Sozo Ministry of Bethel Church II

Had the opportunity to talk with an acquaintance who had been involved with the Sozo ministry and has since left. I wanted to get a clearer understanding of how a Sozo session was conducted. I will refer to this individual as “my Sozo source” in this article as they will remain anonymous.

While masquerading as a religious experience, the sozo ministry makes false promises of miraculous psychological cures. Pretending to be based on some radically new, profoundly innovative combination of Christian teaching and psychological science, it’s theories and practices are a travesty of both.[1] The concept of inner healing has its roots in the teachings of anti-Christian and occultist, Agnes Sanford. John Wimber, David Yonggi Cho, and Robert Schuller are some of the will known psychological practitioners of the inner healing ministry and it has been picked up by Bill Johnson as well as a number of lay therapist. There are a variety of “memory-healing” psychotherapies masquerading under Christian terminology today, the most deadly are “regressive” therapies designed to probe the unconscious for buried memories to be uncovered and healed.[2]

Inner healing is a theory in practice based upon the implication that we clearly need something more than God’s love and forgiveness in order to love and forgive others who are perceived to have wronged us in the past. The Bible distinctly teaches that Jesus can never be called-up and forced to perform at our command, any Jesus actually visualized would have to be deemed “another Jesus” and not of God. Visualization techniques are used and imaginary memory is created under a highly suggestible, hypnotic-like state.

Below is a snapshot of the Sozo methodology used by Bethel Church, Redding Ca. The Sozo ministry has spread out over the U.S. and is becoming more and more popular.

  • At least one hour before the sessions starts all the team members attend a “soaking prayer” session and as people arrive that are going to be “sozoed” they are asked to attend the soaking prayer session also; to prepare themselves for the session. Dimmed lights, soft music, laying on the floor or sitting in a relaxed position.

Since the 1990s there has been an increased focus on mysticism within various segments of Christianity. Bordering on the esoteric, these mystical experiences broaden the division between a “factual faith” and a “felt faith,” and threaten to replace sound biblical teaching with emotion-driven response. Soaking prayer is one such mystical activity. It is described as resting in God’s presence. This is accomplished by playing some gentle worship songs, either sitting or lying down, and praying short, simple prayers for an extended period of time, but otherwise keeping your mind free of other thoughts. At the point when you sense God’s presence through some type of manifestation like tingling skin, a sensation of heat or cold, or even a gentle wind seemingly blowing through your body, you are to just “soak” in that presence.

Although that might sound a little strange to some, it does not immediately come across as being necessarily bad. However, the rule by which we measure our experiences in life is the Bible (2 Timothy 3:16-17), and when soaking prayer is examined accordingly, we find that it comes up wanting for biblical support. Nowhere in the Bible can a model of prayer be found that soaking prayer follows.

Prayer in its simplest form in the Bible is calling on the name of the Lord (Genesis 4:26), and in each instance where it is found in Scripture, it is descriptive of communicating with God. Soaking prayer starts that way, but quickly devolves into a trance-like meditative state. This is when soaking prayer ceases to be biblical and becomes more like a New Age practice or something an adherent of Hinduism would participate in.

There is no denying that experiencing the presence of God can be powerful and life changing. It is not the goal of soaking prayer that is biblically off base; it is its methodology. Soaking prayer focuses on obtaining a spiritual high by seeking out the presence of God through mystical exercises. In this it is very similar to ”contemplative prayer” and contemplative spirituality, which are equally unbiblical. Biblical prayer is talking to God with His will in mind (1 John 5:14). A biblically praying believer already understands that God’s presence is always with him (Psalm 139:7; Matthew 28:20; 1 Corinthians 6:19; 1 Thessalonians 4:8; 2 Timothy 1:14), and he doesn’t need to experience any type of physical sensation to prove it.[3]

Is soaking prayer a real spiritual experience or is it psychosomatic? By empting one’s mind and entering into a trance-like meditative state it removes any defenses to spiritual entities infiltrating or otherwise influencing an individual. “Nor give place to the devil” (Eph. 4:27) emphasizes that believers can actually give ground in their lives to satanic control or oppression. However, the surrounding context balances the issue making clear that responsible believers cannot glibly blame the devil for sin they yield to in carnal disobedience. The Greek word topos translated “place” in our English Bibles submits that Believers are not to give opportunity, power, or an occasion for the devil to take action or operate in one’s life. The mystical experience which soaking prayer provides lays the foundation for such an action. Physical symptoms, which can include things like a tingling sensation, that occur during Soaking Prayer are similar to those experienced during the Kundalini experience, and both are dangerous and can take the practitioner into a demonic realm.

Brenda Craig’s “Journals of the Heart” says that Soaking Prayer is taking our nation, our churches, and the body of Christ by storm. Or should I say, “By saturation”? Soaking groups are springing up everywhere, in homes and in churches. Soaking is not a new phenomenon, just an acceleration of what we used to call “tarrying” or “waiting on the Lord.” It takes “waiting on the Lord” to a whole new level, ushering the participant into deeper realization of and communion with the Holy Spirit. [4]

With no biblical premise for Soaking Prayer and its relationship to the Kundalini experience and new age ideology the church is being swept off its feet by felt faith methodology. Used in connection to the Sozo ministry, it leaves the participant open to manipulation, or as my Sozo source said, spiritual rape. In the wrong hands, it can become a controlling tactic by the leadership as intimate details are indulged by the sozoee. Have you ever heard the saying, loose lips sink ships, once the word gets out it can be a very destructive tool used against people. (Just a thought)

You may have heard it said that people have more faith in the devil’s power to deceive believers than the Holy Spirit’s ability to lead them into all truth. However, I propose that people have more faith in mystical, emotional experiences, it enables and provides the devil opportunity to deceive. 1 Peter 5:8-9 says; “Be sober (self-controlled), be vigilant (watchful), because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour. Resist him, steadfast in the faith, knowing that the same sufferings are experienced by your brotherhood in the world.” This means believers are to take an assertive stance against the Adversary’s operations. Satan has the ability to distort the thinking of Christians (Acts 5:5), just imagine what he can do once you “empty your mind” in soaking prayer! Hardly a self-controlled, watchful activity. Employing the armor of God described in Ephesians 6:10-18 includes praying while doing spiritual warfare opposing the antics of the devil. We are instructed to maintain a “battle-stance” against the devil and prayer is the means by which we engage the battle itself and the purpose for which we are armed to begin with. The armor of God enables us to stand in opposition to the scheming’s of the devil (Eph. 6:11). The elements of the armor; truth, righteousness, the gospel, faith, and salvation combined are more than just a passive protection in facing the enemy, it is to be used offensively against the adversary and his dominions. You can’t do that if you are empting your mind and floating away is some mystical experience. As much as it pains me to say this, most Christians today are illiterate to Biblical disciplines, in my analysis of soaking prayer I view it as just another devise of the devil (2 Cor. 2:11) to gain more of a foothold within an already desensitized Church.

  • The two or three team members take the “sozoee” into a room that is comfortable (much like a therapists office).

Even though they say it is not counseling, they create the same setting and atmosphere you would find in a therapists office. They throw in the disclaimer they are not professional counselors, yet they provide all the bells and whistles, presenting a therapy forum promising quicker results than a trained professional counselor. Theophostic counseling (which at first used to be written as “TheoPhostic Counseling”) is, essentially, Agnes Sanford’s inner healing in a new jacket. Theos = Greek for God. Phostic = Greek for light. Theophostic counseling is said to bring God’s light into a given situation. Whereas traditional counseling is said to teach coping techniques to deal with painful experiences (now or in the past), the heart of Theophostic Counseling is that Jesus is invited to address the lies and false beliefs resulting from painful experiences.

