Theophostic Prayer and Demons

Note: Critics issue is in black font and Ed Smith's response is in green.

Critic’s concern: Is Theophostic just a new brand of deliverance ministry and has Ed Smith placed too much emphasis on demons in the training?

Ed Smith’s response: There have been MAJOR changes in this area. Demons are not addressed in the new training (2007 edition) in the way they were in the earlier editions. The focus has moved away from warfare to personal responsibility. The focus is no longer on demons or the devil but rather on the free will of the person, his belief and consequential choices. Since I believe that a demon cannot violate a person’s free will I see the person’s choosing (will) to be greater than any demonic influence. I also operate in the finished work of Christ and believe that Satan was rendered powerless 2000 years ago. His weapon against us now is his deception. It is the “schemes” (Eph. 6) of the devil that give us trouble and not the devil himself. A person is not held captive by the devil but rather his snare (2 Tim. 2:25-26). Please read the newer information found in the 2007 edition of the training. Please do a word search in the new 2007 manual about this issue. Also the Basic Training Seminar DVD series was totally redone in 2007.The DVD series before this was produced in 1999/2000.

Placing too much attention on demons would not hold true today as it may have in the early years of this ministry. Nevertheless, for those in the Body of Christ who are involved in deliverance type ministries my early emphasis was not so alarming or hard to accept. What we must always be careful of is, we do not bring judgment on other people’s experiences simply because we have not had them ourselves. I have had very limited experience with people being healed physically yet I read about God doing it on a regular basis in other regions in the world. Therefore, I could discredit these reports because I have not had the experience myself. This would be real close to me being a bit arrogant to do so. The truth is, I really cannot say what God can or cannot do. He can do whatever he chooses. Just because a person is having more demonic experiences than I am does not mean that someone else experiences are thus invalid.

The heavier emphasis placed on demons in the early years was primarily due to the work I did with people involved with SRA. The SRA people with whom I spent thousands of hours were clearly demonized. I was taken back by the overt manifestations that I encountered working with many of them. I went into that experience not knowing much about what to do when a person manifested demonization. I made many mistakes and only had the “deliverance” model to follow. I did see much during those years that today I realize was unnecessary and to a great extent brought on by my own ignorance with what to do. Nevertheless, I believe that the manifestations were genuinely demonic non-the-less. Since that time I have learned much about dealing with demons based upon the post-resurrection Scriptures as opposed to operating on the Gospels model (which was pre-Calvary.) I have not had a manifestation in several years and do not expect this to be common again. Here again you are speaking from your world of reality and lack the experiences that I encountered in that particular arena.

Critic’s concern: How do you know that the person is not hearing from demons in a session and not from the Lord?And what could be the results if you have facilitated an experience with a demon? How is that experience different than occultic channeling?

Ed Smith’s response: Your asking these questions reveals that you have not yet read the Basic training materials concerning this issue.The same argument could be used of whether we should ever pray and listen.What if when we pray a demon speaks to our minds?What do we do?We take every thought captive and test it to see if it is true.TPM is a process of prayer.The same rules we follow in personal meditation and pray would apply.Can a demon speak to our minds while we pray?I think this is a rhetorical question.This is nothing new.Of course he could.Can we learn to be discerning?I hope so. I have been doing this ministry for 12 years with many people.I have never had a session where there was any doubt about who they were hearing.It is either the Holy Spirit, the person’s own thinking or a demon’s words.I have never had any difficulty discerning what was what.Demon words are especially easy to discern.They say things like “You are worthless,” “God hates you,”“God will never speak to you,”“You wanted to be abused.”If a demon speaks to my mind in a Theophostic session this is very different than occult channeling.In occult channeling I am seeking the advice of the “spirit guide”.With TPM I am seeking the voice of the living God through his Holy Spirit.I am specifically looking to Him and praying against any interference from demons.Theophostic is very intentional about who is invited to participate.I believe that demons are a problem for those who may not know and operate within the authority and position we have in Christ.This is also very clearly taught in the Basic Training.

Critic’s concern: Could the facilitator's asking the Lord Questions and expecting a response not be considered a form of channeling?

Ed Smith’s response: I think that most believers believe that the Holy Spirit communicates with His people?I do.I believe that people can ask and listen. In a TPM session the facilitator is only asking the Lord to reveal His truth in light of the lies that have been identified and exposed.He is not asking for directions in life matters or about anything that is not directly related to what has been reported by the person in the session.For the most part a facilitator will never interfere with the communication that a person is having unless it is blatantly not biblical.Having a three way conversation with the Lord does not seem so strange to me.Especially when the Lord Himself said that when two or more are gathered in His name He would be sure and be present. Here is where it is important to watch a live session where a facilitator is following protocol and see what this would look like. It really is not strange or mystical. It is a very natural process of conversational prayer.

My position with dealing with demons in a session is made very clear in the 2007 edition of the Basic Training. I am no longer dealing with demons the way I use to (1995-2000) in a ministry session.I have not had a demonic encounter in several years. During a TPM session the focus is on the person's personal responsibility for the lies believed, owning emotion and willfully choosing not to blame others or circumstance for what is felt, and a willingness to follow the emotional pain to its lie based source and then identify the lies and seek the truth from the Holy Spirit. I no longer give attention to the demons as I did before.I no longer have demonic manifestations occurring in the ministry session.Please read the 2007 edition of the manual to see these very important changes.I am continually growing in my understanding in many places as I am sure that you are. I am on a journey and look forward to even greater clarification as I go along.What you will find in the newer training is what I believe is a very balanced approach to dealing with the devil.I have moved much in my thinking since I reexamined the post-resurrection passages as opposed to using the Gospel accounts as my model. The Gospel is how demons were dealt with prior to the Cross and Resurrection.

Critic’s concern: Can we assume demons know anything about our past? They may, but how much, and how can we know what they know or don’t know? Why even speculate, let alone minister on the basis of our speculation?

Ed Smith’s response: I have no problem with your conclusions here. I have never thought that demons had knowledge of our thinking apart from our participation. I do believe that we allow demons to know much about what we think from moment to moment due to our entertaining their suggestive thinking and unknowingly inviting them into our thought lives. I also believe that they seek to be present as life is happening around us which ultimately becomes our memory. Nevertheless, they are limited to one place at a time as we are. If you will look at the new version of the TPM training you will see that TPM gives very little attention to demonization but rather focuses on the responsibility of the person choosing to look to Christ and operating in the position of authority and the finished work of Christ. What demons know and do not know does not hinder a person from moving forward in truth and finding freedom.

Critic’s concern: Smith suggests that once Satan implants a lie into a person's mind (such as during a traumatic event in a child's life) the devil can pretty much retire since the person will recycle the lie over and over and self destruct. However, where then does temptation come into the picture for that individual?

Ed Smith’s response: This statement was made in the context of what Satan can do and not what he always does. It was not intended to say that this all Satan does and then never visits us thereafter. This was an example to explain a principle not a doctrine. I was simply trying to show the power that a single lie can have on an individual once it is embraced. When you read this statement in context you will see that I was referring to a child who has been abused and the devil whispering a lie “It was your fault” into her little heart and mind. From that point the “devil could retire” in that she will be dogged and governed by that falsehood even without the devil’s help. I am not suggesting that the devil only plants one lie and then leaves a person alone. Of course the devil is actively at work seeking someone to devour all the time. He has a full-time job.