“Christianized inner healing internally regresses a person into his/her past and, by various mystical and outright shamanistic procedures, then introduces the ‘actual, real, living’ Jesus within the person’s altered state of consciousness. By this procedure the past mystically becomes present. The conjured Jesus figure will not only heal the past, but will change the facts of history in order to bring about the desired healing”~Orrel Steinkamp
SOZO is a popular inner healing method that originated from Bethel Church in Redding California. However, SOZO ministry has spread all over the United States, and is popular in many churches. The name SOZO is used because it means ‘saved, healed and delivered’ in Greek. This particular method was created by Dawna Desilva after attending Bethel Church in 1997. According to the Bethel SOZO team; “Inner healing and deliverance ministry is aimed to get to the root of things hindering your personal connection with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. With a healed connection, you can walk in the destiny to which you have been called”. Bethel SOZO ministry gives you the tools you need to bring clients seeking freedom, and puts them in a state of hypnosis, while you bring the spirit of ‘Jesus’ to help them heal of past memories and trauma. SOZO ministry training will train you in either basic SOZO or advanced.
The basic SOZO training includes tools such as, the Father ladder, four doors, presenting Jesus, and the wall. After you have been trained in SOZO, and have been working with these tools for at least six moths, you can go on for advanced training in SOZO. This will give you two additional tools to work with; these tools are called triggers and divine editing. Advanced training can also include prophetic deliverance and Shabar ministry. What does a SOZO session look like? Well, it is actually quite hard to find that information, and even on Bethel SOZO website, what this entails is quite vague; unless of course, you pay for the course, tools, and how to operate in them. Then in the advanced course more secrets!! This is not Biblical, and it reminds me of the occult; oh wait that’s because it is! Everything in the occult uses tools, and secrets.
The only information for what a session consists of is that they usually run for about one and half, to three hours. They are conducted by two members; and it is reiterated that these are not counseling sessions(nobody wants lawsuits), but a time of interacting with the Father, the Son, and the Holy Spirit for wholeness and pursuing your “destiny”. The person getting sozoed is basically put into a hypnotic, suggestible state, while these two members walk you through these tools seeking guidance and revelation from the Holy Spirit. First tool is the Father Ladder,”This is to help people connect to the trinity. The Father ladder is a “hearing God exercise”. It is the framework of the session. Then the four doors are used during sessions to attempt to identify four areas of sin that may have opened the person up to demonic possession or oppression. These four doors are hatred, occult, sexual sin, and fear. At this time the person may be asked to confess and renounce those sins so that access via an “open door” can be closed.
Next, is where the presenting Jesus tool is utilized. This is considered “the Jesus in our memories” approach to healing. Jesus presents in our past, and now we can see and hear what he has to say about painful situations to bring healing. Last tool is the wall. This tool “clears a negative blockage in a person’s soul that impedes the flow of God’s love, which can activate that person’s gifting and character in Christ”. Now after the advanced training, this includes the tool of trigger mechanism; which is a good way to bring Jesus into a past time of trauma to heal pain. Then the divine editing tool is potentially good for “jarring the mind into new thought pathways.” This entire system is completely manmade, and Jesus never taught us that in order to be made free we had to seek hypnotic type sessions with mediators. All of these are tools that are adding to Jesus’s finished work on the cross. When I gave my life to Jesus, my whole life changed, I was set free, because “Whom the son sets free, is free indeed”. There was no disclaimer. God is not asking us to seek out some pseudo-spiritual tools to free us from past memories, so that we can now walk in our destiny. God does not care about your destiny, he cares about using you as a vessel for His purpose.
Jesus is all you need. If you are having trouble hearing God, then open your Bible. If you can’t “feel” the Holy spirit, know this, there is nowhere you can flee from His presence. There is no need to pay to go to others to connect with any member of the trinity. God’s Holy Spirit lives inside of you. There is no need to open up one’s self to a false Jesus, so that spirit can regress you to past memories or hurt. For we are now a new creation in Christ, the old has passed away.
“Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”.~Philippians 3:13-14
SOZO and inner healing are really nothing new. A woman by the name of Agnes Sanford introduced inner healing into Christianity. She is the author of many books, one of which was called “The Healing Light”. This book taught healing methods that are a blend of psychological, new thought, and theosophy. “The healing materials that she presented to Christians were not Bible…according to her book, “sealed orders”, she confessed reading anything and everything she could find regarding spiritual healing. She even included the literature of Mary Baker Eddy, spiritual healing, and practical Christianity, the Christian science movement and the metaphysical movement” (Inner Healing, Body Souls and Spirit, pg4).
According to an article by John Whitcombe on the history of Christian inner healing, “In the 1940’s Agnes Sanford blended Carl Jung’s psychologized occult views with her own occult experiences and introduced them to the church. Sanford and her writings and seminars became Christian sources of Jungian occult teachings….pioneered teaching for healing memories, part of positive thinking, she believed God could work through spirits, as well as spirits who died; she taught God used mediums to heal”. Sanford also believed that “experience comes before theology”, and that sounds like many churches today.
There is nothing Christian about inner healing methods, and there have been lives ruined by SOZO. Reports of false memories placed during sessions, and families have been ripped apart.
This is a brief testimony from an article titled, “Victims of Bill Johnson’s Ministry Speak out”:
“My daughter attended a Sozo session at Bethel eight years ago. While in that session she experienced a so called “Recovered Memory” that I had molested her from the age of three to thirteen. That was the end of our relationship and almost the end of my life. Her mother and siblings know and have testified that it is completely false, but the damage is done. None of us in our family will ever be the same.
