Periodical Articles about TPM
Feature Articles in Periodicals about TPM
American Association for Christian Counselors (AACC):
Christian Counseling Today, Fall 2007
The AACC is the largest Christian association in the world. The membership boasts about 70,000 members worldwide. The listed article was written by the TPM founder Dr. Ed Smith. Dr. Ed was asked by the AACC to write the article that is posted here. He has had the opportunity to present workshops at the AACC World Conferences many times over the last ten years and has a good relationship with this association. The current president of AACC, Dr. Tim Clinton, was a keynote speaker at the 2006 Theophostic International Convention in Orlando, Florida.
Article title: Theophostic Prayer Ministry: Adjunctive Use in Christian Counseling. Fall, 2007
This is a very positive and well written article entitled "Hope for the Wounded Soul."
The testimony that is shared in the beginning of the article is about the woman who's video session is featured on the home page of this site.
Charisma Magazine: August 2004
Charisma Magazine is one of many magazines published by Strang Inc. Strang Inc. is also a leading publisher of Christian books and training materials. www.charismamag.com
Article title: Interest in Theophostic Ministry Grows Despite Controversy
Note: There are several points in need
of clarification in this article posted in [brackets] Below
"Even as an adult and devout Christian, 'Mary' struggled to overcome a childhood marred by incest. She was seeing a Christian counselor on a weekly basis. But feelings of guilt and shame still crippled her to the point where she was taking antidepressants and a host of other medications. Her counselor, meanwhile, was facing his own struggles. Ed Smith had been a Southern Baptist pastor for 17 years before opening a Christian counseling practice in Campbellsville, Ky., in 1991.
He thrived on helping others but by 1996 was completely burned out, discouraged that his clients were not seeing significant results. Smith, who had a doctorate in pastoral ministry from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Mo., was using cognitive therapy--the same as many other counselors, Christian and non-Christian. Week after week, often growing into year after year, Smith would discuss with his clients their past trauma, such as rape, incest or abuse. "I would look for ways to apply biblical truths," he said. "I would tell them these truths repeatedly." Yet his clients still struggled with guilt, shame and other emotional pain. "What I was doing was a farce," Smith said. It dawned on him that he was actually standing in God's way. So he came up with a simple approach and used it in his next session with Mary (not her real name). Instead of discussing her painful past, Smith told Mary to "go to the memory" of her childhood abuse. He then prayed aloud a simple prayer: "Lord Jesus, what is it You want Mary to know in this memory?" The results were dramatic, Smith said, as Mary encountered God's presence and healing power. What's more, he said, for the first time Mary grasped that she was not at fault for what had happened to her as a little girl. The guilt and shame were gone and Mary soon no longer needed to see Smith nor was she in need of prescription drugs. Her medical doctor was stunned and called Smith. "He wanted to know what I had done," Smith said. Smith explained to him the concept, which he named "theophostic prayer ministry"--"theo" meaning God and "phostic" meaning light. The doctor was soon referring a host of other patients to Smith. That was eight years ago, and since that time Smith changed his practice into a ministry--International Association for Theophostic Ministry --and focuses on training people in theophostic prayer ministry (TPM).
[Correction: This is the name of the TPM association not the name of the ministry itself. The International Association for Theophostic Prayer (IATM) is an association of people networked together who use Theophostic Prayer. The name of the ministry is simply Theophostic Prayer Ministry. Visit the IATM website at www.theophostic.org]
Smith doesn't know how many pastors and laypeople minister in TPM, but one indication of its growing popularity is that his office receives an average of 800-1,000 requests per month for basic training kits . Based on those requests, TPM is being used in more than 100 countries.
[Correction: An average of 800-1000 Basic Training Manuals are sent out each month not kits.]
