I appreciate the heart of your website. You obviously want people to find freedom in walking with Christ. I believe your thoughts on Theophostic ministry are out of ignorance. I don't see anything in your statement of faith that would invalidate the use of Theophostic ministry. You would really have to investigate it more seriously to understand the ministry. Only reading the website is quite insufficient.
In my counseling I have seen incredible healing of traumatic wounds for people that struggled for years to overcome the events. I can tell you that in no way does Ed Smith teach that sin is not sin. Nowhere does he say that behavior is not the person's fault. Of course it is their fault. But there is a reason they struggle with that particular sin. He asks the important question, "Why are you sinning?" If you are believing a lie, it will lead to sin. (If I learn that I can only count on myself, then I will struggle with surrendering to God. When God speaks truth into that message, it is easy to trust Him.) Controlling a behavior does not constitute Christ's victory. When Christ shows us His truth at the root of those lies, the behavior isn't an issue anymore. No matter how atrocious someone's abuse is, their way of coping -- if it is not in Christ -- is sin. Lying, homosexuality, stealing, promiscuity is always a sin. Stopping the sin is necessary, but dealing with the lie at the root of the sin brings freedom from the ongoing struggle with the temptation. That is real victory. Christ always gets the praise.
As far as his emphasis on only using his stuff by permission doesn't make him a money-lover. The problem is that people are learning the principles of Theophostic then altering it to their secular based counseling and calling it theophostic. Your quote from the husband of 15 years probably got a taste of some of that. I have called several people who say they use theophostic ministry, only to find out they are doing some kind of new-age visualization or some other sort of "hocus pocus". When a person sticks to the teaching of Theophostic, God is greatly glorified. It always lines up with scripture. Ed is trying to protect people from using his materials without the understanding of true Theophostic principles.
I encourage you to look into it a little more in-depth. I would be more than happy to chat with you some about any of this. I'd love your feedback.
My response is in Green:
I am bothered by the fact that you think I am speaking out of ignorance. You assume that the only investigation or information I have on Theophostic is from their website. You are wrong in that assumption. Nor is this man whom I quoted the first person to tell me that they have been hurt with this 'therapy.'
I attended a church which used Theophostic and that is where I had my first exposure to it, but it was not my last. However, beyond that, the principles I laid out in the article you read still stand. We do not need to go back and deal with lies in our past to be free.
You say that Theophostic does not claim that our behavior is not sin. Okay, for the sake of argument I will agree to that, but you go on to say it just explains why we sin. I think you just went off into the weeds and I can no longer agree with that statement. Before you tell me that is not what you said, let me quote you: "Why are you sinning?" If you are believing a lie, it will lead to sin.
See the Bible tells us clearly why we all sin: (Genesis 8:21 NIV) The LORD smelled the pleasing aroma and said in his heart: "Never again will I curse the ground because of man, even though every inclination of his heart is evil from childhood. And never again will I destroy all living creatures, as I have done." It is not because we have believed lies in the past, it is because we are fallen beings with evil hearts.
(Jeremiah 17:9 NIV) The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Again God tells us that the heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. That means beyond the cure of exposing so called lies the person believed which is causing them to sin! People sin because their nature is evil and they need to be sanctified. By telling people that their problem with sin is because they have believed lies in the past this therapy is only causing them to not seek help where help is available.
You say that the system works because you have seen people helped, yet you totally discount the account of a man who was hurt by it. There are people who misuse the Bible too, but to just discount a man who has been hurt by saying that he got a taste of someone misusing this therapy is a little too pat an answer.
His wife claims to have discovered the lies she believed from the past. Isn't that what you claim this therapy does? Let me ask you a question. Where are those lies held? Why must a person go back into the dark corners of their mind to find them? This sounds an awful lot like Freud's subconscious mind? Freud claimed we all do things for reasons we don't know, because we are controlled by our subconscious minds. The church has always rejected this idea because it is not biblical, yet this is exactly what Theophostic is teaching people.
Look at what God has to say: (Jeremiah 17:5-9 NIV)  This is what the LORD says: "Cursed is the one who trusts in man, who depends on flesh for his strength and whose heart turns away from the LORD.  He will be like a bush in the wastelands; he will not see prosperity when it comes. He will dwell in the parched places of the desert, in a salt land where no one lives.  "But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD, whose confidence is in him.  He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leaves are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit."  The heart is deceitful above all things and beyond cure. Who can understand it? Now I am sure you will tell me that Theophostic is teaching people to come to the Lord not turning them away, but I disagree with that.
