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Norman Vincent Peale: Apostle of Self-Esteem
The Father Of Positive-Thinking - Self-Esteemism
The Power Of God Within All Men
Influenced By A Liberal Education
Tickling The Ears Of An Apostate Generation
Peale And The Evangelical World
Peale’s Theological Modernism, Religious Syncretism, And Universalism
(Includes Freemasons Celebrate Ruth Peale’s Birthday)
Guideposts Magazine… "Christian" or New Age?
Guideposts Magazine …"Christian" Or New Age?
Norman Vincent Peale: Apostle of Self-Esteem
Way of Life Literature’s Fundamental Baptist Information Service
Norman Vincent Peale died on Christmas Eve, 1993, at the age of 95. He was one of the most popular preachers of the twentieth century. His famous book The Power of Positive Thinking has sold almost 20 million copies in 41 languages. It was on the United States best-seller list for a full year following its publication in 1952 and has been in print continuously ever since. Peale pastored the Marble Collegiate Church, a Reformed Church in America congregation in New York City, from 1932 until 1984. At the time of his retirement the church had 5,000 members, and tourists lined up around the block to hear Peale preach. For 54 years Peale’s weekly radio program, The Art of Living, was broadcast on NBC. His sermons were mailed to 750,000 people a month. His popular Guidepost magazine has a circulation of more than 4.5 million, the largest for any religious publication. His life was the subject of a 1964 movie, One Man’s Way.
THE FATHER OF POSITIVE-THINKING SELF-ESTEEMISM
Peale the father of the positive-thinking, self-esteem gospel, an unholy mixture of humanistic psychology, eastern religion, and the Bible that has almost taken over the Christian world and has even made deep inroads into fundamentalist churches.
In 1937 Peale and psychiatrist Smiley Blanton established a counseling clinic in the basement of the Marble Collegiate Church. Blanton had undergone extended analysis by Freud in Vienna in 1929, 1935, 1936, and 1937. The clinic was described as having “a theoretical base that was Jungian, with strong evidence of neo- and post-Freudianism” (Carol V.R. George, God’s Salesman: Norman Vincent Peale and the Power of Positive Thinking, Oxford, 1993, p. 90).
In 1951 the clinic became known as the American Foundation for Religion and Psychiatry, and in 1972 it merged with the Academy of Religion and Mental Health to form the Institutes of Religion and Health (IRH). Peale remained affiliated with the IRH as president of the board and chief fund raiser.
In 1952 Peale published his famous book on positive thinking, becoming the father of a wretched syncretistic doctrine that has flooded Christianity. Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in California, has patterned his ministry after Peale and has been called “the Norman Vincent Peale of the West.” Schuller is also in the Reformed Church in America.
Peale also was a promoter of the idea of “positive imaging” which has become popular in many charismatic circles. Peale’s latter years were dedicated particularly to giving motivational talks to secular businesses. He was paid fees of $5,000 to $10,000 by companies who were seeking his services to help them make more money by his positive confession methodologies.
For example, a group of Merrill Lynch real estate associates gave Peale a standing ovation after he told them this:
“There is a deep tendency in human nature ultimately to become precisely what you visualize yourself as being. If you see yourself as tense and nervous and frustrated, if that is your image of yourself, that assuredly is what you will be. If you see yourself as inferior in any way, and you hold that image in your conscious mind, it will presently by the process of intellectual osmosis sink into the unconscious, and you will be what you visualize.
“If, on the contrary, you see yourself as organized, controlled, studious, a thinker, a worker, believing in your talent and ability and yourself, over a period of time, that is what you will become.
“Now, you may believe that this is all theoretical. But I believe, and I’ve tested it out in so many cases that I’m sure of its validity, that if a person has a business and images that business at a certain level and fights off his doubts ... it will come out that way--all because of the power of the positive image” (Jeanne Pugh, “The Eternal Optimist,” St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Florida, Religion Section, June 8, 1985).
This is a New Age doctrine and practice. Man, allegedly, has the power within himself, or the ability to tap into a higher power within himself, to accomplish whatever he desires by learning how to visualize it into reality.
In his 1987 book Positive Imaging, Peale said:
“Imaging consists of vividly picturing in your conscious mind, a desired goal or objective, and holding that image until it sinks into your unconscious mind, where IT RELEASES GREAT, UNTAPPED ENERGIES” (p. 7).