"Theophostic ministry is shining the light of Christ into darkness," said Jean LaCour of Orlando, Fla., who has been ministering with TPM since 1999. "We simply lead the person to the feet of Jesus through prayer, and allow God to reveal His truth to their wounded heart and mind." Smith said that oftentimes the woundedness stems from what he calls lie-based pain. "I believe that emotional pain in people's lives is almost always rooted in what they believe--not what is, but what they believe," he said. "That's why in traditional counseling, people have to keep going back over and over again. Because counseling can't give them the experience that God wants to give them." TPM is used in various churches--from charismatic and Pentecostal to Baptist and Roman Catholic. Recognized leaders such as John and Paula Sandford, Paul Meier of New Life Clinics and Charles Kraft of Fuller Theological Seminary also use the method
[Correction: These people actually do a form of their own ministry and not TPM. Not sure where the writer got this information. It appears to have been a quote from a mis-quote found in the Christianity Today article below.]
Smith has recently spoken at annual conventions for the American Association of Christian Counselors and the Christian Association of Psychological Studies. But TPM is not without its critics, who say the method is actually guided imagery and age regression therapy. David Entwistle, a Christian psychologist who has researched and written about theophostic prayer ministry, said several elements of TPM troubled him. For one, he said TPM techniques may not offer adequate safeguards to distinguish true from false memories.
[Rebuttle: Read the ministry session guidelines on this site to see the
elaborate measures that are actually taken to be sure that this could never occur. Also read FAQdealing with this issue.] But for Entwistle, the most central issue is how to understand the presence of Jesus in the "memories" of people undergoing TPM. "On what basis are we to conclude whether the appearance of Jesus in TPM is literal or figurative, based on revelation or imagination?"
[See FAQ for a discussion of this and more. The primary "proof" is in the fruit.
Are people's lives being genuinely transformed? Does the fruit remain? ]
Smith said TPM training seminars and resources stress that TPM facilitators are never to engage in guided imagery or recovered memory therapy. "We don't do that," he said. "We're not implanting or suggesting any kind of memory content. We're to be careful that we're not the ones trying to give the person the truth." However, Smith said, he cannot monitor everyone who claims to use theophostic ministry. "Theophostic is simply a tool and people can use it improperly," LaCour explained. She added that she believes God has been using TPM all along. "It is profound how Jesus expresses His tender love to people," she told Charisma. "His love that I have seen poured out is more tender, more fierce, more cleansing than I could ever imagine."
[As far as this ministry has been able to determine, there has never been a negative report of a ministry session gone bad where the facilitator was following protocol and the ministry session guidelines. There have been unfortunant expereinces where "bad therapy" was being used. However, this has nothing to do with Theophostic Prayer and is found in every arena of helping ministry and counseling. If a ministry facilitator is not following the principles taught in this ministry then they are not doing Theophostic Prayer.]
Christian Research Institute (CRI) contacted this ministry with the desire to take an in-depth look at what is taught in the core teaching of Theophostic Prayer Ministry. Elliot Miller, the chief editor for the CRI Journal did the investigative research. He committed hundreds of hours in dialogue with Ed Smith the founder of TPM. He also carefully read through the revised 2005 edition of the Basic Training Seminar Manual clarifying with Ed Smith any troublesome issue that he found. In addition to all of the above he invested three days in observing Ed Smith do actual ministry with people so that he could witness the process first hand.
Though Mr. Miller and Dr. Smith do not agree theologically on all points, the discussion was a warm and healthy exchange that resulted in Mr. Miller being able to give a more knowledgeable report on what this ministry teaches. We at TPM appreciate his spirit and willingness to do this. Also at our request, Mr. Miller provided critique and made many suggestions concerning the 2005 revised edition of the Basic Seminar Manual. We are pleased to point you in the direction of his evaluation even though it is not "glowing" in all respects it does give a fair appraisal of where we are at this time in development. It is important to note that in the theological areas where Mr. Miller and Ed Smith did not fully agree, none where of major significance and were reflective of the typical and expected differences found in the Body of Christ. None of the differences were related to the core teaching of Theophostic Prayer Ministry.
