TPM Continually Improves with the Help of Redemptive Criticism
Ed M. Smith
As a relatively new ministry (1996), Theophostic Prayer Ministry is in an ongoing growth and developmental process that is both typical and expected. Therefore, as different people have brought criticism to us we have considered it all (the good, bad and the ugly), made revisions and clarification where needed and as a result have been able to strengthen and enhance this ministry approach.
Genuine Criticism is Appreciated
We appreciate any person who comes to us with a spirit of Christian concern and a desire to restore and bring clarity. We have not fully arrived in our understanding of the Scriptures or in how to apply them to the wounded lives of people with whom we seek to minister. Therefore, redemptive criticism and positive suggestions have been very helpful and appreciated in the development and refinement of this ministry.
Tens of Thousands of Websites Give a Good Report
If you do a "Google" search on the Internet you will find thousands of websites giving a positive report about Theophostic Prayer. Only a miniscule number are negative. However, as is often the case the negative ones fall onto the first few pages of the "Google" search giving a false impression that there is much controversy when in fact it is limited to a handful of skeptics and critics. We would ask you to take into consideration the other 15,000 plus sites that proclaim that God is using this ministry to release people of the bondages they have carried throughout their lives and not be completely swayed by a few individual's opinions.
Motivation is an Important Factor in What is Reported
When you read the very positive testimonies and websites from the thousands of people who have benefited from this miistry you can quickly surmise that the reason they are giving their report is that they have been helped by this ministry. These reports are experientially based and not just opinion.
Wheras, nearly every negative report on the Internet comes from people who have never experienced this ministry and therefore have not benefited and therefore report opinion and not experience. It is important to keep this perspective in mind as you read what others may say.
A few negative opinions should not out weigh thousands of positive reports and testimonies. Please keep in mind that the non-experiential opinions of a few negative voices do not out weigh the ten of thousands of positive ones who have experientially found TPM to be a good and helpful ministry.
There is an average of about 1000 people a month making a conscious and informed decision to take the Theophostic Prayer Ministry Basic training. Thousands of people write in giving glorious testimony of what the Lord has done. We ask that you try to keep it all in perspective.
Be sure and download the three FREE chapters from the introductory book Healing Life's Hurts to get a good working knowledge of this ministry approach.
150 Pastors Using Theophostic Prayer Surveyed Reported Highly Effective Results
Read the results of this survey to discover an experiential based evaluation of this ministry form. Keep in mind that these are pastors who have evaluated this ministry and have applied it to their ministry situation. The results of this survey are not opinions but personal testimony.
Click here for the results
2800 Ministry Recipients Surveyed and Report Very High Satisfaction Rating
The most recent survey taken from over 2800 ministry recipients indicated a very high satisfaction rating with TPM. Click here for summary.
You are encouraged to Do Your Own Research
Do good research and discover for yourself what is actually taught by this ministry and thereby come to your own conclusions. All of the primary sources of information produced by this ministry are available to you on this site. You are welcome to obtain all that we teach and produce. However, you need not initially purchase anything since this website is filled with an abundance of information that can give you a clear overview of what Theophostic Prayer Ministry is all about.
Watch the live ministry sessions available on this site. These are real people who had real pain. These sessions are samples of what a typical session should look like. There are seven other live ministry sessions on DVD that can be obtained in the ON-Line Store.
Read what one prominent critic said concerning dialogue with Dr. Ed Smith
Elliot Miller: Editor for Christian Research Institute
Click Here for Full report
The Body of Christ will never completely agree theologically.
The Body of Christ does not and will not ever completely agree on all theological points. For example, Ed Smith is Southern Baptist in his basic theology and therefore cannot embrace many of the doctrinal aspects of other denominations. Nevertheless, there are thousands of people who are Roman Catholic, Church of God, Methodist, Mennonite, Charismatic, non-denominational or something else, administering the principles of TPM while not embracing everything that Ed Smith personaly believes. Therefore, if possible, you are encouraged to limit your theological criticism to the core teachings of this ministry and not to the peripheral concerns that will not be settled this side of heaven.
We want to hear from you.
We will continue to be very open to dialogue with those who genuinely desire to bring clarity,sincere reproof and evaluation. We believe we are called to bring hope to the hopeless and peace to those who are downtrodden. We do not have a perfect answer for the plight of mankind but we are diligently seeking to make a difference. We hope that others will do the same.
We especially appreciate people who exemplify the Spirit of Christ who seek to bring positive clarification to this ministry. These people are a blessing to work with. For those who have been less than redemptive in their approach in criticism, today we choose to "bless and curse not..." and therefore feel no need to defend or enter into argument or dispute. We believe that what is of God will remain and that which is not will fall by the wayside. Note: If you have a suggestion or concern that you think would benefit the development and refinement of this ministry, feel free to send them to the mailing address or email address found on the "Contact Us" page. Please know that due to time restraints and other pressing obligations, Dr. Ed Smith will probably not personally respond to every submission, but either he or one of the TPM staff will read it and give it genuine consideration and will make changes to the teachings of this ministry as they are deemed appropriate. If you have followed this ministry over the last ten years you will have seen that many revisions have been made and are continually being made. We genuinely desire this ministry approach to be as theologically acurate as possible.
