Norman Vincent Peale
Copyright Michael D. Robbins 2005


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Images and Physiognomic Interpretation

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Dr. Norman Vincent Peale—Clergyman, Inspirational Writer:

May 31, 1898, Bowersville, Ohio, 6:11 am, CST. (Source: Church of Light) Died, December 24, 1993, Pawling, New York, USA.       

Ascendant, Cancer; Sun in Gemini conjunct Pluto in Gemini; Neptune also in Gemini; Moon and Jupiter in Libra; Mercury in Taurus; Venus in Cancer on the Ascendant; Mars in Aries, elevated; Saturn and Uranus in Sagittarius.

Norman Vincent Peale was an extremely popular inspirational author and speaker. His message was simple; positive thinking overcomes all obstacles. This is clearly a sixth ray message, emphasizing the power of the ideal over the negativities of normal reality. Peale, it would seem, had much negativity to overcome with Pluto conjunct the Sun and opposing Saturn. But, apparently he did, and carried his psychological and spiritual success to millions.       

Venus, like Jupiter, is a planet which represents the positivity of the soul; in Peale’s chart Venus is conjunct the Cancerian Ascendant. Interestingly, Cancer represents the “mass consciousness’ which Peale so successfully addressed, teaching it to be open to the light, love and positivity of the soul (though he may have called these factors by others names).



Action is a great restorer and builder of confidence. Inaction is not only the result, but the cause, of fear. Perhaps the action you take will be successful; perhaps different action or adjustments will have to follow. But any action is better than no action at all.
(Mars in Aries.)

Age-based retirement arbitrarily severs productive persons from their livelihood, squanders their talents, scars their health, strains an already overburdened Social Security system, and drives many elderly people into poverty and despair. Ageism is as odious as racism and sexism.
(Stellium in 12th house.)

Any fact facing us is not as important as our attitude toward it, for that determines our success or failure. The way you think about a fact may defeat you before you ever do anything about it. You are overcome by the fact because you think you are.

Be interesting, be enthusiastic... and don't talk too much.
(Gemini Sun conjunct Pluto, opposition Saturn.)

Believe in yourself! Have faith in your abilities! Without a humble but reasonable confidence in your own powers you cannot be successful or happy.
(Venus conjunct Ascendant.)

Change your thoughts and you change your world.

Cushion the painful effects of hard blows by keeping the enthusiasm going strong, even if doing so requires struggle.

Don't take tomorrow to bed with you.

Drop the idea that you are Atlas carrying the world on your shoulders. The world would go on even without you. Don't take yourself so seriously.
(Sun opposition Saturn.)

Empty pockets never held anyone back. Only empty heads and empty hearts can do that.

Formulate and stamp indelibly on your mind a mental picture of yourself as succeeding. Hold this picture tenaciously. Never permit it to fade. Your mind will seek to develop the picture... Do not build up obstacles in your imagination.

Getting people to like you is merely the other side of liking them.
(Venus in Cancer conjunct Ascendant.)

If you paint in your mind a picture of bright and happy expectations, you put yourself into a condition conducive to your goal.

If you put off everything till you're sure of it, you'll never get anything done.

It is a fact that you project what you are.

It is of practical value to learn to like yourself. Since you must spend so much time with yourself you might as well get some satisfaction out of the relationship.

It's always too early to quit.
(Mars in Aries.)

Never say anything to hurt anyone. Moreover... refrain from double talk, from shrewd and canny remarks that are designed to advance our interests at someone's disadvantage. We are to turn our back upon evil, and in every way possible, do good, help people and bring blessings into their lives.
(Mercury in Taurus in 11th house.)

Once we roared like lions for liberty; now we bleat like sheep for security! The solution for America's problem is not in terms of big government, but it is in big men over whom nobody stands in control but God.
(Cancer Ascendant.)

Our happiness depends on the habit of mind we cultivate. So practice happy thinking every day. Cultivate the merry heart, develop the happiness habit, and life will become a continual feast.
(Jupiter in Libra.)

Part of the happiness of life consists not in fighting battles, but in avoiding them. A masterly retreat is in itself a victory.
(12th house emphasis?)

The 'how' thinker gets problems solved effectively because he wastes no time with futile 'ifs'.

The Gateway to Christianity is not through an intricate labyrinth of dogma, but by a simple belief in the person of Christ.

