that Hurts, Faith that Heals by Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton ©
1991 Thomas Nelson Publishers, Nashville Tenn.
1. Special Claims
The members of the harmful faith system make claims about their character, abilities, or
knowledge that make them "special" in some way
a. The Claim of
a Special Anointing or Calling
b. The Claim of
Special Powers from God
The leader is dictatorial and authoritarian
3. An "Us Versus
Them" Mentality Religious Addicts are at war with the world (flesh and the devil) to protect their terrain and establish
themselves as godly persons who can't be compared to other persons of faith.
4. Punitive Nature
Harmful faith systems are punitive in nature. The minister addicted to power punishes and
purges the system of anybody who would upset the status quo.
5. Overwhelming Service
Religious addicts are asked to give overwhelming service. Deep depression, extreme
anxiety, and a general numbness are common in overwhelmed religious addicts.
6. Followers in Pain
Many religious addicts in the system are physically ill, emotionally distraught, and
spiritually dead. Denial becomes a quick and easy tool to live a lie until both physical
and emotional trauma break the religious addicts' facades of perfection.
7. Closed Communication
Communication is from the top down or from the inside out. With an attitude of spiritual
superiority, religious addicts reinforce that they are always in greater touch with God's
truth, more sensitive to God's will, and more worthy of being listened to than anyone
8. Legalism Rules
are distortions of God's intent and leave Him out of the relationship. As new people come
into the hurtful faith system, they are indoctrinated into the rules rather than
strengthened in a relationship with God. It becomes a faith system based on
"don'ts" rather than a faith centered on God. What you do is valued more than
who you are.
9. No Objective
Accountability Religious addicts have no system of objective accountability. If
religious addicts were in healthy, accountable, relationships with others, hurtful faith
would not be allowed to flourish. A person accountable only to God is a person out of
10. Labeling The
technique of labeling is used to discount a person who opposes the beliefs of the
religious addict. Labeling attempts to dehumanize persons so that dismissing them or their
opinions is much easier. Labeling allows religious addicts to define truth, uphold that
truth as defined, and destroy anyone else who would dare to question that truth.