Nearly everyone by now has heard of a mysterious-sounding ³secret.² In fact, even in churches people hear the buzz on this book title. All the commotion began through a video with the same name released just a year ago called The Secret, and more recently, a book by the same name, both by Rhonda Byrne.
Because of all the hype and misinformation clouding the minds of people — even Christians who should know better — James Garlow, pastor of Skyline Church in La Mesa, has co-authored The Secret Revealed: Exposing the Truth Behind ³The Law of Attraction.² Rick Marschall is the co-author.
The book tells the truth about the so-called ³secret.²
Garlow, who is also author of Cracking Da Vinci¹s Code, spoke to area church pastors and leaders at Skyline on April 19, explaining that because the book initially looks like something about positive mental attitude, many people are misled.
³Plow deeper, though, and you¹ll find it¹s not so innocent,² Garlow said. ³Everything from occult teaching, Hinduism, Œneo-paganism,¹ and New Thought is present in The Secret.²
On the DVD, Byrne explains that she received the inspiration to The Secret after reading the 1910 classic The Science of Getting Rich by Wallace D. Wattles. The writer of this book had been influenced by other titles, including Thought Vibration or the Law of Attraction in the Thought World by William Walker Atkins.
Byrnes¹ video on The Secret soared in popularity, in part because of her marketing genius of calling it ³the² secret, rather than just ³a² secret. The book, released in December, is probably the fastest-selling book of its kind in the history of publishing, with already over 20 million copies sold. What¹s more, The Secret has been featured on several TV shows, including ³Larry King Live,² ³Ellen DeGeneres² and ³Oprah Winfrey.²
Garlow said the dominating theme of The Secret is the supposed law of attraction. According to this law, people attract exactly what they think. Byrne explains that people are supposed to feel good because that tells them they have the right kind of thought life. The book teaches that each person is like a transmitter, being on the same frequency as the universe, which incidentally is capitalized throughout the book.
³Can you imagine what this would mean for people? For instance, Byrne tells people they gain weight because they only think food makes them gain weight. She has no essence of what is right or wrong,² said Garlow, who explained that Byrne maintains that The Secret has been so powerful for the last five thousand years that people have plotted to hide it away.
³There¹s a great deal of paranoia and heavy egocentrism in this book,² said Garlow. ³It is the complete reversal of the godly way of thinking. In this book, everything is all about Œyou.¹ In fact, in The Secret, you are God incarnate, the role that you and I as Christians have reserved for Jesus Christ.²
There were groans of disgust in the audience at this comment.
Garlow went on to talk about how the book teaches that each person is like a transmitter. Each person would supposedly be on the same frequency as the ³Universe.²
³The whole concept of sin is not mentioned at all in The Secret,² explained Garlow. ³The law supposedly goes like this: think whatever you want the ŒUniverse¹ to give you, and the ŒUniverse¹ is mandated to give you that.²
Jesus gets referred to just one time in the entire book, and Byrne continually uses the phrase Œask, believe, and receive.¹ ³She rips these verses completely out of their context,² said Garlow.
The effect that this book is having on the minds of people became painfully evident when Garlow attended a real estate conference in which the 87-minute video of The Secret was shown. ³Not one person questioned the information they had been given. In fact, the whole thrust of the presentation was that the real estate agents needed to go out with that kind of attitude, to go out and attract wealth.²
The Secret starts on the first page with an allusion to the Emerald Tablet, which was allegedly discovered in a cave used as a tomb, gripped in the hands of the body of Hermes Trismesgistus, explained Garlow. This body was related to the Egyptian god Thoth, and later the Greek god Hermes, even later the Roman god Mercury.
The writings on the stone which was in the hands of Hermes were thought to believe to contain the ³secrets² of the ³universe² in the Phoenician language.
³The main theme of the secrets were Œas above, so below. As within, so without,¹² explained Garlow. ³That is to the occult as John 3:16 is to us.²
Adherents to the Emerald Tablet claim authenticity through its supposed antiquity, stating an origin date of 3,000 B.C. However, others date the writings much later, some as closer to 300 B.C.
The more serious problem with the reference to the Emerald Tablets is the occult nature. ³Yet Byrne never gives a clue to this,² said Garlow.
This kind of occult thinking and nature is found in cultic groups today that believe everything exists in the mind only. That would include Mary Baker Eddy¹s Christian Science religion.
In fact, The Secret openly talks about spirit guides who help people.
With all the damage being done to people¹s minds from The Secret, Garlow does not believe for a minute that making money was the initial motivation for Byrnes. ³I know from personal experience that writing is way too much work for this kind of motivation,² said Garlow. ³Her motive was pure but misguided. Life had crushed her, and she thought she had found hope when her daughter handed her a copy of Wallace Wattles¹ book. She believed The Secret because she believed in the Da Vinci Code.²
The solution for Christians who want to reverse the damage done is to focus on the passage on Mars Hill when Paul addresses the idolatrous Athenians.
³These people are seeking God,² said Garlow of the followers of The Secret, ³but Rhonda Byrne¹s image is that you are God and everything is God. In that case, where is the personal, loving God? In fact, where is love at all if you are simply attracting exactly what you want?²
Finally, Garlow referred to Colossians 1:2-4 from The Message. ³I believe Eugene Peterson wrote prophetically this passage in ŒI don¹t want anyone leading you off on some wild-goose chase, after other so-called mysteries, or Œthe Secret,¹² Garlow read.
³Remember that mystery is not the same thing as a secret,² he added. ³We will never know fully the mystery of God until we see Him face to face. We may preach, but we still do not know all the answers, while Rhonda Byrne¹s Secret claims to have the keys to the universe.²
FaithWords, a division of Hachette Book Group, USA will release The Secret Revealed: Exposing The Truth Behind the ³Law of Attraction² is available in bookstores now.