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.
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.
Giving sole or final authority to the totality of the cognitions given by emotions; placing feelings over reason, rational thought or biblical Truth.
Ascribing preeminent spiritual significance to all that is perceived, understood, and remembered in personal experience.
Placing sole or final authority in the knowledge or practical wisdom gained from what one has observed, encountered, or felt.
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.