Theophostic Prayer Ministry (TPM) : 'n prakties-teologiese beoordeling
Botha, Johannes Urbanus
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Theophostic Prayer Ministry (TPM) is an unparalleled method of inner healing which was developed in 1996 by Dr. Ed Smith of Campbellsville, Kentucky. The term Theophostic is formed by a combination of two Greek words, namely Theos (God) and phos (light). God's light refers to the central aspect of the ministry during which God gives his light to the counselee in order to expose the emotional wounds from the person's past and to heal it. TPM became known as a method which is exceptionally effective in treating trauma and experience-based problems. Several evaluators of TPM, however, raise questions concerning the doctrinal and philosophical soundness of the base of TPM's theory and practice. Exponents of the anti-psychology movement, like Martin and Deidre Bobgan, are exceedingly condemning in their critique of TPM, and particularly the fact that Smith probably had used insights, concepts and techniques from psychology. In researching the literature on the subject, it was found that the reformed pastoral ministry is relatively lacking in theoretical reflection on and practical implementation of the ministry of inner healing, TPM included. The first main purpose of the research was to scientifically determine whether the doctrinal and philosophical points of departure as well as practice of TPM were sound according to the reformative Scriptural standard. Should the research data indicate that TPM is acceptable in this respect, then the reformed pastoral practice have found at least one method of inner healing to make use of. Should the research data point to the contrary, then the necessary corrections can be done accordingly. The second main purpose of the research was to determine how the theory, practice and even context of TPM can possibly be served by the new light which the research may shed upon it. In the research methodology it is decided to firstly summarize the practical theory of TPM. This was followed on a meta-theoretical level by a qualitative empirical research on TPM, as well as a comparative study on Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR), an evenly highly successful psychotherapeutic treatment method for trauma and experience-based problems. In a third meta-theoretical chapter TPM and some of its critics are evaluated in accordance with the Philosophy of the Cosmonomic Idea. Following that, the data of the meta-theoretical chapters were compared in a hermeneutical way with the first practical theory of TPM and all its critique, as well as the reformative theological tradition. The final conclusions of the research indicate that TPM can be recommended to the reformed pastoral ministry as a reformative Scripturally sound method for inner healing and that the TPM theory, practice and context can be improved on several points as has been suggested in the study.
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