Spiritual Esctasy

Many people believe that they do not have a visual compliment to engaging God. They have been taught, or the enemy has led them to believe, that their primary, if not only, interaction with God is through His written word, the Bible. This is typical of most folks with mainline evangelical denominational roots. In order to make the ministry time fruitful for a client, we often have to help them to “open their spirit eyes”.

Many people believe that God is accessible only through their minds and hence, all experience that is not absolutely logical (from their perspective) is not only not probable, but more to the point, not possible. Consequently, they have never tried any other method of interacting with Him. That doesn’t mean that is not another method, only that they have never entertained the idea that there is another one.

What the Sozo session leader must do is to help open their minds, hearts and spirits to another method of connecting with God. We can do this by a number of methods, principally by leading the Sozoee through a series of simple exercises to expand their repertoire of sensing, hearing, feeling and connecting with God. (Emphasis Mine)

– Jim Banks House of Healing Ministries

If you noticed, Jim Banks of House of Healing Ministries in the first paragraph dismisses the Word of God as the only practical way of interacting with God. Yet the Bible itself says differently, prayer itself is one of the most intimate methods of interaction with God. Jim Banks, like Bill Johnson and many others participating in the Sozo Ministires of inner healing all interject “another method,” a repertoire of “sensing, hearing, feeling and connecting with God.” As the Sozo Ministries have grown over the last decade a viewpoint to re-create Christianity as emerged and with the scheme of creating alternatives to Biblical Christianity.

The underline principle of the Sozo inner healing is SOLA EXPERIENTIA meaning “by experience alone.” Emphasized as “feeling” along with “experience,” both becoming the final authority. Five principles are listed below in connection to Sola Experientia.

  1. Experience alone—in contrast to the Reformation, which set forth the doctrine of Sola Scriptura (the Bible alone) as the basis for spiritual authority; experience as modern evangelicalism’s basis for final authority.
  2. Giving sole or final authority to the totality of the cognitions given by emotions; placing feelings over reason, rational thought or biblical Truth.
  3. Ascribing preeminent spiritual significance to all that is perceived, understood, and remembered in personal experience.
  4. Placing sole or final authority in the knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered, or felt.
  5. Placing sole or final authority in the knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what others have observed, encountered, or felt, especially including those of spiritual leaders, popular speakers, authors and celebrities.

Accompanying the concept of the inner healing sozo ministries are techniques found outside Christian doctrine. The Sozo Ministry is a method of inner healing techniques established outside Christian doctrine, widely taught by “new age” practitioners. Sozo is another avenue to “go inward” as taught by eastern religions invading the church, to become closer to “god” and to achieve a state of “god-likeness”. We have to re-teach ourselves how to love and care for ourselves and then we have to learn how to trust our instincts that allow for us to avoid being re-traumatized. Sozo ministries demand that God heals memories, abuse and trauma by going back into the past and reliving those moments, asking “Jesus” to speak into the pain. However, many have only rediscovered the trauma and have had to turn to Medical Care to cope with their relived experiences. Others have been fatal, as one women gives testimony of the loss of her brother to suicide.

In the Bible God does say to His people to not worship Him the way the pagans worship their gods. As someone who has been through much abuse; from being beaten bloody as a child to beaten unconscious as a teen, given away by my mother and raped three times and then married to a man who abused me for many years, I understand the desire for freedom. When I first got saved I couldn’t speak of the things I had suffered. My own husband didn’t even know! But after following Jesus I have received so much healing, but it was all in His way and His timing. And it came about by doing “whatever He tells you to do.” john 2:5 I believe that is the only way to see real HOLY SPIRIT miracles. Other spirits are doing counterfeit things. There are many false spirits at work in the church and it is heartbreaking to see people so desperate for an experience they will follow anyone and anything.

