We who preach the gospel must not think of ourselves as public relations agents sent to establish good will between Christ and the world. We must not imagine ourselves commissioned to make Christ acceptable to big business, the press, the world of sports or modern education. We are not diplomats but prophets, and our message is not a compromise but an ultimatum. A.W. Tozer
Therefore let God-inspired Scripture decide between us; and on whichever side be found doctrines in harmony with the word of God, in favor of that side will be cast the vote of truth. --Basil of Caesarea
Once you learn to discern, there's no going back. You will begin to spot the lie everywhere it appears.

I thank Christ Jesus our Lord, who has strengthened me, because He considered me faithful, putting me into service. 1 Timothy 1:12

Friday, June 30, 2017

Good, Bad, and Ugly

The Good:
Ecumenical vs Evangelical.  Thought-provoking.  Continuing in this vein, read Idolatry, Demons, and Ecumenism

How do they [blaspheme the Holy Spirit]?  By attributing to the Holy Spirit words that He didn’t say, deeds that He didn’t do, and experiences that He didn’t produce, attributing to the Holy Spirit that which is not the work of the Holy Spirit.  Endless human experiences, emotional experiences, bizarre experiences, and demonic experiences are said to come from the Holy Spirit.  Visions, revelations, voices from heaven, messages from the Spirit through transcendental means, dreams, speaking in tongues, prophecies, out-of-body experiences, trip to heaven, anointings, miracles – all false, all lies, all deceptions – attributed falsely to the Holy Spirit.  Read the rest, by John MacArthur.

Why we can’t forgive ourselves.  Good response to those who are always saying, “I just can’t forgive myself.”

Another good article on who the real Pharisees are.

How VBS has driven too many from the Church.  I remember my pagan mother sending me to VBS, where I learned nothing of eternal consequence.

The Bad:
More about Debi Pearl’s false teaching supporting spousal abuse.  Oh, and her husband Michael is right in there with his own dangerous teaching.  I love this great response to Michael.

Verse mapping — another false teaching which is new to me.  Where do people get such nonsensical ideas?!?!?!

The Osteens never met a Bible verse that they didn’t twist.

Another example as to why Matt Chandler is not qualified to be a pastor: he continually demonstrates his lack of discernment.

The Ugly:
An old “hymn” that really, really, needs to be trashed!

Who or what are they worshiping here?

Bethel Redding teaches “Firestarters,” a course to “activate” your prophetic gift.  You too can become a prophet there for only $395.  Nothing like cranking out more and more false prophets to blaspheme God.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Can A Christian Be Demon-Possessed?

Many people have been taught to believe that Christians can be demon-possessed, and the whole “deliverance ministry” makes money on this fraudulent teaching.  Bible verses teaching against the idea of demon possession are plentiful:  John 10:28; Col. 1:13;  Col. 2:15; 2 Thes. 3:3; Heb. 2:14-15; James 4:7; 1 Pet. 1:5;  1 John 4:4;1 John 5:18;

Here are some quotations I’ve gathered from various teachers on the subject of demon possession and the Christian:

Every Christian is faced with daily temptations from the world, the flesh, and the devil.  Paul wrote that we do indeed have a struggle against various spirits (Eph. 6:12).  Therefore, to some degree, every believer is harassed by demon spirits.  That is normal, and it is our responsibility to resist the devil and demons by faith in God’s Word (1 Pet. 5:8-9).  When we believe and act upon what God has said, that is resisting the devil. …
We must recognize that as free moral agents, we can think whatever we want to think about. If a believer continually chooses to listen and yield to the suggestions of evil spirits, he can certainly open his mind to being oppressed, which is simply a state of being more receptive to, and more dominated by, wrong thoughts.  …
It is a fact that there is not a single example in the New Testament of any Christian being possessed by a demon.  Nor is there any warning addressed to Christians about the dangerous possibility of their being inhabited by demons.  Nor is there any instruction regarding how to cast out demons from fellow-Christians.
The truth is that as Christians, we don’t need demons cast out of us – what we need is to have our minds renewed upon the Word of God.  That is scriptural…(Rom. 12:2).
Once our minds have been cleansed of the old thinking patterns and have been renewed with the truth of God’s Word, then we can gain victory over sinful habits and live in a consistent Christ-like manner.  The truth is what sets us free (John 8:32).  We are transformed as we renew our minds, not as we have all the demons exorcised!
David Kirkwood, Modern Myths About Satan and Spiritual Warfare

