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01.01.1970 01:0000    Comments: 0    Categories: You Asked (Text Files)      Tags:

Dear friend of TPM,


This "YOU ASKED..." question is being sent to all people who are listed in our TPM database.  Normally only members of the International Association for Theophostic Prayer Ministry (IATM) receive this ongoing benefit.  However, Dr. Smith felt that this question should be sent to all and not limit the mailing to just IATM members.  If you do not desire to receive any mailings from the Theophostic Prayer Ministry office please unsubscribe with the link found at the bottom of this email and we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. If you would like to receive regular "YOU ASKED..." questions visit www.tpassociation.com and find out how you can become an IATM member today.



You asked...


Re: The new book just released; "A Catholic's Guide to Theophostic Prayer Ministry."


Dear Dr. Smith,

I am not a catholic but I am so appreciative of the fact that Theophostic Prayer Ministry has not limited its scope to one portion of the Body of Christ.  So much of what is out there is often limited to one particular theological perspective.  It is charismatic or non-charismatic, liberal or conservative, legalistic or "free" or something else.  I have found TPM to be a tool that appears to cross all denominational lines and boundaries.  I rejoice when I see the Body of Christ coming together under the Lordship and centrality of Jesus Christ.  I have not read the book yet, but I plan to.  I do have some concern and have these questions. "How will you address the idea that you (a protestant) may be seen as embracing Catholicism?  How will you address the concerns some may have that people who read this book may try to make TPM "catholic" or view this book as a "catholic" form of TPM as opposed to following the guidelines as they are taught in the Basic Seminar?


Ed Smith's response:


I am glad that you asked.  First of all let me say clearly that I have not moved away from my Southern Baptist roots nor have I embraced or am I endorsing Catholicism nor am I encouraging any person to do one thing or the other.  This book is not about embracing any particular denomination, but rather a guide to help Catholics understand the principles of Theophostic Prayer Ministry and how this ministry can be applied in their context.  As of today I have not received any negative emails, but I have received many rejoicing with the release of this book.  One of the fastest growing groups in the TPM community is found within the catholic segment of the Body of Christ.  Several years ago I was approached by a several catholic priests who were using TPM who wanted some way to introduce others within the Catholic community with this ministry approach.  They said that it was sometimes difficult introducing TPM with the founder being a Southern Baptist.  I acknowledged I truly understood this.  For in like fashion I would have a difficult time introducing a "catholic" program to my SB friends.  I wish this were not so, but to some measure it is reality.  Shortly after this I was contacted by Fr. David Tickerhoof (the author) who had already put together a booklet that he self-published to deal with this problem.  After reading the booklet I encouraged him to develop it further.  I believe that Fr. Tickerhoof has done a very good job of building a bridge between the teachings of this ministry and people of the catholic faith who might have interest in knowing more.


This book can never become the "Catholic" version of TPM since it is not a training in how to do TPM.  The TPM Basic Training Seminar and Manual is the only way this training is officially offered.  If any person receives his training apart from watching the TPM DVD series and reading the 2005 Basic Seminar Manual, then this person has not been officially trained. The "how to" was intentionally avoided and left out in this book.  This is a "what is TPM" book not a "how to do it" book.  It is somewhat like the book I wrote a few years ago "Healing Life's Hurts Through Theophostic Prayer" in that it introduces people to TPM with the difference being this book is written from a catholic perspective.  This is a "How can TPM be integrated into the teachings and practices of the Catholic Church" book.


You asked, "What if someone suggests that Ed Smith is embracing Catholicism?"  The truth is, that would be about as unlikely as Fr. David Tickerhoof becoming a Southern Baptist.  This is why I so love what I am seeing happen in the TPM community.  People from all denominations and theological perspectives have found a place of unification while making Jesus the centerpiece.  When Fr. David and I talk, we talk about what the Lord is doing in our lives and in the lives of others.  We do not talk about the "correct" mode of baptism, the necessity of some aspect of religious practice or anything else that might divide us.  Do I agree with everything that Fr. Tickerhoof has written in this book?  No, not at all.  Does Fr. Tickerhoof agree with me and all of my theology?  No. Not at all.   But then we do not need to nor are we required to do so.  We have both come to where we are in our Christian faith because we both have the same right through Christ to "draw near with confidence to the throne of grace, so that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need" (Heb. 4:16).   My statement of faith is very clear in the books that I have written.  For good measure I have enclosed them at the end of this email. 


You asked me if I was concerned that someone may try to make TPM catholic.  I have no concern of this.  Because if they do, then it ceases to be Theophostic Prayer Ministry in the same way if the Baptist tried to make TPM "Baptist."  TPM is a ministry approach not a denomination. TPM has very clear guidelines and practices (see TPM Ministry Session Guidelines at www.theophostic.com).  What Fr. Tickerhoof has tried to do in this book is help the catholic person see that TPM is compatible with what they do and teach and is not a threat and does not need to be "baptized" in any way.  He tries to explain TPM in the context of the catholic faith and tradition.  He is not teaching a "catholic" version of TPM.  There is neither a "catholic" version nor any "Baptist" version.  