“There is a powerful and mysterious force in human nature that is capable of bringing about dramatic improvement in our lives. It is a kind of mental engineering... So powerful is the imaging effect on thought and performance that a long-held visualization of an objective or goal can become determinative. ...In imaging, one does not merely think about a hoped-for goal; one ‘sees’ or visualizes it with tremendous intensity, reinforced by prayer. Imaging is a kind of LASER BEAM OF THE IMAGINATION, A SHAFT OF MENTAL ENERGY in which the desired goal of outcome is pictured so vividly by the conscious mind that the unconscious mind accepts it and is activated by it. THIS RELEASES POWERFUL INTERNAL FORCES that can bring about astonishing changes...” (pp. 9, 10).
Peale gives dozens of testimonies of people who used positive imaging and visualization to heal diseases, build large corporations, obtain business promotions, improve marriages, pay off debts, create a more healthy personality, build large churches, you name it. Peale describes how that he used imaging techniques in his second church when the attendance was low:
“I visualized that pew full, and all the other pews full, and the church filled to capacity. I held that image in my mind. ... And the day came when the image became a reality” (p. 25).
He tells of a woman who went to a pastor distraught about her husband. He was irritable, full of tension, unable to progress in his business, sleepless. The pastor, John Ellis Large, author of God is Able and a man that Peale describes as “a former colleague of mine,” asked her what time of the night her husband slept the most soundly. She replied that “by five o’clock in the morning he is in deep sleep.” He then gave her the following advice:
“At five o’clock every morning you get up and sit by your husband and pray for him. Believe that God is there by your husband’s side, actually present with you and with him. IMAGE YOUR HUSBAND AS A WHOLE MAN--happy, controlled, organized and well. Hold that thought intensely. Think of your prayers as reaching his unconscious mind. At that time in the morning his conscious mind is not resisting and YOU CAN GET AN IDEA INTO HIS UNCONSCIOUS. Visualize him as kindly, cooperative, happy, creative and enthusiastic” (p. 37).
You guessed it. After practicing this visualization technique for several weeks the man’s personality allegedly changed and he got a promotion!
This is not biblical praying. It is occultic. To pray to God and ask Him to do something is one thing, but to try to create something by visualizing it and “speaking into” another person’s unconscious mind and forcing it into reality through “holding the image,” is occultic and is entertaining demons unawares. The God of Norman Vincent Peale was a God that was available to empower me to live out my own dream.
Peale advised the members of his congregation:
“When you leave the church, visualize Him walking out with you, strong, compassionate, protective, understanding” (p. 38).
Observe that the God that Peale taught people to imagine is not holy and is not to be feared.
THE POWER OF GOD WITHIN ALL MEN
Peale taught people that they could tap into the power of God within, and he said this indiscriminately to everyone and made no important distinction between the saved and the lost. I have never read a clear statement in Peale’s books of how to be born again in a biblical fashion, yet Jesus Christ solemnly said: “Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God” (John 3:3).
In the introduction to the book Discovering the Power of Positive Thinking, Peale’s daughter, Ruth Stafford, says:
“[My father’s] faith led him to the conviction that GOD HAD PLACED A PORTION OF HIS POWER IN ALL OF US. My father reasoned, if this was the case, then each of us was capable of doing great things. ... The overall message of Discovering the Power of Positive Thinking is simply this: If you believe that THE POWER OF GOD WITHIN YOU is equal to any of life’s difficulties, then a rewarding life will be yours. This belief inspired the bestseller, The Power of Positive Thinking” (pp. 5, 6).
This is a universalistic view that man is not estranged from God and has God living within him. It is akin to the New Age doctrine of human divinity.
As could be expected, Peale’s own testimony of salvation was not clear. He claimed to have had a number of “conversion” experiences. When he was a boy, Peale’s father instructed him to pray for renewed faith and trust in God and “to get converted” once again. The doctrine of the once-for-all new birth was muddled by this type of teaching. Peale claimed to have had another conversion experience in England in 1934. He said he “prayed aloud, confessing his weaknesses and surrendering himself to the Lord,” and immediately he felt “warm all over” (George, p. 82). Peale also described conversions during a Graham crusade in 1957 and while watching Rex Humbard on television.