The life of inner peace, being harmonious and without stress, is the easiest type of existence.
(Neptune in 12th house.)

The person who sends out positive thoughts activates the world around him positively and draws back to himself positive results.

The trouble with most of us is that we would rather be ruined by praise than saved by criticism.

There is a real magic in enthusiasm. It spells the difference between mediocrity and accomplishment.

Understanding can overcome any situation, however mysterious or insurmountable it may appear to be.
(Venus conjunct Ascendant.)

We struggle with the complexities and avoid the simplicities.
(Pluto conjunct Sun.)

We tend to get what we expect.

We've all heard that we have to learn from our mistakes, but I think it's more important to learn from successes. If you learn only from your mistakes, you are inclined to learn only errors.

You can have peace of mind, improved health and an ever-increasing flow of energy. Life can be full of joy and satisfaction.

You will soon break the bow if you keep it always stretched.

Your enthusiasm will be infectious, stimulating and attractive to others. They will love you for it. They will go for you and with you.

When you pray for anyone you tend to modify your personal attitude toward him. You lift the relationship thereby to a higher level. The best in the other person begins to flow out toward you as your best flows toward him. In the meeting of the best in each a higher unity of understanding is established.

"When every physical and mental resource is focused, one's power to solve a problem multiplies tremendously."
(Saturn & Uranus in Sagittarius.)

"Years wrinkle the skin, but lack of enthusiasm wrinkles the soul."

"The more active you are, the more energy you will have."
(Mars in Aries.)

"Americans are so tense and keyed up that it is impossible even to put them to sleep with a sermon."

"No one can ever overcome anything until his thoughts are creative and positive."

"Think positively about yourself, keep your thoughts and actions clean, ask God who made you to keep on remaking you."

"Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don't have any problems, you don't get any seeds."

"No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see the possibilities – always see them, for they're always there."

"There are two primary forces in this world, fear and faith. Fear can move you to destructiveness or sickness or failure. Only in rare instances will it motivate you to accomplishment. But faith is a greater force. Faith can drive itself into your consciousness and set you free from fear forever."

". . . a basic law: the more you practice the art of thankfulness, the more you have to be thankful for. This, of course, is a fact. Thankfulness does tend to reproduce in kind. The attitude of gratitude revitalizes the entire mental process by activating all other attitudes, thus stimulating creativity."

"The way to happiness: keep your heart free from hate, your mind from worry. Live simply, expect little, give much. Fill your life with love. Scatter sunshine. Forget self, think of others. Do as you would be done by. Try this for a week and you will be surprised."

A war fitness conference some time ago declared that the highest form of recreation is to go to church. The word recreation should be written re-creation. More real rest can be gained from an hour and a quarter of worship under these circumstances than by eighteen holes of golf."

"Become a possibilitarian. No matter how dark things seem to be or actually are, raise your sights and see possibilities — always see them, for they're always there."

"Don’t duck the most difficult problems. That just ensures that the hardest part will be left when you are most tired. Get the big one done—it’s downhill from then on."

First thing every morning before you arise say out loud, ''I believe,'' three times.
(Neptune in Gemini in 12th house.)

The more you lose yourself in something bigger than yourself, the more energy you will have.
(Stellium in 12th house. Pisces on Midheaven.)

When you become detached mentally from yourself and concentrate on helping other people with their difficulties, you will be able to cope with your own more effectively. Somehow, the act of self-giving is a personal power-releasing factor.
(Cancer Ascendant.)

Stand up to your obstacles and do something about them. You will find that they haven't half the strength you think they have.

Plan your work for today and every day, then work your plan.
(Sun opposition Saturn. Saturn in 6th house.)

When a problem comes along, study it until you are completely knowledgeable. Then find that weak spot, break the problem apart, and the rest will be easy.

Promises are like crying babies in a theater, they should be carried out at once.

Resentment or grudges do no harm to the person against whom you hold these feelings but every day and every night of your life, they are eating at you.

The controlled person is a powerful person. He who always keeps his head will get ahead.

A peaceful mind generates power.

Worry is simply an unhealthy and destructive mental habit."Four things for success: Work and pray, think and believe."
(Pisces on Midheaven.)

"Repetition of the same thought or physical action develops into a habit which, repeated frequently enough, becomes an automatic reflex."

"Imagination is the true magic carpet."

"Throw your heart over the fence and the rest will follow"

"Picturize, prayerize, actualize"
(Neptune in 12th house trine Moon.)