Though is it adamantly denied, Theophostic Counseling [5] includes a form of guided imagery and visualization, the possible acceptance of recovered memories, and Dr. Ed Smith, a Christian therapist from Campbellsville, Kentucky, believes that Christians can be inhabited with demons. Theophostic Counseling is strikingly similar to the Sozo methodology. The goal of theophostic counseling is to lead a person to Jesus for healing and allow Him to reveal the truth to the suffering person, similar to the process of the Sozo’s “four doors” of hatred, fear, occult, and sexual sin, taking the sozoee as far back as childhood.

  • The “lead team member” does most of the talking and starts asking generic questions most always taking the person back to childhood memories. Attempting to open one or more of the Four doors (hatred, fear, occult, sexual sin) so as to address the memory and then close the doors with Jesus. Similar to getting closure in a situation.

By the time the sozoee enters the sozo session they are already in a heightened state of suggestibility sometimes called guided hypnosis also called guided imagery. (http://creativeguidedimagery.com/about.html) A central belief is that we are the way we are because of past hurts that need to be healed through reliving the past and bringing Jesus into past events. The inner healer believes and teaches that present problems are expressions of past wounds (or, as with the person’s response to them) that must be healed before the person can overcome problems of living and get on with life. In a statement made by my Sozo source, they were told that: “we are a product of our environment and we have no responsibility until we are sozoed……no one is safe or healed until this happens……The Pastor actually said to me I will probably never be really truly done and able to move on from my past ( even with the professional therapy because they do not involve God ) and until I am sozoed I will not truly know peace…..My source finished their comment by adding this disclaimer: one has to walk through their torments with ” Jesus and half the church” before they can move on.”

In the interview with my Sozo source the question was asked if any visualization was done in the sozo sessions? My source replied: ” yes…..especially with the prophecy…..for instance I see you doing this….or even the suggested memory……I see you as a child or baby seeing this happen to you…..and then, the does that fit for you?…..what are they going to say…..”God” is speaking through the person….how can you argue with that…..come to think of it, this reminds me of a séance.

  • The second team member will listen and sometimes write what they think God is saying. If a third team member is present they usually will sit and listen until the end of the sozo session and then say what they “feel.” Questions are littered with words and phrases like “what do you remember, feel, or sense?” Lots of “prophetic words” are spoken over the person, generally about half way through the session. After listening to the person give them some idea of what to “prophesy.” So the prophetic ended up being regurgitated information already shared by the person.
  • Most of the people attending the sozo’s were already Church members and some of the things that were shared were extremely personal and intimate and it was stated that most would not look you in the eye after they were sozoed in a regular church service. They were ashamed and embarrassed.
  • The Father ladder was all about the person and their issues and what God the Father, Jesus His son and the mother or the Holy Spirit could or would do for them.

What is being taught as inner healing/healing of memories is nothing but basic sorcery, which is an attempt to manipulate reality in the past, present, or future, and denies God’s omnipotence by implying that He needs our “creative visualization” in order to apply effectively His forgiveness and healing, while simultaneously, sets us up as gods who can, through prescribed rituals, use Him and His power as our tools. In fact, inner healing/healing of memories is nothing but “Christianized psychoanalysis” that uses the power of suggestion to solve so-called problems, which the technique itself has many times created.[6]

The Word of God teaches that moral choices rather than past traumas determine our current condition and actions, the Bible teaches it is not the act in the past but how one reacts to the act that determines “which soul has sinned” (Ezek. 18). Repentance, Confession, and Faith is all that is need to acquire both a right standing with God, and inner healing.

  • This person interviewed is seriously concerned about the mental, emotional and spiritual health of anyone that goes through a sozo and the damage that is done and even more concerned for those who may go through a sozo that has serious or sever personality disorders.
  • The one thing that was made clear and I have been given permission to quote this person is “This is a spiritual rape that goes on and the pastor and the sozo team are all a part of the rape.

[1] Psychoheresy Awareness Ministries  http://www.psychoheresy-aware.org/images/Bobgan_10-21-05_Response_Miller.pdf

[2] Inner Healing/Healing of Memories: http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/inheal.htm

[3] gotquestions?org (http://www.gotquestions.org/soaking-prayer.html)

[4] Journals of the Heart (http://www.journalsoftheheart.com/2006/12/soaking-prayer/)

[5] gotquestions?org http://www.gotquestions.org/theophostic-counseling.html

[6] ] Inner Healing/Healing of Memories: http://www.rapidnet.com/~jbeard/bdm/Psychology/inheal.htm

187 thoughts on “Sozo Ministry of Bethel Church II

  1. Many of the recent comments have discussed whether SOZO is Biblical. Often, those defending it say something like:

    “Who is to say that it is wrong simply because we do not find it in Scripture?”

    It is true; we cannot deem an idea or practice wrong based solely on its lack of reference in the Scripture. However, that is not sufficient license to institute any practice that we choose into the Church.

    When we are considering instituting a new practice or teaching, we have to consider and “interpret” the Scripture. It is not enough only to “quote” a Scripture in connection with a new proposal as if that somehow magically transforms it into truth; and therefore endorses it as bona fide ministry.

    If a church is considering starting a softball team to compete in a city league for fun and an outreach, it is safe to say that Jesus and the Apostles did not really have much to say about it. Granted, we can assume that they would not condone planting a cleat into the second baseman’s thigh. However, when it comes to prayer we are not left in a void. It is not the same thing. The life of Christ and the teachings of the Apostles are replete with teaching about prayer, and the methods practiced in SOZO are not found in the Scripture.

    The following is an excerpt from a writing project of mine and I think that it has some applicability to this conversation:

    ************************************************

    “…….Peter turned and saw that the disciple whom Jesus loved was following them. (This was the one who had leaned back against Jesus at the supper and had said, “Lord, who is going to betray you?”) When Peter saw him, he asked, “Lord, what about him?”

    Jesus answered, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you? You must follow me.” Because of this, the rumor spread among the believers that this disciple would not die. But Jesus did not say that he would not die; he only said, “If I want him to remain alive until I return, what is that to you?”
    John 21:20-23″

    We have here a reminder not run ahead of the truth. It provides for us some logical boundaries in which to contain our understanding of the teachings of Christ the Lord.

    “……. But Jesus did not say…….”

    We cannot take something that Jesus said and run anywhere we want with it and John is illustrating that for us. There are boundaries in the teachings of the Lord.

    When we couple this with the later teachings of John an even clearer statement appears.

    “…….Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.
    II John 1:9″

    We cannot simply “quote” James 3:9-10 and try to suggest that it teaches that anyone can cause a curse on another person simply because of a verbal invocation.

    “…….With the tongue we praise our Lord and Father, and with it we curse human beings, who have been made in God’s likeness. Out of the same mouth come praise and cursing. My brothers and sisters, this should not be.
    James 3:9-10″

    When we consider the correction given by the disciple, whom Jesus loved, we see that it is not enough to “quote” a scripture. We must be adults in our thinking, move a step beyond, and actually interpret the Word of God.

    ************************************************

    Although that is from a dialog about curses, it illustrates there are boundaries to what we can consider to be ministry.

    Those who defend SOZO are very quick to say things like,

    “It is not wrong just because it is not in scripture.”

    In doing so, they put SOZO’s critics on the defense. However, according to the Gospel John and the Epistle of John, they are the ones that should be on the defense.

    Show me in the Word of the Living God where it says that “soaking prayer” is NOT running ahead of the teachings of Jesus the Christ.

    Show me where the Holy Scripture says that the “4 doors” is continuing in the teaching of the Savior of the World.

    Lest I be guilty of only “quoting” a Scripture instead of “interpreting”, let us look for a moment at this word:

    “continue”

    and at how it is found in the previously mentioned II John 1:9 passage:

    “…….Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God; whoever continues in the teaching has both the Father and the Son.”

    The Encarta Dictionary says of the word “continue”:

    1. keep going – transitive and intransitive verb to last, or make something last, beyond the present or throughout a period of time

    How does one continue or “keep going” something that never began? Neither Jesus nor the Apostles began any type of prayer ministry that involves:

    soaking prayer

    the 4 doors

    inner healing

    healing of memories

    etc.

