The Antidote is Chris’s follow-up to his first book, Toxic Church, in which he seeks to explain the psychological background of conflicted relationships in churches and other organizations. In Toxic Church we are told that the many church conflicts, especially where pastors and other leaders are mistreated and often hounded out of the church, are a result of deeply rooted psychological and destructive behavioral patterns in those who are the aggressors of the conflict.
In The Antidote, we read that such destructive patterns in the church are the result of abusive relationships in the childhood homes of influential church individuals who lead or support the assault on leaders of their churches or religious organizations. Then, abusive childhood relationships result in adults who pass on their pain in the form of behavior adapted to gain the acceptance they lost in the abusive climate of their homes. This attention-seeking behavior follows predictable forms, or “scripts”, as “whatever seemed to work to gain acceptance as a child will be used over and over again in adulthood.” (Antidote, p.35)
In explaining the Antidote, Chris lays out a process of stopping the cycle of abuse and addictive scripts. After a review of the “abuse cycle” in which the addictive scripts of destructive behavior take root and develop into a repeated pattern of abuse in a church, Chris explains the solution through the steps of recognition and correction of the destructive patterns that afflict so many churches, both in America and overseas.
Essentially, the Antidote is explained as the application of the biblical steps of confession and repentance that are the foundation of spiritual growth from a religion of the flesh to a true relationship with God in the Holy Spirit. The repentance is particularly focused on the sin of seeking acceptance from men rather than resting in the acceptance of God’s grace in Christ. Through steps of confronting and correcting self-serving behaviors, scripted persons may be moved from self-serving attempts to gain and preserve acceptance from other people to a Spirit-led assurance of God’s pleasure and grace for all His people. This book would be helpful for anyone in a local church, clergy or laypersons, who find repeated conflicts taking place in their church.
Review by Pastor Larry Harrold
A 1986 graduate of Dallas Theological Seminary, Larry has been in pastoral ministry in various ways for over 30 years. Serving in five churches, Larry has observed many of the conflicts addressed in Chris’ books. As a chaplain in two gospel rescue missions, he has seen many examples of the ruin and destruction of addictive behavior on individuals and their families. As an instructor in the Douglas County Correction Center for 28 years, he is able to teach the principles of addiction recovery from a biblical perspective to men in a program module under the ministry of Good News Jail and Prison ministries. Larry also served two years as chaplain for a local hospice company. Larry and his wife of 44 years, Debra, have three adult children and five grandchildren.