What You Won't Find In A Christian Bookstore

by Jan Fletcher (TBC Extra, September 2006)

(Note: This article is sourced from The Berean Call website by Dave Hunt and T.A. McMahon. TruthForFree.com has received a lot of feedback from people who have either been abused by Theophostic programs or who have concerns about family and friends who are involved with it. I am posting this article by Jan Fletcher as an update, since a number of the program’s tactics have changed over the months.)

Theophostic Prayer Ministry (TPM) is taking thousands of churches by storm around the world. This fast-growing inner-healing technique is an offshoot of Agnes Sanford’s teachings. Sanford, deceased for over two decades, advocated healing of the memories through mystical prayer. She taught that one should visualize a past situation, and then envision Jesus coming into the memory to solve the problem.


In TPM, a Theophostic-trained facilitator asks the ministry recipient to drift back and identify the first memory he or she can remember in which was felt the same negative emotion that has been “triggered” in the present time and is the current source of trouble. The facilitator helps to identify a lie embedded in that memory, such as, “I’ll never be safe.” The recipient then prays to Jesus to reveal the truth with the expectation that both the lie and the emotional pain will be vanquished.

Ed Smith, who launched Theophostic Prayer Ministry in Campbellsville, Ky., in 1996, says Theophostic facilitators “ask the Lord to reveal His truth” as clients “watch for, listen [to] and feel” a special revelation from Jesus, who “has the ability to enter into our historical moment and reveal truth in the experience.”1 The TPM facilitator then declares that the source of the revelation is actually Jesus.

“During Theophostic Prayer Ministry, demons sometimes masquerade as Jesus, appearing visually in people’s minds looking like Jesus,” warns Smith. But, don’t be alarmed by this, he says, as it’s easy to spot the demonic imposter.2 “I have found that when a person looks carefully at the face of a demon ‘Jesus,’ it will usually be dark or hazy, or look angry, scornful, or evil.”3 Smith also warns against all forms of channeling or divining the future using TPM, because he admits that facilitators have used it for divination.4

In TPM, truth is defined by how it feels, and Smith elevates a mystical encounter with Jesus over teaching and discipleship. He warns of “clutter”5 that can hinder TPM, which includes logical thinking, because this will interfere with receiving truth.6 In Smith’s thinking, the mystical method must take place before teaching, insight, and encouragement can have any effect on the person’s emotional distress. Smith says: “As Christians are released from their lie-based thinking, they will be better able to appropriate the biblical instruction they receive through other cognitive venues….We need to experience the freeing presence of Christ in our lives so that we can absorb the Word of God and be changed by it.”7

Smith claims that a feeling of peace validates the entire mystical experience as being from God, and this “Peace rarely, if ever, comes via the cognitive instruction of the facilitator/counselor. If cognitive truth resulted in peace, our churches would be full of peace-filled people.”8

In Smith’s view, preaching, teaching, and discipleship-non-mystical means of receiving God’s truth-do not enable believers to fulfill Col. 3:15’s command to “let the peace of God rule in your hearts….” However, this verse follows Paul’s commands in the previous verses to “set your affection [to exercise the mind] on the things above”; to “mortify [subdue] therefore your members which are upon the earth” and “put on…mercies, kindness, humbleness of mind, meekness, longsuffering; Forbearing one another….” Smith claims that these cognitive activities are useless in obtaining the peace of Christ.

Following strong criticism of his earlier training materials, Smith’s latest manual now has frequent, highlighted warnings against the generation of false memories during TPM. Obviously, if one has to sign a “hold harmless” agreement9 before engaging in TPM, as Smith recommends, TPM carries significant risk for legal liability.

In Smith’s previous writings, he advocated sneaking TPM past local church leadership by avoiding the name “Theophostic” until people in the church have experienced it through miracle healings, thereby building an experiential argument for the method.10 Smith has now changed his advice. Although he warns of a “Deacon George,” who may claim TPM “is of the devil,” based on web-based reports by apologists,11 he now compares a church’s rejection of TPM to a body’s rejection of an organ transplant.12 So, his advice is to compromise the local Body’s immune system from the pulpit. Smith recommends that the “preaching pastor…gradually move a congregation in the direction of embracing the principles taught in this manual….Many people have never been exposed to this type of thinking and, as a result, may need some time to process it.”13

God’s lambs are hearing sermons straight out of Smith’s TPM manual without knowing they are surreptitiously being prepared for a Theophostic invasion in their church.