"Life's blows cannot break a person whose spirit is warmed at the fire of enthusiasm"

"Know that you yourself are a miracle."

"We must strive to encourage East and West not only to move towards each other but also to encourage them to find a new philosophy, a philosophy which will serve as a tool determining the future of Planet Earth - our common and only shelter."


(May 31, 1898 - December 24, 1993) was the author of The Power of Positive Thinking and chief progenitor of the theory of positive thinking. With his wife, he founded Guideposts magazine in 1945. He was born in Bowersville, Ohio and died in Pawling, New York. He was educated at Ohio's Wesleyan University.

At the age of 34, Peale accepted a call to Marble Collegiate Church in Manhattan where he remained for 52 years as one of New York City’s most famous preachers. Membership grew from 600 when he arrived to well over 5,000 today.

In 1945, Dr. Peale, his wife, Ruth Stafford Peale, and Raymond Thornburg, a Pawling, New York businessman founded Guideposts Magazine. They managed to raise $1,200 from Frank Gannett, founder of the Gannett newspaper chain, J. Howard Pew, the Philadelphia industrialist and Branch Rickey, owner of the Brooklyn Dodgers.

Guideposts was designed to be a non-denominational forum for people – both celebrities and ordinary folk – to relate their inspirational stories to provide a spiritual lift to all readers. Today, the 48 page, full-color magazine under the direction of Ruth Stafford Peale is the 13th largest paid-circulation magazine in the country with a circulation of over 4 million.

Peale put his writing skills to work over the years. His fourth book “The Power of Positive Thinking,” was published in 1952 and has sold nearly 20 million copies and has been printed in 41 different languages. Peale completed what has been called his all-time inspirational best seller at age 54. He was the author of 46 inspirational books including “The Art of Living,” “A Guide to Confident Living,” “The Tough-Minded Optimist,” and “Inspiring Messages for Daily Living.”

For 54 years, Peale’s weekly radio program, “The Art of Living,” was on the air. His sermons were said to be mailed to over 750,000 people per month and in 1964 a movie was made of his life entitled “One Man’s Way.”

Peale also co-founded “The Horatio Alger Association,” with educator Kenneth Beebe in 1947 dedicated to recognizing and honoring contemporary Americans who have achieved success and excellence in the face of adversity.

The Guideposts family of nonprofit organizations includes the Peale Center, the Positive Thinking Foundation and Guideposts Publications. Their purpose is to be the world leader in communicating positive, faith-filled principles that empower people to reach their maximum personal and spiritual potential.

On Christmas Eve of 1993, Dr. Peale died at the age of 95 years old.



- Peale is also the person who is most responsible for bringing psychology into the professing Church (particularly the false gospel of self-esteem), blending its principles into a message of "positive thinking." (Peale confessed that as a youth he had "the worst inferiority complex of all," and developed his positive thinking/positive confession philosophy just to help himself.) In 1937, Peale established a clinic with Freudian psychiatrist Dr. Smiley Blanton in the basement of the Marble Collegiate Church. (Blanton brought with him the "extensive experience" of having undergone psychoanalysis by Freud himself in Vienna in 1929, 1935, 1936, and 1937.) The clinic was described as having "a theoretical base that was Jungian, with a strong evidence of neo- and post-Freudianism" (Carol V.R. George, God's Salesman: and the Power of Positive Thinking, p. 90). It subsequently grew to an operation with more than 20 psychiatric doctors and psychologically-trained "ministers," and in 1951 became known as the American Foundation for Religion and Psychiatry. In 1972, it merged with the Academy of Religion and Mental Health to form the Institutes of Religion and Health (IRH). To his death, Peale remained affiliated with the IRH as president of the board and chief fund raiser. Indeed, Peale pioneered the merger of theology and psychology which became known as Christian Psychology. [In 1940, Peale also formed the psychologically-oriented "Foundation for Christian Living," which in 1988 purchased Eternity magazine; by the end of that year, Eternity had ceased to exist.]

