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!
Sozo – The Seeking of the False Jesus
Learning about SOZO occurred when I was working with a lady 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.
For I know this, that after my departing shall grievous wolves enter in among you, not sparing the flock.Acts 20:29
The sad part is the report that those seeking healing at Bethel in Redding, CA are subjected to rating their healing from 1 -10. This can only be due to the fact that they are not being healed and people are trying to glean some positive results from their man-made practices and techniques.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.
SOZO is found in two main ministries…Bethel in Redding and IHOP ministries but is spreading to many charismatic churches. The focus is on drawing susceptible youth and making them believe they have some special abilities other Christians are leaving on the table.
Here is a good article to get you started on research by someone who has personal experience with SOZO.
This site is also dedicated to SOZO and its false teachings.
These tools are not biblical and will actually put you into contact with an entity masquerading as Jesus. But many will accept this Jesus.
“For if one comes and preaches another Jesus whom we have not preached, or you receive a different spirit which you have not received, or a different gospel which you have not accepted, you bear this beautifully.”2 Corinthians 11:4
Think new-age spirit guides (demons) and you will have a better understanding of what spiritual world is truly being contacted.
What can we do to protect ourselves? Stay in the Word of God and ask the Holy Spirit to lead you into truth. There are no shortcuts. Study the Word, pray, fellowship, be obedient to the Word, and walk in faith…not by sight.
Thank you to: Kim Olsen