By Marcia Montenegro (page 2 of 2)

June, 2003

There are also groups using humanistic teachings and methods from this movement that present themselves as Christian. One of these is Momentus, now being offered as BREAKTHROUGH, its parent company having changed its name from Mashiyach Ministries to THE ASSOCIATION FOR CHRISTIAN CHARACTER DEVELOPMENT (ACCD). Momentus was founded by Daniel Tocchini, a former trainer with Lifespring. Secrecy and aversion to criticism also mark this group. Christians should recall that Jesus taught in the open ("I have said nothing in secret," John 18:20 ), and that God tells us to use our reason and minds to think things through (Isaiah 1:18; Psalm 119:59; Matthew 22:37; Romans 12:3; I Corinthians 14; Philippians 4:8). Christians are not to accept teachings uncritically, and secrecy is not a hallmark of anything connected to authentic Christianity.

The recommended reading list for ACCD, although it includes some books by several sound authors like Tozer, Oswald Chambers, and J. I. Packer, includes books by those whose views are problematic such as Stephen Covey, Rick Joyner, and M. Scott Peck.

Another motivational teacher within the Christian community is John C. Maxwell, who teaches principles of success, leadership, and teamwork. Maxwell favorably quotes New Thought teachers like Napoleon Hill (who also practiced occult techniques) and Norman Vincent Peale, and endorses the principles of positive thinking, which at their core derive from the New Thought movement and do not align with scripture. For a cautionary evaluation of Maxwell, see article at

Another popular self-help program is the Release Technique (started by Larry Levenson and subsequently taught by Larry Crane). The Release Technique promises that if you practice their teaching, you will release all anxieties, fears, and illnesses and thus achieve success in wealth, health, and happiness. The belief rests on New Thought and New Age ideas that it is negative thinking that holds man back and man can achieve success through his own thinking and belief in one's self as having unlimited potential. This program teaches that you "are the greatest" and "that all the love in the universe is right there in your nature" (Larry Levenson,; and that you are in control of your universe and can achieve all your desires.

There are hundreds of such groups and seminars, both secular and Christian, throughout the country. Be aware that some groups may change their names; therefore, it is important to recognize them by the way they present themselves, their secrecy, and their teachings (which may have to be investigated online if the group does not share the specifics).

The following traits connected to seminars, classes, programs, or workshops should set warning flags waving, and a rigorous investigation should be done. Nobody needs to go through verbal abuse, mind conditioning techniques, or radical "breakthrough" experiences coerced by others in order to be a better person, leader, or team player.

-An organization, its leaders, or past participants refuse to share the contents of the seminars beforehand
-You are required to sign a "hold harmless" agreement (letting the organization and its leaders off the hook if harm or distress should result from the training)
-The organization/seminar has hyper language offering self-transformation
-Strong sales-type techniques are used to get you to participate
-The organization portrays its critics as ignorant, evil, or influenced by Satan
-The organization dissuades you from evaluating the teachings and methods yourself
-The organization discourages or discounts criticism from participants or others
-Promises are made to redesign your view of your self and reality
-Past participants exhibit an elitist attitude toward those who have not participated
-Past participants are pressured to recruit


For further information on the concept, methods, teachings, and problems of these groups, see , 


For information on Stephen Covey, see 

For information on M. Scott Peck, see 

and The Less Traveled Road and the Bible by H. Wayne House and Richard Abanes.



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