Bitter Fruit: Dysfunction and Abuse in the Local Church, by Keith Ford, is set to release in late June of 2021. I wrote the following endorsement quote:
Experiencing a traumatic four-way church split in the 1970s brought on a crisis of faith. Was Christianity false—or was something desperately wrong with that toxic church’s leading, teaching, structuring? There were no books on spiritual abuse recovery until 15 years later. I know now Bitter Fruit by Keith Ford is exactly the kind of solid overview of abuse symptoms, sources, systemic solutions, and health sustainability I needed then, and that the Church needs now! ~ Brad Sargent – author of “futuristguy” blogs and case studies on spiritual abuse.
I recommend Keith’s book as essential reading for abuse survivors, advocates, church leaders, and everyday disciples. Distilled from his extensive ministry experience plus deep reflection on experience of spiritual abuse, Keith Ford provides us a solid theoretical and practical introduction to abuse by individuals and institutions.
He gives a broadband overview of abuse identification, recovery, and prevention issues. I especially appreciate how Keith integrates multidisciplinary insights on symptoms, sources, systemic solutions, and sustainability with the memorable biblical metaphor of abiding in the vine.
Abuse survivor communities have been blessed by a wave of transformative, systems-oriented books the past year. They’ve helped us in our understanding and recovery. Glad to add Bitter Fruit especially to share with our support networks and those ready to understand & stand with us!
A great theological resource and intermediate-level introduction to systemic abuse. Here’s the Amazon Kindle book page, where you can check out a sample, plus review the table of contents and how Keith weaves together key topics and the vine metaphor.
Here’s the Wipf and Stock publisher’s page for Bitter Fruit: Dysfunction and Abuse in the Local Church. Read it, savor it, reflect on what it means to bear sweet fruit instead of bitter … and what to do about toxic/bitter-fruit individuals and institutions.