I had an older brother who got saved only a few months before me. He was so happy. All the time! He is the one who talked me into going to church. It was only two weeks later that my brother called to tell me that he had gone to a class at his church that led him back through his past. Everything came out. He had been sexually used by 5 males when he was a little boy. He had suffered horrific beatings on a regular basis. The only problem was that once it all came out, they weren’t able to deal with his level of hurt. So apparently they told him that he was cursed because of what his ancestors had done and had him repenting for the sins of his ancestors. He went from being happy to being weighed down by the guilt and shame of what had been done to him, and carrying the weight of the sins of those who preceded him. Before he hung up he asked me if I believed God cursed people. I was so new in Christ I didn’t know what to say about the Old Testament so I told him just to focus on how much Jesus loves him so he could go back to being happy again. Not long after I received the call that he had walked into his den and bent down over his rifle and pulled the trigger.

There are three things about Jesus that I know for sure. 1. He loves us so much that He stepped down into this sin sick world and was nailed to a cross, breaking the curse of sin off of ALL of us, including my ancestors and yours! 2. He don’t do mixture.(example-a little bit of jesus and a little bit of numerology) 3. Error is destructive to faith and that leads to death; error kills. (It killed my brother.) I pray that people read the Word and seek only to do the will of Jesus as He leads them to do it because that is where freedom is. He is our ladder between heaven and earth and everything we need has already been planned and laid out on a rung up ahead of us so we just have to continue on in the way and climb higher. Jesus is enough.

Not only is the Sozo Ministry traumatic, it’s fatal, and spiritually lethal to those who are caught in the net of its deception. As I pointed out in my “Sozo: A Spiritual Emergency” article, the effects on individuals can and does have side effects as one opens themselves up to the supernatural.  Because something is “supernatural,” does not mean it is Divine.

“For the time will come when they will not endure sound doctrine; but after their own lusts shall they heap to themselves teachers, having itching ears; And they shall turn away their ears from the truth, and shall be turned unto fables.” (2 Timothy 4:3-4) emphasis mine.

“Now the Spirit expressly says that in latter times some will depart from the faith, giving heed to deceiving spirits and doctrines of demons.” (1 Timothy 4:1) emphasis mine.

The one method of entering the “supernatural” in the Sozo technique is contemplative prayer, or soaking prayer, a method which deviates from the Biblical teaching of cognitive prayer.

Contemplative prayer: involving or given to deep silent prayer or religious meditation; contemplative knowledge of God. Another term also known as “Centering Prayer” is also the method of contemplative prayer. From the mystics “Centering Prayer” is a method of silent prayer that prepares us to receive the gift of contemplative prayer, prayer in which we experience God’s presence within us, closer than breathing, closer than thinking, closer than consciousness itself. This method of prayer is both a relationship with God and a discipline to foster that relationship. Contemplative prayer was a method established by St. Bruno who founded the austere contemplative order in 1084 which had its roots in the desert fathers, mystics who one monk said; ‘Take care to be silent. Empty your mind. Attend to your meditation in the fear of God, whether you are resting or at work. If you do this, you will not fear the attacks of the demons.”

Cognitive prayer: is a Biblical method of prayer pertaining to the mental processes of perception, memory, judgment, and reasoning, as contrasted with emotional and volitional processes. A classic example of cognitive prayer is seen in Philippians 4:6-7.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your request be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.”

With cognitive prayer for different styles of prayer are seen, (conversational, petitionary, ritual, and meditative). All four of these aspects can be seen in prayer, supplication, thanksgiving and in the request made known to God. Nowhere in these verses do we see the technique of empting one’s mind. Prayer is both an act and an atmosphere. We come to the Lord at specific times and bring specific requests before Him. But it is also possible to live in an atmosphere of prayer. It is possible that the mood of our life should be a prayerful mood. Perhaps the word prayer in this verse signifies the overall attitude of our life, whereas supplication signifies the specific requests which we bring to the Lord.(1) Prayer then is simply a solemn application to God from a sense of want; consciously, purposefully, communing with God in verbal supplication and thanksgiving.

Contemplative prayer on the other hand does open oneself to the “supernatural,” not necessarily the Divine. The idea of empting one’s mind, and thus, dissociating from all but the single overpowering feeling, an elevated sensation of bliss, transportation, and/or spiritual ecstasy is not a biblical concept or teaching. And as I noted in previous articles, this practice, added to the Sozo sessions of hypnotic persuasion without the presents of a Physiological health professional has become a recipe for disaster in the lives of many.

