic, perhaps, but simple. Thus, I have presented them in as simple and straightforward terms as I know how to present them, not only because of their simplicity, but also in order to make them as understandable as possible.

1. Read—this book (Charismatic Captivation) and The Book (The Bible).
By no means is this a promotional gimmick to sell books. Rather, this book was commissioned by God, and not men. It contains Truth and anointing to set captives free from the bondages of religious captivation. As indicated by the myriad of Scripture quotations it contains, it is solidly founded upon the Truth of the Word of God. Jesus said, "If you abide in My Word, then are you truly disciples of Mine; and you shall know the TRUTH, and the TRUTH will make you free!"

2. Receive—the teaching and reproof in this book.
Many times people read books and materials, but they never really "receive" the information and impartation inherent in the material they read. This is especially true when it comes to teaching that involves correction and reproof, because our natural tendency is to reject that which is essentially saying we have been wrong in some respect. Indeed, receiving is not automatic when one reads something; rather, one must make a deliberate effort to receive what he or she reads. When you read this book along with the Word of God for validation, be sure that you are indeed receiving into your spirit and mind what you are reading, and allow the Lord to regenerate you spiritually with the washing of the Word.

3. Renew—your mind regarding the relevant concepts.
Read and meditate upon this book and the Bible in order to renew your mind regarding the concepts upon which these erroneous teachings and practices are based. "As a man thinketh in his heart, so IS he" (Prb. 23:7)—thus, we are what we think. So, it is absolutely essential that we renew our minds, that is, our thinking, to be in accord with the Word of God, which is the "thinking" of God. In this case, the overall essential truth one must understand is that "where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is liberty (2 Cor. 3:17)," not bondage of any kind, nature, or degree. "He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed!" (Jn. 8:36). Anything that brings people into bondage, especially bondage to men, is patently NOT OF GOD!

4. Recognize—these doctrines and practices are error.
To truly be set free from the bondage resulting from the hyper-authoritarian doctrines and practices addressed in this volume, it is absolutely imperative that you recognize that they are not merely, "a little off base," but rather that they are patently false, erroneous, errant, unscriptural, and heretical. Any teaching or hypothesis is either truth or it is error; there is no in between. Even a mixture of truth and error is error. It is the minuté, virtually undetectable quantity of poison on the steak that kills the guard dog, allowing the thief entry. This is the modus operandi of the master-thief, Satan, who comes with a big, succulent filet mignon steak of truth he has corrupted with a tiny, nearly imperceptible smidgeon of error. He lures with Truth and kills with the error.

5. Recant and Renounce—all associated false teaching and thinking.
I have found over and over again, in ministering to victims of false teaching, it is essential that once they realize the teaching they have been indoctrinated with is false, they also take the next step of actually recanting and renouncing those doctrines. This is accomplished simply by literally making an oral statement to the effect of: "I recant and renounce the false and demonically inspired doctrines and practices of....(in this case the Discipleship/Shepherding doctrines and practices)." The Bible indicates people can be ensnared by their own words spoken out of their own mouth (Prb. 6:2). I believe this is what happens when we accept and speak the concepts of false doctrine. So, to reverse the effects of these doctrines, we must recant and renounce the words we have uttered in expressing those concepts.

Two of the most powerful illustrations of the power of our own words is represented in two different incidences involving Peter. Peter denied Jesus three times. On Resurrection Morning when the two Marys went to the tomb, an angel sitting in the tomb told them Jesus the Nazarene, whom they had come looking for, was not there but had risen, and then gave them some instruction on where they must go to find Him, which began, "Go tell His disciples AND PETER." The effect of his own denials, as the angel's words revealed, was Heaven's reluctant and sad recognition that Peter, by his own declarations, was no longer a disciple of Jesus. Then, on the morn of "The Miracle at Sea," when after fishing all night and having caught nothing, the disciples obeyed Jesus' command to "cast their nets on the other side," as He and Peter were walking on the beach after eating the breakfast Jesus had prepared for Himself and the disciples, Jesus asked Peter precisely three times if he loved Him, each time using a different Greek word for the three different types of love, therewith leading Peter in recanting and renouncing each of his three denials of the Lord and being His disciple. These two scenarios, deliberately placed in the Word of God by the Holy Spirit, vividly illustrate the vital importance of recanting and renouncing our own "idle words," which are words contrary to the Word of God and thus spiritually unproductive or barren, Jesus expressly stated would be judged in the day of judgment, unto either justification or damnation (Mat. 12:37).