…Can born-again Christians be inhabited by demons to the extent where deliverance is attained only by exorcism? This is the true question now dividing many Bible believers.
An increasing number of prominent Christians are reportedly changing their minds and answering Yes to the question…. The reason they are changing their minds is not because of a new understanding of Scripture. It is because of their own personal experiences. They have become involved in exorcising demons from people whom they are convinced are truly born again.
I believe the crux of the issue reverts back to the question, “What is a Christian?”  I personally do not believe truly born-again Christians can be so inhabited by demons necessitating an exorcism. I see the problem as basically soteriological, that is, relating to the doctrine of salvation. …
I strongly believe that there are thousands of people in evangelical churches who are utterly confused concerning the nature of saving faith. It is very possible that these professing Christians are the ones being currently delivered from inhabiting demons.  If this is the case, then following their deliverance they should be immediately and properly evangelized….
The lordship of Christ over his children implies his rule and reign.  In Scripture believers are represented as entering into his kingdom at the time of their regeneration.  At the same time they are represented as being delivered from the kingdom of  Satan – Christ “hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son” (Col. 1:13; also Heb. 2:14, 15).  And the Christian is declared to be “kept by the power of God through faith unto salvation” (1 Peter 1:5). …
True, born again believers are represented as not being “touched” by the evil one because “he that is begotten of God keepeth himself” (1 John 5:18; also John 10:28).  Believers persevere and do not give themselves over to demonic possession, by God’s grace.  Believers are assured of victory because they are children of God, and the “seed [of God] remaineth in him’ (1 John 3:8-10).  If Christians can be inhabited by Satan’s angels then they are actually the temple of God and of Satan at the same time.  Paul asked, “What concord hath Christ with Belial?…for ye are the temple of the living God; as God hath said, I will dwell in them, and walk in them; and I will be their God, and they shall be my people’ (2 Cor.6:15, 16).
The teaching of Jesus in Matthew 12:43-45 is pivotal in understanding demonic possession and re-inhabitation.  Demons can leave a person and return with greater severity when the demon perceives the person’s life to be “empty, swept, and garnished.”  If Jesus had not been enthroned as Lord and Savior in the person’s life, he or she is inhabitable by satanic forces. Moral reformations, professions of faith, and spiritual activity are like cleaning a house. Unless those activities lead to the powerful, regenerating presence of Christ in one’s life, the person is susceptible to further demonic control. Where Christ is, the house is not “empty,” and Satan cannot inhabit it.
The fact that so many involved in deliverance work deal only with Christians is distressing.  The profession of these believers must be carefully tested and proven.  I would recommend that no one inhabited by a demon be accepted as a born-again believer.  To do so is to relinquish cherished and certain doctrines concerning the Christian’s perseverance and preservation.  It is a denial of Christ as both the Savior and Lord of his children.  It is yet another evidence of capitulating to phenomena, rather than accepting God’s Word.
Edward N. Gross, Miracles, Demons, & Spiritual Warfare: An Urgent Call for Discernment