Smith previously developed a new theology he calls “lie-based theology,” which stands in contrast to “sin-based theology [which] believes that the root of my problem is my sin.” Smith said he realized sin-based theology “is a misconception and a grave error,” because, he notes: “it doesn’t work.”14

In his 2005-revised training manual, one of Smith’s original nine Theophostic principles-“God heals the lost and saved equally with no preference over either”-quietly disappeared15 Smith says of TPM, “People consistently say it was from God. This is even the case with those who do not profess any relationship with God.”16 And, later he says, “God does not seem to require confession of sin from a nonbeliever.”17

But how can a lost person have the “peace of Christ”-that which Smith defines as the end result of Theophostic healing? If a lost person can have it, and claims that God showed it to him, then it’s not the peace of Christ: it’s a false gospel! If a lost person gets a word of truth from Jesus without repentance, it’s a false Jesus!

Smith has consistently shifted his terminology, switching from “genuine recovery” to “genuine renewal,” and repackaging his concepts to stay ahead of critics, and also to ensure that TPM remains appealing to conservative churches. Don’t be fooled by cosmetic changes! Theophostic Prayer Ministry’s core premise18 continues to promote a false Jesus and a false gospel. (Jan Fletcher is a Christian journalist who has reported on TPM since June 2003. Her research is on the web at www.lyingspirits.com.)

Endnotes
1. Ed M. Smith, Basic Seminar Manual (2005), New Creation Publishing, 137-138.
2. Ibid., 140.
3. Ibid., 233.
4. Ibid., 194.
5. Ibid., 142.
6. Ibid., 145.
7. Ibid., 288.
8. Ibid., 165.
9. Ibid., 202-4.
10. Ed M. Smith, Beyond Tolerable Recovery, 4th ed., Alathia Publishing, 252-53.
11. Smith, BSM, 332.
12. Ibid., 317.
13. Ibid., 309-10.
14. Smith, BTR, 224-25
15. Ibid., 116.
16. Ibid., 136.
17. Ibid., 147.
18. CRI’s Elliot Miller claims there is nothing unbiblical about the “core Theophostic theory and method” in his two-part evaluation on TPM, published in the CRJ, Vol. 29, numbers 2 and 3.

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3 Responses to What Is Theophostic Counseling?

  • Ok There`s a lot I could say here Dave.:))))) but I dont think I have to..LOL…But the simple truth is the more time I spend and the closer I/we Get to God the more his light shines in us through us and out of us…whatever is in us that is not of him will just leave as light and darkness can not live together…We will never forget…but we will have healed memories so that we can come along side and encourage others again all in Gods timing…

    Ok Have a personal story for you…one of these days when you have time HA..HA..Ha you can read ..you know when your 95 and look like Gandalf Living in your Hovel In Texas!!!!

    Demons, we hear are about them in Movies in school, in church and most of all that they are in Africa which is not surprising as they have a lot of witch doctors and occult practices and also South America and I’m sure you could name many more…

    My first experience with a demon possessed person was in Ireland in the 80`s. It was in the back room of a church after a Sunday service. Two men were praying with a teenager for healing when all of a sudden the boy (the teen) fell to the floor and his eyes rolled up and all you could see were the whites of his eye’s and his voice became like a deep growl and his body began to shake violently.

    The 2 men held him down and I helped by hold his legs other people left the room in fear. I was not afraid but fascinated.

    The demon tried to talk to them but they would not listen and then they anointed the boy with oil and told the demon to leave in the name of Jesus.

    The demon made a lot of noise and then left with a horrific scream.

    It did not like the name of Jesus at all

    Then the boy relaxed and slept peacefully for a while…That was my first encounter with a demon exorcism and was not to be my last.

    Over the years since I have encountered all types of demons and believe me there are many, but everyone one of them fears the name of Jesus not the person in my experience.

    I’m the kind of person that has to encounter something before I believe it, just like I would to tell you to question everything I tell you. Don’t take my word for it. I could just be another Irish story teller who kissed the blarney stone.

    Now there are many ways that demons can be exercised and you don’t always have to be in a church setting or for that mater people laying hands on you, but in every case God is involved. I will give you a personal example.

    I was living in the French district of London England in 87, and at the time I was a street evangelist , that is telling people about Jesus, not preaching at them but testifying to what he had done for me, that simple! No judging not my job or anyone else’s for that mater.

    Any way I returned home to my basement flat after a night of sharing in leister square (next to Piccadilly Circus) it had been a wonderful night and so I ate and went to sleep.