- Peale also advocated such New Age and/or occult teachings as visualization/positive imaging, pantheism, human potential, positive confession, positive thinking, etc. On a 1984 Phil Donahue Show, Peale, a 33rd degree Mason, said, "It's not necessary to be born again. You have your way to God, I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine" (cf. Jn. 3:3). (Shintoism is an ancient Oriental religion that fuses ancestor worship with mysticism.) He also said, "I've been to Shinto shrines and God is everywhere. ... Christ is one of the ways! God is everywhere. ... Just so we think good thoughts and just so we do good, we believe we'll get to heaven" (cf. John 14:6). (Reported in the 12/14/84, Sword of the Lord.)

- Peale denied the necessity of believing in the virgin birth, and maintained that Jews, Muslims, and other non-Christians worship the true God, and that a person must do good works to get to heaven. Peale did not believe that Christ was eternal God, and thereby, he rejected the Christian doctrine of sin, did not believe that Jesus Christ's sacrifice atoned for sin, and did not believe in the physical resurrection of Christ. In Peale's writings, God is never presented as Judge, nor even as Savior -- he defined religion as: "... a scientific methodology for thinking your way through problems" (Stay Alive All Your Life, p. 147). To Peale, there was no such thing as true religion or even moralism, only self-esteem, self-help, and self-recovery. Peale's "faith" was not faith in God, but "faith in faith," which means faith in your own capacities as a means in attaining the well- adjusted life (1/3/94, Christian News).

- In an interview with Modern Maturity magazine (Dec-Jan 1975-76), Peale was asked if people are inherently good or bad. He replied:
"They are inherently good -- the bad reactions aren't basic. Every human being is a child of God and has more good in him than evil -- but circumstances and associates can step up the bad and reduce the good. I've got great faith in the essential fairness and decency -- you may say goodness -- of the human being" (cf. Psa. 51:5; Isa. 64:6; Eph. 2:1-10; 4:18; Jn. 6:44; Rom. 3:10-19; 8:6-8; 1 Cor. 2:14; 2 Cor. 4:4).
- Peale also wrote: "Just as there exist scientific techniques for the release of atomic energy, so are there scientific procedures for the release of spiritual energy ... God is energy." This, of course, is pure occultism -- the worship of creation (natural forces) instead of the Creator. (When a witchdoctor slits a rooster's throat, sprinkles the blood in a certain pattern and mumbles a formula, the spirits must do their part. Occultism operates by the laws of cause and effect.)

Moreover, Peale also endorsed the use of occultic automatic writing: "It little matters if these writings come from Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus of Jane [referring to Jane Palzere, co-author with Anna Brown of The Jesus Letters -- the book was supposedly communicated to Palzere in 1978 and 1979 through "inspirational writing," through a "communicating entity" identifying itself as Jesus], they are all the same consciousness and that consciousness is God. I am a part of God, and Jane and Anna are part of that same God." [The Jesus Letters was also endorsed by psycho-occultist Elizabeth Kübler-Ross. Lines from the book such as "You are not your brother's keeper; you are your brother," and "God does not see evil; He sees only souls at different levels of awareness," are two examples of the true demonic source of the "inspiration."]

- Peale said, "through prayer you ... make use of the great factor within yourself, the deep subconscious mind ... [which Jesus called] the kingdom of God within you ... Positive thinking is just another term for faith." His thesis is obviously false: many atheists are positive thinkers, but Jesus said faith must be in God (Mk 11:22). Peale also wrote, "Your unconscious mind ... [has a] power that turns wishes into realities when the wishes are strong enough."

- One of 's most "successful" protégés is Robert Schuller. (On Schuller's 1000th Anniversary television show [The Hour of Power, aired on 4/2/89], Schuller's son said of Peale that he was "responsible for dad's possibility thinking.") Schuller teaches that there is no need for one to recognize his own personal sin, no need for repentance, and no need for the crucifixion of self. Concerning the latter point, Schuller teaches just the opposite philosophy -- that self is to be exalted -- which is nothing less than an outright denial of the Gospel of Jesus Christ. (See Self-Esteem: The New Reformation, wherein Schuller says, "Jesus knew His worth; His success fed His self-esteem. He suffered the cross to sanctify His self-esteem and He bore the cross to sanctify your self-esteem. The cross will sanctify the ego trip" [cf. Matthew 16:24].)

