Sozo – a dangerous “inner healing and deliverance ministry”

Before I get to Kim Olsen’s blog post, those who are unfamiliar with Sozo prayer need to know more about it.  First of all, Sozo prayer is the brain child of husband and wife team Bill (self-proclaimed modern-day apostle) and Beni  (New Age guru) Johnson, both of whom are pastors of the infamous Bethel Church in Redding CA.  The word comes from the Greek “save” or “deliver.”  Allegedly Sozo is “a unique inner healing and deliverance ministry in which the main aim is to get to the root of those things hindering your personal connection with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit.”

The Berean Call describes Sozo thusly:

Although claiming to be biblical, Sozo is a problem-solving approach based upon discovering root issues that are blocking spiritual growth. The issues supposedly reside in the subconscious memories of the individual and are identified as a person is regressed by the use of guided imagery and suggestion by the Sozo therapist. Of course, the Sozo therapist is trained to believe that the guided visualization is superintended by the Holy Spirit. This again is spiritualized psychotherapy, using techniques drawn from occult methodologies. (Source)

Sozo is decidedly unbiblical.  And it is dangerous!

Now to Kim’s piece over at DiscernIt.

Guided imagery

Sozo – The Seeking of the False Jesus

Learning about SOZO occurred when I was working with a woman who was dealing with oppression and darkness. Many are deceived when they enter into a spiritual realm that they have no business delving into.

Today we easily find  mysticism, false teaching, divination, abuse of spiritual gifts, and love of experience trumping the Word of God. When you fall into this area the problem is that the spirit world will deliver. Those seeking to be in the “presence of Jesus” will indeed find themselves in the company of a entity but it will not be  Jesus of the Bible. Remember that “Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light.” 2 Corinthians 11:14.

Satan is the prince of darkness and well-meaning Christians will fall into the trap and deceitful workmen will also masquerade as “apostles of Christ.”  2 Corinthians 11:13

There are so many who love the Lord and want to serve Him with all their hearts but the way we do this is laid out in the Epistles to the church in the New Testament. We also find many warnings of false teachers in the scriptures.

When we read about Jesus as our shepherd and recognize ourselves as the flock, it must be remembered that sheep are not very smart. They need to be led. They often cannot discern the enemy among who are clothed in sheepskin but inwardly are wolves. These wolves will be found IN the church, they are among God’s people.

Acts 20:29
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.

The false self-claimed apostles, Bill Johnson, Mike Bickle, Todd Bentley, John Arnott, Todd White, just to name a few, are promising that people can walk among the streets and in the power of the Holy Spirit, heal people of their diseases. Of course this speaks of the pride of man, to be just like the apostles in the book of Acts. These early  men were hand selected by Jesus and therefore Apostles. Paul was the last Apostle. God does still does heal today but not like what we are seeing in these false ministries.  Continue reading


HT John Lanagan

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21 Responses to Sozo – a dangerous “inner healing and deliverance ministry”

  1. Jack January 20, 2016 at 9:32 pm #

    This girl does a good job of explaining Sozo and her experiance with it.

  2. john mushenhouse January 31, 2016 at 11:38 am #

    That is just the old David Seamand’s healing of memories. Jesus was your Spirit guide. david was raised in India where he bought into that. It was big in the 70’s practiced by many. David was a little God at Asbury Seminary even after he got caught in adultery.

    Different time same devil

  3. Liberty Ministries February 28, 2016 at 11:17 pm #

    Thank-you for sharing your opinion.

  4. kate September 25, 2016 at 2:45 pm #

    Where do people go for help then? I am stumbling with depression and anxiety and imo a lot has to do with false, biblical teaching and I don’t need nor want any more.
    Tired of being overlooked or just thrown out into thecworld c of the wolves looking for more prey with apathy by the “christian” community and leaders.
    Is there ANY where I can turn b efore it’s too late then?

    • peter lewis December 23, 2016 at 6:56 am #

      why dont you check out adonai ministries in bangalore . pastor victor dmonte.
      they have inner healing and deliverance,

    • June Burrow January 31, 2017 at 7:50 pm #

      Go to a church where the people believe in healings deliverance go to a church where They believe in the oneness of the God head . get the elders of the church to annoint u and pray the prayer of faith for your deliverance / Healing . even if you don’t see it , or feel it tell God Thank you for my deliverance say it everyday as long as it takes. stay in a church where they speak truth. Don’t listen to the devil rebuke him . I wouldn’t tell u if I hadn’t already been in your shoes .

