This is from the book “Toxic Faith” by Stephen Arterburn & Jack Felton
What I want to point out is Chapter 7 near the end of the book. “The Five Roles in a Toxic-Faith System”. They are Persecutor – Co-Conspirator – Enabler – Victim – Outcast. I want to focus on The Outcast role.
NOTE: I have not read this book so this is not an endorsement of it. But what is written here I pray will be of help to some.
The Role of the Outcast
Of the five roles in the toxic-faith system, only one is not a religious addict or bound by toxic- faith. In most toxic-faith systems, someone can usually see the problem and confront it. Unwilling to play the games of the persecutor and co-conspirators, the person becomes the outcast.
These people who stand up for what is right and challenge the system lose their jobs, friends, and church. They become lone voices in the wilderness, crying out for change that will not come as long as the persecutor dictates power, the co-conspirators manipulate the system, the enablers allow it to continue, and the victims fall in line with blind faith. When outcasts surface, they are identified as troublemakers and pushed out of the system as soon as possible.
Forced to Rebel
In a healthy system, individuals respect the person and position of leadership. For it to remain healthy, there must also be respect for the workers. Without respect, the “hired hands” are not allowed to disagree. If they don’t like something, they are labeled complainers, negative thinkers, and not team players. The toxic-faith system has no place for anyone who challenges the integrity or disagrees with the methods of the leader. In a toxic-faith system, loyalty is equated with blind faith and complete agreement with the leader.
Allegiance that requires overlooking the truth must be pledged daily. When allegiance evaporates, the confrontational workers of church members are labeled as outcasts and rejected by the organization. In this they are forced to rebel, since the organization allows no room for disagreement.
Outcasts who challenge the delusion of the system are discredited immediately. The toxic-faith system creates a lose-lose situation where the outcasts must give up perceptions of reality or be willing to face complete rejection. Abandonment becomes the reward for trying to correct the ministry.
Outcasts can interpret reality for themselves. Even when their perception of reality contradicts that of hundreds or thousands of followers, they can clearly see the problems and press for solutions to those problems. Outcasts are unimpressed by position or personhood. They love God and want to protect His people and His institutions from spiritual fraud.
Those who are dedicated to God have little difficulty seeing others’ dedication to egos and empires. They are forced to suffer for what they see because they refuse to watch people live a lie and abuse others. No toxic-faith system can handle this keen insight and dedication to truth. They must place their jobs and the church they love on the altar of sacrifice as they are forced to move on to a place free from toxic-faith.
Hope for the Outcast
God honours those who are willing to sacrifice their comfort at the altar of what is right. God has a special place in His heart for the heros of a toxic-faith system. Those who stand up for God and tell the world the emperor has no clothes will receive their reward sooner or later.
I have talked with some of these courageous outcasts, and I know of the pain and suffering they endured when they rejected the toxic-faith system. But all is not terrible for the outcasts. They feel good about finally taking a stand. They also feel the respect of others who value their courageous acts.
The hope for these outcasts is that many great men and women of God and many great churches exist where God can be found. Rejected in one place, they will be honoured through the integrity of the organization’s leadership.
It then goes on to list the characteristics of the Outcast.
Is not a religious addict
Does not possess a toxic-faith
Willingly stands alone
Stands up for what is right
Is willing to be rejected by others in a toxic-faith system
Can discern right from wrong
Commits to leaders having integrity
Refuses to be victimized by false teaching and lack of integrity
Speaks out for truth
Usually loses a job within a toxic organization over concern for it
Suffers rejection by friends after challenging the leadership of those in the toxic-faith system
Often is treated as a leper
Is begged by others in a toxic-faith system to support the persecutor
Endures shame of others
Refuses to respect of be manipulated by those in a toxic-faith system
Sees the truth and acts on it even if it produces great personal pain
Interprets reality for self
Is motivated to protect people from spiritual fraud
Is very dedicated to God and the people who seek a relationship with Him
Commands respect of others for courage
Does this sound like you? It sure does me!
Romans 8:35-38 Who shall separate us from the love of Christ? Shall tribulation or distress or persecution, or famine, or nakedness, or peril or sword? As it is written, for thy sake we are killed all the day long; we are accounted as sheep for the slaughter.Nay, in all these things we are more than conquerors through him that loved us.