In an interview with religious news writer John Sherrill, Peale testified:
“I have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I mean that I believe my sins are forgiven by the atoning work of grace on the cross. ... Now I’ll tell you something else. ... I personally love and understand this way of stating the Christian gospel. But I am absolutely and thoroughly convinced that it is my mission never to use this language in trying to communicate with the audience that God has given me” (Christianity Today, June 21, 1993).
One problem with this testimony is that Peale had the habit of redefining biblical terms. What did he mean atoning work, by grace, by the cross?
Second, as we will see, Christ worshipped a false christ of his own imagination, and it is impossible to be saved by a false christ.
Third, the fact that Peale said God did not call him to express the gospel this way shows his rebellion to the Word of God. There are not multiple ways of stating the gospel! There is only one way, the Bible way. Any other way of stating the gospel is a false gospel and is cursed of God. The “atoning work of the grace of the cross” is exactly how the Bible describes salvation, and those are the types of terms we should use, as well.
We don’t know what Peale’s spiritual condition was when he died, and we hope that he was born again, but if Peale had been truly converted, we believe the Holy Spirit would have brought him to repentance for his modernistic, New Age thinking. “Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth...” (John 16:13).
INFLUENCED BY A LIBERAL EDUCATION
Peale was reared in a Methodist home, the son of a Methodist preacher. Though we do not know how sound his father’s faith was, we do know that his parents encouraged him to attend schools which were hotbeds of liberalism. Peale’s modernism was nurtured at liberal Methodist schools--Ohio Wesleyan University and Boston University School of Theology. In a sympathetic biography, God’s Salesman, author Carol V.R. George devotes an entire chapter to “Learning the Lessons of Liberalism.” George describes Peale’s education:
“... he was guided by his professor of English literature, William E. Smyser, to works by Emerson and the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius for a sympathetic unfolding of the power of the individual mind. ... Peale’s discovery of James and EMERSON, and to a lesser extent Marcus Aurelius, acquired in the atmosphere of romantic idealism that seemed to flourish on the Methodist campus, EVENTUALLY BECAME PART OF HIS MENTAL EQUIPMENT AND THEN A LIFETIME FASCINATION. He would soon encounter the EMERSON OF TRANSCENDENTALISM again in seminary as a shaping force in liberal theology. ...
“Peale’s course of study at seminary was therefore a mixture of theology, philosophy, and social science, of THE MYSTICISM OF PERSONALISM and the activism and ethics of the social gospel. ... it became another means for nurturing A METAPHYSICAL SUBJECTIVISM that had been planted in his religious outlook in his earlier days....
“When he left seminary he described himself as a liberal ... in any conflict with fundamentalists his spontaneous reaction was to side with the modernists” (George, pp. 36-37, 49- 52).
These remarks are very telling. Peale’s faith was mystical and metaphysical. This is New Age. He was powerfully influenced by Ralph Waldo Emerson. Emerson was a Unitarian minister who fashioned a religious philosophy that attempted to synthesize pagan religions such as Hinduism, Confucianism, and Zoroastrianism, with Christianity. He held to such heresies and pagan doctrines as the fatherhood of God, the divinity of man, the unity of religions, and man is one with God and has no need of an atonement.
See Roots of Evil: While the majority of people may be unable to define New Thought, hundreds of thousands are increasingly becoming influenced by it, since it is the cornerstone for most of the formulas for happy and successful living. Reduced it to it’s essentials, New Thought very simply believes that your thoughts play a crucial role in the kind of life you experience. It is unlikely that many Christians are aware of the common roots of some popular beliefs in the church and the New Thought beliefs without. From Clement Stone’s Positive Mental Attitude to Robert Schuller’s Possibility Thinking and Oral Roberts’ seed-faith principles, they all stem from common sources.
In his 1841 essay “The Over-Soul,” Emerson wrote: “... within man is the soul of the whole; the wise silence; the universal beauty, to which every part and particle is equally related; the eternal One. ... there is no bar or wall in the soul where man, the effect, ceases, and God, the cause, begins” (Emerson, The Over-Soul). Thus, Emerson taught that man’s soul is God and God is man’s soul.
(e) In his message to the Phi Beta Kappa society at Harvard in 1837, entitled “The American Scholar,” Emerson exhorted scholars to free themselves of tradition (such as the Bible) and to maintain a “self-trust.”