    Unless someone can demonstrate that, these things are a “continuation” of the teachings of Christ, then:

    “…….Anyone who runs ahead and does not continue in the teaching of Christ does not have God”

    Adding the word “vision” to a practice does not make it a continuation of the Ministry of Jesus.

    Adding the word “prayer” to a practice does not make it a continuation of the Ministry of Jesus.

    Adding the word “healing” to a practice does not make it a continuation of the Ministry of Jesus.

    The SOZO proponents have demonstrably “run ahead” of the teachings of Christ.

  2. Thank you for your comment and the information on the “Immanuel approach”. These false teachings, doctrines and ministries always continue to morph and it’s always a more tantalizing mystery that “they” have “knowledge” of, that is dangled like a carrot to many who are deceived in believing there’s more to just the simplicity of God’s Word.I’ve read a little on the Immanuel approach and it’s the same thing as SOZO. They promise and proclaim a quick easy “fix”, then of course SOZO was expanded upon to include “Shabar” for those who can’t quite keep their healing and need more. They mix psychology and cherry picked scriptures….it’s a mixture, like leaven. Continue to use the discernment God has given you. God bless.

  3. Hello everyone,
    this blog has been extremely helpful. I’m charismatic Christian. I do believe that the gifts of the Spirit are for today but am greatly concerned with the lack of discernment I see in so many churches; either complete denial of the Holy Spirit at work or just polar opposite where anything goes. I just returned from a retreat where the guest speaker used the Immanuel approach to have everyone “see” Jesus in the room with them, including a description of his clothing etc. This is something new that I hadn’t seen before. I already knew that SOZO was weird but this was worse to me…http://www.immanuelapproach.com It really breaks my heart that so many of my dear friends are getting caught up in this type of extra Biblical false teaching. :(

  4. A response to Georgina’s post on March 22 2014.
    Georgina, you wrote:
    “I have never been more free closer to my God and my family. This suggests to me that this ministry is of God. If it wasn’t then why would I have a peace I’ve never know or feel more complete and free then ever before? The Devil lies, cheats and kills. I haven’t experienced anything that suggests my sozo session wasn’t God based and God facilitated.”

    Because I have also experienced extra-biblical phenomena in my lifetime, might I gently remind you that Satan can also appear as an angel of light. And for awhile, it looks, feels, sounds, smells, and tastes real good.

    Having worked for a ministry in the past that helped people come out of religious cults, I would add that not only can Satan appear good, He knows the Word of God. Indeed, he quoted same to Jesus in Jesus’ own temptation in the wilderness. Satan can pull a convenient Scripture verse or portion of a verse out of context so fast and with such appeal one is hard pressed to know what is being “suggested” and what is real…

    I also grew up in and went to school for twelve years in the Roman Catholic religious system (before I became a Christian in my early twenties). I often experienced “feelings” of peace and joy and closeness to God when I practiced the various and sundry rites, rituals, prayers, novenas, devotions to saints and artifacts (rosaries, medals, “blessed” holy cards and other items) and so on (and there are a lot of “so ons”) available in that system.

    Religion class was replete with stories of the saints who manifested all manner of psycho-visceral manifestations and “ecstasies” that we were told to take at point-blank-value as being “authentic”.

    The most macabre to me at the time was the “saint,” a nun, who levitated in “worship” into mid-air and then believed God “pierced her” with swords in her swoon of devotion to (Him). The reigning pope’s imprimatur was all that was needed to stop critical thinking concerning such “manifestations” (and a lack of understanding of the kinds of physical, mental, and psychological hallucination-prompting damage that can be done to a body in the austere conditions of cloistered convent life of bygone days on a diet of bread, water, self-imposed “penances” and sleep deprivation).

    FAR more importantly, however, in the Roman system, was that that “sacred” stamp of approval from the pope was all that was needed to stop a “Berean search” of the Scriptures in context sans feelings, presumptions, and assumptions, with a clear and honest heart to know God’s truth via the shed blood of Jesus Christ.

    But of course we know better now! We would never consider such “experiences” as that nun had, though reportedly producing “ecstasy,” “peace,” and “freedom,” as being of God!

    Satan is not ignorant, either.

    He has centuries of practice luring and alluring people away from God’s Words and context into his own “gospel” served up with, if it is more expedient, incense and candlelight by lovely and no doubt well-intentioned people who also long for visceral manifestations of God because of great injustices and hurts in their own lives. It’s just that we have more information now about such phenomena than we had “in the old days.” What worked for the “saint” of old no longer works today. And, again, Satan knows this.

    But we still have God’s Word. We still have Jesus Christ Who, as the Word Made Flesh, is not changeable, but is, rather, the same “yesterday, today, and forever.”

    Have you ever noticed that there is always a “new” practice/belief/teaching/phenomenon that successfully culls some away from core Gospel truth? I’ve certainly been tempted away from time to time, even after salvation! There is, however, nothing new under the sun…

    And, a truth I gleaned over and over again working for the ministry, we are all vulnerable.

    However, and here is the best news, God’s power is still able to deliver us not just one-time, but daily, as needed, back to Him in big and/or baby steps as we stray off to some land of trinkets, idols, “feel goods” and lies. He knows we need Him and He knows Satan’s appeals.

    I always say, if the love and power of God could deliver ME out of Roman Catholicism, He can do ANYTHING for ANYONE! And to date I’ve been out of that system forty years.

    And so, with all the love and understanding I can muster for you, Georgina, I urge you to test all things, try the spirits, study the Word of God in season and out. Make sure you find precedence and substantiation, in context, in Scripture for whatever new experiences you might have had and are now having in the Bethel brand of “sozo.”

    Blessings,
    Phyllis Nissila

  5. Georgina, unfortunately there is no such thing as “My truth.” That statement tells me you believe “truth” is relevant and what is deemed truth from an individual’s perspective or opinion is not truth at all. God’s Word is the only source of truth and is the foundation for faith and doctrine. Secondly, what you describe as your Sozo experience is simply opinionated from an extra-Biblical felt faith experience and cannot be proven by the exegesis of Scripture to be a move of God. Third, the word “Sozo” is a Greek term used to describe “Salvation, Deliverance, or Healing” depending on the context of Scripture and never describes anything remotely close to the Sozo Ministry. Neither Jesus Christ, the Apostles, nor the Church in Scripture is seen practicing a Sozo session as you have described. And yes, this ministry is being abused by Satan, so much so it is lulling people from both the truth and conviction of God’s Word. The Sozo Ministry of Bethel Church is simply a mystical, New Age, Hindu practice Christianized serving as a powerful deceptive tool to keep people from the truth of Jesus Christ. The “four doors” is simply a secular physiological practice used to rekindle supposed regressed memories in an attempt to heal past hurts. A practice that even the physiological field now rejects. You should know your Bible since you say you’ve been saved all your life. Jesus is not a mystical mind melt servant who can be summonsed to do our bidding or will.

