Matt S September 12th 2017 Part 10 (False teachings/heresy series)
You may wonder where I get some of the interesting topics, I often wonder myself, but knowing God, I should wonder little. As I read and research, I come across all kinds of interesting things, but some just stick out and this is one of them! I am fast coming to the conclusion that God has led me down this path for a good reason, the number of times just recently that I have had heard Christians referencing false teaching and non Christian ideas as being Christian has been simply astonishing. I wonder what I am missing at times, but have to trust and ask that the Holy Spirit will give me discernment to see other falsehoods. I would ask that you would consider doing this also on a regular basis for yourself.
SOZO, what is Sozo? And why would this be included under deceptions, heresies and false teachings?
Sozo is the Greek word that means “saves”, it has a few other meanings but primarily to “keep safe” or “rescue from danger”. Here is the definition from biblestudytools
You might ask, “What is wrong with that Matt?” Rescuing from danger sounds good, does it not?
Let’s have a look at Sozo and see what it is.
Sozo ministry was developed at Bethel in Redding California according to my research, and a lady called Dawna DeSilva was instrumental in starting the Sozo ministry back in the late 1990’s. Bethel continues to offer this as a ministry and is currently still actively promoting Sozo as a form of ministry. Sozo ministry training is also being advertised on my local Christian Radio Station. Here is what the Bethel Sozo website says about Sozo ministry.
“SOZO is the Greek word translated “saved, healed, delivered.” Sozo ministry is a unique inner healing and deliverance ministry 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.”
Well that sounds okay doesn’t it?
So how does Sozo ministry work? Let’s hear it from the Sozo people at Bethel.
“A Sozo session is a time for the Sozo team to sit down with you and with the help of the Holy Spirit walk you through the process of freedom and wholeness. Sozo is not a counseling session but a time of interacting with Father, Son and Holy Spirit for wholeness and pursuing of your destiny.”
Still sounds okay to me so far! Well maybe most of it, so what’s the “destiny” thing about?
So how is Sozo administered?
Sozo ministers apparently don’t “counsel” but “guide or walk” people through a process. They use a SIX step method (interesting that 6 is the number of man) I’m not really into numerology but I did notice that one.
The six steps are as follows;
Trigger Mechanisms (advanced tool)
Divine Editing (advanced tool)
Hmm…. Looks like quite a process……. So what do these steps or “tools” mean and what do they achieve?
The father ladder is a chart designed to show how early childhood experiences impact your relations ship with God the Father, Jesus the Son, and the Holy Spirit nurturer.
The father ladder explores the idea that our relationships to parents, siblings, friends and authority figures affect the way we see the Father, Son and Holy Spirit. It apparently reveals the brokenness and wounding from childhood, and identifies the areas that need to be addressed, to get our relationship right with God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit (yep, all separately). REALLY? Okay Matt, that’s it Buddy, You’re a TRAIN WRECK………………………………….
Okay, back to topic.
So how does this stack up against scripture? It does not. The concept of “the inner child” was developed by Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and popularized by counseling therapists. There is nothing scriptural to support this process. (By the way, I am happy to be proven wrong)
The four doors is the step that is designed to identify sin that may attract demonic oppression or possession. Those areas of sin are hatred, fear, occult and sexual sin. The person being Sozo’d identifies their sin in these areas confesses and renounces the sin, and the “closes the door”. Hmm.., why are there only four areas of sin here? I can think of a lot more sins that just hatred, fear, occult and sexual sin. What about lying and stealing, murder, idolatry, greed, envy, covetousness…… you get my drift. So why do we need a Sozo minister to help us to identify sin and help us confess and renounce it? I don’t know. We can do this without the help of people, we can get God to do it for us, He is much better to do it. Is it good to identify, confess and renounce sin? Yes it is, and we should be doing it, it is scriptural to do this. What is not scriptural is the narrow focus of this idea, and the absolute necessity of human assistance required to do it.
Presenting Jesus is the idea that Jesus was present for painful experiences in our past, and that we need to ask him to reveal what he has to say about these experiences. The sozo’d one asks God to reveal past painful trauma The Sozo’d person relays what Jesus has to say in “visualizing” him speaking about the past painful experience.