This is pure New Age heresy.
Parents who send their children to liberal schools and who stay in denominations which allow room for modernists and who continue to support the denominational institutions by their tithes and offerings should not be surprised when their children become apostate or at least weakened in faith.
TICKLING THE EARS OF AN APOSTATE GENERATION
Peale’s first pastorate after graduation from seminary was at the King’s Highway Methodist Church in Brooklyn, New York. His populistic, positive message gain instant acclaim: “In the three years he was at King’s Highway, between 1924 and 1927, the church experienced phenomenal growth, increasing from just over a hundred members when he arrived to nearly 900 when he left...” (George, p. 56).
Peale’s biographer notes, “His message was already assuming the contours it would retain; it was a theologically liberal, inspirational talk that emphasized the transforming result of a relationship with Jesus and with the church” (George, p. 57).
The problem was that Peale’s Jesus was the not the Jesus of the Bible, but the Jesus of his own creation. Peale’s Jesus was a Jesus that did not condemn sin; a Jesus that was not born of a virgin; a Jesus that was not the eternal God; a Jesus that did not die and shed His blood for man’s sin.
Peale used the fundamentalist’s vocabulary, but he used the modernist’s dictionary. This is why so many were deceived by the man. Peale’s god was not the God of the Bible, but the god of self. His faith was not faith in the Jesus Christ of the Bible, but faith in faith. His gospel was not the gospel of repentance from sin and faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, but a gospel of self-esteem, self-help, and self-recovery.
PEALE AND THE EVANGELICAL WORLD
In the 1950s Peale was labeled a heretic by the evangelical world. For example, an article in Christianity Today, November 11, 1957, said, “Peale speaks much of faith, but it is not faith in God, but ‘faith in faith,’ which means in your capacities. ... This is neither religion, moralism, or anything more than self-help baptized with a sprinkling of devout-plus-medical phrases. For those who believe in the God of Scripture, the reality of vitality of good and evil, and the grace of God unto salvation, there is nothing here but the frenzy of a guilty life and the misery of creeping death.”
The May 1, 1955, issue of United Evangelical Action, noted with wise and courageous insight:
“Unless one is deeply discerning it will not be noticed that Peale has caricatured God, ignored sin and its needed repentance. Norman Vincent Peale’s philosophy is so high-sounding, so full of secondary gospel truth, that millions of his patrons fail to see that the basic redemptive truth of the gospel is completely ignored. Unless one is deeply discerning it will not be noticed that Peale has caricatured God, ignored sin and its needed repentance. Peale presents a very convenient God who is a sort of ‘glorified bellboy.’”
See Sin and Repentance
As the years passed, Peale did not change but evangelicalism did. Peale remained the same heretic he always was, while evangelicalism became increasingly apostate and blind so that in recent decades Peale has been widely hailed as a man of God.
Billy Graham helped raise Peale’s status in the evangelical world by inviting him to give the benediction at a crusade in New York in 1956. At a National Council of Churches luncheon on December 6, 1966, Graham said,
“I don’t know anyone who has done more for the kingdom of God than Norman and Ruth Peale, or have meant any more in my life--the encouragement they have given me” (Hayes Minnick, Bible for Today publication #565, p. 28).
Peale’s wife, Ruth, was a member of the Board of Managers of the American Bible Society (ABS). Peale addressed the 171st annual meeting of the American Bible Society in New York on May 14, 1987. In the announcement for this event, the ABS described Peale as “an author who has inspired millions of his fellow human beings the world over to think ‘positively,’ an uplifting radio and TV personality, and for more than 60 years, a preacher of the Gospel of Christ truly filled with the Holy Spirit” (Christian News, Feb. 16, 1987).
In 1988, Eternity magazine, which has a stated goal of helping “believers in America and elsewhere develop a genuinely Christian mindset,” was taken over by Peale’s Foundation for Christian Living. Well-known evangelical leader James M. Boice, editor of Eternity, wrote a glowing report of the merger which he entitled “An Exciting Milestone.” Boice gave no warning about Peale’s modernism. (By the end of that year, Eternity had ceased to exist.)
The National Religious Broadcasters presented Peale with an Award of Merit.
