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Christian Research Institute Evaluation of TPM

Christian Research Institute (CRI) 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 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.

 

 
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