Tag Archives: Mary Alice Chrnalogar

What makes Chrnalogar’s book significant, and why is it relevant for today?

Recently, I used the book Twisted Scriptures to assess Mars Hill Church and Pastor Mark Driscoll’s leadership as reported on other blogs.

Before I used the book, I should have established its credibility.

Of course, nothing and no one carries full credibility across all spectra.

For that we can thank the successful infiltration of ideological mentalities and propagandistic modes of thinking.

In other words, a man could utter a perfectly true and practically applicable statement, and the first thing many of us would want to know is his affiliation and identity and worldview.

Even so, here is my attempt to identify the credible nature of the book:

The first edition of Twisted Scriptures: Breaking Free from Churches That Abuse was released by Zondervan in 1997. Revised editions appeared in 1998 and 2000.

On the back of my 2000 edition, author Mary Alice Chrnalogar is identified as a 19-year veteran of rescuing victims of cults and abusive church groups. She has conducted rescues and interventions in the United States, Australia, Canada, France, Israel, and Spain, according to the back of the book.

In the book’s acknowledgments, Chrnalogar says she consulted Timothy Brouns, a Baptist minister and graduate of Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, and Stephen D. Martin, a pastor, graduate of Nazarene Theological Seminary and former staff member of Wellspring Retreat and Resource Center, a “restorative place for victims of controlling groups,” located in Athens, Ohio.

The back of the book cites Edward J. Green, Ph.D., the Guerry professor emeritus of psychology at the University of Tennessee. Dr. Green wrote, “This is controversial… many sheep will be told not to read it. Anyone told this should read it immediately. This is an important book — not only to help victims break out of bondage, but every pastor should be required to read it.”

The credentials of Chrnalogar and the above-mentioned men should suggest some credibility.


Assessing Mark Driscoll and Mars Hill Church against the book ‘Twisted Scriptures’

Mars Hill Church might be more effective in its executive leadership’s goals if those leaders had read some of the books on abuses in the “discipleship” and “shepherding” movements as well as amongst garden-variety legalists and authoritarians in the pulpits and on the hipster contemporary worship stage.

That way, the executive elders would know what appearances and perceptions to avoid.

(They could learn quite a bit from the current and last White Houses when it comes to controlling information and giving answers so clever, even seasoned journalists gave the administrations a pass on sidestepping important isses, because the sidestepping was just so damn good you had to admire it. Makes you wonder what Janet Mefferd could do if she wasn’t working for evangelicals and, apparently, people who worship Tyndale House’s advertising money or Mark Driscoll’s influence more than the truth.)

For example, they could have readTwisted Scriptures: Breaking Free from Churches that Abuse, a ground-breaking book by Mary Alice Chrnalogar. First released in 1997, it focuses on patterns of overbearing authority in U.S. Christianity as well as in some infamous groups like Heaven’s Gate.

I bring up the topic because 45 elders have left Mars Hill Church in the past 3 years:


And I bring up the topic because Mars Hill Church uses pressure and fear to protect itself from former pastors:


If you’ve already those posts, you’ll know why Chrnalogar’s list of questions, offered to readers who wonder if their church is abusive or authoritarian, is completely legitimate for the context.

In your group, Chrnalogar asks, did you see that…

》Leadership was excessively esteemed?

》Leaders were not accountable to members?

》You were led to think that good solid teaching outside this group was rare? …

》Your leaders had a corner on wisdom?  …

》Former life experiences and lessons were less valuable than what you learned in the group?  …

[Wow. Isn’t that true of nearly every church that boasts a “high view of Scripture”? But as far as Mars Hill Church goes, I’m guessing some of those 45 elders (mentioned above) left because they realized, or were told, their time-seasoned insights weren’t in line with Party doctrine.]

》 The prevailing attitude was that objections and questions from members stemmed not from reasoned and fairly objective analysis but rather from the person’s spiritual or emotional problems? …

》 Dissenting was always bad? …

[For the last two listed just above, see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/05/31/another-mars-hill-church-pastor-fired-reportedly-for-questioning-executive-elders/  and also see http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/05/27/forced-out-for-asking-questions-dalton-rorabacks-mars-hill-church-story/ .]

》Members were rarely advised to seek professional counsel?

[Be sure to see  http://www.patheos.com/blogs/warrenthrockmorton/2014/06/24/mars-hill-churchs-demon-trials-mental-illness-considered-sign-of-demonic-involvement-along-with-pedophilia-and-habitual-lying/ .]