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Concordia Seminary Professor David Lewis Provides Theological Insights Into “The Secret”

Concordia Seminary, St. Louis, is pleased to announce the availability of a theological resource, in the form of an audio/video podcast, on the self-help book and feature-length television movie The Secret. The resource features Seminary faculty member David Lewis, assistant professor of exegetical theology, and is available for download, free of charge, on the Seminary faculty’s Web site at www.concordiatheology.org, and on “Concordia Seminary on iTunes U” at itunes.www.csl.edu, under the section “In the News.”

The Secret, written and created by Australian television producer Rhonda Byrne, has been deemed a “worldwide internet phenomenon” and is currently a best-selling book in the United States. It has been the main topic on television talk shows, such as “Larry King Live” and “Oprah.” Claiming to reveal the secrets of the universe through the “law of attraction,” a principle taken from quantum physics and applied to human thought, The Secret posits that human thoughts attract certain real-life events from the universe. According to the “law of attraction,” if a person envisions good things, the universe is bound to return good outcomes.

In his response, Lewis provides insight into the basic presuppositions of the book. He first points out that the idea that positive thinking can produce positive results is not a new concept, dating back to the 1800s and early 1900s. He also argues that the underlying ideology of The Secret is a form of Gnosticism.

Lewis says, “[Churches are] teaching the same doctrine that Rhonda Byrne teaches in The Secret, only what they have is a veneer of Christianity; they use Christian terms—trinity, crucifixion, resurrection. They give to these terms new meanings that fit their doctrine about the power of positive thinking. But, in a sense, this ideology has been a part of what one might call ‘American Gnosticism.’”

While Lewis grants that it is better to have a positive attitude than negative, he finds three major theological shortcomings of the “law of attraction” in light of fundamental Christian doctrine. The Secret, he concludes, fails to take into consideration the First Commandment, the utter depravity of man and the vital role of Christ and the resurrection.

“In The Secret, there is no room for Jesus because for there to be room for Jesus there needs to be sin, and in [the book] there is no clear concept of the fallenness of humanity, of its need for deliverance,” says Lewis. “Once you face death as a reality and know that there is death because of sin, you realize that what we really need is a savior.”

For more information, contact Communications, Concordia Seminary, 801 Seminary Place, St. Louis, MO 63105; (314) 505-7370; communications@csl.edu.