If…we apply the term demonization in its proper scriptural context to mean being controlled by demons, then the question of whether or not Christians can be demonized without God’s permission comes into play.  Equally important is the question of whether or not God would even allow his children to become controlled by demons in the first place.
This is critical to the issue of repentance versus deliverance.  If we can be controlled, then we are not responsible for our actions other than committing some heinous sin that would prompt the Father to give us over to the control of Satan in the first place.  On the other hand, if all our actions are ultimately within our own power, then we cannot blame the devil for our sins or for their consequences.  We must blame ourselves and, in humble repentance, ask God’s forgiveness.
While the Scriptures do not offer a single mention of the possibility of true believers being controlled by demons, they do speak clearly to this issue of our own responsibility for our sins and the need for repentance [see 1 John 1:5-10].  Temptation by Satan and/or his demons may afflict us, but so, too, do temptations of our own flesh.  In neither case can we say that when we are tempted we are demonized.  God has given us the grace to resist temptation from the enemy and from our own sin nature.  But it is up to us to exercise our wills in deciding to resist that temptation.
In the case where we may be tempted by the devil we are instructed plainly to “resist the devil and he will flee from you” (James 4:7).  When we are tempted by the lusts that war in our members we are told to flee them and to follow after godliness (2 Tim. 2:22)
According to Scripture, it is our own lusts that tempt us.  If Satan tempts us it is primarily in those areas that constitute our secret desires for particular sins in the first place.  He works on our own areas of lust.  If we succumb, the solution is not deliverance but repentance. …
[There is no] question that some who claim to be Christians are demonized at least to some extent.  A great number of people in the pews are nominal, not true Christians.  But because someone has made a profession of faith in Jesus Christ, or has attained leadership in the Church, or can be credited with many good works, does not mean that he or she is a true believer.
In spite of Scripture’s clear teachings on repentance while remaining relatively silent in regards to deliverance, most deliverance ministries deal with those whom they perceive to be Christians rather than with unbelievers.  Thus there is cause for serious concern as to whether they even properly understand the definition of demonization or, for that matter, if they understand what constitutes a true believer in Jesus Christ.
The definition of a true believer in Jesus is one whose spirit  has been regenerated by the indwelling presence of the Holy Spirit, given at the moment of conversion.  He is a saint, set apart from out of the world for the Father’s use. …
The true believer is holy (i.e., sanctified – set apart for God) even if not perfect, just as any vessel used in the service of God is holy yet not perfect.  The imperfections will remain until we have put on the new body fashioned after that which the Lord Jesus inhabits as a result of the Resurrection. …
A person who does not grow in the grace of God, but after making a profession of faith continues in spite of instruction from the Scriptures to live according to his own will, has demonstrated that he lacks the faith necessary for salvation and sanctification….
The true believer will receive correction from God’s Word and will submit to the Holy Spirit (perhaps after some struggling), thus exhibiting spiritual growth toward conformity to the image of Christ.
Among the unbelieving there are those who claim Christianity but refuse correction.  They continue in sin openly.
There are also among the unbelieving those who claim to be Christians but whose works are motivated by a religious spirit rather than by the spirit of God.  These are they who attain positions of leadership through their own volition; their works are not submitted to the will of the Father, but are performed with the expectation that any good work is pleasing to God.
This isn’t to say that true believers do not fall into these traps themselves.  But their willingness to receive correction results in their consistently being conformed to the image of Christ.  Those who continue in sin without repentance have not been regenerated by God’s Spirit. …
In every case, it is repentance that sets us aright with God and enables us to live the sanctified life.  Nowhere in Scripture is deliverance for the true believer established as a requisite to sanctification.
This being the case, how do we address the fact that deliverance ministries attain a degree of success in the apparent casting out of demons from Christians?  In view of Scripture alone, we must conclude that these were not true believers, but merely professing Christians who, in their own consciences, would swear on a stack of Bibles that they are true believers.  Among them are even pastors and teachers.
What the deliverance ministries are attempting to do, therefore, is cast demons out of non-believers, while thinking they are casting them out of believers. …
So the real question is, can a true Christian be controlled by a demon?  Does the Lord allow such a thing?  The Scriptures say no:… [see 1 Cor. 10:13; John 8:36; James 4:5-10].
These and many other Scriptures tell us that we who are in Christ are free from the control of Satan.  Those who are born again by the blood of Christ – who have been washed clean and established in the Kingdom of God by faith can resist the devil.  And if we have the choice to resist, then we cannot be controlled.  We cannot be demonized.
What we need, then, is constant washing by the Word of God which gives us the knowledge, wisdom and discernment to recognize the evil that besets us.  Evil does beset us, but it is external to us; it is not internal, except insofar as our own flesh wars against the Spirit of God within us.  This is why we are told to walk in the Spirit and not in the flesh.  But this, again, is a choice we make. …
When we address the issue of true believers we must concede that demonic attacks are possible, not only against those who are disobedient to the will of the Father, but even against those whose lives reflect near-perfect obedience to His will.
In the case of those who are disobedient, such attacks may be permitted by the Father as a means of chastisement.  This was the case with the man whose sin of incest scandalized the Corinthian Church, and whom Paul remanded to Satan in order that his body be destroyed that his soul might be saved (1 Cor. 5:1-5)  Since chastisement is the manner in which our Father corrects us for unrepentant sin, it should always lead to repentance in the true believer.  In that case, since the Father’s purpose has been achieved, the enemy would have to flee and the attack would cease.
In the case of those who are generally obedient, such attacks may be permitted by the Father for the purpose of testing, or to keep us humble, as was the case with Paul’s thorn in the flesh.  Here we must rely on His grace to see us through. …
If Christians resist the devil he will flee from them.  This, again, is an act of one’s will to surrender to God’s will and to resist sin.  To attempt to cast out a demon rather than address the problem of sin will result in the sin remaining.  Yet this is the general approach of the modern deliverance advocates.  They are treating an imaginary disease and neglecting the real source of infection: the love of sin within the heart of the person.  This can only be effectively dealt with through reproof, rebuke, and exhortation from God’s Word, along with prayer and, in some cases, even fasting.
Albert Dager, Media Spotlight Special Report: Deliverance