However, there are a few practices out there that started out as true TPM, but evolved into something else.  Some of these offshoot approaches developed out of people's frustrations (triggered) when things did not "happen" the way they thought it should during a ministry session.  People receiving ministry would get stuck, not "get there" and this would emotionally trigger the facilitator.  Rather than looking for the solution in getting personal ministry, the facilitator sought out a way to "fix" the process.  I have been doing TPM for over ten years now and I never have to speak "my truth", perspective, or interject my opinion into the moment.  I never need to guide the session or make something happen.  The principles work and the Lord is faithful.  One of the major places where this "fixing the process" has occurred is where the facilitator speaks the truth for the person, gives the person interpretation for visuals and imagery that is reported, guides the session in any fashion or when the facilitator is sidetracked by zealous attempts in spiritual warfare.  Any time that the facilitator moves the session in any direction that he or she believes it should go, then what is happening in that moment is NO LONGER Theophostic Prayer Ministry.


I have found that I can have great fellowship with others who come from very differing theological perspectives as long as they agree that Jesus is the Son of the living God who came to earth in the flesh as God incarnate, who willfully died as a sacrifice for sin, and who will someday come to receive up all those who have faith in Him.  As long as the Lord is the center of what we do we can have unity.  When we make the non-essential theological perspectives a requirement for fellowship we have disunity.  I have said before that denominationalism has much in common with Dissociative Identity Disorder (multipersonality) in the Body of Christ.  Dissociation is held in place by internal conflict that is rooted in false belief.  When it is all said and done and we finally all get to heaven and each of our theologies are brought into the light of Christ, we will know truth perfectly, our doctrines will unify and then and there we will all find our humble place at the feet of Jesus.  It is too bad that we cannot get a head start on this now.


I encourage you to give a copy of this book to your catholic friends.  Also let me remind you (and myself) what the Lord prayed for us 2000 years ago, "may they be one, just as We are one;  I in them and You in Me, that they may be perfected in unity, so that the world may know that You sent Me... (John 17:22-23).


Hope that this helps,


Ed Smith


Forward in The Catholic's Guide to TPM by Robert T. Sears, SJ, Ph.D. of Loyola University Chicago, Institute of Pastoral Studies.


He says, "We live in an age of ecumenism, when God is blessing us with the gifts of many other Christian denominations. Jesus prayed that his followers might become one (Jn 17:20-21), and by revealing different gifts in different denominations, God seems to be drawing us back to the unity for which Jesus prayed. In my view, Theophostic Prayer Ministry is one such blessing that crosses denominational boundaries. In a time when the church and priests are in such need of healing, may this gift that I believe God has provided, be received as a blessing for many."



Ed Smith's Basic Statement of Faith


I believe that . . .

  • There is one God, eternally coexistent in three persons: the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit. The Father sent His only Son to become the redemption for lost mankind. The Holy Spirit was sent to complete the mission of Christ through His body, the Church.
  • The Bible is the inspired Word of God and is "profitable for teaching, reproof, correction and training in righteousness" (2 Tim. 3:16). It is timeless and relevant for all circumstances and is the fullness of God's divine inspired revelation to man, without error in its original form.
  • Jesus Christ came in the flesh fully God and fully man, yet without sin. As God the Son, He came to earth as a man, born of a virgin, fulfilled all He was sent to accomplish, died on the cross for the sins of the world, after three days rose from the dead and rules today at the right hand of God the Father. He will return in the clouds on the day appointed by the Father to call up all those who belong to Him who have been regenerated by the atoning work of the cross of Christ. Jesus Christ is central to all true renewal and freedom. Apart from Him we can do nothing (see John 15:5).
  • The Holy Spirit is the third person of the Trinity. He lives within the heart of the true Christian, providing the power to obey God's Word, convicting of sin, teaching and leading into all truth, providing comfort in time of distress and unifying all true believers in a bond of love. The Holy Spirit is the way that God communicates with His people through opening up the written Word and through inner communication of the heart.
  • The Church is universally made up of all people who believe Jesus Christ died on the cross for their sins and rose from the dead by the power of the Heavenly Father, and through faith become partakers of the divine nature. The indwelling of the Spirit of Christ is the determining factor of one's authentic faith relationship with God, not one's denomination, religious practice or performance in Christian disciplines. For "if anyone does not have the Spirit of Christ, he does not belong to Him" (Rom. 8:9).
  • The primary call and mission of the Church is to go forth and proclaim the good news of freedom in Christ to all the world (see Matt. 28:19-20), to bring truth to those held captive by the grip of the kingdom of darkness, and to prepare the way for His second coming by making ready His bride (see Luke 4:18).
  • All people are born with a fallen nature separated from God. In this fallen state our hearts are separated from God and continually evil. Those who do not respond in faith to God's gracious free gift through Christ live in a fallen state and will be separated from God for eternity. Those who come to Christ in faith are made new creatures and will live in heaven for all eternity. All people sin and are in need of God's continual grace and forgiveness. Sin is an ongoing problem that must be dealt with in the life of the believer through the cross of Christ and not of works. Jesus took on our sin that we might become His righteousness. God is actively at work through the Holy Spirit in the life of the believer, renewing his mind and maturing his spirit, "till we all come to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to a perfect man, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ" (Eph. 4:13, NKJV).
  • God is a sovereign God who is able to do "exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us" (Eph. 3:20, KJV). I believe that the reason we may not experience this reality is not due to a lack of power but rather to our not appropriating the power that is available. When we seek to do ministry in our own power, nothing divine happens.


(This statement of faith does not state all my personal theology but is a summation of some of the main points.)


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