Florence Shinn – New Age? - 04/18/2004
I've recently been contacted by an old friend who has embraced a set of books by the
author Florence Shinn. Although I've found quite a lot of information on the Internet about
the author, I can't bring myself to purchase the books and read them as a foundation to
witness J.C. to this old friend, who thinks she is being steered in the correct Christian direction. I can tell by the information I've read that she is another Christian Cultist who used scripture, out of context, to support her own claims.
It appears to be another, name-it, claim-it, positive thinking stream of consciousness
belief. As I witnessed this person step to an alter over 30 years ago, it is important to me
to try and guide them in a different direction. The Internet has made many new friends out of old friends. Any help is appreciated.
CONTENDER MINISTRIES RESPONSE:
Barry. Thanks for writing to Contender Ministries. You're right to be wary
of the writings of Florence Shinn. Her theology is mind-science, with
Christian terminology and Bible verses thrown in to make it seem acceptable to
Christians. However, a brief review of her books shows that her beliefs are
anything but Christian. To her, all bad things that occur and all good things
that occur are caused by one's attitude, and through one's "spoken word." In
other words, if you think negatively, and verbalize that attitude, you will
bring bad things upon yourself. However, if you verbalize positive attitudes,
you will experience health and wealth in this life. Shinn believes that
illness is caused by negative attitudes. She explains childhood diseases by
saying that sick children are particularly in-tune with the negative thoughts
of their parents. In essense, she believes man becomes his own savior.
distorts Bible verses to support her contention that there is no such thing as
evil in this world. In chapter 4 of her book, The Game of Life, Shinn
writes, "Jesus Christ said, 'Resist not evil,' for He knew in reality,
there is no evil, therefore nothing to resist. Evil has come of man's 'vain
imagination,' or a belief in two powers, good and evil.... Therefore, evil is
a false law man has made for himself, through psychoma or soul sleep."
Here she strips Matthew 5:39 completely out of context. The full text of this
verse is, "But I say unto you, That ye resist not evil: but whosoever
shall smite thee on thy right cheek, turn to him the other also." Jesus
is not intending that we should give in to evil, but rather that we should not
fight (or take revenge) on an evil person. Vengeance belongs to the Lord, not
to us. If evil is a false law, as Shinn contends, then Jesus is a firm
believer in this "false law." Jesus spoke many times on the existance of evil
and on man's evil nature (see Matthew 7:11,23; 12:34-35; 13:41; 15:19, etc.,
etc.). In spite of Florence Shinn's contrived mind-science theology, evil
does exist in this world.
would have us believe that we control our own destiny, and every aspect in our
lives, through positive thinking and verbalization of positive thoughts. Yet
the Bible is clear that we can do nothing to help ourselves or save
ourselves. Only God can help us: "The disciples were even more amazed,
and said to each other, 'Who then can be saved?' Jesus looked at them and
said, 'With man this is impossible, but not with God; all things are possible
with God.' " - Mark 10:26-27. Isaiah 64:6 says this about the good works
we accomplish on our own, "All of us have become like one who is unclean,
and all our righteous acts are like filthy rags;
we all shrivel up like a leaf, and like the wind our sins sweep us away."
The good in our lives is not from ourselves, but from God (Romans 8:28).
belief that man has a divine right to wealth (chapter 5, The Game of Life),
health, and happiness, that are brought about by one's own positive thoughts,
Shinn reminds me of the people spoken of in Paul's second letter to Timothy:
"People will be lovers of
themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their
parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without
self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited,
lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God -- having a form
of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with
them." - 2 Timothy 3:2-5
use of Christian terminology and Bible verses to defend her unbiblical beliefs
is "a form of godliness," but Shinn denies the source and power of true
godliness. We will pray that the Lord will prepare you well as you reason
with your friend. Stay constantly in prayer and Bible study, and if you have
any questions along the way, don't hesitate to ask.
Ben and Jennifer Rast