Incidentally, a man (psychiatrist) called Roberto Assagioli, an Italian director of the “Lucis Trust” formerly known as the “Lucifer Trust” founded by none other than Alice A Bailey, was heavily into the use of “visualization” techniques. When you join all those dots, you realize that there is possibly some form of dodgy occult connection here.
Visualization is a specific form of seeing mental images long used by occult and shamanistic practitioners. It is supposed to put one in contact with the “higher self” or in contact with spirit beings. There is just absolutely nothing scriptural about this….. oh wait a minute, yes there is, it’s called necromancy. What if the Jesus seen in the vision is really a jesus, or satan or something masquerading as an angel of light, or a fake jesus.
The wall is the basic idea that we somehow put walls up in our minds against God through some life circumstance. I’m not saying this can’t happen, as it surely can, but, well here we go again. What is scriptural about asking God for a tool to remove this wall, because that is what the Sozo ministers ask. Romans 12:2 asks us to be transformed by the renewing of our minds, for me, renewing is an ongoing process, it needs to be done regularly. I don’t need a Sozo minister to do this with me.
Trigger mechanisms (advanced tool) is a tool the Sozo folk have acquired from Dr Aiko Hormann. Dr Hormann is alleged to have made the claim she got this tool from God. Having worked in the field of mental health I am well acquainted with “trigger mechanisms”, and understand them as a genuine occurrence. I certainly experience them myself. What is claimed to be done in Sozo is to actually remove the source of the trigger, i.e. remove the associated triggering memory. Once again I’m not aware of complete memory removal for triggers, but certainly a significant lessening of the pain or trauma associated with a particular memory. I know from my own experiences that God has healed what used to be very triggering or painful memories, but I still remember what occurred. So how is this scriptural………..? I don’t know.
Divine editing (advanced tool) is getting right up there with visualization. This is also a tool that is from Dr Hormann. Basically, Dr Hormann suggests that we get God to edit out the old bad memory and substitute in a new happy good memory. Once again I will refer to my own experience of having had healing from God around painful memories. The memory is still there, but the pain associated with it is gone or considerably lessened. There is no scriptural evidence to support this “advanced editing tool”. I have found in my own personal experience that memory of past unpleasantness with the pain removed, serves to remind me of the victory that Jesus has won for me against satan.
In conclusion, I can cannot see how Sozo can be connected with a Christian ministry, when it has so much of man and the world in it, maybe that is why there are SIX steps. There are aspects of it that may be possibly placing people in danger of connection with spiritual entitles, that are masquerading as angels, or in fact God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Sozo is touted as a tool that helps us connect with God and that there are special requirements to do this. So when the bible tells us to renew our minds Romans 12:2, forgive others Ephesians 4:32, Matthew 6:14, have God search our hearts and see if there is any hurtful thing in us, Psalm 139:23-24, it has already provided us with the tools to do this. The bible tells us to confess our sins to one another and pray for one another for healing James 5:16, we don’t need a new and improved ministry to do this.
I understand that many of us have come to Jesus because we are broken. It may be that the Sozo was started with good intentions by folks that wanted to genuinely help, however it has taken on aspects of the world and some possible new age therapies that may promote interaction with demonic entities. I would caution anyone that is entertaining the idea of either having Sozo or training as a minister of Sozo, I believe it is a very slippery slope.
By the way, I believe that there are Christian counseling ministries that do good work and I also have benefited from this myself in the past, as it was about talking things through with the help of a skilled listener. They were able to achieve good things without the aid of “advanced tools”, by using sound biblical principles.
What concerns me about Sozo is that it masquerades as a Christian ministry but in reality it may be doing little or nothing for people at best and at worst it may be potentially connecting them with demonic entities.
If you have been through a Sozo program, my suggestion is that you pray about this and take it to God directly. You may also need to have others pray for you that God releases you from any negative consequences of this so called ministry.
I hope you are having a good week, stay alert and sober and stay walking with Jesus. God bless you.
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RESEARCH. (The author of this article may not necessarily agree with all the views expressed in the research material)