There Is More To The Secret: An Examination of Rhonda Byrne's Bestselling Book, The Secret
by Ed Gungor
Nashville: Thomas Nelson, 2007, 124 pp., paperback.
Rhonda Byrne and her team of contributers do a brilliant job of pulling together fragments of the great law that has been tucked away in oral traditions, in literature, and in religions and philosophies throughout the ages. They give us a life-transforming glance at this ancient truth (ix).Okay, so maybe Mr. Gungor didn't exactly set out to shred Byrne's approach by skillfully wielding the sword of the Lord. Just why did he write his book?
I believe the Church needs to recognize and utilize the power inherent in this law. We need to become experts at employing this ancient practice (51).So why is Gungor convinced that believers should become expert wielders of "The Secret"?
This law of attraction functions through what is going on in our minds, and the law is obedient to our thoughts. If you are focusing on things you want, the law of attraction kicks in and gives you what you desire. Contrariwise, if you focus on what you don't want, the law of attraction will call that into existence as well. The law doesn't hear that you don't want it. It is simply obeying you, manifesting what you are imagining. And it always does so (15).There you have it. An absolute law that gives you what you want. Always. This is certainly an odd perspective for a pastor to take when Rhonda Byrne's original fellow teacher, Esther Hicks, learned about the Law of Attraction from Abraham, a group of non-physical spiritual teachers that she channels. In other words, the teaching has demonic origins. This comes as no surprise when Rhonda Byrne can claim,
"You are God in a physical body. You are Spirit in the flesh. You are Eternal Life expressing itself as You. You are a cosmic being. You are all power. You are all wisdom. You are all intelligence. You are perfection. You are magnificence. You are the creator, and you are creating the creation of You on this planet." (cited by Albert Mohler)Despite the blasphemy evident in this quote, much of hype around the Law of Attraction is mere silliness, as Byrne makes clear with her assertion that
"Food is not responsible for putting on weight. It is your thought that food is responsible for putting on weight that actually has food put on weight...think perfect thoughts and the result must be perfect weight."How anyone can take "The Secret" seriously after reading that baffles me, but Gungor thinks it's wonderful and factual. With many in the Word-Faith crowd, he shares a fascination with occultic overtones when he states:
This idea is summed up in three simple words: Thoughts become things. They hold an intrinsic creative power (13).Creative power is extrinsic to words and thoughts, not intrinsic to them. God created in Genesis with His words because of His power, not because He knew the right magic words. If words held the power, we could create worlds by saying the right incantation. The creature-Creator distinction would be lost.
Your feelings are magnets, pulling either good or bad toward your life, your home, your kids, and your relationships. Dude. You need to get onto this--fast (36).Why do I suddenly visualize a pothead trying to use his magnetic frequency vibrations to manifest a little weed? The appeal to an intellectual lowest common denominator continues:
God does not want human beings living in the land of suck. He wants us to feel great and to be happy (42).Much like Your Best Life Now, I presume. We have a God who just wants you happy, and a universe that will reshape itself to bring you whatever you want. How Gungor combines this New Age mentality with orthodox evangelical thought is syncretism beyond my comprehension, but he makes a valiant effort by pulling in some Scripture:
"As a man thinks in his heart, so is he." This means you will become what you think about the most (12).No, actually it doesn't. Let's look at the verse in context:
The law of attraction is simply a reiteration of the law of sowing and reaping. You reap what you sow. The law isn't biased--it doesn't judge whether or not you are worthy of what you reap (15).Yet another law? It appears that the "law of sowing and reaping" comes from Job:
Fearful, dread-filled, sinful, hateful, mean, lack-oriented, shame-based thoughts bring fearful, dread-filled, sinful, hateful, mean, lack-oriented, shame-based experiences back to you (28).In other words, if you've been abused and feel fear and shame, it's your fault when it happens again, because the law of attraction turned your thoughts into reality. Disgusting. I wonder how Pastor Gungor does as a counselor for hurting people?