1. Believers Bible Commentary; Notes on Phil 4:6.

18 thoughts on “SOZO: SOLA EXPERIENTIA

  1. Pingback: Are inner healing “SOZO,” and “Theophostic” ministries biblical? | Aspreeman's Archives

  2. Hi there. Thank you for the article. I am spending a lot of time researching all this , the spiders web of very clever deception that Satan is propergating in the church is massive and far reaching!
    It is very sad that so many people do not spend time looking and delving into the roots of things and just take everything that feels good must be of God, and that Satan cannot make us feel good like that! Of course he can , there are false Holy Spirit, false tongues , false prophesy spirits and all the different types of false seducing religious spirits that go along with every possible false doctrine .
    I am trained in the deliverance ministry ,the straight forward Gospel lead ministry based on the scripture alone and Jesus Christ It make me so sad that people will end up dismissing the whole thing of Jesus being their deliverer and being set free from the demonic because of false demonic doctrines and basically when you go to the root witchcraft and occultism. Pray unceasingly not to be deceived but not to through out the working if the true Holy Spirit of God who exalts Jesus Christ and only says what he hears Jesus / God is saying. God bless keep close to the cross of Jesus Christ and Him crucified.

  3. Pingback: Are inner healing "SOZO," and "Theophostic" ministries biblical? - Stand Up For The Truth

  4. Hey speedystraw, I’m glad to have been some help. Sometimes it’s difficult to discern when your in the middle of confusion. I find it amazing that your shunned for simply questioning your concerns. After all, people in these types of ministry say they operate in the Love of Christ yet are so quick to reject you. It only shows they have no accountability. It also shows the depth of there error. If your walking in truth there is always a good answer to give people who question you. That is, biblical truth. I’m thankful you got out before you got any deeper involvement. God’s Word will never lead you astray, trust it as our Lord Jesus Christ will keep you. God Bless!

  5. Was so helpful to read these comments about Sozo. A friend from a small group got hold of the Sozo teaching on DVD . My husband and I were asked to watch the Sozo CDs to learn about it, with a view to taking and using it in our church. We were watching then ‘practising’ the method within the group. I very soon became concerned about the whole thing. It really didn’t feel right. I left the group and in the course of time so did my husband. I did a lot of research on discernment sites which I found really helpful. When you question something and end up being shunned by those you have shared with its difficult.
    Thanks for being there. God Bless !

  6. I understand. However, you are free to email me at
    I am right in the middle of Shabar research myself and what I am finding is very disturbing to say the least.
    I’m thankful that God seems to be leading you out. Don’t beat yourself up if leadership will not listen to your concerns. God has obviously not given them ears to hear at this point. Try to focus on your own relationship with God and allow Him to lead you out His way, which will save you a lot of time and heartache in the long run, trust me. I’ve been there.
    Perhaps after you have escaped the snare of the devil you can then strengthen your brethren. Until then, lets be in touch and pray for one another on our search for truth. God bless.

  7. well, I am right in the middles of this right now and haven’t even confronted the leadership with this, though another person has. Until I do more research…… personally I’ll share nothing else until I talk to leadership . ould not like them to read about my views on here.

  8. Well there was an ‘almost case’ of suicide.
    This is amazing. I always knew something was wrong with the “Shabar” sessions…visual mappings, other beings, ie; parts of me that were fractured and in charge my heart in the hands of SOZO/Shabar of their various worlds or assignments for running my life. I was told to get in touch with these parts and then at some point, through guided prayer the fractured part was allowed by me “to go be with Jesus”.
    after a “successful session” like that, I felt euphoric !! SO, this must really, really work! I went back for more, and more. Yet Something did not seem right. I had recalled early in these ‘ministry sessions’ that I had already read about ‘guided imagery’ I knew it was demonic! But when I came to church for “Shabar” I was in DEEP grief and TRAUMA. I knew I needed help, And, voila ‘ ! The church I returned to after many many years away from that geographic area had this ‘New mimistry’
    So now I repent from putting me in the care of this demonic ministry and turn to Yeshua alone, and H-s word and seek H-m in prayer, cognitive prayer, intentional prayer.
    “For whom the Son sets free, he is free indeed”

  9. Thank you for sharing this Jill. We always so appreciate anyone who shares what they too have gone through. Seems like there is a lot of this type of deception in Ohio, that’s where we are from also and we have probably googled your former church at one time or another trying to add to the list to warn others to stay away from or get out of them. Sozo is a very very dangerous and certainly when followed out to it’s most logical conclusion is in fact witchcraft. There is absolutely no common tread, teachings, or doctrines in the Bible that support the “SOZO” pattern other than witchcraft. Will keep you in prayer, again thanks for sharing. God bless.

