Broadcaster of Sermons on the Positive Approach...
There he gained fame for his sermons on a positive approach to modern living, which were regularly broadcast, first on radio and later on television. The church had 600 members when he arrived to pastor in 1932; it had over 5,000 by the time he retired in 1984.
President of the Dutch Reformed Church of America! -
In 1969 and 1970 he was president of the Reformed Church in America.
The Worst Inferiority Complex of All...
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. It certainly paid off!
Freude, Jung, and "Christian Psychology"...
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: Norman Vincent Peale 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.
Fame, Fortune and a very Long Life...
His simple, optimistic, and dynamic sermons brought increasing numbers of parishioners and increasing fame to Peale. 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 life was subject of a 1964 movie entitled One Man's Way. In 1945, Peale and his wife started Guideposts magazine; its circulation now tops 4.5 million, the largest of any religious magazine. Peale also published several best-selling books, including The Power of Positive Thinking (1952), The Art of Living (1937), Confident Living (1948), and This Incredible Century (1991). His most popular book, The Power of Positive Thinking , has sold more than 20 million copies in 41 languages. With his wife, Ruth, Peale founded the Foundation for Christian Living in 1945. He died on December 24, 1993, at 95. 95 is a ripe old age, and gives testimony to the health promoting properties of "Positive Thinking" - but see comments under "Flawed Definition" below. His wife Ruth carries on the work they began.
Peale's Christian Psychology and the "Power of Positive Thinking"
Peale pioneered the merger of theology and psychology which became known as Christian Psychology. Peale applied Christianity to everyday problems and is the person who is most responsible for bringing psychology into the professing Church, blending its principles into a message of "positive thinking."
The Bio of Norman Vincent Peale is proof of the power of the mind to achieve. Peale's positive thinking certainly brought fame, fortune and long life to him, and helped many other people to achieve success in their lives.
Who should we ultimately look toward? - ourselves with our positive thinking, or Jesus? (Heb 12:2) "Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God".
We acknowledge the benefits and the legacy of "the Power of Positive Thinking", but let us not be seduced into worshipping the God of our "Freudian" minds at the expense of the One True God.