Saturday, July 19, 2008

New to me - Theophostic Prayer

I exchanged some messages from someone on a discussion group for Christian EFT Practitioners (on Yahoo), and she mentioned Theophostic prayer ministry (TPM). I had heard of it, but hadn't really looked into it. So I did a search and found an article titled A Biblical Evaluation of Theophostic Ministry that I want to comment on.

Some of the quotes taken from the founder of TPM, Dr. Smith, I very much agree with. I suspect most EFT practitioners, regardless of faith, would also agree. Here's a sample:

"Recovery is not building strong defenses against the lies or controlling undesirable behavior. Genuine recovery is freedom from the lies that control and dictate such behavior" (Genuine Recovery, p.10).

"If a person is truly recovered, then relapse should not be a concern…" (Genuine Recovery, p.12).

The article goes on to say:
That Theophostic offers new "methods" is indisputable. But that it offers new "applications" (presumably of Scripture) would be hard to establish. The proposal that Jesus Christ must directly reveal to a struggler the specific lie he is believing (not through Scripture or through bringing Scripture to mind, but directly) — that He does this only as painful memories are re-visited — and that Jesus himself must then personally refute that lie in that person’s heart, not merely in general but while the person is recalling the life context in which he began embracing that lie — these are not notions derived from a study of Scripture. They are new revelation.
I say it is not a new revelation, it is entirely scriptural if you take into account the spiritual side of the equation. And EFT has a similar approach, though EFT helps relieve the emotional 'hold' that keeps the lie in place, from my perspective. I'll probably expand on that in another article, but it's basically my premise behind using EFT as a tool in spiritual warfare. I think that would be in agreement with

Luk 8:35 ESV
(35) Then people went out to see what had happened, and they came to Jesus and found the man from whom the demons had gone, sitting at the feet of Jesus, clothed and in his right mind, and they were afraid. (emphasis added)

I think, from some of what's in the article, that it's written from a Reformed / Calvinist theology, which I don't hold. It appears to me that TPM is predicated on the Holy Spirit speaking directly to a believer, and that it's a form of deliverance (though they may not call it that, it'll be a bit before I have a better grasp of that.) However, in this article the author appears not to believe that the Holy Spirit speaks directly to believers, even though that belief is unscriptural. I think they believe that the following passages only applied to the Apostles at pentacost and now they don't apply.

And I will pray the Father, and he shall give you another Comforter, that he may abide with you for ever; (Joh 14:16 KJV)

But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.
(Joh 14:26 KJV)

Nevertheless I tell you the truth; It is expedient for you that I go away: for if I go not away, the Comforter will not come unto you; but if I depart, I will send him unto you.
(Joh 16:7 KJV)

Here's the part of the article that talks of the Holy Spirit:
So what do people need? "They need an experience." People need Jesus Christ to talk directly to their souls. This is not the secret work of the Holy Spirit, blowing like the wind, regenerating a person or strengthening him with power in his inner being (Ephesians 3:16).
This is the second person of the Trinity, the Son of God, directly speaking extra-biblical (although not anti-biblical) content into the person’s heart."
So to the author's way of thinking, the Holy Spirit does a 'secret work' and not according to the following verse of scripture: (13) When the Spirit of truth comes, he will guide you into all the truth, for he will not speak on his own authority, but whatever he hears he will speak, and he will declare to you the things that are to come. (14) He will glorify me, for he will take what is mine and declare it to you. (Joh 16:13-14 ESV) However, the author at least says it isn't anti-biblical. It's a long article, but there's just one more part of it that I want to comment on, which also reveals the Reformed point of view, and ties in with a previous blog article I wrote. Here's a quote from the latter part of the Theophostic article:

Then why does it work?

We might ask, "Suppose Theophostic is shown to be in error — how do
we explain that it often seems to help people?" God alone can answer this. But two suggestions follow. [...]

Do any of these cases prove that the supplicants’ methods were justified? Not at all. They prove only that God sometimes responds generously to our misguided — or even sinful — approaches toward him. Many people no doubt pray sincerely during Theophostic sessions. God is at liberty to answer any of them with mercy, even while his Word demonstrates the error of their approach.

Second,in many cases people may merely be imagining that Christ speaks to them or that they receive divine help. The power of suggestion is very strong. [He then goes on to quote from a book titled Abnormal Psychology about the power of suggestion. Which begs the question of whether the field of psychology even acknowledges the spiritual realm -- but that's another topic I won't address here.]

What I do want to address is the statement: "God sometimes responds generously to our misguided — or even sinful — approaches toward him." and "God is at liberty to answer any of them with mercy, even while his Word demonstrates the error of their approach."

The above statements seem to imply, at least to me, that there is a 'right way' to approach God, outside of being a believer in the finished work of Jesus Christ. I think that idea borders on witchcraft, where you have to say the 'right words' and perform the 'right actions' to (allegedly) get results. I wanted to respond with the following verses of scripture that came to mind when I read that, which to me are in direct opposition to the premise:

Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need. (Heb 4:16 KJV)

But without faith it is impossible to please him: for he that cometh to God must believe that he is, and that he is a rewarder of them that diligently seek him. (Heb 11:6 KJV)

Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jer 29:12-13 KJV)


That's my response to this article, though I'll probably have more on TPM.


4 comments:

SIT said...

Oh how funny, Cia!

This is Dena, the one who told you about Theophostic recently...! I was doing a search on "EFT & Theophostic", to do a comparison of my own, and your blog came up first in my search -- I came here, to read, and discovered that you were talking about me (or what I'd shared)...! What a riot!

You'll find that there are numerous negative articles about TPM out there, as it flies in the face of some of the traditional church's anti-healing-today teachings. If you want to know more about it, check out the site by the founder: www.theophostic.com - Ed Smith shares many criticisms, and addresses them. Christian Research Institute actually took him up on his offer to come check him out in person, and they wrote a report (which he shares). Also, watch the video of an actual session, to get an idea of what Jesus does -- the personal encounter is absolutely touching.

See you 'round!

Shalom, Dena

Cia W said...

Hi Dena, thanks for the comment!

I've been looking around the TPM website, lots of good stuff there. I can't watch the video's tho, since Quicktime doesn't behave very well on my laptop.

I even ordered 'Healing Life's Hurts'. Catch you later.

Anonymous said...

I was exposed to TPM about three years ago and have experienced incredible healing in my life. I am an incest survivor and was also raped as a young woman. As you can imagine, I believed many lies about myself and my circumstances. The incest was at the core of much of what I believed about myself, and the rape just confirmed that it was all true. For the last two years I have been prayed with on an almost weekly basis. One thing that my minister continues to ask is what changes am I seeing in my life. I often turn to those around me, close friends, my spiritual director and my husband to confirm that what I am experiencing personally is also what they see.
I can't begin to tell you the difference it has made in my life. I no longer hate my father and wish to harm him. I have compassion for him and wonder what happened to him that created the person he became. I no longer believe that I deserved or caused what happened to me. It was out of my control and really wasn't "about" me at all. I was the victim. I continue to become more and more the woman that God created me to be.

Dena said...

I rejoice and celebrate with you, in your healing! Wonderful!

May you continue to experience the joy of having the Spirit lead you into all truth, as you can bear it!

Shalom, Dena