6. Repent—from all associated and indicated sin.
Once the truths and perspectives presented in this book are understood and embraced, it becomes incontrovertibly clear that these hyper-authoritarian doctrines and practices are founded in sin, i.e., rebellious and ungodly attitudes. Those who have been, especially proactive, participants in these doctrines need to candidly search their heart and allow the Holy Spirit to put His finger on the character flaws that caused them to be attracted to these doctrines and practices, "fall out of agreement with them" (cf., Amos 3:3), making a definitive "mind change" as to the "rightness" of these doctrines and practices, and then "turn away" or "repent" from them in simple and sincere confession to the Lord.

7. Request—forgiveness, from God and people.
Once you realize you have been a participant in unscriptural doctrines and ungodly practices, forgiveness is needed and should, of course, be desired. First, one should request forgiveness from God for having departed from the paths of righteousness. Secondly, you will also need to seek forgiveness from the people you have personally involved or affected as a result of your espousal and/or propagation of these fallacious doctrines and participation in these sinful practices. Whether you were a "leader" at some level in one of these authoritarian systems or merely one of the "led," there are people whose lives you have somehow effected with what you believed at the time to be "truth." Now that you realize you were under deception, you will need to go to those persons to whom the Holy Spirit leads you, confess to them you now realize you were wrong, and ask them to forgive you. The Holy Spirit is really the only One who can make it plain to you those to whom you need to go; and He will, when you seek Him in all sincerity, humility, and honesty.

8. Realize—you’ve been a participant in erroneous teaching and practices, thereby subjecting yourself to demonic influence and bondage. It is important that you actually come to the realization without any "fudging," rationalizing, euphemizing, or justifying that you have been a participant in a system of false teaching and unscriptural practices that are centered in witchcraft and inspired by demons, and that as a result you have subjected yourself to at least the potential of demonic influence and bondage. This may seem rudimentary to some, but my experience in dealing with demonic incursion demonstrates it is nonetheless a critical step in the process of release and recovery that cannot be avoided or circumvented. It is important to face this possibility of demonic incursion head on and forthrightly.

9. Reach—out for deliverance.
Throughout the course of this book, I have indicated my conviction, which has been corroborated by a preponderance of extensive experience, that falling prey to deception predicated on "doctrines of demons" and "deceiving spirits" frequently incurs demonic incursion of some sort and degree into the life of the victim. It follows then, if this is indeed true, as my experience and basic spiritual "sense" tells me it is, that those who have been participants in these doctrines and practices need to reach out for deliverance to someone who believes in and ministers deliverance. Of course and unfortunately, not all pastors believe in deliverance and that a bona fide believer could be subjected to demonic influence, despite the preponderance of Biblical proof that exists. Obviously, I cannot debate that issue here, however, I have authored and published a manual, Deliverance From Demonic Powers, that deals with the matter of deliverance from demonic power that may be purchased on our website. But, in almost every geographical region, God has stationed someone who ministers deliverance, who in some cases are not conventional "pastors" in conventional churches, but who may have John the Baptist type ministries in the wilderness, and who may be regarded by the "mainstream" ministers as spiritual "desert rats." If not, He certainly will send an itinerant minister to an area where people are in need of deliverance, in response to the earnest petitions of praying saints. Regardless who it is God uses, most victims will need to receive some deliverance ministry, and would be well advised to seek it. I always say if there are no demons in there, it won’t hurt a thing to command them to come out. No harm, no foul! Moreover, it’s a complete waste of time to wrangle about "where" the demons are—in your spirit (which they can’t be in a bona fide Born-Again believer, unless he or she has fallen away), your soul (i.e., mind, will, and emotions), or your body—rather, as I always say, if they are in your HIP POCKET, they need to be driven out!