    • Lupe April 8, 2017 at 8:45 am #

      The BEST place to go is the Bible.
      It has ALL the answers you need for your troubles.
      Matt 6:31, 33
      Phil 4:6, 7
      Psalm 46:1 (The whole Psalm)
      Psalm 51
      Psalm 34:4
      Psalm 40:1,2
      Psalm 43:5

      Put your faith in Him and not on man. He WILL get you through the “rough spots”.
      Stay in prayer.
      Remember, you have value. God created you for a reason. Seek that reason.
      When I did, the answer was almost immediate. I have been given a servant’s heart.
      When I put all my effort to serve where ever and when ever I attained a peace that is, as Jesus promised, indescribable (passes understanding).

      God bless you. Stay in prayer and trust in Him.

      In Christ,

    • Wilms April 13, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

      I pray Christians would read their Bible daily, pray and ask God to help us to be obedient to his word. Preferably the KJB. You will not be confused as to what sin is, the reality of hell, or the suffering in this life. Listen to teachers like Justin Peters, Bill Randles, Chris Pinto, if you really want truth, God will lead you.

  5. Deb October 10, 2016 at 2:36 am #

    hello kate – watch Christian Pastor counselor Patrick Doyle on you tube (the dove) and he has great biblical counsel on almost every relationship problem. he teaches how you can discern who are safe people, hoe to determine if you can trust someone. many professing Christians (even some pastors), today are false teachers, wolves in sheeps clothing. Watch Patricks free you tube videos such as topics titled, unsafe relationships, or setting boundaries, reconciliation, several on abuse and addictions and on depression and forgivness. Also men’s roles and womens roles are also just awesome for helping with our walk with Christ! They are all great and very practical and biblically based. Without resolving conflict/problems Gods way, we may get temporary relief from pain, but we won’t truly resolve anything fully and problems will expand and multiply! it is never too late to turn to Christ and rely on Him fully. Only He can truly heal us! Also, what state and city are you located in and I may know of a bible believing church in your area!

  6. NP January 29, 2017 at 7:45 am #

    Sozo is not a good thing to participate in. It has ruined my marriage, my finances are screwed up, my so called friends have disappeared. Life was not a fairy tale but I wish I could go back to the one I had before Sozo. This is hypnosis. I know this now because I am a student of psychology now. PLEASE STAY AWAY FROM SOZO. If you need help speak to a professional counselor or pastor and don’t let anyone talk you into needing Do so.

  7. Anonymous March 23, 2017 at 2:00 pm #

    The devil cannot masquerade himself as Jesus.

    • Manny1962 March 23, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

      “13For such men are false apostles, deceitful workers, masquerading as apostles of Christ. 14And no wonder, for Satan himself masquerades as an angel of light. 15It is not surprising, then, if his servants masquerade as servants of righteousness. Their end will correspond to their actions.”

      2 Corinthians 11:13-15

      Satan doesn’t need to masquerade as Jesus, he masquerades as an angel of light. Why go through the trouble specially when ignorant sheeple follow his servants.

  8. Karl April 7, 2017 at 8:07 pm #

    I don’t practice this sozo stuff, but I see nothing unbiblical about it. It is just another form of prayer. Are you saying prayer is unbiblical? I see a lot of stuff being made up about this and stuff taken out of context which is pretty bad for a site that claims to be like the bereans. Can any of you say that the Holy Spirit isn’t working in this manner? No you can’t. If you think you can, you are a fool. If you say that the work of the Holy Spirit is of the devil, then you are worse than a fool because you are opposing God. Remember the Pharisees who said Jesus was of the devil. Well that may as well be you.

    Even if I thought this were unbiblical, I wouldn’t warn people against it, i’d just say to be wise about it.

    • Amy Spreeman April 7, 2017 at 8:59 pm #

      Karl, “SOZO” is a psycho-spiritual deliverance and inner healing methodology. It came out of Bethel church, invented by false “apostle” Bill Johnson himself. The Bethel website says SOZO will heal your “broken connection” with the Father, Son and Holy Spirit, so that you can walk in the destiny to which you have been called.

