Occult practices, such as “Sozo Prayer,” are still being slipped into many churches and organizations, like the one I had become a part of. This type of regression therapy (as it’s referred to in secular circles) was renamed Theophostic Prayer in 1996 by Ed Smith of Campbellsville, KY, in order to try to hide its psycho-therapy origins. But he ended up having to adjust his “inner healing” ideas and pull his suspect training manuals off the market when False Memory Syndrome was occurring with clients. Sadly, damages were so severe that many such counselors today have to get clients to sign a disclaimer so that they will not be held legally liable.
“Psychotherapy escapes the rigors of science because the mind is not equal to the brain and man is not a machine. The actual foundations of psychotherapy are not science, but rather various philosophical world views, especially those of determinism, secular humanism, behaviorism, existentialism, and even evolutionism. Its influence has not been confined to the therapist’s office, for its varied explanations of human behavior and contradictory ideas for change have permeated both society and the church.” See: Martin and Deidre Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I, (Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1989), pp. 24, 25.
The inner healing movement is founded upon the false belief that one can use their imagination to hear from God, which becomes the perfect catalyst for summoning the demonic realm to materialize. And the counseling techniques used to conjure up these subjective experiences are the same ones used in the occult, mainly, “guided imagery” and “visualization.” The mediators who assist these experiences are sometimes called “Sozo counselors” or “theo-therapists,” in order to gain access within Christian circles. But it’s just another attempt to Christianize a man-made system based on false, psycho-therapeutic theories, which is another fulfillment of prophecy that the Bible warns about (e.g. Acts 20:28-30).
“The mind cannot really become diseased any more than the intellect can become abscessed. Furthermore, the idea that mental “diseases” are actually brain diseases creates a strange category of “diseases” which are, by definition, without known cause. Body and behavior become intertwined in this confusion until they are no longer distinguishable. It is necessary to return to first principles: a disease is something you have, behavior is something you do.” ₁
The mission of every born-again believer is to earnestly warn others of God’s impending judgment on such practices, and to 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 “theo-therapy” really is (2 Thess. 2:9-10). The shabby theology behind such forms of psychology is a major cause of mental and spiritual damage. And, sad to say, many never come out of the deception once they’ve been fooled by the placebo effects that pop psychology produces.
“Since the mind is not a physical organ, it cannot have a disease. While one can have a diseased brain, one cannot have a diseased mind, although he may have a sinful or unredeemed mind.” ₂
As hard as it is for our sinful flesh to accept, the Bible makes it clear that there is such a thing as a reprobate mind (Rom. 1:28), which proves that it is a spiritual matter whenever sin is involved, intentional or not. Yet we live in a time where the spiritual needs of the feeble-minded are so neglected, because of the psychologically sophisticated deception of confusing the physical brain with the non-physical mind.
“One can understand what a diseased body is, but what is a diseased mind? And if one cannot have a diseased mind it is obvious that one cannot have a diseased emotion, a diseased behavior, or a diseased relationship. Nevertheless, therapists and authors continually refer to mental, emotional, behavioral and now relational problems as illnesses.”₃
It’s no coincidence that the word sorcery in the book of Revelation is derived from the Greek word pharmakia; the same Greek word Pharmacy is derived from. In our post-Christian era, the social, pseudo-science perspective, psycho-therapy and psyche drugs have all been strategically used to try to replace the gospel of Christ, and to blind minds from the truth, in a futile attempt to explain away sin and the biblical reality of demonic oppression.
Such falsely so-called “science” has the warped view that in… “a science-based, evolutionary perspective, there is no place for belief in a literal Satan.” (See: http://www.etymonline.com/index.php?term=periphery&all owed in frame=0)
How convenient for Big Pharma!
In this age of “re-imagining” God, Christianity and reality, one leading proponent states as follows: “To continue to insist on a literal interpretation of the Bible in this age of science is to make an idol of human language.” (Michael Dowd, as quoted in “Re-Imagining” God, by Tamara Hartzell, p. 282, Vol. 2).