When I found out about this I tried to contact Bill Johnson for help. Apparently, being falsely accused of a crime that can carry a life sentence (and that resulting from one of Bethels’ ministries) is not quite enough to get his attention. I could not get past the “counseling center”. When I related what had happened to them they expressed how sorry they were at my experience and actually tried to get me to set up a counseling session. Yes, a counseling session. I declined that invitation”.
Unfortunately, I have heard many similar sad, and heartbreaking stories. SOZO is an occult method, and one people should steer clear from. If anyone needs any tools, they ought to be using scripture. God’s word is alive, and pierces through ones soul.
“For the word of God is alive and active. Sharper than any double-edged sword, it penetrates even to dividing soul and spirit, joints and marrow; it judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart”.~Hebrews 4:11
We have all we need in the fullness of Christ, and His grace is sufficient for every need. Do not let any man captivate you.
“See to it that no one takes you captive through hollow and deceptive philosophy, which depends on human tradition and the elemental spiritual forces of this world rather than on Christ”.~Colossians 2:8
The word here is captive, which means to imprison, through the philosophy of men, and the elemental forces of the world. By seeking freedom outside of anything but Jesus, you instead become bound. Any healing you think you receive is an illusion.
Witcombe, J. (2009, June 29). The History of Christian Inner-Healing. Retrieved from https://amazingdiscoveries.org/S-deception_Sanford_Freud_Jung
Bethel Sozo. (n.d.). Retrieved from http://bethelsozo.com/
What Are The Sozo’ Tools And What Do They Mean? (2014, June 10). Retrieved from https://biblehealing.wordpress.com/what-are-the-sozo-tools-and-what-do-they-mean/
Holliday, P. (2010, February 16). Internet Church-Can Christians Believe Deceptions -. Retrieved from https://www.miracleinternetchurch.com/internet-church-can-christians-believe-deceptions/the-body-of-christ
10 thoughts on “SOZO Inner Healing Deception”
Many people would have no awareness of some of the deceptions going on. If something doesn’t start with Scripture,it may be well intentioned and “close” to the Lord’s desire, but, on a tangent which over time takes us away from Him. Thank you for your amazing Scriptural insights into this and standing on His Word!
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Thank you! Just trying to use my gifts to serve the Lord. I really hate deception and I don’t want to see God’s people hurt.
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I appreciate your post here. The Lord has been leading me through a season of repentance and heightened discernment by going back to the beauty of His Word. Several years ago I went through SOZO basic training and began to conduct sessions with people. I also went through a session for some sin I was dealing with at the time. I can attest that what you are mentioning here in this article is an accurate description of SOZO ministry. Of course there are regional variations, but everyone had to go through Bethel’s curriculum (at least at the time). I didn’t stay leading sessions long because I didn’t sense the Holy Spirit wanting me to continue in it, and for that I’m very thankful. Sadly, I promoted it with several people, and for that I’ve repented.
No one that I recommended to go through SOZO experienced lasting freedom, including myself. My freedom from sin came when I truly died to myself, and let go of those things that I wanted to hold onto.
My primary concern with SOZO is that it teaches you to look into your self for the answers rather than dying to yourself. It has you visualize Jesus how you want Him to be, and that’s idolatry. Repentance is led by the Lord not dug up by humanistic means.
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Thank you. The more we speak out for the victims of false doctrine and its abuse of the unsuspecting ones looking for a higher way, the more souls we have empowered to hear THE Truth. John 14:6
Thank you for sharing this information with others! God will use it for the good, and hopefully, many will heed to your warnings about this deception! I also went through Sozo and when I witnessed my young grandson manifest as a snake during the session, I left and never went back! We both got deliverance afterward, praise God!
Thanks for reading it! So glad when I find out it can be a help to others. God bless!
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Thank you for sharing your story. I have changed my view of SOZo ministry after reading your blog. My husband and I have been lay counselors for many years to the body of Christ. We have known a person go thru a session like SOZO several times and the outcome just made this person even worse. Now I can see why. Deception is so strong in the body of Christ. Thank you Jesus for waking me us to this type of deception and to hyper charismatic.
Powerful! Thank you for sharing such insight and wisdom. Our church has recently introduced this SOZO heresy through the women’s ministry. One woman brought it into the church and it’s starting to take root. My husband and I are stepping into the fire and trying to expose this for what it is. It’s hard to do when you’re the only ones that see it for what it is. I would highly recommend the documentary, American Gospel: In Christ Alone. We watched it as a family and our eyes were open even more to the prosperity gospel / NAR movement. The passion translation is something that we all should be aware of and stay away from. It is no better than the Book of Mormon. We have to know the truth of Gods word do that we can spot the counterfeit when presented with it.
Thank you for your boldness in faith and for getting this message out there for others to see! Blessings ❤️
Thank you so much for your comment! I’m glad you realize how unbiblical this all is. And yes I saw that documentary and it is great! There is so much deception all around us. May God bless you and help you open people’s eyes at your church. 🙏
It was interesting for me to find that in my google search, that there was hardly any opposing views to Sozo church. In all my other searches for different churches I look up, there are sooo many articles showing and telling anything and everything they can conjure up, be it truth or lies?? The Toronto Blessing is the “original” beginnings with Bill Johnson and Heidi Baker. They had groups of people howling and grunting and convulsing all over the floor in one youtube video I saw. God says to be of sober mind and he is not the author of confusion.