  6. This is my testimony. Some may agree with it and others may not but this is my truth.
    I have been a born again christian all my life and have known about my savior’s incredible and unfailing love for me always.
    I had a sozo a few months ago and it was the most healing experience of my life. My session was looking at the Four Doors. There were two other people with me to help me but this was Holy Spirit facilitated. By this I mean that I asked Jesus if there were people I needed to forgive in order to close the doors and there were. The team members only gave me the techniques. God is the one that showed me what and who. Sozo has taught me the tools to forgive people. It has taught me how to hand over my hurts to Jesus. These are basic biblical principals. It says in the bible ‘Do not let the sun go down while you are still angry’ (Ephesians 4:26). Doesn’t that mean forgiveness? And it also says ‘Cast your cares on Him because He cares for you.’ (1 Peter 5:7) We weren’t meant to carry our burdens ourselves. In fact, by doing so it is ignoring the fact that Jesus died to set us free from this very thing. We live in grace! There is nothing we can do to earn anything. It’s been done. When you surrender to God fully He will change your life. We are royalty now. We don’t need to live like paupers any more.
    Sozo is about learning to understand the relationship God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit want with you. It’s about breaking down whatever is holding you back from the most love and freedom that you could ever know. We don’t have to live in bondage any more!
    I’m not saying that this ministry hasn’t been abused by Satan. For each person they need to do what they feel is right with their spirit. Be careful about who you let pray over you. Hold their words lightly in your heart. Words hold a lot of power so if you feel that someone has spoken something over you that doesn’t agree with your spirit then waste no time in cutting it off in the name of Jesus.
    Sozo isn’t something unbiblical. It simply teaches you how to get to know the author of the Word much more intimately. It takes what is written and turns it into tools to help grow in your relationship with God and others.

    I believe that I have prophetic and discerning gifts. We look at the fruit of something to judge it’s worth. Some may think I’m nuts and have been tragically deceived but for me I have never been more free closer to my God and my family. This suggests to me that this ministry is of God. If it wasn’t then why would I have a peace I’ve never know or feel more complete and free then ever before? The Devil lies, cheats and kills. I haven’t experienced anything that suggests my sozo session wasn’t God based and God facilitated.

    So this was my testimony. I am aware not everyone will agree with me but this is my point of view about Sozo.

  7. This is in response to this letter that came to my email today, March 9, 2014. NOTE: it is hard to find original strands and threads on this site, so I will copy it in total, here:

    “Who is to say that the Holy Spirit is unable to use certain methods of teaching to reveal some truth about him? How many churches utilize methods and rituals that aren’t “strictly” biblical? Are all these immediately condemned because they were not proclaimed in detail in the Word? Does the bible say that “thou must not use the four doors analogy”? The Holy Spirit freed our own spirits and each person is made uniquely; who are we to judge the ways or exercises that might aid another in understanding the truth about God? These methods aren’t replacing the gospel, they are just a way of helping broken people understand it. Like it or not our psyche’s are part of our broken human bodies and often need their own administering to. Just like a hungry man must be fed before receiving the gospel; so is the brain a part of the body that must often be addressed in it’s deficits prior to receiving. The world is a wide wide place with billions of people, I believe Jesus is able to meet them in a variety of ways (necessarily so) — ways that our minds can all understand.”

    A question in return: did Jesus teach sozo?

    When His disciples asked Him about prayer, He taught them what we call The Lord’s Prayer. He showed us how He Himself prayed, going off to solitary places to be alone with The Father in supplication and inquiry. And He showed us another form of prayer, so-called “spiritual warfare,” by using the “weaponry” of the Word of God when the old tempter came ’round to throw Him off track after His forty days in the desert.

    And consider this. Many years ago when I was introduced to the forerunner of this type of practice in the form of “healing of memories,” because I was observing abuses with this practice I took it to God in prayer, asking Him, “What about this?” His response to me: “You are a new creature in Christ Jesus” (2 Cor 5:17). I believe He also told me, “should you need to ‘look back’ at anything for My sake, you will see Jesus.”

    I knew immediately the meaning of this. God was telling me that should there be a need to “look back” at the past for any reason of healing or deliverance or restoration, or should some form of PTSD or intrusive memory come to haunt me, if you will, I can rest in the assurance that my Savior intervened for this on the cross, and I can have complete confidence that He will continue to bring me forward with His guidance, wisdom, His Word, His counsel and His strength.

    A Scripture of truth here, a reminder of Scripture and God’s ways from a trusted and seasoned friend/mentor in the Lord. Or some other form of an answer sometimes immediately, sometimes over time.

    And in my over forty years as a Christian, God has never failed me. And I’ve had my share of struggles and heartaches, just like everyone else.

    And so, when I “look back,” I see Jesus Christ. The sufficiency of His blood stands between me and my past, if you will.

    I have never “heard” anything from the Holy Spirit about “soaking” in “God’s” presence or “acquiring” some kind of “fire” or having the need for some kind of pseudo psychotherapy to reveal causes and effects of what boils down to the harmful influences and products of following after or having been afflicted with the down side of the world, the flesh, or the devil. I have never read about it in the Scriptures.

    Not that there is not some wisdom to be gleaned from what the professional world has discovered of God’s ways and means although they may not be aware of it. But note: not all of the world’s wisdom is also God’s.

    And I believe the Holy Spirit was “telling me” that I would have His constant and continued presence, for He “will never leave nor forsake me.”

    I also “heard” that Jesus Christ is sufficient to save me, heal me, and deliver me, and He has spoken to me through His Word about my needs. I needn’t go outside of it. I can continue to trust Him for the “teaching, convincing, rebuking, and instruction in righteousness” for which God gave the Word to begin with (2 Tim 3:16).

    And I have learned that I don’t want to go “outside of His Word,” as it alone has the power to reveal God’s truth and as Jesus demonstrated in the desert, the power to quell the work and words of the enemy.

    So, who is to judge what I think I “heard” and what sozo practitioners “hear”? How can we know who is “right” and who is going outside the Word of God or adding to it?

    I was twenty three years in the Roman Catholic religious system before I became a Christian. Who’s to say the innumerable practices, experiences, teachings, doctrines, etc., in that system were not also of God?

    Who’s to say the beliefs and manifestations of anybody or any institution or any religion or philosophy or paradigm or any other mental/spiritual manifestation and/or machination of modern or ancient man are “of God” or “doctrines of demons”?

    You? Me? Them?

    We are told to, like the Bereans (Acts 17:11), search the Scriptures to see if the things told us are true, for which that group of believers were commended.

    We can search the Scriptures, friend, for the answers to our heartfelt queries because Jesus promised that the Holy Spirit who breathed the Scriptures, you might put it, would glorify Him, and lead us into all truth.

    Here is a test, then: from your relationship with Jesus Christ and your study of His Word, do you know that what you are seeing, hearing, or sensing aligns with truth, there? Is there scriptural precedent? From the landscape of redemption starting day one, does what you are experiencing “fit” with God’s ways, His patterns, teachings, commandments, prophecies? When you consider the original languages of the text, the allusions and references (because Scripture interprets itself), and the wisdom of those who have gone before us in Christ, does what you see and hear now line up?

    It’s work, sometimes, my friend. But work that has the power to deliver you from what might harm you now and/or lead you away from God and into the realm of darkness.

    In short, see if sozo teachings align with Scripture, if God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit “agree” in three (1 John 5:8) with what the ever-evolving sozo teachings suggest. And so, back to the Bereans and searching the “text”–and context.

    And we are also admonished to consider the fruit of a teaching.

    The abuses of sozo are documented, some, with testimonies on this site. I saw the heartbreak of several abuses back when this practice was still budding. I also worked for a counseling ministry for a few years in the eighties that counseled people out of religious cults, and I see some of the same classic ploys used today in sozo to garner the needy, the unwary. And in the ministry I also saw the power of God’s Word presented in context to deliver and restore many from the cults and their manifestations back then.

    Ask God about all this, my friend, and take what you “hear” to His Word in prayer.

    If you have not yet experienced how to “hear God,” as is the case of many who fall for cults, and for many who are new in Christ, or who are simply never taught how to resist false teachings, prophets, and practices with the Word of God, as Jesus exampled in the desert, begin your study now. It’s not too late.

    And, because I am called as an encourager in the Body of Christ, I offer this comfort to you today from Psalm 32:8: “I will instruct you and teach you in the way which you should go: I will counsel you with My eye upon you.”

    God, Who is the same yesterday, today, and forever, desires to show you His power in your honest struggles whether of today or with regard to the past, His guarantee of this sealed at the cross where His love for you prompted the extreme sacrifice of His own Son.

    We don’t have to run here and there to find Him. He remains an ever present help in time of need.

    Ask.