  10. Amen Jill, I’m glad to hear that God brought you out of this deception. Trust in Him to lead you and rely totally in His Word. I think sometimes the hurt we suffer from false men and false ministries is God’s way of waking us up to the real truth that Jesus Christ is the “Truth, the Way, and the Life,” not church ministries, not men behind pulpits. I’m glad God brought me out, and I now blog in the hopes of saving some from falling pray to these ministries or that those who come out of them may find comfort and help here. Praise God for your testimony and thank you for sharing it.

  11. I too went through a sozo session at a church I attended in Columbus, Ohio. This church is a ”sister” church of Bethel in Redding, Ca. The sozo leaders from Bethel came to the church in Columbus and taught a seminar on sozo. Hundreds of people came and participated in sozos while the seminar was taking place. After this, I had been urged by leaders who knew me to go through it. At the time, I thought they knew what was best and knew how to help me better than I could help myself. I didn’t have any super traumatic experience to be healed from. It felt strange sitting through the sessions and addressing them in the way sozo teaches. After my sozo, and getting involved more deeply with leadership in general is what was scary. It took me a little while, but I slowly realized that those people were not after my best interest afterall. They weren’t concerned with helping people, they seemed to only be concerned with how they appeared to other leaders, and how spiritual they seemed. It was phony. That’s the only word I can describe my whole experience in that type of church and leadership…phoniness. There was no concern for those that needed help. The only people they had time for were the ones who had something to offer the church. People that offered their time for free in a ministry were treated like they were paid and expected to be there and perform like a full paid employee. Lots of emotional abuse took place and still is from what I hear. The experience I had was very similar to the experience of many who have started these blogs. It’s painful what people are experiencing in the name of Christianity. Because that is NOT Christianity, nor what God has ever intended for it to be. Thank you for websites like this that expose the truth…there needs to be a lot more people willing to speak out to reveal truth! I was deceived, and people are still being deceived.

  12. Pat and Mike,
    I’ve been reading “A Time of Departing” by Ray Yungen. From what I gather, the one-world religion is already here. Sozo is obviously being used as a tool to brainwash people into this mess. I’m just so thankful God is calling His people out of it, out of the institutionalized churches that have adopted these doctrines of devils.
    I pray God continues to use us to call them out. Continue to pray that He will keep a door open for me to warn, so that His Word will have free course. I’m up against a lot here, I realize this more every day. I will keep you all in my prayers also.

  13. Lee Anne, I know of a few cases where people are now medicated because of what the Sozo sessions have done to them. As far as suicide, only this one case. I believe there are many more, they just haven’t found their way here to this site to give testimony. But in time, more will.

  14. This is heartbreaking. How many tragic cases like this do you know of?
    What a revelation that I too was bogged down with the weight of “generational curses” and “sins of ancestors”—–it’s a miracle of God I am stil alive!
    I have just finished my next article and will hopefully be posting it soon. This has really helped me to finish it way before the deadline. Thanks again and may God continue to bless your work.

  15. God Bless you Lee Anne and the work God is doing through you. These false teachings are becoming more and more damaging to the body of Christ as time goes on. They progressively become worse…more and more corrupt. Thank you for your encouragement.

  16. Thank you Pat and Mike, I’ve just printed this out so that I can read it without it hurting my eyes. You always have great info God Bless

  17. Man is always looking for another way to God….very sad and very true. If we would just understand that He is the way, He is the Word and we come to Him through His Word…..all of this foolishness would end. Then God would pour out His Spirit without measure. People run to this because they are so conditioned to put faith in their senses…..great article!

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