- was an apostate liberal and a Mason who rejected key Bible doctrines (see 10/1/90, Calvary Contender). (Peale served as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of New York, Imperial Grand Chaplain of the Shrine, and was inducted into the Scottish Rite Hall of Honor in 1991. His oil portrait hangs in the House of the Washington D.C. Temple.) He got his "power of positive thinking" ideas from the Unity healing cult. His Positive Imaging book teaches visualization and other occultic/New Age ideas. A review in the 6/21/93 Christianity Today of a new biography of Peale mentions four "conversion" experiences. It said his key formula was "Picturize, prayerize, actualize." Though calling Peale "a devout Christian who injected vitality into a church that was losing touch with ordinary Americans," the article also said: "Peale always believed his message was biblical, but it lacked much reference to sin, to atonement, or ... to an incarnation. The Christ he preached was very like Alcoholics Anonymous founder Bill Wilson's ambiguous Higher Power." The Christianity Today reviewer thought it revealing that Peale devoted nearly all his time after retirement to motivational speaking at business meetings, and concluded that "the church of Pealism ultimately requires only the lively spirits of a banquet room" (7/15/93, Calvary Contender).


Updated April 7, 2003 (first published April 26, 1997) (David Cloud, Fundamental Baptist Information Service, P.O. Box 610368, Port Huron, MI 48061, 866-295-4143,; for instructions about subscribing and unsubscribing or changing addresses, see the information paragraph at the end of the article)

died on Christmas Eve, 1993, at the age of 95. He was one of the most popular preachers of the twentieth century. His famous book The Power of Positive Thinking has sold almost 20 million copies in 41 languages. It was on the United States best-seller list for a full year following its publication in 1952. Peale pastored the Marble Collegiate Church, a Reformed Church in America congregation in New York City, from 1932 until 1984. At the time of his retirement the church had 5,000 members, and tourists lined up around the block to hear Peale preach. For 54 years Peale's weekly radio program, "The Art of Living," was broadcast on NBC. His sermons were mailed to 750,000 people a month. His popular Guidepost magazine has a circulation of more than 4.5 million, the largest for any religious publication. His life was the subject of a movie in 1964 entitled One Man's Way.


Peale was one of the fathers and key promoters of the self-esteem gospel, the unholy mixture of modern psychology and the Bible which has almost taken over the Christian world and which has made deep inroads into fundamental churches in the last 10 years. In 1937 Peale and psychiatrist Smiley Blanton established a counseling clinic in the basement of the Marble Collegiate Church. Blanton had undergone extended analysis by Freud in Vienna in 1929, 1935, 1936, and 1937. The clinic was described as having "a theoretical base that was Jungian, with strong evidence of neo- and post-Freudianism" (Carol V.R. George, God's Salesman: and the Power of Positive Thinking, Oxford, 1993, p. 90).

In 1951 the clinic became known as the American Foundation for Religion and Psychiatry, and in 1972 it merged with the Academy of Religion and Mental Health to form the Institutes of Religion and Health (IRH). Peale remained affiliated with the IRH as president of the board and chief fund raiser.

In 1952 Peale published his famous book on positive thinking, thus becoming one of the chief fathers of that wretched mixture of psychology and Bible which has flooded Christendom in the latter half of the twentieth century. Robert Schuller, pastor of the Crystal Cathedral in California, has patterned his ministry after Peale and has been called "the of the West." Schuller is also in the Reformed Church in America.


Peale also was a promoter of the idea of "positive imaging" which has become popular in many charismatic circles. Peale's latter years were dedicated particularly to giving motivational talks to secular businesses. He was paid fees of $5,000 to $10,000 by companies who were seeking his services to help them make more money by his positive confession methodologies.

For example, a group of Merrill Lynch real estate associates gave Peale a standing ovation after he told them this:
"There is a deep tendency in human nature ultimately to become precisely what you visualize yourself as being. If you see yourself as tense and nervous and frustrated, if that is your image of yourself, that assuredly is what you will be. If you see yourself as inferior in any way, and you hold that image in your conscious mind, it will presently by the process of intellectual osmosis sink into the unconscious, and you will be what you visualize.

"If, on the contrary, you see yourself as organized, controlled, studious, a thinker, a worker, believing in your talent and ability and yourself, over a period of time, that is what you will become.