CRI Summary Statements of Published Evaluations
"After an exhaustive evaluation, CRI detects nothing unbiblical about the core theory and practice of Theophostic Prayer Ministry (TPM). The theory is elegant in its profound simplicity, and the anecdotal reports of its effectiveness in practice justify further investigation; nonetheless, much more scientific research needs to be done before even the more modest claims of TPM can be validated, and some of the extravagant claims seem unlikely ever to be established..."
"...CRI finds nothing inconsistent with Scripture in TPM's core theory and practice. It certainly fits the biblical worldview to hold that believing lies oppresses or injures people and replacing those lies with truth frees or heals them. The theory that the emotional pain that haunts so many people's lives (including Christians) is rooted in false beliefs associated with past experiences rather than the experiences themselves seems elegant in its profound simplicity, and the proposal that Satan is often the source of those lies while Jesus supplies the truth that dispels them is again consistent with Scripture (e.g., John 8:44; 14:6; 18:37). This emphasis on conforming one's beliefs to truth is entirely biblical (Ps. 43:3; 51:6; Prov. 23:23; 1 Cor. 13:6; Eph. 4:14–15, 25; 5: 8; 6:1411), and the complete dependence on Christ in ministry to the hurting that TPM advocates, to the point of giving Him the central place in that ministry, is commendable at least in concept and warrants consideration..."
"...CRI is also intrigued by the numerous public testimonies of practitioners and recipients for TPM's lasting efficacy in dealing with a wide variety of emotional and behavioral problems, including depression, general anxiety, anger issues, phobias, panic attacks, sexual addiction, and eating disorders. The frequency of such testimonies calls for further investigation, but anecdotal evidence is entirely insufficient to establish TPM's claims. To demonstrate that TPM gets results superior to all or most other varieties of inner healing/therapy and is not simply reaping the common benefits of counseling (e.g., the placebo effect and the therapeutic value of catharsis in a caring environment), rigorous scientific testing is needed. Researchers have already conducted some surveys and case study research that provide favorable results for TPM,B but much more extensive and rigorous testing (e.g., randomized control group studies) will be required to establish its claims. CRI thus finds no problem with Christians engaging in TPM per se, but at this early stage of the research we are unable to endorse TPM's specific claims of efficacy..."
"...CRI does have several peripheral concerns about TPM, but we have been favorably impressed by founder Ed Smith's openness to constructive criticism and change. We caution Christians who practice or receive TPM to be discerning about Smith's past teachings on the sin nature, sanctification, and satanic ritual abuse, and to be aware that, despite major improvements, there are still aspects of Smith's teaching on spiritual warfare that CRI does not endorse..."
NOTE: As you read Mr. Millers papers he sometimes presents his theological views and perspectives in a way that may seem to be corrective of Ed Smith's personal views. Please know that Ed Smith agrees with what Mr. Miller expounds upon in the areas of sanctification, salvation, Christian growth and discipleship, and most of his views about demonization even if it seems to appear otherwise. Please refer to "Author's Statement of Faith" for a concise overview of Ed Smith's basic theological tenets. Ed Smith and Mr. Miller are in continual dialogue to this day. What both learned from this experience is just how difficult it is to clearly understand another person's position unless you are willing to slow the discussion down, ask a host of clarifying questions and remain open and willing to listen. We hope that more people would be willing to take this road toward clarity and unity.
Click here for a full report: Click Here
Counseling: Deliverance Debate Unconventional 'Theophostic' counseling cites results in rebutting its critics.
Kevin Bidwell | posted 2/05/2001
NOTE: This article is NOT a good representation of this ministry. The article has many inaccuracies and misquotes. It falsely positions this ministry as a deliverance ministry which it is not. The several misquotations and inaccuracies in this article are typical of an article written by a person unacquainted with the topic. The primary issues have been pointed out and have been highlighted with [brackets]. Where statistical points have changed they are noted as well. The primary misunderstanding is how the writer tries to make Theophostic Prayer a deliverance ministry. Theophostic Prayer is not a deliverance ministry and gives very little attention to this issue.