    Receive.

    Above all, stay in the Word.

    Blessings,
    Phyllis Nissila

  8. What is otherwise not a biblical practice cannot be said it is the Holy Spirit! If you understand Bethel’s Sozo Ministry at any level is to understand it contradicts what is taught by the Scripture. The Sozo Ministry centers around the physic, going “back” into your past and healing past hurts then closing the “doors” as Jesus heals. Paul clearly taught, “Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me. Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those thins which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.” Phil. 3:12-14

    We are not to look back, but foward! We are not to look back, but up! There is no place in Scripture which comes close to describing the Sozo Ministy of Bethel. Does God contradict Himself? The Scripture is HIS WORD, would he say one thing then do another? I think not.

  9. Your first impression is correct…run or at least give heed to what the Holy Spirit is warning you about and look into the Scriptures to see if what they are teaching is true. I can grantee you it is NOT. This is false teaching. Wow six months is a long time for a “class” would you send me information on this class, as I have not heard of a “trauma prayer session? It’s been a while since I have looked into SOZO and I know that while they the basics may remain the same false doctrine will always morph farther and farther into error. Just like the initial SOZO then they “added” Shabar “extended sozo” for those who just couldn’t receive their healing….anyway thank you for commenting and praying you get out and are not harmed by it. God bless

  10. I am in a healing class, course – stuck for six months. Thought there was something wrong with me when my spirit rose up within me in great anger in the first small group meeting. Because my course was paid by someone else, I have felt obligated to continue. Now I am really upset because I have been scheduled, along with everyone else for a trauma prayer session. This is really odd. I take my trauma to Jesus. I ask for wisdom to do the thing that the Holy Spirit would want. I don’t know if the anger is my soul or righteous indignation. My first impression is that my spirit is correct.

  11. It all sounds to me like the “Bakers” Pat & Tammy a cult. Whatever happened to attending church on Sunday’s reading the bible, joining the choir and following a morale code throughout your life. The world does not require a group of people to drudge up old memories of childhood or even adulthood this is not the word of God. This is nothing more than a glorified following of a team brainwashing their congregation. Read the bible follow self control, have morale’s, treat everyone with respect, do not commit adultery, do not judge people, forgive and pray to God daily. Forget about following a Sozo cult you are only asking for a troubled life. I personally know a family member who has stated “just because we are family I do not have to like you” this person has a cult like following with Sozo training seminars. All you really have in this life is prayer, family in the end “FAMILY” matters not all these individual people who you have come to call friends FAMILY will always be there for you. Can all of you only imagine what a comment like our family member has made HURT some family members. Is this the teaching of SOZO to forget about family even make statements that are hurtful. Well people you can keep your cult and our family member too.

  12. Who is to say that the Holy Spirit is unable to use certain methods of teaching to reveal some truth about him? How many churches utilize methods and rituals that aren’t “strictly” biblical? Are all these immediately condemned because they were not proclaimed in detail in the Word? Does the bible say that “thou must not use the four doors analogy”? The Holy Spirit freed our own spirits and each person is made uniquely; who are we to judge the ways or exercises that might aid another in understanding the truth about God? These methods aren’t replacing the gospel, they are just a way of helping broken people understand it. Like it or not our psyche’s are part of our broken human bodies and often need their own administering to. Just like a hungry man must be fed before receiving the gospel; so is the brain a part of the body that must often be addressed in it’s deficits prior to receiving. The world is a wide wide place with billions of people, I believe Jesus is able to meet them in a variety of ways (necessarily so) — ways that our minds can all understand.

  13. Naomi, would very much appreciate you bringing a Biblical defense to Sozo, rather than deflecting the entire subject of this false teaching to being judgmental or casting the first stone or the log and splinter example, all of which have no place in these matters. This topic, as with the majority of the topics on this blog, is in relation to the scriptures that deal with false teaching, false prophets, false doctrines that lead many astray into deception and shipwreck many in their faith. Rather warning others of traps and snares. 1 John 4:1, 2 Corinthians 11:13-15, 2 Thessalonians 3:6 but to name a few. Here’s a link that pretty much explains your defense of those who teach and practice these things. Praying that you will perhaps study these things out for yourself, as there is no basis in scripture that support these false doctrines.
    http://notunlikelee.wordpress.com/2014/02/01/creating-straw-men-from-cognitive-dissonance/

  14. I would like to know where in the bible it says that believers should argue amongst themselves.
    Surely if you spent as much time and effort speaking to God, you would not be as judgemental about other believers going about their business?
    I find it sad when non believers have more good to say about Christians than fellow brothers or sisters. Do you really think God is looking down happy at the way you have pointed out the log in someone else’s eye? Or do you think it is your right to cast the first stone?
    If you do then I’m very sorry for you.
    NN

  15. Pingback: things that matter. | Bethel Church Refuge

  16. Thank you Brother and God Bless you also.

    I hope it does not fall on deaf ears but I fear it will.

    I read a comment by someone on one of your blogs a few years ago that has haunted me. After a similar discussion this person was frustrated and said:

    …….“Maybe we are getting close to remnant time.”

    I believe that maybe the case.

    I don’t know what to do with people that ignore obvious truth. I think you are right; we have to keep presenting the truth even if they don’t listen.

    As I mentioned I have been reading much about the Revolutionary War. I have gained such a respect for George Washington. I don’t recall why I was thinking in this vain but I remember thinking that you could not sell the SOZO snake oil to people like him—educated—in those days because they learned how to read by learning of the stories of the Bible. Then I remember thinking that you could not sell SOZO in even the 1950s for the same reason—the general public had been raised on the Bible.

    Now we are dealing with a people that “knew not Joseph.”

    I am praying and hoping for God to raise up Sampsons. Men and women that although they have been caught up in this movement they will help tear it down. It will require two ingredients:

    Truth

    And

    Courage

  17. Nicely put Memory Victim. Thank you for your input, although I’m certain both our efforts will fall on deaf ears.

    W.D. Miller said: “It is a serious mistake to presume that the Christian can maintain a neutral or passive attitude toward error. Contrariwise, we must oppose error as definitely as we embrace truth. Error is never static or stagnant, but is always aggressive. For that reason it has never died a natural death, nor can we ignore it to death. Error ceaselessly seeks to corrupt, efface, and neutralize the truth, and to destroy all whom it enmeshes in its tentacles. The grand reason then for opposing error is to retrieve precious souls from its blight, and to deliver them from bondage to freedom, from darkness to marvelous light.” It is our responsibility regardless of opposition, denial, rejection, or persecution to oppose error, no matter the cost to ourselves, no matter the price. God bless you!

  18. Hanna

    The oldest trick in the book is to introduce something new.

    Consider what you said:

    “…….What kind of tool do you have to examine your inward being, identify lies, and replace those with God’s truth?”

    Hanna that is a remarkable question. You are so far down the rabbit hole that you don’t even recognize the ramifications of what you are saying.

    Are you suggesting that the Church has been in error for 2000 years by not employing SOZO? I have a little news for you—SOZO got its methods after the New Agers introduced them—not the reverse.

    The ideas of:

    …….examining your inward being

    …….identifying lies

    are not in the Bible in the manner taught in SOZO. Now, with that said, if you use the Bible like a handy dandy book of useful quotations then you can fool some people into thinking that SOZO is taught in the Bible. And that is exactly how you treated the two scriptures that you put in your post.

    Quaint quotes are not a substitute for contextual arguments.

    But Hanna let’s be honest, you don’t care about understanding the Bible. I mean let’s face it; a quick fix, magical SOZO session is so much more exciting than working out our salvation with fear and trembling.

    I have been reading several books about the American Revolution. In reading the historical accounts, what has struck me were the problems that both the Colonial and British armies had during the winters. The worse thing for an army of warriors is idleness. However, it was the British army that had the greatest problems with discipline. Why? Because they were comfortable.

