Per Fidem Intrepidus means "Fearless Through Faith". My courage isn't my own, it comes from the Holy Spirit, it's my faith in God and my personal savior Christ Jesus that calms my fears and allows me to move forward in this fallen world. Personally I'm afraid of a lot of stuff, but having the faith that Jesus adopted me as his little, sin filled, brother keeps me going.

Friday, December 13, 2013

Sozo? Vas Ist Das Sozo?

While reading a post about false teachers at Spirit of Error a commentor mentioned the heresies of "Fire Tunnels" and "Sozo". Fire Tunnels? I figured that was some charismatic goat chow and when I looked it up every article started with the words "Toronto Blessing" in the first paragraph. Roger on that goat chow. However Sozo? At first I honestly thought it was a German brand of Coffee - "Haben leibchen, k├Ânnte ich noch einen Sozo Kaffee? (Honey, could I have another cup of Sozo Coffee?)"* Sozo however is goat chow of the nuclear variety. Sozo is the Greek word for save or deliver. Sozo ministries describe Sozo:
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.
I don't know about you, but the words "unique inner healing" set off some major alarm bells in my heart. Then I found the Sozo web page concerning curses. According to the practitioners of Sozo us military veterans are cursed. Vietnam veterans have been cursed by Buddist monks who cause my older brothers to be angry men and women all of their lives and never find rest. My younger brothers, we sandbox soldiers, have been cursed with failed marriages and will be haunted by survivors guilt. My stint in the military covered both eras so I guess  I'm in serious Sozo trouble. And it gets worse, Sozo works like this: 

A Sozo facilitator/mediator/guide leads a participant through prayer and reflection in an effort to attain intimacy with God. Intimacy with God is awesome, and what we're supposed to be doing as Christians, but Sozo's method of attaining this intimacy does not use Bible study, fellowship with Christians, and obedience, but by a mystical magical journey through the center of our mind.

If you were going to be "sozoed" (yes, they actually say that, and I thought my knowledge of odd churchy language was complete) the session would start with a full hour of "soaking prayer". Soaking prayer isn't prayer as seen in the bible, but a New Age mystical experience that is offered instead of biblical teaching. Soaking Prayer is a perfect name for the process - before washing dishes I like to soak them in soapy water, I'm not washing them, I'm soaking them in an environment that resembles washing. Soaking prayer is the same, you sit in a room with worship music playing and maybe say a little prayer now and then, a candle or incense burning, and you just let your mind wander, soaking in the ambiance of imaginary divinity until you feel something... anything, adherents of soaking prayer will say that's the Holy Spirit even if it's just your leg falling asleep. Just like soaking dishes is not washing dishes, soaking prayer is not praying.

How can you pray to God, your father, really pray, if your brain is floating away in a cloud of new age fluff and nonsense? A Christian knows that you can't.

Once you've been soaked the team members take you, the "sozoee" (yes, they say that too) into a room that is comfortable and set up like a therapists office and subject you to what's called Theophostic counseling (please ignore the fact that they're not trained or licensed counselors) Theophostic comes from the Greek Theo which means God and Phostic which means light. Theophostic Counseling means they're going to shine the light of God into a specific condition that prevents you from intimacy with God. This wouldn't be a bad idea if they did it biblically, finding verses in the bible that pertain to the situation and verses that pertain to achieving intimacy with God, however they avoid that whole bible thing.

The sozoee enters the sozo session already in a heightened state of suggestibility called guided hypnosis (also called guided imagery. http://creativeguidedimagery.com/about.html) One of the central belief in Sozo is that we are a product of our past hurts that can only be healed through reliving the past and bringing Jesus into those past events. They teach that present problems are expressions of past wounds that must be healed before the person can overcome problems that's keeping them from being intimate with God. "Sozees" are told that: “we are a product of our environment and we have no responsibility until we are sozoed……no one is safe or healed until this happens... one has to walk through their torments with ” Jesus and half the church” before they can move on.”

Half the church? Seriously? Sozo wants you to drag up extremely personal, intimate, embarrassing events from your past and share them with people who are under no compunction to keep their mouth shut? Why of course! You the sozoee are in a state of mental suggestibility being asked questions over and over by an entire team of people who are dredging up your past. The best part is that these people are untrained, they can be dredging up false memories and destroy your life and they'd never even know. This is like a live action version of Mark Driscoll's mental porn channel. According to Sozo, only through this embarrassing and paganistic ritual can you come close enough to God for Him to forgive you. 

This is more than just an attempt to manipulate reality and pry some money out of an unsuspecting goats pocket, this whole thing denies God's omnipotence by implying that He needs these charlatans to bring a sad sorry sinner close enough to Him because His forgiveness and healing can't reach us all the way down here on earth in our lives. It also set up the "sozoers" (I don't know if they say that) as gods themselves who through these rituals use God Almighty's powers as their own personal tools. 

As one victim of Sozo put it, "This is a spiritual rape that goes on and the pastor and the sozo team are all part of that rape"

This is just scratching the surface of the Sozo story, here's a series of articles regarding this heresy

*My apologies to German speaking readers, but I only speak Babelfish German.

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