"Now, you may believe that this is all theoretical. But I believe, and I've tested it out in so many cases that I'm sure of its validity, that if a person has a business and iimages that business at a certain level and fights off his doubts ... it will come out that way--all because of the power of the positive image" (Jeanne Pugh, "The Eternal Optimist," St. Petersburg Times, St. Petersburg, Florida, Religion Section, June 8, 1985).
This is the same confused, unbiblical teaching which is coming from the lips of men such as Kenneth Hagin, Kenneth Copeland, Benny Hinn, and Paul Crouch. Perhaps it is not surprising that Strang Communications, publisher of the charismatic world's most influential periodical, Charisma, featured Peale on the cover of its Christian Life magazine in November 1986. The National Religious Broadcasters, which claims to be an evangelical organization, honored Peale with its Award of Merit.


As could be expected, Peale's testimony of salvation was not clear. He claimed to have had a number of "conversion" experiences. When he was a boy, Peale's father instructed him to pray for renewed faith and trust in God and "to get converted" once again. The doctrine of the once-for-all new birth was muddled by this type of teaching. Peale claimed to have had another conversion experience in England in 1934. He said he "prayed aloud, confessing his weaknesses and surrendering himself to the Lord," and immediately he felt "warm all over" (George, p. 82). Peale also described conversions during a Graham crusade in 1957 and while watching Rex Humbard on television.

In an interview with religious news writer John Sherrill, Peale testified: "I have accepted the Lord Jesus Christ as my personal Savior. I mean that I believe my sins are forgiven by the atoning work of grace on the cross. ... Now I'll tell you something else. ... I personally love and understand this way of stating the Christian gospel. But I am absolutely and thoroughly convinced that it is my mission never to use this language in trying to communicate with the audience that God has given me" (Christianity Today, June 21, 1993).

The problem with this testimony, as we have seen, is that Peale did not necessarily mean what we mean by these good Bible terms. How did he define "the atoning work of grace on the cross"? What did he mean by atoning work, by grace, by the cross? The very fact that Peale said God did not call him to express the gospel this way shows his rebellion to the Word of God. There are not multiple ways of stating the gospel! There is only one way, the Bible way. Any other way of stating the gospel is a false gospel and is cursed of God.

We don't know what Peale's spiritual condition was when he died, and we hope that he was born again, but if Peale had been truly converted, we believe the Holy Spirit would have caused him to repent of his modernistic thinking. "Howbeit when he, the Spirit of truth, is come, he will guide you into all truth..." (Jn. 16:13).


Peale was reared in a Methodist home, the son of a Methodist preacher. Though we do not know how sound his father's faith was, we do know that his parents encouraged him to attend schools which were hotbeds of liberalism. Peale's modernism was nurtured at liberal Methodist schools--Ohio Wesleyan University and Boston University School of Theology. In a sympathetic biography, God's Salesman, author Carol V.R. George devotes an entire chapter to "Learning the Lessons of Liberalism." George describes Peale's education:
"... he was guided by his professor of English literature, William E. Smyser, to works by Emerson and the Meditations of Marcus Aurelius for a sympathetic unfolding of the power of the individual mind. ... Peale's discovery of James and Emerson, and to a lesser extent Marcus Aurelius, acquired in the atmosphere of romantic idealism that seemed to flourish on the Methodist campus, eventually became part of his mental equipment and then a lifetime fascination. He would soon encounter the Emerson of Transcendentalism again in seminary as a shaping force in liberal theology. ...

"Peale's course of study at seminary was therefore a mixture of theology, philosophy, and social science, of the mysticism of Personalism and the activism and ethics of the social gospel. ... it became another means for nurturing a metaphysical subjectivism that had been planted in his religious outlook in his earlier days....

"When he left seminary he described himself as a liberal ... in any conflict with fundamentalists his spontaneous reaction was to side with the modernists" (George, pp. 36-37, 49- 52).
Parents who send their children to liberal schools and who stay in denominations which allow room for modernists and who continue to support the denominational institutions by their tithes and offerings should not be surprised when their children become apostate or weakened in faith.


Peale's first pastorate after graduation from seminary was at the King's Highway Methodist Church in Brooklyn, New York. His populistic, positive message gain instant acclaim: "In the three years he was at King's Highway, between 1924 and 1927, the church experienced phenomenal growth, increasing from just over a hundred members when he arrived to nearly 900 when he left..." (George, p. 56).

Peale's biographer notes, "His message was already assuming the contours it would retain; it was a theologically liberal, inspirational talk that emphasized the transforming result of a relationship with Jesus and with the church" (George, p. 57).

The problem was that Peale's Jesus was the not the Jesus of the Bible, but the Jesus of his own creation. Peale's Jesus was a Jesus that did not condemn sin; a Jesus that was not born of a virgin; a Jesus that was not the eternal God; a Jesus that did not die and shed His blood for man's sin.