Let me give you some more biblical proof that Theophostic is not needed at the least, if not out right wrong.
(2 Peter 1:3 NIV) His divine power has given us everything we need for life and godliness through our knowledge of him who called us by his own glory and goodness. Peter, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, wrote this nearly 2,000 years before Ed Smith came up with Theophostic. What Peter said is just as true today as it was when he wrote it.
(1 John 1:9 NIV) If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we confess our sins, He will not only forgive us but purify us from all unrighteousness. We don't need to go back into our memories and look for lies we have believed, we just need to go to our Lord and Savior!!
(Hebrews 4:14-16 NIV)  Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold firmly to the faith we profess.  For we do not have a high priest who is unable to sympathize with our weaknesses, but we have one who has been tempted in every way, just as we are--yet was without sin.  Let us then approach the throne of grace with confidence, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help us in our time of need. We need to approach the throne of grace directly, not through someone who has been trained in man's wisdom, nor do we need to go back in our memories. We just need to approach the throne of grace with confidence.
This next passage shows how we can be freed from sin and it says nothing about confronting lies that we have believed in the past: (Romans 6:16-18 NIV)  Don't you know that when you offer yourselves to someone to obey him as slaves, you are slaves to the one whom you obey--whether you are slaves to sin, which leads to death, or to obedience, which leads to righteousness?  But thanks be to God that, though you used to be slaves to sin, you wholeheartedly obeyed the form of teaching to which you were entrusted.  You have been set free from sin and have become slaves to righteousness.
If these people are continuing to sin, they need to look to the cross of Jesus not into their past: (1 John 2:3-6 NIV)  We know that we have come to know him if we obey his commands.  The man who says, "I know him," but does not do what he commands is a liar, and the truth is not in him.  But if anyone obeys his word, God's love is truly made complete in him. This is how we know we are in him:  Whoever claims to live in him must walk as Jesus did.
(Hebrews 10:26-27 NIV)  If we deliberately keep on sinning after we have received the knowledge of the truth, no sacrifice for sins is left,  but only a fearful expectation of judgment and of raging fire that will consume the enemies of God. To teach these people that the reason they continue to sin is because of some lies they have believed is to do them a disservice. They should be pointed to the only One who can help them.
(1 Thessalonians 4:1-8 NIV)  Finally, brothers, we instructed you how to live in order to please God, as in fact you are living. Now we ask you and urge you in the Lord Jesus to do this more and more.  For you know what instructions we gave you by the authority of the Lord Jesus.
 It is God's will that you should be sanctified: that you should avoid sexual immorality;  that each of you should learn to control his own body in a way that is holy and honorable,  not in passionate lust like the heathen, who do not know God;  and that in this matter no one should wrong his brother or take advantage of him. The Lord will punish men for all such sins, as we have already told you and warned you.  For God did not call us to be impure, but to live a holy life.  Therefore, he who rejects this instruction does not reject man but God, who gives you his Holy Spirit.
Notice in the above passage Paul does not tell them to go and confront or expose the lies they have believed, rather he tells them to follow the instructions they have been given already.
I personally think this therapy is dangerous. I think it causes the person to take their eyes off their Savior and put them on someone or something else. Oh, you can tell me that they are told to have Jesus speak the truth to them, but it is still through the help of a 'counselor' and it is still after they have confronted the 'lie' themselves. Why would it not be better to counsel them to go first to Jesus and ask Him to help them?
You mentioned that you did not see anything in my statement of faith that would invalidate the use of Theophostic ministry. You are right, but then again, you won't see anything in my statement of faith that invalidates the Eucharist either. That does not mean that I agree with the Catholic idea that Christ is present physically in the Eucharist, it just means that is not addressed in my statement of faith as many other things aren't.
I was not trying to say that Ed Smith was money loving, per se, I was trying to point out that he said that this was a revelation from God, yet he tried to keep it from people unless they paid him for it. I understand that he has since changed and now says that this was not a direct revelation from God. Whatever it was, it is still ministry with big bucks attached to it. I don't personally agree with patient paid counselors in the church either. Ministry should be free. But that is a personal opinion.