    A disturbingly high percentage of the American Colonialists did not have shoes. The accounts of the crossing of the Delaware on Christmas night speak of the trail of blood left in the snow from those marching toward Trenton without shoes. I have wept while reading and thinking about these men marching barefoot on icy snow.

    The Hessian troops (mercenaries contracted by the British) were well dressed, had boots, gathered in warm buildings with fires—and they were drunk.

    The Americans captured 896, wounded 83, and killed 22 Hessian troops.

    The Americans lost two men who died of exposure on the march, and 5 wounded in the battle.

    During each winter of the war—the British were comfortable in towns protected from the elements. Their idleness lead to debauchery.

    The Americans, on the other hand, lived in poor shelters while nearly starving. When they did have shelter they slept on damp ground. Disease was rampant.

    In spite of the being poorly armed, insufficient y dressed, often barefoot, malnourished—the Americans pressed on. They had a purpose. They had a goal. They were fighting for a prize. The prize was a government such as had never been seen in the world before. They sought freedom and liberty

    I doubt that they were working on their “inner healing” while trying to survive those long deadly winters. It is hard to imagine them pontificating about “indentifying lies” while marching into battle against a better fed, better armed, and better clothed foe. Not to mention a foe that greatly outnumbered them.

    Hanna, darkness is coming. Tough times are ahead. We are living in a country that may be the last to see it but, Christians around the world are being persecuted more than ever before. Love is seeping out of society.

    You better be right about the SOZO band aids. If you think “inner healing” is going to get you through what is about to come then go ahead—keep playing games with the Holy Spirit and the Word of God.

    Consider the words of Jesus:

    …….“Therefore everyone who hears these words of mine and puts them into practice is like a wise man who built his house on the rock. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house; yet it did not fall, because it had its foundation on the rock. But everyone who hears these words of mine and does not put them into practice is like a foolish man who built his house on sand. The rain came down, the streams rose, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell with a great crash.”

    Matthew 7:24-27

    If you think building your house on SOZO is a good idea then by all means go for it. Just remember, if the practice is not found CLEARY and DISTINCTLY in scripture then you may find out when it is too late that you built your house on sand.

    Here is a Bible “quote” for you:

    2 Chronicles 17:3

    “…….The LORD was with Jehoshaphat because he followed the ways of his father David before him. He did not consult the Baals”

    You are consulting the Jonny-come-lately Baals. The Christian “inner healing” movement came on the scene beginning in the late 80s. That is about 30 years or 1.5% of the Churches history.

    Perhaps you should put a little effort into finding out what the Army of God did for 99% of time before the new Baals enticed you and others to start contemplating your spiritual navels.

  19. Hannah, were you saved from the womb? Were you born again from your first breath? Do you understand salvation and the power of God to make a new creature of us when saved by Jesus Christ, at the moment of faith? I’ve heard nothing of salvation from your comment. Or is Sozo the answer for salvation? First of all there is no scriptural basis for this Sozo “tool for getting God’s truth to stick in our minds and hearts.” as you put it. The only issue I take with the scriptures that you mention, is that those who practice SOZO take these very scriptures and turn them into a process that is not Biblically based, just another hoop i.e. man made program, to jump through in some misguided pursuit to become free.
    You ask “What kind of tool do you have to examine your inward being, identify lies and replace those with God’s truth?” The answer is simple, His Word. You speak of “psychological trauma” even though those in SOZO say it’s not a counseling or psychologically based “tool” or program…..when it fact it is and much of their “tools” can be traced back to the world psychology and new age roots. Of course the reason for this denial is that if they were to call it counseling they would have to comply with State and Federal regulations. Calling it a “ministry” instead gives free reign to operate not only tax exempt but (and here’s the horror of it all) place “lay people” into overseeing these “sessions” who have no understanding, training, or education in counseling or the worlds psychology. Have you read any of the comments on these articles from believers who have been devastated and destroyed by their SOZO experiences? What do you say to them? Do they need to continue to use this “tool” to make them right? That’s another point that needs to be made. Initially the SOZO ministries claimed a quick easy fix usually only one session maybe two and you would be happy, whole and complete etc. It then moved to more sessions, then to adding “advanced SOZO” i.e. “Shabar” where they are dealing with multiple personality disorders.
    The Bible’s equivalent to the worlds psychology is the book of Proverbs, you can literally find every “personality disorder” dysfunction, emotional bondage etc. in it. Why would anyone sell short the power of God’s Word to heal?
    Hebrews 4:11:16 Let us labour therefore to enter into that rest, lest any man fall after the same example of unbelief. For the word of God is quick, and powerful, and sharper than any twoedged sword, piercing even to the dividing asunder of soul and spirit, and of the joints and marrow, and is a discerner of the thoughts and intents of the heart. Neither is there any creature that is not manifest in his sight: but all things are naked and opened unto the eyes of him with whom we have to do. Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. For we have not an high priest which cannot be touched with the feeling of our infirmities; but was in all points tempted like as we are, yet without sin. Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.
    I leave you with this warning; “Beware lest anyone cheat you through philosophy and empty deceit, according to the tradition of men, according to the basic principles of the world, and not according to Christ. For in Him dwells all the fullness of the Godhead bodily; and you are complete in Him, who is the head of all principality and power” Colossians 2:8-10

  20. This article totally misunderstands the intent and purpose behind Sozo. It is simply a tool for getting God’s truth to stick in our minds and hearts. Psalm 51:6 says: “Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” And Ephesians 6:10: “For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places.” We are facing an enemy, satan, who operates in LIES. And we tear down the stronghold of lies in our lives by replacing those lies with truth. Satan attacks with lies over and over throughout our lives,especially at the younger ages when our minds are fresh and young and vulnerable. He tries to steal abundant life from us right away, for he is out to kill, steal, and destroy. So he starts when we are young in order to hold us in bondage for as long as he can. Lies that start young get very deeply embedded into our psyche and can start to mold and shape our behavior without us even realizing it. What kind of tool do you have to examine your inward being, identify lies, and replace those with God’s truth? Sozo is not the only tool out there, but it is a very effective one for those who struggle with faulty thinking (i.e. all of us), fear, anxiety, hatred, and every other negative emotion–not to mention the even deeper psychological trauma resulting from physical and sexual abuse, or the occult. The emotions and fears that we all face come from somewhere! Emotions are rooted in our beliefs and thought life. And unless we have a way to examine ourselves, going deep down in there, we are not going to get free. Our minds and bodies and the way they are wired is very complex! So it takes wisdom greater than ours to sort it all out. That’s why we need to be empowered by the Holy Spirit to be able to interrupt wrong patterns of thinking that have become our default way of operating.

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  22. Serenity,

    I have noticed your posts for the last month and my heart goes out to you. But, you are in good hands with the advice that you have been getting on here.

    I am a Pentecostal also, and perhaps more fortunate than Pat or Mike in that I was not hedged in initially as a cessationist, and therefore I didn’t have the sort of break free experience. I was also fortunate in that I never (more than briefly) got caught up in any of the more extreme forms of the Pentecostal or Charismatic movements.

    The only thing that I did experience was a long period of distrust that anyone would exercise the gifts properly, and I finally got to the point that I dismissed most occurrences of them skeptically. The Lord intervened with me on that in a most dramatic fashion and restored my trust in Him and I was able to let go of my skepticism—other than what is healthy in that we are suppose to judge those exercising those gifts; and we are in fact commanded to do.

    I would never engage in any kind of advocacy of Pentecostalism on this blog; and it is not what I am doing now—this is simply not the format for it. I just want to address some of your concerns on the issue and try to encourage you to relax on the matter.

    Remember, the Holy Spirit is God. Try to find the best church that will help you heal and grow. As a Pentecostal I also prefer going to a church that is more open to the subject. But, I think—and would be more honest to say that I feel I know—that the Holy Spirit can exercise His gifts through cessationists without their knowledge of it so to speak. The idea that a person cannot be Spirit filled just because they have been taught that they can’t be is, in my opinion, a challenge to the sovereignty of the Holy Spirit—who is God.

