Does TPM Replace Biblical Instruction?

Does Theophostic Prayer Ministry Replace the Need for Biblical Instruction?

Not at all! In order to move toward maturity and completeness, every Christian needs discipleship, teaching, preaching and instruction. Yet I believe we have become somewhat unbalanced. In relationship to God, the church is often more cognitive than relational; seeking to know God with our minds but not with our experience. I don't believe, as some do, that if our relationship with God is hindered that it is always because of sinful behavior or because we still have sinful hearts. I do believe that the bottom lie for our sinfulness is because we choose to sin. However, there can be many factors in play in this choosing. Believers often struggle in their relationship with God, not only because of unconfessed sin in their lives, but also because they believe things that are not true (lie-based thinking) and, as a consequence, live lives of defeat and relational breakdown with God. I can be eternally saved by faith in Christ and yet feel lost. I can be a new creature in Christ fully loved by God and yet feel "old" and
unloveable. What is happening here is not about sin but belief. If I have been made right and have peace with God through the Lord Jesus Christ (see Rom. 5:1) then my relationship is already in good standing, whether I feel like it is or not because of Christ. If "there is . . . no condemnation for those who are in Christ" (Rom. 8:1) then I am not condemned, even if I feel that I am. Some suggest since this is true we just need to deny the feeling and choose to walk in the truth. Some may succeed here but many remain "miserably victorious." Some Christians live as sin-free a life as possible; yet have minimal relational experiences with God and often lack any real joy or peace. To have an experiential relationship with God, we have to come to know Him relationally in the same way that we know our spouse or other loved ones. I do not know my wife because I have studied about her or read books about her. I know her because I live with her and experience her daily.

In His final discourse to the church, Jesus commanded His disciples to go into the entire world with the gospel and to teach them all things (Matt. 28:19-20) that He had taught them. The epistles instruct us to learn, grow in knowledge and mature in our understanding. Discipleship and study of God's Word play an important part in this process. Theophostic Prayer Ministry seeks to address the need for experience with God. It is not about discipleship but rather about receiving a specific truth for the displacement of a specific lie. True renewal releases us of our lie-based thinking so that we might be able to more effectively appropriate that which we logically hold to as truth yet lack supportive experience. This is not a case of either one or the other. We need to absorb the Word of God and be saturated in it, but we also need to experience the presence of Christ so that we might appropriate what we have cognitively received.

We are renewed in mind of our specific lies in a "Theophostic moment" which is a part of the Christian growth process, but it is through teaching, discipleship and living life that we come into full maturity in Christ. Paul declares this when he says, "we proclaim Him, admonishing every man and teaching every man with all wisdom, that we may present every man complete in Christ" (Col. 1:28).

Following this passage, Paul says, "let the word of Christ richly dwell within you, with all wisdom teaching" (Col. 3:16). Here he indicates that we are not only to study the Word, but let it richly dwell within us; let it saturate us. He told Timothy to "give attention to the public reading of Scripture, to exhortation and teaching" (1 Tim. 4:13). Scripture very clearly says that we need to study, learn, teach and grow. Theophostic Prayer Ministry does not replace this admonition to study the Word of God; it merely opens the way for our study to be more effective as we experience the presence of Jesus. People do not receive new knowledge of truth during a TPM session such as they may experience when studying the Bible, they simply receive clarifying truth that dispels the specific lies they have harbored. They experience the written Word of God personalized.

We grow in our understanding and experience of the Lord as each life situation occurs. So a Christian who is faithful and seeks the face of God will grow and mature in Christ, whether he or she ever learns of Theophostic Prayer Ministry. When we cry out to God, He shows Himself strong. It is in this experience that we shed the lies that have hindered our walk. The writer of Hebrews said we must "lay aside every encumbrance [that which weighs us down—lies?] and the sin which so easily entangles us . . . fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith" (Heb. 12:1-2).

In our churches, we teach people biblical knowledge but they also need release from the lies that bind them. More information is no guarantee that people will walk in freedom. Logical truth will have difficulty overriding the power of experiential knowledge. We need experiential truth from the living Lord Jesus. Let me explain. If I am in bondage to the lie of fear in a traumatic memory, I will not likely be able to embrace the logical truth that "perfect love casts out fear" (1 John 4:18). However, when I go to the memory and embrace the fear and the lie, I am in the position to hear the specific personalized truth from the experiential presence of Jesus. When this occurs, I am then able to more easily embrace the logical truth from the Word of God.