At a recent Theophostic Ministries seminar, a video showed one female client apparently consumed by fear, hatred, and confusion. After the screening, the same young woman stood before the seminar audience and looked poised and confident, a compelling before-and-after testimonial for the growing Theophostic counseling movement.
Theophostic's advocates claim this counseling [Theophostic is not counseling and does not promote itself to be anything other than prayer ministry] method can provide rapid and complete "deliverance" from a host of psychological and spiritual ills. Some Christian critics, however, wonder whether Theophostic is another faddish counseling trend that promises more than it can deliver and rests ultimately on unorthodox Christian theology.
At the center of the movement is Ed Smith, founder of Theophostic Ministries (www.theophostic.com), based in Campbellsville, Kentucky. More than 15,000 people have taken his basic Theophostic training, and he estimates that more than 300,000 Christians have received some type of ministry using Theophostic. The approach is being used in 40 countries [now over 130], and manuals are being translated into four languages.
Smith, with a doctorate in pastoral ministry from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary in Kansas City, Missouri, began full-time professional counseling [pastoral counseling] in the early 1990s after 17 years of ministry in Southern Baptist churches. Working primarily with victims of childhood sexual abuse, he says he grew weary of teaching people to find what he calls "tolerable recovery"—how to cope with their emotional pain rather than how to see it resolved. "I saw the same women, week after week, and we would go back to the same memories of childhood abuse," Smith says. "They would share with me the shame and guilt they felt in the memory, and I would tell them the truth—it wasn't their fault, et cetera. Somehow, it just wasn't getting through. As we revisited the memories again and again, there was some lessening of the pain, but there was no real healing." One day, Smith says, "I just gave up. I told the Lord I couldn't do it anymore." Instead of using his more traditional methods with his client that day, Smith simply asked Jesus to come and "speak his truth" to her. Smith says she was set free from her emotional pain for months [Dr.Ed Smith never said "for months" but rather she was released completely of the pain that was in the memory and her freedom continues to this day.]
He felt he was seeing genuine healing for the first time. Since that initial success, Theophostic ministry has grown quickly. Seeking a fresh name for this method, Smith coined the term Theophostic from two Greek words, theos for God and phos for light. Smith claims that Theophostic allows God to "shine his light" into the lives of hurting people. Adherents believe that people's current distress is rooted in past painful experiences that exposed them to accepting lies from Satan or his demons [Lies can come from several sources. One is Satan. The primary source is the person's own thinking, second from others and finally from Satan.] Smith teaches that when a person's body, soul, and spirit can be freed by Jesus' truth from those lies, the distress found in the memory will go away as well. [This tricotomy idea is not taught in TPM. People find freedom from lies when they know the truth in mind.] During a more traditional counseling session, a therapist will explore a client's emotional response to a traumatic memory, and then the two will often discuss together the truth the client needs to embrace, such as "That person no longer has power over me" and "I am not worthless." Over time the client becomes desensitized to the pain and becomes more functional. The client is taught coping techniques for whatever stress remains. During a counseling [ministry] session using Theophostic methods, a therapist still takes a client back to the painful memories. Then through dialogue, they identify the lies and false beliefs in question. This is where any similarity to traditional models ends. The counselor then verbally invites Jesus to communicate his truth directly to the client's heart. "It's not the memory that's the problem," Smith says. "It's the lies or beliefs contained in the memory." Smith says that once Jesus communicates his truth, most of his clients are completely set free and there is no need to teach the client coping techniques. This approach differs from a more directive technique known as "healing of memories." In a common healing-of-memories encounter, the client may be asked to "picture Jesus" or "imagine Jesus speaking." Smith adamantly rejects these methods: "If someone is doing guided imagery, visualization, or any similar technique, they are not doing Theophostic. They may call it that, but it's not Theophostic."