      This is not biblical Christianity. There’s the problem.

    • Manny1962 April 7, 2017 at 10:22 pm #

      “Even if I thought this were unbiblical, I wouldn’t warn people against it, i’d just say to be wise about ”

      Why wouldn’t you warn people about it? Please don’t say because it’s judging!

      • Jean Baue May 25, 2017 at 8:40 am #

        I wish our daughter had been warned away from it. After “counseling” she falsely accused her brothers of gross misconduct toward her, bordering on the criminal. She and her husband live and work 15 minutes away from us, but she refuses to have any contact from us and they have broken off contact with his parents, too.

        Now, we are trying to learn as much as we can about this so we can, hopefully, find a way to get our daughter and son-in-law back. We’re heart-broken.

    • Karl April 9, 2017 at 3:30 am #

      Amy, at some point you can say a teaching isnt scriptual, but we do have a lot of leeway in interpretation of scripture in some respect. Sure, there is no verse in the bible that says “Everyone practice sozo”. So from that point of view you can say it is not biblical. But there are so many practices in the christian church that isnt biblical, like worshipping on sunday and not the sabbath, communion in its common form, tithing as it is generally used, celebrating easter/christmas. None of that is biblical, but I dont think it is a problem when taken in the right context and understanding the purpose behind the practice.

      We all have a broken connection with God. Jesus died to bring us into connection with the Father. Our life experiences bring hurt, pain and affect us in ways we don’t always consciously realise that create obstacles to us being in better connection with God. Now i don’t practice sozo, but I know people who do. At the simplest level, sozo is having an experienced christian helping us to ask the Holy Spirit in prayer to reveal lies that we believe about ourselves that hold us back from enjoying a full relationship with God. There is nothing unbiblical about that. The facilitator is just a helper, but it is the Holy Spirit that does it all. I have seen some people radically changed through this so I know it can be a great tool to help people. I can’t speak against that. Sure you do get the occasional nut who goes off on a tangent and takes things too far, but at the simplest level, I don’t see the problem with sozo and other similar things. Don’t you want to use prayer to remove obstacles in your relationship with God? Or do you want to just struggle for the rest of your life? Of course in all things I tell people to exercise caution and always look to scripture for guidance.

      Manny I guess it is semantics. I always caution people to understand the scriptures themselves and decide for themselves and not believe stuff because some eloquent speaker says so. I don’t attend a Bethel affliated church and I am very cautious about the pentacostal/charismatic movement swinging too far towards the signs and wonders and away from being based upon scripture. But having said that, when taken in the right context, I havent heard anything wrong come out of Bethel. Yet.

      So I’m not going to call them not of God and a bunch of heretics and anyone who follows them will burn in hell. The fact is I don’t know, but I’m not willing to speak against something that could be a move of God and the work of the Holy Spirit. A lot of what I see on websites speaking against churches like them is stuff taken out of context, stuff that is totally misunderstood, hearsay and gossip which in itself a sin.

      But I do like hearing the stories of the people who come out of those churches as it gives me insight into how they operate. So I read these websites to be informed and help inform others, but I am also very cautious speaking against those things.

  9. Clive April 13, 2017 at 6:21 am #

    I just want to say it’s good to see someone dealing with this with love being your guiding principle with your points.

  10. K l joshi April 15, 2017 at 11:48 pm #

    I am encouraged to read the post

  11. sherry May 3, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

    glad to have found this article..
    we lost our daughter to this kind of “counseling.” in fact, many have lost their daughters at the hands of mercy ministries (now known as mercy multiplied..referred to as ‘mm’ by me), a residential counseling program. our daughter was there for 8 months to help with her depression. we learned too late that a form of memory regression therapy was in process. she accused us of sex abuse and sex trafficking then rejected us, blocking us from her life. we haven’t seen her since march 17, 2012. mm claims to not conduct theophostic/RMT/sozo .. but the proof is in the pudding – additionally backed up by young women who realized years later what really happened. as long as i have breath i’ll speak out against this heresy, no matter who panders it to the unsuspected and vulnerable. we lost our only child… if not on earth then at the throne of God will they pay for their wicked deeds.

  12. sherry May 3, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

    here’s the slate article on the subject of mm (& sozo/theophostic/rmt):

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