Eric Fellman, one-time editor of Moody Monthly, resigned in 1985 to become editor-in-chief of Peale’s Foundation for Christian Living, and Moody continued to print articles by Fellman.
Fuller Theological Seminary offers a Norman Vincent Peale Scholarship in recognition of the supposed “outstanding ministry” of this apostate (The Fundamentalist Digest, Sept.-Oct. 1992).
In a review of a biography on Peale, Christianity Today said this of the positive thinker. Observe how dramatically the thinking of Christianity Today had changed since 1957:
“Norman Vincent Peale is a devout Christian, who injected vitality into a church that was losing touch with ordinary Americans--with the salesmen and housewives and schoolteachers who found him so inspirational. Peale spoke their language, much as televangelists and megachurch pastors who followed him have done. But did he pay too high a price to connect?” (Christianity Today, June 21, 1993, pp. 35-36).
This is the typical new-evangelical hallmark of tiptoeing around the hard issues. Unwilling to come out negatively against heresy, Christianity Today merely throws out a mild question for its readers to answer themselves rather than make a plain statement that Peale was an apostate.
Many were deceived by Peale’s winsomeness and his use of Bible terminology. Guideposts magazine goes into the homes of many Bible-believing Christians who are unaware of Peale’s heresies and who do not have pastors brave enough or well-informed enough to warn plainly of heretics. None of the popular Christian publications are willing to lift a voice of clear warning today of the Peales and Schullers and Chos of our time.
PEALE’S THEOLOGICAL MODERNISM, RELIGIOUS SYNCRETISM, AND UNIVERSALISM
Though Peale rarely spoke in clear theological terms, he did on occasion openly deny the Christian faith. In an interview with Phil Donahue in 1984, Peale said: “It’s not necessary to be born again. You have your way to God; I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine. ... I’ve been to the Shinto shrines, and God is everywhere.” Donahue exclaimed, “But you’re a Christian minister; you’re supposed to tell me that Christ is the Way and the Truth and the Life, aren’t you?” Peale replied, “Christ is one of the ways! God is everywhere.” Peale told Donahue that when he got to “the Pearly Gates”, “St. Peter” would say, “I like Phil Donahue; let him in!” Mr. Peale gave comfort to some in the audience who believed that “just so we think good thoughts” and “just so we do good, we believe we’ll get to heaven” (Hugh Pyle, Sword of the Lord, Dec. 14, 1984). [Also See Christian Exclusivism]
Peale was a Mason and served as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of New York City and Imperial Grand Chaplain of the Shrine. On September 30, 1991, he was inducted into the Scottish Rite Hall of Honor, and his oil portrait hangs in the House of the Washington D.C. Temple (The Berean Call, Oct. 1992).
In an article that appeared in the Masonic Scottish Rite Journal in February 1993, Peale said:
“My grandfather was a Mason for 50 years, my father for 50 years, and I have been a Mason for over 60 years. This means my tie with Freemasonry extends back to 1869 when my grandfather joined the Masons. ... Freemasonry does not promote any one religious creed. All Masons believe in the Deity without reservation. However, Masonry makes no demands as to how a member thinks of the Great Architect of the Universe. ... men of different religions meet in fellowship and brotherhood under the fatherhood of God.”
This is a true description of Masonry, of course, but it is strictly contrary to Christ’s exclusive claims as the only way to God and the only Savior (John 14:6; Acts 4:12), and flies in the face of such Bible demands as 2 Corinthians 6:14-18:
“Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? ... Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you.”
See The Masonic Lodge
Freemasons celebrate Ruth Peale’s birthday
The Scottish Rite Journal [online] published by the Supreme Council, 33°, Ancient and Accepted Scottish Rite of Freemasonry of the Southern Jurisdiction, USA carried an article on December 2002 on a ‘Current Interest’ page. Under the heading Peale Anniversaries Celebrated, it said…
“On September 20, 2002, Grand Commander C. Fred Kleinknecht, 33°, and his wife, Gene, were pleased to join a large assemblage of special guests celebrating the 96th birthday of Ruth Stafford Peale and the 50th anniversary of Illustrious Norman Vincent Peale's famous book The Power of Positive Thinking… celebrated actor James Earl Jones, as the evening's keynote speaker, enhanced his eloquent comments by reading excerpts from The Power of Positive Thinking; and the award-winning violinist Stephen Clapp gave a richly deserved tribute to Ruth Stafford Peale, Co-Founder and Chairman of Guideposts, a ministry of inspirational products and services developed from the belief that people's lives can be improved, strengthened, and deepened through applied spiritual faith. Mrs. Peale was instrumental in launching Guideposts magazine in 1945, and she also arranged for publication of her husband's sermons in an innovative program that grew into the world-renowned Peale Center for Christian Living.