10. Release—all "covenantees."
In order to experience true liberation from all the effects, ramifications, and consequences of involvement in these enslavement systems, which are rooted in witchcraft/sorcery, it is imperative that you release yourself from all "covenants" of men in which you have been involved. This means covenants or contracts you have made with leaders to whom you have pledged submission and support, as well as those with people who may be in any form of "submission" to you. This will require that you comprehend and be convinced of the fallacy and invalidity of such "covenants," as delineated in this book, otherwise the strong indoctrination you have received regarding the sacrosanctity of them will continue to hold you in bondage to the human leaders to whom you have submitted yourself. It is true that God wants us to follow through on vows we have made, however, only legitimate and Scripturally authorized vows, which these are not. These "covenants" and contracts are totally invalidated by the Word of God, and therefore not recognized by God. Thus, to break and negate them, not only is approved but even required by God, and to do so is obedience, not disobedience, to God.

11. Reflect—on the methods, mechanisms, motives, and message of the group of which you’ve been a member.
Once you have assimilated the information in this book, it is necessary that you evaluate and assess the methods, mechanisms, motives, and overall message of the ministry of which you have been a part. Now this will be difficult to do because you have been thoroughly indoctrinated with the idea that to engage in such critical scrutiny is being rebellious, indicative of a "critical spirit," and that it is unauthorized "judgment." But, you need to allow yourself to accept the absolute fact that that is a LIE!

The Bereans were attributed by the Holy Spirit as being "noble minded" for having thoroughly scrutinized the teaching of the apostles against Scripture to prove its validity (Ac. 17:11). The meticulous Doctor Luke wrote his synopsis only after having "investigated everything carefully [thoroughly]" (Lk. 1:3). The Holy Spirit also instructed us to "examine everything carefully; hold fast to that which is good; abstain from every form of evil" (1 Thes. 5:21,22). Moreover, we are outright commanded by the Holy Spirit to "investigate and search out and inquire thoroughly" any teaching or doctrine especially which is suspected of leading people away from the absolute and exclusive Lordship of Christ (Deut. 13:14).

But, above all this, Jesus taught us that we will be able to "know" a tree, metaphorically speaking, whether an individual or a ministry, with respect to its goodness (God-likeness) and validity, by the nature of the fruit it produces, which means that we are required to be "fruit inspectors" of both ministers and ministries. Such scrutiny, investigation, examination, assessment, is "AUTHORIZED judgment!" and is an absolute necessity! So, understand you are not doing wrong when you are engaging in it, but right!

12. Run—from that church group and relationships with those who espouse and employ these teachings and practices.
In this day of "positive thinking" and "overcoming attitudes" it is difficult for many people to accept the concept that there are some situations that can only be "overcome" by putting it in "B" for boogie, and running like a scalded rabbit. Typically, those who realize that their church group has been caught up in deception, feel what in actuality is a "false burden" to get their friends, the collective group, and even the leadership to "see" what they now see and to bring change to the group. But, the truth of the matter, unfortunately, is that that never happens. Usually, people are exactly where the "want" to be, both in terms of their spiritual beliefs and participations, as well as the church they attend, and most people do not at all respond favorably when the validity or veracity of either of those are challenged. Consequently, most "departees" will have to leave on their own and alone, despite the tendency toward the need to take others with them as a psychological means of validating their conclusions, decisions, and actions.