How convenient for scientism and “quantum reality” cults that ditch absolute truth in exchange for “approximate, close-enough truth,” that is ever “evolving.”
“Although the brain is a physical entity and may require physical/chemical treatment, the mind and the soul are nonphysical entities. Whereas the former can be studied through scientific investigation and become physically ill; matters of the psyche and the soul are studied through philosophy and theology. And, indeed, those aspects of psychology which attempt to investigate and understand the mind and the soul resemble religion more than science.”₄
When the Holy Spirit truly convicts us of sin, we are led to go to God for mercy, and to humbly ask Him for all we need to be saved. Only then can we truly comprehend by faith that Jesus’ blood was shed to cover our sins and reconcile us to God. But the complicated methods and “scientific” techniques of man have no power to spiritually transform anyone, no matter how sincere the motives. But the power of the true gospel does (Rom. 1:16, 2 Cor. 11:3). Because the true gospel of God’s grace, and those who proclaim it, are the means that God has ordained to set His people free.
“The Bible refers to the soul of man. The words psychological and psychology are derived from the Greek word psyche, which means soul. It is the invisible aspect of man which cannot be observed. The study of the soul is thus a metaphysical endeavor. Thus psychology has intruded upon the very same matters of the soul which the Bible addresses and for which the Bible should be the sole guide.”₅
True Christianity is the only religion in the world that’s based solely on salvation by grace alone, through faith alone, in Jesus alone. All others are centered upon externals rather than inward change. 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 externals “for obtaining full salvation.” Some think it’s “ecumenical oneness,” some think it’s water baptism, and others think it’s “deliverance ministries.” Then again, some think it’s bio-tech “evolution” of the human genome.
“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).
Sadly, those who have an Arminian background are more susceptible to such spiritual devolution (NOT “evolution“), because it teaches the humanistic philosophy that Jesus’ blood only makes us “savable,” depending on our response to it. It implies that Jesus’ blood made it “possible” for us to save ourselves by our own freewill response. In other words, it borrows from the Roman Catholic idea that God’s grace is necessary to do everything it takes to be saved, but not sufficient to save in and of itself, without our help or “cooperation.” Despite the fact that… Jesus said His grace is sufficient (2 Cor. 12:9).
John Newton, who penned Amazing Grace, also stated:
“This is faith: a renouncing of everything we are apt to call our own and relying wholly upon the blood, righteousness and intercession of Jesus.”
And the classic gospel hymn, Rock of Ages, was written by Augustus Toplady, who also stated:
“Freewill is an Arminian idol. A man’s ‘freewill’ cannot even cure him of a toothache, or of a sore finger, yet he madly thinks it is in its power to cure his soul. The greatest judgment which God himself can, in the present life, inflict upon a man is to leave him in the hands of his own boasted freewill.”
So remember dear friend, salvation is of the Lord and He finishes the good work that 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 “theo-therapist” or “life coach” (Ps. 37:39-40, Phil. 1:6). Those who are born again by His Spirit “are complete in Him, which is the head of all principality and power” (Col. 2:10).
Copyright ©2021 by Lee Anne Ferguson.
₁ E. Fuller Torrey, The Death of Psychiatry, (Radnor: Chilton Book Company, 1974), p. 40.
₂ Martin and Deidre Bobgan, The Twelve Steps to Destruction; Codependency Recovery Heresies, (Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1991), p. 29.
See also: Citizens Commission on Human Rights. (n.d.). Real disease vs. mental “disorder.” Retrieved May 7, 2018 from: http://ww.cchr.org/quick-facts/real-disease-vs-mental-disorder.
₃Martin and Deidre Bobgan, The Twelve Steps to Destruction; Codependency Recovery Heresies, (Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1991), p. 30.
₄ Martin and Deidre Bobgan, Prophets of Psychoheresy I, (Santa Barbara, CA: EastGate Publishers, 1989), pp. 34-36.
₅ Ibid., pp. 35-36