Smith says people are being delivered from phobias, depressions, anxiety disorders, obsessive-compulsive disorders, dissociative personality disorders, attention deficit hyperactivity disorders, sexual addictions, eating disorders, post-traumatic stress disorders, and homosexuality through Theophostic principles.
Conventional Christian therapists are making some use of Theophostic. Paul Meier, cofounder of New Life Clinic in Dallas, calls Theophostic ministry "a helpful part of a long-term process of growth and discipleship." Mark Verkler, one of Meier's New Life colleagues in Dallas, also supports Theophostic ministry. "I was skeptical at first—it sounded too good to be true—but have found it remarkably effective."
Neil Anderson's latest book, Christ-Centered Therapy (Zondervan, 2000), features Theophostic in one of the chapters, "The Counseling Assistance Tool Kit." Mark Bubeck, who wrote The Adversary, inner-healing teachers John and Paula Sanford, and Charles Kraft of Fuller Theological Seminary have supported Theophostic methods in varying ways.
Others are cautious about the method, including Fernando Garzon, associate professor in the School of Psychology and Counseling at Regent University in Virginia Beach, Virginia. "Some people are overly enthusiastic about Theophostic," Garzon says. "Some people think it is of the devil. The truth is probably somewhere in between." [When Garzon was later asked about this quote he refutted it and said that it was inaccurate. The fact is, Dr. Fernando Garzon is a strong supporter of this ministry approach and has lead in several important research efforts helping to establish the effectiveness of TPM.]
Garzon has been doing preliminary clinical studies on Theophostic during the last year. He will present his results at the international convention of the Christian Association of Psychological Studies, which will meet in Richmond, Virginia, in March.
[Some of Dr. Garzon's research is posted in the research sectionon this website.]
"The current case studies on Theophostic are yielding promising results—but more research is needed," Garzon says. Some critics fault Theophostic for its approach to the demonic. Smith teaches that demons, sometimes numbering in the hundreds, may inhabit and influence even a Christian's mind.
[Not so and not taught in TPM] These demons often work to keep people enslaved to what Smith calls the "lie-based thinking" causing their pain. [This is not taught in TPM]
He teaches that these demons have to be expelled for a client to see full relief.
[The writer is completely off-based on this point. This is NOT what is taught in Theophostic Prayer. Theophostic Prayer teaches that demons cannot control a person or violate a person's will. Demons are not the focus of TPM. Dealing with demons is not a primary issue in any part of the training. Read more about this in FAQ and What is TPM on this site.]
While some evangelical theologians believe that Christians can fall under the strong influence of demons, few would agree with Smith that hundreds of demons can inhabit a believer. [Dr. Ed Smith does not believe this nor does he teach this.] Millard Erickson teaches at Truett Seminary in Waco and is the author of Christian Theology, a standard work on systematic theology from a broadly evangelical perspective. Erickson says Scripture is silent on whether Christians can be possessed by demons. "I am concerned about any approach that sees demons behind every rock," he adds. Smith is undeterred. "The primary distinction between those who believe that Christians can be inhabited with demons and those who do not is simply lack of experience," he says. [Dr. Ed Smith did hold the position in years past that a believer could have a demon dwelling in the deceptions in his thinking but no longer teaches this nor is it a part of the Basic Training in TPM. Dealing with demons is not an essential teaching of TPM and people on both sides of the discussion are effectively using this ministry approach.]
"Somehow we have to blend our understanding of physical and psychosomatic illness with an understanding of demonic activity," Erickson counters. "I see Satan's influence as much more diffused. The demonization model is direct. The reality may be more indirect."
Lesley Westberry, a 17-year veteran therapist in Lexington, Kentucky, has been using Theophostic for about two years. "Theophostic ministry has been the high point of my Christian walk. I bring clients to Jesus—like the friends who lowered the paralytic—and I have witnessed miraculous emotional healings."
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