A Christian – I mean a true Christian, who has submitted to God and His Word – will suffer nothing from demons.  For he is mightier than demons.  The Christian will suffer nothing, for “the angel of the Lord will encamp around them who fear Him and will deliver them.” [Ps.34:7]
Origen, c.248 A.D.

There is not a hint in the New Testament of the concept of a believer being invaded or inhabited by demons.  Something concerning demons so crucial to Christian growth, stability and sanctification surely would be in the Word. …
The fact is, nowhere does Scripture call for “deliverance” when we sin, but rather for repentance, confession and change. …
Christ’s work in the believer makes him a new creature, with a new Father, a new family, a new motivation and internal dynamic.  It equips him with an indwelling Comforter who is more powerful than demons.  Apart from that belief, the Christian will slip into a practical dualism, with near-equality of God and Satan. … Satan is an external foe.  He may harass and tempt the believer, but God has set his limits.
G. Richard Fisher,  Personal Freedom Outreach Quarterly Journal, Vol. 8, No. 2

Within Christian circles, there has arisen a new concern for ministries of deliverance.  Some of these deliverance ministries have developed a bizarre and radically unbiblical view of demon possession and deliverance.
…There are demons for every conceivable sin.  Not only must each one of these demons be exorcized, but there are necessary procedures to keep them from returning on a daily basis.  I know of no polite way to respond to this kind of teaching.  It is unmitigated nonsense.  Nowhere in sacred Scripture is there to be found the slightest hint of this kind of demonic diagnosis.  These teachings cross the line into the sphere of magic and result in serious harm to believers who are duped by them.  …
If a person indwelt by the Holy Spirit can at the same time be sovereignly controlled by an evil spirit, then our redemption is defeated. … Satan may be our accomplice in our ongoing sin, but we cannot pass the blame and responsibility for our sin to a controlling demon.  … We are encouraged to think that we are not really guilty and that we are actually helpless without a minister with special powers of deliverance.  This negates the entire biblical concept of sanctification.  … Therefore, I say with all urgency that believers must turn away from those who teach such things.  Indeed run, for your very spiritual lives.
R.C. Sproul, Pleasing God

Christians cannot be possessed—PERIOD!

Sunday, June 25, 2017


Searcher of hearts, 

It is a good day to me when thou givest me a glimpse of myself;
Sin is my greatest evil, but thou art my greatest good;

I have cause to loathe myself, and not to seek self-honor,
for no one desires to commend his own dunghill.

My country, family, church fare worse because of my sins, for sinners bring judgement in thinking sins are small, or that God is not angry with them.

Let me not take other good men as my example, and think I am good because I am like them, 
for all good men are not so good as thou desires, are not always consistent, do not always follow holiness, do not feel eternal good in sore affliction.