In 1987, recognizing his lifelong support of Freemasonry and American values, Dr. Norman Vincent Peale, 33°, received the Grand Cross, the highest honor that can be bestowed by the Supreme Council, 33°. In 1992, Dr. Peale's portrait was received into the Scottish Rite Hall of Honor in the House of the Temple” [Source]
In A Life Of Faith And Love Remembering Norman Vincent Peale, Ruth Stafford Peale said of her husband
Being a Freemason was an important part of the life of Norman Vincent Peale, and the Scottish Rite meant a great deal to him. He passed away on December 24, 1993, but I am keeping his message flowing out through both Peale Center and Guideposts magazine. [http://beyond-the-illusion.com/files/Occult/Masonry/scottish_rite_journal-0995.txt] [See Article on Freemasonry]
In a July 22, 1983, interview with USA Today, Peale was asked, “Do you think herpes and AIDS is God’s punishment of homosexuals and the promiscuous?” Peale responded, “I don’t believe God spends his time revenging himself on people. These things come about because of scientific methodology. God is too big to spend his time in revenge.” [See The Wrath of God ]
In the same interview Peale said, “The church should be in the forefront of everything that is related to human welfare because the church is supposed to be the spiritual home of mankind and it ought to take care of all of God’s children.”
In an interview with Modern Maturity magazine, December-January 1975-76, Peale was asked if people are inherently good or bad. He replied:
“They are inherently good--the bad reactions aren’t basic. Every human being is a child of God and has more good in him than evil--but circumstances and associates can step up the bad and reduce the good. I’ve got great faith in the essential fairness and decency--you may say goodness--of the human being.”
In the same interview Peale said regarding Christ, “I like to describe him as ... the nearest thing to God...”
See Was Jesus God? on THIS Page
In 1980 Peale attended a dinner honoring the 85th birthday of Spencer Kimball, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--the Mormons.
Peale endorsed the use of New Age occultic automatic writing: Speaking of Jane Palzere and Anna Brown, co-authors of The Jesus Letters, which professes to be the product of automatic writing under the inspiration of Jesus Christ, Peale said: “What a wonderful gift to all of us from you is your book, The Jesus Letters ... You will bless many by this truly inspired book. ... It little matters if these writings come from Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus of Jane [Jane Palzere] they are all the same consciousness and that consciousness is God. I am a part of God, and Jane and Anna are part of that same God” (advertisement for The Jesus Letters and Your Healing Spirit).
The advertisement quoted above gives this information about the automatic writing recommended by Peale:
“Initial contact from the entity was made with Palzere on February 3, 1978, when she was sitting at her desk in Newington, Connecticut writing a philosophy of healing for a course she was taking. `My hand began to write “You will be the channel for the writing of a book,”‘ she explains. From then on, one message came each day. Palzere reports that `they would be preceded by a tremor in my hand, would come without hesitation and would end when the message was completed.’“
In this strange book the supposed Jesus channeled by Palzere and Brown says, “God does not see evil; He sees only souls at different levels of awareness.”
Of this unscriptural nonsense, Peale gave the following frightful testimony:
“I found myself fascinated, deeply moved and having the feeling that he [the ‘Jesus’ of The Jesus Letters] was also speaking to me as I read” (Ibid.).
Peale was deeply moved by the New Age teaching of a demon masquerading as Jesus.
Guideposts Magazine… "Christian" or New Age?
Biblical Discernment Ministries
In 1945, Norman Vincent Peale and his wife started Guideposts magazine; its circulation now tops 5 million, the largest of any religious magazine. In the "Welcome to Guideposts!: Guideposts Subscriber Service Directory" (2/92), we are told that Guideposts contains every month "true stories and step-by-step articles that point the way to a richer and fuller life." And "if you want extra help for spiritual growth ... you can find it in inspirational books available from Guideposts by favorite authors like James Dobson [religious humanist/behavioristic psychologist], Marjorie Holmes ["Biblical" romantic novelist], and Norman Vincent Peale [New Ager and founder/publisher of Guideposts]!" (See below for a description of an article typical of one that Guideposts would consider as pointing the reader to "a richer and fuller life.")
