Understanding Authority and Abuse in the Church
Power has a God-given role in human relationships and institutions, but it can lead to abuse when used in unhealthy ways. Speaking into current #MeToo and #ChurchToo conversations, this book shows that the body of Christ desperately needs to understand the forms power takes, how it is abused, and how to respond to abuses of power.
Although many Christians want to prevent abuse in their churches and organizations, they lack a deep and clear-eyed understanding of how power actually works. Internationally recognized psychologist Diane Langberg offers a clinical and theological framework for understanding how power operates, the effects of the abuse of power, and how power can be redeemed and restored to its proper God-given place in relationships and institutions. This book not only helps Christian leaders identify and resist abusive systems but also shows how they can use power to protect the vulnerable in their midst.
Part 1: Power Defined
1. The Source and Purpose of Power
2. Vulnerability and Power
3. The Role of Deception in the Abuse of Power
4. The Power of Culture and the Influence of Words
Part 2: Power Abused
5. Understanding Abuse of Power
6. Power in Human Systems
7. Power between Men and Women
8. The Intersection of Race and Power
9. Power Abused in the Church
10. Christendom Seduced by Power
Part 3: Power Redeemed
11. Redemptive Power and the Person of Christ
12. Healing Power and the Body of Christ
"This book is one of the most important works for a pastor, or anyone in a position of authority, to dwell on. Langberg's work laying out the relationship between power and abuse and contrasting it with how power is exercised in the person and work of Christ is foundational for any leader or ministry desiring to reflect the gospel. This book is a must-read for spiritual leaders and for every Christian as we seek to exhort each other to righteousness and use redemptively whatever authority we have in our own spheres."
Rachael Denhollander, speaker, victim advocate, and attorney; author of What Is a Girl Worth?
"In this weighty and timely book, Dr. Langberg addresses a topic that too often goes ignored or even dismissed: power. As human beings, we have been given power and that power can be used to serve or to oppress. You will need to read this book with a highlighter and a box of tissues nearby. As a tender and experienced therapist, Langberg writes a book that painfully reveals even as it lovingly heals. Redeeming Power is essential reading for every leader and anyone who wishes to use what power they have to bless and heal in a world that so often curses and wounds."
Jemar Tisby, New York Times bestselling author of The Color of Compromise
"Redeeming Power should be on the must-read list of every pastor, leader, boss, coach, parent, and educator--anyone interested in learning how to use power to bless, not curse. No stodgy academic language here--she is a woman on fire, and in a manner worthy of the prophets before her, she delivers a call for justice on behalf of those deeply wounded by power wielded in ungodly ways. This book is packed with biblical truths, insight, wisdom, conviction, and instruction for those who have eyes to see and ears to hear. I believe what she has written could change the world if properly applied, because it is straight from the heart of our compassionate God."
Kay Warren, cofounder, Saddleback Church
"Vintage Diane Langberg! Bold. Challenging. Christ-exalting. Langberg is a strong advocate and voice for the vulnerable and voiceless."
Tim Clinton, president, American Association of Christian Counselors
"With the clear-eyed assessment of Jeremiah and the courage of Esther, Diane Langberg looks leaders square in the eye and tells the unflinching truth about power. This is difficult truth that every leader needs to know but most work hard to avoid. Be assured that the author's love for God and his people will lead you down the potentially painful path to where mercy and hope await. How can an author weave together the pain of abuse with the promise of properly leveraged power? Langberg shows you in Redeeming Power. Her relentless pursuit of protecting the powerless is supported by her decades of listening for God's voice amid victims' pain, as well as that of the perpetrators, some of whom don't realize the damage their words and actions produce. May we listen carefully to this prophetic admonition. Langberg's voice needs to be heard by all of us. For all who hunger for healing and yearn to know how power can be both abused and properly used, this book is for you."
Robert L. Briggs, president and CEO, American Bible Society
"With immeasurable insight and grace, Dr. Diane Langberg's Redeeming Power exhorts people, institutions, and nations to wake up, repent, and seek the kingdom of God by looking critically at the imbalances and injustices we have allowed to flourish. If there was ever a time we needed to receive this challenging, life-saving word, it's now. Thank God for choosing Diane to profess it!"
Jeanne L. Allert, founder and executive director, The Samaritan Women
"This book broke my heart, instructed my soul, and pointed me to the most powerful King-Servant-Healer, who lovingly humbled himself to overcome evil with good. This is an anointed book, reflecting theological sensitivity and egregious life experiences, calling us to steward and reclaim power for its original purpose: human flourishing."
Ronald A. Matthews, president, Eastern University
"Every now and then you come across a resource that you passionately want to recommend to others because you know its contents are that essential and valuable. Redeeming Power is one of those resources. Diane Langberg helps us see and understand the truths we so often miss, ignore, or explain away because they are shrouded in much deception of self and others. Redeeming Power is a ray of light streaming through systems and hearts darkened by the abuse of authority. Those who read will discover truths that can reveal, free, and heal. Her words honor the voices of victims who have too often been silenced, calling us all away from exploitation and corruption toward compassion and righteousness--toward Jesus himself."
Wade Mullen, assistant professor and director of the MDiv program, Capital Seminary & Graduate School; author of Something's Not Right: Decoding the Hidden Tactics of Abuse--and Freeing Yourself from Its Power
"Diane Langberg has done us all an excellent service with this book. There is currently a desperate need within the church to better understand power dynamics. The cost of the church not fully grasping what power is and how it is appropriately stewarded is too high. I see this regularly as I care for those who have endured both spiritual abuse and racial trauma within the church. This book is profound yet accessible and carries with it the potential to inform and heal. I commend it wholeheartedly to all."
Kyle J. Howard, Soul Care Provider, Lighting a Path, Inc.
"The most difficult aspect of my profession is seeing the pain and suffering that people can inflict on each other, especially in church and family environments that should be safe and protective. Dr. Langberg has spent decades understanding what the process of healing from personal and systemic trauma looks like. Her book gives a voice to these hurting people who have journeyed from silence and shame to redemptive healing. It is required reading for anyone who seeks substantial training in helping victims of emotional, sexual, physical, and racial trauma find God's 'redeeming power' from the behavioral, psychological, and spiritual consequences of trauma."
Michael R. Lyles, MD, psychiatrist, speaker, and visiting lecturer
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