As part of the series on spiritual abuse I’m beginning to collect resources and make them available on this page. If you have any other recommendations you can either email them to me or leave a comment. You can find more recommended resources on a variety of subjects here.


Suffering and the Heart of God: How Trauma Destroys and Christ Restores by Diane Langberg.

The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse: Recognizing and Escaping Spiritual Manipulation and False Spiritual Authority Within the Church by David Johnson and Jeff VanVonderen.

Healing Spiritual Abuse: How to Break Free from Bad Church Experience by Ken Blue.

Exposing Spiritual Abuse by Mike Fehlauer.

Spiritual Abuse: Religion at Its Worst by June Hunt.

Spiritual Abuse Recovery: Dynamic Research on Finding a Place of Wholeness by Barbara M. Orlowski.

Faith That Hurts, Faith That Heals/Understanding the Fine Line Between Healthy Faith and Spiritual Abuse by Stephen Arterburn and Jack Felton.

The following books are more about spiritual and emotional abuse in marriage, but many of the principles apply to abusive churches too.

The Emotionally Destructive Relationship: Seeing It, Stopping It, Surviving It by Leslie Vernick.

A Cry for Justice: How the Evil of Domestic Abuse Hides in Your Church by Jeff Crippen and Anna Wood.

Safe People: How to Find Relationships That Are Good for You and Avoid Those That Aren’t by Henry Cloud

The following are secular books but still many helpful observations.

Why Does He Do That?: Inside the Minds of Angry and Controlling Men by Lundy Bancroft.

In Sheep’s Clothing: Understanding and Dealing with Manipulative People by George K. Simon.

Rethinking Narcissism: The Bad-and Surprising Good-About Feeling Special by Dr. Craig Malkin.

The following are out of print but may still be purchased used.

Recovering from Churches that Abuse by Ronald Enroth (or download Free PDF)

Recovery from Spiritual Abuse by Juanita and Dale Ryan


HeadHeartHand Series

A Reformed “Spotlight”: Fighting Spiritual Abuse in the Reformed Church | HeadHeartHand

Reformed “Spotlight”: What is Spiritual Abuse? | HeadHeartHand

Reformed “Spotlight”: 10 Characteristics of Mr Controller | HeadHeartHand

Reformed “Spotlight”: What about the Victims? | HeadHeartHand

Reformed “Spotlight”: The Humblest Conference I’ve Ever Attended | HeadHeartHand

Reformed “Spotlight”: Self-Promoting Wolves or Selfless Shepherds | HeadHeartHand

Phil Monroe Series

Spiritual Trauma and Abuse: Assessments and Interventions | Phil Monroe

Spiritual Abuse: What it is and Why it Hurts | Phil Monroe

Why do some spiritual leaders abuse power? | Phil Monroe

What factors support the use of spiritual abuse? | Phil Monroe

Why are some people prone to spiritual abuse? | Phil Monroe

Belief System Supports for Spiritual Abuse? |Phil Monroe

Do you enable spiritual abuse? | Phil Monroe

Preventing spiritual abuse? Listen to that little voice plus |Phil Monroe

Spiritual Trauma and Abuse: Assessments and Intervention | Phil Monroe

Other Blogs

The Narcissism Test

Pastoral Bullies | Sam Storms

Spiritual Abuse: What it is and why it hurts | Phil Monroe

Warning: Dangerous people | Wisdom for life

Evangelicals and Toxic Masculinity | Samuel D. James

Reflections on Fallen Pastors |Timothy Raymond 

What is Spiritual ABUSE? | Geeky Christian

Spiritual Abuse | David Henke

Spiritual Abuse: It’s Not Just Celebrity Pastors | Gentle Reformation

How Church Bullies and Abusers Deceive Us « The Reformed Reader

Help in Overcoming Church Hurt | Desiring God


Culture, Christendom, and Christ with Diane Langberg.

Are We Pastors or Platform Builders? | Mortification of Spin

  • Glenda Mathes

    These are excellent resources, David. Thanks for sharing them.

  • Persis Lorenti

    Thanks for sharing these resources.

    Jeff Crippen has also written a 2nd book, “Unholy Charade”, which deals with specific characteristics of domestic abusers. However, these traits can apply to spiritual abuse as well.

  • Mark Schaefer

    “The Subtle Power of Spiritual Abuse” really helped me to define and understand some pretty bad experiences I had. Another good read (since you have Cloud and Townsend listed already) is “Boundaries”. Unfortunately, the recovery process from any abuse is aggravatingly slow, even when you have good knowledge and tools like these books provide.