Peale used the fundamentalist's vocabulary, but he used the modernist's dictionary. This is why so many were deceived by the man. Peale's god was not the God of the Bible, but the god of self. His faith was not faith in the Jesus Christ of the Bible, but faith in faith. His gospel was not the gospel of repentance from sin and faith in the blood of Jesus Christ, but a gospel of self-esteem, self-help, and self-recovery.


In earlier years Peale was labeled a heretic by the evangelical world. For example, an article in Christianity Today, November 11, 1957, said, "Peale speaks much of faith, but it is not faith in God, but `faith in faith,' which means in your capacities. ... This is neither religion, moralism, or anything more than self-help baptized with a sprinkling of devout-plus- medical phrases. For those who believe in the God of Scripture, the reality of vitality of good and evil, and the grace of God unto salvation, there is nothing here but the frenzy of a guilty life and the misery of creeping death."

The May 1, 1955, issue of United Evangelical Action, noted: "Unless one is deeply discerning it will not be noticed that Peale has caricatured God, ignored sin and its needed repentance."

As the years passed, Peale did not change his heretical position, but the Christian world became increasingly apostate and blind. In recent decades Peale has been widely hailed as a man of God. Billy Graham helped raise Peale's status in the evangelical world by inviting him to give the benediction at a crusade in New York in 1956. At a National Council of Churches luncheon on December 6, 1966, Graham said, "I don't know anyone who has done more for the kingdom of God than Norman and Ruth Peale, or have meant any more in my life--the encouragement they have given me" (Hayes Minnick, Bible for Today publication #565, p. 28).

Peale's wife, Ruth, was a member of the Board of Managers of the American Bible Society (ABS). Peale addressed the 171st annual meeting of the American Bible Society in New York on May 14, 1987. In the announcement for this event, the ABS described Peale as "an author who has inspired millions of his fellow human beings the world over to think `positively,' an uplifting radio and TV personality, and for more than 60 years, a preacher of the Gospel of Christ truly filled with the Holy Spirit" (Christian News, Feb. 16, 1987).

In 1988 Eternity magazine, which has a stated goal of helping "believers in America and elsewhere develop a genuinely Christian mind-set," was taken over by Peale's Foundation for Christian Living. Well-known evangelical leader James M. Boice, editor of Eternity, wrote a glowing report of the merger which he entitled "An Exciting Milestone." Boice gave no warning about Peale's modernism. (By the end of that year, Eternity had ceased to exist.)

Eric Fellman, one-time editor of Moody Monthly, resigned in 1985 to become editor-in-chief of Peale's Foundation for Christian Living. Moody continues to print articles by Fellman.

Fuller Theological Seminary offers a Scholarship in recognition of the supposed "outstanding ministry" of this apostate (The Fundamentalist Digest, Sept.-Oct. 1992).

In a review of a biography on Peale, Christianity Today said this of the positive thinker: "is a devout Christian, who injected vitality into a church that was losing touch with ordinary Americans--with the salesmen and housewives and schoolteachers who found him so inspirational. Peale spoke their language, much as televangelists and megachurch pastors who followed him have done. But did he pay too high a price to connect?" (Christianity Today, June 21, 1993, pp. 35-36). This is the typical new-evangelical hallmark of tiptoeing around the hard issues. Unwilling to come out negatively against heresy, Christianity Today merely throws out a mild question for its readers to answer themselves rather than make a plain statement that Peale was an apostate.

Many were deceived by Peale's winsomeness and his use of Bible terminology. Guideposts magazine goes into the homes of many Bible-believing Christians who are unaware of Peale's heresies and who do not have pastors brave enough to warn them of heretics. As we have seen, few if any of the popular Christian publications are willing to lift a voice of warning.

The United Evangelical Action of May 1, 1955, mentioned earlier, made this discerning observation about Peale: "'s philosophy is so high-sounding, so full of secondary gospel truth, that millions of his patrons fail to see that the basic redemptive truth of the gospel is completely ignored. Unless one is deeply discerning it will not be noticed that Peale has caricatured God, ignored sin and its needed repentance. Peale presents a very convenient God who is a sort of `glorified bellboy.'"