Show me how to know when a thing is evil which I think it right and good, how to know when what is lawful comes from an evil principle, such as desire for reputation or wealth by usury.

Give me grace to recall my needs, my lack of knowing thy will in Scripture, of wisdom to guide others, of daily repentance, want of which keeps thee at bay, of the spirit of prayer, having words without love, of zeal for thy glory, seeking my own ends, of joy in thee and thy will, of love to others.

And let me not lay my pipe too short of the fountain, never touching the eternal spring, never drawing down water from above.

From The Valley of Vision, Puritan Prayers and Devotions, p.122-123

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Dangerous Advice For Anxiety

A young woman my wife and I have been counseling for several years (for various issues) read the book, The Anxious Christian: Can God Use Your Anxiety For Good?, by Rhett Smith.  Before reading it she asked me if I knew anything about the author which would lead me to not recommend him.  Well, when I “googled” Mr. Smith the most I could discern about him was that he was likely to hold fairly liberal views, but the church he attended seemed to have fundamental teaching.  

After she read the book (and telling me how wonderful it was), she passed it to me and asked me to tell her what I thought about it.  So last month I took some time here and there to read it, and immediately I had to take notes due to the bad stuff I was encountering.  I decided to write up a review for her rather than trying to explain all the issues in conversation, so for the pst couple weeks, as time permitted, I have been writing up this review — and I just finished!

I decided this review needed to be posted on my blog as a danger signal to anyone else out there who may be contemplating reading this book.

Overall I think this book is one of the most dangerous I’ve ever read, with the extremely poor advice, twisting of Scriptures, promoting false teachers, and practicing horrid secular psychology dressed up as Christian.  Even the footnotes are loaded with authors who teach “psychobabble.”

Without going into a deep detailed review, I’m just going to highlight problem areas — and just highlighting will be lengthy!  So here we go:

P.11  Cites M. Scott Peck’s, The Road Less Travelled.  Peck is a false teacher who is steeped in mysticism, and whose teachings are condemned by solid biblical scholars and apologetics ministries.  Christian Research Institute has a good primer about Peck’s false teachings.

P.20  Praises Tim Keller.  Keller has some good teachings, but his poor teachings and false teachings outweigh any good.  For example, Keller denies the literal understanding of Genesis when discussing the Creation and the Flood, and is a theistic evolutionist.  Additionally, he teaches Catholic and Quaker mysticism (as well as promoting Catholicism in general), teaches Lectio Divina, and even teaches pop-psychology himself! To top it all off, he promotes the social gospel!

P.30  Abuses Jeremiah 29:11, which is specifically—and only—about Israel in a certain context, and Smith makes it about individuals.  I’ve exposed this abusive use in an article on my blog.

P.32  Promotes pure psychobabble about what anxiety is and how to deal with it.

P.43  Says that Rhett Smith got his Masters of Divinity degree from Fuller Seminary, which is about as liberal of a seminary as you will find.  Which explains a lot about his theology!

P.48 ff.  He assumes God calls us on a journey rather than just allowing us to go on a journey, which means in Smith’s teaching there is no plan other than Romans 8:28.  But in real life there are various stages in our lives.

P.50 ff.  Praises the writings of emergent, mystic, heretic Donald Miller.  Cites Miller at one time asking, “Are you living a good story?”  God doesn’t care about our “story”!! It’s all just feel-good emotionalism.

P.53  More praises for M. Scott Peck teachings!

P.55  The “exercises” are exercises in pure psychobabble, with no value whatsoever, as are the exercises at the end of most chapters - just childish, self-focused busy-work.

P.64.  Fuller’s “Marriage and family therapy program” (MSMFT) is pure psychobabble of “discovering self.”  Seek a “genogram”? — this all may tell you something about your family’s origin, but it says absolutely NOTHING about YOU and who YOU are!

P.66  Remembering nonsense it totally unbiblical.

P.68, 69  Charting family is okay to seek genetic defects, but things like anxiety don’t pass genetically.  His “genogram” is no different than anyone else’s.  Smith’s self-pity is blamed on his family stuff rather than personal responsibility, and this is standard psychobabble.  Everyone experiences such things, but most people just accept them and move on rather than wallowing in victimhood — “feeling abandoned.”