    I have attended many churches that do not believe in Pentecostalism and I have been very happy there. I would suggest that this issue may be the last one you need to worry about. Relax.

    I think Pat Rodgers comments on this subject were excellent by the way, and I want to zero in on one particular piece of advice that M’Kayla gave to you.

    She said this to you:

    “The first thing I will say is for you to focus completely on the present. Don’t try to figure out everything you have allowed yourself to believe.”

    What she said there is so right on. Let me try to explain why.

    I have been spending a lot of time reading, studying, writing, and thinking about the whole SOZO, RTF (cleansing streams) etc., thing and they all have in common the themes generational curses, curses, soul-hurts, original lies and so on.

    I have known that these were all false teachings and that they involve regressive memory therapy and sometimes creating a family tree of sinners (my family tree is more like an orchard LOL!). So I have known that these were all bad teachings and that the devil has introduced them into the body like a Trojan horse. But I could not get my mind wrapped around why these lies were so important to satan. I spent a lot of time thinking and praying about it. Then finally I got the answer and it is painfully obvious now what this entire movement is about:

    It is all about getting the saints eyes off of the prize.

    It is that simple. You cannot focus on generational curses, curses, soul-hurts, lies from the past, recovered memories, etc. and simultaneously focus on the Author and Finisher of our faith. We are commanded to “fix our eyes upon Jesus.” Not all of this other stuff.

    In the process of becoming immersed in all of these teachings the body of Christ starts to focus inward instead of outward and upward.

    The reality is that all of these things are ideas borrowed from the Worlds wisdom. In other words the World teaches us to look to our past and inside of ourselves to find the answers. In the church it is just disguised as curses, soul-hurts, and original lies.

    Then, as if being deceived by all of this is not enough, once a person comes out of this type of error they are prone to then grieve over the lost time and how they got into it in the first place. They feel foolish for being fooled. It is a double-whammy. First you are taught to focus on your past and insides and then you find yourself doing it all over again while wondering how you got into the whole mess. The devil has a double barrel shot gun approach to this. First he pulls one trigger to get you into it then he pulls the second trigger when you get out of it.

    …….Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.

    Philippians 3:13-14

    Serenity, please notice the word “strain”. Why don’t you “strain” to give your mind a vacation from all of this? Why don’t you “strain” to not feel foolish about being deceived? Why don’t you “strain” to not feel as if you have failed? I think you may be surprised at the results.

    My story is posted much earlier on this same blog. The effects of SOZO on me and my family took me down as far as a person can go and still be counted in the land of the living. I did not think it was possible to feel that much pain. I will never tell anyone the things I have said to God while I was enraged at Him. But I will tell you this—you don’t have to worry about whether or not God will redeem your lost time and if He will heal your pain. I have and I am learning that He will do abundantly more than we ask or think. He has it all under control sister. Move on—trust him as much as you can and when you can’t—He will never leave you or forsake you.

  23. Hi Mike

    Thank you very much. I really appreciate that. It means so much to not be alone after the realisation that almost everything I heard was a lie. I am so tired from all this. I think I want to take some time out from all my research and just get in the bible for myself. I’ve had people sit over my conscience for so long that I need the Holy Spirit to teach me Himself for a change. Thank you to you and your wife for your prayers. It means an enormous amount at this time

  24. Sarah it is understandable to be exhausted and feel overwhelmed. I assure you, your years are not lost. I know it feels that way, in time this will pass and your testimony will become a powerful tool to help others. Sometimes, taking a rest is a good thing and much needed. You are not alone, we are praying for you.

  25. Oh well that all makes sense. Thank you again. I had been in a Baptist Sunday school as a child and never heard the Gospel, and likewise in the Anglican church at highschool. It was a WoF charismatic church associated with every false teaching under the sun that actually presented me with some kind of Gospel. I am just plain exhausted. I don’t want to hear much from the pulpit for a while. I am glad you say I don’t have to be a charismaniac or a formally Reformed person either. Neither seem right to me. I suppressed my thoughts and gut for so long thinking that I was honouring God – what a sad sad joke. This is just a short reply because I am a bit lost for words. All of this is overwhelming as I really gave my life to something that was a lie. It is best I think it all through even though it is painful to think that I lost many years thinking I was serving God when all the while I was serving error and giving money for false teachers to fleece others – this thought is very upsetting and possibly the worst one when I consider how Kenneth Copeland urged people who lost their 401K retirement funds to give to him. urgh im so upset

  26. Serenity, I would like to address your last comment, concerning being charismatic or reformed. You don’t have to be either. I have found extremes in both camps that do not line up with the scriptures and in many ways they are similar, even though they appear to be opposite ends of the spiritual spectrum. The deception they teach and preach still leads to the same end, destruction and scattering of the sheep. The article on John MacArthur “Swapping one lie for another” was in effect to point out the errors and abuse of scripture in the reformed camp to support their agenda. Many times those who wake up to the deception they have been under in charismania run in the opposite direction and end up falling into yet another deception i.e. reformed. It can be tempting but know that there is no baby to be thrown out in the bath water in either one of these movements . We (Mike and I) had what you might call a little bit of an advantage. We had both (individually, before we meant each other) been involved in legalistic Baptist i.e. reformed, prior to going head long into charismania (we ran from reformed to charismania…wow!). So when God brought us out of the charismania deception, we already knew we weren’t going back to reformed, been there done that and had already identified the errors and deceptions. I do know of many whom God has brought out of charismania that do this very thing and I get it, they want to distant themselves from all the error, damage and destruction this deception has caused. They want a safe place (don’t we all) but we must be careful to allow God to care for us as He has promised. Most times we don’t realize how “programmed” we have become in the “church world.” Where we are spoon fed lies and deception, involved in every conceivable program/ministry and there are always new ones presented that need “called” volunteers. It’s no wonder saints buy into deception, they are worn out “doing” rather than checking the scriptures to see if what the pastor says is so.
    I do agree with you that these movements that speak of a great revival, are running head long into apostasy and that is charismania and reformers alike. I would encourage you to take the time out that you need God will provide what you need during the days ahead. God bless you

  27. Hi M’Kayla

    Thank you for your reply. I looked at your blog and I think I had read a bit from it over the last couple of months. Thank you for writing to me. You are very kind. I’m still in shock I think. I didn’t want to throw the baby out with the bath water but it’s hard to see there is much other than bath water. For now I remain a Pentecostal but one who has no choice but to leave Pentecostal circles. I can only think of one other church that might be an option but the retired pastor there was an advocate of latter rain which I understand the AoG denounced as heresy. I still believe we can have true revival with a focus on repentance and sin leading to holiness but as the days grow later it would seem likely that this needs to be reconciled with the last days apostasy. I don’t want to be one of the frozen chosen (a new term I learnt recently) nor do I want to be a charismaniac. I see you had written about John MacArthur on your blog. I have similar feelings based on what I have seen. He seems dogmatic, rigid and forceful with his views to me. I find John Piper a bit obsequious. I like rc sproul. I don’t want to be mean saying these things I’ve just kept gut feelings about people bottled up for years when I think my gut and innermost thoughts and perceptions would have actually been a good indicator. Yes I think I might be in for a hard time. Oh well. Can’t get much worse than it has been. I am worried I might grieve the Spirit by running so far from all things spiritual that are from Him in my attempt to avoid being misled. I have started to pray for protection and to avoid any false leadings. I feel I need time out from church so I don’t just run into more error. It’s all so horrible

  28. Serenity, God bless you and give you peace. You are an answer to many, many prayers that go up for the deceived! Rejoice the Lord has brought you out. It is a big deal! :)

    I was involved with the healing rooms, false prophetic, dreams and visions interpretations, etc. for a time and I was also trained as a SOZO minister. One day I started to do some research and the Lord began to show me the error of these teachings I had been a part of and held as truth. I had no one personally to help me and it was a horrendous battle of my soul and my flesh that I did not know if I would survive. I did.

