Charismania, discernment column

Sozo Renamed “Theotherapy”

The topic of “theotherapy” caught my attention recently on the local Christian television station. The speaker said “good theology makes good psychology,” which sounded good at first. But the more I listened, the more I realized they were promoting Sozo, which is the exact same thing I wrote and warned about over two years ago. They’ve just renamed it (again) to try to make it sound more theologically sound.

Yet, the “inner healing” movement is still founded upon the lie that one can use their imagination to hear from God. And the counseling techniques used to conjure up these experiences are the same used in the occult, mainly “guided imagery” and “visualization.” The mediators who assist these experiences are called “theotherapists,” in order to gain access within Christian circles. 

Just another fulfillment of prophecy the Bible warns about (e.g. Acts 20:28-30, Gal.2:4, 2Pet.2:1). But the mission of every born-again believer is to warn others and keep proclaiming the solid theological foundation of the true gospel, so that those who love the truth will be able to discern a counterfeit gospel a mile away, which is all “theotherapy” really is (2Thess.2:9-10).

Ironically, the bad theology behind bad psychology is a major cause of mental and spiritual damage. And sadly, many never come out of the deception once they’ve been fooled by the placebo effects it produces. But by the grace and mercy of God, He’s been leading many of the captives out, who’ve been contacting me ever since I first wrote about it (2Tim.2:24-26). Because “the sheep hear His voice; and He calleth His own sheep by name, and leadeth them out” (Jn.10:3).  

When the Holy Spirit truly convicts us of sin, we’re led to go to God for mercy and to humbly ask Him for all we need to be saved (repentance and faith).  So that we can truly comprehend by faith that Jesus’s blood was shed to cover our sins and reconcile us to God. It’s that simple, which is why the complicated methods and techniques of man don’t work, but leading people to go to God for mercy thru Jesus Christ does (2Cor.11:3). Because the true gospel and those who proclaim it are the means God has chosen to set His people free.

True Christianity is the ONLY religion in the world that’s based solely on salvation by grace alone, thru faith alone, in Jesus Christ ALONE. All others are centered upon outward performance rather than inward change, which causes them to be enemies of the cross of Christ (Gal.6:14, Phil.3:18). In fact, every false religion in the world is built upon that same legalistic foundation. The only difference is that they all just build upon it differently; depending on what each sect thinks are the most important outward performances for obtaining full salvation (remember this).

For instance, some think its snake handling, some think its water baptism, and others think it’s wearing certain clothes or choosing certain types of transportation.  Then again, some think it’s “deliverance” techniques such as those used in Sozo, which ironically means “to save” in Greek —– (did you catch that)?

So friend, “Beware lest any man spoil you through philosophy and vain deceit, after the tradition of men, after the rudiments of the world, and not after Christ” (Col.2:8). “For the preaching of the cross is to them that perish foolishness; but unto us which are saved it is the power of God” (1Cor.1:18). Because salvation is of the Lord and He finishes the good work He begins in His people, so that they don’t have to be made complete and whole by their own efforts or the works of a “theotherapist” (Psa. 37:39-40, Phil.1:6). Because those who are born again by His Spirit “are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Col.2:10).

Sis. Lee Anne

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6 thoughts on “Sozo Renamed “Theotherapy””

  1. Hi Sis.

    It seems that a vast majority of comments against the Sozo prayer movement have been levied against it by dispensationalists or others who are hostile toward Pentecostals or Charismatics. I have seen some very critical articles that lump all manifestations of power under mysticism or heresy, and the Sozo Prayer / Theotherapy is merely included. You have been an excellent resource that allows us to see this extra-Biblical activity as ungodly without battering down the doors of every Pentecostal church in America. For this you must be commended.

    It would be disingenuous at this point if I did not note that we Pentecostals and Charismatics appear to be very susceptible to “every wind of doctrine” that seems to promise a “wow” factor (to whiich I refer you to 1 Cor 1:26-28. From breaking curses in the ’70s to theotherapy today, we seem to grab onto “error fads” that replace the simplicity of the Good News of Christ.

    You present an excellent case on the basis of data concerning false memory syndrome and the comparison of works over faith. I would add also that Sozo prayer methods error theological in two other important ways:
    1. As John warned in 2 John 7, they are in error as they describe Jesus Christ, who is come of the flesh. Sozo Prayer advocates contend that the CHRIST – He who is described in John 1:as the Word become flesh, and is described in John 1 as before all things and nothing was made but by Him – was void of divinity while on earth. (1 John 2: 18-19 serves to remind us that false doctrine originated from among us, but is antithetical to the Gospel of Christ and salvation by grace.)
    **To be clear: Jesus Christ IS come of the flesh, being entirely God, and entirely Man, and the blood of Jesus, the 2nd Adam, testifies of our salvation as He sits at the right hand of God, always making intercession for us. He never stopped being the Word of God by whom all things are created. Instead, the Word was made flesh for our benefit, according to the good will of the Father. If a religion does not understand this, they are not ready to provide counsel.

    2. The Sozo method has no biblical pretext; no example in the New Testament or Old, and certainly has no example in the ultimate test – did Jesus do this? Of course He did not. (Interestingly, the error described in 1, above, plays out as a Christ example is Bill Johnson’s theology. It is Johnson’s contention that since Christ had no divinity, that His power rested in the Holy Spirit, and was an illustration of how we should use it.)

    Thank you for the good work that you are doing. I hope my “rant” is useful.

    1. Larry, by the grace of God, I’m sure your most excellent insight will help many to come out of Sozo darkness into God’s glorious light, which became manifest in Jesus Christ.

      “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God”……..”In Him was life; and the life was the light of men. And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not”——“that was the true Light, which lighteth every man that cometh into the world.” (John 1:1-9).

      “God was manifest in the flesh” (2Tim.3:16). (Jehovah’s Witnesses even remove this from their translation).

      “And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ (as God) is come in the flesh is not of God” (1John 4:3).

      They can only confess that Jesus (as man) came in the flesh. This is where they get tricky and where we must “try the spirits” (1John 4:1). You’re right Larry, He is both God and man and never set aside His divinity as Bill Johnson so blasphemously claims.

      As you said, they truly do preach another Jesus and another gospel.

      As long as charismatics preach the true gospel of grace, then everything else they build upon it will probably be in accordance with it. But if that foundation is cracked, then nothing built upon it will stand. This has become obvious with Bill Johnson followers and many other cults. “But they shall proceed no further, for their folly shall be manifest unto all men” (2Tim.3:9).

      Thank you so much for your encouragement Larry and I pray that you too will continue to stand for the true gospel. And may God bless you for your kind words of wisdom to God’s sheep.

  2. Hello my friend. I reblogged just a few moments ago after some discussion about sozo and a need for therapy in some comments. Hope you are well!

  3. There are now many bodies using Sozo in its name and they are not all bad. Can folks please learn to distinguish and be more specific as to which Sozo group they are speaking of. For example – use the phrase “Bethel Sozo” when speaking of the theophostic/Bill Johnson movement. Failure to do this pours ill thoughts on others who are helping to clear up the mess left by others Some bodies were using the name Sozo a long time before the others. SOZO is not a bad word. It is Biblical greek with a very rich meaning – to be saved, healed and made whole.

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