P.74  Smith praises the unbiblical Lent and Lenten season.  But then, since he is really into mysticism, this doesn’t surprise me.

P.75  Cites liberal N.T. Wright and his assertion about what the disciples of Christ felt/thought; he just makes it up.

P.76  “God does not leave you alone in your anxiety.”  Um, where does the Bible say this?  God may very well leave you alone in it, so you will seek Him!  And how does one go about “reimagining” anything?!?! That is a nonsensical buzzword. 

P.77  Smith cites false teacher Eugene Peterson (very emergent and new age teachings, including his version of the Bible, “The Message,” which totally misrepresents the actual Bible).  No one should cite false teachers in a positive manner!

P.80  The “what if” choices.  Does God really care what choice you make in these areas, as long as the motive isn’t sinful?  Absolutely not!  (And again we have that useless word, “reimagining”.)

P.83  Smith denounces Christians who say psychology is wrong!  Even though there is no science behind it, even though there are hundreds of psychological theories and methods, Christians are supposed to accept the unbiblical nature of psychology because he says so.  The anecdote at the bottom of the page is most likely made up.

P.84  Smith says that God puts anxiety in us for a purpose.  This is totally unbiblical, especially when the Bible says we are to not be anxious! (Phil. 4:6-8).

P.85  Smith says, “If God had meant for me to not be anxious, then He would have called me to some other vocation…”  It is plain with Smith’s false teaching and support of false teachers that God DID NOT call him to this vocation!  God wants us to not be anxious but knows we will, which is why we should contemplate Phil. 4:6-8!

P.87  Smith cites Rollo May, who is well known as a quack who Christians should not pay attention to.

P.87, 88  Lots of promotion of Søren Kierkegaard, who often had very unbiblical ideas and was very much a part of the “enlightenment.”  Not someone Christians should look up to.  An example of Kierkegaard’s bad teaching is at the bottom of p.88.

P.91  The Hideaway Marriage Experience.  This is all about “group therapy” using pure secular psychological ideology rather than Biblical principles.  Sometimes the two are syncretized to corrupt biblical ideology.  Smith’s whole background is secular psychology, which is about as anti-Christian as it gets.  His primary focus is on the self.

P.96  Contrary to what is implied here, Jacob’s anxiety about meeting Esau was healthy; he had every reason to fear, and his anxiety about it spurred him to make good decisions for the protection of his family.

P.99  Cites Karl Barth, another teacher on Kierkegaard’s level; Barth considered the Bible to be a fallible work of men, not necessarily accurate historically, and he later embraced universalism.

P.99  Cites liberal feminist Phyliss Trible favorably.

P.101  Citing another false teacher, Henri Nouwen; a mystic who is a Roman Catholic and ecumenicist who supports universalism.

P.103  Truth is described as being relative to self, so we need to replace “old truth” with “new truth.”  Truth is NOT relative, it is not “old” vs “new—truth is truth regardless of individual viewpoints.

P.104 Smith speaks of “multiple world wars.”  There were only TWO!!

P.119  ff. Cites another psychotherapist, Thomas Moore, who is also heavy into mysticism, and promotes his unbiblical teachings about fostering one’s “soul.” Again, it’s all about self and mysticism.

P.121  More citations of false teacher Eugene Peterson.

P.123  More teachings about self-love. The Bible already assumes we love ourselves (when we are told to love others as ourselves, and when we are told that no one hates his own body—Eph. 5:29).  The whole self-esteem paradigm has led to a culture of people full of self-importance.

P.124  More discussion of the unbiblical practice of Lent.

P.126.  Smith calls Ann Voskamp’s book, “One Thousand Gifts,” a “wonderful book.”  This book is full of rank false teachings and heresy, and has been exposed by many, many solid teachers and apologetics ministries as a horrid book.  Voskamp is well-known for teaching bizarre sexuality/sensuality in her relationship with God.

P.130 Exercise shows self-focus of the teaching.

P.137  More teaching about the need for self-love.

P.138  Smith makes Christ’s death all about him rather than for mankind, and therefore says Christ must have thought he personally was important enough to save.