    At about 2:30 AM, I was dreaming that a person I knew was saying “OK, it’s leaving “and I woke up and my body began to shake and I could hear and feel a screeching inside of me. It was like my body was fighting its self. My throat felt blocked and under pressure and the screeching increased, oddly enough I was not afraid and then like a champagne cork leaving the bottle the demon shot out of my mouth and I collapsed on the bed and the most amazing peace flooded my body and I slept wonderfully.

    The next day I was on a high. I knew what had happened. In short the more I yielded to Jesus and his love and allowed him to fill me with his holy spirit and light the darkness in side me could not compete and had to leave, very simple.

    How does a person become possessed with demons? Well, there are many ways. For example, what we choose as our source determines our course. If I sleep with another person, then I’m surrendering myself to that person by the act of intercourse and they to me. So what ever spiritual Junk they are carrying also becomes mine and versa, sort of like my junk marries theirs and of course it only breeds and multiplies from then on.

    Now it’s not just intercourse, but cults, some religious churches, etc the list is endless and I could fill a book on them.

    But the cure in my experience has always been Jesus and as we continue to seek and fellowship with him he will bring us to true freedom and release and a real life full of hope. OK, that’s enough for now, will write more on another Hub…

    Good source for info on demons…..Derrick Prince and Neill Anderson`s “The Bondage Breaker…these can be found online.

    Later Mike :0)

       0 likes

  • Demons, we hear are about them in Movies in school, in church and most of all that they are in Africa which is not surprising as they have a lot of witch doctors and occult practices and also South America and I’m sure you could name many more…

    My first experience with a demon possessed person was in Ireland in the 80`s. It was in the back room of a church after a Sunday service. Two men were praying with a teenager for healing when all of a sudden the boy (the teen) fell to the floor and his eyes rolled up and all you could see were the whites of his eye’s and his voice became like a deep growl and his body began to shake violently.

    The 2 men held him down and I helped by hold his legs other people left the room in fear. I was not afraid but fascinated.

    The demon tried to talk to them but they would not listen and then they anointed the boy with oil and told the demon to leave in the name of Jesus.

    The demon made a lot of noise and then left with a horrific scream.

    It did not like the name of Jesus at all

    Then the boy relaxed and slept peacefully for a while…That was my first encounter with a demon exorcism and was not to be my last.

    Over the years since I have encountered all types of demons and believe me there are many, but everyone one of them fears the name of Jesus not the person in my experience.

    I’m the kind of person that has to encounter something before I believe it, just like I would to tell you to question everything I tell you. Don’t take my word for it. I could just be another Irish story teller who kissed the blarney stone.

    Now there are many ways that demons can be exercised and you don’t always have to be in a church setting or for that mater people laying hands on you, but in every case God is involved. I will give you a personal example.

    I was living in the French district of London England in 87, and at the time I was a street evangelist , that is telling people about Jesus, not preaching at them but testifying to what he had done for me, that simple! No judging not my job or anyone else’s for that mater.

    Any way I returned home to my basement flat after a night of sharing in leister square (next to Piccadilly Circus) it had been a wonderful night and so I ate and went to sleep.

    At about 2:30 AM, I was dreaming that a person I knew was saying “OK, it’s leaving “and I woke up and my body began to shake and I could hear and feel a screeching inside of me. It was like my body was fighting its self. My throat felt blocked and under pressure and the screeching increased, oddly enough I was not afraid and then like a champagne cork leaving the bottle the demon shot out of my mouth and I collapsed on the bed and the most amazing peace flooded my body and I slept wonderfully.

    The next day I was on a high. I knew what had happened. In short the more I yielded to Jesus and his love and allowed him to fill me with his holy spirit and light the darkness in side me could not compete and had to leave, very simple.

    How does a person become possessed with demons? Well, there are many ways. For example, what we choose as our source determines our course. If I sleep with another person, then I’m surrendering myself to that person by the act of intercourse and they to me. So what ever spiritual Junk they are carrying also becomes mine and versa, sort of like my junk marries theirs and of course it only breeds and multiplies from then on.

    Now it’s not just intercourse, but cults, some religious churches, etc the list is endless and I could fill a book on them.

    But the cure in my experience has always been Jesus and as we continue to seek and fellowship with him he will bring us to true freedom and release and a real life full of hope. OK, that’s enough for now, will write more on another Hub…

    Good source for info on demons…..Derrick Prince and Neill Anderson`s “The Bondage Breaker…these can be found online.

       0 likes

  • woops sorry the first part of my comment did not post ..mmmm ok ..Here`s the short version…Have a nice day Great Article and read the above One of my personal experiances…. some day when your in Your late 90`s and have time LOL…

    In Jesus MIKE:0)

       0 likes

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