Besides the regular monthly Guideposts magazine, the organization offers a prayer request phone line (10,000 calls yearly); a special edition of Guideposts for the visually impaired (350,000 circulation); free issues of Guideposts to non-profit organizations (250,000 circulation); a daily inspirational message phone line available in 27 metropolitan areas; a daily devotional booklet called Daily Guideposts; and Guideposts for Kids, a bimonthly publication featuring stories, puzzles, trivia, and comics.
- In "About Your Subscription to Guideposts" (1/96), we are again told that Guideposts' purpose is "to inspire you toward richer, fuller lives." New subscribers were also sent Guideposts' Fall/Holiday book catalog. Among the numerous psychologically-oriented offerings were Carder, Cloud, Townsend's, et al. best-selling book on so-called repressed memories, Secrets of Your Family Tree: Forgiving Our Parents, Forgiving Ourselves (p. 7); Norman Vincent Peale's New Age prayer book, Prayer Can Change Your Life (p. 9); and Minirth, Meier, and Hemfelt's codependency manual, Love Is A Choice: Recovery for Codependent Relationships (p. 18).
Norman Vincent Peale is perhaps the most widely read author of "positive thinking" and of the role of the "subconscious/unconscious" mind. By the time Peale wrote The Positive Power of Jesus Christ in 1980, he had already influenced millions through 24 books, Guideposts magazine, and Plus: The Magazine of Positive Thinking. One does not have to look far to discover the true source of Peale's theology. Peale once wrote the foreword to a psychic's book. He has also endorsed The Jesus Letters, written by two Connecticut women who claim to have made contact with a communicating entity self-identified as Jesus of Nazareth. Peale said of this occultic automatic writing: "It little matters if these writings come from Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus of Jane [co-author Jane Palzere], they are all the same consciousness and that consciousness is God. I am a part of God, and Jane [is] part of that same God."
Some people think that Guideposts magazine has only harmless, innocuous stories that make you feel good. That this is not the case can be illustrated by the December 1988 issue of Guideposts. This issue contained an article that not only explained visualization as a technique for healing (when, in actuality, it is an occult practice that can lead to demonic contact), but also offered a different gospel as an answer for the question as to whether there can be assurance of going to heaven.
In the story "The Promise," the writer shares that she uses "positive mental imagery to help clients find healing." Of one patient we read, "Gloria and I experimented with various meditations and visualizations that would help her envision God's love and healing being released into her life. Inviting a healing image into the mind can have a powerful effect on the body and Gloria and I kept searching for the one just right for her." By using a "wing-horse meditation," Gloria would "travel to the imaginative garden to meet the reality of Christ's presence" who gives her "living water." As the story continues, Gloria's condition worsens, but she assures the writer that "When I die, I'm going to be your best guardian angel, Nikki. I'll still be around; you'll see."
Gloria does die, but the crux of the story is the struggle of the writer, trying to find assurance of heaven and life after death. That assurance comes the morning following Gloria's death. Nikki has an experience of being visited by "my friend Gloria" and then finds out that her son was visited as well. The writer concludes her story with the statement, "I still marvel at the glimpse of another reality which God granted Colin and me that Christmas. I only know I found the assurance I had longed for all my life -- that death is merely a portal into another dimension, a heavenly dimension which brims with beauty and life and the radiant presence of Christ." (Reported in the CIB Bulletin.)
- Guideposts has for years published through Guideposts magazine and various book offerings speculative stories about miracle-working angels. This has now been formalized with a new magazine, Angels on Earth. Guideposts promos this bimonthly magazine as follows:
"Come and meet angels on earth sense their mysterious presence feel their benevolent influences experience the brilliant light of their angelic glory. Our newest family member ANGELS ON EARTH magazine presents stories of angels and angelic people on earth in a profoundly mysterious way; yet, radiates faith-affirming hope. Let us bring you the stories of the miracles they perform, and the lives they touch. Welcome their presence into your own life today." ("About Your Subscription to Guideposts" brochure, 1/96.)