P.138 ff  Sabbath-keeping.  Christians (and Gentiles in general) were never meant to keep the Sabbath, since the Sabbath was a sign of a covenant between God and Israel.  That makes this whole section of the book nothing but nonsensical false teachings to be avoided.

P.148  Smith says he lived in a state of anxiety but he was really living in a state of selfishness.

P.151  Smith talks about David Crowder and how he helped host Crowder at his church.  Crowder is another well-known mystic with false teachings.

P.159-160  Said he felt like he was/is losing himself to his wife, etc.  This is a selfish attitude, because we don’t “lose” ourselves to our partners, rather we become one with them all the while keeping one’s separate identity.  This whole attitude demonstrates his immaturity and self-focus, as is expected with his ideology.  He had to have his own therapist!  This is not a person I would trust to teach me anything about marriage.

P.162  Smith says the idea of giving up oneself for the spouse is a misconception of the relationship.  I think the “misconception” is what he thinks that means.  In a proper marital relationship both partners give up themselves for the unity.  This takes away selfish interests and focuses on the relationship, which will always be a relationship of compromises to the better end for both.  This should NOT create anxiety in the marriage as he claims.   Again, giving up oneself to the relationship does not mean “losing” oneself.

P.165, bottom.  This confession of his self-focus and insecurity in marriage is an example of why he should not be counseling anyone.  While he says this was early in his marriage, the whole book has him always being anxious about something, has to continually “reimagine” his anxiety, and has his own therapist who he sees for “routine therapy checkups”. He is too steeped in self and psychobabble.

P.166  Citing false teacher Eugene Peterson, Peterson said, “Jesus did not raise himself…”  In John 2:19-22 Jesus said he would raise himself.  Other passages which say God raised him only confirm that Jesus is God. The whole teaching by Smith on this page is that our overcoming our anxiety is based on Jesus’ resurrection.  The Peterson citation says, “The more we practice resurrection…”  We don’t “practice resurrection”!  We are resurrected ONCE, and it is a physical resurrection.  It is abuse of Scripture to use “resurrection” as Smith and Peterson do.

P.170  He said he heard a voice from God/Jesus telling him what to do, and how He will “walk alongside of you.”  Since God does not foster false teachings, this voice, if Smith really heard it (which I highly doubt because we do not get direct revelation from God), wasn’t from God!

P.171 He tells of one of his therapy checkups; a man who continually needs therapy has no business being a therapist! (This was in October 2010 and the book was copyright 2011!)  The therapy session itself was one huge dose of nonsensical psychobabble!

P.178  Smith bemoans the stigma by “parts of our Christian culture about seeking professional help…”  Well, the next page demonstrates that the stigmas should be practiced by ALL Christians, since psychotherapy is an unscientific and anti-Christian philosophy.  The paragraph in the middle of the page cites all the myriads of “treatments” recommended for depression, while misrepresenting what Nouthetic (Biblical) counselors actually teach.

P.189 Smith promotes the use of “medication” for anxiety.  This medication is promoted by Big Pharma but is very often quite harmful with its side effects.  No one should be using pills for anxiety.  He likens actual medical, biological, organic illnesses to mental states as to why pills should be used for emotional issues!  He continues on the next page trying to prove that mental and organic issues can be compared and complains that many Christians stigmatize the use of psychotropic medications. He asserts that God gifted researchers who develop these drugs, yet considering the hazards of said drugs I would say it is highly unlikely that God would be helping with their development!

P.191  Smith promotes rank heretic Rob Bell’s totally unbiblical book Velvet Elvis, about a “mysterious God who wants to transform you.”  Rob Bell is not a Christian, albeit he pretends to be, and has some of the worst teachings out there.  His book has been criticized by numerous solid Bible teachers, pastors, and apologetics ministries.

So here we have a book authored by a totally non-discerning individual who has routine therapy sessions himself, a book which is rife with false teaching and psychological inanity, promoting many false teachers — and the book is promoted as being helpful for Christians!!!  As noted at the beginning of this review, I believe this book to be extremely dangerous teachings, and am appalled that it is published by Moody.