Though Peale rarely spoke in clear theological terms, he did on occasion openly deny the Christian faith. In an interview with Phil Donahue in 1984, Peale said: "It's not necessary to be born again. You have your way to God; I have mine. I found eternal peace in a Shinto shrine. ... I've been to the Shinto shrines, and God is everywhere." Donahue exclaimed, "But you're a Christian minister; you're supposed to tell me that Christ is the Way and the Truth and the Life, aren't you?" Peale replied, "Christ is one of the ways! God is everywhere." Peale told Donahue that when he got to "the Pearly Gates", "St. Peter" would say, "I like Phil Donahue; let him in!" Mr. Peale gave comfort to some in the audience who believed that "just so we think good thoughts" and "just so we do good, we believe we'll get to heaven" (Hugh Pyle, Sword of the Lord, Dec. 14, 1984).

Peale was a Mason and served as Grand Chaplain of the Grand Lodge of New York City and Imperial Grand Chaplain of the Shrine. On September 30, 1991, he was inducted into the Scottish Rite Hall of Honor, and his oil portrait hangs in the House of the Washington D.C. Temple (The Berean Call, Oct. 1992).

In an article that appeared in the Masonic Scottish Rite Journal in February 1993, Peale said:
"My grandfather was a Mason for 50 years, my father for 50 years, and I have been a Mason for over 60 years. This means my tie with Freemasonry extends back to 1869 when my grandfather joined the Masons. ... Freemasonry does not promote any one religious creed. All Masons believe in the Deity without reservation. However, Masonry makes no demands as to how a member thinks of the Great Architect of the Universe. ... men of different religions meet in fellowship and brotherhood under the fatherhood of God."
This is a true description of Masonry, of course, but it is strictly contrary to Christ's exclusive claims as the only way to God and the only Savior, and flies in the face of such Bible demands as 2 Corinthians 6:14-18--"Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness? And what concord hath Christ with Belial? or what part hath he that believeth with an infidel? ... Wherefore come out from among them, and be ye separate, saith the Lord, and touch not the unclean thing; and I will receive you."

In a July 22, 1983, interview with USA Today, Peale was asked, "Do you think herpes and AIDS is God's punishment of homosexuals and the promiscuous?" Peale responded, "I don't believe God spends his time revenging himself on people. These things come about because of scientific methodology. God is too big to spend his time in revenge."

In the same interview Peale said, "The church should be in the forefront of everything that is related to human welfare because the church is supposed to be the spiritual home of mankind and it ought to take care of all of God's children."

In an interview with Modern Maturity magazine, December-January 1975-76, Peale was asked if people are inherently good or bad. He replied, "They are inherently good--the bad reactions aren't basic. Every human being is a child of God and has more good in him than evil--but circumstances and associates can step up the bad and reduce the good. I've got great faith in the essential fairness and decency--you may say goodness--of the human being." In the same interview Peale said regarding Christ, "I like to describe him as ... the nearest thing to God..."

In 1980 Peale attended a dinner honoring the 85th birthday of Spencer Kimball, president of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints--the Mormons.

Peale endorsed the use of occultic automatic writing: Speaking of Jane Palzere and Anna Brown, co-authors of The Jesus Letters, which professes to be the product of automatic writing under the inspiration of Jesus Christ, Peale said: "What a wonderful gift to all of us from you is your book, The Jesus Letters ... You will bless many by this truly inspired book. ... It little matters if these writings come from Jesus of Nazareth or Jesus of Jane [Jane Palzere] they are all the same consciousness and that consciousness is God. I am a part of God, and Jane and Anna are part of that same God" (Advertisement for The Jesus Letters and Your Healing Spirit).

The advertisement quoted above gives this information about the automatic writing recommended by Peale:
"Initial contact from the entity was made with Palzere on February 3, 1978, when she was sitting at her desk in Newington, Connecticut writing a philosophy of healing for a course she was taking. `My hand began to write "You will be the channel for the writing of a book,"' she explains. From then on, one message came each day. Palzere reports that `they would be preceded by a tremor in my hand, would come without hesitation and would end when the message was completed.'"
In this strange book the supposed Jesus channeled by Palzere and Brown says, "God does not see evil; He sees only souls at different levels of awareness."

Of this unscriptural occultic nonsense, Peale testified, "I found myself fascinated, deeply moved and having the feeling that he [the `Jesus' of The Jesus Letters] was also speaking to me as I read" (Ibid.).



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