    The first thing I will say is for you to focus completely on the present. Don’t try to figure out everything you have allowed yourself to believe. Start anew, repent and believe that you are forgiven, because YOU ARE!

    I wrote this short article and am posting it to give you a bit of direction and assurance. http://mkayla.wordpress.com/freedom-when-touched-by-another-spirit/

    I can vouch for the bloggers here as I know them personally. You are in good hands. Please let us know how we can help you in the process because, my friend, you are the reason we blog!

    God be with you!

  29. I certainly understand how easy it is to doubt ones salvation, I did many times, then a preacher friend reminded me that you cannot doubt what you don’t posses. Scripture is very clear Serenity and Jesus Christ made it very clear, Belief in Jesus Christ and his atoning death on the cross is the right “formula” for salvation. I don’t see anything in your comment that would suggest your lost and not saved. The work on the Cross is finished, once we believe we are in him. The confusion comes when we are taught contrary to the truth of Scripture. Deception has a way of robbing us of our assurance and peace. It clouds our minds and we see ourselves as failures so hence, “Am I even saved?” Nor is salvation contingent upon us doing good works, Jesus took our sin, my sin, your sin, and paid the price for us, he took the wrath of God’s judgment upon sin and satisfied God’s requirement of atonement. I don’t see anywhere in scripture where we have to say the right prayer, but simply to believe on Jesus Christ. You sound as though you have done that! Rest in the truth of the Scriptures, it will ease your doubts. I’m glad Justin Peters is a help, he is very good on this topic. And your right, the Reformed has many problems, that’s why my wife and I are very careful who we listen to. Hang in there, God has you!! As a side note, my wife and I have a Skype account, if you think you would like to have a one on one we would be more than willing to skype. You can email me at closingstages@live.com and I can give you our account name so you can find us. God bless you!

  30. Hi again

    I just got through watching a Justin Peters video. It was really good. I couldn’t get the link you sent to open so I found him on YouTube. I found him clear and humble and that was nice. I’m glad you said you can see the reformed camp have problems too or otherwise I might have wondered if I was off base in thinking they had some different issues. I will keep looking into all this including Bill Johnson. It’s all so disturbing. Now I know some theological basics like the immutability of God and other aspects of His character it’s easier to see flaws in word of faith doctrine. I think i did know things like this about God but didn’t have the words and hadn’t thought it through fully. Thank you again for that Justin peters reference. His humble attitude made listening easy. Thank you again! I’m still worried I’m not saved or might have missed some error in the fundamental tenets of Christian faith. But I’ve looked up lists of the basics like the virgin birth, that Jesus was all man and all God, that there is only one God coexistent in the persons of the Father, Son and Holy Spirit in the Trinity, the death of Christ on the cross to provide the atoning sacrifice for our sins, His bodily resurrection and ascension and future return etc etc. I believed all this and other foundational truths I think at the point in time when I converted. My concern is that the word of faith third wave church that told me the gospel might have preached another Jesus and I might not have known. I thought I was born again. This was a distinct moment for me. But again I wonder if their flawed gospel meant I got a different Jesus. I did pray on my own to receive Jesus. I didn’t say much. I believe my exact words were – I believe in you Jesus. Come into my life. Something changed in me then I thought. My worry is my prayer didn’t say much about sin. I think in my mind I was making a commitment to follow no matter what the cost and I knew I was a broken failure and incapable of doing any good at all in my pathetic human strength. So this might have sufficient for repentance even if I didn’t use the right “formula” and of course it’s not a magic prayer. But still it bothers me. So I’ve prayed and reprayed a lot lately. My life shows signs of regeneration I think. But a religious person might appear regenerated for a while too. And I did back slide for a while – admittedly due to a great deal of confusion about whether the moral law is for today or not. But I do endeavour to seek holiness although I’ve been blundering around. Could I have missed something and not be born again even though I was sure I was? I’m scared of God’s wrath and don’t want it on me. But is that enough to be saved???? This seems so vital

  31. Please take the time to read some of the info. on Bill Johnson. The articles that I have posted here on SOZO are a direct link to him and his SOZO ministries. He is a false teachers and a wolf. I do understand your what you are saying concerning the Reformers and cessation or continuation of the gifts and they (reformers) have their own set of issues. Having said that I do want to let you know that Justin Peters is from the reformed camp. However his teaching on the false doctrine of the prosperity and signs and wonders movement are correct and from his older videos he does not teach on tongues, his focus is more on the false healing, miracles, etc. I recommend his videos because they are correct in that respect. I do know that he has updated this teaching and I have not seen it so I don’t know if he goes into that topic or not. But they are worth watching, just know that you are not alone there many of us out here willing to help in any way we can. God bless you.

  32. Thank you very much. I have been in a state of grief and shock for days-not that anyone really could tell because I knew better than to go to the church with my insight into their error. Your encouragement means a lot. I will likely have to speak up though. I have tried talking to a few friends but I don’t think they want to hear and the conversations didn’t go very far. I’m not too clear how I should discuss error with them if they don’t want to know as they aren’t teachers. I have a better idea of what to say to the teachers. I do appreciate your encouragement very much and it is good to hear someone else sees God with them in this. I am just overwhelmed though as 16 years is a very chunk of my life. But you are right in indicating that it is more that this is from our human perspective than from God’s. I do look to Him in hope that He will get glory from this. I only ever wanted to glorify Him so perhaps this will be a way to do that. I have gotten a bit mixed up over tongues as even the reformed Calvinists have varying opinions. Thank God I found your site. I had planned to leave my current church for word of faith heresy and go back to my old church which is linked in with Bill Johnson. I will look at that link. Thank you again. I’m going to keep praying my way through this. I have been affected by shepherding doctrines for so long I am so happy to be thinking for myself. I’ve started doing bible studies on themes of salvation like sanctification and other topics. It’s so much better this way. I don’t want the Holy Spirit to be out of the picture and I find some ceassationists to be dry and a bit dogmatic. I don’t mean that because their doctrine is impure because it’s so much better than anything I ever heard. Rather I think the attitude can be wrong too. I also thought God’s Word truthfully taught should be in power. Not weird charismania so-called power. But power to convict and bring repentance and truth to the heart like we hear about old revivals. But even in the reformed camp this isn’t what I see. So I go off to my prayer closet and pray lots of “use me” and “break me” prayers and I will keep studying the Word. My fear is I’ll waste another 16 years and miss it again. It’s all just so so distressing. I wish I had a friend here in the same city who saw what I am seeing. But many many thanks for your encouragement. It means a lot in this distressing time. Thank you for running your blog.


  33. This is just a brief teaching by Justin Peters on youtube. He does an excellent job and many of his teachings on the false prosperity gospel are on youtube. I pray that this is of help to you.

  34. Yes it is devastating and hard and you will lose many whom you consider Christian friends and family. And yes many will be helped and comforted by your testimony. For a long time we too looked at ALL the wasted time (years), money, and especially our misdirected prayers to God during our years in deception. There is a grieving process that does take place and needs to and sometimes it’s difficult to see where you are now when you look back at what we would consider loss and waste. God has His purpose and will in this, although it’s hard to understand especially at the beginning of it all. It’s also difficult not to get into a self condemnation mode, please don’t allow this to happen. If God has lead you out of deception, He has every intention of using every you and your experiences to minister to others. He has not brought you out to leave you now, His love never fails. Just the fact that we are having this conversation is proof of that. You may want to read a book “The Other Side of The River” by Kevin Reeves, it was a book that God used to wake us up. I will post other links for you, of articles and teachings on the false prosperity gospel. I will try not to overwhelm you there are many sites and teachings out there; but we have found that even in that we have to be careful in what we listen to as they to can end up being deceptive.

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