- With new subscriptions to Guideposts, subscribers are sent an 11-page booklet titled, "Guideposts Magazine Presents Norman Vincent Peale: Expect a Miracle -- Make Miracles Happen" (1974 by Guideposts Associates, Inc., sent with new subscription, 2/92 & 1/96). The following quotes are a clear indication of the New Age/occultism still being passed-off by Guideposts and its supporters: (Underlined emphases below are added.)
- Guideposts is a monthly magazine of true inspirational stories, telling how men and women of all religious faiths are overcoming the everyday problems of modern living and finding new happiness in their personal and business lives through the power of their beliefs.
- the miracle principle ... learn its secret and how to put it into practice. ... Expect a miracle -- make miracles happen.
- Always think of the best. Never think of the worst. And if the worst invades your consciousness, think of it in terms of how to make it the best. What you think habitually will tend to happen.. What we send out mentally and spiritually will return to us. We become what we are in our thoughts.
- Read the dictionary and you will find that a miracle is defined as some great and wonderful quality that can be brought to pass.
- The great people of the world are miracle makers.
- 62nd Psalm: "Wait thou only upon God; for my expectation is from Him." Expect great things from God and you will receive great things from God. This is the basic principle known as the miracle principle.
- How then, can one go about expecting miracles and causing miracles to happen? The No. 1 thing is to have a tremendous faith, a deep faith, a faith that is so positively strong that it rises above doubt. ... if you train yourself to have faith in depth, it will release an astonishing power in your life to produce miracles.
- Get your faith strengthened and you will see miracles happening. Indeed you will experience miracles.
- There is another factor necessary in expecting miracles. You must get off the wrongness beam and on to the rightness beam. We cannot expect miracles or wonderful things to happen when we ourselves are wrong -- when we are acting wrong, thinking wrong and when we are motivated by a wrong psychology.
- So when you become right within yourself, you will find yourself turning on miracles. ... You Can If You Think You Can.
- Isn't it wonderful that in one flashing moment of self-realization you can see yourself! I see that I've been my own worst enemy. I've been thinking wrong. I've been acting wrong. Therefore, everything has been going wrong. But now I see organized. Boy, with the help of the Lord, isn't life going to be great for me!"
- experience proved again that when a person really gets aboard spiritual power and moves away from his weak, defeated self, things -- wonderful things -- really begin to happen. ... a radiant, tremendous, victorious spirit -- a creator of miracles.
- that same wonderful thing can happen to anybody else who really will try for it. ... When Almighty God created you, He built into you the miracle principle. The question is, have you encouraged this miracle principle to emerge in action, to make you the great person you have the potential to be?
- The human being is far greater than he thinks he is.
- If this capacity to expand is built into a cow and into a hen, do you mean to tell me it isn't built into you also? Not to lay an egg -- I don't say that -- but to produce out of yourself wonderful things. Almighty God has crowded miracles into you. Why not let them come fourth, and live?
- Those two devout parents believed in the perfectibility of human nature. They believed that a child is a child of God. They taught their children that if they followed God they could be what they wanted to be.
- The Bible is full of miracles. ... Expect a miracle -- make miracles happen by believing in God, by believing in the Lord Jesus Christ, by believing in your country and by believing in yourself. Always remember you are packed full of potential miracles put there by One who knows you better than anyone -- the good God, the Creator who made you.
A Short Ps
The following are excerpts from watchman.org’s article on Peale..
On March 28, 1980, Dr. Peale was the featured speaker at an 85th birthday dinner honoring Mormon prophet speaker Spencer W. Kimball. The official Mormon newspaper reported that Brigham Young University bestowed an honorary degree on Dr. Peale (Church News, February 9, 1980, p. 11).
Dave Hunt in The Seduction of Christianity documents on Page 152 that Peale was the guest on The Phil Donahue Show and "denied the necessity to be born again," (Transcript, October 23, 1984). Also Peale called the virgin birth `some theological idea' of no importance to salvation (Family Weekly, April 15, 1984, Cover Story).
In Guideposts one regularly finds cover stories and articles by people who do not profess Christianity, but relate how they overcame difficulties through some dependence of God. He has featured Ed Asner, New Age leaning Martin Sheen and Dr. George Ritchie as well as Mormon Dale Murphy.