I've written elsewhere about the dangers of fundamentalist or evangelical biblicism--the practice of attempting to apply the Bible's teaching based on the assumption that it is inerrant, self-sufficient, self-evident, internally consistent, and universally applicable. One obvious example is the way biblicists use the Bible to condemn gays and lesbians to an agonizing struggle to become "ex-gay" or remain celibate. Others are when they use it to preach salvation in very exclusive ways or still another, when they teach the supposed "end times," which is, by the way it's taught, extremely manipulative.
These results are the "price of biblicism," the fruit of making the Bible into something that the original writers (and God, I believe) never intended it to be. Another grave example I highlight here is the real-life case study of Soveriegn Grace Ministries (SGM - formerly People of Destiny International), a 30-year-old denomination that is now going through a very public investigation of ongoing spiritual abuse of church members and leaders. The root of this, I contend, is this denomination's strict adherence to biblicism.
The heart of most of the problems in this denomination is how it views its leaders' authority. For example, they take very literally Hebrews 13:17, which says "...Obey your leaders and submit to them. For they are keeping watch over your souls as those who will have to give…an account." And as the leader of SGM, C.J. Mahaney, recently taught, they believe God has inspired and preserved these specific words in Hebrews with their churches in mind.
To see the fruit of taking such a Scripture so literally and applying it to church leaders, pastors, and members, one only has to visit two websites that track a myriad of cases of serious, spiritual and emotional abuse. SGMSurvivors.com and SGMRefuge.com are chock full of stories from former SGM members who report on specific examples of leaders using verses like Heb. 13:17 to control people's lives, impose psycological guilt trips, and manipulate/reject members or other leaders when they stand up to the abuse. It's a sad commentary, but important for people to be aware of so I encourage interested readers to check these sites out. The abuse can only stop when things come to light.
I was recently reminded of these websites when I noticed one of the founding leaders of SGM, Larry Tomzcak, had finally posted his story of how he was spiritually abused more than 13 years ago. Also, having attended one of these churches back in the mid-to-late 80s and early 90s, I have personal experience. Finally, one friend of mine from those days, Darla Melancon, wrote a book about her family's abuse (I just discovered last year), called The Things I Learned After Being Kicked Out of Church. These sites and this book is a massive case study on the horrific price some people have to pay for biblical literalism.