One comment on visualization. I believe that Theophostic teaches visualization. Now I am sure it depends on the person doing the counseling, but if the person is told once they have found the lie to visualize Jesus there and wait for Him to speak to truth, well that is visualization in my book. Now like I said, maybe other counselors just tell the person to listen for Jesus to speak to them, but it all still comes very close to the new age visualization.
From the Theophostic website: I personally and theologically do not think that people are seeing Jesus himself but rather a visual representation of the person of Christ. I would call this visual a word picture or visual communication between them and God. From this and the rest of what was said in this FAQ it sure sounds like many if not all the people see Jesus, or as Ed Smith says a visual communication from God. I will tell you this makes me uncomfortable.
Here is another quote from the official website's FAQ section: Theophostic rests on the Biblical principles of God's word and on a basic understanding of what we know scientifically about how the mind works. It is amazing that the same skeptics, who have attacked us for using scientific findings concerning how our mind works, have no problem going to a medical doctor for help with a heart problem. It is the same science just focused on a different part of the body. I have already quoted Jeremiah 17:9 which disputes this statement. Mr. Smith is clouding the issue. He says that the same people who dispute his so called science of the mind will go to a medical doctor for a heart problem. You know, I would go to a medical doctor for a brain problem too, but I would not go to anyone for a problem of the mind, since God states unequivocally that no man can understand it.
I am sure you realize that the mind and the brain are two different things. Yet Mr. Smith tries to equate them as one for the purposes of discounting the people who say that science can't tell us about the mind of man, but God can. These so called scientific findings concerning how the mind works came from godless men who denied God.
Maybe you should read the book Manufacturing Victims by Dr. Tana Dineen. She is not a Christian but yet she sees many problems in the world of psychology. One of the problems she sees is the victimizing of all people. In other words the idea that we are all in need of help, although some of us don't realize it. With that in mind, look at another statement from the official Theophostic Ministry website FAQ: I am often asked what I think is the number of people that are in need of emotional healing, or what percent of the church do I think is emotionally wounded? The answer is actually quite easy to find out. "Everyone raise your right hand." The answer is, all of us. Not one of us is exempt. We all have lies in our thinking and minds that need to be renewed. It really is not a question of who needs ministry and healing but rather how extensive is the damage. We are all emotionally wounded but just in varying degrees. Every person, sitting in every church everywhere, (in the pews and especially behind the pulpit) is hurting at some level.
Here is another of his 'we are all victims' statements: All of us are emotionally damaged at some level. Some of us deny and hide it better than others but we all need His truth. It is not really a question of who is wounded but rather how extensive is the damage. Where is the freedom in Christ that believers are promised. What happened to us being new creations in Christ? Can this really only be accomplished by using Ed Smith's Theophostic Ministry?
Dr. Dineen also refutes the idea of repressed memory. In fact the secular world has decided this is such a dangerous hurtful issue that many secular Psychologist have denounced it, yet the church has embraced it. Mr. Smith shows on his site that he believes in this: So much for the denial of repressed memories. I am using only that small quote because otherwise I would have to quote the entire statement about a couple of his patients. The point is that even this very short quote shows that he believes in repressed memories. And how are those repressed memories found? You guessed it by having the patient go back into their memories. Have you ever heart of inner healing? This is it.
You say that Theophostic does not fail to call sin, sin. Okay you are probably right on that count, but even though it is called sin, the person is a victim who sins not because they have an evil heart (as God says) but because of the lies they have believed. Here is another statement by Mr. Smith: Until we find freedom from the historical wounds we carry, we will struggle with the symptomatic sins these wounds manifest. So those historical wounds which we all have are the cause for our sinful behavior?
(James 1:13-15 NIV)  When tempted, no one should say, "God is tempting me." For God cannot be tempted by evil, nor does he tempt anyone;  but each one is tempted when, by his own evil desire, he is dragged away and enticed.  Then, after desire has conceived, it gives birth to sin; and sin, when it is full-grown, gives birth to death. So what is it that causes people to sin? Is it historical wounds, or our own evil desire? It sure makes a difference when counseling someone, which one you believe it is.
I am sorry there is just too much which I believe is unbiblical surrounding Theophostic Ministry. We do not need to go back in our memories and free ourselves (with or without the assistance of Jesus). All a person has to do to be free is believe in the Lord Jesus Christ and give Him control of their life.
For more information on Theophostic go here.
E-Mail Ralph (whose comments are in green)
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