13. Realign—yourself with a church group and friends who do not espouse these teachings and practices.
Once you have separated yourself from the church group of which you were a part, it is important that you eventually realign yourself with a new church group and friends who do not espouse and employ these heretical doctrines and practices. Some people find it necessary to take some time out from such intense and all consuming church involvement for a period of time in order to clear their minds and gain a different, more balanced perspective of the proper role of a church and a church family. Both of these are important, but not to the detriment or substitution of our direct, personal relationship with the Lord Himself. Some people have gotten so caught up in the mysticism of "Charismania" that, to coin a modern saying, they need to "get a life!" And, it is perfectly okay if you feel that you need to give yourself a little break from constant church going and involvement, especially if it has become bondage to you. We ARE the Church; you don’t have to GO TO a church to be a part of THE church. Rather, we are baptized by the regeneration of the Spirit at the New Birth into the Church (1 Cor. 12:13). Church is not an organization, or a building, or some place you GO TO; rather, it is something believers simply ARE! We are now the Temple, the building of God (1 Cor. 3:9; 2 Cor. 5:1; Eph. 2:21) Yet, it is good to be a part of a brotherhood of believers to whom to relate and from whom we can draw spiritual strength and support. Indeed, that is what "church" is supposed to be. Beware when it becomes or is presented as being more than that. Beware that you not become guilty, by and by, in worshipping the Church of God rather than the God of the Church.

14. Rest—in God’s grace, forgiveness, love, and acceptance.
Once you have taken all the preceding steps, it is vital that you then just REST in God’s undeserved favor (grace), His free flowing forgiveness, His unconditional agape love, and His complete acceptance. These are the attributes of God, and they are the attributes that distinguish the Divine Nature from human nature. Humans are never as liberal with these as is God, and it is vain to expect them to be. Nevertheless, we can indeed rest in all these, if we will only allow ourselves, though the concept of entering into the Sabbath rest of faith is something participants in these sorts of spiritual societies and systems that are so saturated in "works" will have to learn all over again, if indeed they had ever learned it in the first place.

15. Recommend—this book to other victims of authoritarian abuse.
Once again, this final "R" is, by no means, merely a marketing ploy to sell books. Rather, it is absolutely vital that those who have been victims of religious hyper authoritarian exploitation and abuse assimilate the information proffered in this volume in order to be set free from the strong delusion and bondage they are under. This is the only book I am aware of dealing effectively and specifically with this matter of authoritarian abuse in the Pentecostal context in particular and possessing the information required to truly set the captives free. There are some books addressing the problem that are written by non charismatic and in most cases, anti-charismatic psychologists or sociologists, however, those I have read, in my opinion, proffer "answers" based in psychology rather than viable and Scriptural spirituality. Most of them also have a blatantly anti-charismatic slant, and seem to use the existence of these errant and aberrant practices as proof and a pretext for debunking Charismatic theology and discrediting Charismatics and the Charismatic church.

As I have reiterated repeatedly throughout this volume in many ways, I myself am a bona fide Charismatic and am wholly persuaded of the validity of the Charismatic Movement and its Divine orchestration. By no means am I engaging in any form or degree of Charismatic bashing in this book, but rather proffering what I am fully convinced is valid and very much needed God inspired reproof and correction of patently unscriptural doctrines and practices that unfortunately are being practiced within much of the Charismatic and Neo Pentecostal Church.

I am also quite aware that these doctrines and practices are being espoused and employed in other segments and streams of the Church of Jesus as well; however, it is of the Neo-Pentecostal that I am a part, and as such, have a particular "right" to confront concerning needed reproofs. It is my deepest desire and heartfelt prayer that all those who name themselves among the Brotherhood of Christ will give heed to the reproof and admonitions presented in this book, and take the actions necessary to liberate the Children of God from the oppressive captivation of men, for we are called to be SONS of God, not SLAVES of men. "He whom the Son sets free, is free indeed!"

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