for survivors of abusive churches, their families and friends, and all who want to understand spiritual abuse and help the abused.
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In the House of Friends

Understanding and Healing from Spiritual Abuse in Christian Churches

Hi <<First Name>>,

There is a place that promises acceptance, spiritual growth, and friendship, but instead delivers criticism, abuse, and exploitation.

A place that declares marriages will be strengthened, treasured, and protected, but instead weakens, diminishes, and marginalizes them.

A place that claims to obey the word of God, but in practice weaponizes the word against those who disagree or doubt.

A place where the good news of a tenderhearted, loving Savior is blurred by leaders who are controlling, traumatizing, and self-serving.

A place that calls loudly to the storm-tossed at sea, only to lure them to the rocks where they flounder and fall apart.

A place that appeared to be a house of friendship but was a place of betrayal.

That place might be a Christian church. It might be a cult. It is probably both.

In the House of Friends: Understanding and Healing from Spiritual Abuse in the Christian Church is written for survivors of abusive churches, their families and friends, and all who want to understand spiritual abuse and help the abused. Dr. Garrett is a long-term pastor of a diverse, urban congregation and combines personal experience, sound academic research, and pastoral theology to address a poorly understood, rarely admitted problem today—spiritual abuse in Christian churches.

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Praise for Awakened By Grace

“How sad that in coming forward to follow Jesus, some vulnerable Christians are damaged by overbearing, unaccountable, demagogic church leaders. Sad but true. Ken Garrett tells the truth about abuse of power even in the church. He shows how Scripture depicts spiritual abuse, how to spot a potentially abusive pastor, and gives practical resources for responding to the sin of spiritual abuse.  Ken's book is a godsend for all Christians who want the church and its leaders faithfully to represent Christ's love for his people.”
Will Willimon, Professor of the Practice of Christian Ministry, Duke Divinity School, United Methodist Bishop, retired, author of Pastor: The Theology and Practice of Ordained Ministry

“One of the things that Christians don’t like to discuss is the existence of cults inside the church; not theological cults, but emotional cults. Some churches teach the basic truths of Christianity yet enslave their members through the use of cultic practices, such as peer pressure, threats, and mind controls. ... If you work with hurting people who escaped with emotional scars, or escaped yourself, or perhaps are still in an emotionally unhealthy church, this is the book for you. Garret provides a full review of how cultic churches work, as well as how you can escape, and how to minister to those damaged by them.”
Gary L. McIntosh, Talbot School of Theology, Biola University

“This book is a valuable resource for victims and for pastors, seminarians, youth ministers, church members, and families or friends concerned about a loved one caught up in an abusive situation. Garrett effectively weaves together a compelling personal story, testimonies of other spiritual abuse victims, and clear explanations of what spiritual abuse is, how people get sucked into abusive churches, why they stay in abusive relationships, what kind of help they need when they leave, and how churches can become safe havens for the spiritually abused.”
Michael D. Langone, from the foreword

“Ken Garrett’s In the House of Friends: Understanding and Healing from Spiritual Abuse in Christian Churches is compelling. I read it in one sitting. I literally could not put it down. Ken is an expert in this field, but he writes for those who sense something is wrong in the church, but can't pinpoint the problem. Ken so accurately diagnoses the problem of narcissistic and authoritative church leaders that I literally felt the oppression and wanted to run. However, Ken does what any good doctor desires to do; after first describing the problem, Ken gives the remedy. For any person who's ever been the victim of abusive spiritual authority, or for anyone seeking healing from the scars left by authoritative pastors who've cared more about themselves than the Kingdom, In the House of Friends is a God-send. I plan on purchasing many copies and giving them to people who've been ‘In the House of Friends’ and need healing.”
Wade Burleson, author of Fraudulent Authority

About the Author

Ken Garrett is a native of Portland, Oregon, where he and his wife Sharon live today. After a 20-year career as a paramedic in Portland, Ken completed seminary training, and soon became senior pastor of Grace Church, Portland. Ken loves travel, hiking, spending time with family and friends, and reading. He and Sharon have three daughters and four grandchildren. Ken has taught pre-hospital medicine courses in Uzbekistan, Iraq, and Vietnam.

The great knuckle ball in life that Ken faced was his 12-year experience of membership in a high-control, spiritually abusive Christian church. Recruited with a promise of “discipleship training” and preparation for vocational ministry, Ken instead lost all of his money, nearly his marriage, and almost all of his pre-cult friends. In 1996 he and Sharon walked away from their church (that functioned as a cult) with their children, their car, some clothing, and Ken's guitar. The experience has led to Ken's fascination with the study of cults, leadership, and healthy group and family dynamics. Ken is an advisory board member of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), and leads a monthly recovery oriented meetup, the Spiritual Abuse Forum for Education. Ken has written articles for the magazine ICSA Today, and has earned a doctorate from Western Seminary for his studies of spiritually abusive Christian churches. Ken and Sharon counsel and assist many survivors of abusive, cult-like groups and also the families and friends of current members.

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