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.

God Bless
Barry S.


Hi 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. 

She also 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. 

Shinn 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). 

In her 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

Shinn's 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.

In Christ,

Ben and Jennifer Rast

Contender Ministries