Gaining an Accurate Understanding of TPM
Christian Research Institute (CRI) provides a positive yet critical evaluation of TPM
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 many 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 was a great attempt on his part to understand the core teaching of TPM. 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.
Synopsis of CRI Evaluation
"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.
However, "...Researchers have already conducted some surveys and case study research that provide favorable results for TPM, 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..."
Elliot Miller (chief editor for CRI Journal) made these comments concerning his time spent evaluating TPM and dialogue with Dr. Ed Smith:
Click here to read comments:Eliott_Miller.pdf
NOTE: Please read Dr. Ed Smith's' Statement of Faith for a concise overview of his personal basic Biblical beliefs. What you will discover is he holds a very traditional Protestant conservative theological position that is embraced by the majority of believers around the world.
Click here for a Full length evaluation by CRI's Elliott Miller.
Study for Yourself to See What is Taught in this Ministry
There are a few people who are mixing a little of this and a little of that and calling what they do TPM. TPM has a clear set of guidelines and principles that define what it should look like. To not follow protocol is to not do TPM but something else. When people follow protocol and stay within the clearly defined guidelines, good things happen. When you read a case example of ministry gone bad, hold up the Theophostic Prayer Ministry guidelines and see if Theophostic Prayer Ministry is indeed being used or is it just "bad therapy." "Bad therapy" occurs in every area of counseling, ministry and any other form of helping ministry. Good outcomes follow where people adhere to what has been taught.
Understand the Unique platform of the Internet
The Internet has provided any person (of any age) who has the ability to develop a website, a platform from which to have a worldwide voice. It is very important to remember that owning a website does not authenticate, certify or validate what is being presented as being factual or authoritative. People sometimes make the mistake of assuming that if it is in print then it must be true. This is simply not so. We encourage you to use good judgment and study for yourselves to see what is valid and what is merely opinion, conjuncture or often misinformation. We hope that you will do good research and come to your own conclusions based upon what is actually taught by this ministry and not on the opinions and interpretations of what others may say is being taught. There is often a major difference between
Basic Steps to Arrive at a More Accurate Perspective.
1. Read through this page of information. This section will give you foundational material for understanding this ministry.
2. This site provides a vast amount of free information to help you to come to an accurate conclusions concerning what TPM is about. Begin with downloading the free sample chapters from the introductory book "Healing Life's Hurts" which will give you a good introduction to this ministry.
3. Consider the positive testimonies and the thousands of positive experience-based web pages when coming to your final conclusions. Unfortunantly, a single negative opinion is sometimes given more weight than a thousand positive expereinces.
4. Watch the fruit of this ministry to determine whether God is involved. You will know a tree by its fruit.
5. Hold up the TPM Guidelines that give a succinct description of what a TPM session should look like when evaluating people's negative experiences. Not everything that is called Theophostic is indeed Theophostic.
6. Be diligent to come to your own conclusions and not just the opinions of others.
7. Take the list of questions supplied below to evaluate the accuracy of criticism.
Consider these questions in your Internet research.
1. What is the spirit of the criticism? Does it appear to be redemptive or jugemetal and divisive?
2. Is the criticism based upon the critics personal expereince or opinion?
3. What do I know about the critic who has posted the information? Is it someone that I know and trust his or her opinions.
4. What is the critics statement of faith, religious affiliation or ministry position?
5. Is the critic an established authority in this area of ministry that he or she is criticising?
6. Is this critic criticizing other ministries I respect? If so, who and why?
7. Is the critic making a fair assessment of the primary sources provided by TPM or merely "parroting" secondhand opinions from what others have stated?
8. Is the criticism accurate in its understanding of TPM? Read "Healing Life's Hurts" and a copy of the Theophostic Ministry Session Guidelines. Also see "Summary of what a Theophostic Prayer Ministry session should look like".
9. Are negative ministry examples sited true TPM sessions or just "bad thereapy?"
Come to Your Own Opinion; Use Primary Source Information
The following primary source materials can help you to quickly grasp the basic premises of Theophostic Prayer Ministry. ALL of these items are free.
1. The Ministry Session Guidelines for Theophostic Prayer Ministry -a one-page basic overview of what should happen in a Theophostic Prayer Ministry session. Click on the link to view or copy these guidelines now.
2. Research Findings about Theophostic Ministry -A report of the ongoing research that is being conducted to empirically establish the effectiveness of TPM.
3. The Basic Principles of Theophostic Ministry - This is an outline of the foundational principles of Theophostic Ministry.
4. Watch a live ministry session or read about what a ministry session should look like? A general description is provided to give you a clear understanding of what a ministry session should look like when a facilitator is following protocol.
5. PDF download of the first three chapters of the book "Healing Life's Deepest Hurts" an introduction to Theophostic Prayer Ministry.
Ed Smith's Statement of Faith
Since Ed Smith is a Southern Baptist ordained and licensed minister, what you will read is very similar to the Baptist Faith and Message (a summary of belief held by the convention of Southern Baptist Churches.) The personal statement of faith provided on this site is not an all-inclusive statement of all that he believe about all aspects of the Bible or living the Christian life, but a summarization of the crucial elements of his core theology. (Click here to read full document.)