A Theological Analysis Of Theophostic Ministry -- By: Bryan N. Maier

Journal: Trinity Journal
Volume: TRINJ 24:2 (Fall 2003)
Article: A Theological Analysis Of Theophostic Ministry
Author: Bryan N. Maier

A Theological Analysis Of
Theophostic Ministry

Bryan N. Maier

Bryan N. Maier is Assistant Professor of Pastoral Counseling and Psychology at Trinity Evangelical Divinity School in Deerfield, Illinois.

Philip G. Monroe

Philip G. Monroe is Assistant Professor of Counseling and Psychology and Director of the MA Counseling Program at Biblical Theological Seminary in Hatfield, Pennsylvania.

A little over five years ago (1997), Ed Smith launched a new ministry based on some principles and insights he received as a result of years of counseling with hurting people. He coined the term “Theophostic” (literally “God’s light”) for this combination of ideas and began re-shaping his own ministry around them. Books, tapes and seminars are now available and all the original materials have been revised and upgraded to reflect the refinement in Smith’s views since the beginning of Theophostic Ministries.

Predictably, as with any newly publicized technique or theory in counseling, Smith received an enthusiastic receptivity on the part of many,1 and skeptical criticism on the part of others.2 Despite the criticism, the ministry continues to grow worldwide.3 To Smith’s credit, he appears to have taken the criticisms very seriously. He added several pages to the introduction of his new manual4 to address the criticisms as well as included important clarifications on his website.5

Currently the only published evaluation of Theophostic Ministry is a short book by Martin and Deidre Bobgan—a scathing attack on Theophostic Ministries, labeling it “psycho heresy” in the title.6 The Bobgans accuse Smith of claiming divine revelation in his narrative of how Theophostic came to him, misusing Scripture and lacking scientific knowledge on how the brain works. The majority of their work is to document that Smith is merely acting out of the

psychodynamic paradigm (the theoretical home for such practices as hypnosis and EMDR among others) that traces its roots to Freudian doctrine and thus should be entirely suspect for any Christian.7

In his revised manual and tapes, Smith responds to some of these charges both directly and indirectly. He clearly states that Theophostic ...

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