TPM (Theophostic): a technique built on a lie(s)

A little while ago a person in one of my church groups said that it appeared that I was ‘anti-Theophostic’. I replied that I was anti-anything significant that takes believers away from the truth of the gospel.

I have previously documented the lofty ambitions of TPM, the organisation behind ‘Theophostic’, and the questionable need for the technique. But I am here now to record that, after carefully looking at the Scriptural basis for the core belief behind TPM (as ‘Theophostics’ has now been rebadged), I am indeed ‘anti-Theophostic’.

At the heart of TPM is the belief that what Jesus Christ did for us was an incomplete solution to our condition:

Even though I was made totally new in my spirit person when I was saved, my core beliefs remained relatively intact. The Lord’s death took my sins away having them all nailed to the cross, but it did not change too much of my lie-based belief (emphasis mine).

And here:

We died with Christ and were created anew in righteousness and holiness of the truth, but most of what we believed prior to the cross followed us out of the tomb. Of course there was a change in what we believed regarding our situation of being lost and needing a Savior, and about Jesus being the price of our redemption. Believing these truths with the heart resulted in our justification (Rom. 10:10). Nevertheless, many of our false beliefs about who we are and who God is remained the same (emphasis mine).

Just in case you didn’t get it – TPM materials intentionally contain much duplication – the Smiths describe this incomplete gospel with a graphic example:

The day you came to cross of Jesus and believed in your heart the truth of the Gospel, you were crucified with Christ and were raised up with Him so you might “walk in a new way of life” (Rom 6:1-5) as a new creation. However, on this same day while standing before the cross of Jesus you were also holding a suitcase in your hand. This suitcase contained everything that you believed. Some of its contents reflects the truth, while much of it did not.

While standing before the cross you came to believe in your heart that Jesus death was payment for all your sins. You put this truth in your suitcase along with all that you still believe. In that moment you also realized that you died with Christ and shared in His death. Three days later you are raised up as a new creation from the dead with Christ. However, you are still holding your old suitcase that is filled with most of the same lie-based beliefs that were present before the cross and resurrection and your new creation (emphasis mine).

Do the Smiths give any Scriptural support for their belief that it is the normal Christian experience for Christ’s forgiveness to have bypassed our ‘false beliefs’? No.

And it’s not because they are against using Scripture. In support of their claim that ‘TPM draws from the principles of God’s Word and seeks to apply them rightly’, they have 75 statements of what they believe, each supported by a verse or passage from the Bible.

But nothing even close to a defence of a post-salvation ‘suitcase’.

Five of these statements mention these lies that we are all meant to be harbouring. Here are the Scriptures that go with each statement:

Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus [NIV].

There is no support for the Smiths’ claim that this unrest has its root in their ‘lie-based thinking’.

A furious squall came up, and the waves broke over the boat, so that it was nearly swamped. 38 Jesus was in the stern, sleeping on a cushion. The disciples woke him and said to him, “Teacher, don’t you care if we drown?”

39 He got up, rebuked the wind and said to the waves, “Quiet! Be still!” Then the wind died down and it was completely calm.

40 He said to his disciples, “Why are you so afraid? Do you still have no faith?” [NIV]

There is no support for the Smiths’ claim that the disciples’ fear was due to their ‘lie-based thinking’.

They exchanged the truth about God for a lie, and worshiped and served created things rather than the Creator—who is forever praised. Amen [NIV]

Paul is talking to those who need salvation, not believers. Even if the audience was relevant, the verse does not support the Smith’s equation of ‘a lie’, in the verse, with their post-salvation ‘lie-based beliefs’.

There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love [NIV].

This does not support the assertion for which it is given: ‘fear and other similar emotions are rooted in lies’.

For in my inner being I delight in God’s law; 23 but I see another law at work in me, waging war against the law of my mind and making me a prisoner of the law of sin at work within me. 24 What a wretched man I am! Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death? 25 Thanks be to God, who delivers me through Jesus Christ our Lord!

So then, I myself in my mind am a slave to God’s law, but in my sinful nature a slave to the law of sin.

Life Through the Spirit

8 Therefore, there is now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus, 2 because through Christ Jesus the law of the Spirit who gives life has set you free from the law of sin and death [NIV].

Whether one believes that Paul was talking about his pre-conversion or post-conversion experience, and I am firmly on the side of the former, the passage is no support for the Smiths’ idea of some of our former self carrying over to our new life.

The truth is that the old self’s corruption included not only the sin inherited from Adam and his descendants (Exodus 34:7; 2 Corinthians 5:21), and your own sin (Hebrews 10:22), but also the effects of what others had done to you (Zechariah 13:6; 1 Peter 2:21-24). These sins of others also shaped you as a person, and caused the fear, bitterness, resentment, unforgiveness, poor self-esteem, and lack of trust that the Smiths say are rooted in ‘lie-based beliefs’.

However, contrary to what the Smiths say, and build a man-made technique on, these went, along with all the other effects of sin, when Christ died on the Cross, was buried, and rose again. See, not only did He die FOR you [Romans 5:6-8], but He died AS you [Romans 6:6-7].

He died for you. 100% of you. Not you with a suitcase full of issues that was immune from His sacrifice – you come up from the water of baptism completely cleansed from all sins.

As our Lord said, ’It is finished!’ [John 19:28-30]. Let’s get…Back to The Gospel.

 

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